Separation of Church and State Allows Blurring of Good and Evil

Meditation on the Credo

Homily January 2009 at St. Hedwig's Catholic Church, Barry's Bay, ON
(Deacon Jean-Nil Chabot)

I’ve been thinking about the Creed, this week. Each day, at the beginning of the Rosary, and each Sunday and solemnities, we pronounce the articles of the Creed; we profess that we believe in God the Father who created the universe and gave it its laws, in God the Son who redeemed us from eternal death, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us through the Church. Then, I realized how important the Creed is for the Christian world in “this most critical time” as the prayer says it. There is no chance for renewal, no beneficial social reform in the world without at least a tacit acknowledgement of these truths contained in the Creed.

There is an understanding now, in the western world, that because the end or purpose of the State is different from that of the Church, the two must be completely separated as if there were a chasm between them. There are even some sincere Christians who are led to believe that this is what Christ meant when he said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” True, Caesar, or the State, has its own purpose, which is to rule over temporal things, but God rules over everything, including Caesar himself. When it comes to moral issues, which relate to God’s law, the Church has the right and duty to judge Caesar’s actions and declare them right or wrong. There is a distinction between Church and State, but in the moral order the Church is the institution chosen by Christ to teach that which belongs to God, who is the ruler over all.

Belief in the radical separation of Church and State allows the powerful to speak out of both sides of their mouths. A leader who has climbed to the top of the political ladder in his country can profess to be Christian and yet produce policy after policy which, in the moral order, is categorically anti-Christian. From one side of his mouth comes the promise to defend the weakest and most defenseless members of society. On the other side comes the promise to give free rein to the murder of those still in the womb. From the one side comes a commitment to the family, on the other the commitment to its destruction by redefining marriage in order to legalize same-sex unions.

The citizens of his country, our own country or any other, should not be deceived into believing that such changes can produce the better world which is promised to them. Jesus foretold that “false messiahs would appear and would perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.” As far as I’m concerned, the kind of enthusiasm that was manifested throughout the world, earlier this week, could qualify as one of these wonders. However, our Lord said we would recognize them by their fruits. Whatever other reasons may attract us to such leaders, their charism in particular, let us not be fooled – let us look at their voting records and see if it indicated good fruit or decaying fruit. Let us see if they are divided within themselves, with one part professing the good and the other professing the evil.

We believe in God the Creator, God the Redeemer and God the sanctifier. Three in one: distinct, but united as one. With God, the only separation is from evil. All good is from God, all evil opposes Him. We cannot trust those leaders who separate Church and State in order to remove the opposition between good and evil and include them both without distinction, in one political agenda. Our hope is not in such men, but in God who rules over all. If we turn back to Him, He will call humble and holy men to lead us. Only then will we deserve that justice and the common good to be established in this world. Already the victory has been obtained for us through the merits of Christ who died for us – what is left to be accomplished, is for the world to claim that victory by returning to God. Then we will be able sing today’s Psalm, Psalm 85, with thankful hearts.

Psalm 85 'A prayer for God's grace to assist us to the end'
1. Incline thine ear O Lord, and hear me: for I am needy and poor.
2. Preserve my soul, for I am holy: save thy servant, O Lord my God, that trusteth in thee.
3. Have mercy on me , O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day.
4. Give joy to the soul of thy servant, for to thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.
5. For thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild: amd plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.
6. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer: and attend to the voice of my petition.
17. Show me a token for good: that they who hate me may see, and be confounded, because thou, O Lord, hast helped and comforted me.

1 comment:

Sarah Reinhard said...

Thank you for sharing this homily in a post! I was very moved.