Politics needs Christianity and it is therefore totally legitimate for believers to participate in the public square, says Benedict XVI's secretary of state.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone affirmed this in Rome at a conference titled "The Century of Beliefs," on the occasion of a presentation of the latest issue of the review "Aspenia," an international political quarterly from the Aspen Institute Italia, Zenit reports.
In response to the question on the relation of politics and religion in the global era, Cardinal Bertone said that in the review's various articles he detected "a certain convergence on the fact that, in the era of globalization, politics and the market aren't everything; they are a means, not an end."
"I have never agreed
with those who hold that politics is useless, because it promises to
build bridges even where there is no river. Instead, I am convinced
that politics is necessary, but I believe that, to communicate genuine
values, it must respect the 'bridge' that unites each of these values
with God," he explained.
is confirmed by "the tragic end of all political ideologies" and even
by the "present financial crisis," the Vatican official said. "Wherever
one's own benefit is sought in the short term, virtually identifying
that with the good, one ends up by canceling one's own benefit."
Moreover, "in the present multi-ethnic and multi-confessional societies, religions constitutes an important factor of cohesion, and the Christian religion in particular, with its universalism, invites to dialogue, to openness and to harmonious collaboration." It is far from being the "opium of the people," he added.
According to Cardinal Bertone, in order
"to direct globalization, politics not only needs an ethics inspired in
religion, but a religion that is rational. Because of this, politics
also needs Christianity."
Therefore, "those who uphold them do not seek to
establish a confessional regime, but are simply conscious of the fact
that legality finds its ultimate root in morality." And this morality,
the cardinal clarified, cannot fail to respect human nature.
"The Church does not seek applause or popularity, because Christ sent her to the world 'to serve' and not 'to be served,'" the cardinal concluded. "She does not wish to 'win at all costs' but to 'convince,' or at least to 'alert' the faithful and all people of good will about the risks that man runs when he moves away from the truth about himself."