Action Alert!

Personal Responsibility and Politics

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 15, 2012

Unlike some commentators, who seem to object in principle to the USCCB's “food insecurity” recommendation, I wish to offer only one caveat. It does not trouble me that the bishops should advise us to imagine the plight of the poor and incorporate our concern for them into our Good Friday prayers. Such considerations have been central to Catholic Lenten discipline since the Church’s foundation.

No, the only thing that troubles me here is that the sole suggestion offered (beyond prayer) is to “send an email or make a phone call to your elected officials to urge legislators to prioritize our brothers and sisters experiencing food insecurity at home and around the world.”

Too often the USCCB betrays an impoverished understanding of human social life which too easily boils down to political advocacy. If Christ is ever to make a difference in the world through Catholics, the whole Church will have to learn once again to serve human needs directly. Personal responsibility and politics sometimes overlap, but they are never the same thing.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 16, 2012 10:59 AM ET USA

    I agree, your commentary highlights one of the major problems of the USCCB - politics. "Food insecurity" sounds so much more politically and socially acceptable than starving in proper company. doesn't it? The flyer could add calling or emailing those who are "insecure" to tell them that the Church knows that the government is best for dealing with their plight (just as it is with HHS).