The Church and Social Policy: When Less is More, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, May 21, 2021

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.


Here’s a novel thought for you: There is a big difference between “policy” and “virtue” and, choosing between these two, the Church’s business is virtue. A similar difference exists between “facts” and “truth” and, again choosing between the two, the business of the Church is truth. Now I know you would never think of this on your own. After all, if what I have just declared were really the case, why would so many ecclesiastical statements and initiatives over the past fifty years concern themselves with social, political, economic, environmental and managerial facts and policies? And so little with faith and morals?

A related question would be why the Church so often seems to discipline the members of her ruling class (the clergy) for policy violations rather than for resistance to truth and virtue. I grant you that human policies create bright and manageable little lines, the better to take definitive notice of when they are crossed. But it isn’t violations of human policies which rob souls of life; it is failures of faith and morals. …

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