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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Tuesday 9th in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 12,13-17): Jewish leaders sent to Jesus some Pharisees with members of Herod's party (…) and said to Jesus, «Master (…): Tell us, is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar? Should we pay them or not?». Jesus (…) answered, «Bring me a silver coin and let me see it». They brought him one and Jesus asked, «Whose head is this, and whose name?». They answered, «Caesar's». Then Jesus said, «Return to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's» (…).

The political State: legitimacy and limits

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI)
(Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, Jesus responds to the Pharisees that, if the roman emperor is guarantor of Law, he may then demand obedience. However, this extent of obedience is, at the same time, reduced: there is what belongs to "Caesar" and there is what belongs to God. When the "Caesar" upsurges as God, he has surpassed his limits, and to obey him would be to deny God.

If we consider these correlations, we discover a very sober conception of the State: to the extent which it guarantees peace and Law, these correlations correspond to a divine provision (a sort of creatural sorting). You have to respect the State precisely in its profane character; this need arises from the essence of the man as "animal sociale et politicum". At the same time there is a delimitation of the State: it has its own scope, which it may not exceed; because it must comply with the highest "Right of God".

—"You shall worship the Lord, your God, only". The refusal to worship the Emperor and, in general, the refusal to worship the State, is nothing else but the refusal to totalitarian States.