Pope Francis spoke about tax payments during this Sunday’s Angelus (18).
According to him, just as the payment of taxes is a citizen’s duty, so does the affirmation of “the primacy of God in human life and history, respecting God’s right to what belongs to him”.
The pontiff quoted the passage from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, in which Jesus struggles against the hypocrisy of his opponents who praise him, and recalled that he knew that they wanted to “get him in trouble by asking him the insidious question: ‘It is lawful, or not, pay tax to Caesar? ‘”.
“However, Jesus knows malice and leaves the trap. He asks them to show him the currency of the tax, he takes it in his hands and asks: whose print is this. They reply that it is from Caesar, that is, from the Emperor. Then Jesus replies: ‘Give back what is Caesar’s to Caesar and to God what is God’s’. ”
And then he explained: “With this answer, Jesus puts himself above controversy. On the one hand, he recognizes that the tax to Caesar must be paid, because the image on the currency is his; but, above all, he remembers that each person carries within him another image, that of God, and that is why it is to Him, and only to Him, that everyone is indebted to their own existence ”.
Francis reflected that in this sentence “we find not only the criterion of the distinction between the political and religious spheres, but also clear guidelines for the mission of believers of all times, even for us today”.