Once the Pharisees asked Our Lord: “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not? Our Lord asked for a coin and then inquired, ‘Whose image and inscription does it bear?'” They answered, “Caesar’s.” And Our Lord said. “Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Thus we are taught to give both the State and the Church what is due to each, in accordance with the end that each pursues.
What are the spheres of the Church and of the State? –The spheres of the Church and of the State are defined and dictated by each one’s respective purpose.Both the Church and the State derive their just powers from God. All rights and duties on earth come to us ultimately from God through the Divine Law, either natural or positive. As Leo VIII said, “The Almighty has appointed the charge of the human race between two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, the other over human things.”
- The Church is a complete and perfect spiritual society whose purpose is to sanctify men and lead them to eternal happiness with God in heaven. In spiritual matters, therefore, it has absolute and exclusive powers.The sphere of the Church is the supernatural and eternal; it includes everything relating to spiritual and moral affairs, matters affecting man’s eternal salvation: for example, the worship of God, preaching of the Gospel, decision of what is morally right and morally wrong, government of its members, restriction of such rights as will endanger their eternal welfare, education of the clergy, religious education of its members, etc,
- The State is also a society, but its purpose is limited to the promotion of man’s temporal welfare. In purely temporal and political matters, the State is supreme. The Church does not prefer one form of civil government to another, provided it does not conflict with Catholic teaching.The sphere of the State includes such purely temporal matters as a choice of a form of government, the development of agriculture, industries and trade, collection of taxes, restriction of certain civil and political rights (such as the right of suffrage, of bearing arms, etc.) , the enforcement of law and order, etc.
- Since both Church and State were established for the good of men, they cannot be totally separated without evil consequences. Even when a complete separation is advisable, it should never mean the antagonism of the State against the Church.Man and the State, even in the realm of politics and temporal matters, are under God’s law, both revealed and natural, the Law that is above all mankind, of whatever race. Man has no right to make his own laws without regard for the law of God. “It is the Church, not the State, that is to be man’s guide to heaven” (Leo XIII). The State is even bound to protect the Church in the exercise of its functions; this is because the State must protect the rights of its citizens, and of these rights the religious ones are of utmost importance.
- Although primarily concerned with spiritual matters, the Church evidently is entitled to certain temporal aids, in order to be able to pursue its mission effectively.It must build churches and seminaries, collect revenue, conduct schools for the proper religious training of its members, etc.
- The State, as representing the collective will of the people, cannot be made god, as is done in communism and fascism.Then man becomes grossly material, bound by rods of his own fashioning, helpless and gone mad, because he cannot conquer the world.
What is the contribution of the Catholic Church to American democracy? –In general we may say that the fundamentals of American democracy were derived from traditional thought and philosophy; and since these, being of Western Europe, were essentially Catholic, therefore our democracy had its roots in the Catholic Church.
- The philosophical principles of the Declaration of Independence show such a remarkable similarity to traditional Catholic philosophy as to have been derived from it. Most particularly have these principles been inherited from two outstanding Catholic theologians, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621). These principles are inflexible against Communism as well as Plutocracy, State Socialism as well as extreme Individualism.Some principles so derived are: the equality of man in nature and essence, the function of government to care for the common good, the consent of the governed as a requirement for power of rulers, the right of people to change governments, etc.
- Not only did our democracy get rooted in Catholic principles; today Catholic thought continues to nourish that democracy.For this reason the Church insists on the sanctity of marriage, of the family; the Church instructs her children in loyalty to the State.
- In the founding of our Republic, Catholic aid also came into the realm ofdeeds. Many Catholics took part in the war for independence not only by actual fighting, but by contributing money, services, and other resources. And we must not forget that France, a Catholic nation, sent four fleets, besides money and soldiers. Poland and Spain, Catholic countries, also gave aid.Well did our First President say to Catholics: “I presume that your fellow citizens … will not forget the patriotic part you took in the accomplishment of our Revolution and the establishment of our government.”
What should be the attitude of the Catholic citizen towards the State? –The Catholic citizen is bound in conscience to obey the State, provided faith and morals are not endangered thereby.
- The State is not the master, but the servant, of the citizens. The inherent rights of individuals, and particularly of parents, cannot be usurped by the State.For instance, parents, not the State, have the natural right to educate their children. The State should merely supervise and facilitate education, but should not enact laws contrary to the obligations of parents to give their children a religious education.
- After the Revolution, for a considerable period, Catholic schools together with schools of other denominations received government support. Then gradually, laws were passed forbidding such support.Our schools are benefiting, however, under the National School Lunch Act of 1946; Congress regularly appropriates money to implement this free school lunch program. Our colleges may secure loans at favorable interest rates under legislation adopted by the Housing and Home Finance Agency. Indirectly our colleges benefit from the GI Bill of Rights, since legislation authorizing the extension of educational benefits to veterans does not discriminate with respect to schools; a veteran may select any approved school. In addition to assistance to schools, our hospitals are receiving substantial construction grants under the terms of the Hill-Burton Law.
- In questions of right and wrong, what should rule is not the majority, but the right, even if it is upheld by the smallest of minorities.
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!
Our Lord spent the three years of His public life teaching, healing the sick, working miracles to prove His mission and Divinity. One of His most wonderful miracles was the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead and buried four days. But Jesus went to the sepulchre and ordered the stone closing it to be taken away. Then He cried: “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came forth from the grave. Because of this miracle, the Pharisees became more envious, and even planned to kill Lazarus, so as to make it appear that Jesus had not raised him from the dead.
When did Christ begin His public life? –Christ began His public life when He was about thirty years old.
After spending long years in obscurity and humble toil, Jesus Christ next entered upon a period of activity, going about and teaching publicly. He left His home in Nazareth, and began His public life by an act of great humility: His baptism at the hands of St. John the Baptist in the river Jordan.
The mother of St. John the Baptist was St. Elizabeth, cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. John lived a life of very rigorous penance in the desert, preparing himself for his role of forerunner or precursor of the Saviour. About two years before Christ started His public life, John the Baptist went out of the desert, and began to preach penance; he baptized in the Jordan all those who believed in his teachings and wished to begin a new life.
St. John the Baptist was the forerunner or precursor of Christ. He spoke to the people of the coming Messias, and pointed Jesus out to them as the “Lamb of God.” He was put to death by Herod, because he reproved the ruler for his immoral life.
Jesus came to John to be baptized; immediately afterwards, as Our Lord came out of the river, the Holy Ghost came down upon Him in the form of a dove, and a Voice from heaven was heard saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
After His baptism, Jesus went into the desert, where He fasted forty days and forty nights. This teaches us to look upon baptism as a call to penance, and to prepare for all kinds of activity by mortification and prayer.
The forty days of Lent are intended to commentorate the forty days’ fast of Our Lord. Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday till midnight of Holy Saturday.
After Our Lord’s long fast, the devil was permitted to tempt Him. Christ rebuked the devil, and angels came to minister to Him.
From this temptation of Our Lord we know that a temptation is not sinful. As long as we resist the devil, we are pleasing to God, however strong may be the temptation that assails us. “God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor.10:13).
How long did Christ’s public life last? –Christ’s public life lasted about three years, during which He went about preaching, teaching, and doing good.
Upon His return from His forty-day fast in the desert, Jesus called His first disciples. In a few days He performed His first miracle, changing water into wine at a marriage-feast in Cana, at the request of His Mother, although, as He told her, His time had not yet come.
Among the outstanding works of Jesus during the first year of His active life were: He drove sellers out of the Temple, saying they made it a “den of thieves”. He cured the ruler’s son, Peter’s mother-in-law, the paralytic at the pool, the daughter of Jairus. He calmed the tempest.
Jesus began the second year of His public life by an act of utmost significance: He chose from the many that followed Him, “the Twelve”, His twelve Apostles, Himself calling them Apostles. In the Sermon on the Mount He summarized His teachings; it is the law of love taking the place of the law of fear.
During the second year of His mission, Christ performed many miracles, among which were: the cure of the centurion’s servant, of the widow’s son at Naim; the first multiplication of the loaves; He walked on the water, and bade Peter walk on it, too. He forgave Mary Magdalen, and sent the Apostles on their mission. He began teaching in the form of parables, comparing what He wanted to teach with common things. Among His parables of this period were: the sower, the rates and wheat, the mustard seed, the pearl of great price.
In His third year of teaching, Jesus went to Galilee and Phoenicia, because in Judea where He had been teaching, the Pharisees for envy and jealousy sought to kill Him. In Phoenicia He gave in to the entreaties of a Gentile, a Canaanite, who persevered in asking Him to cure her daughter.
In Galilee Jesus cured a deaf-and-dumb man, using signs that the Church has adopted in its baptismal ceremonies; he performed the miracle of the second multiplication of the,loaves. On Mount Thabor He was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John. Among other cures were those of the ten lepers, and the man blind from birth. He promised the primacy over all to Peter, paid the tribute to Caesar, forgave the woman caught in adultery, sent out his seventy-two disciples on a mission, called the rich young man, instructed Mary and Martha, and was the guest of Zacheus. He told the parables of the unmerciful servant, the Good Samaritan, the lost sheep, the lost groat, the greater supper, the unjust steward, the prodigal son, Dives and Lazarus, the Pharisee and the publican, the laborers in the vineyard.
Finally, at the end of His public life, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. By this time the envy of the Pharisees was so great that they determined to bring about the death of Jesus; Judas came as a ready tool.
Magdalen anointed Our Lord, as He said, for His burial. He entered Jerusalem in triumph riding on an ass, with children waving palms and singing. He told the parable of the husbandmen and the heir, to show the Pharisees that He knew of their designs against Him. And last of all, He ate the Last Supper with His Apostles, there instituting the Holy Eucharist.
What was Chrisfs aim in His public life? –Christ’s aim in His public life was to teach what God requires all to believe and practice, so that all may enter the kingdom of heaven.
For this purpose He gathered some seventy-two disciples, and from them chose twelve Apostles, to whom He gave special instruction and training. By them He established His Church, which was to carry on His work after His death, to continue teaching what He had openly and publicly taught.
He spoke to large crowds, sometimes numbering four or five thousand people, as when He multiplied the loaves and fishes. Christ taught in the simplest manner, so that all might understand without difficulty. He used plain, homely words. He often used signs and parables, and illustrated His meaning by examples from nature and common life.
In the doctrines He taught, a leading idea is: “Seek first the kingdom of God.”
He taught a new rule of faith, and gave new commandments. He taught the precept of love, even for our enemies. He revealed certain mysteries: such as those of the Blessed Trinity, of His own divinity, of the Last judgment. He instituted the seven sacraments.
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!