We don’t lean left or right, but on Christ.
For Christians, Jesus Christ is our Great liberator, our Redeemer, and our savior. It is in Jesus, in Jesus alone that we find ultimate hope and salvation. We cannot and will not find redemption in civic politics. As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger once stated: “The fact is that when politicians want to bring redemption, they promise too much. When they presume to do God’s work, they do not become divine but diabolical.”
In a world and nation which is becoming increasingly more polarized, it seems that many have replaced Jesus Christ and his teachings with the idol of partisan politics. As Cardinal Blase Cupich posited in the May 2017 Edition of Commonwheel: “Catholic social teaching would not and could not be fitted into the partisan political framework that governs American public life.” We as Catholics have a civic duty to uphold Catholic Social teaching. This means that we seek justice for immigrants, defend the rights of the unborn; stand against racial and sexual inequality; support the ideal that civic issues be resolved at the lowest level of government possible (subsidiarity); support the common good (solidarity); strengthen and defend marriage and the family; oppose the death penalty; and oppose public funding of intrinsically evil actions such as abortion and contraception. It means we stand in solidarity with the poor, and other marginalized on the peripheries. We do not lean “left” or “right” we lean on Jesus Christ, because he alone can save us.
The teachings of Jesus and his Church form our worldview and shape our political ideology. It should not be the other way around. If we try to fit Christ into our political party, we are doing it wrong. Instead, Christ should be the motivation of our civic involvement. As the Second Vatican Council Declared:
They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come, think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation. Nor, on the contrary, are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age. Long since, the Prophets of the Old Testament fought vehemently against this scandal and even more so did Jesus Christ Himself, in the New Testament, threaten it with grave punishments. Therefore, let there be no false opposition between professional and social activities on the one part, and religious life on the other. The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation.” (Gaudium et Spes 43)
Let us remain focused on Jesus Christ and place him, not political parties or figures at the center of our lives.