Does a Christian have the right to ignore politics?

Politics is a temptation, as is rejection or contempt for politics. How to solve this conflicting attraction? Author Xavier Patier notes that in action or contemplation, the Christian always has a political destiny.

The temptation is great for each of us, at certain times, to give up hearing this “eternal tile,” as Chateaubriand says, a tile summed up in French politics. Such was the case even in the greatest epochs, from the time of Saint-Simon as well as today, now that bloggers have replaced memoirs: Language has fallen apart, but human nature is remarkably constant in its hopeless mediocrity. The Grand Siècle had its pettiness; ours has its nobility.

The policy will last

What to do ? Votes without a doubt when there are elections. And vote wisely. Choose an alternate. To love the time and place that are ours because they are the time and place that God wanted as the framework of our holiness. Instead of downgrading our era, let’s love it. But the love of our time can not be a passion. Participating in political life does not mean for a Christian to be furious about it. Earth and sky will pass, politics will pass: let us not forget it, in the time of the election campaign.

On this question, Armand de Rancé, reformer of La Trappe, wrote crucial lines that no one reads anymore because they seem to be intended for others, for monks who retired in the desert. However, they are worth mentioning. He reminds us that religious are “angels who protect states with their prayers.” They are thus in the heart of the city. But Armand de Rancé also reaffirms that we must all be with the world “as if we were no longer there”, and that it is to some extent up to us to ignore what is happening there and to ensure that “its the most important events and revolutions do not come to us”. We must be able to do without reading the news, be able to give up our dependence on news. Should we keep the names of the ministers? Not at all, says Abbé Rancé: The names of those who govern us should only be known by us when it comes to praying to God for them.

As long as I still accept the desire to be known, the Lord can do nothing with me. André Louf

A double temptation

Armand de Rancé therefore renounced the world to pray for the world. And yet he has really given it up? He had sworn never to publish any book, to publish a book is an exercise in vanity. But his friend Bossuet, who had had the texts of his lectures in his hands, asked him to collect them and publish them. Rancé resisted, but the book was composed. Rancé had thrown the work into the fire, then he had finally recovered it half-charred and set about retouching it, perfecting it to finally give it On holiness and the duties of monastic life as the Bishop of Meaux had published on May 10, 1685, allowing me to quote it today.

Eternal conflict between the temptation to public life and the temptation to retire. Let’s look at Dom André Louf: he hesitated between promoting his magazine and the Chartreuse desert. He was haunted by the fear of radiation and the temptation to retreat, or if you prefer the temptation to radiation and the fear of withdrawal. “As long as I still accept the desire to be known, the Lord can do nothing with me,” he wrote. And also: “My desire for a solitary experience is sincere, but I feel too attached to the radiance that Collectana [sa revue] to strive seriously to achieve it. André Louf comes out of this contradiction, or more precisely God gets André Louf out of this contradiction by letting him choose the abbot of La Trappe du Mont-des-Cats. Abbot: loneliness and government. God always manages to put our political destiny on the path we had taken to avoid it.


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