Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar


No one enjoys paying taxes. While any follower of Christ could in good conscience argue against paying taxes, given some portion of them is used for objectionable purposes, they are still not free from the obligation to pay what they owe. Tax season is once again here for all residents working in the United States. The sixth and eighth commandants, which warn against stealing and cheating, form the branches on which this obligation grows. The fourth commandment also includes the obligation to respect the societal rules put in place by those chosen to serve in civil authority.

It must be understood that the tax system is at its heart used to serve the common good of the population. The arguments against formal participation in unjust causes does not apply for self-justifications to avoid paying taxes. Although one may try to argue that paying taxes is material cooperation in immoral causes, these issues of disagreement should motivate citizens to get more involved in the gubernatorial process of society — to help define the common good so it more closely reflects the principles of God.

In the meantime, as tempting as it might be, Catholics, men and women of good faith, all residing and working in a society, are obligated to pay what is owed, to report fairly what is earned, and to seek preferential options for the poor. Working “under the table,” not reporting or under reporting wages, takes resources directly away from those most in need. Likewise these truly unjust actions place a higher and unfair obligation on those who fairly and rightly participate in the system.