[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Catholics and Politics

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Catholics and Politics

It appears my sin post last night has led to a little more where that came from. Perhaps it's Lent.

Via Paul Ibrahim comes this article about the Denver archbishop advising against "adulation" toward our political leaders (i.e. Barack Obama).

Here are four reminders Archbishop Chaput lays out in the piece. In particular, the first point really hits hard and true:

Looking ahead to the coming months and years, Chaput offered four "simple things" to remember.

"First," he said, "all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil.

"In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies."

In a reference to the messianic treatment the Barack Obama received from some Americans during the presidential primaries, Archbishop Chaput delivered his second point: "in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs."

Noting that Obama actually trailed in the weeks just before the election, the Denver archbishop said that this places some of today’s talk about a "new American mandate" in perspective.

"Americans, including many Catholics, elected a gifted man to fix an economic crisis. That’s the mandate. They gave nobody a mandate to retool American culture on the issues of marriage and the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion in public life and abortion. That retooling could easily happen, and it clearly will happen -- but only if Catholics and other religious believers allow it."

The third point to focus on when the beliefs of Catholics are challenged is that "it doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs," Chaput counseled.

"The fourth and final thing to remember, and there’s no easy way to say it," remarked Archbishop Chaput, is that the "Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years."

This excerpt is but the tip of the iceberg of an excellent speech that although focuses on Catholics and their roles in political life, its core message can be applied by people of any belief.

Please take some time to read the entire speech here.



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