Fratelli Tutti 180: Political Love

This section and the two that follow fall under the heading of “Political love.” What on earth does that mean?

180. Recognizing that all people are our brothers and sisters, and seeking forms of social friendship that include everyone, is not merely utopian. It demands a decisive commitment to devising effective means to this end. Any effort along these lines becomes a noble exercise of charity.

This is a deeper definition than charity = helping hand. Or friendly donation to a distant cause. Any Christian politician needs to recognize caritas in the work they undertake. That means working for all the people in a constituency, not just one’s supporters, donors, or bosses.

A pope of the last century spoke of “political charity,” as we read:

For whereas individuals can help others in need, when they join together in initiating social processes of fraternity and justice for all, they enter the “field of charity at its most vast, namely political charity”. [Pius XI, Address to the Italian Catholic Federation of University Students (18 December 1927): L’Osservatore Romano, 23 December 1927, p. 3]

Pius XI also aspired to see a “soul” in the work of politics. 

This entails working for a social and political order whose soul is social charity. [Cf. Ibid., Quadragesimo Anno(15 May 1931): AAS 23 (1931), 206-207]

Pope Francis elaborates a bit on this, as once the common good is engaged, then the role of politician becomes more than career, or an exercise in personal ambition, but a vocation:

Once more, I appeal for a renewed appreciation of politics as “a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good”. [Evangelii Gaudium 205]

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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