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The election and the civilization of love | Love Digest

Julian Paparella

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Who to vote for? Why?
With Canada plunged into a turbulent election campaign, our responsibility as voters emerges once again.
What are the criteria for making our political choices? How do we inform our views? And what role does faith have to play in all of this?
As Christians, we follow a leader whose words and actions do not give us a political program but instead offer a blueprint for living our lives and a lens for seeing things as they really are: cutting right to the heart of the matter. And if we had to summarize the Gospel in one word, it would be LOVE. Not the love of Harlequin romances but the unconditional love of the Saviour who calls us to do the same, loving God and loving our neighbour.
There is never one political party that perfectly reflects the fullness of the Gospel. Rather, our political thinking must fit the logic of the Gospel.
So what does love have to do with politics?
Pope Francis points us to the answer. He speaks of “social love” as the love we have for one another in society:
“Social love” makes it possible to advance towards a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called. Charity, with its impulse to universality, is capable of building a new world. No mere sentiment, it is the best means of discovering effective paths of development for everyone. Social love is a force capable of inspiring new ways of approaching the problems of today’s world, of profoundly renewing structures, social organizations and legal systems from within. (Fratelli Tutti, 183)
He tells us that this deepest kind of love – charity – is at the heart of every healthy and open society and cannot be dismissed as irrelevant or sentimental. Rather, our call as Christians is to transform the world into a civilization of love. We live out our baptism when we insert God’s love into our families, friendships, and Christian communities but also into society, politics, and the economy. Building a civilization of love here on earth leads all of humanity towards the coming of the kingdom of God.
When we vote, we must ask: What policies move us towards a more just, equitable, peaceful, fraternal, and loving society? What promises lead in the direction of greater care for human dignity and the state of our “common home”, the environment? What policies show solidarity with the “least of our brothers and sisters”? How can we look at political parties and platforms in view of this civilization of love that God call us to build?
This election, will your vote be a step forward on the path of love that the Gospel challenges us to pursue? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide our own political discernment, the hearts of political leaders, and the decisions of all Canadians. Let us be pioneers of the civilization of love for our time.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at [email protected].

Julian Paparella is a theology student at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Studies in Rome. Born and raised in London, Ontario, he has worked in pastoral ministry in Montreal and Paris, especially with young people. Julian strives to communicate our faith in a way that resonates with everyday life, helping people to better experience God today. He is married to Marion.

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