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Bishop Peter: The Delicate Nature of Politics

Ever since I was a youngster, I have heard the people argue the most about religion and politics. It seems to be true but then at the same time it first does not sound right.

Both our faith and our politics are extremely important to us. How can anything so necessary at the same time be the cause of so much friction? Are we not understanding something? Perhaps religion and politics are like ”love” which is so precious when it’s real and so ugly when it goes wrong?

I would like to speak only about politics at present.

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Pope Francis has recently said a few very interesting things about politics which can help us understand the dilemma. He said, “Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization and even destruction.”

The Pope is into something here. Politics when it is done right is a real blessing, when not, it can be what the world has seen in the former Soviet Union, in dictatorships and other forms of governance which can destroy people and countries.

Politics when it is done right is a real blessing, when not, it can be what the world has seen in the former Soviet Union

Politics has a divine origin. It is how God uses people to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

In Mark 9:35 we read “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” We see that politics is not about the party and the person in charge, but about the people who need to be served. Come to think of it, so many politicians say they are all but the people but in fact some are only about themselves and their back pockets.

There is a real challenge in political office and the responsibility that comes with that. Our western society actually bases its systems and laws on Biblical teaching and the commandments. Religion and politics can and should work together for the good of all people. Obviously, it all goes wrong when this does not happen.

Religion and politics can and should work together for the good of all people

All this points out to us as citizens that our responsibility as voters is to remind those who would lead us, about some of the basic demands of political office. These include respect of life, freedom and dignity of persons, unity in our society, care and compassion for those in need, and peace in the world.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper, May 2019

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