When No Longer of Christ’s Mind, Do Catholics Deserve the Name?

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by Dr. Alan Keyes  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 2, 2018   

Christ's kingly vocation

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Dr. Alan Keyes

As Roman Catholic Christians, we profess to be members of the Body of Christ. If we are sincere in this profession, we should pray to God for the grace to follow St. Paul's imperative to "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Doing so as best we can, we live for the moment when we can say, as Paul did, "I live now, not I: but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

In light of this striving after perfection in Christ, Roman Catholics ought to reflect their being with Christ in all they do. This includes what they do as participants in politics and government as they help to make decisions affecting the common good of our nation. As members of the body politic, this is what we do as voters. It is even more obvious what we must do if and when we are chosen to represent the body politic in some government office. I marvel at Catholic elected officials, like Nancy Pelosi, or even the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who accept the view that they must leave the Body of Christ behind when they perform their official duties, effectively ceasing to be Catholics while in office.

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Christ is the King of Kings. His claim to kingly status was the basis for the charge of treason used to bring Him before the Roman governor of Judea for judgment. Under Caesar's rule, no one could claim kingly office except by mandate of Rome's imperium. And when Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if He was indeed a king, despite the risk of torture and death, Christ did not deny it:

Pilate ... called Jesus and said to him: Art though the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: "Do you yourself say this thing, or have others told you of me?" Plate answered: "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you up to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now my kingdom is not from hence." Pilate therefore said to Him: "Then you are not a king?" Jesus replied: "You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate says to Him: "What is truth?" (John 18:33–37)

Now, on a previous occasion, when "the Jews ... murmured at Him because He had said: I am the living bread which came down from Heaven ... Jesus answered and said to them, 'Murmur not among yourselves. No one can come to me, except the Father, who has sent me, draws him. And I will raise him up in the last day'" (John 6:41).

Citing prophetic Scripture, Christ goes on to assert that He is of God — and sent by God — and that "he that believes in me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. ... If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world" (John 6:47–48, 52).

Because of what Christ said on this occasion, "many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him" (John 6:67). But the 12 Apostles remained.

Then Jesus said to the 12: "'Will you also go away?' And Simon Peter answered Him: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that you are the Christ, the Son of God'" (John 6:68–70).

Peter's words are consistent with the ontological lineage of Christ, which we read at the beginning of the Gospel of John.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and God was the Word, which was, in the beginning, with God. All things through Him came to be, and apart from Him, not one came to be. Once He was come, in Him was life, and that life was the light of men (humans). ... It was the true light, which enlightens every man (human), coming into the cosmos [arranged or orderly world], and the cosmos did not know Him. He was in the cosmos: and the cosmos came to be through Him, and the cosmos did not know Him. He came to his own, and His own did not accept Him. But to such as received Him, trusting in His name [emphasis mine], He gave them what comes from being children of God — begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of human will — but from of God.

And the Word became flesh and abided in us [emphasis mine], and we beheld His glory; glory even as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1–4, 9–14)

As Catholics, we profess even now to revere the Vicar of Christ who stands in the place of Peter. With Peter, therefore, we recognize that Christ is the king in a sense beyond all human pretensions, because He is one and the same ("one in being") with God, Who is sovereign over all. Therefore, as Christians striving to represent the heart and mind of Christ in all we do, mustn't we heed His kingly vocation, before and as we follow our vocation as citizens of the United States?

With Peter, therefore, we recognize that Christ is the king in a sense beyond all human pretensions, because He is one and the same with God.

Because we serve, in Christ, the sovereignty of God, we must decline to act on behalf of any other sovereign, unless it be according to the express example of Christ. The need for this discrimination against worldly powers is clear, from the beginning, in Scripture's account of Christ's ministry:

And the devil said to Him: "If you are the Son of God, speak this stone, so that it becomes bread." And Jesus answered him: "It is written that not by bread alone will man (humanity) live, but by the whole Word of God." And leading Him onto a high mountain, the devil showed Him in a flash all the world's inhabited kingdoms and said to Him: "I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms. For they have been given over to me, and I give them to whomever I wish. Therefore, if you do homage before me, all will be yours." And Jesus, answering, said to him: "It is written: 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only will you serve.'" (Luke 4:3–9)

Christ serves only God. As Christ lives in us, we are called to serve God and God alone. Like Christ, we ought to reject any and all worldly power offered to us on condition that we depart from God's rule. But we should also thank God that, by His providence, we are citizens of a nation that exists in light of His authority. We, therefore, have the opportunity to apply Christ's sovereign mind for the good of our country, even as we strive with all our being to serve God alone.

Dr. Alan Keyes served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under President Ronald Reagan, and ran for president in 1996, 2000 and 2008. He holds a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, and writes at his website Loyal to Liberty.

 

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