All Brothers : The Church and Politics

Can the Church intervene in the political field? The question comes up regularly in debates. Since the publication of Pope Francis' encyclical, all brothers, of which I spoke last Monday, the debate has taken a sharp turn. 

Of course, Christian life is nourished by Sunday Mass and parish activities are necessary for the life of the Church, but if we thought we could confine ourselves to them by giving ourselves a clear conscience, the challenge of the encyclical "All Brothers" could ring the bells. For commitment in the political field, as active citizens, is part of our vocation; in the face of the crises of our societies, we are political beings called to take a stand and act. The Gospel gives the light of God: "You are the light of the world", Jesus said to his disciples (Mt 5:14). This statement illuminates politics as a service to the good life together in which everyone must take part. In this definition, we are far from the partisan struggles to which politics is too often reduced. We are each responsible for it. In fact, the temptation of exacerbated power or the thirst for domination can slumber or express itself in each of us. Here too, we need God's light to make things clear.


From the words of the title "All Brothers" of the encyclical, we can clearly hear its raison d'être: the call to live the Gospel of Jesus in the midst of the world. The encyclical can inspire the words and the implementation of the beautiful motto of the French Republic: "Liberty, equality, fraternity". It is well known that this noble political cause is a challenge: freedom to make decisions that are the fruit of communal discernment and enlightened by the Spirit; equality in law, and also in a just redistribution of goods, especially for those who lack the means to live in dignity; and finally, fraternity in our relationships, without which we are not truly human. In living this way, we offer our hands to the love of God living in the world.


So yes, as the Pope points out, universal fraternity is hindered by certain tendencies in today's world, "the shadows of a closed world". For example; dreams and actions in the direction of a united Europe have, in recent decades, had certain obvious successes, especially in the direction of peace on our continent - and the promises linked to the European Union are still relevant. But, overall, there are signs of a setback, dictated above all by short-sighted and partisan economic and financial logics. The diagnosis can be made both at the level of a group of countries and at the level of the entire Planet: "while what is disguised as rationality represents only particular interests [...] in this culture that we are developing, an empty culture, obsessed by immediate results and devoid of a common project, "it is foreseeable that, faced with the exhaustion of certain resources, a scenario favourable to new wars, disguised as noble claims, will gradually be created" (All Brothers, § 17). 


Faced with a world in which the communitarian dimension of existence is weakening and without a project for all, All Brothers opens up a horizon of meaning and political commitment for each one of us.