volume 14, no. 27
Catholicism and the State
by Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
A Catholic Understanding of How 'Evangelical Liberty' Forged its way in
"As I have noted on many occasions, it is likely that the conditions that bred the American Revolution might never have existed if King Henry VIII had not broken from Rome. The rise of absolutism in England is the result of the English Revolt, which is also, obviously, responsible for many of the economic problems in the world. The modern State - and its influence upon Catholics of the left and the right - is thus born, so corrupting the State that a lot of well-meaning people believe it is beyond repair."
Among the effects of Christendom for the State, Pope Leo XIII noted:
"Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; stood forth in the front rank as the leader and teacher of all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is - Beyond all question, in large measure, through religion; under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion."
The Devil, of course, knows all of this, which is why he has sought to undermine the Church from within. Wiping out the memory of the past within the ranks of Holy Mother Church has made it possible for some within her ranks to align themselves with statists and collectivists and positivists and relativists in the name of a perverse, secularized sense of "social justice." Indeed, this has resulted in many instances in the actual embrace by many Catholic religious orders of the very superstitious practices eradicated during the Middle Ages. A false sense of ecumenism has wound up aiding and abetting the Mohammedans, who are winning by procreation what they lost in battle in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The future state of the states of Europe is quite likely to be Mohammedan, and that will have been the result of the rejection of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ in Europe as a result of the rise of the Protestant Revolt and Freemasonry, expressions of which are rife with Catholicism at present (clearing the way for Catholics to embrace contraception and abortion, thus making the world safe for something dear and near to the hear of Mohammed himself: world governance by Mohammedans).
Pope Leo went the disasters that befell the world as a result of the rejection of the order of the Middle Ages:
"A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the agreement of the two powers been lasting. More important results even might have been justly looked for, had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching, and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty. For that should be regarded in the light of an ever-changeless law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: 'When kingdom and priesthood are at one, in complete accord, the world is well ruled, and the Church flourishes, and brings forth abundant fruit. But when they are at variance, not only smaller interests prosper not, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay.'
"Sad it is to call to mind how the harmful and lamentable rage for innovation which rose to a climax in the sixteenth century, threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountainhead, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and proclaimed as the principles of that new jurisprudence which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even with the natural law."
In other words, as I will demonstrate quite fully with excerpts from Father Fahey, the Protestant Revolt made the rise of absolutism and, in turn, of the secular state, intent on becoming a substitute for the Church herself. Just look at the list of the principles that Pope Leo noted flowed forth from the Protestant Revolt once the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ had been overthrown:
"Amongst these principles the main one lays down that as all men are alike by race and nature, so in like manner all are equal in the control of their life; that each one is so far his own master as to be in no sense under the rule of any other individual; that each is free to think on every subject just as he may choose, and to do whatever he may like to do; that no man has any right to rule any other men. In a society grounded upon such maxims, all government is nothing more nor less than the will of the people, and the people, being under the power of itself alone, is alone its own ruler. It does choose nevertheless some to whose charge it may commit itself, but in such wise that it makes over to them not the right so much as the business of governing, to be exercised, however, in its name.
"The authority of God is passed over in silence, just as if there were no God; or as if He cared nothing for human society; or as if men, whether in their individual capacity or bound together in social relations, owed nothing to God; or as if there could a government of which the whole origin and power and authority did reside in God Himself. Thus, as is evident, a State becomes nothing but a multitude, which is its own master and ruler. And since the populace is declared to contain within itself the spring-head of all rights and of all power, it follows that the State does not consider itself bound by any kind of duty towards God. Moreover, it believes that it is not obliged to make public profession of any religion; or one true; or to prefer one religion to all the rest; or to show to any form of religion special favor; but, on the contrary, is bound to grant equal rights to every creed, so that public order may not be disturbed by any particular form of religious belief."
This is the foundation of the modern State, including the United States of America, which was founded in the acceptance of religious indifferentism as a civic virtue that would, to cite James Madison, prevent a recurrence of the "religious wars" in Europe, wars, it should be pointed out, that occurred precisely because of the Protestant Revolt. Such a foundation, however, is destined to result in the triumph of the State as it acknowledges no divinely instituted authority over it to check its exercise of civil power, as I have noted in my many treatises on Americanism. A State founded on an acceptance of religious indifferentism as a civic virtue winds up unable to retard any sort of social decay. Indeed, it winds up embracing every sort of social decay as part of the lowest common denominator.
Pope Leo XIII noted this later in Immortale Dei:
"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 probably, equally good, equally acceptable to God."
Statements are either true or false of their nature. Pope Leo was simply applying the principle of non-contradiction to demonstrate the absurdity of religious indifferentism, and how harmful it was to the welfare of the State. This is one of the reasons the American Constitution was bound to degenerate over time. Its demise was not the result of Abraham Lincoln. Its demise was the result of the defective nature of its foundation, a veritable step-child of the Protestant Revolt and the "Enlightenment" (of which Freemasonry was an expression).
Father Fahey explained the consequences of the Protestant Revolt for the State in great detail in The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:
"The organization of the Europe of the thirteenth century furnishes us with one concrete realization of the Divine Plan. It is hardly necessary to add that there were then to be seen defects in the working of the Divine Plan., due to the character of fallen man, as well as to an imperfect mastery of physical nature. Yet, withal, the formal principle of ordered social organization in the world, the supremacy of the Mystical Body, was grasped and, in the main, accepted. The Lutheran revolt, prepared by the cult of pagan antiquity at the Renaissance, and by the favour enjoyed by the Nominalist philosophical theories, led to the rupture of that order."
Although Christendom was not without its faults, it differed from modernity in three essential respects: first, there was, as has been noted, a recognition of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as exercised by Holy Mother Church. Second, the average person understood who he was in light of the Incarnation and the Redemption, being ever conscious to live in the shadow of the Cross. Third, as a result of the first two, the average person knew that the problems of the world were caused by Original and actual sins, and are thus ameliorated only by the daily conversion of souls in cooperate with the grace they received in the sacraments administered by Holy Mother Church. Martin Luther was to reject all of this, causing consequences he did not foresee but for which he is nevertheless responsible.
"The great cardinal principle of Protestantism is that every man attains salvation by entering into an immediate relation with Christ, with the aid of that interior faith by which he believes that, though his sins persist, they are no longer imputed to him, thanks to the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. All men are thus priests for themselves and carry out the work of their justification by treating directly and individually with God. The Life of Grace, being nothing else than the external favour of God, remains outside of us and we continue, in fact, in spite of Lutheran faith in Christ, corrupt and sinful. Each human being enters into an isolated relation with our Lord, and there is no transforming life all are called to share. Luther never understood the meaning of faith informed by sanctifying grace and charity. Accordingly, the one visible Church and the Mystical Body is done away with, as well as the priesthood and the sacrifice of the Mystical Body, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The only purpose of preaching and such ceremonies were retained by Protestants was to stir up the individual's faith."
As influential as Niccolo Machiavelli was becoming among many European leaders, his amorality could not have triumphed had it not been for the Protestant Revolt. Many princes of what were then the independent German kingdoms and of Scandinavia and the Low Countries embraced Lutheranism precisely because it enabled them to be free of the "yoke" of the Roman pontiffs. They could be free to rule as they wanted without having to fear a public reprimand from a national primate or from the Sovereign Pontiff himself. This is what would lead tho the rise of absolutism and the modern totalitarian state, populated as it is by all manner of professional criminals known as careerist politicians.
The Lutheran Revolt against the visible, hierarchical church is nothing other than an exercise in religious anarchism. In essence, Luther was saying that a Christian does not need a visible authority to direct him in his path to Heaven, which is assured to begin with by his individual profession of faith in Jesus Christ as his personal savior. As the religious indifferentism engendered by the different sects that developed in the Protestant world within a century of 1517 had its own internal logic of decay, it would only be a matter of time that the religious anarchism of Martin Luther would lead to a social anarchism that rejected entirely any concept of religion in popular culture and national life, no less admitting that there could be a true Faith to bind all peoples in all circumstances at all times until the end of the world. Lutheranism leads by its own warped illogic and internal contradictions to statism.
"Hence the True Church of Christ, according to the Protestant view, is noting else than the assembly of those who, on account of the confidence interiorly conceived of the remission of their sins, have the justice of God imputed to them by God and are accordingly predestined to eternal life. And this Church, known to God alone, is the unique Church of the promises of indefectibility, to which our Lord Jesus Christ promised His assistance to the consummation of the world. Since, however, true believers, instructed by the Holy Ghost, can manifest their faith exteriorly, can communicate their impressions and feelings to other and may employ the symbols of the Sacraments to stir up their faith, they give rise to a visible church which, nevertheless, is not the Church instituted by Christ. Membership of this Church is not necessary for salvation, and it may assume different forms according to different circumstances. The true invisible Church of Christ is always hidden, unseen in the multitude.
"Protestantism, therefore, substituted for the corporate organization of society, imbued with the spirit of the Mystical Body and reconciling the claims of personality and individuality in man, a merely isolated relation with our Divine Lord. This revolt of human individual against order on the supernatural level, this uprise of individualism, with its inevitable chaotic self-seeking, had dire consequences both in regard to ecclesiastical organization and in the realms of politics and economics. Let us take these in turn."
The influence of Protestantism has been such that religious belief has become little more than a matter of opinion, and the best way in civil society to avoid divisiveness and intolerance by rejecting the relevance of denominationalism to order in that civil society. Sadly, many Catholics (especially professional conservatives, such as those who support reflexively President George W. Bush) embrace this same ethos, which is part of the legacy of how Bishop John Carroll and how many of his successors in the American hierarchy taught Catholic immigrants to fit into a Protestant world without being too professedly Catholic, especially in the realm of politics and economics. This disastrous approach resulted in Catholics permitting themselves to be catechized by the culture, which explains why so many Catholics even in 2002 support candidates for public office who promote the mystical destruction of Our Lord in the person of unborn children in their mothers' wombs. It also explains the various permutations of statism abroad throughout the Western world.
"The tide of revolt which broke away from the Catholic Church had the immediate effect of increasing the power of princes and rulers in Protestant countries. The Anabaptists and the peasants in Germany protested in the name of 'evangelical liberty,' but they were crushed. We behold the uprise of national churches, each of which organizes its own particular form of religion, mixture of supernatural and natural elements, as a department of State. The orthodox Church in Russia was also a department of State and as such exposed to the same evils. National life was thus withdrawn from ordered subjection to the Divine Plan and the distinction laid down by our Divine Lord Himself, between the things that are God's and the things that are Caesar's, utterly abolished. Given the principle of private judgment or of individual relation with Christ, it was inevitable that the right of every individual to arrange his own form of religion should cause the pendulum to swing from a Caesarinism supreme in Church and State to other concrete expressions of 'evangelical liberty.' One current leads to the direction of indefinite multiplication of sects. Pushed to its ultimate conclusion, this would, this would give rise to as many churches as there are individuals, that is, there would not be any church at all. As this is too opposed to man's social nature, small groups tend to coalesce. The second current tends to the creation of what may be termed broad or multitudinist churches. The exigencies of the national churches are attenuated until they are no longer a burden to anybody. The Church of England is an example of this. As decay in the belief of the Divinity of Jesus continues to increase, the tendency will be to model church organization according to the political theories in favour at the moment. The democratic form of society will be extolled and a 'Reunion of Christendom,' for example, will be aimed at, along the lines of the League of Nations. An increasing number of poor bewildered units will, of course, cease to bother about any ecclesiastical organization at all."
The destruction of the order intended by Our Lord in His Mystical Body, the Church, not only gave rise to the triumph of statism over time. It also paved the way for Freemasonry, formed exactly two hundred years after Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg, to start the process of the deification of man, an essential ingredient of the man-centered State.
"One consequence of the doctrine of private judgment must here be expressed, as it is of special importance for the explanation of the spread of Masonry. This theory attuned men's minds to the deification of man, which is, the doctrine underlying Masonic symbolism. . . . The autonomous man, who decides on his own authority what he will accept of the Gospel God Himself came to deliver to us, is already well on the way to self-deification.
"The first [political] result was an enormous increase in the power of the Temporal Rulers, in fact a rebirth of the pagan regime of Imperial Rome. The Spiritual Kingship of Christ, participated in by the Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church being no longer acknowledged, authority over spiritual affairs passed to Temporal Rulers. They were thus, in Protestant countries, supposed to share not only in His Temporal Kingship of Christ the King, but also in His spiritual Kingship. As there was no Infallible Guardian of order above the Temporal Rulers, the way was paved for the abuses of State Absolutism. The Protestant oligarchy who ruled England with undisputed sway, from Charles the Second's time on, and who treated Ireland to the Penal Laws, may be cited, along with that cynical scoundrel, Frederick of Prussia, as typical examples of such rulers. Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV of France and Joseph II of Austria, by their absolutist tendencies and pretensions to govern the Catholic Church show the influence of the neighboring Protestant countries. Gallicanism and Josephism are merely a revival of Roman paganism."
Indeed. As I have noted on many occasions, it is likely that the conditions that bred the American Revolution might never have existed if King Henry VIII had not broken from Rome. The rise of absolutism in England is the result of the English Revolt, which is also, obviously, responsible for many of the economic problems in the world. The modern State - and its influence upon Catholics of the left and the right - is thus born, so corrupting the State that a lot of well-meaning people believe it is beyond repair.
Religious indifferentism was one of the chief consequences of the Protestant Revolt. If no one is the Pope, then everyone is the Pope. It is a short step from there to assert that religion itself is but a mere matter of opinion, and that it is actually best for a State to be neutral with respect to all matters pertaining to private belief. This is cited even by Catholic apologists for the Constitution of the United States as one of this country's principal strengths. After all, these apologists contend, it is impossible to roll back the clock to the Middle Ages. This country was founded in the framework of religious and cultural pluralism. The Constitution provides an opportunity for all ideas to flourish in the marketplace of ideas, giving flesh to James Madison's expectations in The Federalist (Numbers Ten and Fifty-one) that there would be no one "opinion" to unite men of disparate backgrounds. Thus, the Constitution is exalted for its ability to force competing opinions to debate with one another in the policy making process, providing the possibility, although not a guarantee, of preventing the tyranny of the majority. As the late Dr. Martin Diamond and Dr. Daniel Elazar noted in their careers, the complexity of the Constitution is designed to permit all "opinions" a chance to be heard in the policy-making process. No one is guaranteed to have their way in that process; he is only guaranteed a say in it.
However well-intentioned such an effort might be, it is premised upon the belief the Incarnation and the Redemptive Act of the God - Man on the wood of the Holy Cross can be ignored in the context of the foundation and operation of the State. Again, the Church has no models of governance to offer man. She has adapted herself to many different systems, although a democratic republic that is founded in the acceptance and promotion of religious indifferentism and cultural pluralism has proven itself to be deleterious to even the private beliefs of Catholics concerning the infallible nature of Revealed Truth. After all, if everything is negotiable in the public realm, then why can't matters of "Church teaching" be open to discussion and debate. Dr. Joseph Varacalli, a professor of sociology at Nassau Community College and the co-founder of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, has discussed this in his book Bright Promise. It is possible for the Church to adapt herself to the exigencies of a democratic republic, but only if there is a frank recognition in a nation's organic documents that the Church herself has the right to nullify laws that are contrary to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
NEXT: Protestantism and Freemasonry
volume 14, no. 27
CATHOLICISM AND THE STATE