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“Ask a Priest: What Should I Think After All the Recent Turmoil?”
Q: In this time and age, how do you find a balance between politics and faith? How are we Catholics supposed to respond to everything that is happening, and where are we supposed to stand? Frequently I see many people around me worshipping Trump rather than God, and it gives me discomfort but also even more confusion on what I am supposed to be doing and responding to all that our world is seeing right now. – M.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It’s good that you are concerned about how to live as a Catholic in this tumultuous age.
First, it’s good to remember that the Church doesn’t endorse any particular political leader or party. The Church looks for the spiritual and temporal well-being of everyone. But it isn’t a partisan group.
So, don’t feel as though you are required to support one political leader or another. You can make your own decision, but the Church doesn’t mandate whom to pick.
Second, worship belongs to God alone. People who put a political leader ahead of God are not doing the right thing.
Third, there is no justification for the kind of violence that happened recently in Washington, D.C. This principle doesn’t just apply to what happened at the Capitol. It applies to all the riots that occurred around the country last year. So, this isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a basic human issue.
As Catholics we are called to be good citizens, to obey the laws, to respect others, to work for unity and peace within our communities and nation. There was nothing Catholic about people storming the halls of Congress and wreaking havoc.
This nation obviously has many problems — abortion, pornography, drugs, consumerism, forgetfulness of God. We are called to do what we can to change things, but peacefully.
What would be good is to pray for all our leaders. Remember, there is someone lurking in the background who is trying to destroy all of us — the devil. The more disunity he can cause, the happier he is.
So, it would be good to pray for unity for the nation. We have to live with one another, and ideally, we should be helping one another get to heaven, with God’s grace.
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I’m concerned by the fact that when we speak of politics we tend to put many things on an equal footing, so to speak. We say I like Trump or I like Biden, I approve of this tax-related policy or illegal immigration policy – or I don’t agree with him on that. And so forth, a litany of issues that, from a spiritual perspective are, imo, sort of mundane. But we forget that as a nation we allow, and even support, the senseless slaughter of about 1 million babies every year, mostly on the altar of “if I kill my baby now, my life will be a little better later…” Much more than Herod ever did back then. Why isn’t this gigantic issue always right front and center in our thinking when we cast our votes or decide how to spend some extra money? Isn’t God going to ask us how we handled this mayhem while we were active on Earth? Take a look again at Matthew 25:31-46, remember the message here.