The Potomac Flows into the Tiber
Thomas A. Droleskey
Pope Benedict XVI said on more than one occasion as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger that the American constitutional system provides the best model upon which to base Church-State relations in our contemporary world. His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, said at Saint Isidore's Church in Watkins, Colorado, on February 18, 2006, as reported by Stephen Heiner, that the Holy Father believes that the "the secular state is the only mode of existence within the Catholic view of social organization." This erroneous belief has been contradicted by numerous popes in the past two hundred years. A particularly telling passage directly contradicting Pope Benedict XVI on this point is to be found in Pope Leo XIII's Immortale Dei, issued in 1885:
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 everbounteous 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 teaching 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 honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor 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 endeavor 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 wellbeing 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.
Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfillment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate.
For the only-begotten Son of God established on earth a society which is called the Church, and to it He handed over the exalted and divine office which He had received from His Father, to be continued through the ages to come. "As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you." "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."Consequently, as Jesus Christ came into the world that men "might have life and have it more abundantly," so also has the Church for its aim and end the eternal salvation of souls, and hence it is so constituted as to open wide its arms to all mankind, unhampered by any limit of either time or place. "Preach ye the Gospel to every creature."
Pope Benedict's erroneous beliefs about the state, clearly contradicted by every pope in the history of the Church prior to 1958 and thus part of the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium of the Catholic Church, is the result of the flowing of the Potomac, if you will, into the Tiber: the influence of the Americanist heresy, a species of Modernism, on the minds of leading Catholic intellectuals in the past fifty years, including that of Joseph Ratzinger. The Holy Father is either willfully ignorant or deliberately defiant of these words of Pope Leo XIII, addressed to the bishops of the United States of America contained in Longiqua Oceani in 1895:
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 was telling the bishops of this country at the end of the Nineteenth Century that it is not enough for the Faith to be "unopposed" by the Constitution of the United States. The true Faith must be favored by the "laws and the patronage of the public authority." This is directly contrary to the influence of Americanism upon the mind of Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.
Thus, although numerous articles on this site (and contained within Volume 1 of Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations) have reviewed the essential problems with the American Founding (see The Downward Spiral of a Country Founded on False Premises, Prisoners of the Written Word, among others), it is necessary to examine once again the problems with the founding of the first non-confessional state in the history of the world and how its ethos has helped to eclipse the immutable doctrine of the Social Reign of Christ the King in the minds of Modernist Catholics.
Contrary to what defenders (including the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S., 1892) of the American Founding contend with great fervor, the United States of America is not now nor has it ever been a "Christian" nation. All of the mutations of Protestantism are false religions. False, as in untrue. Got it? False, as in opposed to God's Divine Revelation? False, as in not founded by God Himself? False, as in containing within themselves mutually contradictory statements and convictions. A multiplicity of false religions in the context of a religiously indifferentist state leads to the triumph of atheism, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1885:
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.
The fact that nine of the thirteen English colonies that became the first thirteen states of the United States of America had established state churches before the Declaration of Independence was promulgated on July 4, 1776, should impress no one. The fact that some of the first states continued established churches into the Nineteenth Century should impress no one. Those state churches were Protestant and thus false. False religions are from the devil, not God. Did God positively will Protestant sects into existence? If you believe this, then go on over to the Apostolic Palace and shake hands with Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household, who believes this precise heresy. It is the devil who inspired Martin Luther and John Calvin and Thomas Cranmer and John Wesley and a host of other villains to break from Rome (and/or from each other), thereby separating their adherents from the divinely-established, hierarchical Body established by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to teach them infallibly to and to sanctify their immortal souls unto eternity. The social disorder and chaos and violence of Modernity is the result of Protestantism's overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King as it is must be exercised by the Catholic Church. Protestantism made possible the rise of contemporary Freemasonry--and all of the other, inter-related revolutionary ideologies that have one essential belief in common: that belief in the Incarnation and the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord entrusted to His true Church alone are irrelevant to the right ordering of men and their nations.
Some, such as the late Russell Kirk in The Roots of American Order, have argued that a generic Christianity was "good enough" at the national level and was all that could have been expected at the time of the Enlightenment at the end of the Eighteenth Century, adding that the First Amendment's prohibition of an establishment of religion by Congress was meant, at least in part, to provide protection for the then tiny minority of Catholics in the new country. Admitting full well that these arguments are not entirely without merit, it is important nevertheless to point out that false premises lead to bad consequences. The founding of this nation was premised on the acceptance of the beliefs fostered by the Protestant Revolt and by the rise of Freemasonry (and related "Enlightenment" ideas, especially those of John Locke, critiqued at length in Christ in the Voting Booth and in Minds Locked Up). The allegedly good intentions of many of the founders, therefore, can never redeem the false premises upon which those intentions were based. That is, Protestantism has no ability to provide true order in the soul and thus an enduring order in a nation. The lie of pluralism, accepted as an irreversible reality of the world at the time of the founding of this nation, has led to a situation wherein Catholics view the Church through the eyes of the world rather than viewing the world through the eyes of the Faith, a danger that Pope Leo XIII saw full well in Testem Benevolentiae, issued on January 22, 1899. Thus, it is true that the government created by the Constitution of the United States of America was the first secular, non-confessional government in the history of the world.
Although there is merit to the argument that the founders sought to protect practitioners of unpopular religions from persecution (a persecution, it should be noted, that was the result of Protestantism, whose adherents attacked each other as well as Catholics), it is also true that the text of the original Constitution proves its absolutely secular nature. Section 3 of Article VI reads as follows:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
This was designed not only to protect Catholics, as some contend. It was designed to make it possible for the deists and other atheists and so-called "free-thinkers" to hold public office. This was the work of James Madison himself, who labored under the delusion that the Middle Ages was a period of "religious tyranny," believing that his "dialectic" of clashing religious, sectional and economic interests, outlined in The Federalist, Numbers 10 and 51, could produce public policy outcomes consonant with the common good. In other words, Madison believed that there was no one thing that could unite man in pursuit of the common good, which is why he believed it was necessary to have a complex system of representation in a bicameral Congress and a separation of powers in the Federal government so as to prevent any one particular group from exercising what he called "the tyranny of the majority." Men had to "reason" their way through their differences, especially those differences caused by denominational religion. He rejected, therefore, the very thing that united men in the Middle Ages, Catholicism, as Pope Pius XI noted in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio:
Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, to the making impossible of war in the future. For the Church teaches (she alone has been given by God the mandate and the right to teach with authority) that not only our acts as individuals but also as groups and as nations must conform to the eternal law of God. In fact, it is much more important that the acts of a nation follow God's law, since on the nation rests a much greater responsibility for the consequences of its acts than on the individual.
When, therefore, governments and nations follow in all their activities, whether they be national or international, the dictates of conscience grounded in the teachings, precepts, and example of Jesus Christ, and which are binding on each and every individual, then only can we have faith in one another's word and trust in the peaceful solution of the difficulties and controversies which may grow out of differences in point of view or from clash of interests. An attempt in this direction has already and is now being made; its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. No merely human institution of today can be as successful in devising a set of international laws which will be in harmony with world conditions as the Middle Ages were in the possession of that true League of Nations, Christianity. It cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages this law was often violated; still it always existed as an ideal, according to which one might judge the acts of nations, and a beacon light calling those who had lost their way back to the safe road.
There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail.
Pope Gelasisus had indeed spoken of the "two powers" that govern man, indicating that those who hold ecclesiastical office should not hold civil office. Pope Gelasius did not teach, however, that a State must not favor the Catholic Faith, a little fact overlooked by apologists of the American regime. Indeed, Pope Gelasius wrote Emperor Anastasius in the year 494 A.D. to remind him of the superiority of the spiritual over the temporal, keeping in mind that even in the exercise of purely temporal power the Last End of man must be kept in mind:
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 of 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 m 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.
As I have noted frequently in the past fifteen years, the great, saintly civil leaders of Christendom in the Middle Ages (who were raised to the altars of God as saints so as to provide an example to those civil leaders in the Middle Ages who were decidedly less saintly, if not unjust and power-hungry) recognized that the Catholic Church could interpose herself as an absolutely last resort, following the exhausting of her Indirect Power of teaching and preaching and exhortation, in situations where the good of souls demanded such an intervention against the exercise of civil power. The Church, therefore, served as the check in the Middle Ages upon the tendency of monarchs and other potentates to rule despotically. There is no such check in the Modern State, including the United States of America, where the plain words of the Constitution can be as manipulated as readily by justices of the Supreme Court of the United States and other positivists just as the words of the Bible are manipulated by one sect of Protestants after another. A Constitution that admits of no higher authority other than its own words is defenseless against the deconstruction of those words by people who place no more weight in their plain meaning as they do the plain meaning of the Word of God Himself.
That is, men need the guidance of the Catholic Church in their own individual lives and in the lives of their nations. This is the consistent, perennial teaching of the Catholic Church from which no one may dissent legitimately. Pope Pius XI, the great apostle of Christ the King, made this clear in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922:
Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.
There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism.
Pope Benedict XVI is clearly a Modernist in his belief that the secular state is the "only mode of existence within the Catholic view of social organization." He has aligned himself with the late Father John Courtney Murray, who was so enamored of the American constitutional regime that he believed in We Hold These Truths, the inspiration for the Second Vatican Council's Dignitatis Humanae, that man could pursue the common good without any public reference to the Catholic Faith. Father Murray's book, which nowhere mentioned the necessity of souls being in a state of sanctifying grace to pursue the common good, was written in part to make it possible for a Americanist Catholic, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, to be elected President of the United States. (Kennedy really wasn't elected President of the United States of America in 1960. The election was stolen from then Vice President Richard M. Nixon, as Dr. Paul Johnson relates quite well in A History of the American People.) Murray's book, however, was just the fruit of the willingness of Catholics to accommodate themselves to the religiously indifferentist foundation of the American regime right from the very beginning, right from the time of Bishop (later Archbishop) John Carroll himself in the Eighteenth Century.
The Americanist mindset has such a stranglehold on so many Catholics, whether traditional or conciliarist, that sight is lost of the abject hostility for the Catholic Faith that was held by many of the men who founded the United States of America. Consider just a few examples of this overt anti-Catholicism:
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. ( President John Adams: "A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America," 1787-1788)
In other words, you see, all other governments prior to one inaugurated by the Constitution of the United States of America were evil and tyrannical. This is the same sort of ideological, sloganeering propaganda that would be used by the French Revolutionaries and by the Bolsheviks and the Maoists and a wide variety of Masonic revolutionaries in Latin America after the founding of the United States. "History" springs anew with the Constitution of the United States, just as Church "history" springs anew with the Second Vatican Council, eschewing everything that went before it that is said to be associated with the "evils" of Triumphalism. Oh, yes, the Potomac does very much flow into the Tiber.
Another example of overt anti-Catholicism can be seen in the writings of then former President Thomas Jefferson in a series of letter that he wrote to Alexander von Humboldt in December of 1813:
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
Many more examples can be given. Suffice it for the moment, however, to illustrate that the very system extolled by Pope Benedict XVI is the one founded on false premises designed to tolerate Catholics so as to coopt them into exchanging any desire to convert the nation to Catholicism for the seductions of social acceptance, political power, material prosperity and sensual pleasures. The pluralist, religiously indifferentist nature of the American founding, so venerated by our Holy Father, is the reason that the lion's share of Catholics in this country support one abject evil after another under cover of law and practice it in their own lives on a regular basis. It is that simple.
Indeed, the coopting of Catholics to become partisan nationalists, as opposed to patriots who will the good of their nation, which is her Catholicization, was such in the Nineteenth Century that some bishops and priests dared to support the unjust and immoral war this country waged against Spain in 1898. The results of the use of military force by the United States of America against Spain were the introduction of Protestant "missionaries" and Freemasons into The Philippines and Cuba, where Catholics were led out of the true Church to become jingoistic partisans of the "American" way of pluralism and egalitarianism and religious indifferentism/religious liberty. The fact that The Philippines suffers so much today is the result of the introduction of Protestantism and Freemasonry following the invasion of American military forces in 1898 and our long occupation of that country until the brutal Japanese invasion of 1941-1942. Anyone who refuses to see that American military force has been used to undermine Catholicism around the world in an effort to evangelize the demonic gospel of "civil" liberty is living in a world of self-made delusion.
Thus, far from serving as the "model" for contemporary Church-State relations, the United States of America is a signal lesson in what happens when the true Church founded by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, is dissevered from the State. We must take to heart what Pope Pius XI wrote in Quas Primas in 1925:
While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.
Yes, it is our job to see to it that the Tiber flows into the Potomac, and from there throughout all of the waterways and tributaries that were once explored by Catholic missionaries, such as Fathers Jacques Marquette and Pierre Jean DeSmet, giving new life once more to the lands evangelized by Blessed Junipero Serra, the lands made hallow by the shedding of the blood of the Spanish Jesuit Martyrs of Virginia and by the North American Martyrs in what is now upstate New York and parts of Canada. Our job is to rely upon Our Lady's graces to restore, yes, to restore, a Catholic America, the Catholic States of America as one of the fruits of the Triumph of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
In the meantime we pray for our Holy Father to have his mind enlightened by the unalloyed clarity of the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church so that he will respond with joy at the prospect of undoing the harm he has caused throughout his priesthood by his embrace of Modernism by simply obeying Our Lady's Fatima Message for the proper consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops. We continue to pray and fast and give alms as Our Lady's consecrated slaves. We stand with her at the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross every day as He and His Holy Truths are manhandled by those who hold ecclesiastical office and misuse the trust that has been given to them to form souls rightly in accord with the Deposit of Faith for their own good and for the good of all men and all nations.
Vivat Christus Rex.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.
Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us.
Saint Saint John de Massias, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint Peter Claver, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint John Neumann, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalande, pray for us.
Saint Gregory Lalamont, pray for us.
Saint John de Brebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Blessed Junipero Serra, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel Augstin Pro, pray for us.
The Mexican Martyrs, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.