For a Better Kind of Politics


Even though the words politics and politician sound detestable to many people, we need sound politics to manage our societies. Pope Francis speaks of “political love” which is a kind of love that transcends any individualistic mindset and promotes the common good of people.




In this article, I will be focusing on the second part of chapter five, from numbers 176 to 197 of Fratelli Tutti. In number 176, Pope Francis says: “For many people today, politics is a distasteful word, often due to the mistakes, corruption, and inefficiency of some politicians. There are also attempts to discredit politics, to replace it with economics or to twist it to one ideology or another.”

Having said this, the Pontiff makes a clear-cut statement saying that the world cannot function without politics. Naturally, he has in mind the kind of sound politics that we need!

Reflecting and praying over what Pope Francis says, three points come to mind in a special way:

Politicians must heed the call to have the same sentiments as Christ Jesus “Who being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped; but he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are, and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross” (Philippians 2, 6-8).

For every good politician, there cannot be love without suffering. Every person who loves suffers. And a politician, who does not nourish love with sacrifice, condemns himself/herself to a kind of mediocrity that for every honest person becomes unbearable. He/she cannot be a watchperson in charge of scanning the horizon for the coming dawn (see Isaiah 21:12). One day a good friend of mine involved in politics told me: “The danger is real: people are waiting to talk to me because they are in need of something urgent, and I say I will see them later on. And they wait while they should not wait. In fact, my call is to serve them as soon as possible.”

“Love people and use things.” This principle is good for all people and it is good for politicians. A person, a politician who loves things, will soon start using people to get more and more of the things he/she loves.

In numbers 180-182, Pope Francis speaks of political love. He says: “Recognizing that all people are our brothers and sisters and seeking forms of social friendship that include everyone, is not merely utopian. It demands a decisive commitment to devising effective means to this end” (n. 180).

Considering the Pontiff’s thoughts in the following numbers, I would say that an effective means would be that of creating a community in which its members take care of each other. Good politicians should be leaders of people who become neighbors to all people acting for their good.

This kind of love, expressed through different gestures, is what Pope Francis calls civic and political love. In number 182, he says that this kind of love transcends every individualistic mindset and is expressed within the context of a deep social dimension that unites people.

In number 183, and in addition to political love, the Pontiff speaks of effective love. Quoting Saint Paul VI, he says: “(Effective love) makes it possible to advance towards a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called. Charity with its impulse to universality is capable of building a new world.”

Pope Francis also expresses an important thought in line with what a great Carmelite saint, Edith Stein, a convert from Judaism who died in 1942 in the concentration camp of Auschwitz, wrote. He echoes the saint and emphasizes that “There is no truth without love and no love without truth” (n. 183-185).

Political Love
In the last section of chapter 5, ‘The Exercise of Political Love,’ the Pontiff speaks of the obligation that all people, especially politicians, have to help the poor while aiming at eliminating the causes of poverty; to have tender, loving care for the elderly; to improve structures and programs in the field of education so that all may have the possibility of shaping their own future; to fight against everything that threatens or violates fundamental human rights; and to see that all may have the possibility of living a dignified life.

Finally, Pope Francis stresses the importance for politicians to build strong bridges for all people to be able to meet and interact. Building bridges is a great act of political love. In fact, through open and sincere interaction, all people involved in it are acknowledged and valued in their dignity and are integrated into society.

Naturally, building bridges requires sacrifices. Because of this, politicians and all people must remember that true love nourishes itself with sacrifices for great things to happen in individual lives and in society.

May the Lord grant all politicians the grace to achieve all the good there is for every person entrusted to their care. And may they never lose hope in their mission.

Share Your Thoughts

All comments are moderated

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage


Presents, discusses and draws readers to reflect on issues of outmost relevance to the world today.


Very often, mission is carried out in frontier situations around the world. Those who embrace these situations have much to share.


Writer Ilsa Reyes will be exploring the richness of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti with a view of helping our readers to get a grasp of the this beautiful papal document.


Puts to the front committed and inspiring people around the world who embrace humanitarian and religious causes with altruism and passion.


Focus on a given theme of interest touching upon social, economic and religious issues.


As the Philippines prepares to celebrate 500 years of the arrival of Christianity. Fr. James Kroeger leads us in this series into a discovery journey of the landmark events in the history of faith in the Philippine archipelago.


Aims to nurture and inspire our hearts and minds while pondering upon timely themes.


The large archipelago of the Philippines, in its richness of peoples and cultures, offers varied and challenging situations for mission.


Reflections and vocation stories that shape up the lives of young people.


As humor and goodness of heart are qualities of Christian and missionary life, the new column “Mission is fun” will be publishing some anecdotes and stories that have happened in a missionary context to lighten up the spirits and trigger a smile in our faces.


To help readers of World Mission live this year dedicated to Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, Tita Puangco, writer and lecturer, shares in this section insights on the spirituality of communion.


A historic view of the Catholic movements that emerged from the grassroots as an inspiration by the Holy Spirit.


On the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, radio host and communicator Ilsa Reyes, in her monthly column, encourages Christians and people of good will to be one with their fellow people of other sects, religions and tribes.


Questions to a personality of the Church or secular world on matters of interest that touch upon the lives of people.


News from the Church, the missionary world and environment that inform and form the consciences.


A feature on environmental issues that are affecting the whole world with the view of raising awareness and prompting action.


The editor gives his personal take on a given topic related to the life of the Church, the society or the world.


A monthly column on themes touching the lives of young people in the Year of the Youth in the Philippines by radio host and communicator I lsa Reyes.


A missionary living in the Chinese world shares his life-experiences made up of challenges and joyous encounters with common people.


Life stories of people who deserve to be known for who they were, what they did and what they stood for in their journey on earth.


Stories of people whom a missionary met in his life and who were touched by Jesus in mysterious ways.


Critical reflection from a Christian perspective on current issues.


Comboni missionary Fr. Lorenzo Carraro makes a journey through history pinpointing landmark events that changed the course of humanity.


A biographical sketch of a public person, known for his/her influence in the society and in the Church, showing an exemplary commitment to the service of others.


Gives fresh, truthful, and comprehensive information on issues that are of concern to all.


A column aimed at helping the readers live their Christian mission by focusing on what is essential in life and what it entails.


Peoples, events, religion, culture and the society of Asia in focus.


The human heart always searches for greatness in God’s eyes, treading the path to the fullness of life - no matter what it takes.


The subcontinent of India with its richness and variety of cultures and religions is given center stage.


The African continent in focus where Christianity is growing the fastest in the world.


Well-known writer and public speaker, Fr. Jerry Orbos, accompanies our journey of life and faith with moments of wit and inspiration based on the biblical and human wisdom.


On the year dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyala, Fr. Lorenzo Carraro walks us through the main themes of the Ignatian spirituality.


Fr. John Taneburgo helps us to meditate every month on each of the Seven Last Words that Jesus uttered from the cross.


In this section, Fr. Lorenzo delves into the secrets and depths of the Sacred Scriptures opening for us the treasures of the Sacred Book so that the reader may delight in the knowledge of the Word of God.


Reflections about the synodal journey on a conversational and informal style to trigger reflection and sharing about the synodal path the Church has embarked upon.

Shopping Cart