Friends of Diocletian
Thomas A. Droleskey
Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?
Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.
Over thirteen million Catholics were killed by the brute force of Roman emperors between the time of Emperor Nero in 67 A.D. and the time of the Edict of Milan, issued by Emperor Constantine, in the year 313 A.D. Civil law was used as the basis of preventing the public worship of the true God and of attempting to force Catholics to pay homage to all manner of false gods and/or to engage in forbidden practices. The executions of these thirteen million Catholics was carried out, at least in most instances, after what passed for due process of law in the Roman empire. Even Roman citizens who had performed their military duty bravely in the service of the Roman Empire, such as Saint Eustacius, were put to death because they refused to participate in the worship of the false gods.
Over 72,000 Catholics were put to death in England under orders from King Henry VIII between the time of the Parliamentary Act of Supremacy in 1534 and the time of his death in 1547. These Catholics were killed under cover of the civil law because they refused to acknowledge the king, whom they recognized as the head of the English civil state, as the head of the Church in England, preferring death to denying their fealty to the Primacy of the Successor of Saint Peter. The civil law in England at the time of the Protestant Revolt was used to close monasteries and convents, thus forcing the poor who had farmed the lands attached thereto for generations upon generations to flee from their homes as the lands upon which they lived as tenant farmers was given away to Henry's political associates so as to guarantee their own personal stake in preventing a reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
The French Revolutionaries used civil law to subordinate the Catholic Church to the civil state by means of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, July 12, 1790. This was an effort to silence any resistance to the anti-Theistic precepts of the revolution and to secure a "constitutional hierarchy" that would do what the "citizens" desired done. Even this "civil constitution of the clergy" was deemed insufficient by those who organized and implemented the Reign of Terror, wherein approximately 17,000 people, mostly faithful Catholics, were executed by means of the guillotine and another 40,000 or so were executed while awaiting their show-trials.
The Freemason Otto von Bismarck used the cover of civil law during his Kulturkampf (1871-1878) to engage in a persecution of the Catholic Church, starting with laws in 1871 that threatened Catholic bishops and priests with prison terms of up to two years if they dared to discuss politics from the pulpit. This was a means, obviously, of silencing opposition to his statism and social engineering (including the imposition of a mandatory retirement age and instituting a social security system so as to make the elderly retired wards of the civil state, thereby breaking the bond that obligated grown children to provide for their parents when they were unable to provide for themselves). Bismarck also had the Society of Jesus banned from Germany and required the civil state to inspect Catholic schools. Monasteries and convents were closed. Consecrated religious were displaced.
Pope Pius IX wrote of these injustices, each of which were conducted under cover of the civil law, in Bismarck's Germany, which mirrored those injustices taking place in Italy, which had just been "united" by the forces of Freemasonry following the fall of the Papal States in 1870, in Etsi Multa, November 21, 1873:
In addition to many grave injuries inflicted on the Catholic Church last year, the government of Prussia with harsh, iniquitous laws totally different from previous ones have subjected the whole institution and education of clerics to lay power. One can now legitimately ask how clerics are to be educated and formed for the priestly and pastoral life. Going further still, the government grants to the same lay power the right to bestow any office or ecclesiastical benefice and even the right to deprive sacred pastors of office and benefice.
Moreover so that the ecclesiastical government and the hierarchical order of subordination constituted by Christ Himself may be more quickly and fully subverted, these same laws impose many obstacles on bishops so that they cannot provide, through canonical censures and punishments, for the salvation of souls, the soundness of doctrine in Catholic schools, and the obedience due them from clerics. These same laws forbid bishops to do these things unless they are in accord with the wishes of the civil authority and the norms proposed by it. And so that nothing be lacking in the total oppression of the Catholic Church, a royal tribunal for ecclesiastical affairs has been instituted. Bishops and holy pastors can be summoned before it, both by private individuals and by public magistrates, so as to stand trial like criminals and be coerced in the exercise of their spiritual functions.
Existence of Church Threatened
Thus the holy Church of Christ, whose necessary and full freedom of which religion had repeatedly been guaranteed by public pacts and the highest princes, has in these same places been deprived of all its rights and exposed to hostile men. Its final extinction now threatens. For the new laws, to be sure, have as their intent its destruction.
No wonder, then, that the former religious tranquility has been gravely disturbed in that Empire by this kind of law and other plans and actions of the Prussian government most hostile to the Church. But who would wish to falsely cast the blame of this disturbance on the Catholics of the German Empire! For if they are faulted for not acquiesing in such laws in which they could not acquiesce with good conscience, for the same reason the apostles of Jesus Christ ant the martyrs, who preferred to undergo most dreadful tortures and death itself than to betray their duty and violate the rights of their most holy religion by obeying the commands of the princes who persecuted them, must also be faulted.
If no other laws than these of the civil authority existed and if they were of the highest order, it would be wrong to transgress them. If, moreover, these same civil laws constituted the norm of conscience, as some maintain both impiously and absurdly, the early martyrs and their followers would have been worthy of reprehension rather than honor and praise. Indeed it would have been against the laws and the wish of princes to hand down the Christian faith, propagate it, and found the Church. Nevertheless the faith teaches and human reason demonstrates that there is a twofold order of things. Two kinds of powers must be distinguished on earth-one natural that looks to the tranquility and secular business of human society; the other, whose origin is above nature, which is in charge of the Church of Christ, divinely instituted for the salvation and peace of souls. The offices of these two powers are wisely coordinated so that things which belong to God are returned to God and, because of God, those of Caesar to Caesar, who "for this reason is great because he is less than heaven for he belongs to Him whom heaven and all creatures belong."
From this divine command, to be sure, the Church has never turned aside. It always and everywhere attempts to inculcate in the faithful an inviolable obedience towards their supreme rulers and their rights, insofar as they are secular, and it has taught, with the Apostle, that they are rulers not for fear of good works but of evil, teaching the faithful to be subject not only because of fear, because the prince bears the sword to carry out his ire against him who has done evil, but also because of conscience because in his office he is a minister of God. However, this fear of princes the Church limits to evil acts, excluding the same totally from the observance of the divine law, being mindful of what blessed Peter taught the faithful; "May none of you suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer, but if any of you should suffer for being a Christian, then he is not to be ashamed of it; let him glorify God in that name."
Since these things are so, you understand how sad We must have been when We read in the recent letter from the German Emperor the unexpected accusation against certain of his Catholic subjects, especially against the Catholic clergy, and bishops. The reason for this accusation is that they, fearing neither bonds nor tribulations and not placing any great value on their lives, refuse to obey the aforementioned laws. They protest with that same firmness shown before the passing of these laws. They pointed out their faults by serious, clear and most solid explanations which, with the approval of the whole Catholic world and even of some heterodox men, they delivered to the Prince, his administrators and the supreme council of the kingdom.
For the same reason now they are accused of treason, as if they were conspiring with those who strive to upset all orders of human society. No attention is paid to the excellent arguments in which they clearly attest their unbroken loyalty and obedience to the Prince and their lively devotion to their fatherland. Indeed We Ourselves are asked to exhort Catholics and holy pastors there to observe these laws; this would be equivalent to Our contributing to the oppression and dispersion of the flock of the Christ. However, supported by God, We are confident that the most serene Emperor, having more carefully weighed things, will reject the empty suspicion conceived against his most loyal subjects and will no longer allow their honor to be reviled with foul detraction. In addition, he will end the unmerited persecution against them. Moreover, We would have willingly passed over the imperial letter if it had not been published, against Our knowledge and in a most unusual fashion, by an official newspaper in Berlin. It was published together with other material written by Us, in which We appealed for justice from the Emperor for the Catholic Church in Prussia.
Harassing of the Church
What We have recounted so far is common knowledge. Monks and virgins devoted to God are deprived of the common liberty of ordinary citizens and ejected with enormous cruelty, Catholic schools are daily being taken away from the care of the Church, and sodalities for pious works and even seminaries are dissolved. Additionally, the liberty of evangelical preaching is interfered with, hindered, teaching religion in the native language is forbidden in certain parts of the kingdom. Curates are withdrawn from their parishes, and prelates themselves are deprived of revenues coerced in many ways, and frightened with threat of imprisonment. While Catholics are vexed with all kinds of harassment such as these, how can We possibly acquiesce to what is suggested and not invoke the religion of Jesus Christ and the truth?
Government Support for Heretics
Nor is this the limit of the injuries which are committed against the Catholic Church. In addition the Prussian and other governments of the German Empire openly support those recent heretics who call themselves Old Catholics. Their abuse of such a name would be plainly ridiculous if it were not for the fact that so many monstrous errors of this sect against the principal teachings of the Catholic faith, so many sacrileges in divine service and the administration of the sacraments, so many grave scandals, and so much ruin of souls redeemed by the blood of Christ did not force tears from Our eyes.
The Freemasons in Italy also persecuted the Catholic Church under cover of the civil law at the same time that the Kulturkampf was taking place in Germany. Religious houses were closed. Education was placed under the control of the civil state. Clerics such as Saint John Bosco were under regular suspicion for what was termed "anti-governmental" activities." Pope Leo XIII, writing in Etsi Nos, February 15, 1882, bewailed these conditions in his native Italy:
In the midst of the populations of Italy, which have always been so constant and steadfast in the faith of their fathers, the liberty of the Church is wounded on all sides; everyday efforts are redoubled in order to efface from the public institutions that Christian stamp and character which has always, and with good reason, been the seal of the glories of Italy. Religious houses suppressed, the goods of the Church confiscated, marriages contracted in despite of the laws and without the rites of the Church, the position of the religious authorities as to the education of the young utterly ignored -- in fine, a cruel and deplorable war without limit and without measure declared against the Apostolic See, a war on account of which the Church is weighed down by inexpressible suffering, and the Roman Pontiff finds himself reduced to extreme anguish. For, despoiled of his Civil Princedom, he has of necessity fallen into the hands of another Power.
More than this; Rome, the most august of Christian cities, is now a place laid open to all the enemies of the Church; profane novelties defile it; here and there, temples and schools devoted to heresy are to be found. It is even reported that this year it is about to receive the deputies and leaders of the sect which is most embittered against Catholicism, who have appointed this city as the place for their solemn meeting. The reasons which have determined their choice of such a meeting place are no secret; they desire by this outrageous provocation to glut the hatred which they nourish against the Church, and to bring their incendiary torches within reach of the Roman Pontificate by attacking it in its very seat.
The Church, without doubt, will in the end be triumphant and will baffle the impious conspiracies of men; but it is none the less admitted and certain that their designs aim at nothing less than the destruction of the whole system of the Church with its Head, and the abolition, if it were possible, of all religion.
For those who pretend to be friends of the honor of Italy to dream of such prospects would seem a thing incredible, for the ruin of the Catholic faith in Italy would dry up the source of the most precious of goods. If, in truth, the Christian religion has created for the nations the best guarantees for their prosperity, the sanctity of right and the guardianship of justice; if by her influence she has everywhere subdued headlong and hasty passions, she, the companion and protectress of all honesty, of all nobility, of all greatness; if she has everywhere summoned all classes and every member of society to meet in a lasting peace and in perfect harmony, Italy has received a richer share of these benefits than any other nation.
It is, in truth, the shame of too many persons that they dare to denounce the Church as dangerous to public safety and prosperity, and to regard the Roman Pontificate as the enemy of the greatness of the name of Italy. But the records of the past give the lie to such slanders and to absurd calumnies of a similar kind. It is to the Church and the Roman Pontiffs that Italy especially owes gratitude for having spread her glories in all lands, for never having allowed her to succumb under the repeated incursions of having for generations preserved in many ways a lawful amount of just and proper liberty, and for having enriched her cities with numerous and immortal monuments of science and of art. In truth it is not the least glory of the Roman Pontiffs that they have maintained united in a common faith the various provinces of Italy, so different in customs and in genius, and have kept them from most disastrous disagreements. Frequently, in times of trouble and calamity, the welfare of the State would have been in peril, had not the Roman Pontificate saved it by exercise of its lifegiving power.
And its influence will not be less beneficial in the future if the malice of men does not interfere and hinder its efficacy or stifle its liberty. This beneficial force, which is peculiar to Catholic institutions, because it flows from them as a natural consequence, is unchangeable and unceasing. Even as, for the salvation of souls, the Catholic religion embraces all countries without any limitations of time or space, so does it always and everywhere stand forth and present itself as the true friend of the civil power.
These great advantages are being lost, and are being followed by grave evils; for the enemies of Christian wisdom, be their rival pretensions what they may, are leading society to its ruin. Nothing can be more efficacious than their doctrines in the way of kindling in men's minds the flames of violence and of stirring up the most pernicious passions. In the sphere of science they are repudiating the heavenly lights of faith; and when once this torch is put out, the mind of men is usually carried away by errors, no longer sees the truth, and begins quietly to sink into the lowest depths of a base and shameful materialism. In the sphere of morals they are disdainfully rejecting the eternal and unchangeable reasoning, and are despising God -- the sovereign Legislator and supreme Avenger and when once these foundations are torn away no sufficient authority remains for law, and the regulation of life merely depends upon the good pleasure and free will of man. In society, the liberty without limit which they preach and pursue engenders license, and this license is very soon followed by the overthrow of order, the most fatal scourge of the public welfare. Of a truth, it is impossible to see society in a more pitiable or miserable state than in those places where such men and such doctrines as we have been describing have gained the upper hand even for a moment. Unless recent examples had furnished evidence it would have been difficult to believe that men, in a transport of furious and criminal boldness, could even have cast themselves into excesses of such a kind, and while retaining as if in mockery the name of liberty, could have given themselves over to "satutnalia" of conflagrations and murders. If Italy has not, up to the present time, experienced a similar reign of terror, we must attribute it first to the especial protection of God; but the fact must be also recognized -- to explain this preservation -- that the people of Italy -- the immense majority of whom are still faithful to the Catholic religion -- have never been able to be subdued by the vicious and shameful doctrines We have denounced. And it must be confessed that if the ramparts erected by religion begin to give way, Italy also will fall into the same abyss, in which the greatest and most flourishing nations have in past times lain prostrate as victims. Similar doctrines involve similar consequences, and since the germs are infected with the same poisons, it cannot be but that they should produce the same fruits.
Yes, those who reject the Social Reign of Christ the King must look to the government as the "true church," outside of which there is no secular salvation and without which no one can solve any of his personal problems. As the principle of non-contradiction teaches us that two mutually contradictory statements cannot be true simultaneously. There cannot be two two "churches" at the same time, which is why revolutionaries (Protestant, French, Bolshevik, Nazi, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Sandinista) and their ideological cousins in liberalism and conservatism and libertarianism and other forms of naturalism embrace, albeit for different reasons, the heresy of the separation of Church and State and why the more radical among them must use the civil law to attempt to suppress the life and the mission of Holy Mother Church.
Even in the land where the heresy of "religious liberty" was born, the United States of America, efforts to suppress the true Faith were made on the state level now and again.
The State of Oregon, a den of Freemasonry which has championed "physician-assisted suicide" in recent years as a result of a voter initiative enacted into law by means of a popular referendum, became quite a laboratory to see how far the warfare against the Church could be taken. A voter initiative, sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan and the Oregon Scottish Rite Masons, was approved on November 7, 1922, to force all parents to send their children to public schools. A legal battle ensued, prompting the Supreme Court of the United States on June 1, 1925, to issue a decision in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters that invalidated the Oregon law, which would have become effective in 1926 had the Court not ruled against the law.
The voters of the State of North Dakota passed a initiative in 1948, sponsored by the Committee for Separation of Church and State, to forbid the wearing of religious garb by consecrated religious who taught in public schools. One Sister told me in 1989 that she was heartbroken as the power of the civil state forced her to take off her exterior sign of espousal to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So much for the demigod of "states' right," my friends. So much for that demigod that is so precious to so many "conservatives" and "libertarians."
It should not surprise us at all that a "trial balloon," if you will, is being floated by two legislators in the State of Connecticut to attempt to suppress what they believe to be the Catholic Church from opposing such evils as the "marriages" of those steeped in unnatural, perverse acts against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and the chemical and surgical dismemberment of innocent preborn children in their mothers' wombs. These two legislators, Andrew McDonald and Michael Lawlor, are simply following in the anti-Catholic path that has been blazed in the path by the likes of Nero, Trajan, Diocletian, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Maximilian Robespierre, Napoleon Bonaparte, Otto von Bismarck, Vladimir I. Lenin, Plutarco Elias Calles, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, as well as countless numbers of other petty civil potentates, as they seek to make the Catholic Church subordinate to the civil state in matters that pertain to her internal governance.
The particular bill (whose text can be viewed here:
http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/TOB/S/2009SB-01098-R00-SB.htmi), introduced on March 5, 2009, by McDonald in the Connecticut State Senate and Lawlor in the Connecticut State House of Representatives, is Bill 1098, which sought to revise existing Connecticut corporation law as it pertains to the structuring of individual parishes in such a way as to give the laity the exclusive voice in parish finances and policies. The bill was a rather clumsily disguised effort to intimidate the people its sponsors believe to be the true officials of the Catholic Church from speaking out on the issues of the day, not that the Connecticut "bishops," who have approved the administration of the "Plan B" emergency baby-killer to women who have been victims of assault, have been veritable bastions in support of Catholic orthodoxy on matters of Faith and Morals. This bill would have affected not only Catholic parishes currently in the control of the counterfeit church of conciliarism but also Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, Saint Ignatius Retreat House and Christ the King Church in Ridegefield, Connecticut, and Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Orange, Connecticut.
After much protest from the conciliar "archbishop" of Hartford, Connecticut, Henry Mansell, and the "bishop" of Bridgeport, Connecticut, William Lori, as well as from ordinary Catholics, many of whom had planned to be at a rally in the state capital, Hartford, yesterday, March 11, 2009, the bill's sponsors canceled a public hearing that was to be held by their joint legislative Judiciary Committee yesterday and have withdraw it, at least temporarily, from consideration for the remainder of this calendar year pending a review of the constitutionality of existing legislation by the Connecticut State Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal. Rest assured, however, that the agents of the organized forces of naturalism, aided and abetted by many Catholics of the "leftist" bent who are attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, will attempt to pass similar measures, perhaps by means of ballot initiatives, to impose a legal reign of terror, if you will, on Catholics who are seem to be impediments to the "protection" of baby-killing and the passage of legislation to secure "civil rights" for those who base their self-identification on unrepentant sinful behavior.
Some of those who opposed the temporarily-defunct Bill 1098 made advertence to the "religious liberty" guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America to various religious bodies, including the Catholic Church. Such advertence to First Amendment, while understandable in the context of attempting to the use the legal tools at one's disposal to oppose measure that are unjust even according to the terms of the United States Constitution, does not provide the moral grounds upon which to explain to ordinary Catholics why such measures are in se violations of the Divine Constitution of the Catholic Church.
That is, a properly constituted civil state would understand that it has the obligation to recognize the true Church and, quoting Pope Leo XIII in Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895, to
accord her "the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority." The Catholic Church is the one and only true Church. She alone is immune from being regulated in any way by any civil state at any time. This immunity must be recognized by each civil state on the face of the earth in its organic documents and/or in a concordat made with the Holy See. That the counterfeit church of conciliarism has rejected this absolute right of the Catholic Church to be recognized as the one and only true religion and to be accorded a place in civil law over and above false religions in favor of the falsehoods of the "religious liberty" enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is one of the reasons speaks volumes about the extent to which the false church of conciliarism has indeed done the opposite of what Pope Leo XIII exhorted against in Custodi di Quella Fede, December 8, 1892:
Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God. (Pope Leo XIII, Custodi Di Quella Fede, December 8, 1892.)
The counterfeit church of conciliarism does indeed hide under the "mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution," which is why agents of the organized forces of naturalism are becoming bolder and bolder in their attacks upon what they believe to be the Catholic Church as a means of preserving their own lives of sin and debauchery. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI will soon issue his third "encyclical" letter, wherein he will attempt to put a firm "papal" imprimatur on the separation of Church and State that was termed a thesis "absolutely false" by Pope Saint Pius X in Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906, and condemned by Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832, Pope Pius IX in The Syllabus of Errors and Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864, Pope Leo XIII in numerous encyclicals (including Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885, Libertas, June 20, 1888, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900, A Review of His Pontificate, March 17, 1902) and by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907. One has to engage in an awful lot of Hegelianism to explain away this consistent body of Catholic teaching, the rejection of which Pope Pius XI termed in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922, is nothing other than socio-political Modernism.
Indeed, Pope Gelasius made the proper distinctions between Church and State in 494 A.D., explaining the obligation of the latter to cede to the former, using words that apply directly to the situation that came to light within the past week in the State of Connecticut.
There are two powers, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. Of these that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, dear son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in things divine you bow your head humbly before the leaders of the clergy and await from their hands the means of your salvation. In the reception and proper disposition a the heavenly mysteries you recognize that you should be subordinate rather than superior to the religious order, and that in these matters you depend on their judgment rather than wish to force them to follow your will.
If the ministers of religion, recognizing the supremacy granted you from heaven in matters affecting the public order, obey your laws, lest otherwise they might obstruct the course of secular affairs by irrelevant considerations, with what readiness should you not yield them obedience to whom is assigned the dispensing of the sacred mysteries of religion. Accordingly, just as there is no slight danger in the case of the priests if they refrain from speaking when the service of the divinity requires, so there is no little risk for those who disdain - which God forbid -when they should obey. And if it is fitting that the hearts of the faithful should submit to all priests in general who properly administer divine affairs, how much the more is obedience due to the bishop of that see which the Most High ordained to be above all others, and which is consequently dutifully honored by the devotion of the whole Church. (Letter to Emperor Anastasius)
Pope Leo XIII explained the obligation of the civil state to recognize and to protect the Divine Constitution of Holy Mother Church:
In very truth, Jesus Christ gave to His Apostles unrestrained authority in regard to things sacred, together with the genuine and most true power of making laws, as also with the twofold right of judging and of punishing, which flow from that power. "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth: going therefore teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." And in another place: "If he will not hear them, tell the Church." And again: "In readiness to revenge all disobedience." And once more: "That . . . I may not deal more severely according to the power which the Lord hath given me, unto edification and not unto destruction." Hence, it is the Church, and not the State, that is to be man's guide to heaven. It is to the Church that God has assigned the charge of seeing to, and legislating for, all that concerns religion; of teaching all nations; of spreading the Christian faith as widely as possible; in short, of administering freely and without hindrance, in accordance with her own judgment, all matters that fall within its competence.
Now, this authority, perfect in itself, and plainly meant to be unfettered, so long assailed by a philosophy that truckles to the State, the Church, has never ceased to claim for herself and openly to exercise. The Apostles themselves were the first to uphold it, when, being forbidden by the rulers of the synagogue to preach the Gospel, they courageously answered: "We must obey God rather than men." This same authority the holy Fathers of the Church were always careful to maintain by weighty arguments, according as occasion arose, and the Roman Pontiffs have never shrunk from defending it with unbending constancy. Nay, more, princes and all invested with power to rule have themselves approved it, in theory alike and in practice. It cannot be called in question that in the making of treaties, in the transaction of business matters, in the sending and receiving ambassadors, and in the interchange of other kinds of official dealings they have been wont to treat with the Church as with a supreme and legitimate power. And, assuredly, all ought to hold that it was not without a singular disposition of God's providence that this power of the Church was provided with a civil sovereignty as the surest safeguard of her independence.
The Almighty, therefore, has given the charge of the human race to two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human, things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right. But, inasmuch as each of these two powers has authority over the same subjects, and as it might come to pass that one and the same thing -- related differently, but still remaining one and the same thing -- might belong to the jurisdiction and determination of both, therefore God, who foresees all things, and who is the author of these two powers, has marked out the course of each in right correlation to the other. "For the powers that are, are ordained of God." Were this not so, deplorable contentions and conflicts would often arise, and, not infrequently, men, like travelers at the meeting of two roads, would hesitate in anxiety and doubt, not knowing what course to follow. Two powers would be commanding contrary things, and it would be a dereliction of duty to disobey either of the two.
But it would be most repugnant to them to think thus of the wisdom and goodness of God. Even in physical things, albeit of a lower order, the Almighty has so combined the forces and springs of nature with tempered action and wondrous harmony that no one of them clashes with any other, and all of them most fitly and aptly work together for the great purpose of the universe. There must, accordingly, exist between these two powers a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the union of the soul and body in man. The nature and scope of that connection can be determined only, as We have laid down, by having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account of the relative excellence and nobleness of their purpose. One of the two has for its proximate and chief object the well-being of this mortal life; the other, the everlasting joys of heaven. Whatever, therefore in things human is of a sacred character, whatever belongs either of its own nature or by reason of the end to which it is referred, to the salvation of souls, or to the worship of God, is subject to the power and judgment of the Church. Whatever is to be ranged under the civil and political order is rightly subject to the civil authority. Jesus Christ has Himself given command that what is Caesar's is to be rendered to Caesar, and that what belongs to God is to be rendered to God.
There are, nevertheless, occasions when another method of concord is available for the sake of peace and liberty: We mean when rulers of the State and the Roman Pontiff come to an understanding touching some special matter. At such times the Church gives signal proof of her motherly love by showing the greatest possible kindliness and indulgence.
Such, then, as We have briefly pointed out, is the Christian organization of civil society; not rashly or fancifully shaped out, but educed from the highest and truest principles, confirmed by natural reason itself. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885.)
Admitting that those engaged in the practice of law must use the tools provided them in American constitutional jurisprudence to protect the rights of the Church, we must be careful nevertheless to recognize that the rights of the Church do not come from any written document but form part of her Divine Constitution, described so beautifully by Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei. We must be careful in our speech not to concede the moral grounds for the defense of the rights of the Church to the falsehoods of Americanism. The Catholic Church is sovereign, complete and whole in and of herself and is not subject to the civil state for her actions in defense of the truths contained in the Deposit of Faith. It is even the case that clerics charged with civil crimes should be subject ecclesiastical courts, not civil courts, if we lived in a state organized accordingly to Catholic principles; indeed, Saint Thomas a Becket stood firmly in defense of the right of the Church to try her clerics in ecclesiastical courts, something that angered King Henry II considerably.
Greater persecutions than that represented by Connecticut Bill 1098 will come our way soon enough. The current presidential administration is composed of leftist thugs who believe in character assassination and demonizing to promote their policies of statism and their policies of one abject moral evil after another. It will not be too long before serious efforts are made in the United States of America to make it as difficult as it is in Canada, for example, to oppose baby-killing and perversity under cover of the civil law. The leftist thugs will not care where we fall along the ecclesiastical divide (sedeplenists, sedeimpedists, sedevacantists, sedeprivationists). It will be enough for them that we are Catholics who believe in the Apostles' Creed and are unwilling to remain silent in the face of their threats and their bare-knuckled efforts at rank intimidation. They will not care for our disputes. They will throw us into the same jail cells with each other, much along the lines of how Pope Saint Pontianus and his adversary, Saint Hippolytus, an antipope, were reconciled during their exile and imprisonment.
We have returned to the barbarism and the statism that were extant on the latter stages of the Roman Empire in the West. Overt persecution of Catholics has begun in many places throughout the "developed" world, especially among the ranks of corporations, many of which forbid displays of Crucifixes and require employees to go through the brainwashing of "sensitivity sessions." Subtler forms have existed for quite some time now. Just try getting employment in the academic world when one is known as being openly opposed to baby-killing, no less known as one who believes in that which is rejected by the counterfeit church of conciliarism, the Social Reign of Christ the King. The more overt, state-sponsored persecution is but years, if that, away.
We must never be agitated or disturbed when this persecution comes. This will be the path that many of us recidivist sinners who are so slow to make progress in the interior life and in a sustained growth in the virtues in cooperation with the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces, might very well wind up saving our immortal souls despite our best efforts to remain in lukewarmness and tepidity. We should be grateful if this overt persecution breaks out in our own lifetimes! Grateful, not fearful, never fearful, grateful.
Why do we doubt that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was speaking to us in our own days when He spoke these words to the Apostles at the Last Supper?
If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.
But all these things they will do to you for my name's sake: because they know not him who sent me. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated me without cause. (John 15: 18-25.)
Today is the Feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, a doctor of Holy Mother Church, who was most prolific in his writing. One of his works, The Pastoral Guide, contains this important injunction to pastors of souls in the Catholic Church, pastors who will never surrender o the bare-knuckled tactics of the civil state and who will not stand by as the honor and glory and majesty of God is offended by a putative "pope's" esteeming of the symbol of false religions and as that same "pope" endorses time and again the very falsehood, the separation of Church and State, responsible for proposals such as those attempted within the past week in Connecticut:
A spiritual guide should be silent when discretion requires and speak when words are of service. Otherwise he may say what he should not or be silent when he should speak. Indiscreet speech may lead men into error and an imprudent silence may leave in error those who could have been taught. Pastors who lack foresight hesitate to say openly what is right because they fear losing the favor of men. As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.
The Lord reproaches them through the prophet: They are dumb dogs that cannot bark. On another occasion he complains: You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord. To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of this world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.
When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lord again says to his unfaithful people: Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins. The name of the prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and thereby lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.
The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop: He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For the same reason God tells us through Malachi: The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah: Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.
Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Ghost descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for he causes those whom he has filled, to speak out spontaneously.
One of Pope Gregory the Great's legitimate, true successors on the Throne of Saint of Peter, Pope Leo XIII, reiterated this theme in Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890:
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 in 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 grace.
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.
We must, therefore, cling to true shepherds in the Catholic catacombs who exemplify the virtue of prophetic apostolic courage, shepherds who make no concessions to the conciliarism that has made its "reconciliation" with the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity, no concessions at all to the nonexistent "legitimacy" of men who use all manner of Hegelian devices to attempt to explain away their obligation to defend the Sacred Rights of Christ the King and to pray and to work for the restoration of the confessionally Catholic civil state. This will not make us friends of the Diocletians in civil government or the Diocletians who have done such violence and worship in the counterfeit church of conciliarism. It might just, however, please God and by Our Lady's maternal intercession, help us to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith as we fortify ourselves every day with the worthy reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion for the persecutions that will be upon us soon enough.
Our Lady has told us that we are in the crossing of her arms and in the folds of her mantle. Shouldn't this be enough to us as we run to her every day, protected by her Brown Scapular and showing our heart's oblation to her by praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit? We have Our Lady. She will shower us with the graces won for us by her Divine Son on the wood of the Holy Cross. She has told us that her Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end.
Why then, are we afraid? Why do we not simply approach her with confidence and ask her to help us to be ready in the midst of persecution to proclaim with love and with courage the very words that were proclaimed by Father Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J., when we was put to death by the Masonic revolutionaries in Mexico on November 23, 1927:
Viva Cristo Rey!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, 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.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints