Monday, November 1, 2010
The Church and Politics
From 1999 to 2001 I was the Director of Religious Education at the Spiritus Sanctus Academies in Ann Arbor Michigan. At that time the schools had a weekly letter called the Monday Mailer that went home to each family. I wrote a short essay/article each week for that letter. Here is an excerpt of one of those articles.
The Church and Politics
The Church should concern herself with religious issues and leave political issues up to regular people and their governments. Don’t you think so? Many people do think so! However, a close inspection of the two, the Church and politics, will reveal the real truth.
First of all, politics concerns human beings and their relationships with each other. Politicians make many claims about what is good for men and society. When we vote for an elected official, we are saying that we agree with his assessment of what is best for the people of our city, state, or country.
The Church is an expert in humanity. She guards and teaches what the Creator has revealed about man and his destiny. We learn from the Church that man is created in the image and likeness of God and thus has a dignity that does not depend on his function or place in society, his accomplishments, or even the goodness of his deeds. By virtue of his creation he deserves respect, from the moment of conception until the point of natural death. This truth is at the core the Church’s social teaching and every political conclusion that a Catholic comes to should reflect this core.
We also learn that, by God’s design, each man has a free will and each man is intimately connected with all other men. This means that we are responsible for our own actions and can be held accountable by society for those actions. It also means that we have a responsibility towards our fellow man, as individuals. It is not merely the role of government to care for the poor or the disabled; it is ours, as individuals.
From these facts we can know two very important things about tomorrow. Given the treasure the Church guards and teaches, the Revelation of the One True God, we must consult her on all things concerning what is good for men and society. Those teachings will guide us in making the best choices in each area. And, given that all men are intimately connected with each other, we cannot neglect our chance to participate in this political process.
Practically speaking, we should all vote tomorrow and we should all consider what the Church teaches about the dignity of the human person when we choose a candidate.