6.22 Are state and Church not separate? So why does the Church join the political debate? Should priests tell us how to vote? Can I disagree with the government?
State and Church both have their own responsibilities. That, following Jesus’ teaching, the Church has an opinion about everything is not the result of nosy meddling, but of genuine care for the present and future wellbeing of all! The earth we know will come to an end one day, and with it the power of the state. God’s rule is for eternity.
Church leaders can help you choose in conscience, but cannot tell you whom to vote for. You have a duty to ‘inform your conscience’: to prepare yourself so that you can vote in the best way. You are free to have your own opinions and can disagree with the government. You will still have to follow its rules, though, unless these go against fundamental Christian principles.
What is the relationship between the person and society?
The human person is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of all social institutions. Certain societies, such as the family and the civic community, are necessary for the human person. Also helpful are other associations on the national and international levels with due respect for the principle of subsidiarity [CCCC 402].
What else is required for an authentic human society?
Authentic human society requires respect for justice, a just hierarchy of values, and the subordination of material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones. In particular, where sin has perverted the social climate, it is necessary to call for the conversion of hearts and for the grace of God to obtain social changes that may really serve each person and the whole person. Charity, which requires and makes possible the practice of justice, is the greatest social commandment [CCCC 404].
What is the foundation of the authority of society?
Every human community needs a legitimate authority that preserves order and contributes to the realization of the common good. The foundation of such authority lies in human nature because it corresponds to the order established by God [CCCC 405].
The just ordering of society and the state is a central responsibility of politics… Fundamental to Christianity is… the distinction between Church and state… The state may not impose religion, yet it must guarantee religious freedom and harmony between the followers of different religions. For her part, the Church, as the social expression of Christian faith, has a proper independence and is structured on the basis of her faith as a community which the state must recognise. The two spheres are distinct, yet always interrelated… A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply [Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 28].