Question: We live in a country that upholds the separation of Church and state. What is the role of Catholics in society?
Answer: The role of the Church in the world has taken different forms over time, but the theme is the same. Be disciples in it! As the lay faithful — that is, not vowed priest or religious — we are called to live and love in the circumstances of our daily lives. St. John Paul II wrote a document about the laity. In it he wrote, “In their situation in the world God manifests His plan and communicates to them their particular vocation of seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God” (On the Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful, 15).
God wants us in the hospitals, the board rooms, the law offices, the food pantries, and the little league games! We are to engage in the affairs of the world. But when we’re there, we should live the plan of God. We need to respect those around us, engage in just business and legal practices, and love our children. We should care for the earth, use our money wisely, and get to know our neighbors. We must advocate for social policies that respect human dignity and human freedom. No matter our state in life, we are invited to build the kingdom of God!