One of the ways that the Protestant Revolution against the Divine Plan that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ instituted to effect man’s return to Him through His Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without whose Divinely received teaching and sanctifying offices there can be no true social order, continues to contribute to the decay of Western civilization is the path that it opened up to the acceptance of the amorality of Niccolo Machiavelli as the basis of political rule and statecraft. This is a point that I made consistently in my over three decades as a college professor of political science as I explained that politics and governance in the modern world have been shaped by Machiavelli’s embrace of amorality, that is, the undertaking of actions without regard to objective principles of the moral order that do not depend human acceptance for their binding force or validity.
Our true popes have gone to great lengths that there is never any circumstance in which the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law can be ignored in favor of moral expediency. Pope Saint Pius X did so on several occasions, including in Singulari Quadam, September 24, 1912:
Accordingly, We first of all declare that all Catholics have a sacred and inviolable duty, both in private and public life, to obey and firmly adhere to and fearlessly profess the principles of Christian truth enunciated by the teaching office of the Catholic Church. In particular We mean those principles which Our Predecessor has most wisely laid down in the encyclical letter "Rerum Novarum." We know that the Bishops of Prussia followed these most faithfully in their deliberations at the Fulda Congress of 1900. You yourselves have summarized the fundamental ideas of these principles in your communications regarding this question.
These are fundamental principles: No matter what the Christian does, even in the realm of temporal goods, he cannot ignore the supernatural good. Rather, according to the dictates of Christian philosophy, he must order all things to the ultimate end, namely, the Highest Good. All his actions, insofar as they are morally either good or bad (that is to say, whether they agree or disagree with the natural and divine law), are subject to the judgment and judicial office of the Church. All who glory in the name of Christian, either individually or collectively, if they wish to remain true to their vocation, may not foster enmities and dissensions between the classes of civil society. On the contrary, they must promote mutual concord and charity. The social question and its associated controversies, such as the nature and duration of labor, the wages to be paid, and workingmen's strikes, are not simply economic in character. Therefore they cannot be numbered among those which can be settled apart from ecclesiastical authority. "The precise opposite is the truth. It is first of all moral and religious, and for that reason its solution is to be expected mainly from the moral law and the pronouncements of religion." (Pope Saint Pius X, Singulari Quadam, Sepetember 24, 1912.)
The modern world, shaped as it is by the anti-Incarnational lies of Judeo-Masonry and its hatred for the Social Reign of Christ the King and of the true Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, she who is our mater and magister (mother and teacher), is shaped by amorality in almost every aspect of public life and what passes for “popular culture” in these wicked times that celebrate every form of licentiousness, including wanton misuse of the gift that God has given to man to bring forth new souls to give Him honor and glory in this life and to spend all eternity with Him in Heaven after dying as faithful sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church and the subsequent killing off of children by self-centered parents who live without regard to their Particular Judgment and of outright perversity of the sort that destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gommorha.
Amorality is practiced by the members of each of the two major organized crime families of naturalism in the United States of America. Violations of the Seventh and Eighth Commandments are the norm, not the exception, today as politicians of the false opposites of the naturalist “right” and the “left” outdo each other in stealing what rightfully belongs to the taxpayers to aggrandize the power of the civil state and in lying about each other with a shameless disregard, borne of ignorance in many instances, of the fact that they will have to make an accounting of everything that they have ever thought, done or said when they face the Divine Judge, Christ the King, at the moment of their Particular Judgments.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori explained that no one, including those who justify a fission between “private belief” and public action, will escape the strict scrutiny of every aspect of his life after he dies:
2. It is the common opinion of theologians, that at the very moment and in the very place in which the soul departs from the body, the divine tribunal is erected, the accusation is read, and the sentence is passed by Jesus Christ, the Judge. At this terrible tribunal each of us shall be presented to give an account of all our thoughts, of all our words, and of all our actions. "For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil." ( 2 Cor. v. 10.) When presented before an earthly judge criminals have been seen to fall into a cold sweat through fear. It is related of Piso, that so great and insufferable was the confusion, which he felt at the thought of appearing as a criminal before the senate that he killed himself. How great is the pain of a vassal, or of a son, in appearing before an angry prince or an enraged father, to account for some crime which he has committed! Oh! how much greater shall be the pain and confusion of the soul in standing, before Jesus Christ enraged against her for having despised him during her life! Speaking of judgment, St. Luke says: "Then you shall see the Son of Man." (Luke xxi. 27.) They shall see Jesus Christ as man, with the same wounds with which he ascended into heaven. "Great joy of the beholders!" says Robert the Abbot, "a great terror of those who are in expectation!" These wounds shall console the just, and shall terrify the wicked. In them sinners shall see the Redeemer’s love for themselves, and their ingratitude to him.
3. "Who," says the Prophet Nahum, "can stand before the face of his indignation ?" (i. 6.) How great, then, shall be the terror of a soul that finds herself in sin before this Judge, the first time she shall see him, and see him full of wrath! St. Basil says that she shall be tortured more by her shame and confusion than by the very fire of hell. ”Horridior quam ignis, erit pudor." Philip the Second rebuked one of his domestics for having told him a lie. ”Is it thus," said the king to him, ”you deceive me?" The domestic, after having returned home, died of grief. The Scripture tells us, that when Joseph reproved his brethren, saying: ”I am Joseph, whom you sold," they were unable to answer through fear, and remained silent. ”His brethren could not answer him, being struck with exceeding great fear." (Gen. xlv. 3.) Now what answer shall sinners make to Jesus Christ when he shall say to them: I am your Redeemer and your Judge, whom you have so much despised. Where shall the miserable beings fly, says St. Augustine, when they shall see an angry Judge above, hell open below, on one side their own sins accusing them, and on the other the devils dragging them to punishment, and their conscience burning them within? “Above shall be an enraged Judge below, a horrid chaos on the right, sins accusing him on the left, demons dragging him to punishment within, a burning conscience! Whither shall a sinner, beset in this manner, fly ?"Perhaps he will cry for mercy? But how, asks Eusebius Emissenus, can he dare to implore mercy, when he must first render an account of his contempt for the mercy which Jesus Christ has shown to him?” With what face will you, who are to be first judged for contempt of mercy, ask for mercy?" But let us come to the rendering of the accounts. . . .
11. How great shall be the joy of a soul when, at death, she hears from Jesus Christ these sweet words: ”Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." (Matt. xxv. 21.) Equally great shall be the anguish and despair of a guilty soul, that shall see herself driven away by the Judge with the following words: ”Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire" (verse 41). Oh! what a terrible thunderclap shall that sentence be to her!”Oh! how frightfully," says the Carthusian, "shall that thunder resound!" Eusebius writes, that the terror of sinners at hearing their condemnation shall be so great that, if they could, they would die again. “The wicked shall be seized with such terror at the sight of the Judge pronouncing sentence that, if they were not immortal, they should die a second time." But, brethren, let us, before the termination of this sermon, make some reflections which will be profitable to us. St. Thomas of Villanova says, that some listen to discourses on the judgment and condemnation of the wicked with as little concern as if they they themselves were secure against these things, or as if the day of judgment were never to arive for them. "Heu quam securi hæc dicimus et audimus, quasi nos non tangeret hæc sententia, aut quasi dies hæc nunquam esset venturus!" (Conc, i., de Jud.) The saint then asks: Is it not great folly to entertain security in so perilous an affair? "Quæ est ista stulta securitas in discrimine tanto?" There are some, says St. Augustine, who, though they live in sin, cannot imagine that God will send them to hell. ”Will God," they say, ”really condemn us ?" Brethren, adds the saint, do not speak thus. So, many of the damned did not believe that they should be sent to hell; but the end came, and, according to the threat of Ezechiel, they have been cast into that place of darkness. "The end is come, the end is come... and I will send my wrath upon thee, and I will judge thee." (Ezec. vii. 2, 3.) Sinners, perhaps vengeance is at hand for you, and still you laugh and sleep in sin. Who will not tremble at the words of the Baptist: ”For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that doth not yield good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire." (Matt, iii. 10.) He says, that every tree that does not bring forth good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire; and he promises that, with regard to the trees, which represent sinners, the axe is already laid to the roots that is, chastisement is at hand. Dearly beloved brethren, let us follow the counsel of the Holy Ghost "Before judgment, prepare thee justice." (Eccl. xviii. 19.) Let us adjust our accounts before the day of accounts. Let us seek God, now that we can find him; for the time shall come when we will wish, but shall not be able to find him. ”You shall seek me, and shall not find me." (John vii. 36.)” “Before judgment," says St. Augustine, ”the Judge can be appeased, but not in judgment." By a change of life we can now appease the anger of Jesus Christ, and recover his grace; but when he shall judge, and find us in sin, he must execute justice, and we shall be lost. (Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year by St Alphonsus Liguori in .pdf format; a sermon on the death of the sinner is appended at the end of this article.)
No one in public life today recognizes or accept this as true. More accurately, of course, almost no one in public life today knows of the terror that awaits them by their use of amorality in every aspect of their lives. Not Donald John Trump. Not Charles Schumer. Not Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi. Not anyone, including many well-meaning Catholics who have been swept up in the falsehoods of the counterfeit church of conciliarism and its propagation of the heresy of universal salvation.
Permit me a slight digression as it is important to drive home the point that one cannot do whatever he wants without regard to the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law and expect to escape the fires of Hell for all eternity.
Even though Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood during His Passion and Death on the wood of the Holy Cross to redeem mankind, it is up to each person to avail himself of the merits of Our Lord’s Redemptive Act. Actually, of course, the number of those who are saved is very few:
Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."
Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forcefully that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned."
O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of thirty thousand, only five were saved! And out of sixty thousand, only three went to heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered?... What do you say?... What do you think?...
I see almost all of you lowering your heads, filled with astonishment and horror. But let us lay our stupor aside, and instead of flattering ourselves, let us try to draw some profit from our fear.
Is it not true that there are two roads which lead to heaven: innocence and repentance? Now, if I show you that very few take either one of these two roads, as rational people you will conclude that very few are saved. And to mention proofs: in what age, employment or condition will you find that the number of the wicked is not a hundred times greater than that of the good, and about which one might say, "The good are so rare and the wicked are so great in number"? We could say of our times what Salvianus said of his: it is easier to find a countless multitude of sinners immersed in all sorts of iniquities than a few innocent men. How many servants are totally honest and faithful in their duties? How many merchants are fair and equitable in their commerce; how many craftsmen exact and truthful; how many salesmen disinterested and sincere? How many men of law do not forsake equity? How many soldiers do not tread upon innocence; how many masters do not unjustly withhold the salary of those who serve them, or do not seek to dominate their inferiors? Everywhere, the good are rare and the wicked great in number. Who does not know that today there is so much libertinage among mature men, liberty among young girls, vanity among women, licentiousness in the nobility, corruption in the middle class, dissolution in the people, impudence among the poor, that one could say what David said of his times: "All alike have gone astray... there is not even one who does good, not even one." (Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, The Little Numbr of Those Who Are Saved.)
These are words that should terrify each one of us. The spiritually lax and outright moral reprobates do not enter the Kingdom of God. We must pray to Our Lady every day to help us to save our souls as it is far easier to go to Hell for all eternity than it is to go to Heaven. The conciliar revolutionaries preach the exact opposite.
The standard of one’s Particular Judgment becomes higher if he has authority over others. One duly invested with the authority to govern must do so justly as he seeks to foster the common temporal good in light of man’s Last End, namely, the possession of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity in Heaven. Yes, woe to those who govern who do not make provision for the eternal well-being of those entrusted to their governance.
Pope Saint Pius X summarized the entirety of the duties of just governance and statecraft as he condemned the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic precept of the “separation of Church and State” in Paragraph Three of Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906:
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the plea that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness after this short life shall have run its course. But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies. Both of them, the civil and the religious society, although each exercises in its own sphere its authority over them. It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another. Remove the agreement between Church and State, and the result will be that from these common matters will spring the seeds of disputes which will become acute on both sides; it will become more difficult to see where the truth lies, and great confusion is certain to arise. Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. Our illustrious predecessor, Leo XIII, especially, has frequently and magnificently expounded Catholic teaching on the relations which should subsist between the two societies. "Between them," he says, "there must necessarily be a suitable union, which may not improperly be compared with that existing between body and soul.-"Quaedam intercedat necesse est ordinata colligatio (inter illas) quae quidem conjunctioni non immerito comparatur, per quam anima et corpus in homine copulantur." He proceeds: "Human societies cannot, without becoming criminal, act as if God did not exist or refuse to concern themselves with religion, as though it were something foreign to them, or of no purpose to them.... As for the Church, which has God Himself for its author, to exclude her from the active life of the nation, from the laws, the education of the young, the family, is to commit a great and pernicious error. -- "Civitates non possunt, citra scellus, gerere se tamquam si Deus omnino non esset, aut curam religionis velut alienam nihilque profuturam abjicere.... Ecclesiam vero, quam Deus ipse constituit, ab actione vitae excludere, a legibus, ab institutione adolescentium, a societate domestica, magnus et perniciousus est error. (Pope Saint Pius X, Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906.)
Human societies have, sadly, become criminal because most people, including those who govern, do indeed “act as if God did not exist or refuse to concern themselves with religion.” The consequences of such disorder are deadly to men and their nations. As has been noted many times previously in this website, we are witnessing the perfection of the inherent degeneracy of the false, naturalistic, Pelagian and religiously indifferentist principles of the American founding. Disorder in the souls of men leads to disorder in one’s nation and hence in the world. No nation will ever know a just social order domestically and the world-at-large will never enjoy a genuine peace as long most men are at war with the true God of Divine Revelation, the Most Blessed Trinity, by means of unrepented sins and by enshrining grave sins as a “civil right” in public law and celebrating them throughout the nooks and crannies of “popular culture.”
As Silvio Cardinal Antoniano noted in the Sixteenth Century:
The more closely the temporal power of a nation aligns itself with the spiritual, and the more it fosters and promotes the latter, by so much the more it contributes to the conservation of the commonwealth. For it is the aim of the ecclesiastical authority by the use of spiritual means, to form good Christians in accordance with its own particular end and object; and in doing this it helps at the same time to form good citizens, and prepares them to meet their obligations as members of a civil society. This follows of necessity because in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing. How grave therefore is the error of those who separate things so closely united, and who think that they can produce good citizens by ways and methods other than those which make for the formation of good Christians. For, let human prudence say what it likes and reason as it pleases, it is impossible to produce true temporal peace and tranquillity by things repugnant or opposed to the peace and happiness of eternity. (Silvio Cardinal Antoniano, quoted by Pope Pius XI in Divini Illius Magistri, December 31, 1929.)
No, no one on the naturalist "right" understands this, which makes it impossible to turn back the tide of evil advance by their opposite numbers among the ranks of the naturalist "left," most of whom are proud to boast of their support for the very evils that undermine justice in their nations and peace in the world.
Pope Leo XIII, writing in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885, taught that it is impossible to produce a just social order if the civil law permits all kinds of licentiousness:
Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
II. In Defense of Machiavelli's Realpolitik?
How sad it is, therefore, that are some who permit themselves to serve as overt apologists for Machiavellianism as the foundation of politics and statecraft. One of those who has done so recently is a scholar by the name of Dr. James Piereson, who was on the faculty of the then-named State University of New York at Albany’s Graduate School of Public Affairs when I was preparing for my doctoral comprehensive examinations in the 1974-1975 academic year.
Dr. Piereson, who holds, among many other prestigious positions, the status of Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is a serious, accomplished and respected scholar (see Dr. James Piereson of the Manhattan Institute; Dr. Piereson's time at the State University of New York at Albany does not appear in this biography) whose demeanor can be described best as pensive. Dr. Piereson is a "heavy lifter" in consevative intellectual circles, and he has offered some very good insights, at least on the natural level, about the decline of American colleges and universities. However, truth compels me to criticize an article that was highlighted recently on the Real Clear Politics commentary aggregation website.
Dr. Piereson’s article was a rejoinder to “never Trumpers” who have criticized President Donald John Trump for what they perceive as a lack of character and virtue. Dr. Piereson explained that character is hard to define and that the president, far from being a wild man, knows precisely what is doing, which is why his critics and political opponents find it so difficult to deal with him. Dr. Piereson’s analysis of the president is very accurate, but his arguments in favor of a politics divorced and dissevered from objective moral truths are very erroneous.
In the course of his commentary, however, Dr. Piereson dismissed a naturalist’s invocation of Heraclitus and Cicero as being irrelevant to our times as objectives of the natural moral order were rejected by Niccolo Machiavelli in favor of expediency:
Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that many have dreamed up republics and principalities which in truth have never been known to exist. The gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done learns the way to self-destruction rather than self-preservation. The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among the many who are not virtuous. Therefore, if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must learn how not to be virtuous, and to make use of this or not according to need.
There are times when a prince, to preserve his rule, must lie, cheat, dissemble, flatter the mob, and even kill his rivals and enemies, while preserving the appearance of virtue, to the degree it is necessary.
Machiavelli said that a prince should seek to be both loved and feared, but if given a choice he is better off being feared. The prince must always be on guard against adversaries, and being feared is the best way to deter them. A wise prince must be prepared to take brutal steps against adversaries who might challenge his rule. In some cases, he is well advised to delegate that task to subordinates, thereby gaining the benefit of brutal suppression while avoiding blame for it. He tells the story of Cesare Borgia, who sent a deputy to pacify one of the cities under his jurisdiction, using brutal methods. Once the city was pacified, the prince judged that such methods were no longer useful. In due course, he had his subordinate murdered, with his body set out on the public square for all to see. In that way he achieved his ends, but escaped the blame for the methods needed to accomplish them.
Machiavelli taught that a prince must choose his advisors wisely, because he will be judged by their competence and he may be undone by their treachery. He advised his prince to beware of any deputy who thinks more of himself than of the prince: such a man can never be trusted. On the other hand, he advises the prince to flatter his deputies, promote and enrich them as best he can, for in that way their own fortunes are interconnected with his.
Machiavelli lamented that the weak condition of the Italian city-states in his time compared to the vast power of the Roman Empire at its peak. He suggested that such a collapse might have been due to the spread of Christian moral principles, which, however appropriate they may have been for individuals, were ineffective and out of place in the governing of states. For this reason he said that princes must be prepared to discard virtue for the greater glory of their principalities.
Machiavelli’s teaching was controversial in its time, but it was also influential. Shakespeare referred to him as “the evil Machiavel.” Shakespeare’s great tragedies are grounded upon the assumption that “character is destiny,” and that bad deeds unravel and lead to the undoing of their perpetrators. This is certainly true in Macbeth and Richard III, and to some extent in several other of his plays. Shakespeare even mentions Machiavelli here and there as a moral antagonist. In Henry VI, Part II, Richard III (here the Duke of Gloucester) says to himself, “I can add colors to the chameleon; change shapes with Proteus for advantages, and set the murderous Machiavel to school.” We know what later happened to that particular Duke, as the wages of a bad character eventually came due. On the other hand, Shakespeare draws his Prince Hal as something of a Machiavellian figure who disavows and discards poor Falstaff, his youthful drinking companion, when that association later turns out to be embarrassing and inconvenient for a king.
Edward Gibbon, in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, picked up on Machiavelli’s themes in attributing the fall of Rome partly to the spread of Christianity through the empire, with debilitating effects on Roman spirit and patriotism. That was one of the more influential themes that emanated from the Enlightenment—that Christian morality is not always compatible with the requirements of statecraft. Modern politics, following Machiavelli, rests upon a foundation of competing interests in recognition of the fact that, when push comes to shove, interests will trump morals. (A Note on Character in Politics.)
“Interests” never trump morals in the eyes of the Divine Redeemer, Christ the King, and those who think that this is so have quite reckoning coming their way when they meet Our King at the moment of the Particular Judgment.
Acknowledging once again my respect for Dr. Piereson, with whom I have corresponded on two or three occasions in recent years, his elegy of praise in behalf of Machiavellianism, replete with its repetition of the old Edward Gibbon’s blaming Christianity for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, is quite mistaken. Mind you, Dr. Piereson summarized the essence of Niccolo Machiavelli’s thought as the basis for politics, governance and statecraft quite accurately. It is still, however, nothing other than jarring to read such an enthusiastic defense of Machiavellianism and its relevance in the world today, although it can be argued that Dr. Piereson was doing nothing more than explaining the “real world” as it has existed for centuries as the key to understanding the words and actions of President Donald John Trump.
III. Refuting Machiavellianism and Edward Gibbons
Where to start?
Well, first, let me refute the old lie of Edward Gibbon that was told for the first time when Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote The City of Man:
2. And yet a hackneyed reproach of old date is leveled against her, that the Church is opposed to the rightful aims of the civil government, and is wholly unable to afford help in spreading that welfare and progress which justly and naturally are sought after by every well-regulated State. From the very beginning Christians were harassed by slanderous accusations of this nature, and on that account were held up to hatred and execration, for being (so they were called) enemies of the Empire. The Christian religion was moreover commonly charged with being the cause of the calamities that so frequently befell the State, whereas, in very truth, just punishment was being awarded to guilty nations by an avenging God. This odious calumny, with most valid reason, nerved the genius and sharpened the pen of St. Augustine, who, notably in his treatise, “The City of God,” set forth in so bright a light the worth of Christian wisdom in its relation to the public wealth that he seems not merely to have pleaded the cause of the Christians of his day, but to have refuted for all future times impeachments so grossly contrary to truth. The wicked proneness, however, to levy like charges and accusations has not been lulled to rest. Many, indeed, are they who have tried to work out a plan of civil society based on doctrines other than those approved by the Catholic Church. Nay, in these latter days a novel conception of law has begun here and there to gain increase and influence, the outcome, as it is maintained, of an age arrived at full stature, and the result of progressive liberty. But, though endeavors of various kinds have been ventured on, it is clear that no better mode has been devised for the building up and ruling the State than that which is the necessary growth of the teachings of the Gospel. We deem it, therefore, of the highest moment, and a strict duty of Our apostolic office, to contrast with the lessons taught by Christ the novel theories now advanced touching the State. By this means We cherish hope that the bright shining of the truth may scatter the mists of error and doubt, so that one and all may see clearly the imperious law of life which they are bound to follow and obey. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
Despite its many accomplishments, the Roman Empire of pagan antiquity was noted for its cruelty, for its abandonment of the weak, for its paganism and for the exaltation of the state above all else. Its false pietas was nothing other than the deification of the state, which is why is caesars and their apparatchiks throughout the empire sought to persecute and execute around eleven million Catholics between 67 A.D. and the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. No empire can last that persecutes the true Faith and that permits licentiousness, which is ruinous to men personally and to their nations (kingdoms, empires, cities, towns, villages, states, provinces, counties, etc.) socially.
As Pope Leo XIII alluded to in Immortale Dei, Rome fell as the consequence of its own iniquities. The masses were seduced by “bread and circuses,” including the slaughter of Catholics who refused to burn even one grain of incense to idols as they bore heroic witness to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Unrepented sin is the ruin of nations. Those during the Renaissance who pined for the sophism of the Fifth Century before Christ and for the enforced order of Roman paganism have let loose upon the world a new paganism and a new barbarism that wraps itself up in the mantle of “civilization.” Believing Catholics are yet again being persecuted as the caesars and caesarettes of Modernity demand their acquiescence to sin as the foundation of public law and social order, and the weak and the “unwanted,” starting with the innocent preborn and continuing on to those in the global death care industry who base the provision of care on the basis of their own “quality of life” assessments (see Chronicling the Adversary's Global Takeover of the Healthcare Industry).
Those who wax for the order of Roman paganism and the realpolitik of Niccolo Machiavelli are incapable, it would appear, of recognizing that the Rome of the Caesars had to give way to the Rome of Christ the King, the Rome of Saint Peter and of his true and legitimate successors (which, of course, have been lacking since the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958). The licentious of Roman paganism brought decay from within and God Himself used the barbarians to demonstrate that no empire, including Rome’s, which lasted nearly for a millennium as a republic and then an empire, can withstand Him and His true Church in the run. As I noted in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001:
One of the warning signs for a nation which is in jeopardy of being overrun by the determination of foreign invaders and terrorists is its collective belief in its own invincibility. "We're Americans. Nobody beats us," is an oft-heard refrain uttered by people in "man-in-the-street" interviews. This sense of invincibility demonstrates a sense of national superiority and national destiny which is nothing other than the idolatry of this nation. While we are called to love our country, true patriotism involves willing the good of our native land, as Saint Thomas Aquinas noted in his Summa Theologica, the ultimate expression of which is to seek her Catholicization and the triumph of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it is exercised by the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Such a triumph is no more a guarantee that a particular nation will last forever or that its social institutions will always recognize the right ordering of things ordained by Christ the King than being in a state of grace at a particular time in one's life is a guarantee of that one will die in such a state.
However, just as being in a state of grace is the necessary precondition for growth in the interior life as a preparation for the moment of one's death, so is a nation's recognition of the Social Reign of Christ the King, and the authority of His true Church is the necessary precondition for the right ordering of civil institutions and the pursuit of fundamental justice founded in the splendor of Truth Incarnate. We are citizens of the Church by means of our baptism before we are citizens of any particular nation, and it is our Heavenly citizenship which informs us how to attempt to subordinate our national life in light of First and Last Things.
Pope Leo XIII put it this way in Sapientiae Christianae, Janauary 10, 1890:
"Now, if the natural law enjoins us to love devotedly and to defend the country in which we had birth, and in which we were brought up, so every good citizen hesitates not to face death for his native land, very much more is it the urgent duty of Christians to be ever quickened by like feelings towards the Church. For the Church is the holy city of the living God, born of God Himself, and by Him built up and established. Upon this earth indeed she accomplishes her pilgrimage, but by instructing and guiding men, she summons them to eternal happiness. We are bound, then, to love dearly the country whence we have received the means of enjoyment this mortal life affords, but we have a much more urgent obligation to love, with ardent love, the Church to which we owe the life of the soul, a life that will endure for ever. For fitting it is to prefer the good of the soul to the well-being of the body, inasmuch as duties towards God are of a far more hallowed character than those toward men." (Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, January 11, 1890.)
Thus, it is a mistake to engage in jingoistic nationalism. A nation has the natural-law right to defend itself against those who threaten her, being careful to use moral methods to do so, however. But there is no guarantee that any particular nation, no matter how many material and technological accomplishments it has manifested over the centuries, will conquer every foe or will last until the end of time.
Nations and empires can come and go just as quickly as the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan came tumbling down. Many of us have been saying for years that the moral life of the United States and much of the rest of the developed world mirror those of the Roman Empire in the centuries before its collapse. Yes, it is possible that the seemingly invincible United States of America might go the way of the Roman Empire. And those who do not believe such a thing is possible ought to consider the words of Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans: “Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness; to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause,
God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts, one towards another; men with men, working that which is filthy and receiving in themselves the recompenses which was due to their error. And, as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient. Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness; full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity; whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute; without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they, who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them" (Rm. 1:24-32).
Saint Paul's description of ancient Rome could just as well be applied to many of our own cities, including New York and San Francisco, among many others. Sure, there is much good in our people, as has been demonstrated in the acts of heroism and self-sacrifice during the rescue and recovery effort in New York and at the Pentagon in Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. However, a society which promotes evil under cover of law makes itself susceptible to decay from within and attacks from without. A society which is rudderless as a result of its rejection of the Social Kingship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the authority of His true Church decays over the course of time regardless of the "good intentions" who believe that men can live on the natural level alone without referencing the King and Kings and His true Church.
Bad ideas lead to bad consequences. Always. Inevitably.
The Roman Empire embraced almost every single one of the evils which have been promoted under cover of law in the United States and popularized in our culture. Contraception, abortion, sodomy, pornography, statism, divorce, euthanasia, suicide, pedophilia, and other forms of licentiousness were commonplace in Rome as it was decaying. The government grew in power and expended more and more revenue as the family unit disintegrated. The average person was diverted from the reality of all of this by bread and circuses, the modern equivalent of which is sporting events and television and motion pictures. Why live in the real world when one can be diverted by fantasy and spectacles?
The collapse of the Roman Empire in the West at the beginning of the fifth century was considered unthinkable at the time our Lord walked the face of this earth. Rome had conquered much of the known world. Its engineering and architectural feats are still marvels to behold, although those feats are in various states of decay (symbolic of the empire's own decay). Only a handful of people understood that human empires come and go. And the Roman Empire was the most powerful empire in the history of the world, even more powerful than that of the Soviet Union. . . .
The United States of America is not exempt from the currents of history. Terrorists from abroad are taking advantage of the decadence that is within our very midst. As my wife, Sharon, noted quite perceptively a few days after the terrorist attacks, "Could it be that we are seeing the revenge of the stem cells?" Her comment was made sardonically. However, she had a point. A nation led by men who believe they have the authority to craft decisions in defiance of the Divine positive law and natural law is going to pay a very heavy price, as we are doing in so many ways. The want of order which Saint Augustine discussed of ancient Rome is very much a phenomenon of our own society today.
Thus, citizens of our country should not be convinced of our invincibility, nor should they believe that ours is a "holy" cause to spread democracy and pluralism around the world. God does not want us to spread democracy and pluralism. He wants us to build up the life of the true Faith in our souls and in our nation so that we can defend ourselves against the terror of the demons who seek the destruction of souls and thus the sowing of chaos in our national life.
Empires come and go, including ours. May we pray to our Lady the only empire which lasts forever, that of Christ the King, comes of age here in the United States of America. God forbid that we have to wait until our vanquishing as a nation to learn anew what was learned after the vanquishing of the Roman Empire in the West: that both men and their nations must recognize Christ the King and submit humbly to the authority of His true Church in every aspect of their individual and social lives. (Empires Come and Go, Including Ours.)
What I wrote in 2001 is even more relevant today as the lords of globalism seek to eradicate borders and as more and more citizens, products of America's Concentration Camps and of their counterparts within the counterfeit church of conciliarism, embrace paganism and live as barbarians.
Far from the spirit of service to Christ the King was the mind of Niccolo Machiavelli, who is the principal philosophical bridge between Christendom and Modernity. Machiavelli wrote many works, the two most influential being The Prince and Discourses on Livy, each of which was meant to give rebirth to the moral relativism of the Sophists of ancient Athens in the Fifth Century before the coming of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Instead of adhering to Catholic principles of statecraft and diplomacy that, although honored in the breach more often than not during parts of the Middle Ages, characterized the life’s work of those civil rulers that Holy Mother Church has raised to her altars as saints, some of whom were mentioned in the previous chapter of this book, Niccolo Machiavelli believed that the “ends justified the means,” that civil rulers could lie, cheat, steal or even kill to acquire and then to retain power and that they could pursue whatever means necessary to win military battles and entire wars without regard for moral truths. This is called “amorality,” the belief that actions may be undertaken without regard to their inherent morality or immorality, that the only thing that matters is the realization of a given end no matter the methods employed to realize it.
Here is an excerpt from Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy:
Although to use deceit in every action is detestable, none the less in the managing of a war it is a laudable and glorious thing; and that man is equally lauded who overcomes the enemy by deceit, as is he who overcomes them by force. And this is seen by the judgment which those men make who write biographies of great men, and who praise Hannibal and others who have been very notable in such ways of proceeding. Of which so many examples have been cited that I will not repeat any. I mention only this, that I do intend that that deceit is glorious which makes you break your trust and treaties that you made; for although it sometimes acquires a State and a Kingdom for you, as has been discussed above, will never acquire them for you gloriously. But I speak of that deceit which is employed against that enemy who distrusts you, and in which properly consists the managing of a war; as was that of Hannibal when he feigned flight on the lake of Perugia in order to close in the Consul and the Roman army; and when to escape from the hands of Fabius Maximus he fired (the fagots on) the horns of his cattle. A similar deceit was also employed by Pontius, the Captain of the Samnites, in order to close in the Roman army within the Caudine forks, who, having placed his army behind a mountain, sent some of his soldiers under the dress of shepherds with a large herd upon the plain; who, being taken by the Romans and asked where the army of the Samnites was, all agreed according to the orders given by Pontius to say that it was at the siege of Nocera. Which was believed by the Consuls, and caused them to be enclosed within the defiles (of Claudium), where (having entered) they were quickly besieged by the Samnites. And this victory obtained by deceit would have been most glorious to Pontius, if he had followed the counsels of his father, who wanted the Romans either to be liberally set free, or all put to death, and would not take the middle way: Never make a friend or remove an enemy. Which way was always pernicious in the affairs of a State, as has been discussed above in another place. (Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, Book Three, Chapter XL.)
Machiavelli’s embrace of amorality in warfare was meant to serve as a fatal blow to the Just War Theory that had been advanced by Saint Augustine, refined by Saint Thomas Aquinas and others, especially the theologians of Salamanca. As has been summarized on this site many times in the past—and in my lectures as a college professor of political science, the requisites of a just war are as follows:
- There must be a wound to justice that poses a real and imminent threat to the good order of nations and/or to the territorial integrity or well-being of innocents by an aggressor. The threat must be real, not imaginary, not concocted for political purposes.
- All peaceful means to avoid armed hostilities must be exhausted. Diplomatic efforts to avert war must be genuine. It was the Holy Father himself who attempted to broker disputes in order to avoid war during the Middle Ages and at various times thereafter.
- A duly constituted authority must make the determinations concerning the waging of war. This means that a legitimate governing authority, one that has not usurped power or which seeks war unjustly to prosecute plans of territorial expansion and/or nationalistic or ideological ends, guided by right intentions and right principles must be in charge of the decision-making process.
- The goals of a war must be well-defined and have a reasonable chance of being realized. In other words, there must be a reasonable chance for success in the pursuit of narrowly defined goals. Goals are to be defined narrowly so as to limit the harm caused by a needlessly protracted war, yes, even when a nation is prosecuting a just cause.
- The good end being sought must not be outweighed by the foreseen evil to be done. This is known as the Catholic principle of proportionality, which states that a good end can be rendered unjust to pursue if a judgment is made that the amount of the foreseen evil to be done in the prosecution of a just war will cause greater evils than the one the war is being waged to eradicate. This is different than the heresy of proportionalism (heretics use Catholic sounding phrases so as to connect themselves in the minds of Catholics as understanding Catholic principles), which asserts that a preponderance of "good intentions" and of the "relative exigencies of the moment" can make a moral act that is naturally evil capable of being pursued justly on the part of one who believes the weight of the evidence in his case justifies a subjective violation of an objective moral law to do good. Thus, proportionalism, which has been propounded by the late Father Richard McCormick, S.J. (not to be confused with the priest from the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, who fomented dissent at the University of Notre Dame and in his nationally syndicated columns until his death three years ago, Father Richard McBrien), can be used by a woman to justify the killing of her preborn child. After all, more good will be done in her life by killing the child than if she permitted him to interfere unduly with her life's goals.
- As far as is possible, noncombatants must never be deliberately targeted in warfare. The United States has a mixed record when it comes to the realization of this part of the Just War Theory. Our military forces have tried to use remarkable restraint in many instances. Other times, however, they have not. William Tecumseh Sherman used raw terrorism against civilian population centers as he cut a swath of fiery destruction from the Atlantic Ocean to Atlanta during the War between the States. As noted earlier, we aided bloodthirsty revolutionaries in Mexico. Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki (the latter two of which were known to contain the highest concentrations of Catholics in Japan) were bombed during World War II. Something less than laser precision caused thousands of civilian casualties during the Gulf War and during our continued bombing in Afghanistan, which commenced on October 7, 2001, and during and after the American invasion and occupation of Iraq on March 20, 2003.
- A just cessation to hostilities must be realized as soon as possible. Once again, the record of the United States in this regard is very mixed. The dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was done so as to force an unconditional surrender from Japan, something that the Soviets insisted on in the Potsdam Conference as their condition for entering the war against Japan (so that they could recover claims lost in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.) Japan was willing to surrender conditionally. Those who are convinced of their absolute moral and racial superiority over others, though, cannot consider ending hostilities even if it is possible to conclude a peace that is just without having humiliated one's enemies.
In essence, you see, Niccolo Machiavelli was giving these considerations a raspberry or a Bronx cheer as he dismissed them altogether.
Machiavelli’s models of civil rule were the pagans of Roman antiquity, each filled with boundless reserves of cruelty and cunning, or barbarians such as Hannibal.
Saint Edward the Confessor?
Saint Margaret of Scotland?
Saint Henry the Emperor?
Saint Stephen of Hungary?
Saint Louis the IX, King of France?
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary or her husband, Blessed Louis of Thuringia?
No, Machiavelli’s models of statecraft and military strategy were from paganism and barbarism. The Prince and a Discourse on Livy were specific and categorical rejections of the Just War Theory, which is why we have been living in a period of almost endless warfare in the past two hundred years, especially in the past century (World War I, World II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, the “Global War on Terrorism”—the Iraq War, the Afghan War, American interventions in Libya, Syria and Yemen, etc.). War is big business. Who cares about morality and the Particular Judgment?
The following excerpts, taking from Machiavelli’s The Prince, provides an excellent summary of the “realpolitik” (real politics devoid of considerations of inherent moral truth) that is at the very foundation of modern politics, policy-making and the planning and conduct of war:
WHENEVER those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does its utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way.
There are, for example, the Spartans and the Romans. The Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they lost them. The Romans, in order to hold Capua, Carthage, and Numantia, dismantled them, and did not lose them. They wished to hold Greece as the Spartans held it, making it free and permitting its laws, and did not succeed. So to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many cities in the country, for in truth there is no safe way to retain them otherwise than by ruining them. And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watch-word of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. And what ever you may do or provide against, they never forget that name or their privileges unless they are disunited or dispersed but at every chance they immediately rally to them, as Pisa after the hundred years she had been held in bondage by the Florentines.
But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince, and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree in making one from amongst themselves, and they do not know how to govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms, and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there. (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter V.)
Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily; and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them, and win them to himself by benefits. He who does otherwise, either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand; neither can he rely on his subjects, nor can they attach themselves to him, owing to their continued and repeated wrongs. For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them may last longer.
And above all things, a prince ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them. (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter VIII.)
Machiavelli’s writing was very influential. Saint Thomas More’s successor as Chancellor of the Realm, Thomas Cromwell, kept a copy of The Prince by his bedside so that he could better advance the schemes of the king he served, Henry VIII. As influential as Machiavelli was in his time, however, his amorality could not have been as triumphant as it was had it not been for the Protestant Revolution that made it possible for civil potentates to rule without regard to any “interference” from any local bishop or the Vicar of Christ and with even less regard for the salvation of their immortal souls or the actual good of their commonwealths. And it is that Protestant Revolution that paved the way for the triumph once again of monarchical despotism and the despotism of modern political parties and the mobs who support them in the so called “democratic republics” of Modernity.
IV. The Consequences of Machiavellianism, the Protestant Revolution and Judeo-Masonry
Father Matin Luther, O.S.A., made it possible for the triumph of Machiavellianism among princes when he endorsed the Judeo-Masonic concept of “separation of Church and State,” thus fulfilling one of the goals that the ancient enemies of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had sought since the earliest beginnings of Christendom:
The rending of the Mystical Body by the so-called Reformation movement has resulted in the pendulum swinging from the extreme error of Judaeo-Protestant Capitalism to the opposite extreme error of the Judaeo-Masonic-Communism of Karl Marx.
The uprise of individualism rapidly led to unbridled self-seeking. Law-makers who were arbiters of morality, as heads of the Churches, did not hesitate to favour their own enterprising spirit. The nobles and rich merchants in England, for example, who got possession of the monastery lands, which had maintained the poor, voted the poor laws in order to make the poor a charge on the nation at large. The enclosure of common lands in England and the development of the industrial system are a proof of what private judgment can do when transplanted into the realm of production and distribution. The Lutheran separation of Church from the Ruler and the Citizen shows the decay in the true idea of membership of our Lord's Mystical Body.
"Assuredly," said Luther, "a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. As a ruler, he is not called a Christian, but a prince. The man is Christian, but his function does not concern his religion." (As quoted in Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
Perhaps it shoud be called to mind that Jews helped to propagate the Protestant Revolution and had actually planted a good deal of the heretical seeds for it long before Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1571, something that the great historian, William Thomas Walsh, documented in his massive biography of King Philip II of Spain (see Appendix A below).
Luther’s belief in the fission of supposedly “private” belief from public conduct came to be embraced by many Catholics in the United States of America during the Eighteenth Century and was expressed by Alfred Emanuel Smith in an article ghost-written for him by the famous Father Francis Duffy in 1927 and then by John Fitzgerald Kennedy thirty-three years later. Luther, in other words, “baptized” Macchiavellianism and thus paved the way for pro-abortion and pro-perversity Catholics in public life to claim to be “personally opposed” to such evils as the surgical slaughter of the innocent preborn in their mothers’ wombs while supporting the enactment and retention of public laws making such killing “permissible.”
Pope Leo XIII explained that Catholics must be guided by integrity, not by the exigencies of political expediency:
Hence, lest concord be broken by rash charges, let this be understood by all, that the integrity of Catholic faith cannot be reconciled with opinions verging on naturalism or rationalism, the essence of which is utterly to do away with Christian institutions and to install in society the supremacy of man to the exclusion of God. Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
One has a duty to use the true Faith as the basis of public policy in all that pertains to the ogod of souls as what pertains to the good of souls determines the fate of nations and of the world. Niccolo Machiavelli need not apply, thank you very much.
Luther’s revolution, of course, made its way across the English Channel in due course, and the consequences of the bloody revolution against the Catholic Church and the Social Reign of Christ the King that was launched in England, which had been proudly Catholic for over nine hundred years, by the lecherous, adulterous and bigamous drunkard King Henry VIII in 1534. Henry Tudor, who could have obtained his decree of nullity from “Pope Francis” if he had not died on January 28, 1547, commenced a bloody campaign against Catholics who refused to recognize his completely illegitimate claim to be the supreme head of the Church in England that resulted in the deaths of over 72,000 Catholics, fully three percent of the English population at that time, including, of course, Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. The tyrant ordered persecutions in Ireland, of course, and engaged in grotesque acts of social engineering that were designed to make his revolution against Christ the King and the Catholic Church irreversible.
Indeed, the kind of state-sponsored social engineering that has created the culture of entitlement in England and elsewhere in Europe has its antecedent roots in Henry's revolt against the Social Reign of Christ the King and His Catholic Church in the Sixteenth Century.
Did Henry have to act the way he did?
Was Henry Tudor exempt from the precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law because he had his own interests at stake?
To answer in the affirmative is endorse a demonic way of thinking and acting that is the sure path to hell for individuals and to social ruin for nations.
Henry had Parliament enact various laws to force the poor who had lived for a nominal annual fee on the monastery and convent lands (as they produced the food to sustain themselves, giving some to the monastery or convent) off of those lands, where their families had lived for generations, in order to redistribute the Church properties he had stolen to those who supported his break from Rome. Henry quite cleverly created a class of people who were dependent upon him for the property upon which they lived and the wealth they were able to derive therefrom, making them utterly supportive of his decision to declare himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. Those of the poorer classes who had been thrown off of the monastery and convent lands were either thrown into prison (for being poor, mind you) or forced to migrate to the cities, where many of them lost the true Faith and sold themselves into various vices just to survive. The effects of this exercise of state-sponsored engineering are reverberating in the world today, both politically and economically.
Indeed, many of the conditions bred by the disparity in wealth created by Henry's land grab in the Sixteenth Century would fester and help to create the world of unbridled capitalism and slave wage that so impressed a German emigre in London by the name of Karl Marx. Unable to recognize the historical antecedents of the real injustices he saw during the Victorian Era, Marx set about devising his own manifestly unjust system, premised on atheism and anti-Theism, to rectify social injustice once and for all. In a very real way, Henry Tudor led the way to Lenin of Russia and to the European Union as the sterile substitute for the Social Kingship of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Father Edward Cahill provided a very good summary of the effects of King Henry VIII’s revolution in The Framework of A Christian State:
Results of the Plunder of the Church.—Not only is the Protestant Revolt mainly responsible for the unsocial character of Britain’s economic system but it was the immediate cause of much of the degrading pauperism that has disfigured British civilisation for the past four centuries. We have already alluded to the plunder of the Church and the alienation of the revenues devoted to charitable and educational purposes, which took place as a result of the religious revolt. This led directly to dreadful hardship in the case of the poor, to whose benefit most of the ecclesiastical revenue had previously been applied. The confiscated wealth, which according to the law under which the confiscations were carried out should have been to the service of the State, was in very large measure appropriated by lawyers, court favourites and other greedy and avaricious adventurers. These henceforth formed a new class of wealthy and unscrupulous plutocrats who in the following centuries dominated the political and social life of their several countries. Nowhere did these robbery of Church goods produce such disastrous results as in Ireland and Britain. In both these countries the Protestant Reformation laid the foundations secure and deep, of extreme individualistic capitalism, with its hideous counterpart of pauperism and oppression of the poor, which forms one of the chief characteristics of their social history during the following centuries. On this aspect of the question, Cardinal Gasquet writes:
“Viewed in its social aspect the English Reformation was in reality an uprising of the rich against the poor. . . . Those in place and power were enabled to grow greater in wealth and position, while those who had before but a small share of the good things of this world came in the process to have less. . . . The supposed purification . . . of doctrine and practice was brought about . . . at the cost of driving a wedge well into the heart of the nation, which . . . established the distinction which still exists and the masses.” (Preface to Cobbett’s History of the Reformation, p. 6.)
The history of this lamentable revolution in England, by which the whole face of a great Catholic nation became permanently disfigured, the great majority of her once happy children plunged in ever-increasing degradation and misery, and her ideals and principles conformed to a non-Christian instead of a Christian standard, is graphically told by the Protestant writer Cobbett, in his History of the Protestant Reformation. “Never,” he writes, “since the world began was there so rich a harvest of plunder.” He tells how gold and silver, books and manuscripts, ornaments, paintings and statuary of priceless value equally with church, monastery and convent fell a prey to the satellites of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell:
“The whole country was thus disfigured: it had the appearance of a land recently invaded by the most brutal barbarians: and this appearance it has . . . even to the present day. Nothing has ever come to supply the place of what has been destroyed.” (Cobbett—History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, edited by Cardinal Casquet (Art and Book Co., London, 1899), chap. vii, no. 182.)
Explaining the social effects of the plunder of the Church, Cobbett writes:
“The Catholic Church included in itself a great deal more than the business of teaching religion . . . and administering the Sacraments. It had a great deal to do with the temporal concerns of the people. It provided . . . for all the wants of the poor and distressed. . . . It contained a great body of land proprietors, whose revenues were distributed in various ways amongst the people upon terms always singularly favourable to the latter. It was a great and powerful estate, and naturally siding with the people. . . . By its charity and its benevolence towards its tenants it mitigated the rigour of proprietorship, and held society together by the ties of religion rather than by the trammels and terrors of the Law. (Cobbett, History of the Protestant Reformation, chap. vii, no. 206.)
Dissolution of the Monasteries.—The dissolution of the monasteries, with the resulting confiscation of their property, immediately produced overwhelming distress amongst the multitudes who had been maintained by the resources that the religious bodies had administered. It proved disastrous also to the tenants on the monastic lands, which were probably more than 2,000,000 statute acres in extent. The tenants who had been accustomed to an easy and sympathetic mode of treatment at the hands of the monks, now passed under the power of harsh and exacting landlords. Rack-rents were too often exacted and the numerous exemptions and privileges to which the tenants had been accustomed were withdrawn.
Enclosures and Confiscations.—Again, the common lands, in which the poor of the neighbourhood had from time immemorial possessed common rights, were seized and enclosed in the lords’ demenses; and numberless other hardships, hitherto unknown, now began to press upon the people.
The wanton confiscation of the property of the guilds, hospitals and almshouses, unjust and indefensible even form the Protestant standpoint, was also disastrous to the interests of the poor. The destruction of the religious schools and colleges, in which so many children were educated free of cost, was still another blow. Even the introduction of married clergy, which diverted into another channel the energies and resources that would otherwise be expended on charity, aggravated further the lot of the poor.
Vagabondage in England.—Hence it was that the destruction of Catholicism in England gave rise to the sordid pauperism which has since disfigured English civilisation. Cobbett describes in his own eloquent and vigorous style how England, “once happy and hospitable, became a den of famishing robbers and slaves.” As a result of the plunder of the Church and the destruction of the institutions which had grown up under its influence, the country quickly became filled with the destitute. Immense numbers of these were drive to live as professional robbers. “There were,” writes Hume, “at least 300 or 400 able-bodied vagabonds in every country who lived by theft and rapine, and who sometimes met in troops to the number of sixty and committed spoil on the inhabitants.” As many as five hundred of this expropriated class were sometimes executed in a single year during the reign of Elizabeth.
English Poor Laws.—This state of affairs—a direct result of the Protestant revolt—gave rise to the celebrated Elizabethan leglsation on pauperism, “as novel as it was harsh,” which for the first time standardized pauperism as distinct from poverty. The former was henceforth the status of those who, being destitute of the prime necessities of life, are maintained at the public expense in the parish poorhouses. They are no longer “God’s poor,” to whom as the special representatives of Him Who became poor for men’s sake, special sympathy and even reverence are due. They are now despised outcasts, the pariahs of society. They usually live, or are supposed to live, in the poorhouses, segregated form their wives and children, under a harsh discipline, deprived of the franchise and compelled to wear a special uniform.
The following extracts from Pelgrave will convey a general idea of the spirit which animated the English post-Reformation legislation on mendicancy and poverty:
“It was only towards the middle and end of the 16th century that measures against it [viz., mendicancy] were enforced, possibly in part owing to the sounder (sic) teachings of the Reformers on the subject. Then we find Southampton ordering that beggars should have their hair cut, and Parliament decreeing punishments on a progressive scale of severity. Whipping, branding, cutting off the gristle of the ear, even death, were the penalties assigned (!) . . . A Consolidating Act of 1713 lays it down that any person wandering about the country, on any one of a long list of pretences, is to be summarily arrested and removed to his settlement, or, if he have one, to be dealt with by the poor law authorities of the parish in which he is apprehened; but previously he may be flogged or set to hard labour, or committed for seven years to the custody of any person who will undertake to set him to work in Great Britain or the Colonies. By the Act of 1744 even women are to flogged for vagrancy and late as 1824 flogging is retained as punishment for “incorrigible rogues.” (Palgrave—Dictionary of Political Economy, vol. iii. Art “Poor Law” p. 154; also art. “Pauperism,” p. 81.)
Such was the spirit introduced by Protestantism into the legislative system of a country that was once the “Dowry of Mary.” (Cahill, pp. 97-101.)
Consider this for a moment.
Henry VIII threw the poor off the lands on which their ancestors had lived for centuries, and that his wretched, murderous daughter, Elizabeth, by his partner in adultery and bigamy, Anne Boleyn, made sure when she acceded to the throne in 1558 that the penal laws he had enacted against the poor were enforced with vigor that can only be described as diabolically conceived.
The social injustices that prompted many in England to support “Leave” in the Brexit referendum three nearly three years ago will never be cured by reclaiming some of their country’s national sovereignty from the European Union as the European Union is the result of what Martin Luther started on the continent of Europe and that Henry VIII started in England in the Sixteenth Century. Modernity was founded on the blood of faithful Catholics, and it has been sustained on the blood of faithful Catholics ever since.
Consider the fact it was over two centuries after the death of King Henry VIII that the British Governor of Nova Scotia, which had been the French colony of Acadia prior to the British takeover in 1710:
The British "Final Solution" for the Acadians was deportation. It all started at 3 PM on September 5, 1755 at the Catholic Church in Grand Pre. Following the orders and plan of the Lieutenant General, Governor Lawrence, following the decree of the King of England, the British Council at Halifax unanimously decided to begin deporting the Acadians immediately to various British Colonies outside of Canada. The vessels needed for this were to be commandeered in the King's name. By this time, the Acadians numbered some 13,000 on the Acadian peninsula alone. More and more British troops had been arriving and the Acadians were acutely aware that big trouble was brewing.
A proclamation was issued accordingly to "all the inhabitants of the district of Grand Pre, Minas, River Canard, etc. ..... to attend the Church at Grand Pre on Friday the fifth instant, at three of the clock in the afternoon, that we may impart to them what we are ordered to communicate to them; declaring that no excuse will be admitted, on any pretense whatever, on pain of forfeiting goods and chattels, in default of real estate. - Given at Grand Pre 2d September, 1755."
That Friday, 418 of the residents presented themselves at the Church as ordered. Colonel John Winslow, having tricked them into this assembly, announced to them that they were to be immediately deported outside of the Province and that all their properties and goods with the exception of their cash monies and personal belongings were hereby confiscated by and to the benefit of the British Crown. Soldiers surrounded the church to prevent any escapes.
The news of this spread quickly and those who could escaped to the woods, but in vain. Their country was laid to waste. Deported from Grand Pre alone were 2,242 Acadians. The Acadians were lined up and driven to the transport ships. Women and children were loaded on boats as fast as could be provided. As if to deprive the exiles of even the hope of return, the British burned to the ground 255 of their homes, 276 barns, 11 mills, and one church while the transport vessels were still in sight. Despite the promises of Colonel Winslow to keep families together, most families were separated immediately - parents from their children, wives from their husbands, children from their siblings - many to never see each other again. The Acadians were placed under arrest and were loaded on the ships with no choice in the manner. They took only what they were wearing and what little monies they had on their person at the time. Some of the ships used as transports were not seaworthy. Consequently, two of the ships, the Violet and the Duke William, with two groups of 650 Acadians went to a watery grave in the icy mid-Atlantic on December 10 of that year. Only one lifeboat with 27 survivors lived to tell what happened. "I do not know," observes 19th century American historian George Bancroft, " if the annals of the human race keep the record of sorrows so wantonly inflicted, so bitter and so lasting as fell upon the French inhabitants of Acadia."
How ironic it must seem for the living descendants of those expelled Acadians who now live in the town of Winslow - a town so named in honor of the same British officer, General John Winslow, who was directly responsible for carrying out those dastardly deeds in the darkest hour in the history of the Acadians.
About 2,000 Acadians managed to escape arrest and they wandered through the woods like hunted animals, half-clad and half-starved, in ever search of some near relative. Some made it safely into Quebec where they established new lives in such towns as l'Acadie, Becancour, Nicolet, and others. Of those escapees was one of my own 6th generation paternal ancestors, Laurent Doucet, son of Paul Doucet (a direct descendant of Acadia's first governor, Germain Doucet) and Anne LeBrun. How they survived this terrible ordeal is almost miraculous. Today, the direct descendants of these escaped Acadians number over 230,000 souls, including one-third of the present population of New Brunswick.
The deportation continued unabated over a period of 8 years. Between 1755 and 1763, Governor Lawrence kept unloading the Acadians along the American coast - over 2,000 to Boston, where the Bostonians treated them like slaves, 700 from Grand Pre and Port Royal to Connecticut, and about 250 poor, naked, and destitute to New York. New York rid the major part of her Acadian exiles by persuading them to emigrate to Santo Domingo, where most of them perished miserably from the torrid sun. Lawrence exiled 754 to Philadelphia where, being held captive aboard the ships in the harbor for three months, smallpox killed 237 of them. Some 2,000 more were removed to Maryland where several hundred of them escaped to Louisiana, Quebec, and the West Indies. To North Carolina, Lawrence sent 500, and to South Carolina, 1,500 Acadians. The Carolinians cleverly enticed them to leave in some old boats for Acadia. Of these, only 900 arrived at the River St. John. Another 400 were banished to Georgia where, preferring death anywhere in the tropics to slavery with the blacks in the cotton fields and sugar plantations, they fled. Wherever they went, the Acadians were unwanted, shunned, cheated, despised, and heartlessly allowed to die without even the care and affection given to pet animals. Only Connecticut was prepared to receive the exiles sent to her and treated them as a group humanely. In all, nearly 3,700 Acadians were dispersed along the coast in the British colonies of America. There is no doubt that every Acadian would have preferred exile in France to banishment to any other place.
The method of dispersing the Acadians has scarcely an equal in history. Said Edmund Burke, "We did, in my opinion, most inhumanely, and upon the pretenses that, in the eye of an honest man, are not worth a farthing, root out this poor, innocent, deserving people, whom our utter inability to govern, or to reconcile, gave us no sort of right to extirpate." How right was his judgement. There were many pitiful separations in families. One case is particularly well-known. Due to the small number of transports, Rene Leblanc, notary-public of Grand Pre, his wife, and their two youngest children were put on one ship and landed in New York, but their eighteen other children and 150 grandchildren were loaded aboard different ships and dispersed among the colonies. There were deliberate separations of husbands from their wives and fathers from their children. Men would come back home from their work in the woods or fishing boats only to find their families gone, their homes burned to the ground, and the British soldiers waiting to arrest them and force them aboard ships for permanent banishment from their lands. Yet others were taken to various ports in England as prisoners of war and placed in concentration camps such as at Liverpool. (Acadia and the Acadians, by Robert Chenard.)
Yes, yes, yes, the civilized British. Of course.
If this moving account does not break your Catholic heart, my friends, I do not know what will. One can see the evil fruit borne of the tree of Machiavellianism as it was in the "interests" of Governor Lawrence to act as he did with such cruelty.
Unlike Latin America, where Catholic missionaries interceded in behalf of the indigenous peoples in the face of the cruelty and excesses of some of the Spanish conquistadors and colonizers, there was no one to plead for the Acadians, no one to remonstrate with the bloodthirsty English who had lost their sensus Catholicus and had become as mad the lustful man who plunged England into darkness of blood and cruelty and greed and hatred and bigotry in 1534. The violence that we see expanding exponentially in our cities and in workplaces and in schools and on university campuses is but the all-too-logical consequence of a world founded on the false premises that man can know social order in the pursuit of his "ultimate" end, that is, material prosperity as a sign of 'divine election," while spitting in the face of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law and plaiting Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ anew with a Crown of Thorns as His Social Kingship is mocked and vilified as "outdated," unnecessary and even harmful by Catholic conservative quislings and by the entire ethos of conciliarism-at-large.
Luther's own embrace of amorality in statecraft made it possible for the triumph of amorality in commerce and all other aspects of social life, something that was noted by Father Denis Fahey, C.S.Sp., and Dr. George O'Brien in the Twentieth Century.
This teaching had its economic repercussion in the current that led to the doctrine laid down in Daniel Defoe's The Complete Tradesman, according to which a man must keep his religious and his business life apart and not allow one to interfere with the other.
"There is some difference," wrote Defoe, "between an honest man and an honest tradesman. . . . There are some latitudes, like poetical licences in other cases, which a tradesman must be and is allowed, and which by the custom and usage of a trade he may give himself a liberty in, which cannot be allowed in other cases to any men, no, nor to the tradesman himself out of the business." (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
The thesis we have endeavoured to present in this essay is, that the two great dominating schools of modern economic thought have a common origin. The capitalist school, which, basing its position on the unfettered right of the individual to do what he will with his own, demands the restriction of government interference in economic and social affairs within the narrowest possible limits, and the socialist school, which, basing its position on the complete subordination of the individual to society, demands the socialization of all the means of production, if not all of wealth, face each other today as the only two solutions of the social question; they are bitterly hostile towards each other, and mutually intolerant and each is at the same weakened and provoked by the other. In one respect, and in one respect only, are they identical--they can both be shown to be the result of the Protestant Reformation.
We have seen the direct connection which exists between these modern schools of economic thought and their common ancestor. Capitalism found its roots in the intensely individualistic spirit of Protestantism, in the spread of anti-authoritative ideas from the realm of religion into the realm of political and social thought, and, above all, in the distinctive Calvinist doctrine of a successful and prosperous career being the outward and visible sign by which the regenerated might be known. Socialism, on the other hand, derived encouragement from the violations of established and prescriptive rights of which the Reformation afforded so many examples, from the growth of heretical sects tainted with Communism, and from the overthrow of the orthodox doctrine on original sin, which opened the way to the idea of the perfectibility of man through institutions. But, apart from these direct influences, there were others, indirect, but equally important. Both these great schools of economic thought are characterized by exaggerations and excesses; the one lays too great stress on the importance of the individual, and other on the importance of the community; they are both departures, in opposite directions, from the correct mean of reconciliation and of individual liberty with social solidarity. These excesses and exaggerations are the result of the free play of private judgment unguided by authority, and could not have occurred if Europe had continued to recognize an infallible central authority in ethical affairs.
The science of economics is the science of men's relations with one another in the domain of acquiring and disposing of wealth, and is, therefore, like political science in another sphere, a branch of the science of ethics. In the Middle Ages, man's ethical conduct, like his religious conduct, was under the supervision and guidance of a single authority, which claimed at the same time the right to define and to enforce its teaching. The machinery for enforcing the observance of medieval ethical teaching was of a singularly effective kind; pressure was brought to bear upon the conscience of the individual through the medium of compulsory periodical consultations with a trained moral adviser, who was empowered to enforce obedience to his advice by the most potent spiritual sanctions. In this way, the whole conduct of man in relation to his neighbours was placed under the immediate guidance of the universally received ethical preceptor, and a common standard of action was ensured throughout the Christian world in the all the affairs of life. All economic transactions in particular were subject to the jealous scrutiny of the individual's spiritual director; and such matters as sales, loans, and so on, were considered reprehensible and punishable if not conducted in accordance with the Christian standards of commutative justice.
The whole of this elaborate system for the preservation of justice in the affairs of everyday life was shattered by the Reformation. The right of private judgment, which had first been asserted in matters of faith, rapidly spread into moral matters, and the attack on the dogmatic infallibility of the Church left Europe without an authority to which it could appeal on moral questions. The new Protestant churches were utterly unable to supply this want. The principle of private judgment on which they rested deprived them of any right to be listened to whenever they attempted to dictate moral precepts to their members, and henceforth the moral behaviour of the individual became a matter to be regulated by the promptings of his own conscience, or by such philosophical systems of ethics as he happened to approve. The secular state endeavoured to ensure that dishonesty amounting to actual theft or fraud should be kept in check, but this was a poor and ineffective substitute for the powerful weapon of the confessional. Authority having once broken down, it was but a single step from Protestantism to rationalism; and the way was opened to the development of all sorts of erroneous systems of morality. (Dr. George O'Brien, An Essay on the Economic Efforts of the Reformation, IHS Press, Norfolk, Virginia, 2003.)
Dr. O'Brien went on to state that true pope after true pope has stated concerning the necessity of men and their nations subordinating themselves to the Catholic Church as they pursue the common temporal good in light of man's Last End:
There is one institution and one institution alone which is capable of supplying and enforcing the social ethic that is needed to revivify the world. It is an institution at once intra-national and international; an institution that can claim to pronounce infallibly on moral matters, and to enforce the observance of the its moral decrees by direct sanctions on the individual conscience of man; an institution which, while respecting and supporting the civil governments of nations, can claim to exist independently of them, and can insist that they shall not intrude upon the moral life or fetter the moral liberty of their citizens. Europe possessed such an institution in the Middle Ages; its dethronement was the unique achievement of the Reformation; and the injury inflicted by that dethronement has never since been repaired. (George O'Brien, An Essay on the Economic Effects of the Reformation, first published in 1923, republished by IHS press in 2003, p. 132.)
This is a point that was made forty years later by Father Edward Leen in The Holy Ghost, to explain that our own form of naturalism is just a different kind of expression in the penultimate naturalist ideology, Bolshevism, as the anti-Incarnational civil state of Modernity must wind produce a situation of total state control over men as there is no naturalist means on the face of this earth (no, not constitutions or laws or elections or this or that naturalist or secularist or nondenominational ideology or "philosophy) that can stop it. Here are Father Leen's words of wisdom:
A shudder of apprehension is traversing the world which still retains its loyalty to Jesus expressing Himself through the authority of His Church. That apprehension has not its sole cause the sight of the horrors that the world has witnessed in recent years in both hemispheres. Many Christians are beginning to feel that perhaps all may not be right with themselves. There is solid reason for this fear. The contemplation of the complete and reasoned abandonment of all hitherto accepted human values that has taken place in Russia and is taking place elsewhere, causes a good deal of anxious soul-searching. It is beginning to be dimly perceived that in social life, as it is lived, even in countries that have not as yet definitely broken with Christianity, there lie all the possibilities of what has become actual in Bolshevism. A considerable body of Christians, untrained in the Christian philosophy of life, are allowing themselves to absorb principles which undermine the constructions of Christian thought. They do not realise how much dangerous it is for Christianity to exist in an atmosphere of Naturalism than to be exposed to positive persecution. In the old days of the Roman Empire those who enrolled themselves under the standard of Christ saw, with logical clearness, that they had perforce to cut themselves adrift from the social life of the world in which they lived--from its tastes, practices and amusements. The line of demarcation between pagan and Christian life was sharp, clearly defined and obvious. Modern Christians have not been so favorably situated. As has been stated already, the framework of the Christian social organisation has as yet survived. This organisation is, to outward appearances, so solid and imposing that it is easy to be blind to the truth that the soul had gradually gone out of it. Under the shelter and utilising the resources of the organisation of life created by Christianity, customs, ways of conduct, habits of thought, have crept in, more completely perhaps, at variance with the spirit of Christianity than even the ways and manners of pagan Rome.
This infiltration of post-Christian paganism has been steady but slow, and at each stage is imperceptible. The Christian of to-day thinks that he is living in what is to all intents and purposes a Christian civilisation. Without misgivings he follows the current of social life around him. His amusements, his pleasures, his pursuits, his games, his books, his papers, his social and political ideas are of much the same kind as are those of the people with whom he mingles, and who may not have a vestige of a Christian principle left in their minds. He differs merely from them in that he holds to certain definite religious truths and clings to certain definite religious practices. But apart from this there is not any striking contrast in the outward conduct of life between Christian and non-Christian in what is called the civilised world. Catholics are amused by, and interested in, the very same things that appeal to those who have abandoned all belief in God. The result is a growing divorce between religion and life in the soul of the individual Christian. Little by little his faith ceases to be a determining effect on the bulk of his ideas, judgments and decisions that have relation to what he regards as his purely "secular" life. His physiognomy as a social being no longer bears trace of any formative effect of the beliefs he professes. And his faith rapidly becomes a thing of tradition and routine and not something which is looked to as a source of a life that is real.
The Bolshevist Revolution has had one good effect. It has awakened the averagely good Christian to the danger runs in allowing himself to drift with the current of social life about him. It has revealed to him the precipice towards which he has was heading by shaping his worldly career after principles the context of which the revolution has mercilessly exposed and revealed to be at variance with real Christianity. The sincerely religious--and there are many such still--are beginning to realise that if they are to live as Christians they must react violently against the milieu in which they live. It is beginning to be felt that one cannot be a true Christian and live as the bulk of men in civilised society are living. It is clearly seen that "life" is not to be found along those ways by which the vast majority of men are hurrying to disillusionment and despair. Up to the time of the recent cataclysm the average unreflecting Christian dwelt in the comfortable illusion that he could fall in with the ways of the world about him here, and, by holding on to the practices of religion, arrange matters satisfactorily for the hereafter. That illusion is dispelled. It is coming home to the discerning Christian that their religion is not a mere provision for the future. There is a growing conviction that it is only through Christianity lived integrally that the evils of the present time can be remedied and disaster in the time to come averted. (Father Edward Leen, The Holy Ghost, published in 1953 by Sheed and Ward, pp. 6-9.)
Father Leen was overly optimistic about the ability of Catholics to reject the effects of Bolshevism, which have indeed made their way to our own shores (have you noticed?), as he could never have envisioned that Modernists would come up from the underground after the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958, and effect a coup against the Catholic Church while representing themselves to be Catholics despite the fact that they had expelled themselves from the bosom of Holy Mother Church by their embrace, no less public promotion of, one heretical proposition after another, including an overt "reconciliation" with the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Father Leen did, of course, see very well the dangers in a world shaped by naturalism as it is very easy for Catholics to become so immersed in the world and its distractions and agitations as to lose the sensus Catholicus over the course of time. Thanks to the conciliar revolutionaries, of course, the genuine sensus Catholicus has been destroyed by the effects of the "reconcilation" between Modernism and Modernity.
V. Our True Popes Warned Us of the Consequences of Protestant Rationalism and Judeo-Masonic Naturalism
Yes, fallen human nature has wreaked havoc throughout history, even during the period of the Catholic Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the frailties of Catholics in the Middle Ages pale into insignificance when one looks at the savagery of the barbaric tribes of Europe before their Catholicization in the First Millennium and that of the barbarism and abject hedonism of the supposedly “civilized” West today. Consider this very cogent summary of the history of the Middle Ages, that is, Christendom, written by Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885:
There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. The State, constituted in this wise, bore fruits important beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, witnessed to as they are by countless proofs which can never be blotted out or ever obscured by any craft of any enemies. Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; stood forth in the front rank as the leader and teacher of all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is -- beyond all question, in large measure, through religion, under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion.
A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the agreement of the two powers been lasting. More important results even might have been justly looked for, had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching, and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty. For that should be regarded in the light of an ever-changeless law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: "When kingdom and priesthood are at one, in complete accord, the world is well ruled, and the Church flourishes, and brings forth abundant fruit. But when they are at variance, not only smaller interests prosper not, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay."
But that harmful and deplorable passion for innovation which was aroused in the sixteenth century threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
Yes, the glory of the Middle Ages, which saw the transformation of barbarous nations into Catholic nations where rulers ruled in many, although certainly not all, instances according to the Mind of the Divine Redeemer as He has discharged It exclusively in the Catholic Church, was undermined and attacked by the "deplorable passion for innovation" of Martin Luther and John Calvin and Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and John Knox and John Wesley and Richard Topcliffe and Oliver Cromwell, theological revolutionaries who wrought their work in the blood of innocent Catholics as they sacked Catholic Churches and denied her perennial rites of worship and teaching, paved a path of blood for the likes of the social revolutionaries of the English colonies in North America and in France and Latin America and Italy and Germany.
The Protestant Revolution and the so-called “Enlightenment” ushered a true dark ages of proud men who refuse to submit in a humble and docile spirit to the true Church that Our Lord founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, in all that pertains to the good of souls. It is no accident that the American founders, sons of the Protestant Revolution and the subsequent spread of Judeo-Masonry during the so-called “enlightenment,” are said to be exemplars of how to govern according to alleged “interests” rather than according to objective standards of moral truth. This is how Dr. James Piereson could call to his readers’ attention the thought of James Madison as expressed in The Federalist, Numbers 10 and 51:
James Madison wrote in The Federalist 10 that a modern state must be constructed on a foundation of interest, not of morality and virtue. Interest in the end is a more reliable foundation than virtue. In Federalist 10 he argued that his continental republic would be stable because the various interests comprising it would check one another, and thereby prevent any narrow interest from getting control of the whole. In Federalist 51, arguing for checks and balances within the government, he wrote the balance among the branches can only be preserved through a clash of interests. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected to the constitutional rights of the place.” Something more than parchment barriers was required to maintain the division among the branches of government. Madison proceeded to write in the same paper that “the policy of supplying by opposite and rival interests the defect of better motives might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public, . . . where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other; that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights.” He sought to find a path to the public interest through a Machiavellian route. (A Note on Character in Politics.)
Once again, Dr. Piereson ably summarized the thought of James Madison as he had done with that of Niccolo Machiavelli earlier in his article. Unfortunately for Dr. Piereson, though, James Madison was as wrong as was Niccolo Machiavelli. A faithful adherence to the Catholic Faith is the necessary precondition, although, given the vagaries of fallen men, not a guarantor, of social order. Catholicism unites, error divides.
Writing in his first encyclical letter, Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939, Pope Pius XII explained how the world was suffering as result of rejecting the unity effected by the Chair of Saint Peter, the papacy:
28. The present age, Venerable Brethren, by adding new errors to the doctrinal aberrations of the past, has pushed these to extremes which lead inevitably to a drift towards chaos. Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, Almighty Creator and Father of all, supreme and absolute Lawgiver, all-wise and just Judge of human actions. When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge.
29. The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay.
30. The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified “there was darkness over the whole earth” (Matthew xxvii. 45); a terrifying symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: “There was darkness when they crucified Jesus” (Roman Breviary, Good Friday, Response Five).
31. Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ’s love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man’s estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; “they became vain in their thoughts” (Romans i. 21).
32. With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the darkening in men’s minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the prosperity of States.
It is true that even when Europe had a cohesion of brotherhood through identical ideals gathered from Christian preaching, she was not free from divisions, convulsions and wars which laid her waste; but perhaps they never felt the intense pessimism of today as to the possibility of settling them, for they had then an effective moral sense of the just and of the unjust, of the lawful and of the unlawful, which, by restraining outbreaks of passion, left the way open to an honorable settlement. In Our days, on the contrary, dissensions come not only from the surge of rebellious passion, but also from a deep spiritual crisis which has overthrown the sound principles of private and public morality. (Pope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939.)
Take that, James Madison. Error leads to the collapse of nations over time, and the American founding was based on the error that men could pursue civic virtue on the basis of self-interest without regard to the Sacred Deposit of Faith that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has entrusted exclusively to His true Church for Its infallible explication and eternal safekeeping and without a firm reliance upon Sanctifying Grace to over the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin in order to scale the heights of personal sanctity.
By the way, James Madison just happened to as much as an epic blasphemer and hater of Our Lord and Catholicism as Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris:
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! (John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, quoted in 200 Years of Disbelief, by James Hauck)
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect."—James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr„ April I, 1774
". . . Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects, which pervades America and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest."—James Madison, spoken at the Virginia convention on ratification of the Constitution, June 1778
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."—-James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance," addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785
These men blamed the Catholic Church for the abuses of power by English monarchs in the Eighteenth Century even though it was precisely because King Henry VIII had broken from the true Church that despotism of the sort that he embodied to murder over three percent of his ow people who remained faithful to the true Church that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, became so institutionalized. The very abuses they contended had been committed by King George III were made possible by what Henry VIII had wrought two hundred years before. The Holy Cross of the Divine Redeemer is the one and only standard of genuine human liberty, not the "multiplicity of sects," almost each of which is the result of Martin Luther's revolution that began on October 31, 1517.
To be sure, most of the four million people who lived in the United States of America were practicing Protestants of one stripe or another. Protestantism, however, is not “religion.” There is only one true religion, Catholicism.
The amorality advanced by Machiavelli served the purposes of the “freethinkers” who would form Freemasonry from its beginnings to the present day. Amorality and religious indifferentism were deemed “necessities” in the pluralist state that itself is but the product of the Protestant Revolution’s overthrew over the Social Reign of Christ the King. A method was thus devised whereby men could avoid any public reference to the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who has the right to rule over men and their nations.
Pope Leo XIII explained that a generic belief in God leads to the acceptance of religious indifferentism, which is one of the chief goals of Judeo-Masonry:
But the naturalists go much further; for, having, in the highest things, entered upon a wholly erroneous course, they are carried headlong to extremes, either by reason of the weakness of human nature, or because God inflicts upon them the just punishment of their pride. Hence it happens that they no longer consider as certain and permanent those things which are fully understood by the natural light of reason, such as certainly are -- the existence of God, the immaterial nature of the human soul, and its immortality. The sect of the Freemasons, by a similar course of error, is exposed to these same dangers; for, although in a general way they may profess the existence of God, they themselves are witnesses that they do not all maintain this truth with the full assent of the mind or with a firm conviction. Neither do they conceal that this question about God is the greatest source and cause of discords among them; in fact, it is certain that a considerable contention about this same subject has existed among them very lately. But, indeed, the sect allows great liberty to its votaries, so that to each side is given the right to defend its own opinion, either that there is a God, or that there is none; and those who obstinately contend that there is no God are as easily initiated as those who contend that God exists, though, like the pantheists, they have false notions concerning Him: all which is nothing else than taking away the reality, while retaining some absurd representation of the divine nature.
When this greatest fundamental truth has been overturned or weakened, it follows that those truths, also, which are known by the teaching of nature must begin to fall -- namely, that all things were made by the free will of God the Creator; that the world is governed by Providence; that souls do not die; that to this life of men upon the earth there will succeed another and an everlasting life.
When these truths are done away with, which are as the principles of nature and important for knowledge and for practical use, it is easy to see what will become of both public and private morality. We say nothing of those more heavenly virtues, which no one can exercise or even acquire without a special gift and grace of God; of which necessarily no trace can be found in those who reject as unknown the redemption of mankind, the grace of God, the sacraments, and the happiness to be obtained in heaven. We speak now of the duties which have their origin in natural probity. That God is the Creator of the world and its provident Ruler; that the eternal law commands the natural order to be maintained, and forbids that it be disturbed; that the last end of men is a destiny far above human things and beyond this sojourning upon the earth: these are the sources and these the principles of all justice and morality.
If these be taken away, as the naturalists and Freemasons desire, there will immediately be no knowledge as to what constitutes justice and injustice, or upon what principle morality is founded. And, in truth, the teaching of morality which alone finds favor with the sect of Freemasons, and in which they contend that youth should be instructed, is that which they call "civil," and "independent," and "free," namely, that which does not contain any religious belief. But, how insufficient such teaching is, how wanting in soundness, and how easily moved by every impulse of passion, is sufficiently proved by its sad fruits, which have already begun to appear. For, wherever, by removing Christian education, this teaching has begun more completely to rule, there goodness and integrity of morals have begun quickly to perish, monstrous and shameful opinions have grown up, and the audacity of evil deeds has risen to a high degree. All this is commonly complained of and deplored; and not a few of those who by no means wish to do so are compelled by abundant evidence to give not infrequently the same testimony. (Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, April 20, 1884.)
Yet is that those who extol Machiavellianism do not realize that they will be victims of a world where there is no “knowledge as to what constitutes justice or injustice.” The apparatchiks of the United States Ministry of Injustice could work to thwart the election of Donald John Trump and then seek to undermine it precisely because they did not have any regard for objective standards of truth, acting in what their saw was their own best interests, which they reckoned to be in the “national interest” as well. If Machiavellianism is to be the standard of public conduct, therefore, it is impossible to condemn those renegades in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice who took it upon themselves to disregard just laws and then to stonewall investigators, to say nothing of launching a counterintelligence investigation about a sitting president whom they suspected to be a concious agent of the Russians because he merely exercised his constitutional authority to remove a subordinate office, James Brien Comey, who served at his pleasure (see F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Russia's Behalf). No one is safe from arbitrarily contrived standards of prosecution once the bonds that tie men and their nations to the true Church and her exercise of the Social Reign of Christ the King are let loose. Nations based on lies produce liars, cheaters and killers.
VI. Good Character Matters
Although the lack of virtue in the world today is an accomplished fact of life, it is a deception to think that a just social order can be “restored” when men who have no regard for First and Last Things are at the helm of the ship of state.
Indeed, Pope Leo XIII pointed out in Mirae Caritatis, May 25, 1902, that it is much to be desired for those who serve the public in civic rule be men of virtue who permit themselves to be formed into the image of the Divine Redeemer by spending time in prayer before Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in His Real Presence:
Indeed it is greatly to be desired that those men would rightly esteem and would make due provision for life everlasting, whose industry or talents or rank have put it in their power to shape the course of human events. But alas! we see with sorrow that such men too often proudly flatter themselves that they have conferred upon this world as it were a fresh lease of life and prosperity, inasmuch as by their own energetic action they are urging it on to the race for wealth, to a struggle for the possession of commodities which minister to the love of comfort and display. And yet, whithersoever we turn, we see that human society, if it be estranged from God, instead of enjoying that peace in its possessions for which it had sought, is shaken and tossed like one who is in the agony and heat of fever; for while it anxiously strives for prosperity, and trusts to it alone, it is pursuing an object that ever escapes it, clinging to one that ever eludes the grasp. For as men and states alike necessarily have their being from God, so they can do nothing good except in God through Jesus Christ, through whom every best and choicest gift has ever proceeded and proceeds. But the source and chief of all these gifts is the venerable Eucharist, which not only nourishes and sustains that life the desire whereof demands our most strenuous efforts, but also enhances beyond measure that dignity of man of which in these days we hear so much. For what can be more honourable or a more worthy object of desire than to be made, as far as possible, sharers and partakers in the divine nature? Now this is precisely what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, wherein, after having raised man by the operation of His grace to a supernatural state, he yet more closely associates and unites him with Himself. For there is this difference between the food of the body and that of the soul, that whereas the former is changed into our substance, the latter changes us into its own; so that St. Augustine makes Christ Himself say: "You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me" (confessions 1. vii., c. x.).
Moreover, in this most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue. And first of all in faith. In all ages faith has been attacked; for although it elevates the human mind by bestowing on it the knowledge of the highest truths, yet because, while it makes known the existence of divine mysteries, it yet leaves in obscurity the mode of their being, it is therefore thought to degrade the intellect. But whereas in past times particular articles of faith have been made by turns the object of attack; the seat of war has since been enlarged and extended, until it has come to this, that men deny altogether that there is anything above and beyond nature. Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervour of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the "mystery of faith," as it has been most appropriately called. For in this one mystery the entire supernatural order, with all its wealth and variety of wonders, is in a manner summed up and contained: "He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, a merciful and gracious Lord; He hath given food to them that fear Him" (Psalm cx, 4-5). For whereas God has subordinated the whole supernatural order to the Incarnation of His Word, in virtue whereof salvation has been restored to the human race, according to those words of the Apostle; "He hath purposed...to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in Him" (Eph. i., 9-10), the Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as in a manner a continuation and extension of the Incarnation. For in and by it the substance of the incarnate Word is united with individual men, and the supreme Sacrifice offered on Calvary is in a wondrous manner renewed, as was signified beforehand by Malachy in the words: "In every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a pure oblation" (Mal. i., 11). And this miracle, itself the very greatest of its kind, is accompanied by innumerable other miracles; for here all the laws of nature are suspended; the whole substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and the Blood; the species of bread and wine are sustained by the divine power without the support of any underlying substance; the Body of Christ is present in many places at the same time, that is to say, wherever the Sacrament is consecrated. And in order that human reason may the more willingly pay its homage to this great mystery, there have not been wanting, as an aid to faith, certain prodigies wrought in His honour, both in ancient times and in our own, of which in more than one place there exist public and notable records and memorials. It is plain that by this Sacrament faith is fed, in it the mind finds its nourishment, the objections of rationalists are brought to naught, and abundant light is thrown on the supernatural order.
But that decay of faith in divine things of which We have spoken is the effect not only of pride, but also of moral corruption. For if it is true that a strict morality improves the quickness of man's intellectual powers, and if on the other hand, as the maxims of pagan philosophy and the admonitions of divine wisdom combine to teach us, the keenness of the mind is blunted by bodily pleasures, how much more, in the region of revealed truths, do these same pleasures obscure the light of faith, or even, by the just judgment of God, entirely extinguish it. For these pleasures at the present day an insatiable appetite rages, infecting all classes as with an infectious disease, even from tender years. Yet even for so terrible an evil there is a remedy close at hand in the divine Eucharist. For in the first place it puts a check on lust by increasing charity, according to the words of St. Augustine, who says, speaking of charity, "As it grows, lust diminishes; when it reaches perfection, lust is no more" (De diversis quaestionibus, Ixxxiii., q. 36). Moreover the most chaste flesh of Jesus keeps down the rebellion of our flesh, as St. Cyril of Alexandria taught, "For Christ abiding in us lulls to sleep the law of the flesh which rages in our members" (Lib. iv., c. ii., in Joan., vi., 57). Then too the special and most pleasant fruit of the Eucharist is that which is signified in the words of the prophet: "What is the good thing of Him," that is, of Christ, "and what is His beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect and the wine that engendereth virgins" (Zach. ix., 17), producing, in other words, that flower and fruitage of a strong and constant purpose of virginity which, even in an age enervated by luxury, is daily multiplied and spread abroad in the Catholic Church, with those advantages to religion and to human society, wherever it is found, which are plain to see. (Pope Leo XIII, Mirae Caritatis, May 28, 1902.)
To give just one example of a leader who exemplified virtue in public life we can turn to Our King’s great champion, Saint Louis IX, King of France.
Saint Louis IX was the personification of all of the virtues that flow from a life steeped in the pursuit of personal sanctity, a life that sought to seek the shelter of Our Lord in His Real Presence and was tenderly devoted to the Mother God, a life that set aside earthly pleasures and honors in order to seek the choicest riches of all: eternal life in the glory of the Beatific Vision in Heaven. Saint Louis IX knew that no one could exercise the powers of civil rule properly unless his mind was enlightened by the Deposit of Faith and his will strengthened by Sanctifying Grace in order to seek God's will first and to help advance the cause of the common good of all society in light of the common end of all men: to be citizens of Heaven for all eternity. Christ must reign first as the King of the hearts of individual men and then as the King of all nations.
Saint Louis IX was a just judge who would spend time under a tree hearing the cases of his subjects, knowing that he would be judged by the Judge of his immortal soul if he, in his own words, "swayed either to the right or the left," if he showed any favoritism in any way that would be a violation of the precepts of justice, both natural and Divine. Having learned from his mother's knee to love God and to grow in holiness, Louis IX is the model for all rulers at all times in all places. He outlined these principles in his letter to his son Philip:
9. Dear son, have a tender pitiful heart for the poor, and for all those whom you believe to be in misery of heart or body, and, according to your ability, comfort and aid them with some alms.
10. Maintain the good customs of your realm, and put down the bad ones. Do not oppress your people and do not burden them with tolls or tailles, except under very great necessity.
11. If you have any unrest of heart, of such a nature that it may be told, tell it to your confessor, or to some upright man who can keep your secret; you will be able to carry more easily the thought of your heart.
12. See to it that those of your household are upright and loyal, and remember the Scripture, which says: "Elige viros timentes Deum in quibus sit justicia et qui oderint avariciam"; that is to say, "Love those who serve God and who render strict justice and hate covetousness"; and you will profit, and will govern your kingdom well.
13. Dear son, see to it that all your associates are upright, whether clerics or laymen, and have frequent good converse with them; and flee the society of the bad. And listen willingly to the word of God, both in open and in secret; and purchase freely prayers and pardons.
14. Love all good, and hate all evil, in whomsoever it may be.
15. Let no one be so bold as to say, in your presence, words which attract and lead to sin, and do not permit words of detraction to be spoken of another behind his back.
16. Suffer it not that any ill be spoken of God or His saints in your presence, without taking prompt vengeance. But if the offender be a clerk or so great a person that you ought not to try him, report the matter to him who is entitled to judge it.
17. Dear son, give thanks to God often for all the good things He has done for you, so that you may be worthy to receive more, in such a manner that if it please the Lord that you come to the burden and honor of governing the kingdom, you may be worthy to receive the sacred unction wherewith the kings of France are consecrated.
18. Dear son, if you come to the throne, strive to have that which befits a king, that is to say, that in justice and rectitude you hold yourself steadfast and loyal toward your subjects and your vassals, without turning either to the right or to the left, but always straight, whatever may happen. And if a poor man have a quarrel with a rich man, sustain the poor rather than the rich, until the truth is made clear, and when you know the truth, do justice to them.
19. If any one have entered into a suit against you (for any injury or wrong which he may believe that you have done to him), be always for him and against yourself in the presence of your council, without showing that you think much of your case (until the truth be made known concerning it); for those of your council might be backward in speaking against you, and this you should not wish; and command your judges that you be not in any way upheld more than any others, for thus will your councillors judge more boldly according to right and truth.
20. If you have anything belonging to another, either of yourself or through your predecessors, if the matter is certain, give it up without delay, however great it may be, either in land or money or otherwise. If the matter is doubtful, have it inquired into by wise men, promptly and diligently. And if the affair is so obscure that you cannot know the truth, make such a settlement, by the counsels of of upright men, that your soul, and the souls of your predecessors, may be wholly freed from the affair. And even if you hear some one say that your predecessors made restitution, make diligent inquiry to learn if anything remains to be restored; and if you find that such is the case, cause it to be delivered over at once, for the liberation of your soul and the souls of your predecessors.
21. You should seek earnestly how your vassals and your subjects may live in peace and rectitude beneath your sway; likewise, the good towns and the good cities of your kingdom. And preserve them in the estate and the liberty in which your predecessors kept them, redress it, and if there be anything to amend, amend and preserve their favor and their love. For it is by the strength and the riches of your good cities and your good towns that the native and the foreigner, especially your peers and your barons, are deterred from doing ill to you. I will remember that Paris and the good towns of my kingdom aided me against the barons, when I was newly crowned.
22. Honor and love all the people of Holy Church, and be careful that no violence be done to them, and that their gifts and alms, which your predecessors have bestowed upon them, be not taken away or diminished. And I wish here to tell you what is related concerning King Philip, my ancestor, as one of his council, who said he heard it, told it to me. The king, one day, was with his privy council, and he was there who told me these words. And one of the king's councillors said to him how much wrong and loss he suffered from those of Holy Church, in that they took away his rights and lessened the jurisdiction of his court; and they marveled greatly how he endured it. And the good king answered: "I am quite certain that they do me much wrong, but when I consider the goodnesses and kindnesses which God has done me, I had rather that my rights should go, than have a contention or awaken a quarrel with Holy Church." And this I tell to you that you may not lightly believe anything against the people of Holy Church; so love them and honor them and watch over them that they may in peace do the service of our Lord.
23. Moreover, I advise you to love dearly the clergy, and, so far as you are able, do good to them in their necessities, and likewise love those by whom God is most honored and served, and by whom the Faith is preached and exalted.
24. Dear son, I advise that you love and reverence your father and your mother, willingly remember and keep their commandments, and be inclined to believe their good counsels.
25. Love your brothers, and always wish their well-being and their good advancement, and also be to them in the place of a father, to instruct them in all good. But be watchful lest, for the love which you bear to one, you turn aside from right doing, and do to the others that which is not meet.
26. Dear son, I advise you to bestow the benefices of Holy Church which you have to give, upon good persons, of good and clean life, and that you bestow them with the high counsel of upright men. And I am of the opinion that it is preferable to give them to those who hold nothing of Holy Church, rather than to others. For, if you inquire diligently, you will find enough of those who have nothing who will use wisely that entrusted to them. (From Saint Louis' Advice to His Son, in Medieval Civilization, trans. and eds. Dana Munro and George Clarke Sellerym New York: The Century Company, 1910, pp. 366-375.)
Saint Louis IX, quite unlike the war-happy leaders of the past century who have considered war to be a first resort to the resolution of international conflicts and disputes rather than a regrettable last resort after all peaceful means to avoid armed military conflict have been exhausted, adhered to the principles of the Just War Theory that were mocked by Niccolo Machiavelli and jettisoned by the latter’s disciples.
27. Dear son, I advise you that you try with all your strength to avoid warring against any Christian man, unless he have done you too much ill. And if wrong be done you, try several ways to see if you can find how you can secure your rights, before you make war; and act thus in order to avoid the sins which are committed in warfare.
28. And if it fall out that it is needful that you should make war (either because some one of your vassals has failed to plead his case in your court, or because he has done wrong to some church or to some poor person, or to any other person whatsoever, and is unwilling to make amends out of regard for you, or for any other reasonable cause), whatever the reason for which it is necessary for you to make war, give diligent command that the poor folk who have done no wrong or crime be protected from damage to their vines, either through fire or otherwise, for it were more fitting that you should constrain the wrongdoer by taking his own property (either towns or castles, by force of siege), than that you should devastate the property of poor people. And be careful not to start the war before you have good counsel that the cause is most reasonable, and before you have summoned the offender to make amends, and have waited as long as you should. And if he ask mercy, you ought to pardon him, and accept his amends, so that God may be pleased with you.
29. Dear son, I advise you to appease wars and contentions, whether they be yours or those of your subjects, just as quickly as may be, for it is a thing most pleasing to our Lord. And Monsignore Martin gave us a very great example of this. For, one time, when our Lord made it known to him that he was about to die, he set out to make peace between certain clerks of his archbishopric, and he was of the opinion that in so doing he was giving a good end to life. (From Saint Louis' Advice to His Son, in Medieval Civilization, trans. and eds. Dana Munro and George Clarke Sellerym New York: The Century Company, 1910, pp. 366-375.)
One can see that Saint Louis IX’s advice to his son was a cogent summary of the following principles of the Just War Theory that must, of course, be applied in the concrete circumstances by leaders, meaning that errors in judgment are bound to be made now and again given the nature of fallen creatures. It is nevertheless true that there must be a real consideration of these factors, something that Saint Louis IX, just man that he was, understood entirely.
The final part of Saint Louis IX’s letter to his son Philip dealt with the care that a civil ruler must take to see to the good administration of his own government and that he is a good son of the Vicar of Christ:
32. Dear son, freely give power to persons of good character, who know how to use it well, and strive to have wickednesses expelled from your land, that is to say, nasty oaths, and everything said or done against God or our Lady or the saints. In a wise and proper manner put a stop, in your land, to bodily sins, dicing, taverns, and other sins. Put down heresy so far as you can, and hold in especial abhorrence Jews, and all sorts of people who are hostile to the Faith, so that your land may be well purged of them, in such manner as, by the sage counsel of good people, may appear to you advisable. Further the right with all your strength. Moreover I admonish you that you strive most earnestly to show your gratitude for the benefits which our Lord has bestowed upon you, and that you may know how to give Him thanks therefore.
33. Dear son, take care that the expenses of your household are reasonable and moderate, and that its moneys are justly obtained. And there is one opinion that I deeply wish you to entertain, that is to say, that you keep yourself free from foolish expenses and evil exactions, and that your money should be well expended and well acquired. And this opinion, together with other opinions which are suitable and profitable, I pray that our Lord may teach you.
34. Finally, most sweet son, I conjure and require you that, if it please our Lord that I should die before you, you have my soul succored with masses and orisons, and that you send through the congregations of the kingdom of France, and demand their prayers for my soul, and that you grant me a special and full part in all the good deeds which you perform.
35. In conclusion, dear son, I give you all the blessings which a good and tender father can give to a son, and I pray our Lord Jesus Christ, by His mercy, by the prayers and merits of His blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and of angels and archangels and of all the saints, to guard and protect you from doing anything contrary to His will, and to give you grace to do it always, so that He may be honored and served by you. And this may He do to me as to you, by His great bounty, so that after this mortal life we may be able to be together with Him in the eternal life, and see Him, love Him, and praise Him without end. Amen. And glory, honor, and praise be to Him who is one God with the Father and the Holy Spirit; without beginning and without end. Amen. (From Saint Louis' Advice to His Son, in Medieval Civilization, trans. and eds. Dana Munro and George Clarke Sellerym New York: The Century Company, 1910, pp. 366-375.)
No, a confessional Catholic State is not a guarantor of social order, only the necessary precondition for it. Individual men must choose to cooperate with God's grace to build up the Kingship of Christ in their own souls and hence in every aspect of their nation's life. This is never an easy task given the frailties of fallen human nature, which is why the Church's shepherds must exhort the faithful to lives of holiness unspotted by the world and proclaim the immutable doctrine, contained in the Ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church, of the Social Reign of Christ the King that was exemplified so well by Saint Louis IX in the Thirteenth Century.
It is good to consider just the following passage, noting the great leader of France during most of the Thirteenth Century, Saint Louis IX, summarized the whole of the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ when he wrote:
31. Dear son, I advise you always to be devoted to the Church of Rome, and to the sovereign pontiff, our father, and to bear him the reverence and honor which you owe to your spiritual father. (From Saint Louis' Advice to His Son, in Medieval Civilization, trans. and eds. Dana Munro and George Clarke Sellerym New York: The Century Company, 1910, pp. 366-375.)
There is no more cogent summary of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. Saint Louis was telling his son that he, although destined to be a king, was subordinate to the Church founded by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. All States, no matter the construct of their civil governments, must be so subordinate. Remember this and remember well: Catholics do not care about "states' rights." They care about God's laws, which bind all men at all times, whether they are acting individually in their own lives or in the institutions of civil governance.
Importantly, as noted just above, Saint Louis admonished his son as follows:
Dear son, freely give power to persons of good character, who know how to use it well, and strive to have wickednesses expelled from your land, that is to say, nasty oaths, and everything said or done against God or our Lady or the saints. In a wise and proper manner put a stop, in your land, to bodily sins, dicing, taverns, and other sins. Put down heresy so far as you can, and hold in especial abhorrence Jews, and all sorts of people who are hostile to the Faith, so that your land may be well purged of them, in such manner as, by the sage counsel of good people, may appear to you advisable. (From Saint Louis' Advice to His Son, in Medieval Civilization, trans. and eds. Dana Munro and George Clarke Sellerym New York: The Century Company, 1910, pp. 366-375.)
Yes, good character matters in statecraft. That there are so few men of good character today in either of the two major organized crime families of naturalism is the result of a world shaped by Protestantism's overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and the subsequent rise and institutionalization of Judeo-Masonry. Donald John Trump's character, for example, is nothing other than an expression of the debased state into which men have fallen in these latter times as all manner of profanities and blasphemies are now accepted in public discourse (see Ever Lowering the Bar of Truth in Public Discourse.)
The civil state has the obligation to work to remove those conditions that breed sin in the midst of its cultural life. Yes, sin there will always be. True. However, the State, which the Church teaches has the obligation to help foster those conditions in civil society in which citizens can better save their souls, must not tolerate grave evils (such as blasphemy or willful murder) under cover of law. Saint Thomas Aquinas understood that some evils may have to be tolerated in society. Graver evils, however, undermine the common good and put into jeopardy the pursuit of man’s last end.
Good character and men possessed of it and who persist in it only by a firm reliance upon and cooperation with the graces won for us by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ during His Passion and Death on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces. Nations must fall into ruin otherwise.
As Pope Saint Pius X explained in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
Additionally, Pope Pius XI pointed out in Quas Primas that the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ must be proclaimed by men and their parliamentary assemblies:
If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.
Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights. (Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, December 11, 1925.)
As was pointed out in Not A Mention of Christ the King nearly nine years ago, the presidents of the United States of America have gone out of their way to avoid making any reference to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in their inaugural address and in their addresses to special joint meetings of the United States Congress.
The errors of pluralism have divided people needlessly into warring camps as a permanently-established political class, composed of competing sets of naturalists, each of which believes that the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in the Virginal and Immaculate Womb of His Most Blessed Mother by the power of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost at the Annunciation is, at best, a matter of complete indifference to personal and social order.
So many Americans live from election to election, always believing that "change," whether it be in the direction of "progress" for naturalists of the "left" or in the direction of "constitutionalism" or "liberty" or "limited government" for naturalists of the "right." Although divisions on some matters will always occur until the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead on the Last Day at the Second Coming of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, it is also true that men today have been needlessly divided about matters pertaining to First and Last Things, oblivious to the fact that they have been given a spotless mother, Holy Mother Church, to serve as their mater and magister (mother and teacher) in this passing, mortal vale of tears. Most men today believe that they are automatons, either independent of any concept of God or "free" from the "dictates" of a hierarchical church.
Personal and social disaster cannot but be the result of such a brew of error. Men resort more and more to violence today because they do not know of the tender mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. They do not know that they have a Blessed Mother who made possible their salvation by her perfect fiat to the will of God the father at the Annunciation. They do not realize that the supernatural helps they need to overcome all sin in their lives and to pray for the conversion of those who are promoting evil in society flow through the loving hands of that same Blessed Mother, who gave the Rosary with her own blessed hands to Saint Dominic de Guzman so that we could be more closely united to her Divine Son, Christ the King, through the mysteries contained in her psalter, the Rosary.
The late Louis-Edouard-François-Desiré Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, France, put the matter as follows in the Nineteenth Century:
Neither in His Person," Card, Pie said in a celebrated pastoral instruction, "nor in the exercise of His rights, can Jesus Christ be divided, dissolved, split up; in Him the distinction of natures and operations can never be separated or opposed; the divine cannot be incompatible to the human, nor the human to the divine. On the contrary, it is the peace, the drawing together, the reconciliation; it is the very character of union which has made the two things one: 'He is our peace, Who hat made both one." (Eph. 2:14). This is why St. John told us: 'every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh: and is now already in the world' (1 John 4:3; cf. also 1 John 2:18, 22; 2 John: 7). "So then, Card. Pie continues, "when I hear certain talk being spread around, certain pithy statements (i.e., 'Separation of Church and State,' for one, and the enigmatic axiom 'A free Church in a free State,' for another) prevailing from day to day, and which are being introduced into the heart of societies, the dissolvent by which the world must perish, I utter this cry of alarm: Beware the Antichrist." (Selected Writings of Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, pp. 21-23.)
"If Jesus Christ," proclaims Msgr. Pie in a magnificent pastoral instruction, "if Jesus Christ Who is our light whereby we are drawn out of the seat of darkness and from the shadow of death, and Who has given to the world the treasure of truth and grace, if He has not enriched the world, I mean to say the social and political world itself, from the great evils which prevail in the heart of paganism, then it is to say that the work of Jesus Christ is not a divine work. Even more so: if the Gospel which would save men is incapable of procuring the actual progress of peoples, if the revealed light which is profitable to individuals is detrimental to society at large, if the scepter of Christ, sweet and beneficial to souls, and perhaps to families, is harmful and unacceptable for cities and empires; in other words, if Jesus Christ to whom the Prophets had promised and to Whom His Father had given the nations as a heritage, is not able to exercise His authority over them for it would be to their detriment and temporal disadvantage, it would have to be concluded that Jesus Christ is not God". . . .
"To say Jesus Christ is the God of individuals and of families, but not the God of peoples and of societies, is to say that He is not God. To say that Christianity is the law of individual man and is not the law of collective man, is to say that Christianity is not divine. To say that the Church is the judge of private morality, but has nothing to do with public and political morality, is to say that the Church is not divine."
In fine, Cardinal Pie insists:
"Christianity would not be divine if it were to have existence within individuals but not with regard to societies." (Selected Writings of Cardinal Pie of Poitiers.)
There can be no middle ground about this at all. None. We are either for Our Lord as He revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church or we are against Him.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen put in this way in his “A Plea for Intolerance”:
America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance: tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded. The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind, any more than he can make up for lost time, is called tolerant and broadminded. A bigoted man is one who refuses to accept a reason for anything; a broadminded man is one who will accept anything for a reason—providing it is not a good reason. It is true that there is a demand for precision, exactness, and definiteness, but it is only for precision in scientific measurement, not in logic. The breakdown that has produced this unnatural broadmindedness is mental, not moral. The evidence for this statement is threefold: the tendency to settle issues not by arguments but by words, the unqualified willingness to accept the authority of anyone on the subject of religion, and, lastly, the love of novelty….
Religion is not an open question, like the League of Nations, while science is a closed question, like the addition table. Religion has its principles, natural and revealed, which are more exacting in their logic than mathematics. But the false notion of tolerance has obscured this fact from the eyes of many who are as intolerant about the smallest details of life as they are tolerant about their relations to God. In the ordinary affairs of life, these same people would never summon a Christian Science practitioner to fix a broken windowpane; they would never call in an optician because they had broken the eye of a needle; they would never call in a florist because they hurt the palm of their hand, nor go to a carpenter to take care of their nails. They would never call in a Collector of Internal Revenue to extract the nickel swallowed by the baby. They would refuse to listen to a Kiwanis booster discussing the authenticity of a painting, or to a tree‐surgeon settling a moot question of law. And yet for the all‐important subject of religion, on which our eternal destinies hinge, on the all‐important question of the relations of man to his environment and to his God, they are willing to listen to anyone who calls himself a prophet. And so our journals are filled with articles for these “broadminded” people, in which everyone from Jack Dempsey to the chief cook of the Ritz Carlton tells about his idea of God and his view of religion. These same individuals, who would become exasperated if their child played with a wrongly colored lollipop, would not become the least bit worried if the child grew up without ever having heard the name of God….
The nature of certain things is fixed, and none more so than the nature of truth. Truth maybe contradicted a thousand times, but that only proves that it is strong enough to survive a thousand assaults. But for any one to say, ʺSome say this, some say that, therefore there is no truth,ʺ is about as logical as it would have been for Columbus, who heard some say, ʺThe earth is round,ʺ and other say, ʺThe earth is flat,ʺ to conclude: ʺTherefore there is no earth at allʺ….
The giggling giddiness of novelty, the sentimental restlessness of a mind unhinged, and the unnatural fear of a good dose of hard thinking, all conjoin to produce a group of sophomoric latitudinarians who think there is no difference between God as Cause and God as a ʺmental projectionʺ; who equate Christ and Buddha, St. Paul and John Dewey, and then enlarge their broad‐mindedness into a sweeping synthesis that says not only that one Christian sect is just as good as another, but even that one world‐religion is just as good as another. The great god ʺProgressʺ is then enthroned on the altars of fashion, and as the hectic worshipers are asked, ʺProgress towards what?ʺ The tolerant answer comes back, ʺMore progress.ʺ All the while sane men are wondering how there can be progress without direction and how there can be direction without a fixed point. And because they speak of a ʺfixed point,ʺ they are said to be behind the times, when really they are beyond the times mentally and spiritually.
In the face of this false broad‐mindedness, what the world needs is intolerance. The mass of people have kept up hard and fast distinctions between dollars and cents, battleships and cruisers, ʺYou owe meʺ and ʺI owe you,ʺ but they seem to have lost entirely the faculty of distinguishing between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. The best indication of this is the frequent misuse of the terms ʺtoleranceʺ and ʺintolerance.ʺ There are some minds that believe that intolerance is always wrong, because they make ʺintoleranceʺ mean hate, narrow‐ mindedness, and bigotry. These same minds believe that tolerance is always right because, for them, it means charity, broad‐mindedness, American good nature.
What is tolerance? Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience towards evil, and a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. But what is more important than the definition is the field of its application. The important point here is this: Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error….
Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability. The government must be intolerant about malicious propaganda, and during the World War it made an index of forbidden books to defend national stability, as the Church, who is in constant warfare with error, made her index of forbidden books to defend the permanency of Christʹs life in the souls of men. The government during the war was intolerant about the national heretics who refused to accept her principles concerning the necessity of democratic institutions, and took physical means to enforce such principles. The soldiers who went to war were intolerant about the principles they were fighting for, in the same way that a gardener must be intolerant about the weeds that grow in his garden. The Supreme Court of the United States is intolerant about any private interpretation of the first principle of the Constitution that every man is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the particular citizen who would interpret ʺlibertyʺ in even such a small way as meaning the privilege to ʺgoʺ on a red traffic‐light, would find himself very soon in a cell where there were no lights, not even the yellow — the color of the timid souls who know not whether to stop or go. Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in their laboratories, and as all of us are intolerant of a particularly broad‐minded, ʺtolerant,ʺ and good‐natured grocer who, in making our bills, adds seven and ten to make twenty.
Now, if it is right — and it is right — for governments to be intolerant about the principles of government, and the bridge builder to be intolerant about the laws of stress and strain, and the physicist to be intolerant about the principles of gravitation, why should it not be the right of Christ, the right of His Church, and the right of thinking men to be intolerant about the truths of Christ, the doctrines of the Church, and the principles of reason? Can the truths of God be less exacting than the truths of mathematics? Can the laws of the mind be less binding than the laws of science, which are known only through the laws of the mind? Shall man, gifted with natural truth, who refuses to look with an equally tolerant eye on the mathematician who says two and two make five and the one who says two and two make four, be called a wise man, and shall God, Who refuses to look with an equally tolerant eye on all religions, be denied the name of ʺWisdom,ʺ and be called an ʺintolerantʺ God?…
Why, then, sneer at dogmas as intolerant? On all sides we hear it said today, ʺThe modern world wants a religion without dogmas,ʺ which betrays how little thinking goes with that label, for he who says he wants a religion without dogmas is stating a dogma, and a dogma that is harder to justify than many dogmas of faith. A dogma is a true thought, and a religion without dogmas is a religion without thought, or a back without a backbone. All sciences have dogmas. ʺWashington is the capital of the United Statesʺ is a dogma of geography. ʺWater is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygenʺ is a dogma of chemistry. Should we be broad‐minded and say that Washington is a sea in Switzerland? Should we be broad‐minded and say that H2O is a symbol for sulfuric acid? …
But it is anything but progress to act like mice and eat the foundations of the very roof over our heads. Intolerance about principles is the foundation of growth, and the mathematician who would deride a square for always having four sides, and in the name of progress would encourage it to throw away even only one of its sides, would soon discover that he had lost all his squares. So too with the dogmas of the Church, of science, and of reason; they are like bricks, solid things with which a man can build, not like straw, which is ʺreligious experience,ʺ fit only for burning.
A dogma, then, is the necessary consequence of the intolerance of first principles, and that science or that church which has the greatest amount of dogmas is the science or the church that has been doing the most thinking. The Catholic Church, the schoolmaster for twenty centuries, has been doing a tremendous amount of solid, hard thinking and hence has built up dogmas as a man might build a house of brick but grounded on a rock. She has seen the centuries with their passing enthusiasms and momentary loyalties pass before her, making the same mistakes, cultivating the same poses, falling into the same mental snares, so that she has become very patient and kind to the erring pupils, but very intolerant and severe concerning the false. She has been and she will always be intolerant so far as the rights of God are concerned, for heresy, error, untruth, affect not personal matters on which she may yield, but a Divine Right in which there is no yielding. Meek she is to the erring, but violent to the error. The truth is divine; the heretic is human. Due reparation made, she will admit the heretic back into the treasury of her souls, but never the heresy into the treasury of her wisdom. Right is right if nobody is right, and wrong is wrong if everybody is wrong. And in this day and age we need, as Mr. [G. K.] Chesterton tells us, ʺnot a Church that is right when the world is right, but a Church that is right when the world is wrong.ʺ
The attitude of the Church in relation to the modern world on this important question may be brought home by the story of the two women in the courtroom of Solomon [see 3 Kings 3:16-28]. Both of them claimed a child. The lawful mother insisted on having the whole child or nothing, for a child is like truth — it cannot be divided without ruin. The unlawful mother, on the contrary, agreed to compromise. She was willing to divide the babe, and the babe would have died of broad‐mindedness. (Monsignor Fulton Sheen, Old Errors and New Labels. New York, New York, The Century Company, 1931. Although I have the book itself, this excerpt was taken from Novus Ordo Watch Wire given the fact that it is already far later/earlier than is advisable for me right now. I just cannot transcribe anything more at this point.)
Behold a world awash in error, a world that accepts every "ism" (liberalism, socialism, communism, nihilism, conservativism, libertarianism, nationalism, militarism, globalism, statism, pantheism, paganism, satanism, occultism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Shintoism, hedonism, barbarism, heathenism, environmentalism, evolutionism, pragmatism, Americanism, ecumenism, Modernism, relativism, positivism, utilitarianism, etc.) except Catholicism, the true religion.
VII. Living A World Devoid of a Superabundance of the Merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus: Prophetic Words from Father Frederick Faber and Father Henry James Coleridge, S.J.
We are looking at what happens in a world where most people, including most baptized Catholics, are devoid of contact with the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as Father Frederick Faber made this exact point in The Precious Blood:
It is plain that some millions of sins in a day are hindered by the Precious Blood; and this is not merely a hindering of so many individual sins, but it is an immense check upon the momentum of sin. It is also a weakening of habits of sin, and a diminution of the consequences of sin. If then, the action of the Precious Blood were withdrawn from the world, sins would not only increase incalculably in number, but the tyranny of sin would be fearfully augmented, and it would spread among a greater number of people. It would wax so bold that no one would be secure from the sins of others. It would be a constant warfare, or an intolerable vigilance, to preserve property and rights. Falsehood would become so universal as to dissolve society; and the homes of domestic life would be turned into wards either of a prison or a madhouse. We cannot be in the company of an atrocious criminal without some feeling of uneasiness and fear. We should not like to be left alone with him, even if his chains were not unfastened. But without the Precious Blood, such men would abound in the world. They might even become the majority. We know of ourselves, from glimpses God has once or twice given us in life, what incredible possibilities of wickedness we have in our souls. Civilization increases these possibilities. Education multiplies and magnifies our powers of sinning. Refinement adds a fresh malignity. Men would thus become more diabolically and unmixedly bad, until at last earth would be a hell on this side of the grave. There would also doubtless be new kinds of sins and worse kinds. Education would provide the novelty, and refinement would carry it into the region of the unnatural. All highly-refined and luxurious developments of heathenism have fearfully illustrated this truth. A wicked barbarian is like a beast. His savage passions are violent but intermitting, and his necessities of sin do not appear to grow. Their circle is limited. But a highly-educated sinner, without the restraints of religion, is like a demon. His sins are less confined to himself. They involve others in their misery. They require others to be offered as it were in sacrifice to them. Moreover, education, considered simply as an intellectual cultivation, propagates sin, and makes it more universal.
The increase of sin, without the prospects which the faith lays open to us, must lead to an increase of despair, and to an increase of it upon a gigantic scale. With despair must come rage, madness, violence, tumult, and bloodshed. Yet from what quarter could we expect relief in this tremendous suffering? We should be imprisoned in our own planet. The blue sky above us would be but a dungeon-roof. The greensward beneath our feet would truly be the slab of our future tomb. Without the Precious Blood there is no intercourse between heaven and earth. Prayer would be useless. Our hapless lot would be irremediable. It has always seemed to me that it will be one of the terrible things in hell, that there are no motives for patience there. We cannot make the best of it. Why should we endure it? Endurance is an effort for a time; but this woe is eternal. Perhaps vicissitudes of agony might be a kind of field for patience. But there are no such vicissitudes. Why should we endure, then? Simply because we must; and yet in eternal things this is not a sort of necessity which supplies a reasonable ground for patience. So in this imaginary world of rampant sin there would be no motives for patience. For death would be our only seeming relief; and that is only seeming, for death is any thin but an eternal sleep. Our impatience would become frenzy; and if our constitutions were strong enough to prevent the frenzy from issuing in downright madness, it would grow into hatred of God, which is perhaps already less uncommon than we suppose.
An earth, from off which all sense of justice had perished, would indeed be the most disconsolate of homes. The antediluvian earth exhibits only a tendency that way; and the same is true of the worst forms of heathenism. The Precious Blood was always there. Unnamed, unknown, and unsuspected, the Blood of Jesus has alleviated every manifestation of evil which there has ever been just as it is alleviating at this hour the punishments of hell. What would be our own individual case on such a blighted earth as this? All our struggles to be better would be simply hopeless. There would be no reason why we should not give ourselves up to that kind of enjoyment which our corruption does substantially find in sin. The gratification of our appetites is something; and that lies on one side, while on the other side there is absolutely nothing. But we should have the worm of conscience already, even though the flames of hell might yet be some years distant. To feel that we are fools, and yet lack the strength to be wiser--is not this precisely the maddening thing in madness? Yet it would be our normal state under the reproaches of conscience, in a world where there was no Precious Blood. Whatever relics of moral good we might retain about us would add most sensibly to our wretchedness. Good people, if there were any, would be, as St. Paul speaks, of all men the most miserable; for they would be drawn away from the enjoyment of this world, or have their enjoyment of it abated by a sense of guilt and shame; and there would be no other world to aim at or to work for. To lessen the intensity of our hell without abridging its eternity would hardly be a cogent motive, when the temptations of sin and the allurements of sense are so vivid and strong.
What sort of love could there be, when we could have no respect? Even if flesh and blood made us love each other, what a separation death would be! We should commit our dead to the ground without a hope. Husband and wife would part with the fearfullest certainties of a reunion more terrible than their separation. Mothers would long to look upon their little ones in the arms of death, because their lot would be less woeful than if they lived to offend God with their developed reason and intelligent will. The sweetest feelings of our nature would become unnatural, and the most honorable ties be dishonored. Our best instincts would lead us into our worst dangers. Our hearts would have to learn to beat another way, in order to avoid the dismal consequences which our affections would bring upon ourselves and others. But it is needless to go further into these harrowing details. The world of the heart, without the Precious Blood, and with an intellectual knowledge of God, and his punishments of sin, is too fearful a picture to be drawn with minute fidelity.
But how would it fare with the poor in such a world? They are God's chosen portion upon the earth. He chose poverty himself, when he came to us. He has left the poor in his place, and they are never to fail from the earth, but to be his representatives there until the doom. But, if it were not for the Precious Blood, would any one love them? Would any one have a devotion to them, and dedicate his life to merciful ingenuities to alleviate their lot? If the stream of almsgiving is so insufficient now, what would it be then? There would be no softening of the heart by grace; there would be no admission of of the obligation to give away in alms a definite portion of our incomes; there would be no desire to expiate sin by munificence to the needy for the love of God. The gospel makes men's hearts large;and yet even under the gospel the fountain of almsgiving flows scantily and uncertainly. There would be no religious orders devoting themselves with skilful concentration to different acts of spiritual and corporal mercy. Vocation is a blossom to be found only in the gardens of the Precious Blood. But all this is only negative, only an absence of God. Matters would go much further in such a world as we are imagining.
Even in countries professing to be Christian, and at least in possession of the knowledge of the gospel, the poor grow to be an intolerable burden to the rich. They have to be supported by compulsory taxes; and they are in other ways a continual subject of irritated and impatient legislation. Nevertheless, it is due to the Precious Blood that the principle of supporting them is acknowledged. From what we read in heathen history--even the history of nations renowned for political wisdom, for philosophical speculation, and for literary and artistic refinement--it would not be extravagant for us to conclude that, if the circumstances of a country were such as to make the numbers of the poor dangerous to the rich, the rich would not scruple to destroy them, while it was yet in their power to do so. Just as men have had in France and England to war down bears and wolves, so would the rich war down the poor, whose clamorous misery and excited despair should threaten them in the enjoyment of their power and their possessions. The numbers of the poor would be thinned by murder, until it should be safe for their masters to reduce them into slavery. The survivors would lead the lives of convicts or of beasts. History, I repeat, shows us that this is by no means an extravagant supposition.
Such would be the condition of the world without the Precious Blood. As generations succeeded each other, original sin would go on developing those inexhaustible malignant powers which come from the almost infinite character of evil. Sin would work earth into hell. Men would become devils, devils to others and to themselves. Every thing which makes life tolerable, which counteracts any evil, which softens any harshness, which sweetens any bitterness, which causes the machinery of society to work smoothly, or which consoles any sadness--is simply due to the Precious Blood of Jesus, in heathen as well as in Christian lands. It changes the whole position of an offending creation to its Creator. It changes, if we may dare in such a matter to speak of change, the aspect of God's immutable perfections toward his human children. It does not work merely in a spiritual sphere. It is not only prolific in temporal blessings, but it is the veritable cause of all temporal blessings whatsoever. We are all of us every moment sensibly enjoying the benignant influence of the Precious Blood. Yet who thinks of all this? Why is the goodness of God so hidden, so imperceptible, so unsuspected? Perhaps because it is so universal and so excessive, that we should hardly be free agents if it pressed sensibly upon us always. God's goodness is at once the most public of all his attributes, and at the same time the most secret. Has life a sweeter task than to seek it, and to find it out?
Men would be far more happy, if they separated religion less violently from other things. It is both unwise and unloving to put religion into a place by itself, and mark it off with an untrue distinctness from what we call worldly and unspiritual things. Of course there is a distinction, and a most important one, between them; yet it is easy to make this distinction too rigid and to carry it too far. Thus we often attribute to nature what is only due to grace; and we put out of sight the manner and degree in which the blessed majesty of the Incarnation affects all created things. But this mistake is forever robbing us of hundreds of motives for loving Jesus. We know how unspeakably much we owe to him; but we do not see all that it is not much we owe him, but all, simply and absolutely all. We pass through times and places in life, hardly recognizing how the sweetness of Jesus is sweetening the air around us and penetrating natural things with supernatural blessings.
Hence it comes to pass that men make too much of natural goodness. They think too highly of human progress. They exaggerate the moralizing powers of civilization and refinement, which, apart from grace, are simply tyrannies of the few over the many, or of the public over the individual soul. Meanwhile they underrate the corrupting capabilities of sin, and attribute to unassisted nature many excellences which it only catches, as it were by the infection, by the proximity of grace, or by contagion, from the touch of the Church. Even in religious and ecclesiastical matters they incline to measure progress, or test vigor, by other standards rather than that of holiness. These men will consider the foregoing picture of the world without the Precious Blood as overdrawn and too darkly shaded. They do not believe in the intense malignity of man when drifted from God, and still less are they inclined to grant that cultivation and refinement only intensify still further this malignity. They admit the superior excellence of Christian charity; but they also think highly of natural philanthropy. But has this philanthropy ever been found where the indirect influences of the true religion, whether Jewish or Christian, had not penetrated? We may admire the Greeks for their exquisite refinement, and the Romans for the wisdom of their political moderation. Yet look at the position of children, of servants, of slaves, and of the poor, under both these systems, and see if, while extreme refinement only pushed sin to an extremity of foulness, the same exquisite culture did not also lead to a social cruelty and an individual selfishness which made life unbearable to the masses. Philanthropy is but a theft from the gospel, or rather a shadow, not a substance, and as unhelpful as shadows are want to be. (Father Frederick Faber, The Precious Blood, published originally in England in 1860, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 53-59.)
Father Faber described the very world in which we live today,
Father Faber noted in his The Precious Blood is characterized by the Pelagian spirit of human self-redemption and the libertinage that flows forth as a result merely from the pull of the world, which is so strong and very difficult for so many to resist in these days of apostasy and betrayal:
All devotions have their characteristics; all of them have their own theological meanings. We must say something, therefore, upon the characteristics of the devotion to the Precious Blood. In reality the whole Treatise has more or less illustrated this matter. But something still remains to be said, and something will bear to be repeated. We will take the last first. Devotion to the Precious Blood is the devotional expression of the prominent and characteristic teaching of St. Paul. St. Paul is the apostle of redeeming grace. A devout study of his epistles would be our deliverance from most of the errors of the day. He is truly the apostle of all ages. To each age doubtless he seems to have a special mission. Certainly his mission to our is very special. The very air we breathe is Pelagian. Our heresies are only novel shapes of an old Pelagianism. The spirit of the world is eminently Pelagian. Hence it comes to pass that wrong theories among us are always constructed round a nuclear of Pelagianism; and Pelagianism is just the heresy which is least able to breathe in the atmosphere of St. Paul. It is the age of the natural as opposed to the supernatural, of the acquired as opposed to the infused, of the active as opposed to the passive. This is what I said in an earlier chapter, and here repeat. Now, this exclusive fondness for the natural is on the whole very captivating. It takes with the young, because it saves thought. It does not explain difficulties; but it lessens the number of difficulties to be explained. It takes with the idle; it dispenses from slowness and research. It takes with the unimaginative, because it withdraws just the very element in religion which teases them. It takes with the worldly, because it subtracts the enthusiasm from piety and the sacrifice from spirituality. It takes with the controversial, because it is a short road and a shallow ford. It forms a school of thought which, while it admits that we have an abundance of grace, intimates that we are not much better for it. It merges privileges in responsibilities, and makes the sovereignty of God odious by representing it as insidious. All this whole spirit, with all its ramifications, perishes in the sweet fires of devotion to the Precious Blood.
The time is also one of libertinage; and a time of libertinage is always, with a kind of practical logic, one of infidelity. Whatever brings out God's side in creation, and magnifies his incessant supernatural operation in it, is the controversy which infidelity can least withstand. Now, the devotion to the Precious Blood does this in a very remarkable way. It shows that the true significance in every thing is to be found in the scheme of redemption, apart from which it is useless to discuss the problems of creation. (Father Frederick Faber, The Precious Blood, written in 1860, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 258-259.)
Those words are even truer now than when Father Faber wrote them one hundred fifty-nine years ago.
A similarly prophetic reading of the signs of the times was made about eight later by Father Henry James Coleridge in Father Faber’s beloved England. A careful reading of this essay, which was delivered as a series of sermons, will reveal that Father Coleridge understood perfectly the destructive trajectory of Modernity, a world moored on the rocky shoals of the rationalism of Protestantism and the naturalism of Judeo-Masonry:
But yet the Son of Man when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth.
(Words taken from the 8th verse of the 13th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel.)
We have this description chiefly in two great documents – in St. Paul's speech at Athens to the philosophers, (Acts xivv. 22-31.) and in his account of the miseries of the heathendom in the Epistle to the Romans. (Rom. I. 18-32) I shall speak presently of a third great passage which I mean to compare with these, in which, years after his Epistle to the Roman, he describes the men of the latter times. Let us first deal with the account given by the Apostle of the heathenism among which he lived and worked. In his speech, then, at the Areopagus, St. Paul describes in brief God's ways of dealing with the world. He tells the Athenians, as you know, of the “unknown God,” whom they worshipped in ignorance, Who, nevertheless, was the Creator and the Father of all. He had made of one blood, of one stock, of one nature, all nations on the face of earth. He had given them, as is implied in this, one moral law, one promise, one primeval tradition, one common hope of future salvation. Then He had, as it were, withdrawn, and left them themselves, though still His providence ruled them appointing the whole course of what is called the world's history, the rise, and fall, and character, and vicissitudes of nations and empires, and giving to all men, as St. Paul had said before at Iconium, abundance of good gifts, “Giving rains and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts xiv. 14-17) And the Apostle tells his hearers how the heathen had, as it were, to grope like blinded men, after God, although He was all the time so near to them, as to all of us – “for in Him we live and move and be.” (Acts xiv. 14-17) And he speaks in the same place, though gently and reservedly, of those terrible and lamentable errors into which the nations left to themselves had falling touching upon the crown and consummation of them all, the idolatrous worship of false gods.
And now we must turn to the other great passage, which must be compared with this of which I have been speaking, where, at the beginning of his Epistle to the Romans, the same Apostle gives what we may call a companion picture to the former, describing the manner in which the heathen nations had in return treated God, and the consequence to themselves in which that treatment had issued. He speaks of the inexcusable ingratitude of the heathen to so good and wonderful a Creator, of their refusal to acknowledge Him, notwithstanding the strong evidences concerning Himself which He had imprinted on the face and on the course of nature; of the punishment which fell on them – that of being given over to idolatry: and then again of the further punishment of this judicial delusion, by which they became the slaves of lusts which in their abominable degradation went even beyond the extreme indulgence of all natural animal appetites. You may remember, my brethren, that fearful picture, on the details of which it is not necessary that we should linger for any space of time this afternoon. The character of heathendom, as he describes it, is based, of course, on intense selfishness, woking itself out in an eager grasping after all the object of concupiscence, and so in avarice, in the reckless pursuit of pleasure at whatever cost to others, in the passionate love of earthly honour and position; then rising, as was only natural after this, into intense pride and haughtiness, into unending stubbornness of will and judgment, and, further still, wreaking itself on all who came across its path, in envy, contentiousness, violence, contumely, in malignant craft, or insolent and reckless cruelty. By the side of these save features of debased humanity, we find placed, as is always the case in reality, a voluptuousness and licentiousness that knew no bound. And these two great passions of lust and pride combine in the character of the heathen world, as drawn by St. Paul, to smother and destroy all those instincts of natural piety and goodness which are implanted in man by his Creator, to which his conscience witnesses, and which animate and sustain all that social and domestic life which is the fundamental condition of our being and our happiness as men. Hence we find in St. Paul's description of heathenism a number of traits which point to the want of all natural affection. The tie which binds parents to children, and children to parents, was dissolved; so again, the law of faithfulness and truthfulness, which is essential in order that we may trust one another in the common intercourse of life, was set aside, as also the rule of gratitude and honest, the law of respect for the characters of others in men's language, the observance of obligations, the habit of peaceableness, the practice of kindness, even the instinct of mercy to the conquered, the weak, the helpless, the afflicted – mercy, the one provision of God for the numberless and otherwise inconsolable miseries to which the world is given up !
Such, in brief, is this great description of the heathenism of his own time given us by St. Paul. And now I come to the point of our argument concerning the latter days. This great Apostle as I have already said, has dwelt in more than one place on the characteristics of the men of those future times, as he has so often dwelt on the characteristics of the old heathen. We have already had occasion to examine what he has said in some of these passages; but one great description remains, written, moreover, as I have said, at the very end of St. Paul's life, on the eve of his martyrdom, in his last Epistle to his beloved child Timothy. (2 Tim. iii. I seq.) This is the longest and most particular description given us by the Apostle, and striking as it is in itself, it is perhaps still more striking when it is compared with the earlier passage in the Epistle to the Romans, to which I have referred. If you will take that passage, in which the vices and degradation of the unconverted heathen world are described with so much indignant severity, and yet with a certain discriminating tenderness and largesness of sympathy, and if you will put it side by side with the other account which, by way of prophecy, St. Paul gives, so many years afterwards, of the corruptions of the latter days, you will find that with one or two striking differences, which I shall point out, the two passages tally exactly. The differences that exist are important in themselves, as we shall see; and they are precious also on another ground, because they show us, if that be needed, that St. Paul has weighed his every word, that he has nowhere made one single charge, either against the ancient heathenism or against its modern revival, without the fullest knowledge and the calmest deliberation. Bear with me, then, if I dwell for a few moments on the points of agreement and of differences between the two,.
In that old heathenism of the Roman world, into which it was the will of God that the Christian religion should be introduced by the Apostles, there were three diverse and often conflicting elements. There was a good element, which came from God; there was a thoroughly bad element, which came from Satan; and there was a corrupt element, which was the fruit of the workings of unregenerate human nature upon society, and upon the objects of sense and intelligence with which man is placed in relations. The good element we see embodied in great part of the laws and institutions of the ancient world, as also in much of the literature, the poetry, the philosophy of Greece and Rome, which literature consequently – after having been purified and as it were, baptized – has always been used by the Christian Church in the education of her children. This element, I say, was originally the gift of God, the Author of nature, to man, the offspring of reason and consicence, the tradition of a society of which God was Himself the founder. It enshrined whatever fragments of primeval truth as to God, the world, and man hiself, still lingered, in whatever shape among the far-wandering children of Adam. St. Paul alludes to this element in the first passage on which we dwelt to-day, and his words altogether seem to imply that God watched over it, supported it, and fostered it, as far as men were worthy of it, and that it might even have been expanded into a perfect system of natural religion and of reasonable virtue, had men been grateful enough to earn larger measure of grace from God, Who left not Himself without witness in His daily providence, and was “not far from” any one of His children.
But now we come to another element which just now I place the last of the three, the working of which we may distinguish in the heathen world. All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth, and man had shut out the knowledge of God from his soul, and had let his passions lead him instead of his conscience. The unregenerate instincts of nature gradually overpowered the moral law in the heart of man, and their victory reflected itself in the rules of society, in the customs and maxims by which human life was guided. In proportion as man became more and more the master of the world, as wealth and power and knowledge and experience increased, as civilization (so to call it) and means of communication advanced, there grew up that great system of cruelty and immorality, of the godless pursuit of pleasure and worldly ends, which we call paganism. For paganism is not properly a religion, so much as a system of human life and human society, according to the impulses and unbridled lust of the natural man, checked only by what remained of strength in the law of right as written in men's hearts, in the voice of conscience, and in the old traditions of better days, and also by the law of necessity which made it imperative that society should in some way or other be kept alive and held together. St. Paul, in the passage to the Romans on which we have dwelt, has described to us, my brethren, what sort of men they were who were penetrated by this pagan spirit. And now, as I have already said, when the same Apostle comes to describe the men of the latter days, he paints them, as to all moral degradation, in the same colours as the pagans of his own time. The two passages correspond as to this word for word; the latter text is almost a repetition of the former. Thus far, the, we have St. Paul's authority for saying that the apostacy of the latter days will be a return to heathenism, understanding by the word that godless system of life and manners which is the fruit of the unrestrained development and reign of the lower instincts of human nature.
These thoughts bring us to the third element of paganism – that which I call the work of Satan, the enemy of God and man. As to this, also, we have St. Paul's authority, in that passage where in a few short words he tells us that the gods of the heathen were devils (I Cor. x. 20) We, my brethren, are often inclined to look upon the personages of which the heathen mythology is made up, as a number of poetic creations, as the powers of nature symbolized, or perhaps, at worst, as great men and famous heroes of fabulous times raised by a sort of natural canonization to the thrones of a higher world. This is the human part of the heathen religions, skillfully used by the authors of evil to disguise their own work for the delusion of men. But there was more behind the forms of apparent grace and beauty than the imagination of earthly poets. This might have been seen, we might truly say, by the base impurities in which they were steeped. No, my brethren, unless St. Paul is mistaken, unless thousands of Christian martyrs were mistaken who treated the heathen idols as the forms under which the apostate angels were adored, the gods of the heathen were Satan and his associates, permitted by the just judgment of God to draw to themselves the adoration which men had denied to Him; and taking care to deify in themselves every shape of human vice and passion, and to exact from their worshippers impure rites and filthy mysteries, that man made in the image God, might learn from them to degrade himself even beneath the level of the beasts of the field. Or, if we want a still more clear proof of the Satanic agencies which underlay the pagan religion we may find it in that other kind of worship which it exacted in the ancient world, and is still found to exact – in the ancient world, and is still found to exact – I mean the frightful tribute of human sacrifice, a custom widely spread and almost universal among pagan nations, some of whom have astonished even their Christian discoverers by their mildness and gentleness, their courtesy and simplicity, and yet have been found to be penetrated to the core by corruption, and to be in the habit of honouring their gods by the frightful homage of the tombs of human victims, a homage enough of itself to proclaim as its author the hater alike of man, and of God Who created him! (Father Henry James Coleridge, S.J.. Discourses on the Latter Days, 1883, pp. 28-40. Published by St. Pius X Press.)
Father Coleridge made the proper distinctions about the pagan world in which our spiritual ancestors lived and, all too frequently, shed their blood to plant the seeds for the rise of Holy Mother Church from the catacombs.
It is true, of course, that Holy Mother Church “baptized,” if you will, what was naturally good in pagan cultures. It is also true that human weakness, which is always at work in the lives of fallen men, undermined the naturally good and beautiful.
This having been noted, however, pagan cultures always do the bidding of satan and his legion of cohorts to seek both the temporal ruin of men and their nations, and it is this third aspect that is at work so fiercely in the world even more than it was in ancient times.
Father Colerdige continued:
Here, then my brethren, we have come to that part of the comparison as to which it need not be said that St. Paul's two descriptions are identical. We need not exaggerate the miseries of our own time, nor draw in darker colours than St. Paul the evil features of the last great apostacy. The Son of God, as another Apostle tells us, was “manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil,” (I St. John iii, S.) and I do not find, in any of the prophetic descriptions of the restored paganism of modern days, that the system of the worship of false gods is to revive, with its abominable rites of blood and its mysteries of licentiousness. Wherever the Cross has been once firmly planted, we may surely hope that the world has seen the last of the public worship of Satan. In St. Paul's description of the latter days, I find the blasphemy of the true God substituted for the worship of devils. But, my brethren, the Son of God was not manifested altogether to destroy the works of man. He came to raise man, change him, regenerate him, sanctify him, by uniting him to Himself. He did not come to take away man's free will, or to tear out of his nature those seeds of possible evil which produced all the human part of the paganism on which we have been reflecting. The empire of Satan has been overthrown, but alas! Man is still his own great enemy, and though our Lord has armed him against himself, He has still left him the power to mar the work of God in his own soul, and this power, which each one of us possesses in his own case, is always fearfully active in the corruption of the Christian society, the character of which is the result and the reflection of that of the parts of which it is made up.
And now, my brethren, what need have we of any subtlety of inquiry or refinement of speculation to tell us that this modern heathenism of which the prophecies speak is around us on every side? Mankind are in many sense far mightier, and the resources and enjoyments at their command are far ampler, than in the days of old. We are in possession of the glorious but intoxicating fruits of that advanced civilization and extended knowledge which has sprung up from the seeds which the Church of God has, as it were, dropped on her way through the world. Society has been elevated and refined, but on that very account it has become capable of a more penetrating degradation, of a more elegant and a more poisonous corruption. Knowledge has been increased, but on the increase of knowledge has followed the increase of pride. Science has unravelled the laws of nature and the hidden treasures of the material universe, and they place fresh combinations of power and new revelations of enjoyment in the hands of men who have not seen in the discovery increased reasons for self-restraint or for reverence for the Giver of all good gifts. The world, the home of the human race, has been opened to civilised man in all its distant recesses, and he has taken, or is taking, possession of his full inheritance; but his onward path is the path of avarice and greed, of lust and cruelty, and he seizes on each new land as he reaches it in the spirit of the merchant or the conqueror, not in that of the harbinger of peace, the bearer of the good tidings of God. At home, in Christendom itself, we hear, as our Lord said, of wars and rumours of wars, nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. In the Apostles' time, it was an unheard of thing that the majestic peace and unity of the Roman Empire should not absorb and keep in harmony a hundred rival nationalities. In our time it is not to be thought of that the supernatural bond of the christian church should be able to keep nations which are brethren in the faith from devouring one another.
Or, again, my brethren, let us turn from public to private life. Look at social life, look at domestic manners; consider the men and women of the present day in their amusements, their costumes, the amount of restraint they put upon the impulses of nature; compare them at their theatres and their recreations, compare them as to their treatment of the poor and the afflicted classes; compare them, again, as to the style of art which they affect, or the literature in which they delight, with the old heathen of the days of St. Paul. I do not say, God forbid! That there is not a wide and impassable gulf between the two, for that would be to say that so many centuries of Christendom had been utterly wasted, and that the Gospel law has not penetrated to the foundations of society, so that it is not true that our Lord rules as the Psalmist says, “in the midst of His enemies,” (Psalm cix, 2) even over the world, which would fain emancipate itself from His sway. But I do say, that if a Christian of the first ages were to rise from the dead, and examine our society, point by point, on the heads which I have intimated, and compare it, on the one hand, with the polished refined heathen whom he may have known at the courts of Nero or Domitian, and, on the other, with the pure strict holiness of his own brethren in the faith, who worshipped with him in the catacombs, he might find it difficult indeed to say that what he would see around him in London or Paris was derived by legitimate inheritance rather from the traditions of the martyr Church than from the customs of the persecuting heathen. He would miss the violence, the cruelty, the riotous and ruffianly lust, the extraordinary disrespect for humanity and human life which distinguished the later Roman civilization; but he would find much of its corruption, much of its licentiousness, much of its hardness of heart. The unregenerate instincts of human nature are surging up like a great sea all around us, society is fast losing all respect for those checks upon the innate heathenism of man which have been thrown over the surface of the world by the Church. It is becoming an acknowledged law that whatever is natural is right, and by nature is meant nature corrupted by sin, nature unilluminated by faith and unassisted by grace – that is, the lower appetites of man in revolt against conscience, looking for no home but earth and no satisfaction but in the present “having no hope of the promise, and without God in this world.” . . . . (Father Henry James Coleridge, S.J.. Discourses on the Latter Days, 1883, pp. 28-40. Published by St. Pius X Press.)
Time has proven Father Coleridge wrong on one point as a Christian from the first ages who would rise from the dead would indeed find “the violence, the cruelty, the riotous and ruffianly lust, the extraordinary disrespect for humanity and human life which distinguished the later Roman civilization.”
Over three thousand babies are killed surgically every day under cover of law in the United States of America alone, thousands more are killed “silently” by means of chemical abortifacients. Thousands of innocent human beings are dispatched every week in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and even in the comfort of their homes by those who want to give them a “compassionate death” rather than to accept the death that God has willed for them from all eternity to endure, replete with all of its pains sufferings with which they can make final satisfaction for their sins.
Blasphemy is rampantly uncontrolled and seemingly uncontrollable.
All that is holy and just is mocked and reviled.
Believing Catholics are persecuted and denied employment and/or promotions because they are said to be “haters” who deny the “rights” of women to kill their babies or of those immersed in the sin of Sodom and its related vices to celebrate their iniquity publicly.
The world is awash with the blood of the innocent.
Yes, a visitor from Holy Mother Church’s first three centuries would recognize this world as being worse than that of Roman antiquity, which was so near and dear to the darkened mind of Niccolo Machiavelli and other Renaissance figures, because men, having heard the Gospel of the Divine Redeemer, have rejected the Holy Faith and prefer to live as brutes.
Father Coleridge’s remarkable essay concludes:
So then, in these our days, can we too often remind ourselves of the points of attack chosen by the enemies of faith and of society? Can we forget with what a wearisome sameness of policy the war is waged year after year, first in one place and then in another; how certain it is that as soon as we hear that some nation hitherto guided by Catholic instincts has become a convert to the enlightened ideas of our times, the next day will bring the further tidings that in that nation marriage is no longer to be treated as a sacrament and that education is to be withdrawn from the care of the church and her ministers? And, indeed, my brethren, we know not how soon we ourselves may be engaged in a deadly conflict, on one at least, of these points. Up to this time we, at least in England, have been able to train our children for ourselves. And, to give honour where honour is due, we have owed our liberty in great measure to the high value which certain communities outside the Church set upon distinctively Christian and doctrinal instruction. But we know not how soon the tide of war may come to our homes. We hear cry in the air – it says that the child belongs to the State, and that it is the duty of the State to take his education to itself. The cry is false; the child belongs to the parent, belongs to the Church, belongs to God. In that cry speaks the reviving paganism of our day. Surely it should teach us, if nothing else can, the paramount importance of Christian education. If we give in to that cry we are lost. Train up your children, my brethren, in the holy discipline and pure doctrine of the Church, and they are formed thereby to be soldiers of Jesus Christ in the coming conflict against the powers of evil. Train them up in indifference to religion and Christian doctrine, and if they are not at once renegades from their faith, at least they are far too weak and faint-hearted in their devotion to the Church, to range themselves courageously among her champions in her terrible battle against the last apostacy. (Father Henry James Coleridge, S.J.. Discourses on the Latter Days, 1883, pp. 28-40. Published by St. Pius X Press.)
Anyone who does not see we are living at a time when the consequences of the dreadful errors set upon the world by Niccolo Machiavelli, Martin Luther, et al. is a fool. The conditions described by Father Coleridge describe our conditions today. Sadly, there are still Catholics today who permit themselves to become agitated over the events of the world without realizing that there is no getting the “toothpaste back into the tube” by natural means. Men revel in their sins and they are evangelistic in behalf of their errors. Worse yet, obviously, is the fact that the false “pope” and his equally false “bishops” reaffirm them in their sins and are even more evangelistic than they in the spread of errors and heresies that fulfill the very prophecy of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy:
 I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom:  Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.  For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:  And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.  But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. (2 Tim. 4: 1-15.)
Men prefer to have others tickle their itching ears rather than to consider the sweet entreaties of Christ the King and to respond to the motherly intercession of Our Blessed Mother in their behalves.
Men prefer to believe in naturalism of one sort or another, not Catholicism.
Men prefer to pursue material pleasure and well-being to the exclusion of all considerations of futurity, of where they will spend eternity, Heaven or Hell.
Men prefer to submit to the statists of Modernity rather than to the sweet yoke of Christ the King and to His true Church.
Men prefer to walk in the darkness rather than in the light of Christ the King.
The world of realpolitik advanced by Niccolo Machiavelli and made possible by the Protestant Revolution can end only in disaster as God leaves men who will not submit to Him to their own feckless devices, something that Pope Pius XI noted in his first encyclical letter, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1923:
27. There is over and above the absence of peace and the evils attendant on this absence, another deeper and more profound cause for present-day conditions. This cause was even beginning to show its head before the War and the terrible calamities consequent on that cataclysm should have proven a remedy for them if mankind had only taken the trouble to understand the real meaning of those terrible events. In the Holy Scriptures we read: "They that have forsaken the Lord, shall be consumed." (Isaias i, 28) No less well known are the words of the Divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, Who said: "Without me you can do nothing" (John xv, 5) and again, "He that gathereth not with me, scattereth." (Luke xi, 23)
28. These words of the Holy Bible have been fulfilled and are now at this very moment being fulfilled before our very eyes. Because men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to the depths of evil. They waste their energies and consume their time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to find a remedy for these ills, but without even being successful in saving what little remains from the existing ruin. It was a quite general desire that both our laws and our governments should exist without recognizing God or Jesus Christ, on the theory that all authority comes from men, not from God. Because of such an assumption, these theorists fell very short of being able to bestow upon law not only those sanctions which it must possess but also that secure basis for the supreme criterion of justice which even a pagan philosopher like Cicero saw clearly could not be derived except from the divine law. (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)
Paragraph number twenty-eight above says it all:
They waste their energies and consume their time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to find a remedy for these ills, but without even being successful in saving what little remains from the existing ruin. (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)
Similarly, they waste their energies and consume their time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to justify Niccolo Machiavelli’s realpolitik as the foundation of political praxis and social order. Such people will never be able to save what little remains of the existing ruins of the world founded upon the deceptions of Machiavelli and the lies of Martin Luther and those who followed him.
VIII. To Flee from the Deceptions and Snares of a World Gone Mad
Catholics must reject the deceptions of a world gone mad, a world that has no more place for Christ the King than it did when He was born in a stable in a cave in Bethlehem as He was warmed by the breath of stable animals.
We must, as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, offer up the sacrifices of the moment, recognizing that this is the time that God has appointed for us from all eternity in which to live and to sanctify our souls.
We have been given the weapon of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary and the shield of her Brown Scapular.
Conscious of our need to make reparation for our own many sins and to live in the world but without being of the world, we take seriously this instruction that Our Lady gave to the Venerable Mary of Agreda about the public manifestation of her Divine Son to Saint John the Baptist, His cousin, herald and precursor, at the Jordan River prior to embarking upon His Public Ministry to accept the sufferings of this time as redeemed creatures eager to make satisfaction in this life for how our sins have offended Divine Justice and thus worsened the state of the Church Militant and of the world-at-large:
272. My daughter, since in relating to thee the works of my most holy Son I so often remind thee how gratefully I appreciated them, thou must understand how pleasing to the Most High is the most faithful care and correspondence on thy part, and the hidden and great blessings enclosed within it. Thou art poor in the house of the Lord, a sinner, insignificant and useless as dust; yet I ask thee to assume the duty of rendering ceaseless gratitude for all the incarnate Word has done for the sons of Adam, and for establishing the holy and immaculate, the powerful and perfect law for their salvation. Especially must thou be grateful for the institution of Baptism by which He frees men from the tyranny of the devil, regenerates them as his children (Jn. 3:5), fills them with grace, clothes them with justice, and assists them to sin no more. This is indeed a duty incumbent upon all men in common, but since creatures neglect it almost entirely I enjoin thee to give thanks for all of them as if thou alone wert responsible for them. Thou art bound to special gratitude to the Lord for other things as well because He has shown Himself so generous to no one among other nations as He has with thee. In the foundation of his holy law and of his Sacraments thou wert present in his memory; He called and chose thee as a daughter of his Church, proposing to nourish thee by his own blood with infinite love.
273. And if the Author of grace, my most holy Son, as a prudent and wise Artificer, in order to found his evangelical Church and lay its first foundations in the sacrament of Baptism, humiliated Himself, prayed, and fulfilled all justice, acknowledging the inferiority of his human nature, and if, though at the same time God and man, He hesitated not to lower Himself to the nothingness of which his purest soul was created and his human being formed, how much must thou humiliate thyself, who hast committed sins and art less than the dust and despicable ashes? Confess that in justice thou dost merit only punishment, the persecution and wrath of all the creatures, and that none of the mortals who has offended his Creator and Redeemer can say in truth that any injustice or offense is done to them if all the tribulations and afflictions of the world from its beginning to its end were to fall upon them. Since all sinned in Adam (I Cor. 15:22), how deeply should they humiliate themselves when the hand of the Lord visits them (Job 19:21)? If thou dost suffer all the afflictions of men with the utmost resignation, and at the same time fulfill all that I enjoin upon thee by my teachings and exhortations with the greatest fidelity, thou nevertheless must esteem thyself as a useless and unprofitable servant (Lk. 17:10). How much then must thou humiliate thyself when thou dost fail in thy duty and in the return due to all the blessings received from God? Since I desire thee to make a proper return both for thyself and for others, think well how much thou art obliged to annihilate thyself to the very dust, not offering any resistance, nor ever being satisfied until the Most High receives thee as his daughter and accepts thee as such in his own presence and in the celestial vision of the triumphant Jerusalem. (New English Edition of The Mystical City of God: Book Five, The Transfixion, Chapter XXIV)
The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph in the end, and it will be upon this triumph that the words Our Lord spoke to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque will be fulfilled:
"I will reign in spite of all who oppose Me." (quoted in The Right Reverend Emile Bougaud. The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, reprinted by TAN Books and Publishers in 1990, p. 361.)
Vivat Christus Rex!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
William Thomas Walsh on the Influence of Jews on the Protestant Revolution and Its Spread
In Spain to which Philip had returned, the instinct of a society to preserve itself had been sharpened by a keen awareness of the pattern of crucifixion running through the whole living epic of Christianity, especially in a country than had groaned and struggled under the violence of so many heretical movements. To the descendants of Iberian crusaders Protestantism was not the new and forward- looking institution that many of its new advocated in the north imagined. To Spaniard it was rather the recurrence of something as old as the Church.
The Spanish mystic felt about heresy as the Jews had always felt about idolatry. Against the iterated calvary of human endeavor he saw the eternal Christ as the heart, the foundation (as He said, the cornerstone) of the Catholic Church, the human member of the which might always be a fallible as the little group constituting the primitive Church – the materialistic and plausibly dishonest as Judas, as angry as James, as sluggish as Thomas, as uninteresting as Andrew, as ambitious as the youthful John, as rash and self-confident and mendacious, as penitent and long-suffering as Peter – this Church would welcome sinners worse than Mary Magdalen and publicans more despised than Levi before he was Saint Mathew; it would even stretch out its net to include rich Simon the Pharisee, if possible, and would pluck hard-handed centurions from under the eagles of Caesar redivivus a thousand times.
Nevertheless, in its vast and complex ramifications, as it grew to take in the whole world, there would always be a central and unchanging unity of doctrine, always the Holy Spirit, always Christ, daily renewed in the Eucharist. Also, in literal fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ, the hatred that had mocked, slandered and baited Him, misrepresented His teachings and actions, sought repeatedly to kill Him, and finally, by trickery, induced the power of Caesar to crucify Him – this too would always remain. There would always be a Caiaphas, the spiritually blind Abet Din, misleading the synagogue, always some crafty Anna, the Nasi or political Prince directing and corrupting the Sanhedrin. To these the Judases would flee when the Church rejected them, and these the Caesars of every age would use and despise. Even as good Jews would help furnish the sinews of the Church in many ages, so men remarkably like those scribes and pharisees whom Christ had called the children of the devil would perpetuate the hatred that had once crucified Incarnate Love.
No philosophy of history that leaves out of account this gigantic aspect of reality can be considered realistic. It is for this reason that the best hints for a philosophy of history may be found in the encyclicals of various Popes.
The intense hatred that Jesus foretold would follow all who sincerely believed in Him was manifested in the earliest days of the Church. When Saint Paul went to Rome to preach “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” he encountered such opposition from his own race that he somewhat bitterly wrote of “the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved.” It must be noted however, that later on he sent a letter to the Christians at Rome sternly warning them against the wickedness of Jew-baiting. The Acts of the Apostles abundantly testify that most of the first Christian converts were Jews. Jews of good-will formed the sinews of the Church. Everywhere another type of Jew, perhaps in a small minority, refused even to listen to the arguments he condemned, and prevented well-meaning Jews, as well as Gentiles from hearing the Gospel.
The author of the Apocalypse, too, adverts more than once to the same astonishing concentration of hate that followed the children of Christ as they scattered through the Roman world: “I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty, but thou art rich; and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan.” And “Behold I will bring a synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and adore before thy feet. And they shall know that I have loved thee.” The first major persecution of Christians in the Gentile world, that of Nero, was probably set in motion at the instance of the Jews surrounding his wife Poppaea.
There were Judases in every age to attempt to pervert the Church from within. Not a few of the later scandals of Christendom were the result of their work. Simon Magus, perhaps a precursor of Gnosticism, was only the first to attempt to purchase the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Arius, the Catholic Jew, would yet made an insidious attack on the divinity of Christ that would divide the Christian world for centuries. Valentinus, called the chief of the Gnostics by Saint Irenaeus, was a Jew of Alexandria.
As the colossal struggle continued century after century, the chief means employed by the Annas and the Caiaphas of each age to keep the mass of the Jewish people in ignorance of the true nature of Christianity, and to fan their misunderstanding of it to hatred, was the Talmud. This melange of wisdom, tradition and superstition contained the most scurrilous and vindictive blasphemies against Christ. Wherever its true character became known, it was condemned by Christian authorities; as in France under Saint Louis, and in Rome under Pope Paul IV, who had thousands of copies burned. Yes it survived, to carry into the modern world the spirit of the Pharisees who rejected Christ, with those rabbinical interpretations which made it, as Lazare noted, “the creator of the Jewish nation and the mold of the Jewish soul.” The most vituperative parts were omitted in translation. In dangerous times they were handed down orally by the rabbis.
The historical importance of this book may be judged from the opinion of the Jewish historian Graetz, whose inaccuracies, omissions and wrong judgments have poisoned the whole Jewish world, but whose interpretations of that world cannot be ignored. He goes so far to say, “We can boldly assert that the war for and against the Talmud aroused German consciousness and created a public opinion without which the Reformation, like many other efforts, would have died in the hour of birth, or perhaps would never have been born at all.
In the Middle Ages it was customary for Jews to deny that the Talmud contained anti-Christian libels. Pretense in the modern world is no longer necessary. The Talmud is recognized as a sort of link between the early Gnostic onslaught on the Catholic Church, and the even more serious modern assault behind the mask of Freemasonry. Celsus the Gnostic may or may not have been a Jew. “Yet there are connections between Celsus and Judaism that must be emphasized,” says a Jewish authority; “for example, he asserts that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a certain Panthera, and again that he had been a servant in Egypt, not when a child as according to the New Testament, but when he was grown, and that he learned there the secret arts. These statements are frequently identical with those of the Talmud. Celsus might have heard this from the Jews.” From this it is not difficult to guess the source of the modern legend of freemasons seeking to disparage Christ the Redeemer in subtle fashion by claiming him as one of their “initiates.”
Another Jewish book that had a powerful effect not only on Jews but on the history of the world was the Kabbala. Originally that part of the Mosaic Law which was handed down by tradition, it had become by the thirteenth century, a collection of occult and esoteric doctrines borrowed from Buddhism, Gnosticism, the neo-Platonists and all manner of eastern pseudo-mystics. Out of the dark labyrinth of its imagery came many heresies and revolutions; rosicrucianism, theosophy, and all modern freemasonry. As Rabbi Benamozegh wrote, “It is quite certain that Masonic theology is at root nothing else than Theosophy, and that it corresponds to the theology of the Kabbala.” [Droleskey note: You don't think that Ivanka Trump Kushner's and Jared Kushner's practice of Kabbala matters? Think again.]
For a thousand years after she had emerged from the Catacombs – say roughly from the time of Constantine in the fourth century to the middle of the fourteenth – the Catholic Church successfully defended herself from such attacks both within and without. At times the very existence of the State and of society was threatened. In such crises, the Church not only permitted the use of force to avert worse evils, but even cooperated with it.
The Crusades were the defense of Christian homes, Christian women and children, Christian civilization, against an Islam deliberately bent upon exterminating them. A crusade ended the anti-social insanity of the Cathari who opposed marriage but taught suicide in that part of southern France known as Juea Secunda. The Inquisition followed them to Spain, and later saved the Christian Spanish State from the secret treachery of the pretended Catholics who were in league with the Moors in the war of liberation. As the ancient Jews had fought and slain idolaters, and had stoned spiritualists and similar dark heretics to death, so the Catholic Church, heir of the Jewish revelation, protected her children from destruction of body and soul while they were building the happiest and most balanced culture and civilization that have ever existed in this world.
The turning point in this vast drama (so far as our vantage point in time allows us to see) was the Black Death in 1346. It seemed to men as if Satan himself had burst the chains that had bound him for a thousand years. More than half the priests in the world died. Christendom was still staggering under this blow when other blows fee, one after another: the papal exile at Avignon, the Great Western Schism, the return of paganism under the guise of the Renaissance – all these onslaughts in the City of God itself while the Turks struck from without, gaining and laying waste on Christian country after another. Corruption and disorder were inevitable under these circumstances. Confusion became so widespread that only a divine institution could have survived it.
At the very moment when Columbus was claiming the new western world for Christianity and announcing the beginning of the Last Age of which he thought God had made him the harbinger, the stage was set for the most serious and widespread disaster the Church had yet had to face. It was something more important than the mere preaching of an exasperated monk against the abuse of indulgences; it was deeper than even the discontent of saintly men like More and Ignatius Loyola.
In the Protestant Revolt there was something more than the mere breaking away of the northern communities from the jurisdiction of Rome; much more that the nationalism to which Professor Carlton Hayes ascribes perhaps too much importance. There was a spirit of Protestantism in its first phase that sought something more than freedom; it sought nothing less (and this was more evident in Calvinism than in Lutheranism) than the utter destruction of the Catholic Church. Here was a hatred that began manifesting itself by the burning of churches and convents, the violation of nuns, the torture and execution of priests, the defiling of the Cross and the unspeakable desecration of the Blessed Sacrament.
It was an old and international hatred. It was the hatred of the church-burning Donatist, the hatred of Islam, the hatred that had opposed Saint Paul in Rome and Saint James in Jerusalem, the hatred of Annas and the scribes and pharisees crying, “Come down from the Cross, and we will believe!” There was nothing new about it except the form it took; but the preparation and organization were better, and the time was ripe.
Nor was this Protestant phase of the revolt a peculiarly northern or German product, though it has been convenient to make it appear so. It might have happened in southern Europe. In fact, it almost did happen in France, especially in southern France, before it happened in Germany. Lefevre, under the patronage of Marguerite of Angouleme and other of the anti-Catholic House of Navarre, taught justification by grace before Luther did, and profoundly influenced Beza, Farel, Rousel, and other leaders who passed quickly through a Lutheran phase to the more radical organization of Calvinism. The roots of the revolution went deeper that the German affair. It was not local, but international.
If we may believe Graetz and other Jewish historians, the Jews played a much more important part in all this than Christians, for some mysterious reason, have generally admitted. Incalculable was the number of this virile and gifted race who had settled in all countries of Europe during the so-called Dark Ages and the Middle Ages; incalculable the number who were assimilated as sincere Catholics, or who, as pretended Catholics, formed the nucleus for any international revolt. They were everywhere, in communication with one another and with the Jews of the Synagogue. There were so many of the latter in England and France that one Jewish writer of the sixteenth century, often cited by modern Jews, attributed to this fact, “the inclination of the English and the French” to Protestantism. Dispersion, secrecy and organization gave them a power out of all proportion to their numbers, a power so remarkable that Napoleon Bonaparte suspected that the political structure of the Jewish State had survived under cover for eighteen centuries. Was there any historical foundation for such a theory?
There may or may not be significance in the fact that the title of Nasi (Prince or King of the Jews) which belonged at the time of the Crucifixion to Annas, father-in-law of the High Priest, or Ab et Din, Caiaphas, was assumed by one of the bitterest, most intelligent and more persistent enemies of King Phillip II – Joseph Miques or Menes, the Jewish international banker of the Spice Trust of Portugal and Antwerp, who had in his debt William of Orange and many other noblemen of the Low Countries. About the time when Philip was returning to Spain, this millionaire was establishing himself in Turkey, throwing off the last pretense of Christianity and assuming the antique and princely title of Nasi.
He was not the first rich Jew after the dispersion to be so designated. Every now and then, like a bell-wether among the stray sheep of Israel, there appeared some grave and powerful man who took this title. There was, for example, the learned Jew of Babylon, Machir, who settled at Narbonne in the time of Charlemagne. If it is only a legend, as the Jewish Encyclopedia affirms that he was appointed head of the Jewish community by the Emperor at the request of the Calif Haroun al-Rashid, there is no doubt, according to the same authority, “that he soon acquired great influence over his coreligionists. It is not certain, however, whether he himself bore the title of Nasi (Prince or King of the Jews) as his descendants did, who continued to direct the affairs of the Jewish community.” There was, for instance, a Nasi Levi who presided over a meeting of delegated from all the Jewish communities in southern France in 1215, as Annas had presided over the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.
Even then, among the Jewish communities of southern France, the anti-Christian Revolution was being silently prepared. Prosperity and wealth had reward the industry and intelligence of the exiles in Montpelier, Nimes, Tarbes, Carcassone – a score of places in that part of France where later the Huguenots would flourish – until they almost rivaled the medieval empery of their brethren in Spain. Slave-traders, purveyors of silks and other luxuries, usurers – they excelled generally in the commerce of intangibles, in the handling of money per se. Culture and power followed upon wealth. It was their great-tragedy that, having failed to understand Who Christ was, they could not get rid of the messianic consciousness for which they had been chosen and consecrated. Finding closed to them the only spiritual door to salvation, they were constantly driven to seek redemption in the here and now, in the resources of matter, in gold and power, in anything, anywhere but Christ. When all their kingdom had turned to dust in their patience hands, and the inevitable scourge of persecution came to scatter them again and again, they still followed leaders who kept them blind, and remained missionaries of what Saint John called “the spirit that dissolves Christ.”
In the thirteenth century, when the Catholic Church rejoiced in the full burgeoning of that rich and generous civilization she had reanimated and purified, the Jews were creating at Troyes a remarkable school of exegesis in which were being forged most of the arguments to be used by Protestant preachers against the Church and to be turned by the “higher critics” of later times aginst the heart of Christ Himself. The center and master of the group was a very rich Jew named Isaac Chatelain, better known now as Isaac of Troyes; a man learned in the Talmud, author of elegiac poems, endowed with many of the great Jewish virtues, such as deep and passionate loyalty to family and to race, but cursed with the intransigence of ancestors who perhaps had cried in a black hour, “His blood be upon us and our children.” He and his family incurred the wrath of the Christian populace, for the usual reasons. On Good Friday April twenty-fourth, 1288, the mode seized them, spurned their offers of gold and burned them.
The shocking holocaust avenged a long period of exploitation and of undermining of the foundation of Church and State. The heroism of some of the victims makes one regret the more that they were not in Italy, where the Pope or the hierarchy would undoubtedly have protected them. The wife of Isaac through herself into the flames. Her two sons and her son-in-law followed. Her two daughters also were burned, as was the wife of her son Alakadmenath, with Simeon the Scribe of Chatillon, Isaac Cohen, Baruch Tob Elem d-Avirey, and some others.
Rabbie Salamon, the son of this hapless Isaac, became famous inter the name of Raschi as founder of the Talmudic school of Champagne and the chief rival of Maimonides. Through Raschi the ideas of Isaac were transmitted to Protestantism. They were adopted early in the fourteenth century by a Franciscan monk of Jewish descent, Nicholas of Lyra. The arguments of this Nicholas of Lyra powerfully influenced Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. “Raschi and the Toraphists made Nicholas of Lyra,” wrote the nineteenth-century Christian apostate Renan, whose writings were financed and published by Jews, and who borrowed many of his brilliant sophistries from the arsenal of Narbonne, "and Nicholas of Lyra made Luther.” this has been said more wittily in the familiar epigram.
Si Lyra non lyrasset, Lutherus no saltasset.
Another Jew who did valiant spade work for Luther's sowing was Elias Levita, founder of the modern Hebrew grammar and teacher of many Christians. “He, with Jacob Loans and Obadiah Sforno,” observes a Jewish historian, “must be allowed a large share in producing the Protestant Reformation.” Sforno was the teacher of Reuchlin and many others. The so-called Reformation, adds Abrahams, “drew its life blood from a rational Hebraism.” Luther naturally employed Jews in preparing his German Bible. Jews were the most successful agents in the printing and distribution of Protestant Bibles and tracts in all parts of Europe.
Not only the ideas of Luther, but the very occasion for their dissemination, was furnished by the fertile activity of Jewish minds. The Battle of the Books, preliminary skirmish in the way of ideas about to commence at Wittenberg, could never have occurred if the Talmud and the Kabbala had not first done their deadly work. There sat on the throne of Saint Peter at that time a Pope, Leo X, for whom very little is to be said from the Catholic point of view, except that, like all the Popes, he was orthodox in his pronouncements on matters of faith and morals. He was also a patron of literature, music and art; the employer of Raphael.
His chief concern, however, was not the welfare, much less the needed reform, of the Church, but his own amusement and gratification. There is evidence in Leo's conduct to lend color to the assertion that on being elected, he remarked jovially, “Let us enjoy the Papacy, since God has given it to us.”
In the most critical and decisive age of the Church, this descendant of Florentine usurers, this son of Lorenzo de' Medici, kind and generous intellectual, Cardinal at thirteen, Pope at thirty-seven, was too busy with his pictures, his hunting and his plays to give sufficient attention to the ruin of the world. The Jews have always been well pleased with him. Like all the Medici, he surrounded himself with them and showered them with favor and protection, even to the extent of allowing the printing and dissemination of the Talmud, of whose true nature he was perhaps in ignorance. This genial collector, to whom Luther was only a joke, went to his death (too suddenly for the last sacraments) with little more than a suspicion of his own share in the business, not only by the abuses permitted in connection with indulgences, but by his long negligence and vacillation in the matter of the Jewish books.
Johann Reuchlin, a friend of Erasmus, started the famous Battle. Saturated, like young Pico della Miranola, with the imagery and fanatical theosophy of the Kabbala, which he imagined he understood, he urged all Christians to study this and other Jewish books, for a better understanding of their own religion. A Dominican of Cologne, Jakob Hochstraten, replied to him publicly in 1519, protesting against the notion that the pseudo-judaism of the Jewish mind in revolt against its own Messias could possible cast anything but a baleful light on Christianity. As the controversy continued, there entered into the lists against Reuchlin another Dominican monk, Johan Pfefferkorn. This man was a Jewish convert to the Faith. Graetz calls him, with more vigor that truth, “an ignorant, thoroughly vile creature, the scum of the Jewish people.” Reuchlin, who defended the Jewish books, was of course, “a pure, upright character,” with admirable love of truth and a soft heart.” The fact was the Pfefferkorn was a good sincere man, a none too brilliant student, who carried the zeal of the convert to the verge of fanaticism; his vileness apparently consisting of his being a true Jew in the sense in which the Apostles understood the term. He recognized the divinity of Christ and the untruthful obscenity of the Talmud. Urging the people of his race to turn from the man-made books of the rabbis to the living Christ in the Catholic Church, he defended the Jews, against the worst charges made against them, including the ritual murder accusation. This did not save him from the lasting enmity of the Annases of his day. As for Reuchlin, Graetz might have added that he had not only a soft heard but a rather soft head.
Pfefferkorn accused his, in a pamphlet called Handspiegel, of having been paid by the Jews to disseminate their propaganda. Reuchlin replied with a violent denial in his Augenspiegel and after further vituperation, pro and con, appealed to the Pope. By means of a flattering letter, he gained the favor of the influential Jew, Bonet de Lattes, physician to Pope Leo X. The physician naturally had no objection to interceding with the Holy Father in such a cause. The upshot was the pleasure-loving Pope handed over this mere squabble of monks, as he considered it, to the Bishop of Spires, a youth of twenty-seven, who in turn passed it on to Canon Truchsess, a disciple of Reuchlin; who gave the decision to his friend, completely exonerating the Augespiegel.
The more discerning friends of the Catholic Church were highly alarmed. The Inquisition, better aware from long experience of what was going on among the Jews, appealed from the verdic to the Pope. Leo summoned both disputants to Rome in 1514. delay followed delay, until Reuchlin, by a false statement, got the case transferred to another judge at Spires, who again exonerated him. Another appeal was filed. The Pope continued to delay, however, as various rich patrons of Reuchlin, and such liberal but not very profound Catholics as Erasmus, brought pressure to bear upon him; as did also the Emperor Maximilian I. It was not until the Lutheran bombshell exploded in 1517, on the hard-fought field of the Battle of the Books, that the real significance of Reuchlin's proposals became generally evident. Even then the easy-going Pope made no decision.
At last, in 1520 the finding at Spires were reversed. The Pope forbade the Augenspiegel as a scandalous and offensive book, unlawfully favorable to the Jews, and condemned Reuchlin to pay the costs of litigation. By that time it was too late to stop the avalanche. The young humanists were now united behind Reuchlin. One of them, Hutten, attacked even the Holy See. These men became the nucleus of Luther's party. The real anti-Christian Revolution (for such time would reveal it to be in essence) appeared full-panoplied on the stage of Christendom.
I have not been able to find any evidence to Dr. Margolis's assertion that Luther was drawn into the controversy on the side of Reuchlin, or of Lewis Browne's, echoing that of Hyamson, that Luther was “a disciple of Reuchlin.” If Reuchlin had never existed, Luther might well have challenged the preachings of Eck. What is certain is that the bull-necked Augustinian, who despaired of human nature because he could not at once achieve perfection in his cell, found the soil well ploughed for him for such men as Franz von Sickingen and other pupils of Reuchlin; without which he might have made no more disturbance than Huss or Wycliff had. What is equally certain, but strangely kept well in the background of most historical research, is that the Protestant Revolt, far from being an “advance” or a “progressive step,” was a long retrogression toward the moribund Judaism of the Pharisees of the time of Christ. Its multitudinous offspring of more than 200 sects would lead in the course of time to a return of the dismal skepticism of the Sadducees. Caiaphas was a Pharisee, Annas a Sadducee. It was old Annas, the Nasi, who would have the last word.
If there is exaggeration in that astonishing but almost unnoticed statement of Cabrera, himself of a Spanish Marrano family, that “most of the heresiarchs and heretics of this present century have been of those people.” it is beyond question, as a Jewish historian says, that the first leaders of the Protestant sects were called semi-Judaei, or half-Jews, in all parts of Europe.and that men of Jewish descent were as conspicuous among them as they had been among the Gnostics and would later be amog the Communists.
The origin of Calvin (whose real name was Chaurvin) is obscure, as is that of his chief aide and successor, Theodore Beza. But Farel, Rousel and others of the stormiest preachers who carried their propaganda through Europe were of Jewish descent. Michael Servetus may have been, and was certainly influenced by Jews. At Antwerp in 1566 the chief minister of the Calvinist synod, which was the center of the most telling Protestant intrigue and propaganda in the Netherlands, was a Spanish Jew.
Modern research by Jewish historians has made it clear that in the sixteenth century large numbers of the English Protestants (and doubtless the most active in propaganda and organization) were Jews who had put on the convenient mask of Calvinism at Antwerp. For example, “from an early period,” says Dr. Lucien Wolf, “the Marranos in Antwerp had taken an active part in the Reformation movement, and had given up their mask of Catholicism for a not less hollow pretense of Calvinism. The change will readily be understood. The simulation of Calvinism brought them new friends, who, like them, were enemies of Rome, Spain and the Inquisition. It helped them in their fight against the Holy Office, and for that reason was very welcome to them. Moreover, it was a form of Christianity which came nearer to their own simple Judaism. The result was that they became zealous and valuable allies of the Calvinists.”
There was something more in most Calvinists teaching than the desire for religious freedom and the reform of abuses. It was more like the ancient hatred which had followed the Catholic Church from her cradle, seeking not her reform but her utter destruction. Calvin himself was as ruthless in this regard as Mohammed. One of his letters to English Protestants declares that those who refuse to give up the Roman Catholic faith must be put to the sword. Calvinism quickly became an international movement, with a world capital at Geneva and with Calvin as a Pope ruling over a city with a regimentation uncomfortably suggestive of some totalitarian state of the future.
The most active intelligence, liaison officers and propagandists of this international army were the Jews. Only four years after Luther's first outburst, Cardinal Aleander, papal nuncio, reported that Jews were printing and circulating the German monk's books in Flanders. From the Netherlands they sent Bibles even to Spain, concealed in double-bottomed wine-casks. In Ferrara, a great Jewish financial center, they printed heretical bibles for distribution in Italy and elsewhere. No less a person than Carranza, now languishing in the prisons of the Inquisition in Spain, said that this was the reason why the church had to discourage the reading of the Bible in the vernaculars, save in approved versions. Even Jewish physicians and men of business were spies and propaganda agents. In the very year after Philip returned to Spain to stamp out Protestantism there, the Jewish Doctor Rodrigo Lopez, who was to find so unhappy an end in England, was passing over from Antwerp to London as a good Protestant.
A new spirit was abroad in the world, surely. It was not the regenerated Christian thing that Luther imagined it to be. It was the reappearance, in the most formidable array, of something older and far more terrible. The Cambridge Modern History tells us its effect was “to transfer the allegiance of the human spirit from clerical to civil authority,” or to put it more bluntly, to deliver Christ once more into the hands of Caesar. The Jewish historian Graetz expresses it otherwise: “the interest of the marketplace had driven the interests of the church into the background.” Is this not a way of saying that after the great betrayal the money changers were flocking back into the Temple from which they had been ousted by the medieval Church when she was most free and vigorous.
That was the thing, the old and evil thing, the insidious and destructive thing, that Philip was resolved to destroy, if possible, before it ruined the world. It would be far-fetched to say that he saw all its potentialities in 1559. He could hardly have seen what Pope Pius IX saw in 1849, when he declared that all the evils of the modern world (including Communism and its attendant miseries) had their origin in the tragic sixteenth-century assault on the Catholic Faith in the name of Protestantism.
Did Philip imagine, then, that the Jews were to blame for all the ills of humanity? Not even his bitterest enemies could fairly accuse him of that. A Jew-baiter in the vulgar sense he certainly was not. When an attempt was made to introduce into Spain an organization know as the Order of the White Sword aimed against Jews as Jews, he put his foot down against it. He knew and employed too many excellent men of Jewish ancestry to be taken in by any stupid and vicious theory of “Nordic” or “Aryan” superiority. It must have been apparent to a man of his shrewd common sense (in most matters) that even those Jews who persisted in the iniquity of attempting to destroy the Church could have accomplished very little without collaboration from within, from unworthy Christians. It always takes a Judas to complete the work of Annas and Caiaphas. (William Thomas Walsh, Philip II, published originally in 1937 by Sheed and Ward and republished by TAN Books and Publishers, 1987, pp. 239-252.)
From Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton's The Catholic Church and Salvation
The Concept of Salvation
The concept of eternal salvation runs throughout the entire New Testament. It is one of the basic notions in the teaching which Our Lord preached as the divine message He had received from His Father. He described Himself as coming to save what was lost. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” [Matt. 18: 11; see also Luke, 19, 19: 10.] Christ is Our Saviour. His work is preeminently that of our salvation.
Now, the term “to save,” employed in sacred theology and in the English translations of the New Testament as the equivalent of the Latin “salvare” designates the process by which a person is removed from a condition in which he is destined for ruin or death and is transferred to a condition in which he may live and prosper. Basically, that is the meaning expressed by the expression “saving someone,” employed in ordinary terminology. Thus, years ago, when we frequently read in the newspapers about the feats of the then young first officer of the steamship America (later Commodore Harry Manning) in saving the lives of the crews of several fishing boats that had been swamped in the Atlantic storms, we all understood that this man and the mariners under his command had taken the victims off the wrecked boats to which they were clinging and had brought them to the safety of the ocean liner to which he was assigned.
The men were saved, in the sense that they were transferred from positions in which they would inevitably have drowned very soon into the security of the liner, and eventually to the shores of their own countries. Med who were transferred at sea from on seaworthy vessel to another could never have been described as “saved”.
The salvation of men, described in divine public revelation, is a salvation in the strict or proper sense of the term. It is a process by which men are removed from a condition or status which would involve them in everlasting death if they remained within it, to a condition in which they may enjoy eternal life and happiness.
It is highly important to understand that this process is quite complex. The terminus a quo, the undesirable condition, from which men are removed in the process of salvation is basically sin, the status of aversion from almighty God. A man is said to be saved, absolutely and simply, when he is taken out of the condition of original or mortal sin and brought into the status of the eternal and supernatural life of grace. Ultimately that process in achieved and perfected when the person saved comes to possess the life of grace eternally and inamissibly, in the everlasting glory of the Beatific Vision. There is genuine salvation, however, when the man who has hitherto been in the state of original or mortal sin is brought into the life of sanctifying grace, even in this world, when that life of grace can be lost through the man's own fault.
There is, however, a definitely social aspect to the process of salvation. In the merciful designs of God's providence, the man who is transferred from the state of original or mortal sin into the state of grace is brought in some way “within” a social unit, the supernatural kingdom of the living God. In heaven that community is the Church triumphant, the company of the elect enjoying the Beatific Vision. On earth it is the Church militant. Under the conditions of the new or the Christian dispensation, that community is the organized or visible religious society which is the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ on earth.
We must not lose sight of the fact that people in the condition of aversion from God, in the state of original or mortal sin, belong in some way to a kingdom or an ecclesia under the leadership of Satan, the moving spirit among the spiritual enemies of God. Hence the process of salvation involves necessarily the transfer of an individual from one social unit or community to another, from the kingdom Satan to the true and supernatural kingdom of the living God.
The opening paragraph of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical against Freemasonry, the letter Humanum genus, brings out the relations between these two communities with unmatched clarity and accuracy.
The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, “through the envy of the devil,” separated into two diverse parts, of which the one steadfastly contents for truth and virtue, the other for those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it so as to gain salvation must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.
This twofold kingdom St. Augustine keenly discerned and described after the manner of two cities, contrary in their laws because striving for contrary objects; and with subtle brevity he expressed the efficient cause of each in these words: “Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching even to contempt of self, a heavenly one.” At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardor and assault. [This passage is found in Father Wynne's edition of The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1903), p. 83]
This intrinsically social aspect of salvation is brought out in the account, in the Acts of the Apostles, of the end of St. Peter's sermon on the first Christian Pentecost and of the results of that sermon.
Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their hearts and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation. They therefore that receive his word were baptized: and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers. [Acts, 2: 37-42]
According to the inspired word of God in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter exhorted the men who listened to him of that first Christian Pentecost to “save themselves from this perverse generation.” Furthermore, we are told that the individuals who “received his word” received the sacrament of baptism, and that they were “added” to the number of the disciples of Christ who had been with St. Peter and the other disciples before he delivered his sermon. The society of the disciples of Jesus Christ, the organization which we know now as the Catholic Church, continued with this great number of new members, to do exactly what it had been doing since the day of Our Lord's ascension into heaven.
We read that the group, composed as it was of these new converts who had come into the Church as a result of St. Peter's Pentecost sermon and of the disciples who had entered the group during Our Lord's public life, was “persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.” And we read the same sort of account of the activity of the original band of disciples that returned to Jerusalem immediately after the Ascension.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day's journey.
And when they were come in they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Batholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus and Simon Zelotes and Jude the brother of James.
All these were persevering with one mind in prayer, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. [Acts 1. 12-14]
Both the text and the context of the Acts of the Apostles assure us that the people who heeded St. Peter's injunction to save themselves from this perverse generation entered the true Church of God, the kingdom of God on earth. They entered the Catholic Church.
Now, if St. Peter's words on this occasion meant anything at all, they signified that the individuals to whom he was speaking were in a situation which would lead them to eternal ruin if they continued in it. They were described as belonging to a “perverse generation.” They were told to save themselves by getting out of it. The institution into which they would enter by the very fact of leaving “this perverse generation” was none other that the society of Our Lord's disciples, the Catholic Church itself.
The clear implication of St. Peter's statement is that the Church, the kingdom of God, was the only institution or social unit of salvation. Not to be within this society was to be in the perverse generation within which a man was faced with eternal and entire spiritual ruin. To leave the perverse generation was to enter the Church.
In other words, the clear teaching of this section of the Acts of the Apostles is precisely that given by Pope Leo XIII in the opening passages of his encyclical Humanum genus. The central point of this teaching is that the entire human race is divided between the kingdom of God, the ecclesia, and the kingdom of Satan. To be saved from the kingdom of Satan is to enter the kingdom of God. In this context it is not difficult to see how, by God's institution, the Catholic Church, the one and only supernatural kingdom of God on earth, is presented as a necessary means for the attainment of salvation. By God's institution the process of salvation itself involves a passage from the kingdom of Satan into the ecclesia.
Now, for the proper understanding of this doctrine, especially in view of the teaching on this subject contained in some recent books and articles, it is imperative to understand the religious condition of the people to whom St. Peter delivered his sermon on that first Christian Pentecost. Again, the Acts of the Apostles contains essentially important information.
This book describes them in general with the statement that “there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.” The homelands of these men are enumerated in the statement attributed to the multitude itself.
And they were all amazed and wondered saying: Behold, are not all these that speak, Galileans?
And how have we heard, every man, our own tongue wherein we were born?
Parthinians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers from Rome, Jews also and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. [Acts 2: 7-11.]
According to the text of the Acts, a great many of these people were pilgrims, men and women who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the great Jewish feast of Pentecost. Our Lord had died on the Cross only a little over seven weeks before St. Peter delivered that sermon, and many of the people who listened to St. Peter must have been on their way to Jerusalem at the very time Our Lord died. They had begun their pilgrimage as an act of worship in the Jewish religion at the very time when the Jewish religion was the one approved especially by God and when the Jewish politico-religious commonwealth was actually the supernatural kingdom of God on earth, the ecclesia of the Old Testament.
These people as individuals probably had nothing whatsoever to do with the persecution and the murder of the Incarnate Word of God. They had started on their journey as members of God's chosen people, the people of His covenant. Their journey to Jerusalem was made precisely in order to worship and honor God. They were truly devout individuals.
Yes, seven weeks before, the religious body to which they belonged had ceased to be God's ecclesia. The Jewish politico-religious social unit had definitively rejected Our Lord, the Messias promised in the Old Testament. This company had hitherto enjoyed its position as God's ecclesias or His congregatio fidelium by virtue of the fact this it had accepted and professed its acceptance of the divine message about the promised Redeemer. In rejecting the Redeemer Himself, this social unit had automatically rejected the teaching God had given about Him. The rejection of this message constituted an abandonment of the divine faith itself. By manifesting this rejection of the faith, the Jewish religious unit fell from its position as the company of the chosen people. It was no longer God's ecclesia, His supernatural kingdom on earth. It became part of the kingdom of Satan.
While the great Jewish social unit was rejecting Our Lord and thus repudiating its acceptance of the divinely revealed message about Him, the little company of the disciples, organized by Our Lord around Himself, retained its faith. It continued to accept and to obey Our Lord and to believe the divinely revealed that centered around Him. Thus at the moment of Our Lord's death on Calvary, the moment when the old dispensation was ended and the Jewish religious association ceased to be the supernatural kingdom of God on earth, this recently organized society of Our Lord's disciples began to exist as the ecclesia or the kingdom.
This society was the true continuation of Israel. The men who were within it were the true sons of Abraham, in that they had the genuine faith of Abraham. This society was the new association of the chosen people. Its members were, as St. Paul called them, the elect or the chosen of God.
It must be understood, incidentally, that this society was actually God's supernatural kingdom on earth in a much more complete and perfect sense than the old Jewish commonwealth had ever been. The old Israel had constituted the pople of the covenant. According to God's unfailing promise, the Redeemer was to be born within that company. Yet conditions had never been such that a man had to be within this company in order to attain to eternal salvation.
On the contrary, the new and faithful Israel was completely identical with the supernatural kingdom of God on earth. It was the true ecclesia or company of the faithful in the sense that no man could attain to eternal salvation unless he passed from this life “within” it. This organized society, within which unworthy members would be intermingled with the good until the end of time, was actually Our Lord's own Mystical Body.
So it was that when St. Peter spoke to the crowd on the first Christian Pentecost, the society of which he had been constituted the visible head was actually the ecclesia Dei, the necessary terminus of the process of salvation. His hearers who, a few weeks before had belonged to God's supernatural kingdom on earth by reason of their membership in the old Israelite commonwealth, now actually found themselves in the “perverse generation” precisely by reason of that same membership. When St. Peter first spoke to them, they were in a position from which they needed to be saved. They were no longer members of the chosen people.
By heeding and obeying the words of St. Peter they regained the position they had formerly possessed, and their new possession of the dignity of membership in the ecclesia was much more perfect and complete than that which they had formerly enjoyed. Previously they had been within a company which had been God's congregatio fidelium by reason of the profession of its acceptance of the divine message that centered around the promise of a Redeemer. When they accepted St. Peter's teaching, performed their duty of penance, and by their reception of the sacrament of baptism, were “added” to the society of Our Lord's disciples, they entered the supernatural kingdom of God which enjoyed its status by reason of its acceptance of the divinely revealed teaching about the Redeemer who had become incarnate and had died to reconcile them with God.
It is extremely important for us to remember, however, that the people St. Peter urged to save themselves from the perverse generation in which they were living at the time were definitely not men of no religion at all. They were devout members of the establishment which had bee, less than eight weeks before, God's supernatural kingdom on earth. In that establishment they had learned love for God and zeal in the service of God that they were willing to travel very considerable distances and undergo serious hardships in order to assist at the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem during the days of the great religious festivity of Pentecost.
St. Peter did not recommend the Church to these people merely as something far more perfect than the religious affiliation they already possessed. He did not in any sense imply that, in entering the ecclesia, they would be simply passing to a better religious community Quite on the contrary, he made it clear that it was necessary for them to transfer themselves from the “perverse generation” in which they than existed to a condition of salvation. The acceptance of his teaching was in fact as entrance into the Church. It is in line with this teaching that St. Paul, in his epistles, refers to those within the Church as “saved.” The Epistle to the Ephesians tells us that God, “even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (by whose grace you are saved).” [Eph. 2:5.] And it explains that “by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.” [Eph 2:8.] The entire context of the Church, men are actually being saved from the dominion of Satan, the prince of this world.
This is the basic social aspect of the process of salvation. In that process there is always involved a passage or a transitus from the kingdom of God's spiritual enemy into the actual kingdom of God Himself. His ecclesia. St. Peter made it clear that, in entering the Church, the people to whom he was speaking on that first Christian Pentecost were really being saved.
We must not lose sight of the fact that in our own day there is sometimes a tendency to imagine that persons who are in a position comparable with that of the people to whom St. Peter's sermon was addressed are really in an acceptable position. The people who encourage this tendency are careful to state that the Catholic Church is more advantageously placed than other religious bodies in this world. They assert that the Church has the fullness of God's revealed message; but, at the same time, they likewise insist that other religions are really from God, and that they constitute the plenitude of God's teaching for those whom He does not call to the higher position of Catholicism. The Modernist Von Hugel brought out this teaching in a volume recently republished in this country. According to Von Hugel:
The Jewish religion was not false for the thirteen centuries of the pre-Christian operations; it was, for those times, God's fullest self-revelation and man's deepest apprehension of God; and this same Jewish religion can be, is, still the fullest religious truth for numerous individuals whom God leaves in their good faith; in their not directly requiring the fuller, the fullest, light and aid to Christanity. What is specially true of the Jewish religion is, in a lesser but still very real degree, true of Mohammedanism, and even of Hinduism, of Parseeism, etc. [Letters from Baron Freidrich Von Hugel to a Niece (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1955) . p.115.]
Von Hugel, like other of his class, was careful to insist that “it is not true that all religions are equally true, equally pure, equally fruitful.” But, as a matter of tact, no one but the most militant and ignorant athiest ever claimed that they were. His own position is completely incompatible with the teaching of St. Peter in his sermon on the first Christian Pentecost. He depicted non-Catholic religions as acceptable, even though less perfect than Catholicism. If his contention had been in any way true, then St. Peter would have been guilty of seriously deceiving the people to whom he spoke on that Pentecost morning. Very definitely it is not true to say that a man is saved when he is transferred from a less perfect to a more perfect conditions. He is saved only by being transferred from a ruinous position into a status wherein he can live as he should.
Von Hugel described the religious condition of the people to whom St. Peter spoke as “still the fullest religious truth for numerous individuals whom God leaves in their good faith; in their not directly requiring the fuller, the fullest light and aid to Christianity.” St. Peter asserted that these individuals were in a perverse generation, and told them to save themselves from it. There is no possibility of any agreement between these two positions.
In every age of the Church there has been one portion of Christian doctrine which men have been especially tempted to misconstrue or to deny. In our own times it is the part of the Catholic truth which was brought out with special force and clarity by St. Peter in his first missionary sermon in Jerusalem. It is somewhat unfashionable today to insist, as St. Peter did, that those who are outside the true Church of Jesus Christ stand in need of being saved by leaving their own positions and entering the ecclesia. Nevertheless, this remains a part of God's own revealed message.
It is a part of Catholic doctrine that entrance into the Church (actually by becoming a member of the Church; and when this is impossible, by at least an implicit though sincere desire or intention) is a part of the process of salvation. It is equally a part of Catholic teaching, however, that this is by no means the only part. A man is saved from the evil of belonging to the kingdom of Satan by his entrance into the Church, but this entrance in no way constitutes a guarantee that he will actually enjoy the Beatific Vision for all eternity. The process of salvation is not fully completed, a man cannot be said to be “saved” in the full sense of the term, until he has attained the Beatific Vision itself.
St. James, writing to men who are already Christians, members of the true Church, warns them to “receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” [James 1:21] He was setting forth God's own teaching when he reminded those within the Church that they were still obliged to work, under the direction of the divine doctrine, for the salvation of their souls. It remains possible for a man to be within the Church and to be disloyal to God. Such a man constitutes himself as an unworthy member of the Church and, unless he repents of his sins, he will be cut away from the kingdom of God for all eternity. When he dies. And, if the sinner within the Church turns again toward God, he is being saved by the power of Jesus Christ, working through the sacrament of penance. Obviously he cannot be saved other than in and through the Catholic Church.
Thus, despite the fact that it is possible for a man to be within the Church and to lose his soul, salvation is in itself a process which involves a social aspect. Everyone who has been born since the sin of Adam, with the exception of Our Lord and of His Blessed Mother, has come into the world or begun his existence as a member of the fallen family of Adam, and thus as one who belong to what St. Peter designated as the “perverse generation” and what Pope Leo XIII called the “kingdom of Satan.”
He has likewise begun his existence as a human being in the state of original sin and has very frequently increased his aversion from God by the force of his own mortal sins. The process of salvation is the process by which such men have been brought from that condition of aversion from God into the final and inamissible possession of His friendship and the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision. Involved in that process, by God's own institution, is a transfer from the kingdom of Satan into the one supernatural kingdom of god on earth. Since the moment of Our Lord's death on the Cross, that kingdom has been, again by God's own institution, the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ on earth.
Thus, if we examine the actual concept of salvation, we find that the Church as God's kingdom on earth is actually involved in it. Thus, in this process, the Church is not merely an extraneous factor which has been somehow introduced into the Christian teaching about eternal salvation. It is, in the social aspect of salvation, the necessary terminus ad quem of that transfer by which men are brought for sin to grace, by being changed from a position of belonging to the kingdom of Satan, the dominion of “the prince of this world,” into the one and only supernatural kingdom of God on earth. (Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton, The Catholic Church and Salvation In Light of the Recent Pronouncements of the Holy See, published in 1958 and reprinted in 2006 by Seminary Press, Round Top, New York, p. 134-144.)