Catholics in America, Be in the World but Not of It| National Catholic Register

The relationship between the Church and Christians in society has always been tricky. From the beginning of the Christian faith, followers of Jesus have struggled with the two worlds to which they are bound: the earthly and the heavenly. Faced with an increasingly secular society, it is critical that Catholics in America unquestioningly embrace what it means to be in the world. Let me explain.

Professor Russell Hittinger, a senior fellow at Catholic University’s Institute of Human Ecology, recently gave a lecture in which he stated that the proper term for the relationship between the heavenly and earthly kingdoms is “separate.” They are separated. This separation, he explained, was made by Jesus when he declared in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

Three times during Professor Hittinger’s speech he stopped, saying that this was a hard teaching. Even the disciples rejected it – sometimes vehemently; Especially Peter. That is why Jesus admonishes the jailer in the Garden of Gethsemane when the sword is drawn to cut off his ear. Peter had not yet confirmed his faith, and he thought that the way of Christ was fighting. So Jesus healed his ear and put it back on the soldier. The soldier’s name, Malchus, means “king” in Greek. Jesus established the following rule here. Peter then understood.

According to Hittinger, Christians should engage with civil society as Christians, bringing their deepest convictions into the public square. But – and this is a very crucial point – our civic activities must be No Attempting to subjugate civil society to the authority of the Church. To do so is a disgrace to the Church.

St. John Paul II, in a passage highlighted by Professor Scott Roniger of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in support of Hittinger’s thesis, on the one hand described the contrast between our current economic and political life and the Christian life. On the other hand, as follows:

Also Read :  Subtropical Storm Nicole is on track to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches Florida

“Man cannot remain indifferent to the great threat posed by the real imperialisms endlessly competing with each other, but cannot ultimately claim that the good of the true happiness of mankind is at heart. In fact, the reverse is true: for these powers, those imperialisms see in man—in man’s freedom and inner truth—the greatest of all threats to themselves. The coming into the world of Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnation of the Word, is a revelation of a completely different economy.

The point is very simple: although politics is an essential and unavoidable part of our lives, its ambitions should not be confused with the state. At the same time, this separation principle should not lead to complacency. Pope Benedict put it so beautifully that “the Church sheds the light of the Gospel on earthly realities in pursuit of her own finality, to heal men from their misery and rise up in dignity.”

The Second Vatican Council – of which Benedict was a key advocate, and perhaps one of the few still alive – captured this relationship between secular and spiritual wording in its declaration on religious freedom. Dignitatis Humanae It explains that all men and women instinctively seek the truth, which is revealed in its entirety in the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church of God, adding that “truth cannot be imposed except by virtue of its own truth.” This statement also points to the evangelical mission of the Church, which, in order for the Church to fulfill her divine mission – indeed, the salvation of souls – must be, not only verbalize and codify religious freedom. An honest and practical application is given.

So we have a difference that some Catholics still don’t understand. Let me repeat these words: Truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth. It means that the victory of the gospel is not a victory of political domination over others.

Also Read :  Hindu professors sue Cal State over ban on caste discrimination

Fortunately, our constitutional order sets fertile ground for the church and individual believers. The First Amendment contains two clauses related to religious freedom. The Institutions Clause says that the government cannot interfere in religious affairs. It is not quite the same as the Second Vatican Council’s insistence that truth cannot be imposed, but it is entirely consistent with it. The Free Exercise Clause, meanwhile, protects our right to worship and Behave in ways that are consistent with our beliefs. Again, the Council seems to expect the laws protecting religious freedom to be applied honestly and practically.

The religion clauses of the First Amendment not only give Catholics the right to practice our faith, but also create the space for us to evangelize free from government coercion. As the Supreme Court made clear in a recent decision, these two clauses work in tandem to protect religious freedom, not in tension. We must note—more than ever—that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech is a critical safeguard when the government attempts to force Catholics to ignore the teachings of the most sacred Church.

A look at recent events shows that the rights of conscience and religious expression are suppressed when religious exercises are carried out is Overwhelmed, the church’s ability to serve and evangelize is threatened. Fortunately, this current Supreme Court has been very protective of the First Amendment, especially in cases involving church autonomy and religious believers.

For example, the Court recognizes that the Constitution’s religion clauses establish a ministerial exception that exempts churches from government interference in personal decisions for ministers. The Court’s broad definition of who qualifies as a “minister” is especially important for key roles within our Catholic schools. Needless to say, the progressive lobby, backed by unimaginable amounts of money, does not want religious schools to enjoy these constitutional freedoms.

Also Read :  Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel named in the Trump investigations

Two terms ago, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to provide foster care for children without rejecting church teaching on the nature of traditional marriage. It was an important achievement, but many questions remained unanswered. Specifically, does the Constitution protect religious exercise when it conflicts with laws against discrimination involving sexual orientation and gender?

Last summer, the court upheld Joseph Kennedy, a public-high school football coach in Washington state, his First Amendment right to pray for thanksgiving after a game. Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch observed that “respect for religious expression is essential to life in a free and diverse republic.”

This term, the Court is reviewing another case involving religious expression. 303 Creative v. Elenis Brought to you by Lori Smith, a Christian web designer in Colorado. Smith wants to expand her business to create custom wedding websites. Lower courts have ruled that Smith must create wedding websites for same-sex marriage or violate the state’s anti-discrimination law. Smith hopes the court will rule that such a request violates his right to free speech. Given the original nature of the Court’s majority, Smith’s constitutional rights will likely be upheld.

Strong protections of religious exercise and expression that allow believers and the Church to participate and contribute to society without apostasy have been good for the Church. We may feel that our beliefs are targeted, but we note that a “change of control” is not necessary. The very act of defending religious freedom offers an opportunity for evangelical expression: to formulate the Church’s teaching and why, as Catholics, we believe its principles, however unpopular, advance the common good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button