A friend of mine called me back to the fold. As a Christian a little low on faith for unknown reasons, I was encouraged to consult remarks the Holy Father made in a speech. Pope Benedict XVI, spoke in Asia nearly two years ago at St. Andrews Parish in Hong Kong.
His message linked rationality, faith, and politics, of all things! What he said about them did more for my regard for the Church than all of the catechisms of my youth. His speech constituted an important piece of religious reflection that relates to the real world, the highly politicized one we live in today.
Let me go directly to the Pope’s bottom line. According to a report in Catholic Online, Pope Benedict said, “The future of society and the development of a healthy democracy require the rediscovery of essential and native, human and moral values…[which] come from man’s own truth and express and protect human dignity.”
Let’s pause to reflect on those words.
Politics enters religious thought right here. The current regime we find in America serves not to express and protect human dignity but to suppress it. Social welfare removes any dignity humans have in themselves and serves to grow a dependence on government. Entitlement expectations ensue, promoting individuals to expect that food, housing, income, medical care, education, and security are due them from others.
The Pope would not be one to say that social policy kills human dignity. But I can and just did, as we witness entitlement mentality usurping any sense of pride in personal achievement, advancement, or development. As the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves. But, fewer of us are helping ourselves. I am all for helping those who can’t help themselves. Many of us are being required to help others who won’t help themselves.
The Pope suggests that individuals or groups, majorities, authorities, states, governments, or leaders cannot destroy the moral value that links achievement with human dignity. The Holy Father isn’t missing what’s going on in America. We know some individuals, majorities, and states that don’t recognize, respect or promote such moral values right here, don’t we?
I’ll put my finger on it for you. That individual is the President; the majority is the Left; and the states are the united ones with whom we live in Union. The social policy that has been promoted in America has all but wiped out the human dignity the Pope believes is man’s own truth. In other words, our moral enemy is the government we elected.
We have gotten far behind thinking for ourselves, including turning deaf ears to religious thought as irrelevant in this secular day and age. Raise your hand if you heard two words the Pope uttered in Hong Kong! We put more faith in one-liners fed to us from the press.
The Pope’s thoughts concluded with the poignant political observation that when natural law is denied, a path opens to ethical relativism at the individual level and creeping totalitarianism at the political level. Both are occurring already in America.
I am back in the fold of Americans whose human dignity is declared sovereign by faith. Our collective human dignity, however, is being stripped away by our own election and the government entrusted with our powers.