Church and State
Church and State
We often hear people talking about this idea of Church and State. I hear it in main stream media, I hear it when people are talking about politics, morality, and marriage…The common belief seems to be that Church and State are to be completely separate from one another. That’s not the case at all actually ! In fact, It’s the State that is supposed to stay out of the Church, not the other way around. I have tried to explain this to some secular friends on occasion and I usually get looked at like have 3 heads. In a perfect sort of World one would hope that the Church and State would compliment one another, but that is not usually the case unfortunately. More and more with less Catholics in the pews, and the rampant increase in secularism and moral relativism, the Church and State are in direct opposition to one another.
We need to look at the FACTS! The Church was founded by God, and the State is a man made. The Church’s job deals with the Eternal Salvation of mankind, and the State deals with temporal issues. This must be understood ; The Church’s authority comes from GOD and ALWAYS SUPERCEDES the authority of the State.
Obedience to Legitimate Authority
Since Apostolic times the Church has always commanded the faithful to follow and obey the civil authority. The civil authority gets its authority indirectly from God. Remember when Pilate was speaking to Jesus here in John 19: Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. We also see St Paul in his Letter to the Roman in chapter 13: Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. So we see here from Holy Scripture that as Catholics we are to follow the laws of the civil authorities and to respect them also.
That being said, the Church is the moral authority, not the State, and the Church reserves the right to pass judgement on the justice of civil laws. What I am about to type is VERY IMPORTANT so TAKE NOTE : In conscience, a Christian may not obey a civil law that his conscience, enlightened by faith, tells him or her is contrary to the law of God!
This should bring to mind the many battles that faithful Shepherds are waging with the secular powers in the times that we live in now. Take a look at the Western World, especially in Canada and the US ; there is so-called same sex “marriage,” divorce (by the way, Catholics cannot divorce, it is a civil fabrication), the right to proper Catholic education, the sanctity of unborn human life, contraception, parents rights, and end of life issues like euthanasia, which is actually murder. We as Catholics, or any people of good conscience for that matter, should resist these laws ; they are unjust and go against God’s Divine Law. These laws are opposed to the dignity and respect due to human persons and life and are not binding in conscience. I urge you to NOT compromise with such laws. We must resist these unjust laws peacefully, but with zeal! So many souls are at stake.
We need to look at three amazing Saints who loved God and their country, but were unwilling to compromise their God given rights. Two of these Saints are St Thomas a Becket and Saint John Fisher. They defended the Laws of their Church and paid the price with their lives! They chose God over compromise! Today, we need more Saints like these. Another Saint that we can look to today is St Thomas More. This bit copied from wiki about St Thomas More : Thomas More ” was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was also a councillor to Henry VIII, and Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532.
More opposed the Protestant Reformation, in particular the theology of Martin Luther and William Tyndale. He also wrote Utopia, published in 1516, about the political system of an ideal and imaginary island nation. More opposed the King’s separation from the Catholic Church, refusing to acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the Church of England and refusing to acknowledge Henry’s annulment from Catherine of Aragon. Tried for treason for not taking the Oath of Supremacy, More was convicted and beheaded.
Pope Pius XI canonised More in 1935 as a martyr of the schism that separated the Church of England from Rome; Pope John Paul II in 2000 declared him the “heavenly Patron of Statesmen and Politicians. ” It must be stated that St Thomas More’s last words before he was executed were ” the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” Let those be our words as well !
May Almighty God Bless us and protect us from the World, the devil, and ourselves!