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The Duties of a Catholic Part 8 – To Challenge The Secular State

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Pope Leo XIII, whilst acknowledging the autonomy of the secular State, now begins to turn his gaze upon the duties of the Catholic Church to resist the secular State whenever the State impinges upon the rights and duties of the Catholic Church.

“The Church alike and the State, doubtless, both possess individual sovereignty; hence, in the carrying out of public affairs, neither obeys the other within the limits to which each is restricted by its constitution. It does not hence follow, however, that Church and State are in any manner severed, and still less antagonistic.

Nature, in fact, has given us not only physical existence, but moral life likewise. Hence, from the tranquillity of public order, which is the immediate purpose of civil society, man expects to derive his well-being, and still more the sheltering care necessary to his moral life, which consists exclusively in the knowledge and practice of virtue.

He wishes, moreover, at the same time, as in duty bound, to find in the Church the aids necessary to his religious perfection, in the knowledge and practice of the true religion; of that religion which is the queen of virtues, because in binding these to God it completes them all and perfects them.

Therefore, they who are engaged in framing constitutions and in enacting laws should bear in mind the moral and religious nature of man, and take care to help him, but in a right and orderly way, to gain perfection, neither enjoining nor forbidding anything save what is reasonably consistent with civil as well as with religious requirements.

On this very account, the Church cannot stand by, indifferent as to the import and significance of laws enacted by the State; not insofar, indeed, as they refer to the State, but in so far as, passing beyond their due limits, they trench upon the rights of the Church. (Sapientiae Christianae 30)

Pope Leo XIII reminds us that man is not just a material being with physical needs and wants. Man is a moral being, created in the image and likeness of God and, therefore, man has a duty to follow the commandments of God. The State is limited to policing and guarding the functioning of civil society. The secular State does not have any authority to change or to ignore the moral law which comes from God. The State acts against the interests of its citizens whenever it enacts legislation which is against the moral order and which, therefore, is against the interests of the Catholic Church, which is the salvation of souls. The moral order, designed by God, is for the welfare of man both in this life and in the next. Those States that abandon this moral order are doomed to be destroyed by their own pride which encourages sinful behaviours to be normalised.

“From God has the duty been assigned to the Church not only to interpose resistance, if at any time the State rule should run counter to religion, but, further, to make a strong endeavour that the power of the Gospel may pervade the law and institutions of the nations. And inasmuch as the destiny of the State depends mainly on the disposition of those who are at the head of affairs, it follows that the Church cannot give countenance or favour to those whom she knows to be imbued with a spirit of hostility to her; who refuse openly to respect her rights; who make it their aim and purpose to tear asunder the alliance that should, by the very nature of things, connect the interests of religion with those of the State.
On the contrary, she is (as she is bound to be) the upholder of those who are themselves imbued with the right way of thinking as to the relations between Church and State, and who strive to make them work in perfect accord for the common good. These precepts contain the abiding principle by which every Catholic should shape his conduct in regard to public life. In short, where the Church does not forbid taking part in public affairs, it is fit and proper to give support to men of acknowledged worth, and who pledge themselves to deserve well in the Catholic cause, and on no account may it be allowed to prefer to them any such individuals as are hostile to religion.” (Sapientiae Christianae 31)

One of the great failings of many of the bishops of our times is their lack of public opposition to government policies which are contrary to Catholic Church teaching and to the laws of God. This is especially true in the area of human sexuality where the rights of God are being trampled in the dust. The damage that this is causing to children and to young people is incalculable. Yet so many bishops earnestly strive to be seen to conform to corrupt state legislation in the matter of human sexuality.

The Irish Bishops promote Busy Bodies to Primary School Children through the Flourish Programme.

In Ireland and elsewhere, the bishops are promoting Relationships and Sexuality Education programmes which contradict Catholic Church teaching. There are very few voices raised in opposition to this. The primary purpose of sex education, contrary to what parents are told, is to teach children and young people how to engage in sexual activities. Putting the word ‘Relationships’ before it, changes nothing. A new morality is being promoted alongside of this which is known as ‘consent’ and sometimes ‘active consent’.

The basic premise of this new morality is that all sexual activity is good, regardless of the ages of those involved, provided that mutual consent is given and maintained throughout the sexual encounter. This false morality is now promoted at a global level and it is destroying the lives and happiness of countless children and young people, to say nothing of the adults who fall prey to this false ideology.

The Pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church are duty bound to resist and to oppose this false sexual ideology. They must encourage lay Catholics to refuse to support those who promote these dangerous ideas in the political sphere. But the silence from most of the hierarchy is a great cause of scandal. The bishops speak in lofty terms of protecting children from sexual abuse, but that is not the danger that Christ warns about in chapter eighteen of St Matthew’s Gospel.

“But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

Christ warns us against those that cause the little ones to fall into sin. Modern sex education programmes are specifically designed to encourage children to engage in sinful sexual behaviours. But most of our bishops do not speak out publicly against this corruption of children. In many countries, including Ireland, the bishops conferences are actively promoting sex education programmes which will lead children directly into sinful behaviours.

Pope Leo XIII continues.

“Whence it appears how urgent is the duty to maintain perfect union of minds, especially at these our times, when the Christian name is assailed with designs so concerted and subtle. All who have it at heart to attach themselves earnestly to the Church, which is “the pillar and ground of the truth,”(1 Timothy 3:15) will easily steer clear of masters who are “lying and promising them liberty, when they themselves are slaves of corruption.”(2 Peter 2:1,19) Nay, more, having made themselves sharers in the divine virtue which resides in the Church, they will triumph over the craft of their adversaries by wisdom, and over their violence by courage.

This is not now the time and place to inquire whether and how far the inertness and internal dissensions of Catholics have contributed to the present condition of things; but it is certain at least that the perverse-minded would exhibit less boldness, and would not have brought about such an accumulation of ills, if the faith “which worketh by charity”(Galatians 5:6) had been generally more energetic and lively in the souls of men, and had there not been so universal a drifting away from the divinely established rule of morality throughout Christianity. May at least the lessons afforded by the memory of the past have the good result of leading to a wiser mode of acting in the future.” (Sapientiae Christianae 32)

It is important to keep in mind that Pope Leo XIII is writing at a time when the forces of the Kingdom of Italy had captured Rome. The Pope was a “prisoner in the Vatican”. For fifty nine years, the Popes refused to accept or to compromise with the Italian authorities as this could have given the impression that the Catholic Church was subject to the secular State. He is calling on lay Catholics to resist the secular authorities and he intimates that, it is on account of the weakness of Catholics to boldly proclaim and adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church that the ‘perverse-minded’ have gained such control over the affairs of men. The same can be said of the Catholics of our day. A great number of the baptised have apostatised from the Catholic Church and many others just want to live quiet lives without disturbing the ruling classes. We will all pay the price for such timidity in the face of these evil rulers.

Pope Leo XIII addresses two particular problems which face Catholics in the public sphere.

“As to those who mean to take part in public affairs, they should avoid with the very utmost care two criminal excesses: so-called prudence and false courage. Some there are, indeed, who maintain that it is not opportune boldly to attack evil – doing in its might and when in the ascendant, lest, as they say, opposition should exasperate minds already hostile.

These make it a matter of guesswork as to whether they are for the Church or against her, since on the one hand they give themselves out as professing the Catholic faith, and yet wish that the Church should allow certain opinions, at variance with her teaching, to be spread abroad with impunity.

They moan over the loss of faith and the perversion of morals, yet trouble themselves not to bring any remedy; nay, not seldom, even add to the intensity of the mischief through too much forbearance or harmful dissembling. These same individuals would not have any one entertain a doubt as to their good will towards the holy see; yet they have always a something by way of reproach against the supreme Pontiff. (Sapientiae Christianae 33)

Again, keep in mind that the Pope is here speaking of matters of his time. The Vatican is practically under siege but very few ‘catholic’ politicians have come to the defence of the Pope and some ‘catholic’ politicians were probably suggesting that Pope Leo XIII should compromise.

In the other matters nothing has changed. Many of today’s Catholics bemoan the loss of faith but there are very few who are willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and to actively oppose government policies which are harmful to mankind. Unfortunately, Ireland is a perfect example of this. Despite a population which claims to be at least 69% Catholic (Census 2022), legislation was passed in Ireland allowing same-sex marriage (2015) and abortion (2018) after two referenda on these issues returned a majority vote in favour of these evils amongst those who voted. I have spoken to some canvassers against abortion who encountered people coming out of Holy Mass who were voting in favour of abortion.

Of these Catholics Pope Leo XIII says the following.

“The prudence of men of this cast is of that kind which is termed by the Apostle Paul ‘wisdom of the flesh” and “death” of the soul, `because it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.”(Romans 8:6-7) Nothing is less calculated to emend such ills than prudence of this kind.

For the enemies of the Church have for their object — and they hesitate not to proclaim it, and many among them boast of it — to destroy outright, if possible, the Catholic religion, which alone is the true religion. With such a purpose, and they shrink from nothing, for they are fully conscious that the more faint-hearted those who withstand them become, the more easy will it be to work out their wicked will.

Therefore, they who cherish the “prudence of the flesh” and who pretend to be unaware that every Christian ought to be a valiant soldier of Christ; they who would fare to obtain the rewards owing to conquerors, while they are leading the lives of cowards, untouched in the fight, are so far from thwarting the onward march of the evil-disposed that, on the contrary, they even help it forward.” (Sapientiae Christianae 34)

These are words which all Catholics need to hear in our time. The rewards of the Heavenly Kingdom are not reserved for cowards, or for those who speak boldly whilst risking nothing in their personal lives. Enoch Burke, who is a protestant, is a great example to us of the kind of man Pope Leo XIII has in mind. He is willing to suffer imprisonment, the loss of his good name, and financial penalties, rather than give in to the totalitarians who demand that he accept that boys can become girls and that girls can become boys. Would that there were some Irish bishops willing to go to prison for defending the same cause.

One of the only men willing to stand up to protect the God given rights of the children of Wilson Hospital School not to be corrupted by a false ideology, is in jail for his defence of the children. The others is this sorry saga do not really care for the children in their charge. They would rather go along with an obviously false narrative, than put their careers in jeopardy.

Children, with government approval, are being damaged through being given cross-sex hormones and young adults are having their bodies irreversibly mutilated in the name of the false and highly dangerous transgender ideology. Most men prefer to remain silent and to allow the damage to continue. We are once again living in a time where child abuse is being carried out in the name of our governments. Are we prepared to protect the children from this abuse?

To be cont’d…

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John Lacken
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