Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 463 A rticle 2 PARTICIPATION IN SOCIAL LIFE I. A uthority 1897 “Human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosper­ ous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as is necessary to work and care for the good of all.” 15 By “authority” one means the quality by virtue of which persons or institutions make laws and give orders to men and ex­ pect obedience from them. 1898 Every human community needs an authority to govern it. 16 The foundation of such authority lies in human nature. It is necessary for the unity of the state. Its role is to ensure as far as possible the common good of the society. 1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” 17 1900 The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to au­ thority and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will. Pope St. Clement of Rome provides the Church’s most an­ cient prayer for political authorities: 18 “Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, concord, and stability, so that they may exer­ cise without offense the sovereignty that you have given them. Master, heavenly King of the ages, you give glory, hon­ or, and power over the things of earth to the sons of men. Direct, Lord, their counsel, following what is pleasing and acceptable in your sight, so that by exercising with devotion and in peace and gentleness the power that you have given to them, they may find favor with you.” 19 15 John XXIII, PT 46. 16 Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei; Diuturnum illud. 17 Rom 13:1-2; cf. 1 Pet 2:13-17. 18 Cf. as early as 1 Tim 2:1-2. 19 St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 61: SCh 167, 198-200. 2234 2235 2238 2240