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The Duties of a Catholic Part 7 – The Rights of the Catholic Church

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Pope Leo XIII, having outlined the authority of the Church and the authority and primacy of the Pope, now begins to look at the rights of both the civil authorities and of the Catholic Church. He does this with a view to guiding men in what their conduct should be regarding both institutions.

“In addition to what has been laid down, it is necessary to enter more fully into the nature of the Church. She is not an association of Christians brought together by chance, but is a divinely established and admirably constituted society, having for its direct and proximate purpose to lead the world to peace and holiness.

And since the Church alone has, through the grace of God, received the means necessary to realize such end, she has her fixed laws, special spheres of action, and a certain method, fixed and conformable to her nature, of governing Christian peoples.

But the exercise of such governing power is difficult, and leaves room for numberless conflicts, inasmuch as the Church rules peoples scattered through every portion of the earth, differing in race and customs, who, living under the sway of the laws of their respective countries, owe obedience alike to the civil and religious authorities.

The duties enjoined are incumbent on the same persons, as already stated, and between them there exists neither contradiction nor confusion; for some of these duties have relation to the prosperity of the State, others refer to the general good of the Church, and both have as their object to train men to perfection.” (Sapientiae Christianae 25)

Pope Leo XIII continues to examine the nature of the relationship between Catholic Church authority and civil authority.

“The tracing out of these rights and duties being thus set forth, it is plainly evident that the governing powers are wholly free to carry out the business of the State; and this not only not against the wish of the Church, but manifestly with her co-operation, inasmuch as she strongly urges to the practice of piety, which implies right feeling towards God, and by that very fact inspires a right-mindedness toward the rulers in the State. The spiritual power, however, has a far loftier purpose, the Church directing her aim to govern the minds of men in the defending of the “kingdom of God, and His justice,” (Matthew 6:33) a task she is wholly bent upon accomplishing.” (Sapientiae Christianae 26)

The Catholic Church does not seek to interfere with the civil authority and offers protection to right rule as she encourages Catholics to righteous obedience towards their rulers. Good Catholics always make good citizens.

“No one can, however, without risk to faith, foster any doubt as to the Church alone having been invested with such power of governing souls as to exclude altogether the civil authority. In truth, it was not to Caesar but to Peter that Jesus Christ entrusted the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. From this doctrine touching the relations of politics and religion originate important consequences which we cannot pass over in silence.” (Sapientiae Christianae 27)

Here, Pope Leo XIII points out that the Catholic Church is not dependent for its authority on the civil state. The Catholic Church is above the civil authority and is of a higher order being concerned primarily with the salvation of men and the Kingdom of God.

“A notable difference exists between every kind of civil rule and that of the kingdom of Christ. If this latter bear a certain likeness and character to a civil kingdom, it is distinguished from it by its origin, principle, and essence. The Church, therefore, possesses the right to exist and to protect herself by institutions and laws in accordance with her nature.

And since she not only is a perfect society in herself, but superior to every other society of human growth, she resolutely refuses, promoted alike by right and by duty, to link herself to any mere party and to subject herself to the fleeting exigencies of politics.

On like grounds, the Church, the guardian always of her own right and most observant of that of others, holds that it is not her province to decide which is the best amongst many diverse forms of government and the civil institutions of Christian States, and amid the various kinds of State rule she does not disapprove of any, provided the respect due to religion and the observance of good morals be upheld. By such standard of conduct should the thoughts and mode of acting of every Catholic be directed.” (Sapientiae Christianae 28)

The Catholic Church is not of human origin. It is a divine institution, founded by the second person of the blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ. The importance of this fact must not be overlooked. Modernist tendencies regard the Catholic Church as just one institution amongst many. In recent years false ecumenical movements, which put other faith traditions on the same level as the Catholic Church, have arisen within the Catholic Church. No good can come of these movements because they are based on a false premise.

Another problem is the growing tendency towards totalitarian rule in western democracies. Many Catholic leaders are compromising the Catholic Faith due to their reluctance to directly oppose totalitarianism. Secular powers take advantage of these false positions in order to manipulate the various religions of the world to conform to their globalist power ideals.

For example, the United Nations has launched a ‘Faith for Earth’ initiative. The UN is aware of the power of religions and they seek to harness that power for their own ends. They are not shy about stating this on their website – https://www.unep.org/about-un-environment-programme/faith-earth-initiative/why-faith-and-environment-matters

The stated mission of the UN’s Faith for Earth initiative is, “To encourage, empower and engage with faith-based organizations as partners, at all levels, toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda.” (UNEP – why faith and environment matters)

These Sustainable Development Goals include access to abortion. The World Health Organisation tells us in its abortion care guidelines of 2022 that, “Strengthening access to abortion care within the health system is fundamental to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to good health and well-being (SDG3) and gender equality (SDG5).

The UN is interested in capitalising on the financial assets of religious organisations, including the Catholic Church, in order to reach these goals.

“Tapping into the spiritual wealth of people and their beliefs accelerates people’s engagement and the organizational drive to contribute. Mobilizing the financial assets and practices of faith-based funding institutions responds directly to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for financing sustainable development.” (UNEP – why faith and environment matters)

The UN tells us that “The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the outcome document from 2015, provides a new global framework for financing sustainable development that aligns all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.” (UN – Financing for Sustainable Development)

The UN is aware that some religious organisations do not agree with their goals so they seek to delicately dismiss these concerns through clever marketing.

“One of the most important challenges is building trust around common objectives, rather than pushing the perceived secular views of the UN. Basic principles for engagement must be established and made clear to all partners in a transparent manner. Also, the secular position of the UN provides a neutral space for interreligious and intercultural dialogue.” (UNEP – why faith and environment matters)

The UN seeks to push their secular agenda whilst pretending that they are not pushing their secular agenda. They do this through promoting their ideas under the guise of protecting the environment, protecting children’s health and promoting the health and welfare of women. Abortion provision is one of their primary goals and they seek to use the finances of religious organisations to help them to attain this goal. One wonders why certain Catholic leaders co-operate with this organisation given their anti-Catholic and anti-life agenda.

The UN tells us that “Faith for Earth is an equitable engagement. All major faiths, along with indigenous spirituality, are represented in a transparent and balanced manner.” (UNEP – why faith and environment matters)

Pope Leo XIII has this to say about such initiatives.

“There is no doubt that in the sphere of politics ample matter may exist for legitimate difference of opinion, and that, the single reserve being made of the rights of justice and truth, all may strive to bring into actual working the ideas believed likely to be more conducive than others to the general welfare.

But to attempt to involve the Church in party strife, and seek to bring her support to bear against those who take opposite views is only worthy of partisans.

Religion should, on the contrary, be accounted by every one as holy and inviolate; nay, in the public order itself of States ­— which cannot be severed from the laws influencing morals and from religious duties — it is always urgent, and indeed the main preoccupation, to take thought how best to consult the interests of Catholicism.

Wherever these appear by reason of the efforts of adversaries to be in danger, all differences of opinion among Catholics should forthwith cease, so that, like thoughts and counsels prevailing, they may hasten to the aid of religion, the general and supreme good, to which all else should be referred. We think it well to treat this matter somewhat more in detail.” (Sapientiae Christianae 29)

The United Nations seeks to use the financial and spiritual assets of the Catholic Church to make her an accomplice in achieving the immoral Sustainable Development Goals. Those Catholic leaders who refuse to stand up against the ever encroaching totalitarianism perhaps seek to maintain peace. However, it is a false peace which seeks to compromise on the truth in order to avoid persecution. There are times when Catholics must bravely face persecution rather than deny the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XI also spoke out about such initiatives in his encyclical letter ‘Mortalium Animos’ of 1928. Speaking of those who seek to bring peace to the nations by getting agreement on certain doctrines he said the following.

“For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.” (Mortalium Animos 2)

“Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.

Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion. (Mortalium Animos 2)

The forthcoming Synod on Synodality seems to be acting contrary to what Pope Pius XI said in Mortalium Animos given that it seeks to hear from non-Catholics as well as fallen away Catholics. The Synod also promotes homosexual adoption on its website – Three Testimonies of Homosexual Couples

Pope Pius XI notes that

“… some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when there is question of fostering unity among all Christians. (Mortalium Animos 3)

Pope Pius XI also notes that those known as ‘pan-Christians’ are increasing in number and

“have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith.” (Mortalium Animos 4)

Pope Leo XIII wrote Sapientiae Christianae in 1890 and Pope Pius XI wrote Mortalium Animos in 1928 and yet both are more relevant than ever when we look at the direction certain prelates in the Catholic Church would like to take us. For example, Archbishop Koch of Berlin recently confirmed that he will not take disciplinary action against priests who conduct same-sex blessings in his archdiocese.

Organisations like the United Nations are taking advantage of the lack of firm purpose amongst Catholics and the fact that so many Catholics are reluctant to proclaim the fact that the Catholic Church is a Divine organisation which is answerable to God and not directly to man.

To be cont’d…

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