Traces N.4, April 2008

What Is Dearest to Us

The following is a flyer distributed by CL friends in Italy on the occasion of Parliament elections, published here as a starting point to judge politics and the elections in the U.S. and around the world.

“The immediate duty to act in the political sphere to build a just order in Italian society is not the Church’s task as such, but rather, that of the lay faithful, in accordance with the competencies of each one and under his or her own autonomous responsibility. They must dedicate themselves with generosity and courage to this duty of great importance, illuminated by faith and by the Church’s Magisterium and animated by the charity of Christ.”
Benedict XVI

What Is Dearest to Us
1 Whenever we are summoned to vote, we are provoked, as Christians, to justify our faith. It is this which has recently been at stake in the way we make our contribution to the construction of society. As Fr. Giussani taught, what each of us loves comes to the surface when it is tried by the urgencies of living. “If the faith is truly in the foreground, if we truly expect everything from the fact of Christ, or if we expect from the fact of Christ what we decide to expect, ultimately making Him a starting point and a support for our projects and programs”–this will emerge when we face the test, in our judgments and decisions. ?So, the elections are a unique educational opportunity for us to show what we really cherish and to unmask any possible ambiguity surrounding the roots of all our actions. ?

2 We do not ask for salvation from politics. We cannot expect politics to save us or others. The tradition of the Church has always indicated two ideal criteria for judging every civil authority and every political platform:

a) Libertas Ecclesiae. A power that respects the freedom of a phenomenon so sui generis as the Church is for that very reason tolerant toward every other form of authentic human aggregation. The recognition of the role of faith, including its public role, and the contribution it can make to man’s journey is, therefore, a guarantee of freedom for all, not only for Christians.
b) The “common good.” A power that is conceived as a service to the people has at heart the defense of those experiences in which the desire of man and his responsibility can grow as a function of the common good, through the construction of social and economic works, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, knowing well that no program will enable it to be fully realized because of the intrinsic limitations of all human effort.

3 For these reasons, we will give our preference to those who present policies and favor an order of the state which foster this freedom and this good, and in this way will sustain hope for the future, defending life, the family, and our freedom to educate and to perform works that embody man’s desire. We do so at an historical moment that requires we should not disperse our votes, to avoid adding confusion to confusion. In particular, we invite you to look at some friends who, starting from their personal commitment with our shared Christian experience, have already shown in recent years that they are pursuing a policy in the service of the common good, of subsidiarity and libertas Ecclesiae. We hope they will be able to continue to register the innovations that have invested their lives, like ours, so that in their action they will make the fruit of the teaching received even more explicit: a passion for freedom and for good lived as charity.