January 30, 2014
Catholic principles and American renewal
By Archbishop José H. Gomez *

By Archbishop José H. Gomez *

This is the time of year when our political leaders give their assessments about where we stand or the “state of things.”

Last week, Governor Brown delivered his “state of the state” report for California. And as I write, President Obama is preparing to deliver his State of the Union address.

It is clear that we are living in changing times. Our politics, economics and culture — even our morality and our ideas about human nature and the meaning of life — seem to be in a state of transition.

As Catholic citizens, we have a duty to be engaged in the ongoing political and cultural conversations about where we’re at and where we’re heading as a nation.

The challenge we have, living in this highly secularized and “politicized” society, is to really think and really live as Catholics. We have to struggle against the temptation of seeing things only in political categories of “left” vs. “right” or “liberal” vs. “conservative.” As Catholics, our positions on issues should be rooted in the principles we find in the Gospel and in the Church’s social teachings.

This is easier to say than it is to do. But our society urgently needs the Church’s alternative vision.

The Church’s social teaching gives us a beautiful vision for human life and human society. In the Catholic vision, society and government exist to serve the human person — who is more than the sum of his or her physical desires and needs; who is a creature of body and soul, made by God and for God, with a transcendent destiny.

In the Catholic vision, government has a positive role. So do the free enterprise system and the basic civic institutions of a free society — churches, charities, the family, volunteer organizations.

Our Catholic faith calls us to seek a society where people are free to live out their religious beliefs and pursue their aspirations. We are called to work for an economy where the goods of creation are widely shared and everyone has what they need to lead a dignified life.

We are called to work for a culture that promotes marriage, the family, and the formation of children; a culture that promotes a vision of life guided by moral virtues, generosity, selfless love and the higher values of beauty and truth.

And we should be seeking a government that promotes fairness, opportunity and justice; and policies that welcome the unborn and the immigrant and protect and care for the sick, the aged and the hurting.

This is the noble vision that is detailed in the Compendium of the Catholic Social Doctrine of the Church, which I urge everyone to read and study.

Of course, our challenge is how to apply these principles to our own realities.

Right now in our society, we are increasingly aware of growing numbers of our brothers and sisters who are living in poverty.

The poverty of our times has many sad faces. It is women and men who spend hours every day riding the bus to get to jobs that don’t pay enough to feed their families. It is people who are out of work and have had no work for a long time. For too many in our society, the face of poverty is the face of a little boy or a little girl.

Our politicians have started talking a lot about “economic inequality.” And it is true that our wealthiest neighbors are getting wealthier while our poorest neighbors are finding it harder to break out of poverty and into the middle class. What’s causing this gap to widen between the rich and the poor is hard to understand. There are no simple answers and no simple solutions.

As Catholics, we need to be involved in these conversations about how to grow the middle class and help people out of poverty. And we need to be involved, not as liberals or conservatives, but as Catholics. We need to keep studying these issues and praying about them from the perspective of the Gospel and our social teaching.

So this week, let’s pray for one another and let’s pray for our state and our nation. Let’s commit ourselves to getting more involved in our parishes, our neighborhoods and communities.

And may our Blessed Mother Mary intercede for us, that we might all have hearts open to the needs of the poor and the vulnerable in our society.

Posted with permission from The Tidings, official publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Most Rev. José H. Gomez is the Archbishop of Los Angeles, California.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: