Tuesday, June 6, 2017

To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.” ― Ronald Reagan: (1911 – 2004: was an American politician and actor who served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989.)

Gospel Text: (MK 12:13-17)
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion.
You do not regard a person's status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?"
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
"Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at."
They brought one to him and he said to them,
"Whose image and inscription is this?"
They replied to him, "Caesar's."
So Jesus said to them,
"Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."
They were utterly amazed at him.

Many people today talk about separation of church and state, but our great nation was founded on freedom for religion, not freedom from religion. Our founding fathers constantly prayed and invoked God’s blessings publicly on our infant democracy 240 years ago. Church and state cannot be separated.  There is not a Christian Joe Reciniello and a secular Joe Reciniello.  If I am not the same I would be a hypocrite. Let’s consider the intersection of the practice of our Catholic faith and the exercise of our civic duty in voting. 

Let’s first acknowledge that there has never been a political party in the United States that is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue. That does not mean that we are automatically free to vote for either major party, because one party can be much further from Catholic principles on the most important issues than the other party.  As a result of that, we are often faced with the task of discerning which party and which policies are most in line with Catholic teaching and which one isn’t.

Let’s also acknowledge there are many, many issues subject to the prudential judgment of Catholic voters. That means Catholics can legitimately disagree, for example, on the best way to address issues such as racial injustice, education, the economy, immigration, and healthcare and still remain in good standing in the Church. However, there are other issues that involve intrinsic evil…actions that can never, at any time, under any circumstance, be committed, promoted, or even enabled by a faithful Catholic.

A certain number of you will complain that I am preaching politics…”The Church has no business discussing politics”! That’s what some people say. But let me tell you what God says to the priest whom He has designated to be the spiritual father for the people entrusted to his care: “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his sin, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his sin, but you will have saved your life.” (Ez 33:7-9) 

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