(Vatican Radio) A first international meeting of chaplains serving in Parliaments is taking place at the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council this week, reflecting on ways of supporting Catholics engaged in political life.
The encounter, entitled ‘Pastoral Care of Politicians: Spiritual Companionship and Promotion of the Common Good’, was opened on Thursday by Council President, Cardinal Peter Turkson, who spoke of “new and serious issues” facing those searching for a right relationship between Christian faith and political decision making.
During a break in the meeting, Philippa Hitchen caught up with Cardinal Turkson to find out more about the goals of the two day conference:
Please find below the text of Cardinal Turkson’s introduction to the meeting:
Your Excellencies, Rev. Fathers, Distinguished Speakers and Participants, dear friends:
1. It is a joy for me to welcome you to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for this first meeting of chaplains serving parliaments. Thank you for making yourselves available for these two days of discussion and labour. Let me especially thank the speakers who have agreed to enrich our reflections.
2. We are gathered here to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. As we begin our deliberations, we cannot avoid thinking of the emphasis in Gaudium et Spes on participation in the political sphere: “There is no better way to establish political life on a truly human basis than by fostering an inward sense of justice and kindliness, and of service to the common good, and by strengthening basic convictions as to the true nature of the political community and the aim, right exercise, and sphere of action of public authority.” The mission of priests involved in various ways with political figures fits into this desire of Vatican II. This mission is not only one of defending particular positions, even if it is sometimes necessary to do so. Above all, it is imperative to assist those in public life to give their political engagement proper foundations and direction in an interiorized manner, through reflection and prayer, rather than leaving it merely to formal conventions. Read more