A CUlture of unity
At this watershed moment in our life as a nation, it is important to remember who we are as Catholic Christians.
We are a people who are involved in the life and governance of our society. We vote. We do not stay home on Election Day and sulk because we don’t feel excited by a candidate or a party.
We are a people of prayer. Regardless of the passion we may feel about our leaders or the election process, we are committed to pray for our nation, our state, and our governmental entities. Criticism makes us angry. Prayer can make us effective.
We never forget that the Church – and the Kingdom of God – was here long before our government or our leaders. Our chief pastor, the Pope, lives and serves the universal Church from what was the seat of the Roman Empire. The great monolith of the Caesars which once persecuted Christians is now in ruins beneath their feet.
The Church was in the business of caring for orphans, erecting hospitals for the sick and for travelers, providing counsel and supporting marriage and parenthood long before most of the world knew that North America existed. The government may take over programs and services, but its activities will duplicate the actions of those who serve the poorest of the poor in the name of Jesus.
The multiplication of taxes and regulations, no matter how well intended, will not assure the growth of charity and justice in our midst. The heartfelt service of the Church and the generosity of the Christian people in response to the commands of the Gospel will bring the healing love of Jesus Christ to the broken and suffering. It is not an accident that Catholic Charities in the U.S. and Catholic Relief Services all over the globe offer outstanding examples of operations with minimal overhead and high levels of efficiency serving people in need. They often provide the most consistent presence in areas of poverty. CRS was in Haiti long before the earthquake and is still there today. By contrast, many millions of dollars were wasted by other groups and organizations in that bleak nation while providing little or no solace to the victims of the natural disaster.
Good government must always be concerned for the welfare of people and the care of the needy. We pray for and actively support wise legislation that furthers these ends. Government, no matter how well intentioned, can never replace our Christian responsibility to create a more just society, to care more lovingly for the needy and to build a culture of unity and not political polarization.
Catholic Christians are not a political party. We are a community in service to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.