Our True Citizenship: Heaven

Yesterday’s Gospel has one of the most familiar refrains in all of scripture — “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (The whole Gospel can be found here.)

I thought you might be interested in my homily from yesterday’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Here is an excerpt:

Jesus tackles a most neuralgic issue for a person of faith: if we believe God is the supreme governor of the universe, the definitive lawgiver — as we indeed do; — and, if we believe that, to borrow the words of St. Paul, “we have here no lasting city,” but, rather, “have our true citizenship in heaven”; if we have given our allegiance to the One who told Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world”; — well, then, how does the person of faith approach what we might call our worldly, our temporal, our political, our civic duties?

Thorny moral question indeed. Jesus tells us, “Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but to God what belongs to God”; and for 2000 years we, His followers, have been struggling to keep that delicate balance.

Jesus and His Church, of course, have always encouraged us to be “in the world but not of it,” so, political responsibility, faithful citizenship, is a duty, a virtue . . .

You can read the entire homily here. An audio clip of the homily is now online here.

5 Responses to “Our True Citizenship: Heaven”

  1. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    So an unchanging God changed. While we have the modern version of religious liberty in the following 2 quotes it seems things were much differant when former Popes and Saints spoke on the same issue. I wonder if the censors here will allow a comparison. Naaaah!

    But read the errors anyway and note why we are in the condition we are in today:

    Archbishop Dolan “While we praise God for the blessing of religious liberty and thank God for the privilege of citizenship in a nation which lists freedom of religion the first of all rights, we cannot take it for granted!”

    As the revered Archbishop of our premier see of Baltimore, Cardinal James Gibbons, preached in a Rome still skeptical, in 1887, of American ideals such as religious liberty and distinctive spheres for Church and state . . .

    “For myself, as a citizen of the United States, without closing my eyes to our defects as a nation, I proclaim, with a deep sense of pride and gratitude, and
    in this great capitol of Christendom, that I belong to a country where the civil government holds over us the aegis of its protection without interfering in the legitimate exercise of our sublime mission as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. ”

    Now let’s see what some Popes and Saints had to say on this issue:

    Syllabus of errors #15: “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true” – CONDEMNED

    Pope Paul VI: “There is certainly no need of many words, in addressing you, to make you fully recognize by how lethal a wound the Catholic religion in France is struck by this article. For when the liberty of all “religions” is indiscriminately asserted, by this very fact truth is confounded with error and the holy and immaculate Spouse of Christ, the Church, outside of which there can be no salvation, is set on a par with the sects of heretics and with Judaic perfidy itself.

    Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos: “This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say.[21] When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin.

    Pope Pius XI, Quanta Cura: “For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of “naturalism,” as they call it, dare to teach that “the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.”

    Pope Leo XIII, Libertas: “19. To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none. But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. … And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain EXTERIOR NOTES, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.”

    Pope Leo XIII, Libertas: “If when men discuss the question of liberty they were careful to grasp its true and legitimate meaning, such as reason and reasoning have just explained, they would never venture to affix such a calumny on the Church as to assert that she is the foe of individual and public liberty. But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, “I will not serve”; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.”

    And finally:

    St. John Eudes: “The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness….”.

    We are being devoured brutally Archbishop. And the wolves are among us.

  2. Gary Miller says:

    In this Tribulation we currently are in, I compare Mt. 22:15-22 to Rom.13:1-7 to find direction of fair taxes. To me, Christ’s view of the coin and his statement were saying that tithing was for God and taxes were for government. Now we have politicians, who say they do the work of God, yet they try to use the above scripture, setting a tax rate lower than tithing, to line the pockets of the rich. The two are separate and distinct. Exploiting scripture for greed is an abomination. Further, Rom. 13:1-7 says: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” yet, the sanity check is how well that works in the times of Lk 20:45-47, Lk 21:1-4, and 2Tim3:1-9. Both sides of the political aisle have lost their moral compass and in both cases we are judged by our deeds. Based on my previous rhetoric, if Christ returned today, depending on someone’s political views he could be seen as a Messiah or a pariah.

    Have a Blessed Day, Archbishop Dolan

  3. Gary Miller says:

    In this Tribulation we currently are in, I compare Mt. 22:15-22 to Rom.13:1-7 to find direction of fair taxes. To me, Christ’s view of the coin and his statement were saying that tithing was for God and taxes were for government. Now we have politicians, who say they do the work of God, yet they try to use the above scripture, setting a tax rate lower than tithing, to line the pockets of the rich. The two are separate and distinct. Exploiting scripture for greed is an abomination. Further, Rom. 13:1-7 says: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” yet, the sanity check is how well that works in the times of Lk 20:45-47, Lk 21:1-4, and 2Tim3:1-9. Both sides of the political aisle have lost their moral compass and in both cases we are judged by our deeds. Based on my previous rhetoric, if Christ returned today, depending on someone’s political views he could be seen as a Messiah or a pariah.

    Have a Blessed Day, Archbishop Dolan

  4. Daithe de Paore says:

    “These values are strengthened: when power and authority are exercised
    in full respect for all the fundamental rights of the human person” In reading these words I can only think of all those who listened to them and hid in their hearts the shame of being sexually abused and knew the truth of how authority was exercised in the Church itself.

    Then later we read “Human-Christian values triumph when any system is reformed that authorized
    the exploitation of any human being”, I ask you to whom do these words hark to?.Archbishop Dolan you previously spoke of wanting to hit a layman because he saw you as a coverer for pedophiles.Your emotions were very human ones but I wonder how do you fell towards Bishop Finn now knowing of his actions?.

  5. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Apologies are in order and I DO apologioze Your Excellency. I wrote a piece on religious liberty with the intent of recognizing something other than what you meant.

    I believe you meant religious liberty as opposed to when a government mandates that a religious group go against its laws and commandments.

    I took it to mean religious liberty in man’s choice of religions.

    When a governement mandates that a religious group go against its central core of beliefs I agree with you 100% that this should be fought tooth and nail by all of the fatithful.

    We have your back Your Excellency. Keep fighting the “good fight.”