Trump's Wall, The Government Shutdown, and Your Ministry
At the time of writing this, the government shutdown is 20+ days and going strong. The president has drawn a line in the sand regarding the funding of a border wall, his party is supporting him, and the opposition party won't budge ... So what does that have to do with your ministry?
The impacts of this national situation are manifold in the lives of those in your community. Some are worried as they go without pay. The concerns of some who work for the government are that they still must go to work (or work extra) because they are deemed 'essential' staff, but the dynamics of their job and status of their pay are far more complicated. The fate and treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers at the border is on the hearts of some of the faithful. Some cary significant concerns about safety and broken immigration policies that lead to people entering through illegal means. On top of all of this, most of your community sees vitriol pouring forth from both sides of the political spectrum through news outlets and social media.
What on Earth does this have to do with your ministry? What role (if any) should we as the Church be playing?
In times such as these, it is helpful for us who work in the Church - and all who are ministers through our baptismal call - to remember that we don't align ourselves by political party. Such alignment has done great harm to the Body of Christ over the centuries. Neither American political party captures the essence or entirety of the Gospel. This is not to say, however, that Catholics are not to engage in the political process ... so where is the balance?
Our Church is not a political entity. Our Church does not support or oppose specific individuals or parties. These pragmatic specifics are the appropriate realm of the individual lay faithful. The Church (and we when we are acting as ministers on Her behalf) is called to proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ and the unchanging principles that flow from the Gospel. We are called to welcome and love all ... especially the poor, marginalized, and those in need. We are called to be people of hospitality, kindness, and charity to everyone (even when we disagree with them). We are called to be thoughtful, using our gifts of intellect and reason. We are called to protect and defend those who cannot protect nor defend themselves. We are called to be selfless. We are called to be people of prayer and trust in the Lord.
When we find ourselves in seasons when there is political turmoil we have unique opportunities for helping people understand the teachings of the Church because it can bee seen that there is great need for a reasoned and loving voice. As we minister to people, our goal is always to show people the beautiful love of Christ, and the Truth of His teachings so that they can then apply it to do Good in our world. People of good will can and will disagree on which politician has the best practical policies and solutions. Our job is to walk with them and pray with them and for them as they make those decisions.