Even though politics may be “dirty”, frustrating and fraught with failure, Catholics need to “get right in there” and become involved, says Pope Francis, even though some may consider it to be a “form of martyrdom”.
The Catholic News Service is reporting on the comments made by the Pope last week while engaging in a question-and-answer session with Italy’s Christian Life Community and the Student Missionary League. During the session a man asked how to combine faith in Jesus with one’s responsibility to build a more just and caring world.
Christians have a duty to work for the common good in the world of politics, the pope said. In today’s society, with its “throwaway” culture and the many problems unfolding in the world, “Do I as a Catholic watch from my balcony? No, you can’t watch from the balcony. Get right in there!” he said.
But this doesn’t mean we need to form a Catholic political party. “That is not the way. The church is the community of Christians who adore the Father, follow the way of the Son and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not a political party,” he said.
But Catholic must get “embroiled” in politics, he said, calling it one of the “highest forms of charity” because it seeks the common good.
However, it’s not an easy thing to do, he acknowledged. “It’s a kind of martyrdom” where one carries the cross of the ideal of the common good every day “without letting yourself be corrupted” by the process or discouraged in the midst of failure.
Yes, it’s hard to get into the middle of a political war “without getting your hands or heart a little dirty,” he said. “Ask the Lord to help you not sin, but if you get your hands dirty, ask for forgiveness and keep going;” don’t get discouraged.
How do we keep ourselves from losing hope, one woman asked, and believing that God is with us even when things aren’t going our way.
People sometimes mistake hope for having an easy, successful or comfortable life, but that is “a controlled hope”, he said, and one that exists only as a concept. It has nothing to do with real life with all of its problems and disappointments. This is why, even when God seems the furthest away, we must remember what faith tells us – that God never abandons His people.
“True hope is a gift of God, a present,” the pope said, “and one that never lets you down.”
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