While the word “politics” often evokes negative images, one of its core meanings is about people living in society.
Pope Francis observes that, “Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization, and even destruction.”
His New Year’s message to celebrate the 2019 World Day of Peace titled, “Good Politics is at the Service of Peace,” announced that “good politics respects and promotes fundamental human rights, which are at the same time mutual obligations, enabling a bond of trust and gratitude to be forged between present and future generations.”
The pope acknowledges the challenge and the value of good politics. Quoting Pope Paul VI, he remarks, “To take politics seriously at its different levels – local, regional, national and worldwide – is to affirm the duty of each individual to acknowledge the reality and value of the freedom offered him to work at one and the same time for the good of the city, the nation and all mankind.”
Pope Francis adds, “Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity. Charity and human virtues are the basis of politics at the service of human rights and peace.”
In case we think this applies only to those who hold an official political office, Pope Francis offers insight from Pope Benedict XVI, who noted that “every Christian is called to practice charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the polis…”
What is the degree of influence we hold? Working for the common good within our families and communities creates a more peaceful world and is not limited only to “politicians.” I encourage you to continue to communicate with your elected politicians about your concerns and together we can create a more civil and peace-filled community.
The Clinton Ministerial Association invites the public to an Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian Unity on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Lyons Trinity United Methodist Church, 2118 N. Second St., Clinton. We hope you can join us.
On behalf of the Clinton Ministerial Association,
Sr. Nancy Miller, O.S.F..
Franciscan Peace Center