VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church must strengthen its efforts to educate and assist lay Catholics involved in politics so that the positions they hold and the policies they promote reflect the values of the faith they profess, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Meeting members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity Nov. 15, the pope emphasized the need to educate lay Catholics to play their proper role in building a world of justice, charity and protection of human rights.
“In a special way, I reaffirm the necessity and urgency of the evangelical formation and pastoral accompaniment of a new generation of Catholics involved in politics, that they would be coherent with their professed faith,” morally upright, professional and passionate about serving the common good, he said.
Laypeople are called to fulfill their mission as followers and witnesses to Christ in government, social life, workplaces, schools and families, the pope said.
“Every environment, circumstance and activity in which we hope will shine the unity between faith and life is entrusted to the responsibility of the lay faithful, moved by a desire to communicate the gift of encountering Christ and the certainty of the dignity of the human person,” the pope said.
Pope Benedict also praised the council for the laity’s commitment to promoting the dignity and participation of women in the church and in the world.
“Man and woman, equal in dignity, are called to enrich each other in communion and collaboration, not only in marriage and family life, but also in society,” he said.
“One can never say enough about how much the church recognizes, appreciates and values the participation of women in its mission of spreading the Gospel,” the pope said.
In a world where so many people are not aware of the beauty of the truth and the joy of being Christian, he said, the church relies on laypeople to share “the treasure of grace and holiness, charity, doctrine, culture and works that make up the Catholic tradition.”