The church and politics today: cooperation and autonomy
The dictum that “The Church should not interfere in politics” is easy and quite misleading. Politics is bound up with human acts, with which the Church is very much concerned. The Church as a universal institution with its member in every country, even though it be pagan or non-catholic must come into agreement with political institutions to guarantee the good of its members. Even though the Church is a spiritual body, she works for her salvation on earth; it is therefore not surprising that she arranges concordats, receives diplomatic representatives from various countries, and sends legates and nuncios to various countries to deal with foreign governments on her behalf. While the Church can interfere in politics, not politically but morally, its individual members are free to choose any political party whose tenets and activities are not contrary to their beliefs as Christians (Donald Attwater, 1997, p. 386). When people see the Church and politics as incompatible, it because they understand politics as a dirty game: a corrupt system of rigging, thuggery and fraud instead of the art of managing the fruits of God’s gift to humanity (Matthew Kukah, 2008, p.5). Many religious duties are political actions. For instance, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, giving a drink to the thirsty are both religious duties and at the same time political responsibilities. Politics and religion to a great extent have a common ground.