We have entered the hundred days before the next presidential election. In French democracy, this election is an essential meeting. Thus in 2017, in the first round, the abstention rate was 21.3%. It is therefore a priority, in the pandemic situation that we are experiencing and in view of the sharp decline in the morale of the French people, to stimulate the citizen approach which consists of going to deposit a ballot paper at the ballot box.
→ READ. As the presidential election approaches, the bishops call for a vote but remain cautious
The media game that exploits ideological conflicts with the powerful contemporary relay of social networks risks dissuading many voters from making a responsible choice. The first mission of Christians is to promote political issues and not to abound in criticism that a priori destroys all trust. We live in a democracy, even if sometimes we can question the respect of fundamental freedoms.
We live in a political pluralism recognized by the Church since the Matagrin report of 1972. There are therefore several ways of implementing the Gospel demands in historical circumstances. The Church no longer gives “instructions” for voting, but proposes criteria for discernment.
→ MAINTENANCE. Bishop de Moulins-Beaufort: “Christian values are less to defend than to choose”
Traditionally, Catholics vote according to their cultural roots and are rather attentive to order, moderation and peace.among all. However, some are very sensitive to this or that societal reality and are inflamed for a cause: some for safeguarding the family and human life in its fragility, others for attention to the poorest and foreigners. It is, then, often difficult to make them dialogue, as if ideologies prevailed over the rational analysis of reality. Historically, we have known fractures, including within families, around divisions that seemed final. What if we took the time to listen to each other?
Few Catholics meditate on Scripture to discern their political choice and more broadly their choice of life. It is not, of course, a question of looking in Scripture for the answer to our questions… but of discerning in the light of the word of God in order to read the signs of the times and commit ourselves responsibly.
victims of simplicity
Politics is not a matter of speeches, but of reflections, analyzes and daily actions. We know the trap of “electoral promises” which only bind those who believe in them! We know the risk of instrumentalization of religion (or history) to defend causes. We are easily victims of “simplisms” or binary oppositions, while reality is always complex. We participate in this post-modern society which produces “victims” and “identities”, to promote minorities. Who is not with us is “against us”.
→ CHRONICLE. Bellamy, Catholics and politics, some thoughts…
Catholics have the same concerns as their contemporaries, because they face the same difficulties of existence. But they are invited to have concern for their brothers (neighbours… to whom they are close!), they should also pay particular attention to the most fragile (wounded by life) and keep in mind the words of the Gospel: “What you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me” (Mt 25).
They move forward with prudence, courage, justice and temperance (the four virtues) as much as possible, relying on the gift of God which is called faith, hope and charity. Their faith is not a set of doctrines, but a living relationship to one person: Jesus Christ dead and risen. They know that what guides and judges them is their lifestyle (not their talk) and radiate humility. Alas, often their good news has been “reclaimed” to fortify a quest for power.
The service of the common good
So, let’s take the time to inform ourselves, not to lock ourselves into one line of thought. Let’s not try to demonize those who think differently. Let us remember that the international face of our country and social peace in our country are at stake. Any democratically elected politician can only govern with a majority of his fellow citizens behind him, for the service of the common good and therefore of all. Let us think of the issues of health, education, shared work, social justice, long-term life balance, attention to the poorest, defense and national security.
→ REREAD. Presidential: “To choose, Catholics must broaden their gaze”
Let’s not look for a “saviour”… Christians already have one! Let’s not imagine the providential person, this is how certain autocrats appeared throughout history. And above all, let’s not forget that at a time of globalization of the economy and of ideas, the freedom of maneuver of political leaders is relative and that they must henceforth be more attentive to public opinion.