Catholic Public Policy

Does the Catholic Faith teach that beliefs must manifest themselves in all aspects of life, such as public policy?

  1. Can a Catholic on the SC vote for same-sex marriage as policy while “personally being against it” and be ok in the eyes of the Church?

  2. Is the true natural order of things under the laws of God the most desirable society, and therefore should Catholics promote Christendom as the guiding principle of governmental policy. Outlawing Pride Marches… All laws according to the laws of God/Natural Law, etc.

The Bible is very explicit on these types of things, like Romans 1… Is punishment for homosexual behaviors a core belief of public policy and should it be pursued?

Read the words of St. Isidore where he said that law “is composed of no private advantage, but for the common benefit of the citizens.” (Isidore, Etymologiae, 5.21, in Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae 90, article 2) Let them read St. Thomas where he says that “Law must therefore attend especially to the ordering of things toward blessedness.” (Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae 90, article 2)

Yes.

  1. No.

  2. Yes.

I’m going to say yes, but with the caveat that I have no idea what punishment in this particular question might look like.

Yes.

  1. Can a Catholic on the SC vote for same-sex marriage as policy while “personally being against it” and be ok in the eyes of the Church?

No Catholic may support same sex marriage and be ok in the eyes of God.

  1. Is the true natural order of things under the laws of God the most desirable society, and therefore should Catholics promote Christendom as the guiding principle of governmental policy. Outlawing Pride Marches… All laws according to the laws of God/Natural Law, etc.

Catholics are not required to promote “Christendom” as government policy. Being a Christian is a choice, not a matter of force. We can tolerate religious diversity as long as it is not dangerous to public safety. We must be prolife and pro-family in our public policy.

The Bible is very explicit on these types of things, like Romans 1… Is punishment for homosexual behaviors a core belief of public policy and should it be pursued?

See the above answer. Civil authority does not need to punish homosexuals or others for their private behavior.

This is what the Catechism says about the basing human laws on God’s laws:

CCC 2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ. By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live. … Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.

CCC 2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days as legal holidays. They have to…defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society.

CCC 2244 Every institution is inspired, at least implicitly, by a vision of man and his destiny, from which it derives the point of reference for its judgment, its hierarchy of values, its line of conduct. … The Church invites political authorities to measure their judgments and decisions against [the] inspired truth about God and man.

CCC 899 The initiative of lay Christians is necessary…for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church.

CCC 898 By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. … It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things…to Christ…

CCC 1979 The natural law is immutable, permanent throughout history. The rules that express it remain substantially valid. It is a necessary foundation for the erection of moral rules and civil law.

CCC 1952 There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law - the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws.

CCC 1886 Human society must primarily be considered something pertaining to the spiritual. … [Spiritual] benefits not only influence, but at the same time give aim and scope to all that has bearing on cultural expressions, economic, and social institutions, political movements and forms, laws, and all other structures by which society is outwardly established and constantly developed.


To me, the basic gist of the above is that we should work for a human society in which the Church’s doctrines and traditions are reflected in civil laws and customs. Among those doctrines is respect for freedom of conscience: “God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced.” (CCC 160)

As a result, I think a Catholic nation would be forbidden from forcing people to follow Catholic sexual morality, at least in some sense. But I think it could recognize in the law that Catholic sexual morality is true and therefore Encourage people to follow it.

It is my understanding that pornography can and should be banned in civil society: “The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially…the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.” (CCC 2211)

When I think of a so-called “pride parade,” I get a stereotypical image of a public pornographic display. If that stereotype is accurate, then I think they could legitimately be banned, or at least controlled so as not to involve public pornographic displays.

I hope that makes sense. Please let me know if it does.

We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Catholic teaching is not a simple “yes” or “no”. The Church’s teaching in the area of moral theology is rich and complex. There are principles such as that of double effect and cooperation with evil that are both relevant. However, the teaching regarding our own actions is clear: we may never do evil, even in pursuit of a good.

To ask this question is to misunderstand the role of the SC and what it does. The SC does not vote for or against anything. They are not a legislative body. The SC rules whether a given law is constitutional or not constitutional. They evaluate. It is up to the legislature to correct issues, through laws or through constitutional amendments.

No it is not Catholic teaching that the Church should manifest itself as a political system.

No.

It is certainly true that the purpose of the law is to protect citizens and promote the common good.

It is unfortunate that in this time and place, in the plural society in which we live, what is “good” has been so distorted.

It is our mission as Christians to evangelize, win hearts and minds, and always proclaim the Truth.

Thank you for this.

I agree morality cannot be coerced. Thus, what people do privately is between them and God.

However, what people do publicly is a matter of society. It wouldn’t be legitimate to allow pride parades as to do so would cause scandal in the sense that it would appear the state supports, or at least does not oppose in principle, homosexual activity. But it should, even if it does not make private acts criminal offenses. And certainly any public sex act (homosexual or not) is punishable by law.

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