Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

“Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted”

Out of context, this line can be seen as an invitation for constant judgment on the faith of others. Compare this to the words of George Washington who wrote in 1795, “In politics, as in religion, my tenets are few and simple the leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and jsut ourselves, and to exact it from others; meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved.”
In full context, Pope Benedict XI iss not saying that people should intrude on the beliefs of others but rather that one’s faith is less meaningful unless it permeates your actions.

Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday, and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs? Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contradict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death? Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.

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recovering ex-Pentecostal

posted April 17, 2008 at 11:23 am

“Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted.”
Ugh! What a horrid concept. When I grew up, it was called having a PERSONAL relationship with God. And it should stay that way. You go to your church and I’ll go to mine, as my Grandmother used to say.
To paraphrase, ‘Any tendency to force YOUR religious tenets onto others must be resisted.’

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posted April 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm

It DOES seem like a repugnant thing to say, especially in America where we take religious freedom so much for granted, but in context it’s a beautiful and wise statement. Religion IS meaningless unless it profoundly colors how we live.

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