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General election 2024: Answering Pope Francis's call for a 'better kind of politics'

30 May 2024
Pope Francis photo

Pope Francis has urged politicians to put serving the common good at the heart of politics

The 2024 general election is on the horizon. Politicians are looking for our votes, making this a crucial moment to raise our voices and call for parties to act on the issues that matter most to us as Catholics.

In his special way, Pope Francis has inspired us to think about how politicians should approach their “noble vocation” and how we can play our part in bringing about a politics that serves the common good.

With polling day coming up, we look at how the Holy Father has encouraged us all to work towards a “better kind of politics”.

We all have a responsibility to engage in politics

Pope Francis hasn’t shied away from acknowledging that for a lot of people, the failures of some politicians have made politics a “distasteful word”.

But the Pope has echoed calls from his predecessors, including Pope Benedict, by reminding us that our faith means we have a duty to participate in politics. Whether that’s by voting, campaigning or even standing for election ourselves, this stems from politics being about “the building of a better world”. When this is the case, we as Catholics “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice”.

How you can call for a better kind of politics at the general election

As Catholics, we know that caring for the poorest and most marginalised people, wherever they are in the world, is among the most important issues politicians should act on. We can share that message in three ways:

1. Contact election candidates

Send an email to all the candidates who are standing for election in your parliamentary constituency to ask them to act on global poverty.

2. Take part in hustings in your local area

Going along to events where candidates are asked questions – known as 'hustings' – helps to draw attention to the issues that matter most to us as Catholics. These events are often advertised online.

3. Be ready to speak to candidates on your doorstep

Candidates and campaigners might knock on your door during the election to ask for your vote. Make sure to tell those looking for your vote that you want them to commit to tackling global poverty in the new parliament.

Politicians should focus on serving marginalised communities

Right at the start of his papacy, the Holy Father declared that politics is a “lofty vocation” when it’s focused on serving the common good.

And this is a theme that’s run through the whole of Francis’s time as Pope. He’s warned us of the risk that politicians might prioritise rich and powerful economic interests. Instead, they should focus on improving our societies so that no one will find themselves in poverty.

I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders […] ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.

Pope Francis – Evangelii Gaudium, #205

… but too often, the world's poorest people are an ‘afterthought’

Even though tackling poverty should be at the centre of politics, Pope Francis has explained why this often isn’t the case.

In Laudato Si’, the letter the Pope wrote to call for every person on the planet to care for our common home and our global family, Francis warned that people living in poverty are often treated “as an afterthought”.

This is because of a lack of “clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded”, with decision makers usually having little contact with marginalised communities.

UK - Westminster - Lindsay Hoyle MP with students

Politicians will be looking to find out what issues matter most to voters at the general election