Pope says Christians politicians must be prophetic voices for dignity

Pope Benedict XVI Credit Mazur 4 CNA World Catholic News 5 21 12 Pope Benedict XVI. | Mazur/ catholicchurch.org.uk

Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging Christian politicians to be prophetic voices in promoting the dignity of every human being. 

"Christians are called to act and express themselves with a prophetic spirit – that is, a spirit capable of seeing in these transformations the incessant and mysterious presence of God in history – and thus to shoulder their newly emerging responsibilities with realism, faith and hope," Pope Benedict said Sept. 22.

The Pope made his remarks at his summer residence, Caste Gandolfo, where he addressed over 100 politicians who are members of Christian Democrat International, a worldwide coalition of centrist and center-right politicians.

When it comes to forming policy, the Pope stressed that "the order of things must be subordinate to the order of persons, and not the other way around."

This political perspective, he counseled the lawmakers, "is founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love," and it can be discerned by constant reference to both Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Fundamentally, it requires a rediscovered respect for life at all stages and for the family, the Pope stated, drawing a connection between those two areas of concern.

Respecting life "in all its phases from conception to natural end," including rejecting "any form of eugenics," is "interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman," which is "the foundation for the community of family life," he said.

Pope Benedict spelled out the reason for this connection even more explicitly by saying that the family is the "basic cell of society" and is "the root which nourishes not only the individual human being, but the very foundations of social coexistence."

Therefore, when it comes to making laws, "authentic progress of human society" cannot forgo "policies aimed at protecting and promoting marriage, and the community that derives therefrom," he said.

The duty to adopt pro-life and pro-family policies is the duty of both the state and the international community, the Pope noted, explaining that this will "invert the tendency towards the growing isolation of the person, which is a source of suffering and corrosion for both individuals and for society."

As for the present economic crisis, the Pope said this is another area where Christian politicians are called to be "prophetic" and not "limited to responding to the requirements of market logic." 

"Rather, its central and indispensable goal must remain the search for the common good, correctly understood, and the promotion and protection of the inalienable dignity of the human person."

The challenge for those in positions of responsibility, "especially if animated by Christian faith," is to be "strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping."

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