The one adult -- a Spanish and religion teacher -- who asked the pope a question, wondered what kind of role, if any, Catholics should play in politics.
The pope said Catholics have "an obligation to get involved in politics."
"We can't play the role of Pontius Pilate and wash our hands of it," he said. "Politics is one of the highest forms of charity because it seeks the common good."
He said those who complain that politics is "too dirty" should ask themselves why. Perhaps it's "because Christians haven't gotten involved with an evangelical spirit."
It's easy to blame others, he said, but people need to ask themselves: "Me? What am I doing" about it?
When will our bishops lose their naïveté about the modern nation-state? When a state exceeds a certain size, participation in "national" politics for the average citizen is an illusion. Will the bishops ever go beyond subsidiarity to support some form of localism?