Barb Ernster of the National Catholic Register sits down for a Q&A with Archbishop John Niendsted:
How do you address the claim that the Church is getting too political and detracting from its spiritual mission?
What is more central to the spiritual mission of the Church than fostering good, healthy marriages between husbands and wives and ministering to the varied challenges that they and their children face in their family life?
We have to remember, too, as the Holy Father has been reminding us of late, that the Church’s work in the public square contributes to the New Evangelization. It is not just the Church “doing politics,” but instead, constitutes her perennial task of forming consciences, promoting justice and announcing truths that are written on the human heart. In this way, we also point to the source of those truths — the eternal Word who has written them into the fabric of our human nature.
Unfortunately, it has become quite apparent, especially with the issue of the health-care insurance mandate, that there are forces desiring to exclude the voice of religion from the public square. Let’s be clear — that is discrimination.
In addition, I would say that we are not forcing our viewpoint on anyone. The point of rational inquiry and public debate is to arrive at the truth. Our view is that there cannot be one understanding of the human person for people of faith and another for people without faith. There can only be one, true understanding of the human person. Proposing those truths is the Church’s contribution to the discussion.