“When I started preaching missions in 1840, we were in the midst of a civil war between the royalists and the constitutionalists, and so I had to be on my guard not to make any political remarks pro or con regarding wither party.” (Aut 291).
COMMITED TO EVERYONE
Claret was accused of being a politician by seeming ‘non-political’. He was very aware of the situation in which he was living. He valued the service that the politicians ought to contribute to the common good. But by the fact that he had felt, in his years as a popular preacher in Catalonia, ‘spied on’ by one party or the other, created in him and almost visceral aversion to everything that smelt of politics. His writings leave us with the impression that his happiest time was the year and a half spent in the Canary Islands, most probably because there he had not met with party politics.
Through his various positions (Archbishop of Cuba and Confessor of Queen Isabel II) he sometimes collaborated with politicians and influenced them as much as he could so that the Gospel values might inspire social harmony. But, by instinct and pastoral sensibility, he kept himself distanced from the infighting between parties and asked his missionaries to follow this same line of behaviour.
This does not mean, naturally, that one should remain at the margin of projects and decisions that guide social harmony. But, except when fundamental values are in play, the evangelizer ought to limit himself to propose Gospel values without leaning towards concrete political options, almost always disputeable, which can put into question your freedom and, above all, the necessary attention to those who hold a different position. Clear commitment to the essential values (as, for example, his denouncing slavery in Cuba) and prudence, including critical distance, given the different political mediations that made up the ‘politics’ of Claret could also illuminate our present way of positioning ourselves before the social panorama.