social nature of man

Catholic Life?

Catholic Life? posted in Eleison Comments on March 18, 2017

Another young man writes to me about the problem of living as a Catholic in today’s world around us. But what Catholic can not have a problem in today’s world? His questions as to world and Church are in italics. Some advice from the author of these “Comments” follows:—

It is more and more difficult for me to live a life consistent with the Catholic Faith. As for the world, should I be thinking, as soon as I earn my own living, of moving to another country, e.g. France, in order to seek there the means of founding a Christian family (e.g. wife, Catholic priests consistent with the defence of Tradition, &c)? As for Mass, the Traditional Mass nearest to my city is in B., where there is a chapel of the Newsociety and another chapel which depends on the Newchurch. What would your Excellency recommend me to do? I know of no priests of the Resistance in my country, nor even of many true Catholics, as it seems to me.

As for the world I would not recommend your moving to any other country. There is every likelihood that you would meet there with the same problems, and you would have severed your native roots in your own country. You may think those roots in a modern city are not worth much but they are better than none. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” You would risk jumping “from the frying pan into the fire,” instead of jumping from the frying pan onto the kitchen table. Providence has put you in the city where you have now your family and your friends. The solutions today are rather internal than external, above all when World War may start before long (the whole USA System is against Trump, and it wants war!).

Similarly with attending Mass. The “other chapel” that you mention was once better than it is now. Likewise the SSPX, as you know. The apostasy today is all around. I would beware of geographical solutions. You could attach one day to the best-seeming priest, and a little while later he goes crazy too. That has happened all too often in today’s Church. The solution has to be internal rather than external.

As for the internal solution, since you read the ‘Eleison Comments,’ then you know how often and repeatedly I recommend praying the full 15 Mysteries of the Rosary every day. Good books (and good music) can also help considerably to nourish and protect the mind and the heart. Read what genuinely interests you, and do not read merely dutiful books because you will not get out of them nearly as much. Almighty God has seen from eternity what a mess the modern world would get itself into. He has also seen from eternity that there would be souls today still wanting to go to Heaven. Is it imaginable that even in today’s infernal big cities He would have left such souls with no recourse if only they wanted to stay on track for Heaven?

Yet He foresaw that everything external would fall under the control of His enemies: telephone calls, emails, drones, universities, politics, law, medicine, etc., etc. That is why I think that what He means by allowing such power to His enemies is to drive us back to Him and to a true inner practice of His holy religion despite the worst that Popes and priests can do. Therefore, in my opinion, be content to attend the least contaminated Tridentine Mass that there is anywhere near you, get regularly to Confession with any priest still willing to hear Confessions and who does not tell you that a sin is not a sin, and find the way to work into your day all 15 Mysteries of the Rosary. And then “possess your soul in patience” and quietly beg God to show you the way to Heaven, and to intervene here below before everything is lost. Despite all appearances, He is still in perfect control.

Kyrie eleison.

State Religion – III

State Religion – III posted in Eleison Comments on January 14, 2012

To claim that States need not profess or protect the Catholic religion is a classic liberal error, and one of the major errors of Vatican II. Liberalism said, so to speak, “Let us not attack Catholicism head on, but let us divide and rule. Let us divide the individual man from society by pretending that man is not a social animal, and then we can pretend that religion is purely an individual affair. This will enable us to take over society, and once we have made it liberal, we can turn it back on the individual as a mighty weapon to liberalize him too, because of course man is a social animal! If any individual then wants not to be liberal, he will have great difficulty in resisting his society that we have liberalized.” Not so? Look around! Then let us answer three more objections to the doctrine that, for the salvation of souls, every State should be Catholic.

Your Excellency, Our Lord himself said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. XXII, 21). Here Our Lord is clearly separating Church from State. Therefore no State should get involved in Catholicism or any other religion Answer, no, Our Lord is not here separating Church from State! He is making the common sense distinction between what the individual owes to the State (taxes, etc.) and what he owes to God (worship). Our Lord is absolutely not saying that the temporal State owes nothing to the eternal God. In fact the State, as being the collective temporal authority of a collection of human beings, owes to God in its acts of authority what they owe to him as social beings, namely the social observance of his natural law, and to that Church which natural reason on its own can see to be true, as much social recognition and promotion as will not get in the way of the salvation of souls.

But discerning which is the true religion is something for the individual to do. How then can the State as State be obliged in principle to be Catholic?Answer, the State is nothing but the moral (i.e. non-material) association in a political body of a greater or lesser number of physical (i.e. material) human beings. But every one of these human beings, merely by the upright use of his natural reason, whether or not he has the supernatural virtue of the Faith, is capable of discerning that God exists, that Jesus Christ is God, and that the Catholic Church is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ. If then any given State does not discern which is the true religion, that is not because its citizens cannot discern, but because for a variety of reasons they will not, or do not want to do so, by making an upright use of their God-given reason. In fact they can discern, and before God they will all bear a greater or lesser responsibility, perfectly measured by him according to their circumstances, for failing to do so.

But, your Excellency, if you insist on every State’s obligation to be Catholic, you are merely going to make a lot of martyrs for evil.It is for the glory of God and the eternal salvation of souls that every State should be Catholic. To men therefore too ignorant or corrupt for this truth to do anything but alienate them, one may, without minimising the principle, hesitate to proclaim it, but that does not make it any less true. True principles are no less true for sometimes requiring in practice a measure of prudence in the way they are to be told. Surely readers of this “Commentary” can be told the whole truth!

Kyrie eleison.

State Religion – I

State Religion – I posted in Eleison Comments on November 26, 2011

What part should the State play in protecting or promoting the Catholic religion? Any Catholic who knows that Catholicism is the one true religion of the one true God can only answer that the State, being also a creature of that God, is bound to serve as best it can his one true religion. On the other hand any liberal who believes that the State is incompetent to tell which is the true religion because, for instance, religion is in any case the individual’s business, will answer that the State must protect the right of all its citizens to practise the religion of their choice, or none at all. Let us look at the Catholic arguments.

Man comes from God. His nature comes from God. Man is by nature social, so his socialness comes from God. But the whole man, not just part of him (First Commandment), owes worship to God. So the socialness of man owes worship to God. But the State is nothing other than the society formed by the socialness of all its citizens joining together in their body politic. Therefore the State owes worship to God. But amongst all different worships necessarily contradicting one another (otherwise they would not be different), maybe all are more or less false but certainly one alone can be fully true. So if there is such a worship, fully true and recognizable as such, that is the worship which every State, as State, owes to God. But Catholicism is that worship. Therefore every State, as State, owes Catholic worship to God, including even today’s England or Israel or Saudi Arabia!

But an essential part of worship is to render to God the service of which one is capable. Of what service is the State capable? Of great service! Man being social by nature, his society has a great influence on how he feels, thinks and believes. And a State’s laws have a decisive influence on moulding its citizens’ society. For instance, if abortion or pornography are made legal, many citizens will come to think that there is little or nothing wrong with them. Therefore every State has in principle a duty by its laws to protect and promote Catholic faith and morals.

Such is the clear principle. But does that principle mean that every non-Catholic should be rounded up by the police and burnt at the stake? Obviously not, because the purpose of worshipping and serving God is to give him glory and to save souls. But inconsiderate action on the part of the State will have the opposite effect, namely of discrediting Catholicism and alienating souls. Therefore the Church teaches that even a Catholic State has the right to abstain in practice from taking action against a false religion when taking that action would cause a still greater evil, or hinder a greater good. But every State’s duty in principle to protect Catholic faith and morals remains intact.

Does that mean forcing Catholicism on the citizens? Not at all, because Catholic belief is not something that can be forced – “Nobody believes against his will” (St Augustine). What it does mean is that in a Catholic State where taking such action may or should not be counter-productive, the public practice of all religions other than Catholicism may or should be prohibited. This logical conclusion was denied by Vatican II, because Vatican II was liberal. Yet it was common practice in Catholic States before the Council, and it will have helped many souls to be saved.

Kyrie eleison.