Summary: Our responsibility is to hold these politicians’ feet to the fire, remind them of what is good, and vote godly people in to replace them if they do not.

Thursday of third week in Lent 2017

Joy of the Gospel

Teaching science, as I do every week in the school year, involves risk management. When one is teaching kids who are fifteen to eighteen years old, one has to recognize that these are children in adult bodies. Their frontal lobes, where logic plays out and decisions are made, is some 15-25% developed. So in the lab, I have to take control. In fact, the prime directive for my classes is posted all over the lab, and it looks like the first lines of our OT lesson: Do what I say, and nobody gets hurt. God’s commands are like that–they are made to protect us from ourselves, and from the influence of the evil angels. I discuss and dialogue with my students, but in the end, my rules have to prevail, or somebody will get hurt.

Our Holy Father continues in his encyclical: ‘Evangelization also involves the path of dialogue. For the Church today, three areas of dialogue stand out where she needs to be present in order to promote full human development and to pursue the common good: dialogue with states, dialogue with society – including dialogue with cultures and the sciences – and dialogue with other believers who are not part of the Catholic Church. In each case, “the Church speaks from the light which faith offers”,contributing her two thousand year experience and keeping ever in mind the life and sufferings of human beings. This light transcends human reason, yet it can also prove meaningful and enriching to those who are not believers and it stimulates reason to broaden its perspectives.

‘The Church proclaims “the Gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) and she wishes to cooperate with all national and international authorities in safeguarding this immense universal good. By preaching Jesus Christ, who is himself peace (cf. Eph 2:14), the new evangelization calls on every baptized person to be a peacemaker and a credible witness to a reconciled life.In a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter, it is time to devise a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society. The principal author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority, group or elite. We do not need plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority which claims to speak for everyone. It is about agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact.

‘It is the responsibility of the State to safeguard and promote the common good of society.[188] Based on the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, and fully committed to political dialogue and consensus building, it plays a fundamental role, one which cannot be delegated, in working for the integral development of all. This role, at present, calls for profound social humility.

‘In her dialogue with the State and with society, the Church does not have solutions for every particular issue. Together with the various sectors of society, she supports those programmes which best respond to the dignity of each person and the common good. In doing this, she proposes in a clear way the fundamental values of human life and convictions which can then find expression in political activity.’

In our next time together, we’ll continue with the dialogue with society, but just a word here about the dialogue with the State. There is a constant temptation to politicians to work, not toward what is good for the many, but what is popular. The temptation is to give the mob what they think they need. Thus irresponsible and perverse behavior leads to unintended pregnancy, by the miracle of God. But that’s inconvenient, so people–mostly fathers who don’t want to pay child support, or even grandparents who want to avoid scandal--demand abortion on demand. Venal politicians and judges give it to them. Our responsibility is to hold these politicians’ feet to the fire, remind them of what is good, and vote godly people in to replace them if they do not.

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