Politics Cannot Save The World


There are things that politicians don’t say. For instance–“I am not
going to make you any promises of a better tomorrow. I am not going to
do much for you. I cannot promise you peace or prosperity. I am just a
man, not much better or worse than you.” The reason is that politicians
who say such things don’t win elections. Successful politicians promise
wonderful things to their constituents–often things that are not
reasonably within the potential of mankind, of a political party or of
an individual leader to deliver. Their constituents believe them, and
are loyal to them; they believe in them. For this reason, politics
always poses a danger of creating false messiahs.

History is rife with examples of political leaders rising to the
level of spiritual leaders. Consider the pharoahs of Egypt, the Emperors
of Rome or various European Kings who ruled with supposed supernatural
authority. More recently, one can cite the Emperor of Japan during
World War II or the Mullahs, Ayatollahs and Kings who rule many
Islamic nations. There seems to be an aspect of human nature that longs
for an absolute authority that is earthly, tangible and centralized.
Indeed, the Church teaches the legitimacy of such central institutions

Politics, however, not only offers leaders that may rival the authority of
Christ and His church, but it offers ideologies that can become false
gospels. Political ideologies offer a world view in which those who
adhere to that ideology represent the forces of good, and those who
oppose the ideology are evil. The battle between good and evil are
engrained in humanity as part of our spiritual DNA. We are born,
knowing that we possess a fallen nature, and are in a struggle to
regain what is rightfully ours. We recognize, as the founder of
Buddhism so succinctly put it, that “life is suffering”–this
suffering is evil, it is opposed to our nature, and we know that we
should struggle to overcome it. Mankind creates mythologies to
represent this inborn knowledge in a narrative form in order to make
sense of it. Out of the narratives rise political ideologies. Politics
translates ideas into physical action.

When the narrative is truthful, when Christianity is its context,
politics may be positive. Christianity has been the greatest force of
civilization, human rights and freedom the world has ever known. When
the narrative is false, evil political ideologies will rise. In
just the last century, we have witnessed ideologies of political evil
ravage the world– Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Radical Islam and all of
their derivatives. The Church herself warns against the consequences of
adherence to ideology above all else.(2)

America’s system of democratic, representative government and our
geographical isolation from the political struggles of Europe and Asia
have insulated us from the extremes of political ideology that have
given rise to revolutions and dictators. However, one should not be
deluded into thinking that our system of political parties is
innocuous. Although, due to their democratic nature, they represent a
diluted form of purist political ideologie, political parties offer
world views, loyalties and zeal that often rivals, even supplants
religious faith.

Political parties have leaders who often become messianic
figures. In the case of Bill Clinton, Democrats excused his bad
behavior because their political ideology and loyalty to their false
messiah supplanted truth, morality, the rule of law and religious
belief. Clinton committed perjury, “but it was just about sex.” He
committed adultery, “but the good he accomplished as president made up
for moral lapses.” Several women made credible accusations against him
of rape and sexual assault, “but they were all trailer park trash.” He
burned families alive in Waco, Texas, “but he did it for the good of
the children.” He took illegal campaign contributions and sold nuclear
secrets and technology to our enemies “but, he was the victim of a vast
right wing conspiracy.”

Republicans have their villains as well: Nixon, Packwood, Ney,
Cunningham, Delay, etc. In my role as a newspaper editor, I spent most
of last year publishing articles about a powerful Republican
congressman. He went to Congress, twelve years ago with a net worth of
just a few million dollars. Since then, he has used the power and
influence of his elected office to increase his net worth to an
estimated amount of over one hundred million dollars! He has rewarded
campaign donors with government contracts, favorable legislation and
shady loans through his banks. He even owns banks in Russia, in
partnership with former KGB bigwigs that charge 60 percent interest on loans.
His actions as congressman were unethical and immoral.

Over the course of publishing these articles, I was threatened with
lawsuits, “warned” regarding my physical safety, cursed and denigrated
by “loyal Republicans” throughout his congressional district. My
honesty and motives were disputed and my business harmed. I was called
a “liberal masquerading as a conservative”, a “Democrat operative” and
labeled “anti-Christian” for “lying about such a good Christian
Republican.” Eventually, the Wall Street Journal picked up on our
reporting and exposed the congressman to national scrutiny. He was
defeated by a pro-life Democrat last fall.

The examples of Clinton and the congressman illustrate the political
environment in which America finds itself. Simply stated, politics
trumps everything, and neither political party fully embraces or
represents the teachings of the Church.

Catholic Republicans find themselves supporting politicians who
promote the death penalty, and who are often affiliated with
anti-Catholic organizations such as the Masonic Order, the Church of
Latter Day Saints (Mormons) or Protestant leaders such as Tim LaHaye.
As author of the Left Behind series, co-founder of the Moral Majority /
Christian Coalition, husband of Beverly LaHaye who is the head of
Concerned Women for America, Tim LaHaye embraces anti-Catholic
conspiracy theories almost as radical and loony as those of the far

Catholic Democrats vote for politicians who support legislation that
is openly opposed to the teachings of the Church. Catholics who vote
for politicians who support abortion are committing grave sin, separate
themselves from the Church and should not take Communion so long as
they persist in their sin and are not reconciled with the Church.
Catholic politicians who support abortion are committing even graver
sin by publicly opposing the Church and causing scandal. Cannon Law
makes clear that priests should deny the Eucharist to politicians who
promote abortion:

Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the
imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately
persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy


Partisan politics become morally dangerous when partisanship,
ideology or loyalty to a political figure supersede adherence to the
teachings of the Church. Christian ethics, basic logic and the
Catechism of the Catholic Church make clear that any system of thought
in which a supposedly moral ends may be justified by immoral means must
be rejected outright. Logic dictates that one must have the right
inputs to achieve the right outcome. 1 + 2 cannot equal 4. The
Catechism states, in regard to such political ideologies–

The inversion of means and ends, which results in giving the value
of ultimate end to what is only a means for attaining it, or in viewing
persons as mere means to that end, engenders unjust structures which
"make Christian conduct in keeping with the commandments of the divine
Law-giver difficult and almost impossible."


So, what is the Catholic to do? How can one avoid the moral
minefield of modern politics, yet still carry out faithfully the duty
imposed by the Church? The answer is simple, even if the actualization
is very difficult. The Catholic must remember that politics cannot save
the world. Only Christ can save the world. We must work with political
institutions, and within our society. Our duty is to be “salt and

Pope John Paul II gave us the perfect example of how Catholics
should interact with politics and work for the salvation of a society.
The late Pope, in his interaction with Soviet Communism–the deadliest
political system in recorded history–did not act as a political
figure. He engaged politics, he debated politics and ideological
philosophy and he never hesitated to confront evil. But, it was not his
debating skills or arguments that brought down Soviet Communism. Pope
John Paul II loved the people who suffered under communism, he engaged
the people, he set unwavering moral examples and let his faith show in
his every action. Pope John Paul II never moderated in faith, hope and
love. He forced the most ruthless politicians in the world to meet him
on his own terms. He bypassed the politicians, and inspired the people.
He changed their hearts and minds, and they changed their culture.
Soviet Communism fell, not due to politics, but due to active Christian

As Catholics, we may have to vote for the “lesser of two evils” or
the “evil of two lessers” on occasion, to minimize harm. However, we
should eschew loyalty to any party, politician or political ideology
that threatens our adherence to the teachings of the Church. We should
not hesitate to say, even to the largest political parties and the
presidential candidates, “I am a Catholic; this is what I believe.
Catholics make up about 25% of the population of the Unites States, and
if you want our vote, you must not support issues that are opposed to
the teaching of the Church. I am a Catholic first, then a Democrat,
Republican or other."



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