It is not true that there is opposition between being a good Catholic and serving civil society faithfully. In the same way there is no reason why the Church and the State should clash when they proceed with the lawful exercise of their respective authorities, in fulfillment of the mission God has entrusted to them. Those who affirm the contrary are liars, yes, liars! They are the same people who honour a false liberty, and ask us Catholics "to do them the favour" of going back to the catacombs. (Furrow, 301)
You must foster everywhere a genuine ‘lay outlook’, which will lead to three conclusions: be sufficiently honest, so as to shoulder one’s own personal responsibility; be sufficiently Christian, so as to respect those brothers in the Faith who, in matters of free discussion, propose solutions which differ from those which each one of us maintains; and be sufficiently Catholic so as not to use our Mother the Church, involving her in human factions.
It is obvious that, in this field as in all others, you would not be able to carry out this program of sanctifying your everyday life if you did not enjoy all the freedom which proceeds from your dignity as men and women created in the image of God and which the Church freely recognises. Personal freedom is essential to the Christian life. But do not forget, my children, that I always speak of a responsible freedom.
Interpret, then, my words as what they are: a call to exercise your rights every day, and not merely in time of emergency. A call to fulfil honourably your commitments as citizens, in all fields — in politics and in financial affairs, in university life and in your job — accepting with courage all the consequences of your free decisions and the personal independence which corresponds to each one of you. A Christian ‘lay outlook’ of this sort will enable you to flee from all intolerance, from all fanaticism. To put it in a positive way, it will help you to live in peace with all your fellow citizens, and to promote this understanding and harmony in all spheres of social life. (Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá, 117)
I really think this statement defines a lot of the tension that many Catholics feel in the culture today. For me, it gives balance and meaning to elements that can seem hopelessly opposed. To many the words, "There is no reason why the Church and the State should be opposed," are ludicrous; both seculars and Christians. It takes a lot to have the hope and confidence that by living as a true Christian, without obsequity, I can expect to have my rights delivered to me as a citizen. In a way, it is expecting the best of our neighbors.
St. Josemaria amazes me nearly every day.