A challenge at election time: Pope says pray for all leaders


Pope Francis recently asked his congregation for a favour. Make an examination of conscience and ask yourself if you pray for your leaders. Not just the ones you like, but all leaders.

“And if you find in your examination of conscience that you have not prayed for your leaders, bring it to confession. Because not to pray for leaders is a sin.”

The Pope said that we must pray for those who govern – even if they make mistakes, even if we agree with their politics.

“We can’t leave our leaders alone. We need to accompany them with our prayer”.

“Pray, and do penance for leaders. Intercessory prayer, as Paul says, is such a wonderful thing. It is to be done for all.”

At the same time, he called on leaders to pray too. “If leaders do not pray, they close themselves off in a self-referential circle or in that of their party, a circle from which they cannot escape.”

He said those who are atheist or agnostic must “confront themselves with their conscience, with the wisdom of their people”.

Pope Francis’ appeal in came in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on September 18.

His homily was based on the Mass readings of the day in which Saint Paul advises Timothy to recite prayers for those in authority (1 Timothy 2;1-8).

In the Gospel, a centurion prays for the healing for his servant (Luke 7; 1 -10) and ponders on how he carries out his duties as a leader.

“This man felt the need for prayer, not because it was a last resort but because he knew that there was someone above him, another who is in charge,” the Pope said.

Read the Pope’s homily



Additional reading

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