Sunday, November 4, 2012

Render to Caesar and Render to God

Now, as we are close to the elections, we might have grown weary of the political ads, particularly the negative ones. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that we can vote for a president and for our representatives -- that we have a voice. This is part of our patriotic duty, even if we have a hard time distinguishing opposing candidates.   

Patriotism is a virtue. It is based on Christ's teaching: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's." (Mt. 22:21) Since the beginnings of the Church, Christians have lived this teaching consistently. So much so, that they would be noticed by the emperor. It was noteworthy that some emperors would do what they could to avert the penalty of death for the Christian who broke the law by refusing to swear by Caesar. Although Christians would pray for the emperor, they would not pray to him. So, the members of the Church were loyal to God and loyal to their government. It was only when a state's law conflicted with God's Commandments that the Catholic would faithfully choose the latter. 

As we consider our votes this Tuesday, God's law should figure into our decision. Why? Is it because we want to be faithful and good servants? Well, yes. But also, the reason is that we want to do that which is good for our country -- for our fellow citizens.  Therefore, an understanding of where each candidate stands on the issues is essential. Then, we choose the ones who will do the most to protect human life from conception to natural death, who will do the most to protect the institution of marriage as we have had it for thousands of years and who will protect freedom of religious conscience.  It is important to know where the candidate stands on the definition of marriage. We should not change what for thousands of years was meant for a man and a woman; "God created man in the image of Himself... male and female He created them. God blessed them saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply...'" (Gen. 1:27f) 

Finally we should not vote for a candidate who violates the Constitution which guarantees religious freedom. Be careful of politicians who morph the term freedom of religion into freedom of worship. The former means that the United States protects our right to practice our faiths anywhere. The latter means that the government determines where we can worship, like behind closed doors and not publicly. 

Let's bring our Lord into this, not just for the purpose of choosing officials who are the most moral in their philosophy, but for purpose of His guidance this Tuesday. Let’s pray to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception; it is under this title that she is the patroness of our great nation. Yes, let’s pray to her and pray very hard. 

Father Stanley

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