Friday, October 30, 2020

Doing My Duty, So You Can Do Yours!

 As most of you know, Catholic priests are not supposed to tell the faithful who to vote for in an election. There is a long story that goes with this, and there are different sides to the issue. Regardless of whether that was a good decision by the Bishops or not (and I am glad to discuss with anyone), there is a proper distinction that should be made when we think about the idea of "clergy involved in politics". 

First, the position of the Catholic Church is that clergy are called to minister, primarily, to the laity. They are supposed to be training the faithful in how to interact with the world (i.e. in holiness). This does not mean that clergy are never supposed to interact with the world, but that it should not be their primary activity. This is the reason why clergy are ordinarily not allowed to hold political office or be engaged in the selling of secular commerce; they are to be "apart" from the world. 

The laity, on the other hand, are specifically called to be involved in the world. They are supposed to be engaged in the activities of commerce, political influence, and other secular activities. In doing this, they are called to be "salt and light" for the world from within the world's spheres. I am not making this up -- go look at the catechism and canon law.

This separation of duties helps each to recognize their own unique role in the world, and also keeps each one active in their own sphere of influence. Therefore, when you hear someone complain that a Bishop or Priest has not stepped up and said something against an unjust political practice or some other sinful behavior, it is not exactly an accurate criticism. It is the duty of the laity to be standing up and proclaiming the gospel in the public sphere, and not exactly the clergy. Yes, clergy do so at times, and they will be right there at Right to Life marches (etc.) but if the clergy make that their primary focus (teaching the world), then they will fail to guide and teach the faithful in the Church.

With that said (like I already mentioned), I am not supposed to tell you who to vote for. I can, however, tell you what various politicians and their parties stand for. And that is what I wish to do here:

Enjoy, and please tell others (it is your duty, after all!).