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Five Tips For A Better Kind Of Politics

Here are five “musts” from Pope Francis that are essential for a better kind of politics in both our Church and society.

1. We Are A Human Family 
Pope Francis challenges us: “Isolation and withdrawal into one’s own interests are never the way to restore hope and bring about renewal.” (FT, n. 30) Instead of “the inclination to be concerned only with myself, my group, my own petty interests” (FT, n. 166) we have to commit to overcoming “every individualistic mindset” and instead “seek the good of all people” including those we may see as different from us. (FT, n. 182)  

2. Approach Others With Love
Even those with whom we disagree are children of God. Sadly, such an approach has become countercultural. This is a situation in which we must be prophetic, modeling by example a respectful approach that honors others as made in God’s image. This involves stepping outside ourselves, listening with empathy, and seeking to truly understand another person’s experience.  

3. Identify Common Values Based On Truth
Social love, Pope Francis says, has to be “accompanied by a commitment to the truth” (FT, n. 184) informed by both faith and reason. (FT, n. 185) An essential starting place for dialogue is to identify common values rooted in truth and justice, such as the dignity of the human person, or a commitment to fundamental human rights and integral human development. 

4. Fact-Checking 
An important starting point is to consider from what sources I get my information. Are these sources reputable and longstanding? Are they neutral sources or connected with a particular political party or bias? Is it possible that I or others are being manipulated by persons or groups who have their own interests in mind? How can I check claims that I hear against multiple sources to ensure their accuracy before I share that information with others?  

5. Being A Polyhedron
Pope Francis uses the image of the polyhedron (a three-dimensional shape that has many faces) to “represent a society where differences coexist, complementing, enriching and reciprocally illuminating one another, even amid disagreements and reservations.” (FT, n. 215) 

If we approach our engagement with these guidelines in mind, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can arrive together at “a new kind of politics” that produces much fruit to help achieve a common good where all can thrive.

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