Open politics to Christ

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)

Talamban, Cebu City



I REMEMBER Blessed Pope John Paul II beginning his pontificate way back in October 1978 with words that have become emblematic of his papacy: “Do not be afraid. Open, I say open wide the doors to Christ.”


Those were bold words thrown as a challenge to a world that has gone far from God, from religion, from morality. Thanks to God, we

can say that since then, big strides have been made in different areas of human life.


Still, we have to understand that allowing Christ to enter more and more into our lives is an ongoing affair. It never stops. We can

never say we have enough of Christ. We need to continue opening doors, big and small, external and internal, to Christ.


Of particular interest to us now is the area of politics. The way it’s done and practiced here and abroad, we can definitely say that

Christ is still ostracized, considered as a bother, irrelevant, useless, a persona-non-grata.


This is unfortunate, since in the range of our human affairs, politics occupies a very important and crucial position. It’s about

how we organize and govern ourselves as a people, a state, a nation. It’s about how we are pursuing our common good that definitely is not only

material, but also spiritual, given our nature and condition.


But so far, politics seems to be understood only as the art of acquiring power and keeping it as long as possible, of dominating and

controlling others, of amassing more wealth and influence over others.


That it’s a most noble way of serving others is often forgotten. That it necessarily involves sacrifice and heroism and utter self-giving is hardly known. If there’s an appearance of service, it for sure is merely a mask and a convenient excuse for the pursuit of self-interest.


In pursuing these twisted ends, it seems that politics is played as if God, religion and morality have no place. It becomes an arena

of sheer brute human cunning that knows no limits as to what can be done. It becomes a magnet of deceit, envy, hatred, revenge, violence, pride,

arrogance, greed, etc.


The exercise of freedom in politics seems to be of the anything-goes type. The only constraints would be the obvious one of not

getting caught and of complying at least to the formal and external parts of law—legalism—but not its spirit. Even the big demands of

morality, let alone the finer points, are thrown away.


Charity? I get the impression many politicians think it’s not possible to live charity in politics. I get the impression that many

politicians think that to be effective in politics, one has to bury charity six feet under the ground. Rather, they feel they need to deepen their

skills in being nasty, mean and wily.


In the madness of it all, some politicians fall to such an extreme form of self-righteousness that they would have no qualms using the

name of God, quoting Bible passages, to advance their own selfish designs. They tend to paint their opponents as all evil and themselves as no

evil at all.


We need to correct this anomaly urgently, since given its effects on us, it can indeed be a flowing wellspring either of good or evil



We need to allow Christ to enter politics. Those directly involved in it should realize that given the nature and character of politics, they have to be strong and firm in their spiritual and moral life. Otherwise, they just bet swallowed up the monster.


Christ humanizes politics and politicians. Christ sets their proper standards. The fine points of Christianity are not meant to hinder

politics, but precisely to purify it and to protect it from falling into the grip of the devil’s game, to which it is very vulnerable.


Christ certainly demands from politicians that they undertake constant personal conversions, assiduous study and development of their

political skills in monitoring developments, in dialoguing, consulting and consensus-making, in making prudent decisions and implementing them.


Christ would certainly enlighten us as to what would constitute our proper and integral development. This has been the subject of many

opinions, theories, ideologies and systems. But without Christ, these ideas just won’t have the proper spirit to bring us to our authentic end.


Christ would make us see the big picture without neglecting the small details and the constitutive parts. He will teach us the ways of

prudence, and ultimately of love, that would include precisely its difficult part—what to do with mistakes, opponents, failures, etc.


Let’s open politics to Christ!


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