In a letter Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco on the occasion of the 45th Social Week of Italian Catholics, the pontiff declared that the Church has a role to play in the political realm.
At the end of his letter, which deals with the need for people to work for the common good, the Holy Father turned his attention to "a specific area" which "stimulates Catholics to question themselves: that of the relationship between religion and politics.”
Many Western governments operate on the principle of the separation of Church and State and the Pope explained that Jesus offers a way to live that respects both entities. “The absolute novelty brought by Jesus is that He opened to way to a freer and more human world, with full respect for the distinction and autonomy that exists between what is of Caesar and what is of God," Benedict XVI said.
Rather than the Church being completely separated from the political realm, Pope Benedict XVI said, "[t]he Church, then, if on the one hand she recognizes she is not a political player, on the other she cannot but concern herself with the good of the entire civil community, in which she lives and operates." "To that community she offers her particular contribution, forming the political and business classes to a genuine spirit of truth and honesty, with the aim of searching for the common good and not for individual profit."