In the parable of the faithful steward, Jesus warns his disciples that “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Lk 12:48). Especially for those in positions of authority, the message is clear: do not shirk your duty. President Trump evaded his constitutional and moral responsibility last week leading to sheer national embarrassment. His attempt to goad his own Vice President to overturn the 2020 presidential election merits sufficient rebuke. But his lack of expeditious leadership to protect congressional leaders and staff from violent insurrection marked a stain on his presidency (even if he is not entirely to blame, as the media injudiciously suggests).
Many rightly point out that Democrats did not balk this summer over violent protests on racial injustice. Indeed, those Democrats should also be admonished for their silence. But as Catholic journalist J.D. Flynn wisely points out, the message “they started it” is unhelpful and, in fact, symptomatic of the same “disease of division” afflicting both sides. Undoubtedly, President Trump’s policies over the past four years, especially his defense of life and religious freedom, square eminently well with Catholic social teaching. President-elect Biden’s views on key moral teachings stand diametrically opposed to the Magisterium, which places him outside communion with the Church.
But no president is perfect, not even a pro-life one. One can both support the President’s policies and challenge him when he fails. If Catholics do not stand up for the truth in its entirety — and rebuke wrongdoing whenever it is merited — we risk appearing like one more arm of a political base, instead of the Body of Christ. The President was entrusted with much on January 20, 2017. Much is still demanded of him.