The College of Bishops in union with the Holy Father gather for the Second Vatican Council calling the laity to engage the world and bring the love of Christ and His moral and ethical teachings to the world as the Church understands those divinely revealed teachings. Are we successful in obeying the Council or are we betraying Vatican II? Archbishop Chaput reports, you decide!
One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council was that it asked the laity to be engaged in the life of the world in order to bring the love of Christ and the moral and ethical principles of Christ to the world as the Church teaches these. Archbishop Chaput acknowledges that there are more Catholics today in the USA involved in the political life of our great country.
He declares, “more Catholics in national public office” than there ever have been in American history.
“But,” he continued, “I wonder if we’ve ever had fewer of them who can coherently explain how their faith informs their work, or who even feel obligated to try. The life of our country is no more ‘Catholic’ or ‘Christian’ than it was 100 years ago. In fact it’s arguably less so.”
One of the reasons why this problem exists, he explained, is that too many Christian individuals, Protestant and Catholic alike, live their faith as if it were “private idiosyncrasy” which they try to prevent from becoming a “public nuisance.”
“And too many just don’t really believe,” he added.
Perhaps we've spent too much time getting the laity involved in "churchy" type ministries, training them for this and blurring the distinction between the priesthood of the ordained and the priesthood of all the baptized. The priesthood of all the baptized belongs in the market place primarily. We haven't trained them too well in this regard! And that is sad and truly opposed to Vatican II!
This excerpt from CNA and EWTN News:
In light of this separation of religion from the public sphere, “What would a proper Christian approach to politics look like?” the archbishop queried.
Drawing on St. Augustine and several theologians, Archbishop Chaput answered, “Christianity is not mainly – or even significantly – about politics. It’s about living and sharing the love of God. And Christian political engagement, when it happens, is never mainly the task of the clergy.”
“That work belongs to lay believers who live most intensely in the world,” he asserted.
“Christian faith is not a set of ethics or doctrines. It’s not a group of theories about social and economic justice. All these things have their place. All of them can be important. But a Christian life begins in a relationship with Jesus Christ; and it bears fruit in the justice, mercy and love we show to others because of that relationship.” This fundamental relationship then informs how we involve ourselves in public life, he explained.
“As I was preparing these comments for tonight,” he added, “I listed all the urgent issues that demand our attention as believers: abortion; immigration; our obligations to the poor, the elderly and the disabled; questions of war and peace; our national confusion about sexual identity and human nature, and the attacks on marriage and family life that flow from this confusion; the growing disconnection of our science and technology from real moral reflection; the erosion of freedom of conscience in our national health-care debates; the content and quality of the schools that form our children.”
Because of the immensity of these issues, the Denver archbishop stressed that Christians need to united in their societal involvement. “The vocation of Christians in American public life does not have a Baptist or Catholic or Greek Orthodox or any other brand-specific label. Our job is to love God, preach Jesus Christ, serve and defend God’s people, and sanctify the world as his agents. To do that work, we need to be one. Not ‘one’ in pious words or good intentions, but really one, perfectly one, in mind and heart and action, as Christ intended,” he said.
Archbishop Chaput concluded his remarks by saying that “We live in a country that was once – despite its sins and flaws – deeply shaped by Christian faith. It can be so again. But we will do that together, or we won’t do it at all.”
“We need to remember the words of St. Hilary from so long ago: Unum sunt, qui invicem sunt. ‘They are one, who are wholly for each other.’ May God grant us the grace to love each other, support each other and live wholly for each other in Jesus Christ – so that we might work together in renewing the nation that has served human freedom so well.”