Pope Francis Calls for Engaged Citizenship Amid Political Crisis

Pope Francis Calls for Engaged Citizenship Amid Political Crisis

In the editorial of "L'Osservatore Romano," the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication reflects on Pope Francis' recent address at the Italian Catholic Social Week in Trieste. Pope's discourse raises some fundamental questions regarding politics and democracy, questions that touch every person beyond the category of professional politicians:

But what does politics really mean for us? And in this close connection, what does democracy mean? What is the role and responsibility of each, including the Christians and Catholics, vis-à-vis the crisis hitting today the democracies?

These are urgent questions that call us to move from an understanding of politics as just power games and democracy as only a set of rules devoid of principles of personal commitment. Pope Francis calls us to reject a behavior of passive spectators, like that of Pontius Pilate, which aggravates the political and democratic crises and fuels our common fate.

By contrast, Pope Francis insists on a concrete response anchored in personal and collective conscience. He insists on an individual's relationship with collective conscience rather than treating politics and democracy as somebody else's business, since it reaches very deep within our lives and choices beyond election day.

Central to his message is often charity, which he holds up as the highest form of political engagement. Charity is demanding participation, requiring that systemic changes not cosmetic changes be sought, and above all, that counteraction to what is polarizing today's discourse has to be brought forth. It demands inclusion—politics and responsibility against the irresponsible indistinctness of populism.

For idealistic Catholics in politics, Pope seeks idealism tinged with a good dose of realism—something that will pledge change that comes under the capacity of producing slow results, rather than overnight solutions. This approach remains hostile to the temptation to position politics as a zero-sum game but tries to understand it as an ongoing journey toward a better future.

Ultimately, Pope Francis reminds us, we need to embrace a politics of hope and solidarity with values that point the way beyond our narrow aims and partisan divides. He reminds us that although perfect justice may not be attainable, the pursuit of justice and the common good still—a noble and enduring human pursuit.

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