Skip to comments.'We have no king but Caesar:' Some thoughts on Catholic faith and public life
Posted on 09/15/2012 3:48:01 PM PDT by Not gonna take it anymore
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September 15, 2012 'We have no king but Caesar:' Some thoughts on Catholic faith and public life By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput * 41 A priest I know does a lot of spiritual direction. Two of the men he was helping died suddenly this past year, one of a heart attack and one of a stroke. In both cases they were relatively young men and quite successful. In both cases they watched Fox News. And in both cases they had gotten into the nightly habit of shouting at President Obama whenever he came on the TV. In both cases, the wives believed and they still believe that politics killed their husbands.
Now thats a true story. And its a good place to begin our time together today. Henri de Lubac, the great Jesuit theologian, once said that if heretics no longer horrify us, its not because we have more charity in our hearts. (i) We just find it a lot more satisfying to despise our political opponents. Weve transferred our passion to politics.
My theme today is living the Catholic faith in public life, including our political life. But in talking about it, I need to make a few preliminary points.
Heres my first point. Its very simple. Were mortal. Were going to die.
American culture spends a huge amount of energy ignoring death, delaying it and distracting us from thinking about it. But our time in this world is very limited; science cant fix the problem; and theres no government bailout program. Life is precious. Time matters. So does the way we use it. And as all of the great saints understood, thinking a little about our death can have a wonderfully medicinal effect on human behavior.
(Excerpt) Read more at catholicnewsagency.com ...
“The more we transfer our passion for Jesus Christ to some political messiah or party platform, the more bitter we feel toward his Church when she speaks against the idols we set up in our own hearts. Theres no more damning moment in all of Scripture than John 19:15: We have no king but Caesar. The only king Christians have is Jesus Christ. The obligation to seek and serve the truth belongs to each of us personally. The duty to love and help our neighbor belongs to each of us personally. We cant ignore or delegate away these personal duties to anyone else or any government agency.”
from the article.
Very much worth reading.
I would start any discussion of politics and the person of faith by going way back in the Bible.
One recurring theme of the Bible, something that always seems to truly annoy God, was when men, over and over again, kept trying to supplant God with their own selves. This came about because men faced the paradox: “If God is in charge of all things, what can man do?”
But it was explained early on, if not in as many words.
God defines reality. That is, what God says, goes.
However, man is free to *describe* reality. That is, to give names and labels to everything, excepting God, who cannot be given a name, as God is a singularity. That is, names are comparative, and nothing is comparable to God.
But man has this terrible habit of thinking that his descriptions, his labels, of reality, actually defines reality. He thinks that his abstracts, like language and mathematics, actually change things. They don’t.
Enter politics. Because in ancient times some men were anointed to be kings, ever since, kings, princes, and other leaders have based their legitimacy to rule on the idea that God has chosen them to lead because they are blessed by heaven.
Extrapolated from this is that, if the king is appointed by God, then his laws are dictated by heaven, and if someone opposes the king’s laws, they not only oppose the king, but oppose God as well.
Then America came along with a new idea. And one that might actually please heaven for a change. That is, that though the founding fathers respected God, they did not claim that their legitimacy came from God, but from their fellow man. This was a radical notion indeed, which had the added benefit that if men made the law, then men could change the law as well, without offending God.
Most importantly, it again embraced the old idea that God defines reality, and men can just describe reality. And that the laws are just descriptions of reality. We don’t claim, hopefully, that we can change reality by changing the law, for we do not have that power.
And those American politicians who do think they have real power are little different than Nimrod, builder of the Tower of Babel. Whether they think that they have such power individually, or that their people do, collectively, makes little difference.
This is really very good. Chaput is a clear writer, which always indicates a superior thinker.
I wonder if this Archbishop has a blog, he is a very good writer, God Bless him.
I don’t know if he has a blog but I am going to check that out.
Cannot believe that he is 68 years old. He certainly doesn’t look it.