Radio Show

Dr. Scott Hahn on the Role of Religion in Society


Theologian Dr. Scott Hahn discusses his new  book, “It is Right and Just: Why the Future of Civilization Depends on True Religion,” which argues that religion is not only relevant to justice and law, but is also necessary for civilization to thrive. 

Dr. Hahn explains what the Church says about the role of religion in society. “Vatican II states that we are to go out and permeate society to sanctify the temporal order. The result is going to be an awakening in each person, the love of the true and the good. So, not only the mentalities and the morals, but the laws and structures are going to be effected, changed, impacted, and if not transformed. The fact that it isn’t up to us, Jesus told us to baptize in the name of the father, the son, and Holy Spirit, but we are really under orders, to teach them to ‘observe whatsoever I have commanded you.’”

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Dr. Hahn reflects on our Catholic call to be faithful citizens. “God wants to draw us into his own family. God wants to empower us through holiness. But unfortunately, as American Catholics, we tend to forget, as Paul reminds the Philippians, our citizenship is in heaven. So we have ‘dual citizenship’ and the greatest gift that we can give to America is our Catholic faith lived out as fully as possible. And in the process, I think that we recognize that almost every other model of government introduces coercion and ends up making it the foundation. Whereas the new evangelization is really the wellspring of this approach. And it’s why the Roman empire is what Jesus must have had in mind when he said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’”

“We are Catholic Americans. Catholic first, but that’s the best way to be Americans … I think there’s spiritual Stockholm syndrome. We can be in America so long that we don’t recognize that materialism and a kind of lopsided nationalism blinds us from the gift that we have to give to this country.”

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Dr. Hahn shares a sports analogy centering on former NFL player Jim Marshall to further illustrate his point. “Jim Marshall holds all these NFL records, but he’s not in the hall of fame, probably because of what happened in ‘64, when, as a young player, he picked up one of his 30 recovered fumbles. Only this one was dropped by Billy Kilmer of the 49ers. Marshall ran all the way back 66 yards to the end zone, but it was the wrong end zone. And so when he celebrated by throwing the ball, he gave the 49ers two points of safety. Now, fortunately, the Vikings won that game, but it became known as ‘the wrong-way run.’ Now, Marshall wasn’t betraying his teammates. We always tend to act in terms of what we think is right. And then when we find out we’re wrong, we could still pass a polygraph in thinking we were right, but suddenly it’s a moment of grace when we realize we’ve got to rethink some things in order not to run the wrong way. In the football field of life, even if we’re not making a lot of progress, we are at least going to be moving the ball in the right direction and then leave the rest up to the coach who is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.” Original Air 1-27-21