Pope Francis clarified that there is no "single form of political commitment for Catholics," no "Catholic party," and stated that "the same Christian faith can lead to different commitments."
The pope spoke with 26 young Catholic participants in a nine-day seminar on Church social doctrine and Latin American politics organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He exhorted the delegation to defend themselves from "ideological colonization."
The pope pointed to the example of recently canonized Saint Oscar Romero. He said the saint saw "many lay people who wanted to change things, but who often went astray with false ideological answers." Romero helped them to "rediscover the reasons why it is worth doing politics, but from the Gospel, overcoming ideologies."
Pope Francis quoted Romero, stating, "To be a good politician you do not need to be a Christian, but the Christian involved in political activity has an obligation to confess his faith. And if a conflict between loyalty to their faith and loyalty to the organization arises in this field, the true Christian should prefer his faith and demonstrate that his struggle for justice is for the justice of the Kingdom of God, and not another justice."
He further quoted the saint, noting, "Not every Christian has a political vocation, nor is the political channel the only one that leads to a task of justice. There are also other ways of translating faith into a work of justice and the common good."