David Ancell's Virtual Home

Finally Read the Document

  /   Tuesday January 21, 2003  

I have finally read the new Doctrinal note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in Political Life. The full text can be found here, and there is more to this than I can possibly quote. Here are the excerpts that I found particularly enlightening:

. . . citizens claim complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices, and lawmakers maintain that they are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value. At the same time, the value of tolerance is disingenuously invoked when a large number of citizens, Catholics among them, are asked not to base their contribution to society and political life – through the legitimate means available to everyone in a democracy – on their particular understanding of the human person and the common good.

and . . .

While a plurality of methodologies reflective of different sensibilities and cultures can be legitimate in approaching such questions, no Catholic can appeal to the principle of pluralism or to the autonomy of lay involvement in political life to support policies affecting the common good which compromise or undermine fundamental ethical requirements. This is not a question of ®confessional values¯ per se, because such ethical precepts are rooted in human nature itself and belong to the natural moral law. They do not require from those who defend them the profession of the Christian faith, although the Church’s teaching confirms and defends them always and everywhere as part of her service to the truth about man and about the common good of civil society. . . . .

. . . . In democratic societies, all proposals are freely discussed and examined. Those who, on the basis of respect for individual conscience, would view the moral duty of Christians to act according to their conscience as something that disqualifies them from political life, denying the legitimacy of their political involvement following from their convictions about the common good, would be guilty of a form of intolerant secularism.

In other words, should we fail to do what is good just because the Church happens to teach it? Ironically, those who would oppose Catholic views in public life in the name of tolerance are themselves intolerant of Catholicism.

Now, for a lesson for John Kerry, who will never get my vote for anything:

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.

Simply put, we are Catholic Christians first. Everything else is secondary. I’ll post more on this in Spiritual Pyromania, as there is a story to tell from my pharmacy school days.

The document clearly states that there are often several morally acceptable solutions to a particular problem. The Church is not interested in developing a coherent political strategy. However, if what the Church is teaching is true, then it is true in all areas of life. The document states our clear obligation to oppose laws violating the sanctity of life, to safeguard and promote the family based on “monogamous marriage between a man and a woman,” to protect minors from “modern forms of slavery” such as drug abuse and prostitution, to protect the right to religious freedom, and to develop an economy that is “at the service of the human person and of the common good.” All of these are and have been clear Church teaching. In other words, the document never should have been necessary, but it is because of the “legacy” of John F. Kennedy invoked by Sen. John Kerry.

The only thing that I do not understand is what the term “anathema” has fallen out of use. It could strengthen a document like this (though it would expose it to more ridicule). However, our lawmakers have now been warned. If they reject this teaching and then never repent, then they get to stand before Almighty God and explain themselves. I don’t envy them, and I believe that we need to pray for them every day so that they will not damn their souls and the souls of those whom they lead.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



No comments have been made on this post.

Please note that all comments are moderated, and they will be posted once approved.

David's Pages

David's Pages

RSS Feed
Atom Feed