In what may be seen as a somewhat unusual daily Mass homily at the St. Martha Residence chapel in the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis dismissed the idea that Christians should take no role in political life. Francis appeared to reject out-of-hand the idea that a good Catholic couldn't be politically involved. “That’s not true. That is not a good path,” the Pope preached. “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”
“Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good,” Francis said. “I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!” The Pope also cautioned, however, that those who lead must truly love the people who they lead, and lead them in a spirit of service. “a leader who doesn’t love, cannot govern – at best they can discipline, they can give a little bit of order, but they can’t govern.” As an example of a leader acting in love, the Pontiff said, was David, who asked that God punish him rather than the people after the sin of taking a census (1 Chron. 22:2) after God's instruction not to do so.
“You can’t govern without loving the people and without humility! And every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path.’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good. The man or woman who governs – who loves his people is a humble man or woman.”
Instead of simply dismissing those leaders who we think to be corrupt, the Holy Father said “pray that that person might convert!”