Thought for the Day – 20 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Five Tribunals
“The tribunal of God is the one for which we must be specially prepared because our eternal happiness or unhappiness depends on it.
Nevertheless, we should not ignore the existence of the others.
We have to consider public opinion.
It is not that we should be anxious to put up a good appearance before it but, we should try and give good example to our neighbours, rather than become the cause of scandal.
“Let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven” (Mt 4:16).
Conscience is a Court of Justice to which we must pay more attention.
This is the medium God often uses when He exhorts us to change our lives or to strive towards perfection.
The tribunal of Penance is the only sure way for the sinner to return to the friendship of God, although in case of necessity, he could obtain pardon by an act of Perfect Contrition.
Finally, we must respect civil authority.
All authority comes from God and for this reason, we must obey the civil law in the manner of good citizens.
In regard to civil authority, however, one thing should be made quite clear.
We are only obliged to obey it when it does not infringe on the rights of God or of the Church!
It it should run counter to these, we should answer in the words of St Peter and the other Apostles when they were called before the Sanhedrin, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).”