Cardinal Arizmendi: Not everything depends on the Government

You are responsible for your development and that of your family


Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and responsible for the Doctrine of Faith at the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate (CEM), offers Exaudi readers his weekly article titled “Not everything depends on the Government.”



After the elections in our country, many are happy with the victory of their candidates; others sad and disconcerted because those to whom they gave their vote did not win. This is normal in democracies, and we must respect the decision of the majority, even if it is not to our liking. Our life does not depend entirely on the government in power, but on our daily efforts and our community organization.

I suppose that those who voted for the winners were because they are convinced that they are the best people, the most prepared, the ones who made the most attractive proposals, the ones who have the most experience, regardless of their personal life. We hope that those elected will be very good rulers and legislators, for the good of all, including those who did not favor them with their vote. But I regret that many did not take these qualities into account, but only who can give them greater economic benefits, who guarantees that they continue receiving their support in money every month or every two months, with whom they can have a position that will give them better income, and they did not care about the history and way of life of their candidates. When he sends the money, his eyes are closed and only his hand is extended. For many, their Christian faith does not count in this, but only their economic interest.

It can happen like with the presidential candidates in the United States. Many support Donald Trump, despite the fact that the New York Court has convicted him on 34 charges, despite having been unfaithful in his marriage and despite his very racist stance towards migrants. They only notice that with this candidate, the national and personal economy can improve. They protect themselves by saying that he is against abortion, but they do not take into account that he promotes the arms industry, which produces so much money and causes so many wars and deaths, and that he defends the sellers of lethal weapons who do so much damage there and here. If there were more restrictions on purchasing a gun, there would be fewer innocent deaths. Money and the economy can close their eyes.


The Mexican bishops, in our Global Pastoral Project 2031+2034, express: “Our form of government has been advancing slowly. An increasingly mature and organized citizen participation shows signs of awareness that public affairs are everyone’s responsibility. Numerous social groups and citizens are increasingly better organized to express, demonstrate and defend their ideas in the most diverse fields, as well as to demand accountability and respect for their rights. We highlight the importance that in this new national scenario the representation of a significant number of young people acquires who have gradually been incorporated and are awakening in their citizen participation, creatively using new technologies in this field. Democracy as a form of government in our country, even in a formal way, has little by little been consolidated. Doubts and controversies over the results are being left behind. Institutions in this field have been strengthened, considerable resources have been allocated to give credibility to the votes and efforts have been made to ensure that citizens are at the forefront of these processes.

Although large amounts of money have been allocated to consolidate our democracy, being one of the most expensive in the world, it has not fully consolidated, leaving many citizens deeply dissatisfied who feel disillusioned by this form of government, especially by the corruption scandals, the stratospheric salaries of politicians and officials, the superficiality of the party platforms, the manipulation of the vote that plays with the poverty of the people and the few results that are offered for a better life for the people. Politicians will have to regain the trust of citizens and the true meaning of politics, as that continuous search for the common good that leads us to build just and peaceful societies. Citizens will also have to know that democracy does not end by casting our vote, but that it is necessary to follow up on this process, demand compliance with campaign promises and request accountability transparently, a duty to which every politician is obliged.” (Nos. 61-62).

Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si, states: “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to maturation, human development and personal fulfillment. In this sense, helping the poor with money should always be a provisional solution to resolve emergencies. The great objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work” (No. 128).

And in a speech to economists, he told them: “Money should serve and not govern! I once heard a political critic say: «This country is governed from the pockets»: it’s ugly!” (3-VI-2024).


You are responsible for your development and that of your family. Your present and your future, as well as yours and your community, depend on your responsible, honest and creative work. It demands that the government in power fulfill its responsibilities, that it commit to eradicating the climate of violence and insecurity that we suffer, but it is up to us that children and young people learn the value of work, sacrifice and solidarity, and that they do not let us allow ourselves to be corrupted by government handouts.