Steeped in Holy Water? The Tea Party and Gaudium et spes

Departments, Catholic Social Ethics

One thought on “Steeped in Holy Water? The Tea Party and Gaudium et spes

  1. In regards to “Limited Government: GS condemns unnecessary government
    involvement in the lives of individuals and other groups. Concomitantly,
    however, the text affirms the legitimacy of government intervention
    when individual rights or the common good are compromised. Thus while GS
    seems to affirm part of the Tea Party’s political philosophy,
    the document’s nascent formulation of subsidiarity—explicated in art.
    86—conflicts with the Tea Party’s categorical call for limited
    government.” Article 86 deals with how nations interact, not on the notion of how big or intrusive a nation’s government should be per item c of article 86: “c) It is the role of the international community to coordinate and promote
    development, but in such a way that the resources earmarked for this purpose
    will be allocated as effectively as possible, and with complete equity. It is
    likewise this community’s duty, with due regard for the principle of
    subsidiarity, so to regulate economic relations throughout the world that these
    will be carried out in accordance with the norms of justice.” How does a bigger government fulfill item d caution against trampling man’s spiritual advancement and nature: “d) In many cases there is an urgent need to revamp economic and social
    structures. But one must guard against proposals of technical solutions that are
    untimely. This is particularly true of those solutions providing man with
    material conveniences, but nevertheless contrary to man’s spiritual nature and
    advancement. For “not by bread alone does man live, but by every word which
    proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Every sector of the family of man
    carries within itself and in its best traditions some portion of the spiritual
    treasure entrusted by God to humanity, even though many may not be aware of the
    source from which it comes.” Article 86 is under SECTION II Setting Up An International Community of Chapter V which is entitled: THE FOSTERING OF PEACE AND THE PROMOTION OF A COMMUNITY OF NATIONS and therefore is not germane to an individual nation’s government structure or size. Article 74 states in part: “Yet the people who come together in the political community are many and
    diverse, and they have every right to prefer divergent solutions. If the
    political community is not to be torn apart while everyone follows his own
    opinion, there must be an authority to direct the energies of all citizens
    toward the common good, not in a mechanical or despotic fashion, but by acting
    above all as a moral force which appeals to each one’s freedom and sense of
    responsibility.

    It is clear, therefore, that the political community and public authority are
    founded on human nature and hence belong to the order designed by God, even
    though the choice of a political regime and the appointment of rulers are left
    to the free will of citizens.(3)

    It follows also that political authority, both in the community as such and
    in the representative bodies of the state, must always be exercised within the
    limits of the moral order and directed toward the common good—with a dynamic
    concept of that good—according to the juridical order legitimately established
    or due to be established. When authority is so exercised, citizens are bound in
    conscience to obey.(4) Accordingly, the responsibility, dignity and importance
    of leaders are indeed clear.

    But where citizens are oppressed by a public authority overstepping its
    competence, they should not protest against those things which are objectively
    required for the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own
    rights and the rights of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this
    authority, while keeping within those limits drawn by the natural law and the
    Gospels.

    According to the character of different peoples and their historic
    development, the political community can, however, adopt a variety of concrete
    solutions in its structures and the organization of public authority. For the
    benefit of the whole human family, these solutions must always contribute to the
    formation of a type of man who will be cultivated, peace-loving and
    well-disposed towards all his fellow men.” This article is from Chapter 4, The Life of the Political Community. What is missing is the proper context for understanding Gaudium et spes which I believe is its Chapter 1 entitled Fostering the Nobility of Marriage and the Family.

    Based on this chapter, the Tea Party may be closer to a true understanding of Gaudium et spes than you think especially with the rulings against Traditional Marriage and the government’s mandating contraceptive coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

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