December 07, 2007

Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose of Milan

It is the anniversary of his ordination as bishop.

I want to nominate him as a patronal monitor-saint for Catholic politicians.

He wrote, “The emperor is in the Church, not above the Church.”

Any Catholic politician who is honest with himself, with other men, and with God is not going to divide his moral integrity into a private piece and a public piece. A man either has moral integrity or he does not. The word “integrity” comes from the Latin word for “the entire.” If the pieces of a thing are separated from each other, the thing no longer has integrity.

Am I saying that a Catholic politician should impose his Catholic morality on his own political decisions? Yes. However, I will also say that a Catholic politician unwilling to do that should get out of politics, because he is morally divided (lacking objective integrity), he is objectively dishonest (being two-faced), and he is objectively unjust (not giving God what God has a right to have from him). No one, Catholic or not, should trust such a man.

Applying the clear principle that St. Ambrose affirmed: a Catholic politician is in the Church, not above the Church.

If in the public sphere a Catholic politician places himself “above” the Church and the moral teaching of the Church— which is also a public reality— then he places himself outside the Church, that is, outside the community of the Church, literally “ex-communicatus” by his own choice.

Frankly, I tend to suspect that any Catholic who rises to prominent popularity in politics has been able to do so only by some compromise of his Catholic faith and morals for the sake of votes.

By the way, St. Ambrose excommunicated Emperor Theodosius I for ordering a massacre in Thessalonica.

Abortion is a massacre.


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