Pope Francis Says to Pray for Political Leaders

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Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images

Pope Francis prays in Saint Peter square at the Vatican on Sept. 7, 2013. Pope Francis has called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and against any armed intervention.

Every morning, Pope Francis celebrates mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The service is small and intimate—usually fifty or so people attend—and the Holy Father preaches spontaneously in Italian to set the tone for the day. Today he had a political message on his mind: meddle in politics.

Meddling, according to Pope Francis, may look different than many people initially think. “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer!” he preached. “That’s what Paul says: ‘Pray for all people, and for the king and for all in authority.’”

Prayers can be simple, the Pope explained. Pray that the leader, man or woman, can govern well, love their people, serve their people, and remain humble. Pray even if the leader is wicked or has problems—then one’s prayer can be that the leader would change his ways. “A Christian who does not pray for those who govern is not a good Christian,” he said.

Political prayer is necessary because people participate in their leaders decisions, whether they acknowledge it or not. “None of us can say, ‘I have nothing to do with this, they govern.’ No, no, I am responsible for their governance, and I have to do the best so that they govern well, and I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability,” he said. “Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good. I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something!”

The Pope’s message extended to those in positions of political power. He argued that are two virtues a true leader needs to govern: love for the people and humility. “And every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’” he asked. “If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good.”

Pope Francis has been modeling the prayerful political engagement he preaches. His message comes a week after he led a global day of prayer for peace in Syria and the Middle East. Earlier this month, he wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the G-20 summit, urging world leaders to oppose military intervention in Syria.

9 comments
EvonEndreau
EvonEndreau

How about we stop wasting our time praying and instead become informed participating members of our democratic societies... just a thought...

cleverlyc
cleverlyc

Don't pray, that's a waste of time.

WRITE your politicians! Put your words to paper, to an e-mail, to a submission from their website.

Prayer will get you NOTHING, writing your politicians might at least get you a form letter in response.

Iramos1
Iramos1

Pope Francis is trying to bring all leaders together for PEACE, which is a good thing. However, bringing peace will bring ONE WORLD RELIGION,ONE ECONOMY AND ETC....

dabble53
dabble53

I wouldn't pray FOR the politicians so much as I'd pray to be protected FROM the politicians.

Leahoflight
Leahoflight

I have always described myself as a "recovering Catholic" .... this man is touching my heart and as no other. May his humble but pointed messages clear the way for true peace and involvement for this tired world. We have so many that need healing .... And a world we hope to pass along to the little ones who require peace and love ...

united_we_stand
united_we_stand

@cleverlyc LOL, that is funny. They don't read that, I've tried many times. They make you choose from a dropdown to find out what your writing about so they can send you a generic response 'I'm so glad you care about xyz issue'. They will sell your email and address to political groups asking for campaign donations, and forever continue to bombard you with junkmail hyping the latest talking points on FOX or MSNBC.