So there we have it!!
There is a lot of wisdom in the world
THere are so many ideas about how we treat each other and how to run our own country
In the USA, how do we see our rights and responsibilities towards our country?
This is really beautiful, wise, compelling, and challenging to all of us
The Church asks, what is the wisdom of Jesus Christ?
Paragraph 2238 says, “Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God, who has made them stewards of his gifts: ‘Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.’ Their loyal collaboration includes the right, and at times the duty, to voice their just criticism of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community.”
St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is not in the context of political peace where everything is going the Christians’ way
St. Paul was ultimately killed by the Roman government
This is the wisdom of Scripture vs. the wisdom of the world
What does the wisdom of the world say?
If I don’t like the person in charge, then I get to do what I want
If the people in charge are not the wisest, kindest, or the most just, then I can fight against them, topple them, and change the regime through a coup
St. Paul was virtually powerless and he was STILL saying, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.”
What does that mean about us right now?
Paragraph 2239 says, “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.”
It is right and just to love your country
That is a good thing
Because we get a lot from our country
Remember the virtue of justice
Justice is giving someone what they are due
The first level under the virtue of justice is religion aka giving God what we owe Him
Next is giving our parents what we owe them
Then there is patriotism, giving our country what we owe our country
So what are our roles?
Paragraph 2240 says, “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country: Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. [Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure all things as foreigners…They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws…So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.”
This does not mean that we can’t want a better tax code
If there is a better policy, work for that policy
We are called to contribute to the needs of all
Exercising the right to vote is not simply showing up on election day and casting your ballot
It also involves becoming knowledgeable about the candidates, their positions, and arguments
If we are going to be citizens, then we have obligations
If we are going to vote, then we need to become informed voters
Paragraph 2241 says, “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”
In the Old Covenant, the People of Israel were called to care for the foreigner and care for him
This extends to us now
Because this arises directly from the dignity of the human person
We treat every person with dignity because every single person is made in God’s image
If someone needs help and we are in a position to give help, then we are obliged to help
If a nation is more prosperous and is able to give help, then it ought to give help to the extent they are able
This does not mean no borders
If you are going to come to this country, there are certain expectations and demands
We are called to welcome the stranger to the degree that we are able
At the same time, political authorities have a primary obligation for the people who are already living there
Therefore, they may make restrictions
The Lord’s teaching is real and true
If I am responsible for my family then what do I do?
I want to take care of those less fortunate, those in danger, those who I am able to care for
At the same time, I cannot take care of others at the expense of my family
We can’t take in everybody
If we bring them into our home, we want to make sure our children are safe
Now expand that to the governing authorities
We want to be able to take in those who are in need of our help
We can’t take in everybody
Those that we take in, we want to make sure that they are not a danger to the citizens who already live here
If you are really opposed to immigration, keep in mind that the Church is teaching us we have to do what we can to the extent we are able when it comes to immigration
If you are someone who wants no borders at all, the Church is not teaching that either
We have to take care of the stranger and those who are already in the country
This is not the wisdom of the world
This is the wisdom of the Lord
We have to pay attention to this
Paragraph 2242 says, “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ ‘We must obey God rather than men’: When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.”
We may have to exercise civil disobedience in our lives
I am not an American Catholic, Canadian Catholic, etc…
I AM A CATHOLIC!!
I LIVE in the USA
We belong to the Lord FIRST
There are times when there is oppression and incredibly unjust things
When can we take up arms?
Paragraph 2243 says, “Armed resistance to oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless the following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged violation of fundamental rights; 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted; 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders; 4) there is well-founded hope of success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution.”
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT…