The accusation against the Church for being either right or left wing tells you more about the contemporary political assumptions than about the political inclination of Catholicism. The Church will seem both "right wing" (in promoting the traditional family, opposing abortion, euthanasia, embryonic research, etc.) and "left wing" (in advocating the rights of minorities, social justice, active state support for the poorest, etc.), depending on the political bias of the one accusing .The same bias afflicts Catholics. There are pro-life Catholics who think Catholic social teaching is "socialist," and pro-social-justice Catholics who think pro-life causes are right wing.
The Church will always be accused of "interfering" or trying to "impose" its view when the critic disagrees with its stance; but the same critic will say nothing when the Church has intervened politically on a matter with which he or she agrees. And if the Church has stayed silent, the critic will accuse it of "failing to speak out." Put another way, people are against the Church "interfering" in what they would much rather have left alone; and in favor of "interfering" in what they believe should be changed.
Why and when does the Church speak out on political questions? The answer is rarely and cautiously, and almost always because it is a matter which touches on the Gospel, on core freedoms and rights (such as the right to life, or to religious freedom), or on core principles of Catholic social teaching. In these cases, the Church not only needs to speak out; it has a duty to do so.
Austen Ivereigh, How to Defend the Faith without Raising Your Voice
Monday, April 29, 2013
Well Said: The Church "Interfering" in Politics
From a review book I'm reading, provided courtesy of The Catholic Company.