"We need to be very forceful in clarifying what the words in our political vocabulary really mean. Words are important because they shape our thinking, and our thinking drives our actions. When we subvert the meaning of words like 'the common good' or 'conscience' or 'community' or 'family,' we undermine the language that sustains our thinking about the law. Dishonest language leads to dishonest debate and bad laws."
"Here's an example. We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty – these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it's never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square – peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation."
"The 'separation of Church and state' does not mean – and it can never mean – separating our Catholic faith from our public witness, our political choices and our political actions. That kind of separation would require Christians to deny who we are; to repudiate Jesus when he commands us to be 'leaven in the world' and to 'make disciples of all nations.' That kind of radical separation steals the moral content of a society. It's the equivalent of telling a married man that he can't act married in public. Of course, he can certainly do that, but he won't stay married for long."
"Anyone who hasn't noticed the despair in the world should probably go back to sleep. The word 'hope' on a campaign poster may give us a little thrill of righteousness, but the world will still be a wreck when the drug wears off. We can only attain hope through truth. And what that means is this: From the moment Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life,' the most important political statement anyone can make is 'Jesus Christ is Lord.'"
You can read Bishop Charles J. Chaput's entire address, "Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Political Vocation," here.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian