A Reflection : Archbishop Chaput’s “Render Unto Ceasar”

We finally finished this book. In this last blog post we will summarize the last 4 chapters

Chapter 9 was entitled “A Man for All Seasons”,and yes it is in fact about Thomas More. Right off the bat we are introduced to St. Thomas More. After we are introduced, Chaput goes over the life of Thomas, how he stood up for what he believed in even though he risked all he had, his family, his government position, and even his life. But  rather than go against his conscience he stood up for what he believed in. He is a great example of what it truly takes to believe in something. We can take a valuable lesson from this man and apply it to our politics today.

The second chapter we read was entitled “What Needs to be Done”. The first half of the chapter was about people who say they are Catholics but they contradicted the Church’s teachings. This means they go to a Catholic church and claim that they believe and obey the Catholic teachings but, still use or support contraceptives, abortion, etc. This is more of a problem when the person is a politician. Not just because it gives Catholicism a bad name but, because they can lead people out of the Church or lead those in astray. The second half goes along with the chapter’s tittle. It tells us what needs to be done to fix the problems expressed above. In short, Chaput says that “…if a person says they are a Catholic they must prove it…” They need to faithfully, prayerfully, and peacefully fight for that faith without apologies. And if that fighting leads you to persecution then you have done your task of getting your message to be heard.

The third chapter that we read was entitled “ Faithful Citizens.” The First part of this chapter was about the need of people like Thomas More, and for their example. The next part was about the answer Jesus gives the Pharisees when they ask about the taxes to Caesar. Jesus’ answers saying “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This answer is kind of  tricky if you think about it. This answer limits Caesar to take only what belongs to him. Jesus kind of  “Demotes” Caesar here by distinguishing a difference between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. Silently protesting that NOTHING belongs to Caesar.

The 4th and last chapter of the book contains just some simple thoughts on the matter of communion and a public politician. The main point was that if a person, whether in public office or not, should be allowed to receive Eucharist when they publicly oppose to a Catholic teaching involving a grave moral issue such as abortion, contraceptives, etc. There are many people who believe that yes they should and some that say no, they shouldn’t. Archbishop Chaput says, “If the official was not from his diocese and I did not receive any information about him from the bishop of his diocese, I would assume his honesty and good will and not refuse him communion.” He then goes on to say that if however he was from his diocese then, he would help this official understand the teaching of the Church on these issues so as to help avoid this conflict all together. If the person still disagrees with the churches teachings publicly than he said that he would suggest that he abstain from receiving Eucharist, but if he still receives than he would have the presiding priest refuse the official communion. He also said that “ If the candidates are both pro-choice, than just remember that the perfect can easily become enemy of the good.”

Over all we enjoyed this book, at some times it was kind of  dull but if you really listen you can find some  good lessons worth learning. We would highly recommend this book to any one.

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