Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18th Mt. 22: 15-21 Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Question: How clear is our discernment regarding what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?
Part 1: Religious Dimension to Life by Fr. Paul de Ladurantaye
Part 2: THE FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES AND VOTING by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
“Every individual has a profound religious dimension to his or her life.” By Fr. Paul de Ladurantaye
The Gospel scenes of the past few weeks have shown us Jesus in conflict with the religious leaders of His people over their failure to accept Him as the Messiah. Now, in this week’s Gospel, Our Lord’s opponents go on the attack. They hope to discredit Him in the eyes of the people by laying a trap for Him with their question, “Is it lawful to pay tax to the emperor or not?”
At a time when the emperor was worshiped as a god, many believed that payment of taxes amounted to idolatry. If Jesus said it was lawful to pay the tax, He would seem to be allowing insult to God. If Jesus said it was not lawful to pay the tax, He would be reported to the Roman officials for treason. Christ, however, gives His opponents a profound response, which goes far beyond a simple “yes” or “no.” He tells them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s.”
What Our Lord is reminding us is that, as citizens, we have an obligation to render to the state whatever material and personal services are required for the common good of society. Christians are called upon to obey the just laws of the state, to vote for those who seek public office, to participate as well as we can in the political and social life of the community.
At the same time, the Lord makes it clear that we are citizens not only of the state but also of the Kingdom of God (“give to God what is God’s”). The state does not enjoy absolute power and dominion. Civil authorities are obliged to act with justice in the distribution of goods and services. They must serve the common good without looking for personal gain. They have to legislate and govern with the greatest respect for the natural law and the rights of people. This includes the protection of life from the moment of conception until natural death, the defense of marriage and the family, ensuring religious liberty, and safeguarding the rights of parents regarding the education of their children.
Jesus recognized the rights that the civil power enjoys but He also stated that we have to respect the rights of God. Human activity cannot be reduced to strictly social and political spheres of action. Every individual has a profound religious dimension to his or her life. Whenever we engage in public affairs, we cannot behave as if this religious dimension were reserved only for church on Sunday. Christians, on the contrary, are challenged to be light and salt in the midst of the world. We are called to transform the environments in which we live so as to make them more human.
When it comes to fundamental questions of social morality, we should be fully aware of the fact that our faith serves as a powerful light illuminating the whole of life. The teachings of God and His Church are not an obstacle to human welfare or scientific progress. They are, rather, a sure guide for authentic growth and development.
When, for example, we uphold the indissolubility of marriage, we are showing the way to guaranteeing the health of society. When we defend the sanctity and dignity of human life in the face of abortion, euthanasia, or techniques that treat human beings as mere objects, we are promoting a civilization of love. When we act with the firm conviction that the Church’s teachings are the only source capable of filling our modern age’s terrible religious and moral void, we show ourselves to be true children of God and followers of the Lord Jesus.
In spite of all social pressures and propaganda to the contrary, every Christian should imitate Christ the Lord, who was described by His opponents in this way: “You court no one’s favor and do not act out of human respect.” As we recognize and fulfill both our civic obligations and our religious ones, we will find ourselves living a coherent and consistent life. Then we will be able to do as Jesus demands: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s.”
(Father Paul F. de Ladurantaye, Executive Director of the St. Thomas More Institute and Diocesan Secretary for Catechetics and Sacred Liturgy, has been appointed to the English section of the Vatican Secretariat of State for five years beginning Sept. 1, 2018)
THE FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES AND VOTING by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
As the most critical day of the Presidential election quickly approaches the first week of November, we must have clear, Catholic-Christian convictions in casting our votes.
As priest, it is not my duty to suggest any political party whatsoever. This is not my responsibility. However, speaking out on the morality of politics and what should motivate our choice of elected officials is the duty of the priest.
Therefore, in this short article, we would like to highlight five basic criteria as a guide to help all of us to cast our vote and exercise our civic duty and responsibility. The five basic criteria can be defined as the Five Non-negotiables for Catholic-Christian Voting.
By the terminology, the Five Non-negotiables for Catholic-Christian Voting, is meant the following: some decisions and actions are intrinsically evil. That is to say, the very essence of their being is wrong, immoral, sinful, and displeasing to God, the Author and Determiner of all that is good.
This being said, strive to be informed on these key issues. As a reference tool you might consult the Pro-life website: “Priestsforlife.org”—the President, Fr. Frank Pavone. This superb website will serve as an invaluable source to help you cast your vote according to Catholic-Christian criteria.
Now let us present in a clear, cogent, and precise manner these Five Non-negotiables.
THE FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES FOR CATHOLIC-CHRISTIAN VOTING.
1. ABORTION. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the key moral topic of abortion is by far the most important topic in choosing elected officials. Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and has inalienable rights: that of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Human life comes from God—the origin, author, and sustainer of all life. Human life starts at the very moment of conception and has more value than the whole created universe, according to Aquinas. Check out what is each candidate’s position on abortion. None of us should be accomplices in promoting abortion, the killing of innocent human beings, by voting and supporting officials who promote murdering, worse yet, the most vulnerable, innocent and defenseless—the unborn babies in the womb.
2. EUTHANASIA. On the other side of the spectrum is that of Euthanasia. A philosophy motivated by a materialistic, hedonistic, utilitarian, erroneous system, this posits that the elderly or the terminally ill can truncate their life with lethal injections. In other words, the elderly and sick, in conjunction and collaboration with their relatives, and of course supported by the Medical Community, can decide when to end their life. Once again, we must oppose any political system and candidate who promotes the killing of the elderly and the infirm. Why? For the simple reason that God initiates life at the moment of conception in the womb of the mother and God ends life when, how, and in the manner He best sees fit. In the words of the Book of Job: “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked I return to the earth. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
3. CONTRACEPTION. The next criteria in casting our vote is that of the promotion and use of any form of artificial Contraception. In the Magisterial teaching of the Church, most specifically Saint Pope Paul VI in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Holy Pontiff teaches with utmost clarity that every conjugal act between man and woman must be open to the possibility of life. Therefore, use of any form of artificial means of contraception is intrinsically disordered—by its very nature and essence it is evil, sinful, and very displeasing to God. In fact, the first command of God in the Bible was: “Increase and multiply!” (Gen 1:28)
4. THE PRACTICE OF HOMOSEXUALITY (AND TRANSGENDERISM). Never have we lived in a world with so much information as today. However, at the same time, never have we lived in a world with so much confusion. We live in a perpetual state of “The Tower of Babel”—confusion to the max has permeated the total moral landscape. One of the key elements of confusion and error is the interpretation of the human person. God created the human person in His image and likeness. However, this must be emphasized to the highest degree possible: God created male and female, man and woman. The very first Book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis states this unequivocally, with the utmost clarity: “God created them male and female. Therefore, a man will leave his father and mother and he will be united to his wife.” (Gn.1:27; Gn.2:24) Jesus quotes this in Mt. 19:4-6: “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
If you like, God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve! The utter confusion and blurring of sexual distinction and identity is a diabolic poison that presently is spreading like wildfire. Indeed, the allowance and promotion of Homosexuality and the LGBT (Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) agenda can end up by ruining the very foundation of human society—eating away at and eventually destroying the family. The traditional family is the husband and wife (male and female) married sacramentally in the Church in mutual love and open to the procreation and formation of children.
5. ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZATION AND EMBRYONIC RESEARCH. The last of the Five Non-negotiables is that of Artificial Fertilization and Embryonic Research. By Artificial Fertilization is meant that a man donates sperm and a woman donates multiple eggs (produced through artificial hormone stimulation of her ovaries). The laboratory clinicians combine the eggs with the sperm resulting in multiple embryos (new human beings) who are nourished in the laboratory in a petri (glass) dish. Some of these zygotes (little babies) are transferred to the body of the Mother (or even a surrogate Mother) with the hope that at least one will survive, although sometimes multiple survive. The other zygotes (little babies) are stored in a super-cooled freezer in case the initial attempt fails; some of these little babies die in that process. At the same time, the Father and Mother can decide at any time to simply have them discarded or allow them to be used for Embryonic Research. Once again this is horrendous and another form of murder – the killing of the innocent.
Embryonic Research, generally referred to as Embryonic Stem Cell Research. The Church’s objection is expressed in Donum Vitae (1987) No. 4, paragraph 29:
“If the embryos are living, whether viable or not, they must be respected just like any other human person; experimentation on embryos which is not directly therapeutic is illicit.”
Furthermore, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, 1987:
“No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or fetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother’s womb.”
In 2008, the instruction Dignitas Personae was released as a supplement to address newer bio-ethical issues and technologies.
Morally speaking, the only permissible way in which a person should come into the world is through the marital embrace of husband and wife in the context of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We cannot play God by determining how life starts, when it should be ended, and the manner in which it ends. Only God has the right to bring a new human being into existence, and determine the time and the place for that person to die and face the Judgment seat of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My friends in Christ, for the love of your country, for the love of God, for the love of your children, for the love of your teens, for the love of your family, for the sake of your own eternal salvation, please take into account THE FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES in choosing the future leaders of our country, the future leaders of the world. Remember: “Every individual is created in the image and likeness of God and has inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” May we follow these guidelines and experience true happiness in this life and in Heaven for all eternity!
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA