The Pope and Politics

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

For centuries, Catholic popes have played a significant role in politics. The pope’s positions concerning biblical issues prevail in the church, which gives it cohesiveness and direction, but how should Catholics treat the pope’s political positions?

Politics do not rest in religion but in human law, experience, reason and science. We call it political science. But when the pope speaks with spiritual authority on political issues, Catholics who see his positions as infallible may lay aside reason and adopt the pope’s political positions as religious ideology. This approach to politics is dangerous to liberty.

American history reveals that our states and nation were founded in the natural sciences of human nature. Though the scientific approach to politics has taken much time to develop, liberty has continually improved by rejecting religious tenets that conflict with what human nature and science reveal concerning natural rights and good government.

For example, most of America’s religious leaders during the 17th and 18th centuries rejected the dark-ages interpretation of Romans chapter 13 (through which governments enslaved people) and interpreted the Bible as supporting man’s natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and of dissolving harmful political bands. America celebrates their endeavors in this regard every July 4th.

Do liberty a favor: when religious leaders advocate political positions, test their positions with the scientific formulas humans have developed over thousands of years.

By Joe Carbonari

All hail the pope! Francis has done us a good turn. He has brought our minds and our souls together. He has made us think. Many of us. Some find his message reinforcing, others are made uncomfortable. Uncomfortable Catholics can blame it on the pope. He said it; I believe it…a short-cut in thought.

If it is good, God-like, to protect those most closely around us, in ever-widening circles, and the Earth that we live on, how can we not take seriously the possibility that we are advancing major death and destruction?

If the majority, by far, of the minds that concentrate thought on the possibility of human contribution to global warming feel that it is an accurate description of what is currently taking place, that it fits what we are seeing, then it would be not good, un-Godlike, to ignore it.

To some, Francis represents our best selves, our godliness/goodness, inviting not just Catholics, but all of us, to recognize that we have a responsibility, born both of mind and soul, to work for God/good.

We must also share work, gain, and pain. Human Nature demands it. Share, or we revolt. It’s basic.

Pope Francis will be visiting the U.S. just before our next presidential election. He will share his thoughts. There will be talk among us. We will vote. This is good.

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