Pope Francis received a group of Catholic lawmakers from around the world on Sunday, telling them their work must build bridges with others and bring Catholic teaching into public life.
“As long as the contribution of the Church to the great questions of society in our time can be put into discussion,” he said, “it is vital that your commitment be constantly pervaded by her moral and social teachings, in order to build a more humane and just society.”
“The laws that you promulgate and apply ought to build bridges between different political perspectives: even when they respond to precise ends ordered to the promotion of greater care for the defenseless and the marginalized, especially the many who are constrained to leave their countries; and when they are in order to favor a correct human and natural ecology,” said the Pope, according to Vatican Radio.
The lawmakers were in Rome for a meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network. The network aims to bring together Catholic lawmakers to discuss common concerns and to share ideas about bringing their faith to their work.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna and British parliamentarian Lord David Alton founded the network in 2010.
The Pope said the lawmakers that their gathering represented a broad spectrum of political opinion. He noted that their numbers had increased over previous years.
U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.V.) participated in the legislators’ network gathering and spoke to Vatican Media before attendees met with the Pope.
“We have an opportunity to meet here with other Catholic legislators and elected officials from other parts of the world, and to discuss common concerns — problems, opportunities — for our faith, and how to work together and support each other,” he said.
“It’s very inspiring to see how people are fighting for family values,” Rep. Mooney continued, adding “it’s just more encouraging to see faithful Catholics from every country promoting the values of the Church.”