Have you ever wondered whose responsibility it is in the Church to engage in politics, society and other public matters?
Answer: It is the responsibility of the lay Catholic.
Not only is it a responsibility, it is a vocation (CCC 898, 2442.) Many Catholics are mistaken that this duty belongs to their priest. Priests do not have the role of intervening directly in politics (CCC 2442.) Priests teach about moral issues that many times have an equivalent political issue. Those who don’t like a priest giving the Catholic teaching on such a moral issue because that person holds a contrary view politically, will sometimes say the priest is preaching politics from the pulpit and go so far as to advocate against Church moral teaching. This is an error for a lay person to do and does not conform with the Gospel or Church teaching (CCC 2442.)
For guidance on this matter see Church teaching below on the political and societal responsibilities of lay persons from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) sections 899 and 2442:
899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:
Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.432
2442 It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity “to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.”230
It is the endeavor of Catholics for America to engage with Catholic persons in this vocation with urgency. Help us grow this vocation. Help us defend Catholic priests, sisters and business people from attacks on their conscience rights and religious freedom. Help us bring a Catholic voice to the public square on moral issues that have an equivalent political issue.
Catholics for America’s mission is, “To educate and encourage Catholics in the United States of America to actively support Catholic social teaching and to protect and defend those teachings in the public sphere.”
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