Church and State
In order for the Culture of Death to be transformed into the Culture of Life, lay Catholics must become instruments of Christ by engaging the culture. This means lay Catholics have a responsibility to become aware of the issues in their nation, so that the Culture of Death can be defeated. There are many aspects of societal life that needs to be sanctified, but this section of the LPCA site will focus on the importance of lay Catholics becoming politically active, so that Gospel values can be inserted into the political realm and sanctify it. The first step of becoming active in politics is to become educated in the field. In this way, lay Catholics develop the skills to choose the best tools to respond to a political issue.
To assist in this education process; I have prepared a collection of resources. These resources touch upon very important themes which overlap each other. It must be said that even though a majority of the resources has an American and Catholic "flavor", I have done my best to provide when possible, international and interreligious resources. It is my hope that these citations will not only motivate lay Catholics in America to work to sanctify the United States, but to also inspire lay Catholics across the globe to participate in Christ's mission of sanctifying every nation! (Note to Viewers: LPCA is not responsible for the views expressed in the following resources on the "Church & State" page. A good number of these resources come from secular and non-Catholic sources. Although there are imperfections in the secular and non-Catholic resources, they are still of great benefit. With all the many voices in the world today speaking out on complicated issues, there are only two voices who we must obey; the Pope, and the bishops who are in communion with the Successor of St. Peter. It must be emphasized that issues of faith and morals are binding to us, but with a conscience properly formed on the Gospel, we can come to different opinions dealing with prudential judgments. Resources are posted as a service.)
The themes and the resources are as follows:
Examples of being politically active are:
Some examples of rallies, prayer vigils, protests, and marches; lay Catholics have been involved with are:
- The yearly national Pro-Life protest rally and march, which takes place every January in Washington, DC (i.e., "The March for Life", which started in 1974, and commemorates the Pro-Abortion, Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, in 1973)
- Every May, since 1997, the yearly national Canadian Pro-Life protest rally and march in Ottawa, Ontario happens; and commemorates the evil decision by the Canadian Parliament in 1969, to decriminalize abortion in the infamous Omnibus Bill, C-150
- 1 million in Paris, France, marched on January 13, 2013, to defend traditional marriage
- The American Civil Rights rallies and marches of the 1950's and the 1960's (e.g., the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom", August 28, 1963)
- On July 16, 2016; Americans gathered at the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the "Together 2016" Rally; committed to the belief that Jesus Christ is necessary to save America
- The 2005 rally in support of saving Terri Schiavo in Florida
- The August 28,2010 "Restoring Honor Rally" in Washington, DC
- The March 23, 2012 protest rally at federal buildings across the cities of America, was established to defend religious freedom, and to protest the Obama Administration's HHS contraception mandate
- Because of the Obama Administration's HHS contraception mandate, the American bishops in 2012, called for a “Fortnight for Freedom”; a 14-day period of prayer, education, and action, in support of religious freedom (June 21-July 4); which now takes place every year
- To defend marriage as a union between one man and one woman; back in 2012, a March for Marriage was created, and happens yearly in Washington, DC
I believe that if lay Catholics live out the examples laid out in my political action plan, the Culture of Life will be inserted into the political realm, preserving our Judeo-Christian beliefs. Although the LPCA web site focuses specifically on the American Judeo-Christian tradition and the Catholic faith, LPCA does recognize the beautiful traditions in other democratic nations, and the many contributions other religious faiths have made in human history. I also believe there are timeless principles/truths; which although were first articulated in 1776 by the United States, these principles are universal, and are necessary for nations to embrace, in order for them to be fruitful. By embracing these truths, another nation isn't joining the United States of America as a state and losing its cultural distinctiveness, but is embracing principles which can be seen through the following examples:
Through examining the three examples, it is easy to see that there is a relationship between the Church and the State, not a separation. The Catholic laity must first remember that neither the Church nor the State is a puppet of the other. Rather, they run their own affairs; and work together through dialogue. The State can't force a religion to change their beliefs, nor can a religion force itself upon the State (government and society) in a theocratic way! It must be stressed that society, which includes areas such as the church (i.e.,Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc.), the media, etc.; must never be merged with the government as a single entity. When society and the government become a single entity, a dictatorship is established. When society and government are separate from each other, democracy is able to flourish. This doesn't mean society and government cannot interact with each other, and learn from each other; it just means they cannot merge as a single entity. The role of religion in a nation is to provide guidance and direction to the country. To help illustrate my point, consider the following analogy. A tree in the forest gets its nutrition from the soil. If the tree is removed from the soil, or if there is little nutrition in the soil, the tree will die!
Using the analogy of a tree getting its nutrition from the soil, it is possible to see that the tree symbolizes the government and the society of a nation, and that the soil symbolizes the Catholic Church. This means that in order for the government and for the society of a nation to be prosperous and holy, the nation must be open to guidance and direction from the Church! For the Catholic Church to be successful in providing guidance and direction to a nation, it must continue to remain faithful to the authentic Teaching of Christ (i.e., Sacred Scripture and Tradition) "in season and out of season". When the Church continues to remain faithful to Christ, she will provide a rich source of nutrition which will strengthen a nation, and make it prosperous and holy.
Through understanding the proper relationship the Church has with a nation, it is possible to see the great necessity of praying for the continued support of the clergy. As I stated in the homepage of my site, the clergy are appointed to feed the Church in Christ's name with the word and the grace of God. One of the roles of the clergy in dealing with the feeding of God's flock, is one of guidance. Since the mission of lay Catholics is to insert the Culture of Life into the secular realm, and the clergy's job is to help souls get to Heaven, if the clergy fails to feed the Catholic laity, lay Catholics will spiritually starve, resulting with the Culture of Death wining!
So what kind of guidance can the clergy give to lay Catholics on the issue of inserting the Culture of Life into the political realm? For example, can the clergy give campaign endorsements by preaching political manifestoes? The answer is NO! The clergy is NOT called by God to be politicians. Becoming politicians and making political policies belongs to the LAITY! The role of the clergy includes the following:
Guide the Catholic laity to Heaven, and to teach lay Catholics to be virtuous citizens of their nation, by preaching the authentic Teaching of Jesus Christ (i.e., Sacred Scripture and Tradition)
So in order for the clergy to have the spiritual strength to continue to faithfully guide lay Catholics to holiness, Catholics must pray for the continued holiness of the clergy.
Finally, it is my hope that the information I have collected, will inspire the Catholic laity across the globe to enter into dialogue (partnership) with the non-Catholic laity who uphold the Natural Moral Law, and share in the Church's desire for the political realm, and society, to embrace the Culture of Life. It is my wish that this partnership with the non-Catholic laity will not only assist the Catholic laity in sanctifying the society, and government in every nation with Gospel values, but that it will also help the non-Catholic laity to recognize the richness of the Catholic faith, and desire conversion to Catholicism. Through a virtuous society and government, world peace can be accomplished! The first most important step in achieving true world peace; which is the peace of Jesus Christ, is for every lay person (Catholic and non-Catholic) to let Jesus reign within their hearts! Long live Jesus; King of all nations!
Melody of To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King.