01 January 2019, The Tablet

'Blessed be the politicians' says bishop


Bishop of Limerick proclaims ‘beatitudes of the politician’ on World Day of Peace


'Blessed be the politicians' says bishop

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy at a state religious ceremony last May to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising leaders
Photo: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

Politics is a high vocation and people should pray for politicians, according to the Bishop of Limerick. “When politics goes wrong there are devastating effects,” said Bishop Brendan Leahy, noting how one out of every six children in the world is affected by the violence or effects of war, and one in four by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

“Bad politics” leads to many ills, like a lack of welcome for migrants, racism, lack of concern for the environment, homelessness."

Politics, however, is a high vocation, he continued. “We need to pray for politicians and pray that young people will consider entering politics with high ideals.”

“Indeed, politics can be considered the highest form of Christian charity because it is a love that serves all the loves of society – the love at the service of the family, the love serving young couples preparing for marriage and family life, the love accompanying children going to schools and engaging in medical services, the love assisting the elderly in their declining years, the love embodied in officials in public office, in statutory agencies, love serving those at work, in business, in agriculture… Politics is at the service of all of this. Politicians, therefore, have an opportunity to exercise great charity. They can work for the common good.”

But the temptation to "get in the vote" or stay in with party leadership, could lead to “compromising principles”.  Politicians had to be able to “rest easy” with their consciences.  “Courage is one of the essential characteristics of a great politician and all great politicians are known for their courage.”

Bishop Leahy proclaimed the ‘beatitudes of the politician’ proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguy?n Vãn Thu?n, who died in 2002:

Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.

Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.

Blessed be the politician who remains consistent.

Blessed be the politician who works for unity.

Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change.

Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening.

Blessed be the politician who is without fear.

             


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