Foreshadowing Ratzinger in Being Oblivious to the Truth
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Yesterday's article, From John Carroll To James Gibbons To Timothy Dolan, was a brief examination of how the conciliar "bishops" in the United States of America are most worthy successors of the Americanist bishops yore such as Archbishop John Carroll and James Cardinal Gibbons, both of whom were archbishops of the de facto primatial see of this country, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland.
Reference was made in yesterday's article to an address that was given by James Cardinal Gibbons when he took canonical possession of the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, March 25, 1887, that was an elegy of praise in behalf of the American constitutional framework of separation of Church and State and religious liberty, which Gibbons believed had helped make possible the growth of the Catholic Church here in the United States of America.
Thanks to the diligence of a traditional Catholic priest, one who may not want to be mentioned by name on this site, who searched for the full text of the speech (which is not online) and was sent a photocopy of it by a librarian at The Catholic University of America in Washington, District of Columbia, I am able to provide you with the pertinent passages of Gibbons' sermon as they related to the topic near and dear to the heart of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and fellow Americanists in the "hierarchy" of the conciliar church in this country. Each passage cited will be followed by the briefest of commentaries.
Here is the first passage:
This event [the appointment of John Carroll as the first Bishop of Baltimore], so important to us, occurred less than a hundred years ago--a long period, indeed in our history, but now brief in that of Rome eternal! Our Catholic community in those days numbered only a few thousand souls, scattered chiefly through the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and were served by the merest handful of priests. Thanks to the fructifying grace of God, the grain of mustard seed then planted has grown to be a large tree, spreading its branches over the length and width of our fair land. Where only one bishop was found in the beginning of this century, there are now seventy-five serving as many dioceses and vicariates. For their great progress under God and the fostering care of the Holy See we are indebted in so small degree to the civil liberty we enjoy in our enlightened republic.
Our Holy Father, Leo XIII, in his luminous encyclical on the constitution of Christian States, declares that the Church is not committed to any particular form of government. She adapts herself to all; she leavens all with the sacred leaven of the Gospel. She has lived under absolute empires; she thrives under constitutional monarchies; she grows and expands under the free republic. She has often, indeed, been hampered in her divine mission and has had to struggle for a footing whenever despotism has cast its dark shadow like the plant excluded from the sunlight of heaven, but in the genial air of liberty, she blossoms like the rose!" (See the photocopy for the full text: Page 1 of Cardinal Gibbons sermon and Page 2 of Cardinal Gibbons sermon. The quoted text is found on the second pages of the photocopy, which is page 458 in the book in which it is contained.)
Readers can understand now why the late Dr. Justin Walsh entitled his series on Americanism in The Angelus magazine "Heresy Blossoms Like a Rose." Dr. Walsh was quoting from the text of James Cardinal Gibbons's March 25, 1887, sermon in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, Italy.
James Cardinal Gibbons clearly foreshadowed Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in being obvious to the truth.
First, the plain truth of the matter is that the life of the Catholic Faith was suffocated by the "genial air" of American "liberty" over time and that, unopposed by the civil authorities, Holy Mother Church grew in this country because of the fecundity of God's graces, which have been poured out upon her children throughout the nearly twenty centuries since Pentecost Sunday no matter the circumstances in which Catholics have found themselves. Indeed, Cardinal Gibbons, so blinded by his zeal the "American way," implied in his sermon that the despotism of the caesars of ancient Rome was a detriment to the Faith when it was the undoing of those despots who shed the blood of over thirteen million Catholics between the time of Emperor Nero in 67 A.D. and the Edict of Milan in the year 313 A.D.
Holy Mother Church grew during this despotism because Catholics refused to do what he, Gibbons, did and what the conciliar "popes" and "bishops" have done so regularly, namely, engage in false ecumenism and, in the case of the conciliar "popes" and "bishops," burned grains of incense to the "sacredness" of the temples of false religions. The early Church martyrs gave up their lives rather than even to give the appearance of having done such things. The blood the martyrs, not the "genial air of liberty" is the seed of the Church.
It is precisely because of the drying up of the wellsprings of grace as a result of the sacramental barrenness of the invalid liturgical rites of conciliarism that plunged Catholics in the United States into the abyss of total worldliness to such an extent that the lion's share of Catholics in this country use contraception. This is why so many Catholics do not share the conciliar "bishops'" outrage over the Obama administration's health-insurance mandate to provide coverage for contraception and related services as they accept that contraception is a natural good and a civil right of theirs. It was only Sanctifying Grace that kept Catholics in this country from losing the Faith as they were being "Americanized" in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of Catholics in this country do not even bother to darken Catholic church buildings to engage in "full, conscious and active participation" in the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service that is a celebration of false ecumenism and of the very spirit that give rise to the anti-Incarnational civil state of Modernity.
Second, while Pope Leo XIII did reiterate the truth that Holy Mother Church can adapt herself to any legitimate form government, he also noted that every such government, no matter how arranged (monarchical, parliamentary-ministerial, presidential-congessional), had an obligation to recognize the true religion, Catholicism, and to accord it the favor and the protection of the laws.
This is what Pope Leo XIII wrote in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885:
6. As a consequence, the State, constituted
as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties
linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. Nature and reason,
which command every individual devoutly to worship God in holiness, because we
belong to Him and must return to Him, since from Him we came, bind also the
civil community by a like law. For, men living together in society are under
the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than
individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and
whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since,
then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the
chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its reaching and
practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and
most clear marks show to be the only one true religion -it is a public crime
to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to
have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical
benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in
with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which
He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honour the
holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favour religion, to
protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and
neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This
is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and
all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and
fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the
attainment of this every endeavour should be directed. Since, then, upon this
depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end
should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society,
established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the well-being
of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual
members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to
render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good
for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially
be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice
is the link connecting man with God. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
As Cardinal Gibbons did not realize that this was a criticism all modern states, including the United States of America, Pope Leo XIII drove home the point nearly eight years later in Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895. After praising the natural virtue of George Washington and the the fact that Catholics lived in a well-ordered republic that posed no formal opposition to the Catholic Church, Pope Leo XIII went on to remind the American bishops of the last decade of the Nineteenth Century that the Faith had grown in their country not because of the the Constitution but because of God's graces, reminding them very specifically that the American model of Church-State relations was not the one to be followed in the rest of the world:
Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
Pope Leo XIII knew that the American bishops were not teaching his social encyclical letters from the pulpit, which is why he reminded in the following passage from Longiqua Oceani that they had the obligation to do so:
As regards civil affairs, experience has shown how important it is that the citizens should be upright and virtuous. In a free State, unless justice be generally cultivated, unless the people be repeatedly and diligently urged to observe the precepts and laws of the Gospel, liberty itself may be pernicious. Let those of the clergy, therefore, who are occupied with the instruction of the multitude, treat plainly this topic of the duties of citizens, so that all may understand and feel the necessity, in political life, of conscientiousness, self restraint, and integrity; for that cannot be lawful in public which is unlawful in private affairs. On this whole subject there are to be found, as you know, in the encyclical letters written by Us from time to time in the course of Our pontificate, many things which Catholics should attend to and observe. In these writings and expositions We have treated of human liberty, of the chief Christian duties, of civil government, and of the Christian constitution of States, drawing Our principles as well from the teaching of the Gospels as from reason. They, then, who wish to be good citizens and discharge their duties faithfully may readily learn from Our Letters the ideal of an upright life.
It is not to be "anti-American" to point out any of this. It is simply to point out that any false idea leads logically to bad consequences over the course of time no matter the good intentions of those who believe very sincerely in those false ideas. If it is "un" or "anti" American to point out the false ideas of the American founding as having produced the dire consequences that we face in our nation today, then it is also "un" or "anti" Catholic to point out the false ideas of conciliarism that have produced such chaos in the institutional structures that most people associate with the Catholic Church. Correcting falsehood is Supernatural Act of Charity (instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner), not an act of "disloyalty" to one's nation, who numbered among its founders men, as noted above, who had a
a founding hatred for Christ the King.
For myself, as a citizen of the United States, without closing my eyes to our defects as a nation, I proclaim, with a deep sense of pride and gratitude, and in this great capitol of Christendom, that I belong to a country where the civil government holds over us the aegis of protection without interfering in the legitimate exercise of our sublime mission as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ..
Our country has liberty without license, authority without despotism. Here is no spirit of exclusiveness. She has no frowning fortifications to repel the invader, for we are at peace with the world. In the consciousness of her strength and of her good will to all nations she rests secure. Her harbors are open in the Atlantic and Pacific to welcome the honest immigrant who comes to advance his temporal interest and to find a peaceful home.
A country where the civil government holds the aegis of protection without interfering in the legitimate exercise of the mission of the bishops as ministers of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
A country that has liberty without license.
These assertions were not even true at the time that Cardinal Gibbons made them and they are laughable today. Barack Hussein Obama, a consummate statist, feels free to open up a war against what he thinks is the Catholic Church because he knows that most Catholics in this country view the Catholic Church through the eyes of the world, in which they are merry participants, and not through the lens of the Catholic Faith. A country that does not recognize the Social Reign of Christ the King as it must be exercised by the Catholic Church will degenerate into such an abyss of licentiousness that make it possible for the lords and masters of the civil state to exercise near-despotic control over us by means of unjust laws, executive orders, administrative decrees and regulations, excessive taxation, bloated bureaucracies and judges who believe that they are laws unto themselves. Despotism is the only thing that can result over the course of time when civil states do not recognize Christ the King and their civil leaders do not seek to pursue the common temporal good in light of man's Last End, the possession of the glory of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost for al eternity.
Third and Final Passage:
But, while we are acknowledged to have a a free government, we do not, perhaps, receive due credit for possessing also a strong government. Yet, our nation is strong, and her strength lies, under Providence, in the majesty and supremacy of the law, in the loyalty of her citizens to that law, and in the affection of our people for their free institutions.
There are indeed, grave social problems which are now engaging the attention of the citizens of the United States. But I have no doubt that, with God's blessings, these problems will be solved by the calm judgment and sound sense of the American people without violence, or revolution, or injury to individual right.
What about the rights of God? What about the rights of Christ the King?
Supremacy of the law? Whose law? Man's law?
Sure, many people in the United States of America, including many Catholics, are very loyal to the laws that make it possible to frustrate the natural end of marriage and to engage in the chemical and surgical assassination of innocent preborn children.
Many people in the United States of America, including many Catholics, are very loyal to laws that provide special "rights" to those who are engaged in unnatural acts of vice against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, laws that are spreading from state to state.
Supremacy of the law? Civil law must become perverted when it is not subordinated in all that pertains to the good of souls to the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law as they have been entrusted by Our Lord Himself to infallible protection of the Catholic Church for their proper understanding.
The naturalistic ethos of the American founding created the Americanist heresy that clouds the minds of so many Catholics in the United States of America to this very day just as it clouded the mind of James Cardinal Gibbons and formed the very worldview held by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and his band "bishops" around the world, including here in the United States of America.
Yet it is a fact that Americanism is one of the fundamental building blocks of Modernism--and hence of concilairism. Americanism was condemned decisively by Pope Leo XIII in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899.
Pope Leo XIII understood that many Catholics in the United States of America were being influenced quite insidiously over the course of time by the various constituent parts of Americanism, including "exceptionalism," the belief that God Himself had destined the United States of America to be the signal nation to pave the way for "civil" and "religious freedom," and pluralism and separation of Church and State and unfettered freedom of speech and press. These influences would result, Pope Leo XII recognized, in a situation where many Catholics in this country would view the Church through the lens of Americanism rather than viewing the world through the eyes of the true Faith as they planted seeds for the establishment of the Social Reign of Christ the King.
But, beloved son, in this present matter of which we are speaking, there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that her supervision and watchfulness being in some sense lessened, allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity. They are of opinion that such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom which is now the right and the foundation of almost every secular state. (Pope Leo XIII, Apostolical Letter to James Cardinal Gibbons, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899.)
One of the reasons that some Protestants were so eager to honor James Cardinal Gibbons when he was elevated to the College of Cardinals on June 7, 1886, and then went to Rome to take canonical possession of his church in Rome nine months later was that they had begun to recognize the American brand of Catholicism was different than what they expected. Some of better educated Protestants knew and understood the mission of the Catholic Church very well, knowing that there had never been a time salvation history prior to then wherein Catholics did not seek to convert both men and their nations to the true Faith. This gave them hope that someone like James Cardinal Gibbons, who later carried water for the anti-Catholic statist and war monger named Thomas Woodrow Wilson during World War I, presaged a "different" kind of Catholic than they expected, one who was willing to adapt himself so readily to the tenor of the times so as to look forward to the day when Catholics were simply content to "take their place" in civil society without a trace of "triumphalism."
Pope Leo XIII explained near the end of his Apostolical Letter to Cardinal Gibbons that he feared that at least some of the American bishops did indeed desire the American model of the religiously indifferentist civil state, which is so praised by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, to be adopted by the Church herself as the means of "reconciling" herself to the "modern" world:
For it [an adherence to the condemned precepts of Americanism] would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive of and desire the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world. (Pope Leo XIII, Apostolical Letter to James Cardinal Gibbons, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899.)
Pope Leo XIII was not just a whistlin' Dixie.
As noted in yesterday's article the Americanists themselves had spoken boldly of their intention of using the American regime, based on an indifference to the true religion and on the belief that men could be virtuous on their own powers without belief in, access to or cooperation with Sanctifying Grace, as the foundation of a veritable "new world order" based on the myth of American exceptionalism.
Monsignor Henri Delassus documented the beliefs of Americanism's very own "founding father," Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, concerning the "universal" mission of Americanism to "evangelize" the Church, if you will, by quoting one of Hecker's early biographers, Abbot Klein:
"American Catholicism" is not, in the thought of is promoters, a way of thinking and of practicing Catholicism solely in the contingent and changing things that would be common to the United States, in accordance with the particular conditions that are found on American soil. If this had been so, we would not have believed it incumbent upon us to be concerned with it.
No, their pretension is to speak to the entire universe: "The ear of the world is open to our thinking, if we know what to say to them," Msgr. [Bishop of Richmond, John] Keane had written to the Congress of Brussels. And in fact they are speaking, and their word has not been without echo upon each part of France. If, at least, they had not put into the ear of the world anything other than what the Church leaves to our free discussion; but, no, as we shall see, we shall come to understand that their words are more or less imposed upon that which belongs to the very fundamentals of the Catholic faith.
The Abbot Klein had said in the preface he gave to The Life of Fr. Hecker: "His [Fr. Hecker's] unique and original work is to have shown the profound harmonies joining the new state of the human spirit to the true Christianity." "The American ideas that he recommended are, he knew, those which GOD wanted all civilized people of our time to be at home with ..."
"The times are solemn," Msgr. Ireland had said, in his discourse, The Church and the Age. "At such an epoch of history ... the desire to know is intense ... The ambition of the spirit, fired up by the marvelous success in every field of human knowledge ... The human heart lets itself go to the strangest ideals ... Something new! Such is the ordered word of humanity, and to renew all things is its firm resolution.
"The moment is opportune for men of talent and character among the children of the Church of God. Today the routine of old times is dead; today the ordinary means lead to the decrepitude of the aged; the crisis demands something new, something extraordinary; and it is upon this condition that the Church shall record the greatest of victories in the greatest of historical ages" (Discourse given in the Cathedral of Baltimore, October 18, 1893, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Episcopal consecration of Cardinal Gibbons.) (Monsignor Henri Delassus, Americanism and the Anti-Christian Conspiracy, available from Catholic Action Resource Center, pp. 9-10.)
These beliefs are firmly ingrained in the minds of most Catholics in the United States of America. They believe, as I did for the first thirty-five years of my life, that Catholicism and every single aspect of the American founding with perfectly compatible, that it is neither necessary or wise even to seek the conversion of the country to the true Faith. It is not an exaggeration to state that the laissez-faire "ecumenism" of the counterfeit church of conciliarism had its origins, at least in part, here in the United States of America just as conciliarism's embrace of "religious liberty" and the separation of Church and State, both of which had been condemned by pope after pope prior to October 9, 1958, has predominantly Americanist roots. The errors of Americanism have flowed from the Potomac River to the Tiber River and then back again as they have been enshrined in the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic ethos of the Novus Ordo liturgical service.
As was noted in earlier in this article, it was only the graces flowing from the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that kept most Catholics attentive to their interior lives of prayer and to the Holy Mother Church's disciplinary practices. The abandonment of even the two different modernized versions of the Traditional Mass that were in effect from 1961 to 1969 and the loss of true bishops and true priests over time helped to expedite the paganization of the lives of many Catholics, including those who still bother to show up at the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service which is a celebration of the spirit of Modernity, to say nothing of those who have quit the practice of the Faith altogether. This predisposes Catholics to flock to every error of Modernity imaginable, usually dividing along the naturalistic ideological fault lines of the false opposites of the "right" and the "left."
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has celebrated the American founding and its commitment to "religious liberty" and "separation of Church and State" even though both have been condemned time and time again by one true pope after another when these errors began to manifest themselves at the end of the Eighteenth Century and thereafter. He has done so by making advertence to his "hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity" in order to make anathematized and/or condemned propositions seem in perfect accord with the immutable teaching of the Catholic Church.
Ratzinger/Benedict knows that the errors of religious liberty, denounced as heretical by Pope Pius VII in Post Tam Diuturnas, April 28, 1814, and as "insanity" by Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832, and separation of Church and State, which was termed a "thesis absolutely false" by Pope Saint Pius X in Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906, are in contradiction to conciliarism's embrace of them. This is why he has had to invent his absurd "hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity" to seek to justify them, blaspheming God the Holy Ghost in the process by saying in his famous December 22, 2005, Christmas address to the member of his curia that "it was necessary to learn" that past pronouncements can be understood anew as the terms in which they were expressed were "contingent" on the historical circumstances that produced them, meaning that God the Holy Ghost kept this "knowledge" from true popes who reiterated Catholic teaching repeatedly right up until the time of the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958.
Ratzinger/Benedict is forever bewailing the influence of irreligion in the world, urging the "world's religions" to join together against it, oblivious to the simple truth that the prevalence of irreligion in the world today is the logical result of the Protestant Revolution against the Divine Plan that God Himself instituted to effect man's return to Him through the Catholic Church and the institutionalization of naturalism as normative even in the life of believing Catholics in nations committed to "pluralism" by the combined, inter-related and multifaceted forces of Judeo-Masonry and the various "salvific" naturalist or secularist ideologies that have sprung from it. How can false religions fight irreligion when it is the proliferation and social acceptance of false religions in the past half of a millennium that have produced irreligion as a force in the world today? Ratzinger/Benedict seems incapable of understanding this simple truth as it is contrary to his conciliarist world view. And James Cardinal Gibbons could not understand or accept the fact that irreligion must reign in a land that does not recognize the true Faith.
The spirit of concilairism is the spirit of Modernity, which is the spirit of the diabolical admixture of Protestantism and Judeo-Masonry. No nation can be truly "one" unless that is a true brotherhood among its citizens effected by the bonds of the Holy Faith, bonds that unite them to other Catholics worldwide in fealty to a true and legitimate Roman Pontiff, bonds that make them defenders of the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen. We are merely seeing the universal manifestation of Americanism as predicted in glowing terms by Father Isaac Thomas Hecker's biographer, Abbot Klein. Behold the wretched results as the conciliar "popes" help to reinforce the very falsehoods have dethroned Christ the King enshrined men as sovereign "kings" over their own affairs, both personally and socially.
Catholicism is the one and only foundation of social order. You have heard this before? You will keep hearing until the day I die or the day that I am unable to continue work on this site as a result of physical and/or mental infirmity, whichever shall first occur (and I realize that some of you believe that the latter condition obtains at the present time). Catholicism is the only and only foundation of personal and social order. Period.
You continue to doubt this? Well, consider once again these words of Pope Saint Pius X, contained 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.
We must enfold ourselves into the love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as we make reparation for our own many sins, which are so responsible for the worsening of the state of the Church Militant on earth and of the world-at-large, as we seek to restore all things in Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.
The Rosary, the Rosary, the Rosary. Use it well. The enemies of Christ the King within in our souls and in the world-at-large will be defeated by Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and the fulfillment of her Fatima Message.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
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 Anselm, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints
The Popes Contra The Errors of the Religiously Indifferent and Anti-Incarnational Civil State of Modernity
Pope Gregory XVI on Religious Liberty and Free Speech and Free Press
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
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? (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832.)
Pope Pius IX Condemning Liberty of Conscience as found in the Modern civil state
For you well know, venerable brethren, that at
this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the
impious and absurd principle of "naturalism," as they call it, dare to
teach that "the best constitution of public society and (also) civil
progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed
without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist;
or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true
religion and false ones." And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the
Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that
"that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is
recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted
penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as
public peace may require." From which totally false idea of
social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion,
most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of
souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity," viz., that
"liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which
ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted
society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute
liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether
ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to
manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of
mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm
this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty
of perdition;" and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room
for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist
truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we
know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully
Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling.
And, since where religion has been removed from civil society,
and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the
genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost,
and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by
material force, thence it appears why it is that some, utterly
neglecting and disregarding the surest principles of sound reason, dare
to proclaim that "the people's will, manifested by what is called public
opinion or in some other way, constitutes a supreme law, free from all
divine and human control; and that in the political order accomplished
facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the
force of right." But who, does not see and clearly perceive
that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true
justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining
and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows
no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of
ministering to its own pleasure and interests?" (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864.)(Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864.)
Pope Leo XIII on the Duties of Catholics to Defend Catholic Truth in Public
But in this same matter, touching Christian
faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance,
necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become
more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread
folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to
undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this
charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the
honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But,
when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of
rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas
maintains: "Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either
to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the
attacks of unbelievers.'' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence
when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part
of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the
truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of
behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with
the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to
the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as
the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of
vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not
seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false
charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves
more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no
one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is
the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such
display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are
thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater
the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: "Have
confidence; I have overcome the world." Nor is there any ground for
alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church,
needs not any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to
Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in
obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His
The chief elements of this duty
consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine,
and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is
often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to
Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses,
when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as
Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason
yields assent. (Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890.)
Pope Leo XIII on the Degeneration of Nations Absent the Catholic Faith
From this it may clearly be seen what
consequences are to be expected from that false pride which, rejecting
our Saviour's Kingship, places man at the summit of all things and
declares that human nature must rule supreme. And yet, this
supreme rule can neither be attained nor even defined. The rule of Jesus
Christ derives its form and its power from Divine Love: a holy and
orderly charity is both its foundation and its crown. Its necessary
consequences are the strict fulfilment of duty, respect of mutual
rights, the estimation of the things of heaven above those of earth, the
preference of the love of God to all things. But this supremacy of man,
which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely
founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor selfdevotion. Man
may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he
first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's
law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of
morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected
and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the
rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the
chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are
most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate
the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the
Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to
her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly
commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to
follow her even as Himself: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he
that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of
Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's "Way"; the Church
also is his "Way"-Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church
by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who
would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in
As with individuals, so with nations.
These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from "The
Way." The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and
Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both
individually and collectively. "And He gave Him power, and
glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve
Him" (Daniel vii., 14). "I am appointed King by Him . . . I will give
Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the
earth for Thy possession" (Psalm ii., 6, 8). Therefore the law of Christ
ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of
public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree,
and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the
common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs
to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of
its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for
which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end
is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the
aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and
eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded,
both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow
nor end to aim at. (Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900.)
Pope Leo XIII: We Must Restore Catholicism
Just as Christianity cannot penetrate into
the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter into public life
without establishing order. With the idea of a God Who governs all, Who
is infinitely wise, good, and just, the idea of duty seizes upon the
consciences of men. It assuages sorrow, it calms hatred, it engenders
heroes. If it has transformed pagan society--and that transformation was
a veritable resurrection--for barbarism disappeared in proportion as
Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which
unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that
world again on the true road, and bring back to order the states and
peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not
be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a
sincere love of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the
Catholic Church Christianity is Incarnate. It identifies itself with
that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which
is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and which has for Its visible head
the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It
is the continuation of the mission of the Savior, the daughter and the
heiress of His Redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended
it at the price of its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance and
of that immortality which has been promised it, it makes no terms with
error but remains faithful to the commands which It has received, to
carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world
and to the end of time, and to protect it in its inviolable integrity.
Legitimate dispenser of the teachings of the Gospel It does not reveal
itself only as the consoler and Redeemer of souls, but It is still more
the internal source of justice and charity, and the propagator as well
as the guardian of true liberty, and of that equality which alone is
possible here below. In applying the doctrine of its Divine Founder, It
maintains a wise equilibrium and marks the true limits between the
rights and privileges of society. The equality which it proclaims does
not destroy the distinction between the different social classes It
keeps them intact, as nature itself demands, in order to oppose the
anarchy of reason emancipated from Faith, and abandoned to its own
devices. The liberty which it gives in no wise conflicts with the rights
of truth, because those rights are superior to the demands of liberty.
Not does it infringe upon the rights of justice, because those rights
are superior to the claims of mere numbers or power. Nor does it assail
the rights of God because they are superior to the rights of humanity.
(Pope Leo XIII, A Review of His Pontificate, March 19, 1902.)