Pope Francis Proclaims Democracy ‘Most Effective Response’ to Extremism

Kazakhstan Pope Pope Francis, left, meets the Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as he arrives at Nur-Sultan's International airport in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Pope Francis begins a 3-day visit to the majority-Muslim former Soviet republic to minister to its tiny Catholic community and participate in a Kazakh-sponsored conference …
Andrew Medichini/AP

ROME — Pope Francis began his trip to Kazakhstan Tuesday touting the virtues of democracy, calling it “the most suitable form for power to be translated into service.”

The pontiff said he was aware that a process of democratization has been launched in Kazakhstan, “aimed at strengthening the competences of Parliament and local authorities and, more generally, a greater distribution of power.”

This is a “meritorious and demanding journey, certainly not a short one, which requires you to continue towards the goal without looking back,” he said in a meeting with political leaders and diplomats in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan.

The common good is entrusted in a particular way to civil authorities and is brought about especially “through support for democracy, which is the most suitable form for power to be translated into service for the benefit of the whole people and not just for a few,” he declared.

Democracy and modernization must not be reduced to mere slogans but must become concrete service to the people, with the involvement “of civil society and non-governmental and humanitarian organizations,” he said.

“This truly democratic political style is the most effective response to possible extremisms, personalisms, and populisms, which threaten the stability and well-being of peoples,” he asserted.

Francis told his audience that he had come to Kazakhstan as “a pilgrim of peace,” in service of the dialogue, unity, and harmony so desperately needed in the world of today.


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