Politicians have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable above their own sectoral interests, the Bishop of Derry has said.
“It is the task of political leaders to promote the common good and not just sectoral interests or popular causes,” Bishop Donal McKeown said. “We expect our leaders to be wise and not just street wise. The best of our humanity thrives in the context of protection for the weakest and not by promoting the wishes of the strong.”
Speaking at a Mass to celebrate the Cursillo National Pilgrimage to Knock, Bishop McKeown said that “rights without responsibilities” leads to “social fragmentation” and domination “by those who shout the loudest”.
“We have a view of the human person which says that the needs of the vulnerable child are not less important than the wishes of the vocal adult.
“The God of the Scriptures calls us away from being self-centred to seeing the needs of the world beyond the end of my nose,” he said.
The bishop said the role of the Church in society is also to ensure that the vulnerable are protected, and “God’s dream for the world will not be realised by ecclesiastical smugness or by short-sighted battles for political dominance”.
“Anything that does not promote a cohesive society and defend the rights of the weak, will never be joy for the world,” he said.
Bishop McKeown said the Church must stand up for people who don’t meet the ideal. He said the World Meeting of the Families next year is “an opportunity to reflect on the core elements of what we believe about belonging and family”, and that this is “not the time for adopting a condemnatory approach to the situations in which many people find themselves”.