“Matthew 25 Catholics”?

When one promotes the killing of what are indisputably the “least” of the Lord’s brothers and sisters, it is not easy to imagine that the Lord is pleased, irrespective of one’s voting record on, say, reducing carbon emissions or raising the minimum wage.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at a Sept. 27, 2021 press event. (Photo: Screen capture / YouTube)

Barring a startling lurch to starboard in the Empire State, Kathy Hochul, who as lieutenant governor succeeded the unlamented Andrew Cuomo on his political demise, will be chosen governor of New York in November — the first woman elected to the office once held by such worthies as John Jay, William H. Seward, Samuel J. Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Students used to know that three of these men were subsequently elected president of the United States.

Real students of history know that Tilden almost certainly was, too, but lost the White House in a deal to end Reconstruction after a closely contested election. An honorable man who didn’t want to enflame a country recovering from a bloody civil war, Tilden accepted his fate rather than carrying on like a five-year old deprived of his creamsicle.

But I digress.

I’m told that Kathy Hochul is a gracious person in conversation, even with those with whom she disagrees (which would never have been said of Andrew Cuomo; but I digress again). However, she is strongly supportive of what are euphemistically called “reproductive rights,” which in fact terminate the process of reproduction (but I digress yet again). And when challenged on how she squares her pro-abortion radicalism with her Catholicism, Governor Hochul has been known to reply, “I’m a Matthew 25 Catholic.”

This relatively new attempt to render more plausible the implausibility of “pro-choice Catholicism” by coating it with a biblical veneer takes its name from the Lord’s separation of the blessed sheep from the condemned goats: the former being those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked and welcomed the stranger; the latter being those who didn’t. The implication of declaring oneself a “Matthew 25 Catholic” — and what faux-clever theological con artist invented that sound-bite, one wonders — is that supporting a broad range of social services for the poor and needy, welcoming the immigrant, and ticking all the other boxes on the Biden/Pelosi Democrats’ domestic policy agenda constitutes a moral Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-Card that can be played, first with the electorate, and then, presumably, with the Lord.

Sorry, but it won’t work.

Matthew 25 also refers, twice, to “the least of these my brethren” (Mt 25:40, 45). And when one willfully, actively and even aggressively promotes the killing of what are indisputably the “least” of the Lord’s brothers and sisters — those ultra-vulnerable human beings who happen not to have been born yet — it is not easy to imagine that the Lord is pleased, irrespective of one’s voting record on, say, reducing carbon emissions or raising the minimum wage. This is, after all, the same Lord who memorably said that it would be better for anyone who tempted his “little ones” to sin to have a “millstone…hung round his neck” and be “cast into the sea” (Lk 17:2). What will that Lord have to say about anyone who deliberately creates public policies aimed at terminating the lives of those “little ones” before birth?

The “Matthew 25 Catholic” dodge is also an implicit insult to the champions of pro-life policies who have worked for decades to provide compassionate care for women caught in the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy and for their children, both before and after birth. Does “Matthew 25 Catholicism” include generous public support for pre-natal care in crisis pregnancy centers, well-child pediatric services, and job-training programs for single moms who carry their children to term but who’ve been abandoned by the kind of male irresponsibility the abortion license has facilitated?

I hope it does. But I am waiting for the first “Matthew 25 Catholic” public official to make a big deal about that, rather than burning incense to the Moloch of NARAL Pro-Choice America in the aftermath of the heroic Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of this past June 24.

I have no window into the soul of those Catholic public officials who declare themselves “Matthew 25 Catholics,” as a counter to the suggestion that their Catholicism is defective because of their support of the abortion license. They may be sincere, but ill-catechized. They may have been advised by unscrupulous progressive clergy, or by left-leaning Catholic political activists for whom the pro-life position has always been an embarrassment. But whatever their subjective moral condition, they are using biblical imagery as political cover for the indefensible. And they should stop.

I like to think that at least some of them, the ones who actually take Matthew 25 with the gravity it deserves, are better than that.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About George Weigel 458 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021), and To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II (Basic Books, 2022).


  1. To do him justice (more or less) at least “Rutherfraud” B. Hayes didn’t do much of anything as president after winning by one extremely questionable electoral vote after months of wrangling. As it says in the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm.”

    One episode of the original “Maverick” television show ended with the brothers reading the newspaper after breakfast in a hotel, and James Garner commenting that the election had finally been settled. “Brother Bart” (Jack Kelly) asks “Brother Bret” (Garner) in a disinterested tone of voice, “Tilden?” to which Garner replies, “No, the other fellow, Hayes.” End of conversation.

    The show was set at a time when Congress still retained its power, and the Supreme Court and the Executive had not taken over the legislative process, so it didn’t really matter who was president as long as Congress kept its hold on the reins.

  2. Tilden “accepted his fate rather than carrying on like a five year old derived of his creamsicle.” Gee, I wonder who Weigel might be referring to with that remark. Is he really happy that Biden is president?

      • Especially given Weigel’s cowardly refusal to acknowledge his indisputable attempt to sabotage Trump’s election in 2016 by telling Catholic America not to vote for him, after the primaries, on EWTN’s The World Over, and then deny he did precisely that after discovering Trump’s popularity among Catholics while claiming he merely did not have Trump as his favorite Republican candidate.

    • You MAGA-Catholics somehow think that criticisms of Trump and his pathetic behavior – like constantly lying about the outcome of the 2020 election – means that those stating what is self-evidently true are somehow then advocating for Joe Biden. That outlook is as clownish as Biden’s own understanding Catholic moral theology.

      • Characterizing Catholics who recognize self-evident and proven massive election fraud as “clownish” is clownish subservience to tyranny and blatant self-conscious anti-Christian bigotry. Name one person who ever identified any criticism of Trump as constituting an advocacy of Joseph Biden. Then name the “pathetic behavior” that is not specifically contrived and falsified by a media whose mendacity is fortified by those within a population exercising moral cowardice.

        • Edward, here you operate more on “belief” rather than “facts.” Facts as courts have shown are that the claims of Trump are simply not true. He lost badly the 2020 election. The determiner of facts clearly in these cases are the courts not your favorite media platforms. In the face of facts those who cling to belief can never be satisfied with any fact and would never see the truth. Catholic faith calls us to embrace not deny the truth. The truth is Trump is a sore loser.

          • On what planet are ideological judges with the power to throw out any evidence they desire that does not conform to what they desire to believe a guarantor of “facts.” And why would you characterize such a blatantly farcical process “fact” based? Was it a “fact” that the unborn were sub-human when the Supreme Court previously claimed they were in Roe v Wade? You seem to be operating more on your beliefs than facts. Massive fraud in the election of 2020 that allowed the last minute altering of election laws allowing for mail in ballots, with obviously contrived results, swung the election. How do you find numerous counties throughout the country, with their mail-in ballots, that just happen by chance to have a 99 percent vote for Biden and zero percent for Trump? And how do you have numerous districts throughout the country where those ballots are counted and Republicans are completely excluded from oversight?
            Independent of this election issue, why is it acceptable to create false charges against Trump supporters, who happen to respect a man, human flaws and all, who saved more lives than any man in human history and holds a proper disdain for the poison of elitism.

          • Those are YOUR facts. In truth, Trumps claims were never heard as each cowardly court refused to hear the case. Ask yourself why its always the DEMS who resist voter ID. The obvious answer is they make so much hay out of cheating. Ask yourself, with an obscene rate of inflation, gas at $5, our foreign policy in disarray, and millions of illegals, TERRORISTS and drug pushers entering the country, if we wouldnt have been so much better off if Biden had not been confirmed. The guy couldnt draw flies at his “rallies” and yet won by millions of votes? You BELIEVE that??? Oh honey, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

          • Perhaps you could explain to me how Biden managed to flip Arizona. If this spectacular miracle was accomplished through legal and above-board means, I have yet to hear of it, and I’ve been waiting for two years. Beyond that, I have no opinion on whether the election was or was not stolen. But if it wasn’t stolen, why is my question always ignored when I ask it?

      • “Lying”?

        In other words, Trump wants to be president while knowing he lost. In other words, he’s a would-be usurper and traitor.

        You think it’s not a mortal sin to make such a vile accusation on nothing more than the say-so of the Party of Human Sacrifice?

        • “Claims” are not “proofs” no matter how widespread they get repeated or multitudes who believe in them. “Claims” are to supported by “proofs.” The claims of voter fraud and that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump are just that, claims. When brought to courts, there never were proofs enough to substantiate the claims. All court cases alleging voter fraud filed by Trump were dismissed. “Beliefs” like these precisely often times only have “claims” and never “evidence” or “proof.” That is why “beliefs” can never be replaced by “facts” because “beliefs” in its very nature would only accept as facts those it already believes.

          • Believers that the earth is flat can never be convinced by the facts negating their belief from science or by the experience of flying and seeing the earth’s curvature. Or think of those who believe that the Apollo moon landings were just staged and filmed in a movie studio. Science is dismissed as elitist. So facts are likewise deprecated as elitist. What you get is unproven beliefs marked by the darkness of cluelessness. As believers and disciples of Jesus who said of himself as the truth, that is simply an unacceptable position and belies our identity as Christians.

          • You are merely making a claim that there is no proof. You fail to by your own criteria. You have no proof that there is no proof. The court proceedings were a farce where proof of malfeasance was not permitted by stupid and evil and ideological judges who made a mockery of the judicial process within democratic government. Your comment below reflects your willful gullibility. There never was a time when people believed the Earth was flat. That myth was created to enable smug minds to feel superior to the peoples of the past. You have little sense of self-awareness or irony of your own self-contradictiory applications of how to apply judgments evenhandedly.

      • Time magazine did a story about election “fortification” that was in its own way a confessional about 2020 election irregularities, slanted to make them sound noble. I followed the 2020 election with the attorneys Viva Frei and Robert Barnes. They do live-streams on YouTube and Rumble on the Viva Frei channel. They brought up many problems with the 2020 election.

  3. Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
    — Matthew 25:41

    The irresponsible open borders policy of the Democrat party and leftist clergy is meant to increase the number of those who vote Democrat (legally or otherwise); it serves corporate lust for dirt cheap, exploitable labor; mightily facilitates child sex trafficking; and has devasted countless American families who have lost a family member to illegal drug-related crime and overdoses. (Nearly 108,000 Americans lost their lives to overdoses in 2021. This is the highest number of Americans lost to overdoses ever recorded.)

    Any civilized nation has not only the right, but also the obligation to regulate who may enter it such that its immigration policies “promote the general welfare” of its own citizens. This does not prevent government from implementing foreign policy aimed at lifting the poor of other nations out of poverty, doing so without perpetrating injustice on its own citizens.

    There is no justification for the current open borders debacle, which is why those who defend it have been reduced to insisting that those who object to it are dangerous, White Supremacist, Christian Nationalists. Such asinine claims are all you have to work with when you have no substantive case to make.

    If “Matthew 25” Democrat politicians and leftist clergy had any understanding at all of the words of Christ recorded there, they wouldn’t have defended the brutal slaughter of over sixty-million children in order to prevent them from migrating into America from their mothers’ wombs.

    Such politicians and leftist clergy are, to be precise, “Matthew 25, verse 41 Christians” as those words of Christ will be addressed to them.

    • Mr. harry, I hear what you are saying & our current immigration situation is ridiculous. Drug & human trafficking cartels are in charge of our Southern border. Both the Democrats & GOP benefit from illegal immigration because it’s just too good a political football & device to get votes. And businesses know they benefit from cheap exploitable labor. So, there’s no real incentive to find a solution & humane immigration law reform.
      One of my children’s classmates died from a drug overdose & fentanyl’s a terrible scourge. But most of that is coming through official US border crossings hidden in vehicles, often 18 wheelers carrying produce & manufactured goods to the US. That’s a reason Texas tried to double check 18 wheelers at their border. It was a good idea, but the trucks just rerouted to AZ instead.

    • Is it good to be a “Matthew 23 Catholic”? That’s where Jesus smacks down the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and legalism.

    • Edward J Baker: There are flat earthers societies or organizations today just as it was in past. They even gather for conferences and have a lucrative trade in merchandise. A simple google or YouTube search will debunk your assertion. Similarly those of the MAGA church who embrace and promote Trump’s Big Lie can’t simply handle the truth so would rather hold on to “beliefs” even in the face of “facts,” like the flat earthers do. Meanwhile Trump in cashing in with tons of money in his fundraising with your gullibility. MAGA and flat earthers: enslaved to beliefs and blind to facts. The Lord said the truth will set you free.

      • Your need to create such juvenile beliefs in place of facts might lead you to the sort of invincible gullibility to not even appreciate the intentional silly parodies of flat earth societies of today and to lie to yourself, and others, that they existed in the past, but you do cross over into anti-Catholic bigotry with a phrase like MAGA Church. No one, Catholic, non-Catholic, nor atheist, not sufficiently brainwashed and devoid of human decency would hesitate to examine soberly the massive amount of evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election, irrespective whether one has sufficient decency to respect the indisputable FACTUAL reality that the concrete actions of Donald Trump saved more lives than those of any other individual in human history. It requires extraordinary cowardice to ignore this.

  4. Lets call the Matthew 25 or whatever Catholics for what they truly are, Catholics in Name Only (CINO). They traded their faith in for political benefit. Their Catholic faith means nothing to them.

  5. This effort to malign “Matthew 25 Catholics” is misplaced and wrongheaded. It should instead be upheld to show and teach what real and full Catholics are to be. The so-called “Pro-Life” term as it is generally practiced is limiting because it seeks to put Catholics mainly to wrongly focus on anti-abortion only advocacy in their socio-political engagement. Oftentimes being “Pro-Life” gets reduced to being “Pro-Birth” only (or at most “Anti-abortion” only) and generally not care for the born who for Jesus are the closest to his heart. Matthew 25 correctly focuses on the Catholics’ obligation to care for and support all life from womb to tomb, which means not just the unborn but, for example, the poor and the immigrant or the mother – and her newborn baby – who thought of abortion instead chose to give birth. Matthew 25 is Jesus’ measure for his his followers on Judgment Day whether they get admitted to heaven or not. There should never be a juxtaposition of either being “Pro-Life” or “Matthew 25.” With the common inadequate and limiting focus of the “Pro-Life” movement on the womb only, it needs to be extended to cover all life from womb to tomb which the term “Matthew 25” correctly enlarges to become “Pro-Whole Life.”

    • “The so-called “Pro-Life” term as it is generally practiced is limiting because it seeks to put Catholics mainly to wrongly focus on anti-abortion only advocacy in their socio-political engagement.”

      We’ve seen this false claim here several times, but here goes again. If the pro-life movement is focused only on stopping the murder of the unborn, then why are there so many Christian crisis pregnancy centers (and why, by the way, are so many of those being vandalized and even destroyed?), support groups and institutions, adoption agencies, charities (CCUSA, for example, operates more than 2,600 facilities throughout the United States), and countless families who donate time and money to such groups, soup kitchens, prison ministry, working with the homeless, etc., etc.?

      “…and generally not care for the born who for Jesus are the closest to his heart.”

      Generally? Well, I’ll be specific: my wife and I have gone through five adoptions, having to navigate both the usual red tape and bureaucratic obstacles, as well as heartbreak, court appearances, being thrown under the bus, etc. In doing so, we have fed and clothed the hungry, cared for the sick, and even visited those in prison. And we know that our experience is not really exceptional or unique, but rather common; we know many other pro-life families who have gone through similar (or even far more demanding and difficult) situations. And then we get to read about how all we care about is fighting abortion, as if that were such a horrible or embarrassing thing to do. Imagine a WW2 veteran coming back from two years at the front and being told, “All you cared about was defeating the Nazis”, or a firefighter being mocked for “only caring about stopping the fire, not rebuilding the house.”

      • It’s a pity you even have to respond to such idiocy. Truth matters not a bit to the pro-abort crowd. Their traffic is in lies which is their weapon to secure power.

    • From womb to tomb? Minus birth, the womb becomes the tomb of those slaughtered in utero.

      Social welfare benefits can only be enjoyed by those who are first born. And as Catholics surely we should be grieved that the Sacrament of Baptism has also been denied to those killed in the womb.
      It’s about priorities. There’s a hierarchy of sins that cry out to heaven & the shedding of innocent blood is one of those.

    • AP:

      We all understand thst under the warlords of the M25 Gang (aka Lord Obama’s “punish our enemies” army) the thought crime of “only being pro-birth,” is punishable by the M25 Thought Police, snd thus your tribe makes examples of the nuns who won’t bend their knees to your gods, and assent to promote abortion and contraception.

      So there is really no need to burden yourself with advertising for the M25 Gang, as they’ve already done it for you.

      And btw, if any of us “Catholics” are wondering what caliber of Catholic men and women came up with marketing for abortion and all the other malicious frauds with ideas like M25 Catholic, just remember that the most prominent “Catholic” advisor to Lord Obama’s political campaign was:

      – their very own sociopath sex abuser and prince, ex-Eminent Theodore McCarrick.

    • @AndyPerez -I hear people say this all the time, that pro-life people only focus on the womb. It makes me to know that the people saying it have never actually gotten involved in the pro-life movement. They don’t know the pro-life movement IS helping the immigrant population, the poor, and the unwanted. Those are the people who seek abortion. I have witnessed pro-lifers help immigrants get jobs, and babysit their child so they can provide, etc. And it is a juxtaposition, because if you don’t have the right to live, you cannot even be in one of the other categories that we are supposed to help. To say “I am a Matthew 25 Catholic” and support abortion policies is to say, I am no Catholic at all. The abortion industry has targeted the poor and minorities as seen by the placement of Planned Parenthood clinics. It is as if to say, we can only help the poor and the immigrant by murdering their babies. It is disgusting actually. A true Matthew 25 Catholic would never push abortion policy. She is giving Matthew a bad name with her perverted view of truth.

    • Name a single pro-lifer, anywhere on the face of the Earth, who doesn’t care about any other human beings post-birth….. Then apologize.

      • Thank you for your superb response, honoring the counsel of Our Savior: “Be ye therefore wise as a serpent, yet gentle as a dove.”

      • Well, I do know some pretty imperfect people who are at least firmly against feticide. They may fall short on other virtues or be unenlightened regarding race. The prevailing culture affects them too.
        At the end of the day no one is going to be 100% right on everything but if we get the critical issues correct, we’re making progress.

    • “Oftentimes being “Pro-Life” gets reduced to being “Pro-Birth” only (or at most “Anti-abortion” only) and generally not care for the born who for Jesus are the closest to his heart.”

      Just curious – did you get this talking point from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, or the DNC?

    • you are right of course they focus only on the person from conception to death, thanks for the holy reminder Andrew….blessings

  6. The “least of these” are those who are discounted, & marginalized whether they are children in the womb, the elderly, disabled, incarcerated, homeless, or refugees-legal & non. If a population makes us uncomfortable & difficult to feel compassion for, they are probably the “least of those” for us.
    Obviously & sadly, infants in utero occupy that least-of space for Kathy Hochul.

  7. “Tilden accepted his fate rather than carrying on like a five-year old deprived of his creamsicle.”

    Oh. Obviously he means Trump…..who is just as heinous as Biden. Neither are of Christ.

  8. Mr. Weigel, your article is mainly on point.

    Those of us who live in the state of NY like me are fed up with her and have been for over a decade (for those who don’t know, she stated “we aren’t looking to the Constitution” when asked about Obamacare — this was when she was elected US representatives of our district; she said same regarding the gun control push recently). Not surprising to me she claims to be a good Catholic while supporting abortion.

    The only thing I disagree is that she will be chosen Governor — there’s enough people of good will on both sides of the aisle that don’t want her here.

  9. I have lived in NY all of my life. It is a tough, take no prisoners type of place, with many super qualified, competent,intelligent and highly competitive people.Kathy Hochul however, does not impress me on any level, and I will NOT be voting for her.However, one might be able to depend upon the general stupidity of the average NY DEM voter to support her. Recent NY legislative criminal “reforms” are such that when her Republican rival for office, Lee Zelden, was attacked with a sharp object at a rally two months back, the perpetrator was RELEASED immediately, although Zelden is a sitting US Congressman.The inmates are running the asylum in NY and Hochul is in charge. She appears to be content with the current level of violence and chaos, as are the vast majority of DEMs. It has yet to be seen if DEM voters remain as witless as their leaders in the face of the obvious multiple failures of the current DEM administration. As a Catholic, I have always understood that if one aids in the commission of another’s sin, one is equally regarded as having committed the sin themselves. This would include those “catholics” who rabidly endorse abortion at any point in a pregnancy,and the open borders supporters whose position allows violent drug dealers, terrorists and sex traffickers to enter the nation,with the violence they inflict. For instance, we know the open border has allowed tons of fentenyl to be smuggled into the country in spite of the increasing death of our own citizens as a result. This reality alone should demand the closure of the borders. But while the Democrats rule, it will not be closed. Americans will continue to die. Those who are refusing to close the border, as well as those who VOTE for those refusing to close the border, will be held accountable for this and other obvious sins. Those “catholics” who have traditionally supported the DEM party had better think very carefully going forward about what values they are REALLY supporting.

  10. I was born, raised and educated in NY. Why in God’s name would anyone with an ounce of common sense live in such a hell-hole of a State?

    • I would imagine they stay, as I do, for several reasons. First, this is where my family and friends are located. I think about leaving ALL the time. But my children think , as many young people with little life experience do, that NY is “great”, and they have no intention to move. Others are stuck here because this is where their career took them and leaving would create economic disruption they and their families cannot absorb. I have had several friends move down south in the last few years but alas, they are not all in one location, which does not help me make a decision at all. NY is turning into a dangerous cesspool and I would love to leave.

  11. Mr. Weigel is undoubtedly on target. He is a layman. So, where are the bishops?
    Why are they not correcting misinterpretations of Scripture? They are supposed
    to be teachers. More indulgence of pro-abortion “Catholics” who are still free
    to boldly march up to the Communion rail, even in St. Peter’s.

    • And according to scripture, those who turn a blind eye to a brother who is sinning are as guilty as they. You don’t get to look the other way when a fellow Catholic is promoting abortion. I shudder at the fate that awaits our bishops who have long remained silent in the face of evil.

      • They have also maintained PERFECT and UNANIMOUS silence as millions died from denial of early treatment, from Remdesivir and ventilators, and now 3000 extra people die from the bioweapon EACH DAY. (And this is in just the U.S.)

  12. I genuinely appreciate this article, but I think it’s even worse than Weigel portrays it. There is little to nothing authentically reflective of Matthew 25 in the Democratic Party’s approach to caring for the least of these — unborn *or* born. The Democratic Party regularly violates the Church’s teaching on subsidiarity and confuses opposition to their big government programs with opposition to helping those in need.

    The government model of “help” or “charity” that our liberal/progressive brothers and sisters prefer (or those even further to the left like Bernie Sanders), generally tends to pervert true charity and seriously undermines its positive effects. It seems that those who are liberal/progressive tend to see their taxes and government programs as their contribution to charity. Bernie Sanders, a millionaire top 1% income earner, has gone so far as to say that he thinks charity is a bad idea, and that those in need should be taken care of by the government instead.

    But rather than voluntary giving from the heart, a tax is forced taking. No matter how you slice it, very few people respond with love and a smile to a tax bill – because it’s not voluntary. It isn’t a choice. And those who receive the benefits of this forced taking naturally begin to perceive these benefits as something owed to them. True charity has been perverted.

    Or, as former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia once put it, “The transformation of charity into legal entitlement has produced donors without love and recipients without gratitude.”

    That destructive dynamic does not play out so much in private charities and individual one on one giving. The personal connection naturally brings with it a much greater sense of responsibility, gratitude, and sympathy from the receiver and the giver. A positive cycle is much more easily created in the more private and personal model of charity.

    In a Christian context, charity has a greater aim as well, of course. Jesus pinned the responsibility for taking care of those in need on the shoulders of individuals and did not say to cede it to the government. Why? What is the purpose of charity? Is it solely to take care of temporal needs? No. It’s to model the love of Christ, to draw others toward Him like a moth to the light. Perhaps more than anything, people need to know that God loves and cares about them. That love has a powerful, transformative effect. And there’s the further hope that such love will produce other “little Christs” who will in turn go out and do likewise. We are Christ’s hands and feet on earth. So charity is a grace-filled plan of reproduction, if you will.

    And so, I’m a strong believer in the Catholic principle of subsidiarity – organizational matters should be handled at the lowest rung of the ladder possible and only move up when necessary. There is certainly a place for the government safety net – but the size of it must be kept carefully in check.

    The other danger of moving too readily to large-scale/federal government programs is that such programs tend to be a disincentive to the smaller, more local and personal outreach. People tend to think “the government is taking care of that” and so they may tend to cede responsibility to others in government. That’s not good – we need more individuals to stay engaged and involved in the solutions, not fewer.

    As St. John Paul II wrote in Centesimus Annus:

    “[E]xcesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the “Social Assistance State”. Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.

    “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need.”

    And in a similar vein, Catholic author, Robert Royal writes:

    “It is ironic, then, that the greatest challenge to Catholic philanthropies only began much later, during the New Deal. Aloisius Muench, bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, famously remarked at the time, ‘The poor belong to us. . . . We will not let them be taken away,’ meaning that growing secular programs threatened the old institutional mission. A few years later, another Catholic leader warned that trends towards taking charitable efforts out of the parishes and centralizing them in diocesan offices might lead to a loss of “both the interest and the support of the clergy and the laity.’ Even worse, he feared a future ‘when parish priests and their people cease to say ‘our poor’ and speak rather of ‘your cases.’'” (“Conversion Story: What happens when big charity meets big government”)

    Especially in these days, when the government has become increasingly antagonistic toward the true things of God, it is imprudent in the extreme to effective teach and direct human beings to seek out government as their savior and provider. Uncle Sam is a terrible substitute father, and an even worse substitute god.

    But again, I do appreciate a great deal of what Wiegel writes here in regard to the unborn and thought it was spot on.

  13. Hochul, well versed in the Party line knows if they rule the streets, appease the addicted, anarchists, Marxist academic revolutionaries the Party succeeds. That, in addition to abortion, gay supremacy in all legal matters, is basically the Dem Catholic political brand of Matthew 25. They already have the media, most military ranking officers, Federal law enforcement, most of the financial moguls [except for Elon Musk]. With open border Influx of migrants, criminals and all they hope to maintain power with addition of numbers.
    Weigel however warns Party jailfree card carriers that their card does not at all ensure exemption from the eternal Lockup. I don’t believe we require a window into the soul of political faux Catholics. If moral responsibility is determined by acts rather than thoughts, that is, intentions however benign we may safely fear for their plight at Judgment. It is the true Catholics calling to pray for them, for their repentance.

    • There’s a notable difference in America’s form of idealistic Marxism centered on conflated liberty, to Leninist/Stalinist Marxism. It is the latter ordering of the State by whatever means, abandoning failed policies for what works, adapting to insure its existence.
      Whereas the opposite contains the mindset for American idealistic Marxism, idealistic and unreasonable destined for self destruction. But that is world mogul Georg Soros’ and other like theorists’ intention [Soros on record of having stated the US is the barrier to a worldwide egalitarianism], the disintegration [for US pols an unwitting inevitability] from within America. If we examine the base lines of sociocultural integrity as identified by Emil Durkheim, family, religion, education, the three are in process of radicalization and inevitably for the first two disintegration. Education has been engineered by secular theorists [John Dewey prominent among them] to complete that disintegration.

  14. just like beelzebub to turn the Gospel on Its head – they are of the Matthew 25 Gospel, as the goats, not the sheep, because they do not help the babies in the womb or at birth to receive the love and justice and life they thirst and hunger for; they do not seek to clothe them in their divinized dignity, rather they strip them of this dignity, life, personhood, protection, love, solicitude, et al…yes they are Matthew 25 goats who have eaten the poison fruit of disobedience to and denial of God’s Truth for satan’s morsel – just as adam,eve and judas did…repentance O sinners, the Beloved does wish you to die as satan’s goats on His left but as His Sheep on His Right…blessings

  15. I only wish that more of our church leaders challenge “Catholic” politicians with pro-choice views with regards to doctrine. The Mathew 25 designation seems a bit contrived and appears to be a means for justifying their pro-choice position.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. “Matthew 25 Catholics”? – Via Nova Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.