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Apr 05th
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Thursday, 30 April 2009 09:49
DOING GOOD AND RESISTING EVIL The Apostles’ resistance to obeying unjust commands. Firmness in faith. In spite of a severe prohibition from the High Priest and from the Sanhedrin that they should not preach again or teach at all in the name of Jesus (cf Acts 4:18), the Apostles preached every day more freely and with more determination the doctrine of the faith. And there were many who were converted and who were baptized. Then, as we are told in the First Reading of the Mass, they set them before the council And the high priest questioned them saying; ‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching'. Peter and the Apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:27-29). And they continued to announce the Good News. The Apostles’ resistance to obeying the commands of the Sanhedrin was not a matter of pride or lack of knowledge of the social duties towards lawful authority. They resisted them because the council wished to impose on them a command which was against the law of God. They reminded their judges courageously and simply that obedience to God comes first. They were fully convinced that for those who fear God there is no danger but only for those who don’t fear Him (St John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 13), and that it is worse to commit an injustice than to suffer it. The fortitude and conviction of the first Christians is what Our Lord is also asking from his followers today, when, in certain environments, there breathes a climate of indifference or even direct attack, more or less veiled, on true human and Christian values. A well-formed conscience will lead a Christian to be as law-abiding as the best of his fellow citizens, at the same time as he is ready to take a stand against anything contrary to the natural law. The State is not juridically omnipotent; it is not the source of good and of evil. It is an obligation for Catholics who are present in political institutions to exercise a critical role within their respective institutions so that their programmes and activities correspond every day more to the aspirations and criteria of Christian morality. In some cases it could even be obligatory to object in conscience to activities or decisions that go directly contrary to some precept of Christian morality (Spanish Episcopal Conference, Witnesses to the living God, 28 June 1985). The effective protection of fundamental individual rights, the right to life from the very first moment of conception, the protection of marriage and the family, equality of opportunities in education and in work, freedom of education and of speech, religious freedom, personal security, contribution to world peace, all form part of the common good for which Christians should be prepared to fight (ibid, Catholics in public life, 22 April 1986). With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at ( To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at

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"The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts."~~Bertrand Russell