Day 195 – Respect for Civil Authority

Today’s reading: Romans 13

Today Paul tells his readers that they must respect civil authority, abide by laws and pay their taxes as civil authorities are established by God.  However, the Church has always held that there are limits to our loyalty to civil authority.  Namely, if they are violating God’s law they no longer are entitled to our respect.  This is precisely what Paul says:

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:5-7

Thus, Paul does not call for blind respect, but rather respect limited by conscience and paid to whom it is legitimately owed.  Thus, Catholics are required to work within the confines of legitimate government guided by the dictates of a well-formed conscience.

Tomorrow: Romans 14

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