Pope insists Christian politicians promote human dignity, common good

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 Pope Francis gives his blessing at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 7, 2023. In a message to the European People’s Party, the pope insisted Christian politicians promote human dignity and the common good. CNS photo/Lola Gomez

VATICAN CITY. While the Catholic Church does not promote a single political party or legislative agenda, it does insist that Christian politicians always work to promote human dignity and advance the common good, Pope Francis said in a message to the European People’s Party.

The group, a coalition of 82 Christian Democrat and other center-right political parties from 43 countries, had been scheduled to meet Pope Francis June 9 at the Vatican, but the meeting was canceled because of the pope’s abdominal surgery June 7.

Instead, the pope sent the group a message signed in “Rome, Gemelli Polyclinic.”

While national and cultural differences mean the European People’s Party will have members with different positions and opinions, the pope said, “on some issues where primary ethical values and important points of Christian social doctrine are at stake, we need to be united.”

And, in fact, he said, it would be a good idea for the party to encourage and even organize continuing education opportunities for legislators, “moments of study and reflection in which to deepen and confront the most ethically relevant issues.”

“The Christian politician should distinguish himself or herself by the seriousness with which he or she approaches issues, rejecting opportunistic solutions and always holding firm to the criteria of the dignity of the person and the common good,” Pope Francis wrote.

While government leaders must be practical and skilled at normal administration, they also need “a strong inspiration, a soul,” the pope said, something that encourages them to dream of a more fraternal and just world and to be open to creative ideas for making that dream a reality.

“Christian politicians today should be recognized by their ability to translate the great dream of fraternity into concrete actions of good politics at all levels: local, national, international,” he wrote. The focus on recognizing that everyone is a brother or sister can help the politicians find better responses to challenges such as migration and care for the planet.

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