And whose inscription?”, Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”. Nor is the practice of religion significant for many—most?—people today. ". Written by Louis Even I would agree with FickleFreckled, that gov and tax are a necessary tool. “The human person ought to be put in the first rank of earthly realities.” (Pius XI in Divini Redemptoris). They are, rather, a sure guide for authentic growth and development. same way, when a provincial or federal Caesar, through its different taxes, both direct and indirect, cuts into the basic needs of an individual, of a family, this Caesar robs the individual, the family of a property it owns. The human person and the family are a creation of God that Caesar must neither destroy nor lay hold of, but rather protect against whoever wants to undermine their integrity and their rights. Fr. And if Caesar, through his exactions, shortens an individual's life, places an individual in conditions that shorten his life, then Caesar takes that which is not owed to him, that which belongs to God. . The only purpose of Government is to guarantee individual freedoms.”. . When I ask for a pair of shoes, I tax the capacity to produce shoes. We think it can be defined as follows: That which Caesar needs to carry out his functions. So noble is the position to which God has assigned them that they are not allowed to desert it.46 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. The Pharisees and Herodians were local authorities in Galilee who did not enjoy popularity among the inhabitants. Thus we give to God what belongs to Him and by which He wants to reveal His divine kingdom of peace, justice, and love in this time and space. However, Mr. Dorion did not use it in favour of taxes. The observance of the Jewish law was not a private matter in first-century Palestine, as the numerous clashes between Jesus and the establishment demonstrate throughout the Gospels. well I don’t know what it means to you, since you don’t believe in paying taxes, so the rest of us have to cover your share, but for the rest of us, it means pay just taxes, participate in just government, do your civic and patriotic duty. The Pharisees brought the issue if taxes to the table. This definition seems to be implicitly accepted by Caesar himself, by the government, when it answers to those who complain about the burden of taxes: “The more services people demand, the more means the government needs to have to provide these services.” This is true. This is something that belongs to God alone, something that no one, not even the individual, has the right to suppress or shorten deliberately. Let us give the verb “to tax” its wider meaning of “putting to contrbution”. (Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno), provided they do give us their permission. De Ladurantaye is director of the Office of Sacred Liturgy, secretary for diocesan religious education, a professor of theology at Notre Dame Graduate School and in residence at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Virginia. Jesus recognized the rights that the civil power enjoys but He also stated that we have to respect the rights of God. There are some services and material goods that can be obtained only from Caesar — for example, an army to defend our country in case of war, a police force to maintain order against those who may wish to disturb it, the building of roads, bridges and of the means of communication between cities. If the monetary bookkeeping does not correspond to the production capacity, it is not the producers' fault nor of those who need this production. Jesus saw how by their deceptive teaching and conduct they prevented people from entering the kingdom of God (Matt. As long as Caesar refuses to bring about this reform, he allows himself to be the servant, the tool of the financial dictatorship. As it was what Jesus taught sounded like a witty correction with a bit of a sting. National defence, too, is clearly in place to protect the nation from unjust aggression, to save us from tyranny that—in a Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao—so disfigured the preceding century. This is because they quote His words in full: “Render, therefore, to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.”. This division seems clear enough in modern times, when church and state are separate, but such was not the case when Jesus spoke. (If that were a capital offence today, I wonder how many people would be left standing.) They are in fact appealing from God to Caesar. When we act with the firm conviction that the Church’s teachings are the only source capable of filling our modern age’s terrible religious and moral void, we show ourselves to be true children of God and followers of the Lord Jesus. It would be more in keeping with the common good than to leave the control of money and credit to the good will of the high priests of Mammon. For example, suppose a government stopped helping the people and kept all the money for themselves in one location while the rest of the country crumbled, then one might be justified in refusing to pay. When, for example, we uphold the indissolubility of marriage, we are showing the way to guaranteeing the health of society. But, remember when Jesus was challenged on whether to pay the temple tax or not, he did not say not to do it. If there’s a tree blocking the right side of the road, the general rule doesn’t mean that we can’t drive on the left briefly to go around it. Jesus then concludes, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” They had already paid the emperor what belonged to him, for with his money they bought and sold and even donated to the temple! On the contrary, by its very function, it is Caesar's duty to protect the rights and property of individuals and families. Our Lord answered by first exposing the trap prepared by the Pharisees: “Hypocrites, why do you thus put Me to the test?” Upon being shown, at His request, the coin of the tribute on which was found Caesar's effigy, He told them: “Render onto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and onto God what belongs to God.”. Copyright St Edmund of Canterbury Church. Unfortunately, parliaments have also come to confine themselves to the limits set by the money system. The kings wanted to appoint bishops because they were an essential element of the civil service, while the popes wanted men to be ordained who would be pastors of the flock. Whose likeness and inscription has it?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him by what he said; but marveling at his answer they were silent. 2. He gives this engineer the right to ask for $4 000 worth of goods or services from the country's production capacity. They obey the established laws and their way of life surpasses the laws. When a Caesar, the municipal Caesar, takes the house where they are raising their children, away from a family for the sole reason that this family lacks the money to pay its taxes, this Caesar robs this family of a property it owns and which it needs to carry on the normal life of its members. It endeavours to foster the culture of life by reporting truthfully, critically, contextually, and comparatively with a view to history and guided by a cultural vision inspired by Catholic doctrine and the classical liberal arts. 21 They asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Caesar needs part of the country's production capacity. The Church has survived worse governments than ours and seen worse tax systems without publicly condemning them. In order to meet the needs of the engineer, must I be deprived of the right to buy a pair of shoes? He tells them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar?s, but give to God what is God?s." They have to legislate and govern with the greatest respect for the natural law and the rights of people. Caesar does not have that right. This reply from Jesus has been used all through the … Caesar then becomes a thief. But it wouldn’t be taxes. (Luke (RSV) 20), “co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one’s country:”. It needs human and material resources. The coin had important political power in the ancient world. I know this because Louis was telling me about it. Maurice Allard, the MP for Sherbrooke, had this to say during the debate on the Bill of Rights: “The individual must not become a tool or a victim of the State; it is the State which, while making laws, must favour the numerous freedoms of man.”. Caesar is not God. Certainly, but what does Caesar need to provide these services? In a sense, it was considered the personal property of the ruler. Plants and animals do so instinctively, but man, in that he possesses intelligence, is required to discover what makes a society successful, and to implement and safeguard it by good government.
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