Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Social Reign of Christ - Not a Call for A Confessional State

Two regular SCM readers and quality bloggers in their own rights are Cardinal Pole and Louise.

In response to this blog by His Eminence, Louise has suggested that "it should be pretty obvious by now that what we need is a Catholic Confessional State".

Bad idea, Lou. VERY bad idea. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and I don't know of any "confessional state" in history or in the present which has successfully maintained and defended this right for all its citizens and the strangers dwelling within its borders (except perhaps the Vatican City State! Or maybe the United Kingdom, which could - at a stretch - be called a "confessional" state in so far as it has a religion which is established by the State, but that would be stretching the meaning of the word "confessional" to breaking point...)

But Louise suggests it would be all OK if "no-one is forced to observe the confessional religion if they do not wish to."

Then what do you mean by a "Confessional"state? And what would be the purpose of it?

How would a Catholic Confessional state defend itself against the charge of forcing others to observe the dictates of a certain religion against their wishes, when its governing power (acting as a confessionally Catholic body) is obliged to uphold the moral teachings of the Catholic confession?

And if there were no such obligation for the governing power to uphold the Confessional religion (eg. as in the UK today), what would be achieved by having such an official state religion in the first place?

The separation of church and state is a "good thing" in our society. In case you disagree, just take a look at the various Islamic confessional states where Sharia holds sway. (and for an interesting article on that, see this article by a Muslim author in the latest First Things issue).

What is a "bad thing" is the separation of Christians from the State, or Christians who separate their Christianity from the State. OR, for that matter, when anyone at all feels the need to leave their religious convictions (whatever they may be) indoors when they venture out into the public square.

IOW, what we need is not a "Catholic Confessional State" but simply more confessional Catholics involved in our State.

This is not to deny that Christ is King over the State as well as the Church (not even the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms denies that).

But his reign over the State can only be recognised by those who accept his reign over their hearts. And those in political power who do recognise Christ as King of their own hearts must also recognise that he is King over the State. In this they will recognise their duty as subjects of Christ the King to enact His Reign in their society by defending the human dignity of each and every human being within it. This includes protecting their religious freedom.

May I recomment re-reading the second half of Pope Benedict's first Encyclical (or in fact anything he has said before or since his election on this matter) for an understanding of the proper relation between Church and State in Catholic teaching.

54 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:28:00 pm , Blogger Athanasius said...

This is a complex question, and a lot swings on how you define words like “confessional” and “Catholic”.

An example of a “confessional state” would be one that forced people to be baptised, or go to Mass on Sunday, or gave Catholics tax breaks just for being Catholic. I don’t think anyone argues this is a good idea, and it’s been a disaster in the few places where it’s been attempted.

But it is not confessional or Catholic for something like abortion to be restricted by the state, or for homosexual relationships not to be recognised or encouraged by the state. Someone like Budszewski would argue that the wrongness of abortion is a moral truth that is accessible to any person who is prepared to submit the issue to reason. The fact that there is disagreement about such moral truths doesn’t change the fact that these matters can be argued and resolved in terms accessible to reason alone – no specifically Catholic commitment is required.

Whether any particular evil should then be made illegal is a separate, prudential judgement. In the case of abortion, just as for slavery, I think it should be made illegal because the harm of these evils is so great. In the case of adultery, probably not, even though adultery is morally wrong according to reason.

If that all sounds a bit too “confessional” for you, I have worse news. There is no such thing as a “non-confessional” state. Secularism makes just as many theological and anthropological assumptions as Catholicism, only different ones.

These secular assumptions have legal and social consequences that are inimical to human flourishing. For example, an anthropology built around modern concepts of autonomy is used to justify many objective evils such as pornography, and to compel others to aid and abet other evils such as abortion (e.g. Catholic doctors who are now required to refer patients to abortionists in Victoria).

The presence of these evils on society affects everyone, not just those who indulge in them, because they affect how all relate to each other. There is simply no way to cut society up into separate individuals who can make their own choices independently. The imposition of a secular “confession” is the result.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:26:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

An example of a “confessional state” would be one that forced people to be baptised, or go to Mass on Sunday, or gave Catholics tax breaks just for being Catholic.

That's not my idea of a confessional state.

There is no such thing as a “non-confessional” state.

Exactly. So, Id' rather live in a Catholic Confessional State.

I really think Pole was onto something with his opening salvo:

http://cardinalpole.blogspot.com/2008/07/purpose-and-intended-audience-of-this.html

"I have started this blog out of frustration at the vast majority of Catholic, and even ostensibly Traditional, bloggers who will rail against 'secularism' while appearing to be quite content with its key tenets, including:

* the separation of Church and State
* the freedom of citizens to disseminate heresy and foment schism
* liberal democracy
* 'multiculturalism'

I fail to see how any of these principles is compatible with the Social Reign of Christ; in fact, they constitute what one might call the Social Reign of Pontius Pilate, with the State purporting to be neutral at the same time as it promotes grave injustice, permitting all manner of sociopaths and degenerates to prosper."

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:33:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

In the case of adultery, probably not, even though adultery is morally wrong according to reason.

I thought so too, but then Pole (I think) pointed out that adultery was illegal in the Middle Ages (and adulerers were fined by the State for the offence) and still is in some jurisdictions.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:35:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Secularism makes just as many theological and anthropological assumptions as Catholicism, only different ones.

And irrational ones!

These secular assumptions have legal and social consequences that are inimical to human flourishing. For example, an anthropology built around modern concepts of autonomy is used to justify many objective evils such as pornography, and to compel others to aid and abet other evils such as abortion (e.g. Catholic doctors who are now required to refer patients to abortionists in Victoria).

Exactamondo! And I might add, that there would be no need for a Catholic Confessional State to force people to act against their conscience.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:41:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

BTW, David, I have answered some of your questions in my combox, where I responded to your comments there. You raised good questions.

But his reign over the State can only be recognised by those who accept his reign over their hearts.

Trust me, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do, but I keep coming back to the fact that Australia is about as committed to Satan and "all his little wizards" as it is possible to be without completely foregoing civilisation (ie The Gospel).*

I do not accept paganism, or secularism, or atheism etc. I refuse to be mastered by them. Yet I live under such law!


*In case it is not obvious what I am saying, I believe that every good thing in our society comes either from pre-Christian paganism (which invented almost everything that is human) or The Gospel. Every bad thing in it, comes from a departing from The Gospel.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:45:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

This has been definitivly addressed by the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 December) 1864, produced a list of 80 statements to be condemned, supporting each condemnation with citations from earlier papal teaching to document their continuity with unchanging Catholic teaching. Among them:

#15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.

#55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.

#77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.

#78. It has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.

#80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with, progress, liberalism and modern civilization.

Peter has spoken. Case closed.

Except it's not. Barely a month later, Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans explains these are ideals only, toward which we may not tend, not actual states of affairs to be brought about.

Nine years after that (1874) the theological magician John Henry Newman explains that these are not doctrinal and not matters of faith, but only applicable to the specific past circumstances in which the statements arose.

And now the great circumlocutor, Benedict XVI, calls Gaudium et spes of Vatican II the counter-syllabus to the Syllabus errorum of Pius IX, both being true in the development of doctrine.

Ah Catholicism. It is whatever you want it to be. A statement is condemned here, but not there, condemned then, but not now, means this, but also that, once was that, but now is this and never changed -- all made perfectly clear to the faithful by the magisterium Christ instituted for that purpose, themselves!

Praise Rome from whom all meanings flow.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:52:00 pm , Anonymous Tom said...

Sorry for the long post.

Athanasius has spoken very well there i think. Whether or not a state announces anything in particular, or nothing particular at all, it will end up being a confessional state of SOME kind. Although as Shutz pointed out, it does stretch the term 'confessional state' to breaking point. The problem as i see it, is that our state labours under this extreme and rediculous delusion of 'secular ethical neutrality'. (PS, most of what i'm saying/about to say i have read in Budziszewski's book, True Tolerance) Our society is convinced that to be tolerant is to be ethically neutral (an absurd idea if ever there was one). For a full exegesis read the book i just mentioned, Budziszewski is VERY thorough.

The easiest example we can see today is abortion. Someone says, "I believe abortion is evil, but because i must be tolerant of others and not judge them, i cannot speak out against someone else having an abortion."

Well, following the logic of that...

p1/Abortion is not okay for me, because i feel it to be wrong.
p2/Abortion is okay for others, because my moral judgement is nothing more than a moral sentiment, and i must not be judgemental.

c1/Abortion is okay.


What we have done is taken the humean is/ought problem to it's very most logical conclusion. Because our society chooses not to draw moral lessons from our nature, but rather from this 'ethical gut feeling', good becomes what i like, evil what i don't like. So for everyone else, good/bad is simply what they happen to like/dislike.

So, to return to our little syllogysm from before, let us substitute abortion for murder.

p1/ Murder is not okay for me because i feel it to be wrong.
p2/ Murder MAY WELL be okay for someone else who could potentially feel murder to be acceptable.

c1/ Murder is okay.
(if you think what i've written is too simplistic, don't be fooled. It wasn't 100 years ago that virtually every western society saw abortion as a terrible evil, and even today, technically, abortion is still illegal in NSW, under the Crimes Act, yet it is a freely, openly, and legally protected practise)


Fundamentally whatever we substitute for abortion, or murder, or anything else, unless we actually have a way of judging it we cannot come to any solid conclusions, except the conclusions of the kind shown. Here's why.

If i can only judge things for myself, i cannot arrive to any true objective knowledge of right and wrong. If this is the case, then right and wrong must be established in every case by the individuals involved. Because, every time i want to do something wrong, by my nature i will justify it to myself, and as a result (we are terrific self-justifiers) we will find virtually everything acceptable. The problem is, we have a government and a culture that as Athanasius said, is built around a human anthropology of individualistic autonomy. So, the only judgements i can make in the end are judgements along the Millsean line "You may do what-so-ever you please, so long as what you do, does not harm anyone else."

Therefore, abortion is fine, because (according to the New Orthodoxy) unborn babies are not human at all. And it would be HIGHLY IMMORAL OF ME to prevent any woman from seeking an abortion, because i have no right to judge her actions, as she is autonomous and self-actualising (that is, she has every right to seek her own happiness in her own way; not that i disagree absolutely with this, but only in a qualified sense is this statement garbage; usually the way in which our modern society uses it).

SOOO (to FINALLY get to the point), the idea of a confessional state is tempting, because it gives us a way of dealing with ethical neutrality and it's deception very easily, but very poorly. The reality is if people are willing to think very, very carefully, they will see that the term 'ethical neutrality' itself is a contradiction. Ethical decisions can NEVER be neutral. EVERY decision we make, is ALWAYS, and EVERYWHERE, in EVERY TIME aimed at some good. We may corrupt these goods, such as the importance of tolerant judgement. Tolerance does not mean to tolerate evil (corrupt version), it means to tolerate lesser evils for the protection of a higher good (true version). (NB: I am NOT advocating a kind of Machiavellian ends justifying the means, i am talking about tolerating a minor evil for the sake of protecting greater goods, such as the toleration of hate-speech, in order to protect free speech). Even in the example mentioned, every action of hate speech being tolerated is aimed at the protection of free speech. There is absolutely nothing neutral about that; i think free speech is a very good thing!

In the end, the reason it would be simpler to put in a confessional state, is because we can be deceived into thinking that it will somehow provide the cultural revolution that we need. Unfortunately, for every woman scarred by an abortion, the only way to prevent a second is for her to realise that what was done was evil. In other words, what we need is to have a restoration of our Christian Culture, that constantly calls us to conversion to recognise the nature of our actions. Doing such through fiat via legislation would never work, it must be arrived at freely.

The questions you have raised there Louise, are mis-stated.

Liberal Democracy is a good thing, in it's true form. Modern democracy is not liberal democracy, it is democracy at the hands of the New Orthodoxy (thus, the issue is not the form of governement, but the culture in which it is practised.)

Multiculturalism is also a good thing, in its true form. Modern multiculturalism isn't multiculturalism at all, it's cultural pluralism. It is NOT the same thing to say 'i will tolerate other cultures for the goodness they bring to my own culture' as saying 'all cultures are equal in what they say about various truths, and no culture should have precedence'.

The freedom of citizens to say what they like is called free speech. It is a good thing, and should always be practised, if only for the fact that my knowledge of the truth will only be honed by being tested against false argument.

The separation of Church and State is a good thing; one deals with the temporal reality of human justice. The other deals with the eternal heavenly reality of divine justice. The two should not be accomodated by the same body, as the two are complementary, but not equal.

We need to rememeber that our current culture is in alot of ways still a product of our christian heritage, and there are alot of good things still there. It is being slowly corrupted, but the answer is not to fight evil with supression, but to rely on loving our neighbours. Anyone who feels condemned for their actions will only feel the need to justify themselves and re-create their actions to prove they are just. Only when people can see they are loved DESPITE their actions can they see that there is the possibility of renouncing what they have done.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:57:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Although as Shutz pointed out, it does stretch the term 'confessional state' to breaking point.

No, I don't think it does. The State's "confession" may be particularly obscene and incoherent and largely informal - as with Secularism - but it is real nevertheless.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:03:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

In other words, what we need is to have a restoration of our Christian Culture, that constantly calls us to conversion to recognise the nature of our actions. Doing such through fiat via legislation would never work, it must be arrived at freely.

I think it's a Both/And thing.

And as I mentioned before, it's not even possible to establish a Catholic Confessional State until the vast majority (perhaps 90%+) are committed Catholics.

So, why discuss it? Because it's something worth thinking about.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:10:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Liberal Democracy is a good thing, in it's true form.

I am by no means convinced, Tom.

The freedom of citizens to say what they like is called free speech. It is a good thing, and should always be practised, if only for the fact that my knowledge of the truth will only be honed by being tested against false argument.

No. On the contrary, I think this is what has landed us here in the first place. Heresies permitted to run wild will lead in the end to us questioning whether we can even think.

The two should not be accomodated by the same body, as the two are complementary, but not equal.

If this is what you mean by the separation of Church and State, then I'm inclined to agree. Not sure what Pole thinks - I was quoting him.

We need to rememeber that our current culture is in alot of ways still a product of our christian heritage, and there are alot of good things still there. It is being slowly corrupted, but the answer is not to fight evil with supression, but to rely on loving our neighbours.

False either/or construct.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:12:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Free speech: I actually *don't* think it's a good thing for (e.g.) Philip Nitschke to be walking around with his hateful, murderous, death-agenda. The man is a walking defence for the Inquisitions.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:23:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Mr. Schütz,

you say that:

"Religious freedom is a fundamental human right"

True statement as found in Dignitatis Humanae (paraphrased here):

"Everyone has the right to the free exercise of religion."

False statement, found nowhere in
Dignitatis Humanae:

"Everyone has the right to the free exercise of any religion, whether Catholic or non-Catholic."

You say that

"I don't know of any "confessional state" in history or in the present which has successfully maintained and defended this right for all its citizens"

Abuse does not detract from use. One could argue also that no democracy has ever fostered the full participation of the poor, so we should abandon democracy.

"Then what do you mean by a "Confessional"state? And what would be the purpose of it?"

The State is a juridical and moral person; it is entirely capable of confessing Christ. The purpose is that Christ is paid His due as Creator and Law-giver; it is an end in itself.

"... forcing others to observe the dictates of a certain religion against their wishes"

A red herring that inevitably crops up in discussions on Church-State relations in Catholic teaching. That the State as a person confesses Christ does not and, by definition of Faith, cannot mean that the State shall force its subjects to confess Christ.

"... when its governing power (acting as a confessionally Catholic body) is obliged to uphold the moral teachings of the Catholic confession?"

Now you have changed the subject lightly, from doctrines of faith to doctrines of morals. Every State requires its subjects to abide by certain moral precepts; why not a Confessional State?

"what would be achieved by having such an official state religion in the first place?"

Nothing necessarily, but its value is as an end in itself. The State derives its authority and all blessings from Christ, so it owes Him this recognition.

"The separation of church and state is a "good thing" in our society."

Maybe (though I disagree). But it does not follow from this that the State ought not to confess Christ. Church/State relations and Christ/State relations are two distinct things.

"... just take a look at the various Islamic confessional states where Sharia holds sway."

Another category mistake. 'Where Sharia holds sway', not where the Gospel holds sway.

"But his reign over the State can only be recognised by those who accept his reign over their hearts."

False. Again, the State is a person of its own; it does not have a heart, but it does have, as it were, a head. And if Christ's Reign is only 'in men's hearts' taken as individuals (as it is presently fashionable to say) then how is it in any respect social?! The Social Reign of Christ is a dogma of the Faith.

"May I recomment re-reading the second half of Pope Benedict's first Encyclical ..."

In one of His Holiness's speeches at WYD08 he said basically that all States are confessional. If the State must confess something or other, then whyever ought it not confess Christ?

For more information on these matters, see the tags 'Social Reign of Christ' and 'Confessional State' at my blog.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:35:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Tom,

You say that

"Liberal Democracy is a good thing, in it's true form."

False. The liberal dimension only permits degenerates to prosper, while the democratic dimension puffs us up with pride, deluding us into thinking that authority originates with us.

"Multiculturalism is also a good thing, in its true form."

False. Multiculturalism is madness. Culture is that which surrounds the cult. Cultures that have not originated in or been purified by the Gospel have no rights. And the great catch-cry of 'many different cultures, one community' is manifestly false; look around Australia's capital cities and you will find as many communities as there are cultures.

"The separation of Church and State is a good thing"

False. The State is supreme (under God) in civil matters, the Church is supreme (under God) in Ecclesiastical matters, but in mixed matters the State must defer to the Church. The ideal relationship is not separation, but union--mutual concord and unanimity of action.

"The freedom of citizens to say what they like is called free speech."

Gregory XVI called it deliramentum when conceived of as a natural right, which is what you seem to imply when you say that

"It is a good thing, and should always be practised, if only for the fact that my knowledge of the truth will only be honed by being tested against false argument."

False. Men's intellects were wounded in the Fall. Sometimes they will succumb to false arguments. Hence we ought to deny them access to such arguments.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:39:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Corrigendum:

In my first comment it should read

"Now you have changed the subject SLIGHTLY", not

"Now you have changed the subject LIGHTLY"

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:40:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Well done, Pole. Anyone interested in this topic really ought to check out Pole's blog using the tags he recommends.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:42:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

God help us! 15 comments in the space of a few hours. I must have hit on a hot topic...

I will now take the time to read what you have all written and get back to you!

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:47:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Athanasius said: "There is no such thing as a “non-confessional” state. Secularism makes just as many theological and anthropological assumptions as Catholicism, only different ones."

But I don't think that our State is a "confessional" state in this sense either (or more strictly, an "ideological" state). Our state is "secular" and that is well and good, but not "secularist" as an ideology OF the state (eg. in the way that the French - and perhaps Turkish - states are "secularist", or in the way that the Chinese State is Communisty. We do not have an official ideology in our Australian state.

Which isn't to say that there are not plenty of people (often a majority) who are in positions of political power in this country who ARE secularists, simply because they have been formed by the prevailing secularism of our society. And these are people who don't leave their ideological/"confessional" beliefs at home when they enter the public square.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:04:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

But I don't think that our State is a "confessional" state in this sense either (or more strictly, an "ideological" state).

If it *really* isn't now it soon will be!

Our state is "secular" and that is well and good, but not "secularist" as an ideology OF the state (eg. in the way that the French - and perhaps Turkish - states are "secularist", or in the way that the Chinese State is Communisty. We do not have an official ideology in our Australian state.

It may not be openly acknowledged, and therefore "official" but I think it's real all the same.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:07:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Louise said (in response to Athanasius' suggestion that "There is no such thing as a “non-confessional” state."): "Exactly. So, Id' rather live in a Catholic Confessional State.

My point is that our State per se IS non-confessional AND non-ideological. Our society on the other hand...

Louise also quoted Cardinal Pole's "opening salvo" to the effect that the following are "key tenets" of secularism:

* the separation of Church and State
* the freedom of citizens to disseminate heresy and foment schism
* liberal democracy
* 'multiculturalism'


Well, I think a closer reading of Joseph Ratzinger's work in this area will show that our inheritance from the Englightenment is a "mixed bag" - there is good as well as evil in the mix. I could give a number of examples but here is just one that google through up for me: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0143.html.

The "separation of Church and State" is one instance of a good. If you don't believe me, let me just point out that Cathlocism (in contrast to Orthodoxy) has always flourished when it has had a free hand in religious matters separate from the state. You see, the benefit flows both ways. The Catholic Church has always protested and defended its freedom from the dominance of the State (in a sense, you could say that Beckett died in the defense of the [correctly understood] separation of Church and State). Whereas the Orthodox Church has always suffered from being dominated by the State (Byzantium was a "confessional state" too, you know), and they appear quite bewildered in the new "post-communist" reality where they can actually determine their own path (see how the Russians are still trying to co-opt the new non-communist government for their cause once more - they cannot exist without Caesar to fall back upon).

As for "the freedom of citizens to disseminate heresy and foment schism", Ratzinger would call that an instance of "freedom of religion". Those who are members of the Church are not free to do this; by doing so they forfeit their right to be called Christian. HOWEVER, this cannot be imposed upon the populace at large without resorting to coercion that violates human dignity. Cf. Ratzinger again.

I don't know about "liberal democracy" as opposed to plain old garden variety "democracy", but me thinks democracy is a good thing. I am, of course, a proponent of "Constitutional Democracy" with a monarch at the head of it, and think it would be no bad thing if the monarch was a practicing Christian, but it would probably tax the monarch's conscience too heavily if he was a "confessional Catholic" (cf. the example of the King of Belgium).

Still, democracy is a good, if flawed, system of Government because it is LESS flawed than every other model. It is a system of Government that would work as well for Muslims (cf. the article refered to in the main blog) and Hindus (cf. India, by and large) as for Christians, so it can't be all bad.

As for "multiculturalism", well there you do have an ideology which, for a time, held ascendancy over our governments. I think we have moved on a little from the 1980's form of "multiculturalism". Events since the turn of the millenium have alerted both governments and ethnic cultural communities to the difficulties of following a purely "multicultural" agenda. Each nation, and Australia herself, needs to search out an identity that fuses its citizens together in harmony. So, less like a salad and more like a polyphonic choir?

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:08:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

Or, let me put it this way, David: how many Victims of the New Inquisition will it take?

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:10:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

As for secularism being "irrational", Louise, I think not. I think Budszewski would say, if I read him rightly, that secularism is simply reason without the light of revelation. It is a rational working out of certain assumptions.

Our reason needs revelation much as our eyes need the light. We can all claim to be using our eyes (our reason) but those in the dark (without revelation) will often not see what those of us in the light (with the aid of revelation) are able to see.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:13:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Continuing, Louise said: "Australia is about as committed to Satan and "all his little wizards" as it is possible to be without completely foregoing civilisation (ie The Gospel)."

Not "Australia", Louise. Some Australians. Perhaps a great majority of Australians. But our parliaments do not and our nation does not act as a single body in any such commitment. They/we act as a collection of people each with very different views and commitments - the majority wins out.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:20:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Tom said: "In other words, what we need is to have a restoration of our Christian Culture".

I am with you on that one, brother. Because we live in a democracy, we have the laws and policies that reflect the culture of our people. It is with the hearts and minds of the people that we must start - which is exactly where the Reign of Christ begins - not in thinking that we can make people "good" by having "good" governments make "good" laws.

As for the rest of your long comment, I am with you one hundred percent.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:21:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Louise said: And as I mentioned before, it's not even possible to establish a Catholic Confessional State until the vast majority (perhaps 90%+) are committed Catholics. So, why discuss it? Because it's something worth thinking about.

And now, Lou, have a listen to how this sounds:

"And as I mentioned before, it's not even possible to establish a Islamic Sharia State until the vast majority (perhaps 90%+) are committed Muslims. So, why discuss it? Because it's something worth thinking about."

If you read that on a Muslim blog, how would you feel? Hmm?

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:25:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

As for secularism being "irrational", Louise, I think not.

I haven't the time right now, but I'll try to get around to writing a couple of examples as to why I think the Secular view is irrational.

Not "Australia", Louise. Some Australians.

Okay then, David, 51% of Australians; which is all it takes.

[It's not as though I don't empathise - I mean, even if it's bad, most of us naturally prefer the things we are more familiar with. "Better the devil you know."]

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:25:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

His Eminence replied to my comment ("... forcing others to observe the dictates of a certain religion against their wishes") that this was: A red herring that inevitably crops up in discussions on Church-State relations in Catholic teaching. That the State as a person confesses Christ does not and, by definition of Faith, cannot mean that the State shall force its subjects to confess Christ.

Well, now, how are you going to get the "State" (which is the People, no?) to confess such a thing? BY LAW? If so, you are imposing the faith. Can't do this, bro.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:26:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I have to go out to a do at Parliament House now. With our Jewish brethren and sistern. I will be back later to continue the conversation...

(And I meant to get some work done in this time...)

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:36:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

I am with you on that one, brother. Because we live in a democracy, we have the laws and policies that reflect the culture of our people. It is with the hearts and minds of the people that we must start - which is exactly where the Reign of Christ begins - not in thinking that we can make people "good" by having "good" governments make "good" laws.

David, this is the argument which some people make against trying to make the abortion laws pro-life. Really, it's a both/and situation; both the law *and* the changing of hearts by persuasion etc.

And now, Lou, have a listen to how this sounds:

"And as I mentioned before, it's not even possible to establish a Islamic Sharia State until the vast majority (perhaps 90%+) are committed Muslims. So, why discuss it? Because it's something worth thinking about."

If you read that on a Muslim blog, how would you feel? Hmm?


But David, aside from the fact that I don't think feelings should come into it (that's what gives us so many immoral laws in this country) it should be completely obvious that I wouldn't like it any more than I would like a Secularist to say (as they do) that religion has no place in politics (ie we should have a secular confessional state). Obviously I don't like it and furthermore I know that secularists will not like it when I speak of a Catholic confessional state.

But here's the point: why must I be the one to be disappointed?

Or another point: the supposedly "neutral" secular state which is open to all views and where everyone gets a guernsey doesn't exist.

Also, you said:

not in thinking that we can make people "good" by having "good" governments make "good" laws.

It seems pretty easy to make 'em bad by enacting bad laws.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 6:37:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

With our Jewish brethren and sistern.

"sistREN" surely?

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:32:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

His Eminence said: "In one of His Holiness's speeches at WYD08 he said basically that all States are confessional. If the State must confess something or other, then whyever ought it not confess Christ?"

Ummm... I don't recall that one. Chapter and verse, your Eminence?

Are you sure he put it that way, or is that you reading into him something he didn't say?

And look, there is a theological question here. How can a State "confess" anything? Only believers can make a "confession" of faith. But States are not capable of "confessing" anything. Monarchs and rulers and governors, as individuals, can make a "confession" of faith in so far as they are believers. They can, if they wish and have the power to do so, impose those religious doctrines on their people. BUT only believers - or a group of believers such as a Council of Bishops - can make a "confession of faith". How can a State say "We believe"?

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:41:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Hold on, perhaps you attempt to answer that with your statement that "the State is a person of its own; it does not have a heart, but it does have, as it were, a head."

Well, not ours here in Australia. We are the original "headless state", or at least our "head of state" is far far away. And she confesses a totally different faith, which in the past has persecuted Catholics. (Just remember that England under Elizabeth and James was a "confessional state" and think about how comfortable that makes you feel.)

But you go on: "And if Christ's Reign is only 'in men's hearts' taken as individuals (as it is presently fashionable to say) then how is it in any respect social?! The Social Reign of Christ is a dogma of the Faith.

Christ reigns as King over all the world completely regardless of whether that kingship is acknowledged or not by human beings in their hearts.

Nevertheless, as you say, were his reign to remain only in the hearts "of individuals", it could not be called Social. But the Reign of Christ becomes "Social" through the Church. It is precisely because of this that we emphasise the nature of the church as a visible, hierarchical society - it is the new humanity in the process of recreation. The reign of Christ most emphatically
DOES NOT come through the State.

(Think about it, man: "Thy kingdom come" - is that a prayer that you really expect to be answered by the STATE????)

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:47:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Your Eminence: Again you say: "The State is supreme (under God) in civil matters, the Church is supreme (under God) in Ecclesiastical matters" - thus far this sounds like Luther's two kingdoms doctrine - "but in mixed matters the State must defer to the Church" - And that sounds like Innocent III, claiming "both swords".

And it is curious that you see things in this light, because you presume a separation of Church and State in order to say that in "mixed matters" (whatever they may be - who decides?) the Church can then trump the State.

But whatever Innocent III might have thought about this or that "sword", the fact is that only one body actually weilds a real sword of steel, and that is the State. I wouldn't like to be the "Church" when it gets on the wrong side of your "Confessional State" deciding who the "degenerates" are...

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:50:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Louise, do not misunderstand me when I speak of the "new inquisition". The New Inquisition is not carried out by our State, but by that "Fourth Estate" which our predecessors in the faith never dreamed of, namely, the Media. And the New Orthodoxy is not the opinion of our State, but the opinions of our Society.

Slightly different thing there.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:55:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Louise said (about my comments that good laws do not make good people): "David, this is the argument which some people make against trying to make the abortion laws pro-life. Really, it's a both/and situation; both the law *and* the changing of hearts by persuasion etc.

I certainly fully support doing all we can to use the law to prevent people from committing moral evils and protect others from having moral evils perpetrated upon them. This is the purpose of the law. But the law does not make people good.

Thus I have no argument with the the "both/and" approach - in fact it is such an approach that I advocate - only to say that the way in which to get our laws changed (in a democracy like ours) is to be more persuasive in putting forward our point of view.

 
At Tuesday, December 02, 2008 9:02:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Louise said: "It should be completely obvious that I wouldn't like it [living in an Islamic Sharia State] any more than I would like a Secularist to say (as they do) that religion has no place in politics (ie we should have a secular confessional state).... But here's the point: why must I be the one to be disappointed?"

That sounds to me like a "shoot before you get shot at" approach, Lou, or "Since someone has to be boss, I want to make sure it is me."

"Or another point: the supposedly "neutral" secular state which is open to all views and where everyone gets a guernsey doesn't exist.

That may be true. I didn't say that democracy was perfect. But I think we can aim for a State in which as many of its members as possible "get a guernsey", and that as few as possible are left without a voice. What we should not be aiming for is a state where one Voice drowns out all the others.

In other words, we cannot fight fire with fire on this one. This is where Jesus' admonition to "turn the other cheek" comes in... He fought power with weakness and won. At least one part of the Christian gospel lies in this truth: that real strength is precisely in this weakness, not in power and might.

Remember what sort of King we are proclaiming: he is a crucified King who reigns from the cross, not Caesar who reigns from a throne.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 1:08:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

David,

Have your read Pius XI's encyclical Quas Primas? It established the feast of Christ the King, and speaks explicitly - as does the Catechism of the Catholic Church - of the duty of the State to give public worship to the Lord (note the word "socially"):

C.C.C.

2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ." By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them "to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live." The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.

2244 Every institution is inspired, at least implicitly, by a vision of man and his destiny, from which it derives the point of reference for its judgment, its hierarchy of values, its line of conduct. Most societies have formed their institutions in the recognition of a certain preeminence of man over things. Only the divinely revealed religion has clearly recognized man's origin and destiny in God, the Creator and Redeemer. The Church invites political authorities to measure their judgments and decisions against this inspired truth about God and man:

'Societies not recognizing this vision or rejecting it in the name of their independence from God are brought to seek their criteria and goal in themselves or to borrow them from some ideology. Since they do not admit that one can defend an objective criterion of good and evil, they arrogate to themselves an explicit or implicit totalitarian power over man and his destiny, as history shows.'

******

If - O happy day! perhaps to come even this side of the Parousia, when Christ will definitively establish His universal reign - we did convert Australia, then spontaneously we would enshrine in law our Holy Faith, and bring to fruition the proclamation of de Quiros, that this should be the Great South Land of the Holy Ghost...

Aquinas long ago said that the best government is a mixed government, with a democratic element (we elect), an aristocratic element (our MP's, LOL!, make laws on our behalf, not as mere deputies but as representatives empowered to act as they see fit), and a monarchical element (shared between the PM and the G-G: the buck stops with them).

In a confessional State, some religious 'freedom' (for dissenters) would be allowed within the limits of due order, so no one would be forced against their conscience (e.g. PE could in private meet with fellow Lutherans for prayer, and not be forced to go to Mass), while laws would be made in conformity to Catholic morals - so abortion, divorce, contraception, and other evils would be outlawed, and censorship of immoral and infidel works brought in (so no one could buy and be led astray by de Sade or Dan Brown); any Catholic politician (as they would all or nearly all be) would, if he proposed an immoral law, be both voted out and also excommunicated for his sin.

Parliament would open with a Mass, and all civic events would be marked by the attendance of the Government at the sacred liturgy, the very stipend paid by the State, so that the corporate person of the State would offer the worship of the whole nation. (Of course, like the first President of Ireland, who was a Protestant, any member of Parliament unable in conscience to attend would be excused without penalty.)

For non-Catholics, there would be the same freedom - a negative freedom, a freedom from coercion of conscience - that we Catholics now barely enjoy (but cf. Victoria's draconian evil laws!), in our secularist State; but they would not be permitted to scandalize the faithful and disrupt public order by promoting irreligion or immorality, for blasphemy and indecency would be punished by the courts (and indeed we still have such laws, now fallen into desuetude owing to our godless society, judges, juries, lawyers and all).

It now seems unlikely that Australia could become a Catholic country, with a concordat with the Holy See; but who dared imagine the Roman Empire would become Christian?

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 3:32:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Hey Reg -- maybe you should have taken York or Winchester from Henry. I mean what the hell is apostolic succession coming to when a king can't offer a bishopric to a layman!

Then again a lay cardinal might shake things up a bit these days, and, I doubt Benedict will toss you in the slam at St Angelo for possibly being a, gasp, Lutheran.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:15:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Josh, thanks for the CCC quotations. I do not deny the social dimension and duty of faith, but I believe this teaching is best interpreted when the "social" expression of faith is understood to come via the institution of the Church (in so far as the society of the Church and the society of - well - society overlap), rather than via the institution of the State.

The problem is that the State is totalitarian. Unlike the Church, which overlaps society to the degree that individuals in our society freely acknowledge the Christian religion, the State embraces every citizen and alien within our borders regardless of creed.

To be honest your description of a Catholic state frightens the hell out of me - it corresponds exactly to a description of an Islamic Sharia State.

Just think what you are saying when you say that PE and his ilk might "meet privately" for worship, with the implication that they may not worship publically according to their conscience. How is that any different from the situation of about a million Catholics in Saudi Arabia today?

Or do you not recall that there were times when Catholics could not get places at Oxford or Cambridge because they were "dissenters"?

Or will a Catholic State be okay, because after all we are right and they are wrong? I am sorry, I don't buy it. As I said before (although His Eminence said this doesn't enter into it) we have no current or historical example of a Confessional Religious State which did not seriously impinge upon the paramount dignity of the human being in regard to freedom of religion.

IOW, if you are interpreting "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ" to mean that the social doctrine of the Church is supportive of what has been called a "Catholic Confessional State", I think you are seriously, seriously mistaken.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:26:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

David,

Sorry to be scary! My ideal is not intended to be: it is to be an expression of the triumph of Christ the King.

Please don't take my late-night musings as the final statement on the subject: it's been years since I read about this and may have become confused.

I suppose I visualized something like merrie England, which was a Catholic state; yet, human nature being fallen, the totalitarian Tudors ruined everything by their apostasy.

Do let's both read over Quas Primas and see what it says.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 12:48:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I don't think the Jews were always very merry in "merrie Englande", Josh... Sometimes they enjoyed protection from the monarch - but even then the monarch was strongly criticised by some in the Church for this "leniancy".

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 5:58:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:03:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

[That last comment was mine.

I'm going to break my comment up into parts or I think it'll be too long to fit in one comment.]

Part 1)

Mr. Schütz,

you say that

“Cathlocism (in contrast to Orthodoxy) has always flourished when it has had a free hand in religious matters separate from the state.”

Nonsense. A cursory glance at Mediaeval history suggests otherwise.

“Ratzinger would call that an instance of "freedom of religion"”

Maybe, but Benedict XVI has not:

“the force of law must never itself become iniquity, nor can the free exercise of religion be limited, because freely to profess one's faith is a fundamental and universally-recognised human right”
(http://cardinalpole.blogspot.com/2008/10/hh-pope-on-religious-liberty.html)

Note that, like in Dignitatis Humanae, no object of this right is specified.

“Well, now, how are you going to get the "State" (which is the People, no?) to confess such a thing? BY LAW? If so, you are imposing the faith. Can't do this, bro.”

You appear not to understand what the State is. The State is the juridical and moral person that exercises God-given civil authority over a given populace in a given territory. State and populace are not co-terminous. That the State as a person confesses Christ does not mean that each person under the State must be forced to confess Christ.

“Ummm... I don't recall that one. Chapter and verse, your Eminence?”

It is entirely possible that I am reading too much into the Holy Father’s speech, but here is the citation anyway:

“But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image. When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the “good” begins to wane.”
(http://cardinalpole.blogspot.com/2008/10/secular-liberal-democracy-vs.html)

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:06:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Part 2)

“How can a State "confess" anything?”

Though the State cannot be baptised and receive the virtue of Faith, it can make a judgment of reason that God exists, that Christ is God and that the Catholic Church is His Church.

“We are the original "headless state"”

You misunderstand what I mean by ‘head’ compared to ‘heart’. By head I mean intellect, and that the State can make rational decisions is manifest.

“But the Reign of Christ becomes "Social" through the Church.”

False. Christ reigns over every society, whether public or private, natural or supernatural.

“The reign of Christ most emphatically
DOES NOT come through the State.”

In my first-ever post I pointed out that the Social Reign of Christ and the Confessional State are not co-terminous, but that the latter provides the conditions in which the former is most likely to flourish.

“Think about it, man: "Thy kingdom come" - is that a prayer that you really expect to be answered by the STATE????”

Not answered by, but certainly assisted by.

“thus far this sounds like Luther's two kingdoms doctrine”

It is also the doctrine enunciated by Leo XIII.

“And it is curious that you see things in this light, because you presume a separation of Church and State in order to say that in "mixed matters" (whatever they may be - who decides?) the Church can then trump the State.”

I presume a distinction, not a separation. Mixed matters are things like marriage and education.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:11:00 pm , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Part 3) (last part)
I presume a distinction, not a separation. Mixed matters are things like marriage and education.

“But whatever Innocent III might have thought about this or that "sword"”

If I recall correctly, Innocent III refuted certain misinterpretations of Unam Sanctum at a consistory shortly after publishing it. See the footnote to it in Denzinger.

“This is where Jesus' admonition to "turn the other cheek" comes in”

That Scriptural reference is not concerned with the State.

“IOW, if you are interpreting "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ" to mean that the social doctrine of the Church is supportive of what has been called a "Catholic Confessional State", I think you are seriously, seriously mistaken.”

Nonsense. A cursory glance at fifteen hundred years of teaching and practice and as written down by the nineteenth- and early-twentieth century Popes when the prevailing teaching and practice began to be overthrown tells us otherwise.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 8:22:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

Let us now begin to read together relevant extracts from the Encyclical Letter Quas Primas of Pope Pius XI, issued 11th Dec. 1925 (and so very timely to read given its impending anniversary):

******

17. It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.

18. Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ." Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved." He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. "For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?" If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation."

19. When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord's regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen's duty of obedience. It is for this reason that St. Paul, while bidding wives revere Christ in their husbands, and slaves respect Christ in their masters, warns them to give obedience to them not as men, but as the vicegerents of Christ; for it is not meet that men redeemed by Christ should serve their fellow-men. "You are bought with a price; be not made the bond-slaves of men." If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in the place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them, having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause of discontent. Men will see in their king or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result; for with the spread and the universal extent of the kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely or at least their bitterness will be diminished.

20. If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."

...

24. If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society. We refer to the plague of anti-clericalism, its errors and impious activities. This evil spirit, as you are well aware, Venerable Brethren, has not come into being in one day; it has long lurked beneath the surface. The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights.
...

32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 8:40:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

David,

You will see in clear cold print that Pius XI taught in Quas Primas, n. 32, that "Nations will be reminded... that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ." If Australia recognized its duty, consonant with the truth of His universal reign over not just individuals but societies, not just over Christians but over all men, then our nation would indeed corporately engage in acts of worship and homage.

In fact, all confusedly our nation does so already: do we not have ANZAC Day services including prayer to God, does not Parliament begin each day with prayer?

As the Anglican Prayer for the Church Militant put it, government and its agencies (through laws, executive actions and the courts) has the duty to "truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue".

There is a true religion; even by our reason we can come to see, albeit with confusion (cf. Vatican I and Romans i on this), that there is a God and that He ought be worshipped and His commandments obeyed; thus even the State, a corporate person, ought by reason (aided we pray by faith and grace in its members also) come to acknowledge the true religion, and organize itself to help foster and not hinder it.

Our secular State imposes censorship; so why should not a hypothetical officially Catholic State?

Ditto for laws suppressing blasphemy and immorality.

Ditto for laws suppressing wicked practices, such as animal or human sacrifice.

For reasons of prudence, lest the Catholic State scandalize non-believers and impede their conversion, within due limits of public order non-Catholic religious observances would be permitted - as they are under our secular State.

It is a furphy, and an offensive one, to presume to liken all this to what is fundamentally anathema to it, the barbarism of sharia 'law', which would enforce, as is notoriously the case in unhappy lands today, the chopping off of hands for some crimes, and the stoning of women accused of adultery, when in fact they were raped...

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 8:44:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

A moment of pause for humour:

In the lead-up to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (a decision, BTW, that was not prudent, seeing as it did harm to France, and brought not true conversion to the Huguenots but rather confirmed them in opposition to Catholicism, so swaying them to flee to and aid her enemies), an enterprising Frenchman curried Royal favour by seeking to convert men from Protestantism in a novel manner -

He established a "Bank of Conversions" that offered cheap loans to those who would convert (!!!), that thus he might "prepare the heart for the operation of grace"!!!

Not exactly a noble method...

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:44:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

But the law does not make people good.

The bad laws we have do seem to be doing a good job of making them bad, however.

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:50:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

And look, there is a theological question here. How can a State "confess" anything?

The preamble to the Australian Constitution:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established:

And whereas it is expedient to provide for the admission into the Commonwealth of other Australasian Colonies and possessions of the Queen:

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--


Actually turning Aus into a Catholic Confessional State would be easy enough if we were a 90% Catholic country; just hold a referendum to change the preamble appropriately and Bingo! If 2 thirds vote for it then "Bob's your uncle."

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:54:00 pm , Blogger Louise said...

This prayer carries (amazingly) an Plenary Indulgence daily for its recitation:

O Jesus Christ,
I acknowledge Thee as universal King.
All that has been made,
has been created for Thee.
Exercise all Thy rights over me.
I renew my baptismal vows,
renouncing Satan, his pomps and his works;
and I promise to live as a good Christian.

In particular do I plege myself to labor,
to the best of my ability,
for the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church.


Divine Heart of Jesus,
to Thee do I proffer my poor services,
laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship,
and that thus the reign of Thy peace
be established throughout the whole universe.

Amen.


[my emphasis]

 
At Thursday, December 04, 2008 12:17:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Louise, do not misunderstand me when I speak of the "new inquisition". The New Inquisition is not carried out by our State, but by that "Fourth Estate"

Think "Human Rights Commissions" which although they are not really in keeping with the idea of law which we have inherited in the English-speaking World, nevertheless are formed by Acts of Parliment.

These, David, are truly an Inquisition. Only more arbitrary, I suspect... oh, and unjust.

How long until one of us here is hauled before one? If I keep blogging and live to be 60 it will almost certainly happen to me.

That sounds to me like a "shoot before you get shot at" approach, Lou, or "Since someone has to be boss, I want to make sure it is me."

Yes, I hear you, but my point was this: there is no particular reason I can see, that I should prefer to be in an Atheist/Secular Confessional State. There simply isn't: unless you or someone can (reasonably) "prove" to me that the spreading of The Gospel and the Salvation of Souls really will be better achieved without one.

I didn't say that democracy was perfect.

I'm not sure I'm arguing that democracy is necessarily a bad thing, especially in a Catholic Confessional State.

But I think we can aim for a State in which as many of its members as possible "get a guernsey"

It is not good for the common good to give a guernsey to Secularists, the Feministas, the Coalition of the Alphabet (GLBTQWERTYDHFJ) and other assorted twonk-pots like the Viagra Club (Aus Sex Party) etc etc etc ad nauseum.

I don't want Keysar Trad and Co to start "dialogues" in the Fourth Estate about how lonely it gets when Mrs Trad is overseas and how it really would be very nice to have a second Mrs Trad on hand - so to speak.

Just how bad do things have to get?

What we should not be aiming for is a state where one Voice drowns out all the others.

There is only One Voice we need to be listening to.

This is where Jesus' admonition to "turn the other cheek" comes in... He fought power with weakness and won.

This will not do for the State, I suspect. If you take that to its logical conclusion the State should never defend itself against an aggressor.

Australian society is under great threat by this monstrous heresy we call Secularism. Jihad Terrorists are Nancy Boys in comparison.

At least one part of the Christian gospel lies in this truth: that real strength is precisely in this weakness, not in power and might.

Remember what sort of King we are proclaiming: he is a crucified King who reigns from the cross, not Caesar who reigns from a throne.


That is imperative for individual Christians - all of us as individuals. Again, not generally suitable for the State, I suspect. (I will not state things more definitely than I am, because my own thoughts are still somewhat in a state of flux. I need to read more Aquinas).

 
At Thursday, December 04, 2008 12:23:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

Incidentally, I just remembered earlier that as highly improbable as all this is for our nation in our lifetimes, the main point of the exercise, IMO, is to try to properly rid ourselves of the secular heresy's hold on our own minds.

Also, I flatter myself, that I only disagree with Papa B16 on one point and that is "The (so-called) Enlightenment" - I cannot think of anything good to come from it that wasn't already there in The Gospel waiting to be discovered. It's very late right now, but when I get a chance, David, I will read that article you linked to.

 
At Thursday, December 04, 2008 12:33:00 am , Blogger Louise said...

How many marriages must fail dismally, how many children of divorce must suffer emotional trauma, how many children must be sexually and physically abused, how many more young people must top themselves or waste away on drugs and how many more babies must be aborted before we can see just how poisonous and wrong our current set up is?

A Catholic Confessional State would:

1. make abortion illegal and penalise abortionists (protecting the women as crown witnesses) and

2. undo the no-fault divorce laws and make divorce as difficult as it should be

and there would be an almost immediate improvement all round.

Indeed, if only our own MPs would do this now it would have a happy effect.

 
At Thursday, December 04, 2008 11:47:00 am , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

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