In the Wake of Santorum, Catholics Must Not Retreat From Political Participation
Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies." The phrase is also found in the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" sections which pertain to the political participation of Catholics. (See, e.g. #565-574):
"The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible."
"There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called 'spiritual life', with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. The branch, engrafted to the vine which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity."
"In fact, every area of the lay faithful's lives, as different as they are, enters into the plan of God, who desires that these very areas be the 'places in time' where the love of Christ is revealed and realized for both the glory of the Father and service of others".
"Living and acting in conformity with one's own conscience on questions of politics is not slavish acceptance of positions alien to politics or some kind of 'confessionalism', but rather the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person."
The Catholic Church as an institution does not endorse specific political candidates. However, the Church does call her members to inform their conscience and then exercise their faithful citizenship in a morally coherent manner.
We must not remain silent as the Nation we love continues down the wrong path. American culture stumbles, drunken on the false notion of freedom as giving some people a "right" to kill the innocent, divorced from norms to guide the exercise of human choice and govern our behavior. In addition, the culture denigrates the beauty of marital love as it turns people into objects of use in the name of "sexual freedom".
I do not consider myself first a "conservative". I am certainly not a "liberal" or "progressive", within the current meaning of those terms. I am a Catholic. I affirm the classical Christian assertion that there is a law written on every human heart which can be known by the exercise of reason and should inform our positive or civil law. It is the foundation upon which a truly free society must be built.
We Catholics also affirm another existential and objective truth; human persons are by nature social. We cannot be truly happy, pursue happiness, or even be fully free without one another. We were made for relationships. This has implications in every area of life, including economics and the market.
We have an obligation in solidarity to those in need. It is elevated in the face of growing threats to their wellbeing. We are also aware of the struggles faced by our fellow citizens as the economic life of our nation teeters in a growing financial crisis and we must act as a result.
We insist that economics is not in the first instance about capital, it is about human persons. A truly free economic system recognizes that freedom is a good of the person. Only human persons can be free because we are capable of making free choices.
That is the reason recent social teachings of the Church have extolled the potential of the market economy and the free market system; it has the better chance to promote human flourishing and open the door to human advancement. That is if we recognize that the market was made for man and now man for the market.
We really are our brother and sisters keeper. We have an obligation to one another. That is what is meant by solidarity. How that truth works its way into public and economic policy leaves room for the application of prudential judgment. It must also respect the principle of subsidiarity.
We also insist upon the primacy of moral values at the foundation of our life together in human society. The notion of separating "social" or "moral" issues from "economic" issues reveals a failure to recognize the moral basis of any truly free society.
Catholics are not anti-government. We arrive at smaller government, bottom up government, not because government is bad, but because government begins with the family and moves out from there.Good government should support the family as the first government and defer to it. Government should also take place first at the level closest to the need and any government beyond that should provide assistance. This is how the principle of subsidiarity should operate.
All government should respect human dignity, foster ingenuity, provide incentive, promote and reward creativity and innovation, expand participation, provide for private ownership, promote mediating institutions and foster human flourishing and advancement. In other words, serve the common good.
Many Catholics were deluded by the candidate Barack Obama in his last campaign. In his rhetoric he used language which sounded as though he agrees with Catholics on some of these issues - in particular, our obligations in solidarity with the poor. However, his administration has acted in a manner which proves the opposite.
The most egregious example is his failure to hear the cry of the children in the womb, the poorest of the poor. However, there are many more, including his denial of religious freedom and his failure to defend marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
This Presidents actions in office have demonstrated that this administration will continue to promote a rapidly expanding Secularist State which fails to respect fundamental human rights including the Right to life and the Right to Religious Freedom. In the Wake of Santorum: Catholics Must Not Retreat From Political Participation.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: vote, catholic vote, faithful citizenship, common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, Right to life, abortion, religious freedom, free exercise, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Catholic Action, Political participation, Keith A Fournier
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