from
MONDAY
January 28, 2002
volume 13, no. 16

The Ideal of the Universal Republic Blessed by the Conciliar Pontiffs

Part Three

    How Paul VI distanced himself from holy and wise Pontiffs of the past by embracing the ideals of the French Revolution
    Thus far in this series, I described the revolutionary dream of establishing world-wide a Universal Republic with the goal of living in a peace independent of God. One could call it a recurrence of the sin of the peoples who tried to build the Tower of Babel. That article presented many quotes from revolutionary thinkers, writers, politicians and activists who pointed to the Universal Republic as their final aim. I made a quick portrayal of more recent attempts to realize that revolutionary multi-secular yearning, i.e., the failed League of Nations and the present-day United Nations. Finally, I introduced the difference between the Catholic State and the Modern State, to make it easier to understand what Paul VI was saying when he visited the UN's headquarters.

    In the allocation Quibus quantisque, Blessed Pope Pius IX qualifies the seizure of the papal territories by the troops of Garibaldi and Victor Emanuel ll as "the violent usurpation of this power [the temporal power of the Popes] which, by a singular disposition of Divine Providence, was given to the Roman Pontiff to exercise with full liberty his apostolic ministry in the whole Church." This is just a sample of the common line of conduct and teaching of the prior Magisterium on the Papal States.

    Unfortunately, however, during his October 1965 visit to the UN, Paul VI officially broke with this line of conduct. As we have seen, by its very nature and declared aims, the UN seeks to embody the Modern State and to act as the supreme organ of the Universal Republic, the long-held dream of revolutionaries past and present.

    The Pope was very clear about his intention to approve the UN. Toward this end, he invoked Papal authority with the support of the Episcopate, which was gathered together for the last session of Vatican II: "Our message desires, above all, to be a solemn, moral ratification of this high Institution. This message is born from our historical experience. It is as a 'specialist in humanity' that we bring to this Organization the approval of our predecessors, the whole Catholic Episcopate and our own, convinced as we are that this Organization represents the obligatory pathway for modern civilization and world peace." [22] 22. Messaggio di Paolo VI all' Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, in La visita di Paolo VI alle Nazioni Unite (Vatican: Libreria Editrice, 1966), p. 59.

    Thus, the Pontiffs visit was not only a symbolic, but also a concrete, solemn capitulation to the indifferentist principles of the Modern State. Taking advantage of the opportunity, he also ratified the Vatican renunciation of the Papal States. [23] 23. The Papal States comprised the territories ruled by the Pope as temporal king from 754 to 1870. In 1870 the papal territories were seized in a revolutionary movement to unite Italy, and de facto the Papal States ceased to exist. In 1929 the temporal sovereignty of the Pope was still recognized in respect to Vatican City by the Lateran Treaty. In fact, Paul VI stated:

    "He [the Pope] has no temporal power whatsoever, nor any ambition to compete with you. In fact, we have nothing to ask, no question to raise. At most, we ask only to express this desire, to make this request: that is, to be permitted to serve you in those matters within our competence, disinterestedly, with humility and love." [24] 24. Messaggio di Paolo VI all' Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, in La visita di Paolo VI alle Nazioni Unite (Vatican: Libreria Editrice, 1966), p. 58.

    It is difficult to take a more shameless position regarding the Pope's legitimate right to the Papal States. We can consider two dimensions of Paul VI's statement. First, he confirmed the renunciation of the Papal States. Second, he expressed a potential renouncement of the present-day Vatican State, which still represents the principle of the temporal power of the Popes.

    Permit me to make a brief response to both dimensions of Paul VI's statement. First, the renunciation of the Papal States is in complete opposition to the perennial teaching of the Church. In the allocution Quibus quantisque, Pius IX qualifies the seizure of the papal territories by the troops of Garibaldi and Victor Emanuel II as "the violent usurpation of this power [the temporal power of the Popes] which, by a singular disposition of Divine Providence, was given to the Roman Pontiff to exercise with full liberty his apostolic ministry in the whole Church." [25] 25. Pius IX, Allocution Novos et ante, September 28, 1860, in Recueil des allocutions consistoriales, encycliques et autres lettres apostoliques citees dans l'Encyclique [Quanta cura] et le Syllabus (Paris: Librairie Adrien Le Clere, 1865), p.421.

    Above, I quoted Pius IX's allocution Quibus quantisque, here I will add some other important documents. In the allocution Novos et ante, he directs harsh words to certain revolutionary Italian leaders, words that would seem to apply, moreover, to the statement of Paul VI. Pius IX affirmed: "These perfidious and astute men who attack the temporal dominion of the Church . . . reach this extreme impudence whereby they do not cease to publicly declare their submission to the Church." [26] 26. Pius IX, Apostolic letter Cum Catholica, March 25, 1860, in Recueil des allocutions, p. 403. In the allocution Multis gravibusque, Pius IX was even more rigorous. Speaking about a slanderous publication against the Papal States, he points to the final goal of the attack: "Thanks to this condemnable writing, we can see, like one whose mask has been removed, the designs of the author and of all those who want to despoil the Holy See of her temporal sovereignty. What they want, the aim of their plots, is the destruction of our Most Holy Religion to its foundation." [27] 27. Pius IX, Allocution Multis gravibusque, December 17, 1860, in Recueil des allocutions, p. 429.

    We see that it is quite difficult to harmonize the statement of Paul VI with these passages of Pius IX.

    As for the second dimension, the abolition of the Vatican State, with his affirmation that the Pope "has no temporal power whatsoever," Paul VI aligned himself with the most extreme progressivists who want the Roman Pontiff to renounce the last remains of temporal power and only retain a spiritual power. According to this proposal, the Pope should abolish the Vatican State and dispose of the apostolic palaces and temporal goods of the Church. Certain progressivists have even suggested that the Pope make the Basilica of St. Peter a museum and change the Basilica of St. John Lateran to the spiritual center of the new Church, despoiled of all temporal power.

    If this renunciation of the temporal power of the Pope is cause for comment, what can be said about the spectacular submission of the Vicar of Christ to the UN? How is it possible for a Catholic to be uncritical of a Pontiff who, upon directing himself to the organ that pretends to be representative of the Universal Republic, solemnly declares himself its servant: "We have nothing to ask, no question to raise. At most, we ask to express this desire, to make this request: that is, to be permitted to serve you in those matters within our competence, disinterestedly, with humility and love."

    What an abysmal difference between this shameless submission and the majestic attitude of Pope St. Gregory VII before the supreme temporal authority of his epoch, Emperor Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 11th Century, the Emperor, dressed in penitential sack cloth shirt, prostrated himself on the ground in order to ask pardon of the Pope and offer him homage. In the 20th Century, Paul VI presented himself as a beggar and humbled himself to pay homage to the revolutionary temporal power. In the Middle Ages the Papacy attained the plenitude of glory with the famous Dictatus Papae of St. Gregory VII, a document in which he showed the superiority of the Pope in relation to the supreme temporal authority. In 1965, in my judgment, the Papacy suffered its lowest point of humiliation with the speech of Paul VI that we are analyzing. It is a humiliation all the more grave in that it was made voluntarily, without any type of coercion. Paul VI asked the UN permission "to serve it disinterestedly, with humility and love."

    He also stated: "Our message desires, above all, to be a solemn, moral ratification of this high Institution [the UN]." [28] 28. Messaggio di Paolo VI alI'Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, p. 59.

    Paul VI thus fell on his knees before the Modern State, presenting himself as its servant. He ratified the renunciation of the Pontifical States and sought to close the glorious struggle the Church had been waging for two centuries against the usurpation of the Catholic State. "Ignominia domus Domini tui" [the shame of the house of thy Lord] [Is. 22: 18] was what Our Lord, through the pen of Isaias, called Sobna, the Prefect who dishonored the Sacred Temple he governed at that time . . .

Praises of the Revolutionary Principles of the Modern State

    Unfortunately, Paul VI's praise of the revolutionary ideals of the Modern State went beyond his official support of the UN. On the same occasion the Pontiff, delving deeply into the realm of principles, praised revolutionary fraternity, equality and liberty.

    Fraternity: "Your vocation is to bring about fraternity not only among some peoples, but all peoples. Is this a difficult undertaking? Undoubtedly. But that is the mission, such is your very noble mission. Who cannot see the need to gradually establish a world authority that can act efficaciously in the juridical and political spheres?

    "Again, we repeat our desire: go forward! We will say more: Do so in such a way as to reunite those who have fallen away from you, study a means to bring to your pact of fraternity . . . those who still are not participating in it." [29] 29. Ibid., p. 62.

    Equality: "The logic of our desire, which addresses, one could say, the structure of your Organization, leads us to add yet other directives. They are the following: let no one, as a member of your union, be be superior to the others: no one above anyone else. It is the rule of equality. [30] 30. Ibid., p. 63.

    Liberty: "What you proclaim here are the fundamental rights and duties of man, his dignity, his liberty and, before all else, religious liberty. We consider you the interpreters of the highest part of what there is in human wisdom, we would almost say, its sacred character." [31] 31. Idem, p. 67.

    It is a hard reality that we have to face with sadness: A Pope that supports the revolutionary ideas of the Modern State and the Universal Republic represented in the UN. In the next article, I will continue the doleful task of analyzing the actions of John Paul II in the same sense.

Atila Sinke Guimar„es


For past columns by Atila, see Archives of On the BattleLine