Millennial editor Robert Christian writes:
Millions of Americans feel as though formal institutions have let them down — from the Church’s sexual abuse scandal; to the use of ugly culture war tactics; to Wall Street’s recklessness, immoral behavior prior to the Great Recession; to President George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq and the subsequent botching of the occupation and withdrawal.
But strong institutions are necessary for promoting human flourishing and establishing the common good. For Catholics, salvation is communal; we seek communion with God and one another.
The Church exists for the sake of this communion. It cannot be replaced by an extreme individualism that aims at individual salvation in splendid isolation.
Strong families are needed to provide the love, structure and support people need to flourish and reach their potential. Dependable friendships are needed for similar reasons. And government is essential for guaranteeing human rights and promoting social justice. Catholic social teaching has explicitly rejected not just extreme individualism but the libertarian obsession with minimizing government and maximizing autonomy that often accompanies it….
For a select group of culture warriors who fear American society is increasingly hostile to their values, the answer is withdrawal.
But this is no real option for Catholics. Christians have a right and a responsibility to participate politically and to defend human dignity, the common good and the poor and vulnerable. Pope Francis has told us that “a good Catholic meddles in politics.” This responsibility does not depend upon the end results of our actions.
As Michael Wear reminds us, as Christians, our primary goal is not victory or success, but faithfulness.
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