By What Stretch of Logic?
by Thomas A. Droleskey
A system of civil governance founded on the naturalistic concepts of "civil" and "religious" liberty is incapable of enforcing even naturalistic "standards of decency" over the long term. That is, a system of civil governance that admits of no higher authority above itself, namely, that of the Catholic Church, to serve as the ultimate arbiter on all that pertains to the eternal good of souls, must depend upon the ever-changing nature of "public opinion" as the bellwether by which its public policies are made and by which its popular culture is shaped. A system of civil governance that is dependent upon "public opinion" and not upon the authority of the true Church is defenseless as increasingly more blasphemous displays are "mainstreamed" into popular culture under cover of law.
We are witnessing at the present time simply the logical degeneration of a world based upon false, naturalistic, religiously indifferentist and semi-Pelagian principles. This process of degeneration has been ongoing from the inception of the modern civil state. It has been ongoing since the inception of the United States of America (see Orestes Brownson's
National Greatness). A nation obsessed with material well-being as the defining characteristic of human life and national greatness is bound to degenerate over the course of time into debauchery. There is no "getting this back," to use popular parlance, by means of electoral politics or other delusional "movements" associated with interdenominationalism. The extent to which things "were better" in the past was the the result not of "American greatness" but of the residual effects of Catholicism in the world, to say nothing of the effects of the graces that flowed out into the world by means of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in the time between the American founding and the rise of its conciliar progeny, the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service.
Yes, it was the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that at least kept Catholics from plunging even more headlong into the ways of the materialistic and naturalistic popular culture of the United States than would otherwise have been the case in the years prior to the "Second" Vatican Council's "opening up" to the world. Although Catholics in the United States of America were being coopted in the Nineteenth Century and the first half of the Twentieth Century by the "rush" of partisan politics and by the ways of Calvinist materialism, they nevertheless had, at least for the most part, a strong sensus Catholicus that would cause them to follow the lead of their bishops when they were told not to patronize certain motion pictures or theatrical productions. A bishop's or a pastor's word was good enough for the sheep.
The willingness of Catholics to follow their shepherds' and to "vote with their feet" by not attending motion pictures or theatrical productions offensive to God and harmful to souls is what gave the Legion of Decency such great cloud with the Talmudic Jews in Hollywood. These nefarious naturalists wanted to make money. They had to back off of their pushing the envelope on many immoral themes following the establishment of the Legion of Decency and Pope Pius XI's Vigilianti Cura, June 29, 1936, even going so far as to permit a representative of the Legion of Decency to read scripts and to be present as motion pictures were filmed. Many souls were saved from participating in blasphemy and/or being enticed into various sins as a result of their being portrayed favorably in motion pictures as a result of solid Catholic Action to withstand the ravages of the organized forces of naturalism represented by the ancient enemies of the Faith and their allies in Masonic lodges.
Conciliarism's great opening to the ways of "civil" and "religious" liberty, however, made it more possible for Catholics to surrender their vigilance and to become willing participants in cultural currents that are offensive to God and harmful to the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. The easy-going approach to the liturgy represented by the Novus Ordo Missae, which is an enshrinement of the spirit of the world, especially under the rubrical slogan of "inculturation of the Gospel," rather than a refuge from its rot, made it even more possible for Catholics to cast aside any inhibitions about casting their eyes on productions (whether in theaters or broadcast on television or radio or in motion pictures) that were enticements to sin. Catholics became desensitized to the promotion of sin, both in public policy and in every aspect of popular culture, thus paying no heed to the fact that each one of our sins contributed to the unspeakable horrors imposed upon Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ during His Passion and Death and to the thrusting of those Seven Swords of Sorrow through His Most Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart. How can we say that we love Our Lord while our hearts and souls grow indifferent to the promotion of sin and while we waste our time, which can be spent more profitably in the praying of Rosaries and in reading about the lives of the saints, and our money in the service of the devil's minions?
As goes the Church, ladies and gentlemen, so goes the world. Whatever resistance to the evils of the day that some of the old "mainstream" Protestant sects had in the past was the result of the residual effects of Catholicism in the world and the result of the working of Actual Graces that flowed out of the offerings of Holy Mass upon individual souls. The Novus Ordo Missae has robbed Catholics of Sanctifying Grace and has robbed the world of Actual Graces (in addition to offending God in all of His glory). Most Catholics support the taking of innocent human life in their mothers' wombs, at least under some conditions. Most Catholics support (and practice) immoral actions that deny the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity and fecundity of marital relations. Most Catholics see nothing wrong with "rock music" or immodest attire or with the advertising of inappropriate and suggestive products during professional or collegiate athletic events. Having become accustomed to various profanities leveled against God in the Novus Ordo Missae--and having watched conciliar "popes" kiss Korans and pray at Wailing Walls and take off their shoes in mosques and light Menorahs in synagogues and call a mountain where Buddhists worship their devils as "sacred," most Catholics have no sense of outrage over the honor and glory of God and His Most Blessed Mother, no desire to defend the Holy Faith.
By what stretch of logic, therefore, does a rational, sane human being believe that productions that blaspheme Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ are going to be opposed? The ethos of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America permits such blasphemy in the name of "freedom of speech." The ethos of conciliarism, which asserts that the Catholic Church has no role to play in civil governance whatsoever, denies that the civil state must forbid displays of blasphemy, contending only that individual Catholics must "inform" the market place of ideas and attempt to influence individual souls. It is impossible to turn back the tide of blasphemy, which has seen recently, according to press reports that I have seen online, a female reporter for the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network--ESPN, utter a live on-air profane, vulgar epithet directed against the Divine Redeemer Himself, by means of the naturalism of Americanism and/or by means of conciliarism's "reconciliation" with the world.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that a production of something called Jerry Springer: The Opera blaspheming Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and full of various profanities and vulgarities is being produced at Carnegie Hall in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York, New York. What's so surprising about this? This is par for the course in the "land of the free" and the home of blasphemy that is the bastion of "civil liberty" called the United States of America. This is not the first time such blasphemy has occurred. Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ, 1988, did so. Terence McNally's Corpus Christi did so in 1997. Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You mocked the Faith as early as 1979, followed by Late Night Catechism (and its sequel, Late Night Catechism II) in 1993. Some kind of program called South Park has terribly blasphemed our dear Blessed Mother. So many other examples in the secular world abound, including the regular blasphemies uttered by various radio personalities, including Don Imus, now of WABC Radio in New York City, who take Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Holy Name in vain as a matter of routine.
The promotion of blasphemy by naturalists is further enabled by the fact that a blasphemous motion picture, The Nativity Story, that was debuted with the full approval of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican on Sunday, November 26, 2006. By what stretch of logic is blasphemy going to be retarded by making appeals to "decency" with the conciliar Vatican itself endorses blasphemy now and again and does not believe that the civil state can prohibit blasphemous productions from being produced and shown. How can one oppose the blasphemy of naturalists when the conciliar Vatican endorses blasphemous productions and permits sacrileges to be offered in the name of false ecumenism?
Once again, you see, this is where the ethos of Modernity, exemplified so well by the Americanist heresy, converge with conciliarism to produce a world where public blasphemy is the norm, not the exception. The errors of civil and religious liberty breed blasphemy and make Catholics insensitive to blasphemous utterances and productions. It is all the more important, therefore, to understand that blasphemy has no rights, whether civil or religious, and that the civil state has an obligation to prevent the production of any type of performance that is offensive to God and destructive of social order.
This site exists to help readers to see beyond the "trees" of particular controversies in order to understand that a world where Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not King and where His Most Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate, is not honored publicly as its Queen is one where the devil must reign supreme in souls and in public policy and every aspect of popular culture. There is no middle ground.
For instance, a soul is either in a state of Sanctifying Grace or it is not. There is no "in between" status for a soul. A soul either has the very inner life of the Most Blessed Trinity dwelling within it by means of Sanctifying (Habitual) Grace or a soul is in the grips of the devil by means of Original Sin (if the soul is not baptized) or by means of a Mortal Sin (or sins) committed after Baptism. As the state of the world depends upon the state of souls, it is simply a truth that there will be more disorder and chaos in a world when souls are, whether wittingly or unwittingly, in the grips of the devil by means of unrepentant sins. Even those people who do not accept the objectively evil nature of their actions suffer within their souls even though their own individual, subjective culpability for their actions might be mitigated by a variety of circumstances. This is why so many people we meet every day are so full of sadness or are so agitated or are simply blank automatons who consider it a bother even to get out of bed in the morning in order to fulfill the duties of their states-in-life.
By way of analogy here, ladies and gentlemen, a person might be suffering from arteriosclerosis without knowing it, continuing to eat a diet high in artery-blocking fats and cholesterol. The fact that he is unaware of this condition does mean he is not suffering from its consequences, which might be fatal if the build up of arterial plaque results in a sudden heart attack or stroke.
The same is true in the spiritual order. A person may be steeped, objectively speaking, in Original Sin or Mortal Sin without knowing it. He still suffers the consequences of his soul's imprisonment to the devil. Each sin, no matter how small, wounds our souls, darkening our intellects and weakens our wills, inclining us all the more to sin more readily. This is why we must recover by penance what we have lost by sin, seeking to undo the damage to our souls wrought by our sins as we seek to embrace penances more readily and to consider a supreme privilege to lift high the Cross of the Divine Redeemer in our daily lives, accepting all of the humiliations and difficulties of life as coming from the hand of God Himself in order to unite us to Him more fully as we long for the very possession of Heaven itself that is the goal of human existence.
The extent to which there is order in the world depends upon the extent to which there is order within the souls of individual human beings. The extent to which there is order within the souls of individual human beings depends upon the extent to which souls are in states of Sanctifying Grace as members of the Catholic Church and are seeking to grow in graces as they die to self on a daily basis in order to let Christ the King live more fully in their hearts and souls, which are consecrated to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. As I keep repeating over and over again, to the great chagrin of conservatives and libertarians and conservatives and socialists and liberals and naturalists of all sorts, Catholicism is the one and only means of personal and social order.
Those who do not accept this, however, must find some "alternative" by which they will construct their lives, both personally and socially, coming to believe that the true religion, if there is such a thing, that is, is lived privately and cannot be expressed publicly without "offending" others, which is why we must be willing to "live" with such things as blasphemy and sacrilege as part of "human rights" guaranteed by "civil liberty." We should simply try to find some "common ground" with those of different beliefs--or of no beliefs at all--in order to pursue justice in one's own nation and to build "peace" among nations. This naturalistic, Judeo-Masonic view of the world is of the essence of conciliarism's "reconciliation" with the "principles" of 1787 and 1789. This view, as has been noted endlessly on this site, makes a society defenseless against the further advances of evil within its midst. Indeed, it accustoms people to accept more and more evils as natural and normal expressions of "civil liberty."
Once again, therefore, it is important to turn to the popes. They have taught us that human beings do not have the "right" to behave wantonly and to publish liberally whatever it is they desire. They have taught us that the civil state has a duty to prohibit those things that are grievously injurious to the temporal and eternal welfare of the souls of its citizens, that it is only when Church and State are united in a happy concord that societies can expect that at least some of the ravages of fallen human nature may be ameliorated as a result of the subordination of all aspects of personal and social life to the binding precepts contained in the Deposit of Faith as they have been entrusted exclusively to the infallible magisterial authority of the Catholic Church.
Pope Pius VI noted this in Inscrutabile, December 25, 1775:
While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than the very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful. The prophet prays that his soul may be delivered from such deceitful tongues. In this way these men by their speech "enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret." This results in great moral corruption, in license of thought and speech, in arrogance and rashness in every enterprise.
When they have spread this darkness abroad and torn religion out of men's hearts, these accursed philosophers proceed to destroy the bonds of union among men, both those which unite them to their rulers, and those which urge them to their duty. They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.
Everyone must understand that such ravings and others like them, concealed in many deceitful guises, cause greater ruin to public calm the longer their impious originators are unrestrained. They cause a serious loss of souls redeemed by Christ's blood wherever their teaching spreads, like a cancer; it forces its way into public academies, into the houses of the great, into the palaces of kings, and even enters the sanctuary, shocking as it is to say so.
Consider these prophetic words of Pope Pius VI. Please consider them. This is not an "opinion" that any Catholic can ignore, including those who believe that their "libertarianism" trumps Catholicism and makes short work, therefore, of the binding nature of Catholic Social Teaching. Consider, please, just this short excerpt from the passage above:
They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.
Everyone must understand that such ravings and others like them, concealed in many deceitful guises, cause greater ruin to public calm the longer their impious originators are unrestrained. They cause a serious loss of souls redeemed by Christ's blood wherever their teaching spreads, like a cancer; it forces its way into public academies, into the houses of the great, into the palaces of kings, and even enters the sanctuary, shocking as it is to say so.
It was about a year or so ago that a somewhat noted writer published a column disparaging the days when priests had sway over civil rulers. This writer, who is a Catholic, does not consider himself bound by the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, extolling the "insights" of the American founding fathers time and time again. Some of those founders hated the Catholic Church and gave vent to the very ruinous ideas denounced by Pope Pius VI just six months, nine days before July 4, 1776. The ideas propagated by the founders resonated in the hearts of "free men," most of them Freemasons and bitter enemies of the Catholic Faith, who founded the Republic of Texas:
Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion? (John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 19, 1821)
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
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December, 1813.)
May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them. (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Roger Weigthman, June 24, 1826, ten days before Jefferson's death.)
When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants. (Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836.)
What's it going to be folks? The popes or men who hated the Catholic Church, which is after all, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth, founded by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb and headed by Him invisibly as she is guided infallibly by the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost? What's it going to be? The false god of "civil liberty" which spawns so many offenses to God and harms so many souls or the true liberty that comes from living as truly free men in accord with the Catholic Faith? What's it going to be?
These two passages, although quoted very frequently on this site, are worth repeating again so as to hammer home the point that the civil state has a responsibility to foster those conditions in which its citizens can better sanctify and thus to save their souls as members of the Catholic Church, that it, the civil state, is acting against its own best interests whenever it permits the license of opinion and action to lead souls away from truth and virtue:
This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.
Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice. We are in tears at the abuse which proceeds from them over the face of the earth. Some are so carried away that they contentiously assert that the flock of errors arising from them is sufficiently compensated by the publication of some book which defends religion and truth. Every law condemns deliberately doing evil simply because there is some hope that good may result. Is there any sane man who would say poison ought to be distributed, sold publicly, stored, and even drunk because some antidote is available and those who use it may be snatched from death again and again?
The Church has always taken action to destroy the plague of bad books. This was true even in apostolic times for we read that the apostles themselves burned a large number of books. It may be enough to consult the laws of the fifth Council of the Lateran on this matter and the Constitution which Leo X published afterwards lest "that which has been discovered advantageous for the increase of the faith and the spread of useful arts be converted to the contrary use and work harm for the salvation of the faithful." This also was of great concern to the fathers of Trent, who applied a remedy against this great evil by publishing that wholesome decree concerning the Index of books which contain false doctrine."We must fight valiantly," Clement XIII says in an encyclical letter about the banning of bad books, "as much as the matter itself demands and must exterminate the deadly poison of so many books; for never will the material for error be withdrawn, unless the criminal sources of depravity perish in flames." Thus it is evident that this Holy See has always striven, throughout the ages, to condemn and to remove suspect and harmful books. The teaching of those who reject the censure of books as too heavy and onerous a burden causes immense harm to the Catholic people and to this See. They are even so depraved as to affirm that it is contrary to the principles of law, and they deny the Church the right to decree and to maintain it. (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832.)
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.
So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. 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 the business of life, from the making of 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.)
As has been noted in previous commentaries, Holy Mother Church has taught us that it might be necessary for the civil state to tolerate certain evils in the concrete circumstances in which men live at the present time when she, Holy Mother Church, no longer is accorded her rightful role in exercising the Social Reign of Christ the King when the good of souls demands her motherly intervention. Pope Leo XIII made this precise point in Libertas, June 20, 1888:
Yet, with the discernment of a true mother, the Church weighs the great burden of human weakness, and well knows the course down which the minds and actions of men are in this our age being borne. For this reason, while not conceding any right to anything save what is true and honest, she does not forbid public authority to tolerate what is at variance with truth and justice, for the sake of avoiding some greater evil, or of obtaining or preserving some greater good. God Himself in His providence, though infinitely good and powerful, permits evil to exist in the world, partly that greater good may not be impeded, and partly that greater evil may not ensue. In the government of States it is not forbidden to imitate the Ruler of the world; and, as the authority of man is powerless to prevent every evil, it has (as St. Augustine says) to overlook and leave unpunished many things which are punished, and rightly, by Divine Providence. But if, in such circumstances, for the sake of the common good (and this is the only legitimate reason), human law may or even should tolerate evil, it may not and should not approve or desire evil for its own sake; for evil of itself, being a privation of good, is opposed to the common welfare which every legislator is bound to desire and defend to the best of his ability. In this, human law must endeavor to imitate God, who, as St. Thomas teaches, in allowing evil to exist in the world, "neither wills evil to be done, nor wills it not to be done, but wills only to permit it to be done; and this is good.'' This saying of the Angelic Doctor contains briefly the whole doctrine of the permission of evil.
But, to judge aright, we must acknowledge that, the more a State is driven to tolerate evil, the further is it from perfection; and that the tolerance of evil which is dictated by political prudence should be strictly confined to the limits which its justifying cause, the public welfare, requires. Wherefore, if such tolerance would be injurious to the public welfare, and entail greater evils on the State, it would not be lawful; for in such case the motive of good is wanting. And although in the extraordinary condition of these times the Church usually acquiesces in certain modern liberties, not because she prefers them in themselves, but because she judges it expedient to permit them, she would in happier times exercise her own liberty; and, by persuasion, exhortation, and entreaty would endeavor, as she is bound, to fulfill the duty assigned to her by God of providing for the eternal salvation of mankind. One thing, however, remains always true -- that the liberty which is claimed for all to do all things is not, as We have often said, of itself desirable, inasmuch as it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights.
And as to tolerance, it is surprising how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who profess what is called liberalism. For, in allowing that boundless license of which We have spoken, they exceed all limits, and end at last by making no apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty. And because the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, and the unerring teacher of morals, is forced utterly to reprobate and condemn tolerance of such an abandoned and criminal character, they calumniate her as being wanting in patience and gentleness, and thus fail to see that, in so doing, they impute to her as a fault what is in reality a matter for commendation. But, in spite of all this show of tolerance, it very often happens that, while they profess themselves ready to lavish liberty on all in the greatest profusion, they are utterly intolerant toward the Catholic Church, by refusing to allow her the liberty of being herself free.
A similar point was made in a little noticed allocution, Ci Riesce, given to Italian jurists by Pope Pius XII:
Thus the two principles are clarified to which recourse must be had in concrete cases for the answer to the serious question concerning the attitude which the jurist, the statesman and the sovereign Catholic state is to adopt in consideration of the community of nations in regard to a formula of religious and moral toleration as described above. First: that which does not correspond to truth or to the norm of morality objectively has no right to exist, to be spread or to be activated. Secondly: failure to impede this with civil laws and coercive measures can nevertheless be justified in the interests of a higher and more general good. . . .
The Church must live among them and with them [the nations and peoples of the world]; she can never declare before anyone that she is "not interested." The mandate imposed upon her by her divine Founder renders it impossible for her to follow a policy of non-interference or laissez-faire. She has the duty of teaching and educating in all the inflexibility of truth and goodness, and with this absolute obligation she must remain and work among men and nations that in mental outlook are completely different from each other.
Let Us return now, however, to the two propositions mentioned above: and in the first place to the one which denies unconditionally everything that is religiously false and morally wrong. With regard to this point there never has been, and there is not now, in the Church any vacillation or any compromise, either in theory or in practice.
Her deportment has not changed in the course of history, nor can it change whenever or wherever, under the most diversified forms, she is confronted with the choice: either incense for idols or blood for Christ. The place where you are now present, Eternal Rome, with the remains of a greatness that was and with the glorious memories of its martyrs, is the most eloquent witness to the answer of the Church. Incense was not burned before the idols, and Christian blood flowed and consecrated the ground. But the temples of the gods lie in the cold devastation of ruins howsoever majestic; while at the tombs of the martyrs the faithful of all nations and all tongues fervently repeat the ancient Creed of the Apostles.
Concerning the second proposition, that is to say, concerning tolerance in determined circumstances, toleration even in cases in which one could proceed to repression, the Church - out of regard for those who in good conscience (though erroneous, but invincibly so) are of different opinion - has been led to act and has acted with that tolerance, after she became the State Church under Constantine the Great and the other Christian emperors, always for higher and more cogent motives. So she acts today, and also in the future she will be faced with the same necessity. In such individual cases the attitude of the Church is determined by what is demanded for safeguarding and considering the bonum commune, on the one hand, the common good of the Church and the State in individual states, and, on the other, the common good of the universal Church, the reign of God over the whole world. In considering the "pro" and "con" for resolving the "question of facts," as well as what concerns the final and supreme judge in these matters, no other norms are valid for the Church except the norms which We have just indicated for the Catholic jurist and statesman.
These distinctions are very important to note and to study carefully. Holy Mother Church insists that error has no rights, that human beings have no right to propagate things that are offensive to God and harmful to souls--and thus harmful to the good of nations. She will, as both Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII indicated some sixty-five years apart from each other, tolerate certain evils. This is far, far different from the assertions made by liberals and libertarians and conciliarists that there is a "human right" to false freedoms, including the "freedom of religion." There is no inherent "right" of human beings to put the truths of the true Faith into question or to seek to undermine the good of souls. Those who insist upon such a thing believe in lies that come from the Master of Lies and the Prince of Darkness himself, who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
The same Pope Leo XIII who wrote in Libertas about the necessity of tolerating certain evils in some circumstances (while at the same time indicating that the state is driven the further from perfection the more that it is driven to tolerate various evils) also reiterated the condemnations of the corrupt, naturalistic notion of "civil liberty" that was condemned by Pope Pius VI in Inscrutabile and by Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos and by himself in Immortale Dei:
We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power which -- as We have before said and must again and again repeat -- it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the passions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and secure in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, however, to all matter of opinion which God leaves to man's free discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within the right of everyone; for such liberty never leads men to suppress the truth, but often to discover it and make it known.
A like judgment must be passed upon what is called liberty of teaching. There can be no doubt that truth alone should imbue the minds of men, for in it are found the well-being, the end, and the perfection of every intelligent nature; and therefore nothing but truth should be taught both to the ignorant and to the educated, so as to bring knowledge to those who have it not, and to preserve it in those who possess it. For this reason it is plainly the duty of all who teach to banish error from the mind, and by sure safeguards to close the entry to all false convictions. From this it follows, as is evident, that the liberty of which We have been speaking is greatly opposed to reason, and tends absolutely to pervert men's minds, in as much as it claims for itself the right of teaching whatever it pleases -- a liberty which the State cannot grant without failing in its duty. And the more so because the authority of teachers has great weight with their hearers, who can rarely decide for themselves as to the truth or falsehood of the instruction given to them.
Wherefore, this liberty, also, in order that it may deserve the name, must be kept within certain limits, lest the office of teaching be turned with impunity into an instrument of corruption. Now, truth, which should be the only subject matter of those who teach, is of two kinds: natural and supernatural. Of natural truths, such as the principles of nature and whatever is derived from them immediately by our reason, there is a kind of common patrimony in the human race. On this, as on a firm basis, morality, justice, religion, and the very bonds of human society rest: and to allow people to go unharmed who violate or destroy it would be most impious, most foolish, and most inhuman.
It is important to keep all of this in mind as various controversies come to light about this or that blasphemous production. We must make acts of reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary for such productions. We must, however, realize that the only real antidote to such productions is the conversion of our nation to the Catholic Faith. No, that is not a guarantor of social order. It is simply the necessary precondition for social order, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei and as Pope Saint Pius X noted in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910, Pope Pius XI noted in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922, and as Pope Pius XII noted in Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939. No amount of interdenominational protests will stop the organized forces of naturalism from attacking the Faith, especially when the counterfeit church of conciliarism has made its own "reconciliation" with the fundamental principles of modernity.
Reparation, which is one of the keys of the entire Fatima Message, dating to the time that the Angel of Portugal, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos in 1916, is not "doing nothing." Saint Michael the Archangel said the following to three shepherd children of Fatima:
"What are you doing? Pray! Pray very much! The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs for you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High... In every way you can offer sacrifice to God in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners... Above all, accept and endure with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you. Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by sinful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”
Our Lady herself told the children the following:
Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?... Then you will have much to suffer. But the grace of God will be your comfort.”
“...Do you suffer a great deal? Don’t be discouraged. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the road that will conduct you to God. Sacrifice yourself for sinners and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice, ‘O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.’
“Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war... If they do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end [World War I]. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI...
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.
“To prevent this, I come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; many nations will be annihilated. The Message of Our Lady of Fatima
Neither Saint Michael the Archangel nor Our Lady told Jacinta and Francisco and Lucia to trust in secular, naturalistic politics as the means to save poor sinners from Hell and thus to change the world. She told them to pray Rosaries and to make sacrifices for sinners as they made reparations for their own sins and for those of the whole world. That's not doing "nothing," my friends. Indeed, it is doing the singularly most important thing that we can do to help convert ourselves and others and our nations to the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen as the fruit of the Triumph of the same Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Writing in Rerum Omnium
Perturbationem, January 26, 1933, the third centenary of the death of Saint Francis de Sales, whose glorious life's work we commemorate in the liturgy today, January 29, 2008, Pope Pius XI noted that Saint Francis de Sales, a model of Charity and kindness, to be sure, was also a great foe of heresy, especially the prevailing heresy of his day, Protestantism, which is directly responsible for the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King:
The circumstances surrounding the mission of St. Francis to La Chablais are well known to you, Venerable Brothers, for when, towards the close of 1593, as we learn from history, the Duke of Savoy concluded a truce with the inhabitants of Berne and Geneva, nothing was thought more important in order to reconcile the population to the Church than to send them zealous and learned preachers who, by the persuasive force of their eloquence, would slowly but surely win back these people to their allegiance to the Faith.
The first missionary sent deserted the held of battle, either because he despaired of converting these heretics or because he feared them. But St. Francis de Sales who, as We have pointed out, had already offered himself for missionary work to the Bishop of Geneva, started on foot in September, 1594, without food or money, and accompanied by no one except a cousin of his, to take up this work. It was only after long and repeated fasts and prayers to God, by Whose aid alone he expected his mission to be successful, that he attempted to enter the country of the heretics. They, however, would not listen to his sermons. He sought then to refute their erroneous doctrines by means of loose leaflets which he wrote in the intervals between his sermons. These leaflets were distributed about in great quantities and passed from hand to hand with the object of having them find their way into the possession of the heretics.
This work of spreading about leaflets, however, gradually decreased and ceased altogether when the people of these parts in large numbers began to attend his sermons. These leaflets, written by the hand of the holy Doctor himself, were lost for a time after his death. Later, they were found and collected in a volume and presented to Our Predecessor, Alexander VII, who had the happiness, after the customary process of canonization, of ascribing St. Francis first among the blessed, and later among the saints.
In his "Controversies", although the holy Doctor made large use of the polemical literature of the past, he exhibits nevertheless a controversial method quite peculiarly his own. In the first place, he proves that no authority can be said to exist in the Church of Christ unless it had been bestowed on her by an authoritative mandate, which mandate the ministers of heretical beliefs in no way can be said to possess. After having pointed out the errors of these latter concerning the nature of the Church, he outlines the notes of the true Church and proves that they are not to be found in the reformed churches, but in the Catholic Church alone. He also explains in a sound manner the Rule of Faith and demonstrates that it is broken by heretics, while on the other hand it is kept in its entirety by Catholics. In conclusion, he discusses several special topics, but only those leaflets which treat of the Sacraments and of Purgatory are not extant. In truth, the many explanations of doctrine and the arguments which he has marshaled in orderly array, are worthy of all praise. With these arguments, to which must be added a subtle and polished irony that characterizes his controversial manner, he easily met his adversaries and defeated all their lies and fallacies.
Although at times his language appears to be somewhat strong, nevertheless, as even his opponents admitted, his writings always breathe a spirit of charity which was ever the controlling motive in every controversy in which he engaged. This is so true that even when he reproached these erring children for their apostasy from the Catholic Church, it is evident that he had no other purpose in mind than to open wide the gates by which they might return to the Faith. In the "Controversies" one readily perceives that same broad-mindedness and magnanimity of soul which permeate the books he wrote with the purpose of promoting piety. Finally, his style is so elegant, so polished, so impressive that the heretical ministers were accustomed to warn their followers against being deceived and won over by the flatteries of the missionary from Geneva.
It is a penultimate expression of true Charity for souls to seek their conversion to the true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. The whole of social order depends upon the conversion of men to the true Faith, which must be followed up by their own continuous conversion on a daily basis away from sin as they attempt to cooperate with the graces won for them by the shedding of every single drop of Our Blessed Lord Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flows into their hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to scale the heights of personal sanctity. There would be no talk of blasphemy or of other evils or of the perverse notions of the "god" of "civil liberty" if men took the Catholic Faith seriously and worked to build up the Kingship of Christ the King in their own souls as the signal means by which that same Kingship could be realized in their relations with men in civil society. Saint Francis de Sales realized this. Why don't we?
Indeed, Pope Pius XI noted the following in Rerum Omnium Perturbationem about Saint Francis de Sales's warning to those steeped in matters of business and politics:
First of all, you should make known and even explain with all diligence this encyclical both to your clergy and to the people committed to your care. Particularly We are most desirous that you do all in your power to call back the faithful to their duty of practicing the obligations and virtues proper to each one's state in life, since even in our own times the number is very large who never think of eternity and who neglect almost totally the salvation of their souls. Some are so immersed in business that they think of nothing but accumulating riches and, by consequences, the spiritual life ceases to exist for them. Others give themselves up entirely to the satisfaction of their passions and thus fall so low that they, with difficulty if at all, are able to appreciate anything which transcends the life of sense. Finally, there are many who give their every thought to politics, and this to such an extent, that while they are completely devoted to the welfare of the public, they forget altogether one thing, the welfare of their own souls. Because of these facts, Venerable Brothers, do you endeavor, following the example of St. Francis, to instruct thoroughly the faithful in the truth that holiness of life is not the privilege of a select few. All are called by God to a state of sanctity and all are obliged to try to attain it. Teach them, too, that the acquisition of virtue, although it cannot be done without much labor (such labor has its own compensations, the spiritual consolations and joys which always accompany it) it is possible for everyone with the aid of God's grace, which is never denied us.
The meekness of St. Francis should be held up to the faithful in a very special way for their imitation, for this virtue recalls to our minds so well and expresses so truly the kindness of Jesus Christ. It possesses, too, in a remarkable degree the power to bind souls one to another. This virtue, wherever it is practiced among men, tends primarily to settle the differences both public and private which so often separate us. Likewise can we not hope that, through the practice of this virtue which we rightly call the external sign of the inner possession of divine love, there will result perfect peace and concord both in family life and among nations?
If human society were motivated by meekness, would this not become a powerful ally to the apostolate, as it is called, of the clergy and laity which has for its end-purpose the bettering of the world?
You can easily see, therefore, how important it is for the Christian people to turn to the example of holiness given by St. Francis, so that they may be edified thereby and may make his teachings the rule of their own lives. It would be impossible to exaggerate the value of his books and pamphlets, of which We have written, to attain this purpose. These books ought to be distributed as widely as possible among Catholics, for his writings are easy to understand and can be read with great pleasure. They cannot but inspire in the souls of the faithful a love of true and solid piety, a love which the clergy can develop with most happy results if they but learn to assimilate thoroughly the teachings of St. Francis and to imitate the kindly qualities which characterized his preaching.
Shouldn't we have a meekness in accepting the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church and in seeing to it that we plant the seeds, by prayer, by word and by deed, for the restoration of Christendom, for the establishment of the Catholic States of America? We need meekness to look at this firm statement of Pope Pius XII and to recognize that he is binding our consciences to submit to the entirety of Catholic Social Teaching without even the hint of an iota of dissent (as Pope Pius XI had noted in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio):
Assuming false and unjust premises, they are not afraid to take a position which would confine within a narrow scope the supreme teaching authority of the Church, claiming that there are certain questions -- such as those which concern social and economic matters -- in which Catholics may ignore the teachings and the directives of this Apostolic See.
This opinion -- it seems entirely unnecessary to demonstrate its existence -- is utterly false and full of error because, as We declared a few years ago to a special meeting of Our Venerable Brethren in the episcopacy:
"The power of the Church is in no sense limited to so-called 'strictly religious matters'; but the whole matter of the natural law, its institution, interpretation and application, in so far as the moral aspect is concerned, are within its power.
"By God's appointment the observance of the natural law concerns the way by which man must strive toward his supernatural end. The Church shows the way and is the guide and guardian of men with respect to their supernatural end."
This truth had already been wisely explained by Our Predecessor St. Pius X in his Encyclical Letter Singulari quadam of September 24, 1912, in which he made this statement: "All actions of a Christian man so far as they are morally either good or bad -- that is, so far as they agree with or are contrary to the natural and divine law -- fall under the judgment and jurisdiction of the Church."
Moreover, even when those who arbitrarily set and defend these narrow limits profess a desire to obey the Roman Pontiff with regard to truths to be believed, and to observe what they call ecclesiastical directives, they proceed with such boldness that they refuse to obey the precise and definite prescriptions of the Holy See. They protest that these refer to political affairs because of a hidden meaning by the author, as if these prescriptions took their origin from some secret conspiracy against their own nation. (Pope Pius XII, Ad Apostolorum Principis, June 29, 1958.)
Yes, we must have the meekness of Saint Francis de Sales and submit to the authority of the constant teaching of the Catholic Church on the necessity of restoring the Catholic City.
We must also imitate the tender devotion that Saint Francis de Sales had for the Mother of God, to whom he consecrated himself at a young age, she who is our model of meekness of humility par excellence. Saint Francis de Sales was totally reliant upon Our Lady's maternal intercession. He relied upon her Heavenly assistance as he wrote these words at the close of An Introduction to the Devout Life:
On the first day of every month renew the resolution given in Part I. after meditation, and make continual protestation of your intention to keep it, saying with David, "I will never forget Thy Commandments, for with them Thou hast quickened me."And whenever you feel any deterioration in your spiritual condition, take out your protest, and prostrating yourself in a humble spirit, renew it heartily, and you will assuredly find great relief.
Make open profession of your desire to be devout; I will not say to be devout, but to desire it; and do not be ashamed of the ordinary, needful actions which lead us on in the Love of God. Acknowledge boldly that you try to meditate, that you would rather die than commit a mortal sin; that you frequent the Sacraments, and follow the advice of your director (although for various reasons it may not be necessary to mention his name). This open confession that you intend to serve God, and that you have devoted yourself deliberately and heartily to His Holy Love, is very acceptable to His Divine Majesty, for He would not have any of us ashamed of Him or of His Cross. Moreover, it cuts at the root of many a hindrance which the world tries to throw in our way, and so to say, commits us to the pursuit of holiness. The philosophers of old used to give themselves out as such, in order to be left unmolested in their philosophic life; and we ought to let it be known that we aim at devotion in order that we may be suffered to live devoutly. And if any one affirms that you can live a devout life without following all these practices and counsels, do not deny it, but answer meekly that your infirmity is great, and needs more help and support than many others may require.
Finally, my beloved child, I entreat you by all that is sacred in heaven and in earth, by your own Baptism, by the breast which Jesus sucked, by the tender Heart with which He loves you, and by the bowels of compassion in which you hope--be steadfast and persevere in this most blessed undertaking to live a devout life. Our days pass away, death is at hand. "The trumpet sounds a recall," says Saint Gregory Nazianzen, "in order that every one may make ready, for Judgment is near." When Saint Symphorian was led to his martyrdom, his mother cried out to him, "My son, my son, remember life eternal, look to Heaven, behold Him Who reigns there; for the brief course of this life will soon be ended." Even so would I say to you: Look to Heaven, and do not lose it for earth; look at Hell, and do not plunge therein for the sake of this passing life; look at Jesus Christ, and do not deny Him for the world's sake; amid if the devout life sometimes seems hard and dull, join in Saint Francis' song,-- "So vast the joys that I await,
No earthly travail seemeth great."
Glory be to Jesus, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, now and ever, and to all Eternity. Amen.
In imitation of Saint Francis de Sales, let us pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, recognizing it is only by Heaven's logic, by Heaven's truth, by Heaven's help that we can get to Heaven to enjoy an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise as we behold the Beatific Vision of God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Fatima, 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.
Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints