Pope Francis devotes Chapter V of Fratelli Tutti on a call for a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good. He castigates populism which, according to him, exploits the vulnerable demagogically for its own purposes, or a liberalism that serves the economic interests of the powerful. He states that “Popular” leaders, although the service they provide by their efforts to unite and lead can become the basis of an enduring vision of transformation and growth that would also include making room for others in the pursuit of the common good. Yet, this can degenerate into an unhealthy “populism” when individuals are able to exploit politically a people’s culture, under whatever ideological banner, for their own personal advantage or continuing grip on power. Popular leadership is more concerned with short-term advantage.
The Holy Father observes that for many people today, politics is a distasteful word, often due to the mistakes, corruption, and inefficiency of some politicians, stating further that there are also attempts to discredit politics, to replace it with economics, or to twist it to one ideology or another. In the face of many petty forms of politics focused on immediate interests, the Pope would repeat that “true statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty in the work of nation-building.
Global society is suffering from grave structural deficiencies that cannot be resolved by piecemeal solutions or quick fixes. Much needs to change, through fundamental reform and major renewal. Only a healthy politics, involving the most diverse sectors and skills, is capable of overseeing this process. For Francis, an economy that is an integral part of a political, social, cultural, and popular program directed to the common good could pave the way for “different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy along new channels.”
What is needed is political love and charity which is born of a social awareness that transcends every individualistic mindset: “‘Social charity makes us love the common good’, it makes us effectively seek the good of all people, considered not only as individuals or private persons but also in the social dimension that unites them.” “Social love” makes it possible to advance towards a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called, he says.
Pope Francis enjoins practitioners of politics to make room for love especially for the weak, saying, “Politics must make room for a tender love of others. “What is tenderness? It is love that draws near and becomes real. A movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands… Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women.” Amid the daily concerns of political life, “the smallest, the weakest, the poorest should touch our hearts: indeed, they have a ‘right’ to appeal to our heart and soul. They are our brothers and sisters, and as such we must love and care for them.” He further states that good politics combines love with hope and with confidence in the reserves of goodness present in human hearts. Indeed, “authentic political life, built upon respect for law and frank dialogue between individuals, is constantly renewed whenever there is a realization that every woman and man, and every new generation, brings the promise of new relational, intellectual, cultural and spiritual energies,” he adds.
The politics of love is something nobler than posturing, marketing and media spin. At times, in thinking of the future, Pope Francis asks us to consider asking ourselves these guiding questions, “Why I am doing this?”, “What is my real aim?” For as time goes on, reflecting on the past, the questions will not be: “How many people endorsed me?”, “How many voted for me?”, “How many had a positive image of me?” The real, and potentially painful, questions will be, “How much love did I put into my work?” “What did I do for the progress of our people?” “What mark did I leave on the life of society?” “What real bonds did I create?” “What positive forces did I unleash?” “How much social peace did I sow?” “What good did I achieve in the position that was entrusted to me?”
Pope Francis’ vision of politics is the exact opposite to the actions of the government body—End LocalCommunist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)—and military officials like General Antonio Parlade. I am a big LizQuen and Angel Locsin fan and, like my recently deceased mother, a strong supporter of Gabriela. Red-tagging and threatening with bodily harm these artists and a great organization (and many other red-tagged individuals and groups) should be condemned in the strongest terms by all people of goodwill. We are brothers and sisters all and need better, kinder politics.
If you listen to Liza Soberano, clearly she is not partisan; most definitely, she has compassion and empathy. If that’s politics, it is what we need.
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