Faithful, Citizen

Reading some of the reactions to the bishops’ decision to stick with their Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship is a tad confusing. Some seem to interpret it as sticking it to the Right. Others, as some kind of cover for the Left. Actually, it strikes me as the continual challenge to the Catholic citizen, the Catholic in public/political life — whomever you are, whichever party you belong to: To pray for the prudence to discern what policy best supports true human freedom. To be pro-life and pro-marriage is part of it, but also how can we best serve all those who are most vulnerable? How can government best be stewards of the public trust? Neither party owns the faithful citizen’s vote. Neither party can afford to not take the precepts of Catholic social teaching seriously. It’s all related to those inalienable rights and the reason the United States exists.

It reminds me of when the most recent papal encyclical was released. There was some of the same kind of reaction, some of it divorced from an actual reading of the document.

The current archbishop of Philadelphia wrote a book on this general topic of faithful citizenship a few years ago. In an interview, he offered some useful guidance:

We should see ourselves as Catholic first — not white or black, or young or old. or Democrat or Republican, or labor militant or business owner, but Catholic first as the main way we identify ourselves. Our faith should shape our lives, including our political choices. Of course, that demands that we actually study and deepen our Catholic faith. The Catholic faith isn’t a set of clothes that we can tailor to a personal fit. We don’t “invent” our faith, and we don’t “own” it. If we really want to be Catholic, then we’ll live by Catholic teaching. Otherwise we’re just fooling ourselves and abusing the belief of other Catholics who really do try to practice what the Church teaches.

He added:

Don’t lie. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to back it up with proof. Our faith needs to be the North Star of our lives. Our behavior needs to match our words, including in our political choices.


Categories:Pro-Life Uncategorized

  • Sue in soCal

    My objection to the bishop’s guide is the lack of clarity and waffling – the compromising – when it comes to the issues on which the Church does not compromise: abortion, euthanasia, etc. This “guideline” is so murky on these points that millions of Catholics, quoted this “guideline” to justify voting for the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual lifestyle candidate for President we have ever had. He was open about his agenda and has kept true to his word. If the bishops cannot see why they need to amend this guide then why do they expect to have any influence now against President Obama’s continued assault against the Church? They either will take a stand or they will be noise in the background. There is no common ground with evil – no compromise. You are either moving toward the light or slipping into the dark. Our bishops should understand this. This is what they should be heralding and they are not. And we are slipping into the dark.

    • Kate Abbott

      Amen. This type of “social justice” of which I first became aware, was in South America in the 60’s and 70’s. Unfortunately, many Catholics believe this is true. We must pray that the Holy Spirit will touch their conscience with the “real” truth.

      It is easy to find out the true meaning of social justice. Just look for some of Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings on this matter as it is demonstrated in clear, precise words.

  • James McMahon

    The Catholic parish that I participate in recently had a priest come and he started by introducing himself as a Democrat and then went on to ask about the happenings in Wisconsin, the unions. He then did a presentation on social justice and liberation theology in a power point presentation. The symbol that was used in the social justice triangle for solidarity was a closed first..uhm..Wasn’t that used in the 60’s for the SDS, STUDENTS for a Democratic Society, a far left if not a communist organization. Yes, father symbols are important..a closed fist never has a place in a Christian Community.
    Liberation Theology has its origins in Mexico and South America, Puebla, Rio and Medellin and look if you will the current political evolution in the countries,Socialist, Neo-Marxist, Marxist. I called the Bishops office in Orland and The American Conference of Bishops in DC and Nada, Nunca. What is this priest, a wolf doing among the flock? Apparently the priest has an agenda far to the left of just being a Democrat or perhaps it is just that Florida is a critical state in the 2012 election. Stop the mission creep and stay with the teachings of Christ, not Marx,Lenin, Gramsci or even George Soros. Yes, discernment and a moral gyroscope is important to see what is happening to our country and Church. All of the “change” just didn’t happen but has been planned carefully for a long time. I would welcome a call from the Bishop of Orlando.
    Please do not allow us to create a world that even Moses can’t deliver us. Walk and talk with the Lord. Jim



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