Friday, January 17, 2003


VATICAN, Jan 16, 03 ( -- In a strongly worded new document on the political responsibilities of the Catholic faithful, the Vatican has emphasized that believers can never legitimately give their support to policies that violate fundamental moral principles or the natural law.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has released a 15-page "note" on civic responsibilities, addressed especially to Catholics engaged in public life. The document, entitled "On Some Questions
Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life," is signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of that Congregation. It was made public on January 16 with the approval of Pope John Paul II.
The Note stresses that Catholic citizens are free to follow their own judgment on political issues, and that the Church does not become involved in partisan politics. At the same time, the Congregation notes, a faithful Catholic cannot support initiatives that violate the dignity of human life; nor can a Catholic in good conscience support a political initiative, party, or movement that is incompatible with the moral teachings of the Church.

This is a case where I wonder if the Vatican really means what it is saying or it is, rather, setting up an ideal to strive for. No credible political party, probably on the face of the earth, can represent moral norms in all its fullness.

I also wonder what the Holy See's take on "give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and give to God what is God's."

Another question is in regard to the common good. is it always the case that the Church's position reflects the common good? Oen to think about is the school vouchers issue. The common good is not in mind but rather the advancement of the Catholic educational system. The truth is that hope for public education lies in public schools. While private schools play an important role, they could never develop the capacity to educate the nation's students. So in the interest of the common good, wouldn't it be best to shore up as much as possible the public system as a priority before shoring up private schools?

Different topic: I predict that the lions fire current coach and hire Steve Mariucci.

My new favorite commercial is for some kind of chapstick, where the mafia boss is sitting at his desk with another guy and he goes, "Jimmy, you have insulted me, this is no good for a man. (He reaches into his pocket, the other guy flinches expecting a gun, but instead he pulls out a chapstick). Here Jimmy . . . goes not clear without a gloss for full protection, and I know about protection . . ." I find the calm tome and serious ambiance regarding chapstick very funny. So until I find the Ivory Toad, I'll stick to this chapstick.


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