Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In his address to the Philippine ambassador (thanks to Commonweal for the link), Pope Benedict had some important things to say about church-state separation:
The Catholic Church is eager to share the richness of the Gospel’s social message, for it enlivens hearts with a hope for the fulfilment of justice and a love that makes all men and women truly brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. She carries out this mission fully aware of the respective autonomy and competence of Church and State. Indeed, we may say that the distinction between religion and politics is a specific achievement of Christianity and one of its fundamental historical and cultural contributions. The Church is equally convinced that State and religion are called to support each other as they together serve the personal and social well-being of all (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 76). This harmonious cooperation between Church and State requires ecclesial and civic leaders to carry out their public duties with undaunted concern for the common good.
Right on. For more, see, e.g., Richard W. Garnett, "Church, State, and the Practice of Love" (Villanova L. Rev., 2007) (link) or (God willing) R. Garnett, Two There Are: Understanding the Separation of Church and State (Cambridge, forthcoming).