Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moral and Civic Responsibilities

I could not help but recall these words of Archbishop Burke (released on October 1, 2004) when reading the articles and watching the videos of the Cardinal Glennon/Sheryl Crow fiasco [here, here, here, here, and here] and thinking of Catholics and others who seem to have abandoned reason in exchange for the almighty dollar. A person who ignores or dismisses these words might be prone to the false belief that it would even be permitted to make a deal with the devil if the end result achieves some good.
13. As citizens of both Heaven and earth, we are bound by the moral law to act with respect for the rights of others and to promote the common good. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council makes clear the responsibilities which are ours as citizens of the City of God and the city of man:

The Council exhorts Christians, as citizens of both cities, to perform their duties faithfully in the spirit of the Gospel. It is a mistake to think that, because we have here no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come, we are entitled to shirk our earthly responsibilities; this is to forget that by our faith we are bound all the more to fulfill these responsibilities according to the vocation of each one. But it is no less mistaken to think that we may immerse ourselves in earthly activities as if these latter were utterly foreign to religion, and religion were nothing more than the fulfillment of acts of worship and the observance of a few moral obligations. One of the graver errors of our time is the dichotomy between the faith which many profess and the practice of their daily lives. As far back as the Old Testament the prophets vehemently denounced this scandal, and in the New Testament Christ Himself with greater force threatened it with severe punishment. Let there, then, be no such pernicious opposition between professional and social activity on the one hand and religious life on the other. The Christian who shirks his temporal duties shirks his duties towards his neighbor, neglects God Himself, and endangers his eternal salvation (Gaudium et spes, n. 43a).

Our heavenly citizenship adds the grace of Christ to the duty of our earthly citizenship, which is to preserve, safeguard and foster the common good. As citizens of Heaven, we have the grace of the divine charity of The Good Samaritan to inspire and strengthen us in loving all, without boundaries.

14. The secularism of our culture, with its tendency to an exaggerated individualism, can easily cause confusion regarding the relationship of our duties as Christians and citizens, as citizens of Heaven and citizens of earth. We can easily begin to view our Christian duty as a private matter without legitimate reference to our civic duty. The Word of Christ, however, calls us to the constant conversion of our lives, by which we overcome any selfish individualism and live truly in Christ for love of God and our neighbor, also in fulfilling our civic responsibility.

From: On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good, A Pastoral Letter to Christ's Faithful of the Archdiocese of St Louis
by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

I wonder how many St Louis Catholics have read this and have incorporated the principles of this Pastoral Letter into their lifes?

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