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Pell calls on Catholics to get involved in politics

Sydney's Cardinal George Pell has said Catholics "need to be active in public life", describing political action as "a special form of service that belongs to lay people".

His statement is contained in a four-page Pastoral Letter addressed specifically to the young people of the Sydney Archdiocese, for last Sunday's celebration of Pentecost.

Titled Is Faith Without Works Dead?, it suggests Catholic life requires good works in addition to faith. It is the fruit of a consultation process with young people and school students from across Sydney that was organised by Catholic Youth Services and the Catholic Education Office.

Cardinal Pell says Catholics' faith causes them to respond to the "flaws" in their society by getting involved in the social and political structures that allow them to make corrections and achieve a counter-balance.

"Concern with these questions leads some people into public life and to involvement in the institutions which shape our society and values," he said. "Catholics need to be active in public life, right across the range of opportunities that a modern democracy like Australia puts before us."

He describes as "intolerance" the view that Christians should stay out of politics unless they are prepared to put their religious values to one side.

He said: "Committed Christians bring valuable gifts to democracy, such as an ethic based on serving others out of love of treating people as an end in themselves, not as a means to the ends of others."

Cardinal George Pell: Pentecost Pastoral Letter 2004: Is Faith without Works dead? (Archdiocese of Sydney 30/5/04)

2 Jun 2004