(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday delivered a lesson on good governance of a city saying it essentially consists in all working together for the common good with the help of good politics.
He was speaking to the people of the northern Italian city of Cesena where he arrived in the morning for a two-stop pastoral visit to the Emilia-Romagna region. He later visited the regional capital, Bologna, from where he flew back to the Vatican in the evening.
Addressing Cesena’s citizens in the heart of the city, Piazza del Popolo, the Pope explained that good politics is neither a servant nor a mistress, but a friend and collaborator. Responsible, brave and prudent at the same time, healthy politics calls for greater involvement and inclusion of all leaving no one in the margins. Such politics, he said, does not plunder and pollute natural resources, that are not a bottomless pit but a treasure given us by God to be used with respect and intelligence.
Good politics, the Pope further explained, harmonizes the legitimate aspirations of individuals and groups by holding the rudder firm in the interest of all citizens. This, the Pope said, is the true face of politics, and this is why the social doctrine of the Church considers it a noble form of charity.
The Holy Father urged all, especially the young, to prepare themselves by assuming right from the start, the perspective of the common good, rejecting any form of corruption, even the least. According to him, “corruption is the woodworm of the political vocation” that prevents the growth of civilization.
He also invited all to demand from “the protagonists of public life, coherence of commitment, preparation, moral uprightness, capacity for initiative, forbearance, patience and determination to address the challenges of today.” However, in this they must be realistic, without expecting impossible perfection.
Youth and elderly
Pope Francis urged that everyone’s voice be heard, especially the young who can carry things forward, and the elderly, who with the wisdom of their age can advise young people and young politicians when they mistake.
Noting that in recent years politics seemed to have retreated in the face of aggression and pervasiveness of other forms of power, such as financial and media, Pope Francis called for relaunching good politics and its specific ability to serve the public good by reducing inequalities, promoting the welfare of families with concrete measures, providing a solid framework of rights and duties and making them effective for everyone.
The Pope greeted the sick people present at Piazza del Popolo, before proceeding to Cesena cathedral where he addressed representatives of the local Church. There, in the chapel he greeted a group of sick people.
The principal mission of Christ’s disciples is proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel with joy said Pope Francis speaking to the clergy, consecrated persons, laypeople and pastoral counsellors, members of the Curia and parish representatives in the Cesena cathedral.
Focusing on evangelization, Pope Francis called on the clergy to rediscover the joy of being priests during the different stages of their personal and ministerial journey, to be called by the Lord to follow him to bring his word, his pardon, his love, his grace. It is a call that never ceases to amaze us, he said. To make evangelization effective Pope Francis gives them practical guidelines:
A call to walk in fraternity and unity
Evangelization, the Pope said, is effective to the extent there is sincere collaboration between different ecclesial movements and institutions. A Church walking in fraternity and unity is itself an effective witness to faith. When love of Christ is above all, all legitimate needs will be set aside to meet the needs of the brothers and always in Christ.
A call to be sensitive to the needs of the poor
The scars of Jesus' remain visible even today in so many men and women who live on the margins of society: marked by suffering, discomfort, abandonment and poverty. Caring for their bodily and spiritual needs we are purified and transformed by the mercy of God. Referring to the revolution of charity begun by St Vincent de Paul 400 years ago, the Holy Father said, “now we too are called to carry on this revolution with apostolic zeal knowing that we cannot do anything on our own” without the Lord.
A call to pray and meditate on the Word of God
The Pope said, it is necessary to set aside adequate time for prayer and meditation of the Word of God for prayer gives strength to our mission - as is proved by St. Teresa of Calcutta. He explained that the constant encounter with the Lord in prayer becomes indispensable both for priests and for consecrated persons and for pastoral workers who are called to go out to the peripheries. “Our deep encounter with the Lord will help us see Jesus who met the people on the streets of Galilee and to look into the eyes of the other with respect and love and create a revolution of tenderness.”
A call to be with the young
Pope Francis said it is the young people who most need to experience this love of Jesus. The young who are a great resource need to be helped to discover the gifts of the Lord and not to fear the challenges of the present times. He encouraged the clergy to meet them, to listen to them, to walk with them, so that they may meet Christ and be receptive to his free message of love.
A call to show proximity to families
Stressing that a Church attentive to young people is a church of the family, the Holy Father encouraged the clergy in their pastoral work towards families. He assured them God’s grace, his closeness and prophetic power will help them even when they lack adequate support. “We are called to be witnesses, mediators of this proximity to families.”
In conclusion the Holy Father called them to be renewed each day through the Eucharistic celebration and with their encounter with the people of God to whom “we are sent”. He exhorted priests, consecrated, deacons, and lay faithful to walk together without being discouraged in the face of difficulties but to be persistent in bearing witness to the Gospel. In their journey he encouraged them to always feel compelled and supported by the power of the Holy Spirit.