Pope Francis has urged politicians the world over to put the good of their countries before party politics.
And today he called for prayers for politicians as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
He spoke as governments continue to attempt to stem the tide of deaths from Covid-19, and the UK extends lockdown for another three weeks.
There is also controversy in the UK with reports of divisions in the Conservative Party over how the pandemic and the lockdown is being handled. According to a Sunday Times investigation by the Insight team, the UK was too slow to respond to the pandemic. Downing Street hit back today, quoted in blogs such as Politics Home accusing The Sunday Times of a number of “falsehoods and errors” in the investigation.
Pope Francis made oblique reference to party political factionalism at this time when he went on to praise those who enter politics as doing one of the best forms of charitable work.
“Let us pray today for men and women who have a political vocation,” he said. “Politics is a high form of charity.”
Beginning his homily during daily Mass streamed online from his Santa Marta residence at the Vatican, he prayed for political parties in different countries, “so that in this moment of pandemic they seek together the good of the country and not the good of their party.”
Being a Christian is not just fulfilling the Commandments. “They must be done, this is true; but if you stop there, you are not a good Christian,” he said.
“Being a Christian is letting the Spirit go inside you and take you, take you where he wants.”
We must have faith in God to “let the Spirit enter” and guide us.
Earlier, on Friday, he warned Catholics not to let online services replace Mass in real life, in the long term.
“A familiarity without community, a familiarity without the Bread, a familiarity without the Church, without the people, without the sacraments is dangerous. It can become a ‘gnostic’ familiarity, a familiarity for me alone, detached from the people of God. The apostles’ familiarity with the Lord was always communal, always at the table, a sign of the community. It was always with the sacrament, with Bread.”
He said the Covid-19 pandemic is dangerous for spiritual health as well as physical health because of the isolation and separation it is causing. And in this he included the inability at present to be part of communal worship.
“I say this because someone has made me reflect on the danger of this moment that we are experiencing, this pandemic that has made us all communicate even religiously through the media, mediatically, even this Mass, we are all communicating, but not together, spiritually together. The congregation is small. There is a bigger congregation with whom we are together, but not together.”