Thursday, August 28, 2008

Catholic and Political

Just finished reading Archbishop Chaput's book Render Unto Caesar. It is a worthwhile read from a man who is acutely aware of the need to re-evangelize Catholic culture in America.

I appreciate his careful instruction about the falsehood of religion and morality relegated to the fringes of public debate and influence. Instead, "Christian faith is always personal but never private" (10). Pushing the Church's voice away from public debate only secures a nation-state untethered to its religious foundation. "By forming people in virtues the world cannot, the church provides a vital public service, especially in a democracy" (72).

And after reminding the reader that there are 69 million Catholic Americans today, one quarter of the population, and that 150 Catholics serve in Congress and a majority of Supreme Court justices are Catholic, he poses the questions, "What difference has it made? What impact have these Catholic gains really had on American public life? American culture is not noticeably more ethical or upright. Nor can we argue that America's public square is more informed by the spirit of the Gospel" (178).

Thus, we have the need to put into action the beliefs we Catholics claim to hold and believe. It requires courage and honesty to our consciences and within public debate.

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