ROME – Pope Francis on Sunday blasted corruption as the “termite of politics” because it doesn’t permit a society to grow, and described every good politician as a kind of “martyr” to service because he or she must be willing to set aside their own ideas and desires to seek the common good.
A good form of politics, the pope said, is “not subservient to individual ambitions or powerful factions and centers of interests,” drawing strong applause from a crowd in the central square of the Italian town of Cesena, where the pontiff was making a brief pastoral visit.
Francis called for a kind of politics that’s “neither a servant nor an owner, but a friend and collaborator … neither fearful nor reckless, but responsible and therefore courageous and prudent at the same time.”
The pope’s remarks came in what was billed as a “meeting with citizenship,” which basically meant the population of Cesena, a city of about 97,000 people in Italy’s north-central Emilia-Romagna region.
Good politics, the pope continued, “encourages involvement of people, their progressive inclusion and participation.” It doesn’t leave anyone at the margins, he said.
A pope known for his environmental leadership, including publishing the first-ever encyclical letter devoted to the care of creation in Laudato’ Si, also added a “green” note to his profile of good politics.
Such a form of politics, he said, “doesn’t plunder and pollute…