Should religion and politics mix? Should priests speak on politics? Let’s be clear. Priests are not permitted to run for public office, and clergy are not permitted to endorse a particular candidate or seek to influence people’s votes for particular parties.
However, it is part of the duty of the clergy to inform the faithful on the moral issues the populace are facing. It is the duty of the clergy to warn the faithful not to support immoral causes. It seems strange to me when I hear people tell me to shut up and not speak out on politics. The church should stay out of politics period.
When the Nazis came to take away the Jews and gypsies and homosexuals was it okay then for the Catholic clergy to speak out or would it have been better for the church to ‘stay out of politics’? When the Catholic people, with the encouragement of their clergy rose up to overthrow the corrupt Marcos regime in the Philippines should the clergy have stayed out of politics? When the Catholic clergy along with the people rose up to overthrow the Communist regime in Poland should the clergy have stayed out of politics? No. All Catholics, including clergy are to be involved in the fight for justice, peace and life.
What we are not to do is to get involved in the ways of this world. We stand outside the political process. We stand outside the ways of force, revolution and military struggle. We stand outside the political system, but we must speak up and stay involved.
What are my own politics? It doesn’t matter. As a Catholic priest I stand up first of all for life. I defend human life from womb to tomb. I stand up for love and marriage and children and I defend the family and the home. I insist on a preferential option for the poor. I am against greed and injustice and servitude. I believe the rich have a responsibility to help the poor and that all men and women have a responsibility (due to their own innate dignity) to help themselves and to help one another. I am against killing. I am against war. I am against the rape and pillage of our beautiful natural resources.
This is simply the Catholic faith, and it means that I am disappointed with all the politicians and all their parties. Too often those on the right support an economic system that encourages greed and irresponsibility and neglect of the poor. Too often they are bellicose, warlike and frighteningly nationalistic. Too often those on the left support an economic system that encourages complacency, envy, greed and a sense of entitlement. Too often the left, in the name of freedom encourages license, immorality and depravity.
Republican or Democrat? A plague on both your houses. I’m not for politics. I’m for morality. I’m don’t think government has the answer. I think individuals have the answer. I don’t think the solutions are in power and politics and prosperity, but in prayer and sacrifice and personal virtue.