On January 20, 2017, the world will witness a rare event: the peaceful transfer of power from one national leader to another. Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office at noon, becoming the 45th President of the United States. Like all presidents before him, Trump will swear to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
As chief executive, Trump will have the duty to enforce the law. Governments the world over have the authority to enact laws in pursuit of the common good. Many abuse this authority with laws and practices that do not respect the dignity of the human person.
The beginning of any new presidency is a good time for the faithful to consider what the Catholic Church teaches about the origin, limits, and obligations of political authority, and to reflect upon the faithful’s role in public life.
In this lesson your students will:
- Explore the events and meaning of the U.S. presidential inauguration.
- Understand that all people have equal rights and that our rights flow from our dignity as persons created in the image and likeness of God.
- Understand that all authority comes from God.
- Consider why every community needs authority to govern it, what the limits of that authority are, and what our obligations are towards it.
- Reflect upon the Catholic Church’s teaching on political authority.