As we enter another election season, it’s important to remember that the way we lead our public lives needs to embody what the Catholic faith teaches — not what our personalized edition of Christianity feels comfortable with, but the real thing; the full package; what the Church actually holds to be true. In other words, we need to be Catholics first and political creatures second.
The more we transfer our passion for Jesus Christ to some political messiah or party platform, the more bitter we feel toward his Church when she speaks against the idols we set up in our own hearts. There’s no more damning moment in all of Scripture than John 19:15: “We have no king but Caesar.”
The only king Christians have is Jesus Christ. The obligation to seek and serve the truth belongs to each of us personally. The duty to love and help our neighbor belongs to each of us personally. We can’t ignore or delegate away these personal duties to anyone else or any government agency.
More than 1,600 years ago, St. Basil the Great warned his wealthy fellow Christians that “The bread you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothing you store in boxes belongs to the naked.”
St. John Chrysostom, Basil’s equally great contemporary, preached exactly the same message: “God does not want golden vessels but golden hearts,” and “for those who neglect their neighbor, a hell awaits with an inextinguishable fire in the company of the demons.”
What was true then is true now. Hell is not a metaphor. Hell is real. Jesus spoke about it many times and without any ambiguity. If we do not help the poor, we’ll go to hell. I’ll say it again: If we do not help the poor, we will go to hell.
And who are the poor? They’re the people we so often try to look away from — people who are homeless or dying or unemployed or mentally disabled. They’re also the unborn child who has a right to God’s gift of life, and the single mother who looks to us for compassion and material support. Above all, they’re the persons in need that God presents to each of us not as a “policy issue,” but right here, right now, in our daily lives.
Thomas of Villanova, the great Augustinian saint for whom Villanova University is named, is remembered for his skills as a scholar and reforming bishop. But even more important was his passion for serving the poor, and his zeal for penetrating the entire world around him with the virtues of justice and Christian love.
Time matters. God will hold us accountable for the way we use it. All of us who call ourselves Christians share the same vocation to love God first and above all things; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We’re citizens of heaven first; but we have obligations here. We’re Catholics and Christians first. And if we live that way — zealously and selflessly in our public lives — our country will be the better for it; and God will use us to help make the world new.
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To whom it may concern: All churches, including the Catholic Church, should keep out of politics.Separation of Church and State should be observed/
Elizabeth, the answer to your question to Robert on the separation of Jesus and state is this comment of Jesus when looking on the potraits on the Jewish coins: Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God?
Even with the financial cutbacks in the archdiocese, Catholic Philly should continue to upload the Archbishop’s homilies onto http://www.youtube.com
This is because the homilies reach a wide audience in USA and the world. The Archbishop talks regularly of the lapsed Catholics, people who do not attend church. The homilies will keep them in touch with their faith. Its for the lapsed catholics (also called the RC or retired Catholics), the sick, the infirmed, the people who cannot attend church due to work commitments – there are many in the restaurant and catering industry who work on Sundays. And this upload will help in the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith
I am shocked at MM’s response:
First: I was only stating the Democratic Party view; whether the Democrats have the authority to decide is another question.
Second: the teeth behind prohibiting abortion legally is to punish those who disobey the prohibition; Archbishop Chaput has stated that he expects that non-Catholics will go to jail if they disobey (incidentally, the disgraced priest Father Frank Pavone has stated that he would not put non-Catholics in prison if they disobeyed the prohibition).
Third: I was referring to religious regulations NOT government regulations.
Robert – the flaws in your arguments are TNTC. First, “in the democrats view, Churches do not include”- the democrats do not have the authority to decide what is a religious mission & what is not. That is way Obama slyly says freedom of worship rather than saying what the constitution says- free exercise of religion. The Catholic Church has for 2 millennia considered feeding the poor & providing hospitals to be part of her mission & up until Obama the federal gov’t agreed. Catholic(and other christian)charitable groups long preceded not only the US constitution, but the nation-state itself. Th founders would have been flabbergasted by claims the federal government should decide what their religious mission should be. The claim that the Repubs would jail anyone not following Catholic social doctrine is laughable- it is the Dems advocating forcing everyone to pay for abortion & birth control. As to the Pharisees- Obama must be their chief priest since his administration has added over 60,000 new regulations in less than 4 years-in contrast GW Bush added 25,000 in 8 years.
As an apologist for the Republican Party, you are clearly missing the point on the Health Mandate. Churches can do whatever they want in regard to their doctrine and religious worship practices by virtue of the First Admendment to the US Constitution and every State Constitution. In the Democrats view, Churches do not include non-worship entities such as schools, hospitals and social service agencies; in such cases, these entities must follow the directives that all US entities must follow which has been judged as constitutional under the US Constitution by the US Supreme Court. Please keep in mind that Medicare Part D enacted by President George W. Bush also has a mandate in that if you don’t opt in at age 65, you have to pay a penalty for the rest of your life.
Here is what I worry about. When God gave Moses the Commandments there were 10 of them. By the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had expanded them to over 600 regulations. Jesus was angry at the Pharisees and boiled the 10 Commandments down to 2 Great Commandments. The Church’s Social Doctrine seems to expand like the regulations of the Pharisees and has the potential of evoking an angry response from Jesus towards the Church.
May I say that it is not the Democratic Party which FORCES people to have abortions. The Democratic Party simply does not want to put people in jail if they have an abortion.
Catholics obviously would never have an abortion or partake in other social evils proscribed by the Catholic Church. There are non-Catholics, however, who do not subscribe to Catholic social doctrine; these people should not be sentenced to jail for disobeying Catholic social doctrine.
With all due respect for your opinion and your right to express that opinion, what you are saying is seriously misinformed. The Republican Party is not planning to legislate prison for anyone who does not follow Catholic faith or moral teachings, and the Catholic Church would never support such a plan.
We do live in a democratic republic, however, where laws are enacted based on common moral principles to prevent or punish acts such as stealing, murder, rape, destroying another person’s reputation or property, etc. When there is disagreement about what is or is not an evil act, such as abortion, we have the right to debate these issues in public. Furthermore, we have the right not to participate in supporting such an action that gravely violates our conscience.
It is President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who have legislated to take away the religious liberty and right of conscience of Catholic institutions, business owners, individuals and others who share our beliefs, by forcing us to follow their so called “health care” mandate. It is President Obama who will levy fines and even possibly have us arrested if we choose to obey our consciences and disobey his mandate. It is President Obama and his administration who are the oppressors, not the Catholic Church. I really wish you could see that.
I will include you in my next Rosary prayer intentions, Robert. And may the peace of Christ be with you.
Robert, if we profess to be practicing, faithful Catholics, then we are REQUIRED to utilize our INFORMED conscience when making ALL decisions in life, including political decisions, such as for whom to vote. An INFORMED conscience is one which is formed by our Faith and what the Church teaches, NOT simply whatever we WANT to believe to be right, ESPECIALLY if it contradicts Church teaching. You can know this for certain…if you and the Church disagree on ANY matter regarding Faith or Morals, then it is YOU who are wrong, and you need to humbly seek out the truth of the Church’s stance on the issue and reconcile your position with the Church. If you (or ANYONE) take Holy Communion, then you are professing, publicly and to the world, to believe and assent to ALL that the Church teaches…period. So an informed conscience SHOULD tell you, with simple logic, that A.Obama (and most Democrats) supports and promotes abortion, contraception, sterilization, homosexual “marriage”, etc…all attacks on God-given human life and ALL for selfish reasons; B.The Catholic Church teaches all of these things are inherently evil and can never be legitimate for any reason; therfore C. As a faithful, practicing Catholic, I can not vote for ANYONE who promotes and supports anything in A., thus, I cannot vote for Obama or any Democrat (OR Republican) who supports these things (and if BOTH candidates support something evil, such as abortion, then you have to look at their FULL record of support and vote for the “lesser of the 2 evils”). It is in THIS way that your Catholic Faith is SUPPOSED to inform your public life, and THIS is required of every Cathoilc. This idea of “separation of Church and State” is a man-made idea that is utilized today to prevent people of Faith from influencing the public debate, and it is nothing more than evil disguised as “intellectual superiority” and it is, or course, wrong (because evil is ALWAYS wrong). I hope you’ll pray about your position and realize that our Faith should inform ALL that we do, including for whom we vote!
The Archbishop is right on the nose. Why can’t our society love all who are in need. It seems that the Democrats are in favor of taking care of all from cradle to the grave–the tricky part with the Dems is making it to the cradle. That’s why I no longer vote Democratic and won’t until they respect life in the womb.
If a candidate supports abortion he/she loses my vote (and please don’t talk about the less of 1% abortions due to rape… remember the more than 99% abortions for convenience, career, gender choice, and other selfish reasons). A fetus is a PERSON, which has its own DNA and is ALIVE. The fact that the fetus is totally dependent on his/her mother to survive, makes abortion not only a murder but also a cowardice. Most of the democrats are “pro-abortion” and now they want to gain people’s hearts with this “social justice” speech? Sorry, we are tired of this “word game”. Democrats call abortion “choice”, and they also call the cowardice of getting rid of an innocent life “freedom”. Enough with deceitful words. Obama not only supports abortion but he also helps the abortion industry with taxpayers money. Catholics stand by the truth and the enlightenment of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I got so excited, I almost forgot to mention one more reason all Catholics must vote for Mitt Romney. OBAMACARE!!! Obamacare tramples on Religious Freedom and Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal it. 73% of all Americans hate Obamacare, so let’s make sure to vote for Romney/Ryan in November!
I love Obamacare; it is very pro-life, I think, in caring for the sick.
Yes, as Catholics we must help the poor. However, when it comes to voting, all Catholics must vote with the “Five Non-Negotiable” in mind. The Five Non-Negotiable are: Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual Unions. You cannot vote for a Candidate that supports any of these. And that candidate happens to be Obama! The Church cannot say, “Don’t vote for Obama because he is the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States.” And the Church cannot say, “Do not vote for Obama because he supports Euthanasia and Embryonic Stem Cell Research and more recently he supports Homosexual Unions”… but Catholic voters can! So, go to the following link and read more on this issue…then, make sure to vote for Romney for President. Our Church and our country depend on it! Go to:
i don’t understand the logic of catholic worshippers. here’s my question to catholic christians. Turn all services off, listen to no other person,know the facts about each candidate by going on their website. sit in a very quiet space and say 3 hail marys, an our father and a glory be to the father. than asked jesus what would you do? Than open your eyes and read what the candidates stand for in social, world, and financial world again. See what happens to your vote then.May all catholics be enlightened and use our precious vote wisely.
In my view, there should be a complete separation of Church and State as President John Kennedy said and Jesus stated. There is no logic in having the State send a non-Catholic to jail for disobeying a Catholic doctrine.
The thing I like about the Democratic Party is that it says YES to social issues but individual Americans can decide for themselves if they want to embrace a particular issue. The Republican Party, on the other hand, says NO to social issues.
Where in the Bible does Jesus talk of the separation of church and state? Please answer this question. When I receive your serious response, I’d like to comment on the rest of your misguided thoughts on today’s Democratic party.
Jesus said: “…render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s…”.
In my view, the Democratic Party does not want to put people in jail because they disobey Catholic doctrine. The stance of the Democratic Party is that you should follow the dictates of your religion in deciding whether or not to embrace individual social issues. I would expect that Catholics would obey the Bishops and not engage in abortion or other Church defined social evils. On the other hand, members of the Jewish, Protestant, Morman, Buddist, Hindu, etc. religions should NOT be put in jail because they disobey Catholic social doctrine. The Republican Party, on the other hand, would legislate prison for anyone who disobeys Catholic social doctrine.
@Robert: On your comment, “The Republican Party, on the other hand, would legislate prison for anyone who disobeys Catholic social doctrine”…
Who told you that lie?
I agree, there should be separation of Church and State. But the Democrats are the ones who are trying to put in jail people who don’t agree with their ideas. The HHS mandate forces religious institutions (such as schools, hospitals, adoption agencies, etc) to pay for contraceptives, abortion inducing drugs, and sterilization. This violates the rights and the conscience of religious employees, and if they don’t follow this mandate, they are the ones who will be in jail, not the other way around. It is not enough for Obama to use taxpayers money to fund Planned Parenthood ?? If contraception and abortion is a “choice” shouldn’t the independent and free women pay for their choice? why the government has to force religious people to “help” them?
Well, since the government wants to interfere in religious affairs, then we Catholics have to speak up and say loud and clear: “Vote Romney” (a Mormom, by the way).
You write as if doctrine belongs in a Tupperware container. Doctrine describes reality. That unborn child IS a human being like me or you. He or she is murdered whether their voting parents are Jewish, Protestant or Catholic.
No amount of social justice will wash the blood off your hands if knowing that ontological truth whether through studying doctrine or through natural reason you cast a vote for the democrats who push that satanic agenda of murder.
I was reading where the latest poll of Catholics in this is election if 45% for Romney and 47% for Obama. How can a practicing Catholic vote for Obama. This man is the opposite of what the Church teaches and not only that, his big backer is George Soros who is described as evil personified.
Aren’t our Catholic people listening? Or are they so wrapped up in the Democratic party that they can’t vote any other way. God help us.
Another excellent comment and education provided by our Archbishop! The only problem is I want to share his excellent advice on my “FACEBOOK” sire but “CATHOLIC PHILLY” does not provide the Facebook site to share with, why?
Archbishop Chaput has provided quality management, excellent communications and advice on how to lead a good life by following Jesus teachings- we are fortunate to have him as our Shepard.
Thanks for this painful yet deeply satisfying exhortation.