In the spirit of the upcoming Independence Day weekend, John Morales welcomed Father James Kubicki onto Morning Air to talk about patriotism, our Catholic responsibility, and where the two intersect.
“Father Kubicki, can you explain to us the Catholic Church’s teachings on citizenship and what patriotism is really all about?”
Father Kubicki said that whenever people ask about what the Church’s stance or teaching is on a particular topic, he likes to refer them back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). While it’s a thick book that might be difficult to navigate, it’s a comprehensive compilation of the Church’s stance on every moral issue.
As for a perspective on patriotism and citizenship, Father Kubicki encourages people to first look at Section 2 of Part 3 of the CCC, the section that covers the Ten Commandments. The first three commandments have to do with our duties toward God. We are not to use His name in vain, we are to keep holy the Lord’s Day, and we are not to put anything or anyone before God. The Fourth Commandment says that we must honor our parents or guardians.
The last six commandments have to do with our duties toward our neighbors. Our neighbors are not just the people who live next to us or the people in our lives who we get along with. Our neighbors are everybody else in the world. As Catholics and as citizens of our respective countries, we have certain duties to others and authorities.
“This is #2240,” said Father Kubicki. “It says ‘Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country.’ This is pretty significant because so often we want to shirk our responsibility of paying taxes and so often people don’t exercise the right to vote.”
This is an explicit explanation of the Church’s stance on citizenship. We have duties, we owe allegiance to our country, and we should be ready and willing to participate in its advancement.
John pointed to a similar passage from Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 in which he urges the Church to pray, petition, and offer thanksgiving for everyone, especially authority figures like kings and politicians. So often, the word “supporter” gets thrown around in political conversations asking about a party or a particular candidate. But in reality, support should be for everyone in a position of power in our country. Support is the encouragement, hope, and prayer for somebody to do the right thing, the good thing, and to bring peace and prosperity to their domain. Don’t we wish that for leaders?
The devil loves it when we turn on our own and resort to in-fighting and pointing the finger. Instead, we need to turn our impulsive anger and frustration into prayer; prayer for our leaders that they see the light and orient their decisions to align with God’s will.
We would do well to remember that this 4th of July, it’s not about expressing how much better our country is or the “My country, right or wrong” attitude. It’s about recognizing the blessings that God has given to us and our country, even amidst all of the conflict and the suffering and the evil.
In October of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln instituted the official Thanksgiving holiday in the middle of the Civil War! Even while this nation was tearing itself apart over a controversial issue, he attempted to bring unity to the people, something we so desperately need and a situation we can certainly relate to.
This weekend, as you gather with family and friends, offer a prayer of adoration for God’s greatness, a prayer of petition for our leaders, and a prayer of thanksgiving for your blessings.
God Bless America.
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