Wednesday, November 10, 2010

St. Leo the Great, pope and doctor of the Church

(Titus 1:1-9; Luke 17:11-19)

It is remarkable that the Letter to Titus has to remind the early Christians to obey state laws. We think of these men and women as so devout that they would never tell a lie much less steal a cow. Today we equate being Christian with being law-abiding although, unfortunately, wanton aberrations abound. There are also a few issues that have moved some contemporary Christians to civil disobedience.

Each year for that last twenty citizens led by a Catholic priest have protested the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Although the Army claims SOA trains Latin America military to be more ethical as well as more effective soldiers, it is also true that a couple of the most notorious thugs in recent hemispheric history have graduated from SOA. Protesters believe that the school needs to be shut down immediately. During the protests a contingent crosses a line defying a federal law.

Such crimes may be justified when the law itself is unjust. For example, when students during the Civil Rights crisis in the 1960s held sit-ins at all-white lunch counters, their violation of the law revealed the injustice of allowing public restaurants to discriminate along racial lines. However, it seems to be another case when protestors trespass on property prohibitive to everyone.