In Moral Matters, the Church Has a Right to Intervene in Temporal Society

December 30, 2013

Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII plotting a way to procuring Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Painting by Sir John Gilbert.

Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII plotting a way in procuring Henry’s divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon. Painting by Sir John Gilbert.

[T]he Church clearly recognizes as proper to the temporal sphere an enormous range of activities and customs that belong to the natural development of man in society. Among these are the functions of government, the juridical order, the common defense, the mechanics of economy, and the general welfare of the nation. In all matters purely temporal, the jurisdiction of the State over its citizens is supreme.

"laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason...the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons (July 31, 2003). This document was signed by the Congregation’s Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato.

“laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason…the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.” Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons (July 31, 2003). This document was signed by the Congregation’s Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato.

Yet in moral matters where sin is involved, the Church affirms Her right to intervene in temporal affairs. It is proper for the Church to speak out against injustice and immorality, which is detrimental to all in society. She also engages in charitable activities and works of mercy to alleviate suffering, especially among the poor.

In addition, we must recognize that some activities are shared by both spheres since they involve moral acts that affect both sanctification and the temporal common good. It is inevitable that they should have mutual relations in the juridical order. It is, for example, to the benefit of both societies that the institution of the family be safeguarded. It is natural that in these shared areas the two spheres should work together. Contrary to the modern liberal doctrine, there should be bridges of cooperation instead of Iron Curtains of separation between the two.

 

 

John Horvat II, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go (York, Penn.: York Press, 2013), 215-6.

 

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