By Junno Arocho Esteves
CITY (CNS) — Catholic politicians should be guided by the church’s moral and
social teachings when crafting legislation, Pope Francis said.
with participants in the annual meeting of the International Catholic
Legislators Network Aug. 27, the pope said that church teaching can contribute
to a more humane and just society, but only if the church is allowed a voice in answering “the
great questions of society in our time.”
that you enact and apply ought to build bridges of dialogue between different
political perspectives, also when responding to precise aims in order to promote greater care for
the defenseless and the marginalized, especially toward the many who are forced
to leave their countries, as well as to promote a correct human and natural ecology,” the pope
said according to Vatican Radio.
2010 by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna and British
David Alton, the Catholic Legislators Network meets annually “to discuss
the promotion of Christian principles in the political arena,” according
year, the network brings together about 120 people, including top-level
politicians from a wide range of countries spanning all continents, to discuss
urgent policy issues in different regions of the globe,” the website said.
In an Aug.
26 interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Schonborn said that although Catholic
politicians “are a minority,” they raise important arguments and values, and “intend
to serve as Catholics.”
Schonborn told Vatican Radio that among the issues discussed during the
four-day meeting was the persecution of Christians, which “unfortunately has become a
phenomenon on a global scale.”
Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI, he added, have supported the
organization and “have always encouraged us.”
Catholic parliamentarians find great encouragement from the church’s approval of their commitment,
because many times they feel quite alone in their parliaments and find
themselves in difficult situations. Thus, they feel encouraged by these annual
meetings both in personal faith and political action,” Cardinal Schonborn
Among the participants was U.S.
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-West Virginia, who told Vatican Radio he was
encouraged to “see faithful Catholics from every country promoting the
values of the church.”
“We have an opportunity to meet here
with other Catholic legislators and elected officials from other parts of the
world and to discuss common concerns,
problems and opportunities for our faith,
and how to work together and support each other,” he said.
concluding his speech, Pope Francis prayed that in the midst of people’s
sufferings, Catholic legislators would “look to Christ” so that they
may be “led ever more toward the truth and goodness.”
The pope also urged the lawmakers to make sure
their actions always reflect the teaching of Jesus that “no one is insignificant, that no one
should be discarded at any stage of life.”
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