10. The human community is not a creation of politics but it pre-exists it: politics is at the service of this community and allows it to accomplish what it is made for. Christians do not expect everything from politics and politicians must beware of promising more than they are able to deliver. Biblical revelation and human wisdom, that of the ancient Greeks in particular, warn against excess or idolatry of power. Humbly and seriously promoting justice and peace, limiting injustice and violence, these objectives may seem too unambitious when they reflect the genuine concern for the common good which seeks to create the conditions for the development of freedom for everyone. and of all. Many honest and courageous men and women, involved in politics, could testify to this, because peace and social justice depend to a large extent on commitment and initiatives (cultural, economic, social, educational, associative, etc.) of all citizens. It is therefore not a matter of expecting too much from the public authorities, nor for politicians to outbid in promises: citizens cannot pass on to the State or local authorities the responsibilities that are theirs alone.
11. It is also necessary that the political authorities respect and effectively promote freedom, equality and fraternity. The debate on the “law consolidating respect for the principles of the Republic” highlighted a temptation: that of undermining, for the sake of security, the freedom of expression, association, education, even worship, and to the equality of citizens, whether or not they are believers. Moreover, the omnipresence of digital means poses new questions of respect for freedoms. There will be no genuine equality and fraternity or even true and lasting security without scrupulous respect for the freedom of persons. In return, freedom cannot afford everything and ignore the demands of fraternity. This is the meaning of the interpellation that the bishops launched in November 2020 following the assassination of a teacher in Conflans and of three faithful in the basilica of Nice: “It is time to reflect on the way in which our collective institutions and our individual behaviors must promote respect and deploy fraternity. This urgent reflection must be initiated by the public authorities. It concerns each of us. It concerns us all”. Everyone is free to question the opinions and representations of others, but everyone must refrain from derision and destructive humiliation. Human relations require a form of tact and this is the fruit of education.
12. Our society is divided and inhabited by latent violence. It is worrying in particular that the police, the gendarmerie and even the fire brigade and the first aid can be insulted or even attacked. It happens that the forces of order find themselves confronted with extreme violence and feel little support in their fight against delinquency: because they embody the State, their way of behaving will have the value of an example and the rectitude of their behavior needs to be encouraged. French society feels threatened and aspires to more security in the face of terrorism and social violence, but security means are necessary and not sufficient. Compliance with the law at all levels, from the Highway Code to the Tax Code, is binding on all citizens. We must also, in the electoral debate, wonder about the place taken by the consumption of drugs, whether they are described as “soft” or “hard” by their users. The temptation to transgress the limits of one’s lucid consciousness or normal physical state and the appetite of some for new markets and high profits work against one’s sense of responsibility for the good of all.
• How do we situate ourselves between overestimation and underestimation of politics?
• How to concretely articulate personal freedom and the imperative of fraternity?
• How does respect for the law find its place in the dynamics of Christian life?