The theme of the 52nd World Day of Peace — to be observed on January 1, 2019 –, and of the Pope’s Message for the occasion is “Good Politics at the Service of Peace,” announced the Vatican in Italian on November 6, 2018, a few days before the great celebrations for the centenary of the end of the 1914-1918 War. The Vatican’s press release emphasized the responsibility of each one in politics. “Political responsibility belongs to every citizen and, in particular, to those that have received the mandate to protect and to govern.” And see in what this responsibility consists, which passes through dialogue: “This mission consists in safeguarding the right of and in encouraging dialogue between the actors of society, between the generations and between the culture.” The commentary emphasizes “trust.” There is no peace without mutual trust. And trust has, as the first condition, respect for the given word.”
Taking up an expression of Saint Paul VI, the Vatican recalled the connection between charity and politics and insisted on the care of the environment and of young peoples. “Political engagement — which is one of the highest expressions of charity — carries the concern for the future of life and of the planet, of the youngest and the littlest, in their thirst for fulfillment.”
The Holy See’s note also quotes Saint John XXIII: “When man is respected in his rights a sense of duty germinates in him to respect the rights of others,” Saint John XXIII reminded in his1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris.
The note highlights humanity’s communion of destiny. “Man’s rights and duties augment the awareness of belonging to the same community, with others and with God (Cf. Ibid., 45). Therefore, we are called to contribute and to proclaim to him peace as the good news of a future where each living being will be considered in his dignity and in his rights.”
The invitation to engage in politics was also Pope Francis’ prayer intention in July 2015.
That same year, Pope Francis invited men and women engaged in politics, especially those that are Christians, to be “courageous,” because politics is a sort of daily “martyrdom”: to seek the common good without allowing oneself to be corrupted,” he reminded on April 30, 2015, when meeting with the Communities of Christian Life, inviting them to engage in politics. “It’s important to be involved in politics” and “one can become a saint by engaging in politics.” It means to “carry the cross of all the failures and also the cross of numerous sins. Because in the world, it’s difficult to do good in the midst of society without soiling one’s hands or heart a bit. But go ask for pardon for that, ask for pardon and continue to act,” he stressed. However, “don’t let that discourage you” and continue “to fight for a more just and solidary society,” added Pope Francis.
“If the Lord calls you to this vocation to engage in politics, it will make you suffer, that will make you sin, perhaps, but the Lord is with you. Ask for pardon and go forward. But let us not allow this culture of rejects to reject us all! It also rejects creation, because everyday creation is destroyed more. Don’t forget this word of Blessed Paul VI: politics is one of the highest forms of charity.”