Pope at the Polls: How Would Francis Vote?

Pope Francis speaking

Center for American Progress: Pope Francis would vote Democrat!

Pope Francis is one of the most popular religious leaders in the world, with a fan base that stretches far beyond the 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church. His admirers include millions of worshippers in other faith traditions, as well as millions of people who are not religious. Pope Francis is popular for many reasons: He is joyful, nonjudgmental, loving, smart, humorous, self-aware, humble, inclusive, and unpredictable. In other words, one thing the pope is not is a politician.

However, this does not mean that Pope Francis shies away from politics. In fact, he has been a strong proponent of civic engagement and—to the surprise of many—unguarded about commenting on political issues. Since the early days of his papacy, Pope Francis has repeatedly called on Catholics to engage in politics as a vehicle to build more just societies. “We need to participate for the common good,” he said in a morning meditation in September 2013. “Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.”

Pope Francis has urged his followers to participate in politics to fight apathy and has said that authentic faith is accompanied by a desire to transmit its values. He has even called politics the most important of all civil activities, referring to it as a “lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity” when it pursues the common good.

Pope Francis’s political commentary does not stop at encouraging civic engagement. Voters do not abdicate their values when entering the voting booth, and Pope Francis is arming willing listeners with plenty of values to consider when they cast their votes. In candid interviews, regular speaking engagements, and formal writings, the pope has weighed in on numerous, pressing political issues: He has called for more eco-conscious development practices; prayed for greater respect for the beliefs of others; demanded an end to the dual sins of global food insecurity and wasted food; and entreated the international community to take urgent action to protect migrants and refugees. He decries all violence, pleading, “Never war! Never war! … Stop it, please! I beg you with all my heart! … Let’s remember that everything is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace.”

In his November 2013 papal exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” Pope Francis lifted up three particular political issues: work, education, and health care. He warned against an economy of exclusion and bemoaned unemployment, unjust wages, and exploitative corporate policies that prioritize profits over the rights of workers. While he praised advances in the health care and education fields, he warned that a lack of access to either is detrimental to human rights.

Read more – http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/news/2014/09/18/97473/pope-at-the-polls-how-would-francis-vote/


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