Pope Francis: "One can become a saint through politics"

One might say: “We ought to start a Catholic party!”. This is not the way. The Church is a community of Christians who worship the Father, follow the path of the Son and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s not a political party. “No, let’s not say party … a party only for Catholics”. It serves nothing, and won’t have the ability to engage, because it will be doing what it was not called to do. “But can a Catholic engage in politics?” — “She must!” — “But can a Catholic make a difference in politics?” — “He must!”. Blessed Paul VI, if I’m not mistaken, said that politics is one of the highest forms of charity, because it seeks the common good. “But Father, politics is not easy, because in this corrupt world... in the end you cant get anywhere...”. What do you want to say, that engaging in politics is a little like martyrdom? Yes. It is a kind of martyrdom. But it is a daily martyrdom: seeking the common good without letting yourself be corrupted. Seek the common good by thinking of the most fitting ways for this, the most fitting means. Seek the common good by working for the little things, the small ones, it gives little return... but one does it. Politics is important: small politics and big politics.

In the Church there are many Catholics who engaged in clean healthy politics; and those who have fostered peace among Nations. Think of the Catholics here, in Italy, after the war: think of De Gasperi. Think of France: Schumann, who has a cause for beatification. One can become a saint through politics. And I don't want to name more: two examples of those who pursued the common good are enough. Engaging in politics is martyrdom: truly a martyr’s work, because one needs to go the whole day with that ideal, every day, with the ideal of building the common good. And always carrying the cross of many failures and carrying the cross of many sins. Because in the world it’s difficult to do good in a society without getting your hands or your heart a a little dirty; but that is why you go ask for forgiveness, you ask for pardon and continue to do it. Don’t allow this discourage you. “No, Father, I don't do politics because I don't want to sin” — “That's not good! Go forward, ask the Lord to help you not to sin, but if you do get your hands dirty, ask forgiveness and go forward!”. But do it, do it...

... [Pope talks about the throw-away culture.] Do I, a Catholic, watch from the balcony? You can't watch from the balcony! Get involved! Give it your best. If the Lord calls you to this vocation, get to it, engage in politics. It will make you suffer, it may be an occasion for sin, but the Lord is with you. Ask forgiveness and go forward. Let's not let this throw-away culture throw us all away! It throws away creation too, because creation is being destroyed more and more every day.

Do not forget what Blessed Paul VI said: politics is one of the highest forms of charity.

--Pope Francis to Community of Christian Life, 30 April 2015