We’re living in a politically and socially turbulent time. Of course, this isn’t something new. There has always been unrest where politics and governments have been concerned. However, with how widespread and widely shared news stories are in our hyper-connected age, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Many of us don’t know where to start or how to reconcile certain topics with our personal and religious beliefs. In political times like these, it’s important to remember that we, as Catholics, have a treasure trove of resources to help guide us. Here are four things you can do when the political world churns around you.
1. Read Strangers in a Strange Land
Published just last year, Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput might just be the perfect book to read at this time. As the title suggests, the book covers controversial topics such as abortion, same-sex marriages, and immigration.
While some may consider it a bit dense to read in a single sitting, it’s worth getting through the entire text. If you need a refresh on Church teachings on a particular topic, as well as arguments for them, this is the book for you.
2. Say a prayer to the patron saint of politicians
Saint Pope John Paul II named Saint Thomas More the patron saint for politicians and statesmen for good reason. Thomas More was a well-respected lawyer and served as the Lord High Chancellor of England during the reign of King Henry VIII during the 16th century. He resigned as the Chancellor when King Henry divorced his wife, citing his respect for the law as well as his principles.
When King Henry then broke from the Catholic Church and made himself the head of the Church of England, St. Thomas refused to acknowledge it as valid. As a result, King Henry had him imprisoned and eventually beheaded.
With many of our modern-day politicians flip-flopping on big issues, we need someone with the courage, faith, and morals that made Thomas More a martyr. When feeling overwhelmed, pray that he may intercede and help politicians make the right decisions for humanity, not just a select group of people.
3. Read something on or by Saint Thomas More
Not only can we ask Thomas to pray for politicians, we can also learn more about his incredibly inspiring life. There are a number of great books (and even a movie!) on his life.
You can also read his own words! A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation and The Sadness of Christ were written while he awaited execution in the Tower of London. It’s great for anyone going through a hard time with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Utopia, perhaps his most famous work, deals specifically with the topic of politics.
4. Check the Catechism and official Church documents
When in doubt about what the Church says regarding a particular topic, always go back to the sources! The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a fantastic place to start. Everything is indexed and organized. The Catechism make it easy for you to find exactly what you need. If you still want to delve further into the topics, the Vatican’s website has all the official documents listed for anyone with a browser and an internet connection.
Also, if anyone decides to quote a Bible verse to make their argument, be sure to go back and read the entire verse. Most of the time we get snippets that are taken out of context. If you’re unsure about how to interpret a particular verse, there are also very good Bible commentaries, such as the ones written by Scott Hahn.
Whatever your political affiliation is, we must remember that we are first Catholic. We not only have a duty to live out our faith but also do what’s best for everyone without wavering in our morals. We must not let outside sources and skewed agendas cloud our judgment. To quote Thomas More’s last words, “I die the King’s good servant and God’s first.”