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Rev. Chaput-Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

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What Belongs to Caesar?

Search Search for:. Follow UB on Twitter Tweets by ubookman. Subscribe to the University Bookman. Name Email Subscribe. But, the author of the book asks, what difference do they make? Among the American bishops, Chaput is one of the most decisive in taking clear positions on abortion, the death penalty, immigration. In the controversy over giving communion to "pro-choice" Catholic politicians, he maintains that those who ignore the Church's teaching on abortion are no longer in communion with the faith.

Pt 1/2 - Robert Reilly - Render Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church's Role in Politics Today

They separate themselves from the community of the faithful. And therefore, if they take Eucharistic communion, they commit an act of dishonesty. In the United States, this controversy remains highly charged. But Chaput's book goes much deeper.

Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

It urges Catholics to live their faith to the full, without compromise. If American Catholics are going through a crisis of faith, of mission, and of leadership — he writes — the task of overcoming this belongs to all, to the faithful as to the bishops. And this task has repercussions for the entire world. American Catholics cannot tolerate it if the United States exports violence, greed, and disdain for human life.

They must work actively to bring their nation back to being a beacon of civilization, of religious harmony, of freedom, of respect for the person. Chaput's book has also elicited strong interest in Rome. The same day on which it came out in the bookstores, August 12, "L'Osservatore Romano" dedicated an extensive review to it, written by Robert Imbelli, a priest of the archdiocese of New York and a professor of theology at Boston College. Here below is an extract from the book, followed by the review published in "L'Osservatore Romano" A tale of two bishops From "Render Unto Caesar", beginning of chapter 4, pages By the s, he faced an increasingly ugly problem.

It also had segregated schools. Rummel and previous bishops had always ensured that black students had access to Catholic education.

Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World (Paperback)

However, segregated parochial schools had the same scarce money and poor quality as the segregated public schools. In , his seminary welcomed two black students. In , a year before the U. Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools, he issued the first of two strong pastoral letters: "Blessed Are the Peacemakers. In it, Rummel condemned segregation. It drew a quick response. Tempers ran hot. Most parish school boards voted against desegregation. A year earlier, he had closed a parish when its people objected to their newly assigned black priest. Members of the Louisiana legislature threatened to withhold then-available public funds for Catholic schools if Rummel went ahead with his plans.

In early , Rummel said that in the following year, Catholic schools would integrate. Several Catholic politicians organized public protests and letter-writing campaigns. They threatened a boycott of Catholic schools. On April 16, , Rummel excommunicated three prominent Catholics — a judge, a political writer and a community organizer — for publicly defying the teaching of their Church.

Louis, drew national headlines.

Render Unto Caesar by Charles J. Chaput | Penguin Random House Canada

In his final weeks as bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, he asked three Catholic public figures to refrain from presenting themselves for Communion. Pro-Choice Catholic Politicians and Communion The debates over denying Catholic politicians communion are marked by ignorance about the church and disregard for the real nature of the Eucharist. If we ignore or deny what the church teaches, we are not "in communion" with the Catholic faith. We separate ourselves from the community of believers.

If we receive communion anyway, we engage in a lie.


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Separation of Church and State Catholics strongly support a proper and healthy separation of the civil and religious dimensions of our national life. Of course, everything depends on how we define "proper" and "healthy. But the "establishment clause" does not mean that religious believers, leaders or communities should be silent in public affairs. In fact, healthy democratic life requires the opposite. Catholics and Conscience The Catholic faith does not hold, and the Second Vatican Council did not teach, that respect for conscience means that individuals have absolute sovereignty in determining their own truth, or that anyone's choice of beliefs is as good as any other.

Even the secular order admits that some choices are good and others bad. Every person has a duty to seek and serve the truth. Cafeteria Catholicism We can choose to treat our faith as a collection of comforting pieties and file Jesus away as a good teacher. Or we can choose to be real disciples and accept Jesus for who he says he is: our redeemer and the only Son of God.

What we can't honestly do is select our Catholic faith from a cafeteria menu while failing at the task Christ himself gave us: a root-level transformation of ourselves and the world around us. Pluralism, Tolerance and the Common Good Pluralism is a demographic fact. Nothing more.

Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

It is not a philosophy or ideology or surrogate creed. It does not imply that all ideas and religious beliefs are equally valid, because they are not. Pluralism never excuses us from speaking and acting to advance our beliefs about justice and the common good in the public square. Tolerance is a working principle that enables us to live in peace with other people and their ideas. It is not an end in itself, and it is not a Christian virtue.

Catholics have the duty not to "tolerate" other people but to love them, which is a much more demanding task. The common good is that which constitutes the best source of justice and happiness for a community and its members in the light of truth.


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