"The complaints often made against political activity don’t justify an attitude of disengaged skepticism on a Catholic’’s part who has the duty, rather, of taking responsibility for society’s well-being," he urged.
"It’s not enough to call for the building of a just and fraternal society. There’s also a need to work in a committed and competent way for the promotion of perennial human values in public life, in accord with the correct methods proper to political activity," the Pope continued.
John Paul II expressed this conviction on welcoming 200 participants in a seminar organized by the Robert Schuman Foundation for the Cooperation of Europan Christian Democrats. The foundation seeks, "the promotion of European ideals, supporting all who work for democracy in Europe and in rest of the world, contributing in every way possible to the European debate," and "establishing ties and cooperation with all institutions pursuing these same goals, (plus) promoting the study of European thought by establishing scholarships, developing research programs, and supporting publications pertaining to European construction, its past and future."
Quoting Pope Paul VI, the Holy Father said: "'Politics is a demanding manner ... of living the Christian commitment to the service of others.’"
To attain this objective, the "Christian must also ensure that the 'salt' of his Christian commitment does not lose its 'flavor' and that the 'light' of his Gospel ideals does not become obscured by pragmatism or even worse by utilitarianism. For this reason he will need to deepen his knowledge of Christian social doctrine, striving to assimilate its principles and to apply it with wisdom where necessary.
"This will assume a serious spiritual formation which is nourished by prayer. A superficial, spiritually lukewarm, or indifferent person, or one excessively concerned with success and popularity, will never be able adequately to exercise his political responsibility," the Pope stressed.
The foundation is named after France’s Foreign Affairs Minister who died in 1963, the first president of the European parliament and one of the fathers of the European Union.
Schumann’s cause of beatification is underway, as is that of Alcide de Gaspari, Italy’s Christian Democrat prime minister in the wake of World War II, and Schumann’s contemporary.
The two are often mentioned in the same breath as Germany’s postwar chancellor, Christian Democrat Konrad Adenauer, considered responsible for that country’s "economic miracle" of the 1950's.
Adenauer and de Gaspari were jailed for their democratic convictions prior the Allied victory of 1945 under Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, respectively.
For more information on the Robert Schuman Foundation see: http://www.robert-schuman.org.