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Catholics and Politics

Browsing at American Papist this morning I came across the Pope’s speech to the Bishops of Ontario. I was stopped dead in my reading at the following paragraph:

False dichotomies are not unknown within the Christian community itself. They are particularly damaging when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls. Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle; otherwise Christian witness to the splendour of truth in the public sphere would be silenced and an autonomy from morality proclaimed (cf. Doctrinal Note The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, 2-3; 6). In your discussions with politicians and civic leaders I encourage you to demonstrate that our Christian faith, far from being an impediment to dialogue, is a bridge, precisely because it brings together reason and culture.

The highlighted sentence really stuck in my head. So many these days lament the seeming failure of politics to solve the great issues of the day, be they poverty, energy, war, terrorism, illegal immigration or what have you. But one must simply be impressed by the clarity of the statement from the Pope. We fail in these things because we fail to base our work on “truth and a correct understanding of the human person.”

He goes on to hammer the “dictatorship of relativism” (what a term!) and I find it inescapable how clearly this outlines the problems we face. No one is allowed to face a problem and confront it as it is because “truth” is now considered a four-letter word. Jesus tells us, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life”. If our politicians consider truth a concept beneath them, what does that say about their feelings on the one Who is Truth?

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