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Life in Christ

541

[Christians] reside in their own nations, but as resident

aliens. They participate in all things as citizens and endure

all things as foreigners. . . . They obey the established laws

and their way of life surpasses the laws. . . . So noble is the

position to which God has assigned them that they are not

allowed to desert it.

46

The Apostle exhorts us to offer prayers and thanksgiving for

kings and all who exercise authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peace­

able life, godly and respectful in every way.”

47

2241

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent

they are able, to welcome the

foreigner

in search of the security and

the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of

origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is

respected that places a guest under the protection of those who

receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which

they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate sub­

ject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immi­

grants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to

respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country

that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic

burdens.

2242

The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the direc­

tives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of

the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teach­

ings of the Gospel.

Refusing obedience

to civil authorities, when their

demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its

justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the

political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that

are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

48

“We must

obey God rather than men”:

49

When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority

which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse

to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the

common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their

own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the

abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law

and the Law of the Gospel.

50

46

Ad Diognetum

5, 5 and 10; 6, 10: PG 2, 1173 and 1176.

47

1 Tim

2:2.

48

Mt

22:21.

49

Acts

5:29.

50

GS

74 § 5.

1900

1903

2313

450

1901