Author Topic: The USA and Catholic social teaching  (Read 1663 times)

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Offline jman123

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The USA and Catholic social teaching
« on: April 27, 2012, 11:54:21 AM »
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  • Does traditional Catholic social teaching apply here in the USA?

    I ask because I read they have Uncrowned Him by Bp Lefebvre.  

     He talks mostly on the European situation where Catholics are the majority.


    Here in the USA we are a minority.   How do the teachings of the past Popes like leo XIII apply to us here in the USA?

    You also have to keep in mind that this country was founded on principles like freedom of religion and freedom of the Press.  

     Weren't these rights condemned or not?  

     A change  of those principles here is a radical change.


    What I want to know is how does all this apply to us in our situation here in the USA where historically we were never a majority unlike Europe.


    Offline songbird

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    The USA and Catholic social teaching
    « Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 11:34:44 PM »
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  • We do not have Religious Liberty.  We were not founded on Religious Freedom, either.  It sounds nice.  What we have is toleration of religion and it means any religion can come in and make home.  How long do we think toleration will last before we don't get along.  That is bound to happen! The Catholic Church does not tolerate other false religions, because she knows she is True.  That is why Holy Mother Church was not in agreement for mix marriages and such.  We sin if we take part in other sects and rituals.  We are in the occasion to lose faith.


    Offline Sigismund

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    The USA and Catholic social teaching
    « Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 09:07:30 PM »
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  • Catholic social teaching applies everywhere.
    Stir up within Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the Spirit with which blessed Josaphat, Thy Martyr and Bishop, was filled, when he laid down his life for his sheep: so that, through his intercession, we too may be moved and strengthen by the same Spir

    Offline CathMomof7

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    The USA and Catholic social teaching
    « Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 09:24:58 AM »
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  • Quote from: jman123
    Does traditional Catholic social teaching apply here in the USA?

    I ask because I read they have Uncrowned Him by Bp Lefebvre.  

     He talks mostly on the European situation where Catholics are the majority.


    Here in the USA we are a minority.   How do the teachings of the past Popes like leo XIII apply to us here in the USA?

    You also have to keep in mind that this country was founded on principles like freedom of religion and freedom of the Press.  

     Weren't these rights condemned or not?  

     A change  of those principles here is a radical change.


    What I want to know is how does all this apply to us in our situation here in the USA where historically we were never a majority unlike Europe.



    Catholic social teaching applies to us in the U.S.

    However, please do not confuse Catholicism with Americanism.  They are not the same and, frankly, sometimes are in direct opposition to each other.

    Religious liberty is an American ideal, it is not Catholic.  We are not free, in the American Constitution sense, to choose to be a Methodist or Pentecostal.  Also, as Catholic politicians we are required to build our society on Catholic social teaching.

    This all gets very, very confusing.  And I have been reading a lot about it.

    I suggest you read up on several things, but the Protestant work ethic is a good place to start.  Our current economy and societal decay has, as one of its nasty roots, the Protestant notion of economic ambition and profit without regard to the conditions or consequences that would effect the workers.  

    There is always much to know and unfortunately we must search for most of it on our own.

    Offline John Grace

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    The USA and Catholic social teaching
    « Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 01:34:05 PM »
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  • It reminds me of a necessary booklet for anybody serious about building a counter-power in society.

    There is a thread on IA


    http://z10.invisionfree.com/Ignis_Ardens/index.php?showtopic=6348&st=0
    Quote
    Catholic Action: Uses, Abuses and Excuses

    Author: Liam Connolly
    Publisher: St. George Educational Trust
    ISBN: 0 9525420 5 6

    "Fierce war broke out in Heaven, where Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought on their part, but could not win the day, or stand their ground in Heaven any longer; the great dragon, serpent of the primal age, was flung down to Earth; he whom we call the Devil, or Satan, the whole world's seducer, flung down to Earth and his angels with him."

    It might seem strange that an article professedly concerned with Catholic Action should begin its enquiry with a verse taken from the Book of the Apocalypse. There appears, at first sight, no obvious connection between the two, and yet, as we shall see, it is, in fact, the most logical place to begin our study.

    When the great Archangel Lucifer, that spirit of brilliance and profound beauty, screamed his defiance before the throne of Almighty God, uttering the words Non Serviam it reverberated not merely throughout Heaven, but also down the long centuries that we call the history of mankind. The expression, Non Serviam led not only to Lucifer's deposition from the hierarchy of Heaven and his expulsion therefrom, but also to his transmogrification. From the heights of perfection, these two words of disobedience were to bring forth a new and awful reality; a being of perverse intelligence and spiritual ugliness, the exemplar of evil. Caste down upon the Earth he becomes, thereby, "the Prince of the World" as Jesus Himself tells us several times in the Bible. Now, the arrival of Satan on Earth is something of a mystery, for it is the arrival of evil into a world that still possesses its pristine purity, that is free from the effects of Original Sin. How can we explain this apparent contradiction: that "the Prince of the World," the epitome of evil, is the governor of a perfect world? Perhaps we can come to some understanding of this paradox by seeking an analogical answer.

    When a priest is nominated the shepherd of a given diocese, he is immediately thereafter called the bishop of the diocese, yet he only "takes possession" of the diocese - that is to say lay claims to his title - sometime after in a formal ceremony, usually in the diocesan cathedral. In subsequent months and years the bishop comes to know his diocese intimately - its priests, its faithful, its resources, its needs - and proceeds to stamp his personality upon it. It is at this time that the Prince of the Church comes into full and real possession of his diocese, and where this imprint of the episcopal personality is profound, one sees how the bishop and the diocese become, in a certain sense, synonymous. It is for this reason that Mgr. de Castro Meyer and the diocese of Campos will always be linked in the mind of the Church.

    In like manner we can view Satan, "Prince of the World," coming "into possession" of his title, the Earth. His official act of entry into his domain takes place in the Garden of Eden in his confrontation with our First Parents, Adam and Eve; his assistance at the eruption of Original Sin into the world is pregnant with consequences of the most divers kind. From this point he seeks ever greater knowledge of his Princedom - its individuals, its peoples, its nations and its cultures - in order to stamp his personality on the world, and which is constrained only by God's command that those loyal to Him should combat the extension of Satan's reign, and make victorious in its place the Kingdom of God, the Mystical Body of Christ. With two kingdoms diametrically opposed, war is the inevitable consequence, so much so that Jesus says: "I come not to bring peace, but a sword."

    Of course, contemporary Catholics tend to have an aversion to the idea of war. Raised in an atmosphere of soft theology, they have come to believe, vaguely, that Catholicism is some species of pacifism. They forget the hardness and resolution of the old catechism; they forget the true significance of their Confirmation in the Faith. "What is Confirmation?", asks Canon Cafferata. He replies: "Confirmation is a sacrament by which we receive the Holy Ghost, in order to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ." Our attention ought to be drawn by the word 'soldiers'. The text does not say 'pacifists', 'politicians', 'bureaucrats', but 'soldiers', and a soldier is someone who fights. Catholics are, therefore, by definition - because of their Baptism and Confirmation - necessarily fighters, and this because the Mystical Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God, cannot dominate the Earth as it must, and as it does in Heaven, until the prince of the World and his allies are struck down and destroyed.

    That is a truth that no Catholic can reject without, thereby, rejecting the Catholic Faith: Adveniat regnum tuum; Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra. Now, when Adam and Eve were persuaded to take a bite from the apple of the Tree of Knowledge two things of world-historical importance took place. Firstly, Satan revealed his predatory nature in what was an effective declaration of war on mankind.; secondly, and as a logical consequence, this declaration of war necessitated that every man borne of woman until the end of time had to choose allegiance to the forces of God or to the forces of Satan. To the conscientious objector, the pacifist, the compromiser, the negotiator, Jesus spoke clearly: "I know thy works; thou are neither cold nor hot. Would that thou hadst been cold or hot! As it is, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of My mouth." At this moment the battlelines were drawn, and the battle now rages to its conclusion.


    To be continued


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    continued

    Once we come to understand that there is a cosmological struggle between the visible and invisible partisans of God on the one hand, and the visible and demonic forces of Satan on the other, it becomes perfectly obvious that the worldwide offensive initiated by Satan in the Garden of Eden necessitated an all-embracing Grand Strategy on the part of God; for it is plain that man, weakened by Original Sin, was helpless before the power of Satan unless he received Heavenly assistance in some form or other. This Grand Strategy is known in the English-speaking Thomist world as the Divine Plan for Order, since Satan is, by definition, disorder; his refusal, as creature, as created being, to submit to his Creator, uncreated Being, was in itself, a profound, one might say, infinite disorder.

    The Divine Plan for Order incorporates both the visible and invisible forces of God - that is to say, men and the angelic choirs under the leadership of Our Lady - and has them working in unison of purpose and direction. Those Catholics who do not feel the presence of their Guardian Angels as really present; of those saints who have gone to their immortal glory as really present; of those loved ones and friends who await their final entry into Heaven in the purifying fires of Purgatory as really present; such Catholics have truly lost their Catholic sense. The Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant are not mere theological abstractions, but a reality as real, more real, than the hardest granite. Fr. Denis Fahey, one of Ireland's greatest Thomist priests, comments:

    "Many Catholics, unconsciously influenced by Protestant individualism, not only consider themselves as imitating Christ, our Model, from outside, so to say, but regard themselves as having an isolated individual relationship with Christ. They do not bring home to themselves sufficiently that all Christ's members form one organism under Christ, battling for the divine order of the world, and that they can grow up in Christ, only by supplying their quotas of self-sacrifice in their places in the supernatural organism of His Mystical Body."

    Every good that an individual Catholic does is mysteriously communicated to every other living member of the Mystical Body, although it remains unseen; likewise every evil done is communicated to every member and thus debilitates the human component of the divine institution that is the Catholic Church. It is akin to the hammer that we wield which accidentally hits our thumb; the point of impact is the thumb, but the whole body feels it and knows it. Thus, when by our good actions we add sanctifying grace to the Mystical Body, it knows it and feels it; and to the degree that a predominant number of the members of the Church Militant act in this manner, this sanctifying grace reveals itself in a visible, external holiness and thus accounts for the 'high' periods in Church history. Conversely, when the members destroy such sanctifying grace through mortal sin, and when this tendency becomes predominant, it is just as inevitable that the Church on Earth will suffer decline, crisis, heresy and schism. It is for this reason that we are indeed our brother's keeper, for in keeping him we keep ourselves.

    The Divine Plan for Order, therefore, is central to our scheme of salvation, individually and collectively, and is ignored at our peril. Fr. Fahey writes: "To that Divine Plan for Order, there neither is nor can be any man-made alternative. Man has not even got the right to propose an alternative."

    Why do we not possess this right? Simply because Lucifer, being the pinnacle of created spirits, is immeasurably superior to us in every respect. His guile, his perverted intelligence can only be overwhelmed by a superior intellect, s superior being - Almighty God. To claim a 'right' in the face of such an objective truth is wholly meaningless. However, God has vouchsafed us Free Will and this means, in consequence, that we are not destined to play the role of automatons in this titanic struggle. Fahey once again highlights our position: "Man may debate on how best to arrange the structure of society in accordance with God's Plan, in the varying concrete circumstances of different epochs, but not about whether he ought to accept God's Plan or draw up his own scheme. The world must conform to Our Lord, not He to it."

    The Divine Plan for Order in the world, therefore, has as its objective to mould every facet of our existence - spiritual, national, social, economic, political, financial, cultural, philosophical - so that it expresses the will of God, that is, that it bears the imprint of Christ's personality. There is nothing, therefore, from science and technology to war and economics, and from social work to housing, that does not have a Catholic Ideal held before it, and by which it can measure its true success or failure. It is in this process of moulding the world to the image and likeness of Christ that Catholic action comes into its own, and plays a decisive role. Catholic Action is no more optional for Catholics - as too many think - than are Mass and the sacraments. Catholicism is an integrated whole; it is all or nothing. Those who would add to it, or subtract from it, deny God in a very real sense for they deny, thereby, that He is all-powerful and all-seeing. It is this that brings us to a preliminary definition of Catholic Action: A policy of war sanctioned by Holy Church.


    To be continued


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    continued

    THE DOCTRINE OF THE TWO SWORDS

    The first thing that ought to strike the attentive reader is that the forces of God on Earth, whilst all belonging to Holy Church, are, nonetheless, differentiated into two clearly defined bodies: laity and clergy. Within these two bodies there are gradations according to rank, intelligence, utility and role. This is hardly very surprising for an army is not an amorphous mass, but a complex entity that strives to co-ordinate effectively a mass of men and machines. Officers without men are as ineffective as men without officers; a defined role is given by God to every man born whether or not he chooses to follow this role.

    Thus we find that these two bodies within the Mystical Body of Christ have also been alloted their respective roles. In simplistic terms we may say that the principle concern of the clergy is the Church and all that pertains to the spiritual, to the things of God. To the laity belongs the State, the nation, and all that bears on the temporal welfare of man. Such roles are not intrinsically exclusive but are, in fact, mutually complementary when one comes to understand the fullness of Catholic theology. Thus, Pope Leo XIII writes: "God has divided between the ecclesiastical and the civil power the task of procuring the well-being of the himan race. He has appointed the former to divine, the latter to human things. Each of them is supreme in its own sphere; each is enclosed within perfectly defined boundaries, delimited in exact conformity with its nature and principle. Each is therefore circumscribed within a sphere in which it can act and move by its own native right."

    Given the fact that both the Church and the State operate in the world, it is natural that there will arise points where these two perfect societies come into contact with one another. Once again, Pope Leo XIII draws our attention to the right relations that ought to exist between the two: There must, accordingly, exist between these two powers, a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the union of soul and body in man. The nature and scope of that connection can be determined only by having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account of the relative excellence and nobility of their purpose. One of these two has for proximate and chief object the well-being of this mortal life; the other, the everlasting joys of Heaven." In other words, in absolute terms, the eternal interest must always take precedence over the temporal interest; the former does not negate the latter, but simply puts it in its truest perspective.

    There is a certain tendency abroad in some traditionalist circles to accuse, however obliquely, Leo XIII of Liberalism because of his politically inept calls for Catholics to rally to the Masonic French Republic. How consonant then is the teaching of Pope Leo with that of Tradition? Fr. Fahey says: "For St. Thomas the spiritual power and the temporal power are both supreme, independent and sovereign, each in its own sphere, but the political power is subordinate to the ecclesiastical power, in as much and in so far as the matter with which the former power is concerned, and which are regularly temporal, become spiritual accidentally by reason of the circumstances."

    Or again, in Vehementer nos, published by St. Pius X in 1906, we read: "These two societies, religious society and civil society, have indeed the same subjects, although each of them exercises its authority over them in its own sphere. It inevitably results from this that there will be many matters of which the knowledge and judgement will be in the province of one and of the other. Now, when the accord between State and Church comes to disappear, from these common matters the seeds of disputes will easily swarm."

    Archbishop Lefebvre may also be quoted succinctly and usefully in this connection: The State, which has the temporal Common Good as its direct good, is also a perfect society, distinct from the Church and sovereign in its domain. This is what Pius XII calls the legitimate and healthy secularity of the State."

    From all these quotations we conclude that Tradition holds that there are two powers, two societies, two swords and not one in the world; that each is supreme in its own sphere and thus is inviolable. The existence and scope of these two swords is not a man-made convention, but one that springs from the will of God. Any attempt, therefore, by partisans of one or other sword to suppress the rights and duties pertaining to the other necessarily invokes the wrath of God, for its objective is none other than to distort the nature of Holy Church and to overturn the Divine Plan for Order. Sadly, history is replete with such transgressions, on the part of one or other of the two swords, and draws its source, in the last analysis, from the fact of Original Sin. Daniel Raffard de Brienne rightly remarks: "There have been many intrusions by the spiritual power into the temporal domain and, without doubt more frequently, many invasions by the temporal power into the spiritual domain."

    Indeed, these mutual intrusions are sufficiently common in history as to be designated by the terms Clericalism and Laicism. By Clericalism is not meant the fundamentally Masonic idea that the clergy are a baneful, noxious influence that ought to be extirpated wholly from our society, but rather that situation where the clergy seek to use their spiritual authority to justify and support their invasion of the temporal sphere, in spite of the fact that they have been granted neither mandate nor competence for this by God. Priestly competence, be it well remembered, extends only to the things of God: politics, science and economics are beyond the directly sacerdotal role. In a situation where the two swords meet concretely, it is in consequence of a spiritual interest that a priest or bishop is empowered or even obliged to speak. Prosaically, we may say that it is the duty of the priest to remind the politician that what is morally wrong cannot be politically right. This right and duty of the priest is called the Indirect Jurisdiction, and is granted him by God in virtue of the fact that man's eternal interests take precedence over his temporal ones, but this indirect power may only be exercised legitimately in given situations and circumstances. It can never be cited to justify the substitution of the politician by the priest. St. Thomas Aquinas, the official theologian of the Church, makes this abundantly clear: "The secular power is not subject to the spiritual power universally and from any point of view. Thus, in purely civil matters the ruler of the State must be obeyed and likewise in military matters the head of the army, rather than the bishop, who ought not to occupy himself with these things or with temporal affairs, except in so far as spiritual interests are concerned."

    Laicism may be regarded as the mirror deviation of clericalism. It seeks to confer upon the laity a pure autonomy in the temporal sphere, and proclaims that the jurisdiction of the priesthood does not extend beyond the doors of the church. Such an imbalance forgets that man is completely incapable of creating a just and harmonious society by purely natural means, this being one of the many consequences of Original Sin. Nature has to be transformed by grace, and that ever vital grace is normally imparted to men through the ministry of the priesthood. The autonomous layman, therefore, is as much a deviation from the Divine Plan for Order as is the theocratic bishop. There is the further problem that Laicism, historically speaking, has rarely stopped at the point of telling the priest that his jurisdiction extends only to the church porch. In such cases it seeks not merely the separation of Church and State - and thereby exhibits its Masonic pedigree - but rather the submission of Church to State. This is the profound and disordering heresy of Greek Orthodoxy; that God renders unto Caesar.

    If these points are sufficiently grasped by the reader, it will be understood that the current crisis in the Church has its roots, in a certain sense, in a veritable explosion of Clericalism and Laicism; one might even talk justly of a kind of ' transmigration of souls' for the clergy are invading the temporal order at the same time as the laity are invading the spiritual order. On the one hand, we witness bishops and priests pontificating on the subjects of unemployment, racism, sexism, ecology, nuclear power and the like - none of which is in their field of competence, directly speaking - whilst, on the other hand, the laity want to read the epistle and Gospel; give the sermon; become Eucharistic Ministers or married deacons, liturgical innovators and motivators and so forth. It is a confused mess that stems from the fact that the doctrine of the Two Swords is no longer known and undertood properly in the Church. Nor can we console ourselves by arguing that such deviations are only to be found in the Conciliar parishes. These deviations are to be found in Tradition, alas, albeit in different forms. This is not to accuse, or denounce, or reject, but simply to state a sad fact; but a fact that can be changed with study and goodwill.

    But if the clergy - or elements of it - are to be rebuked, it is not to be thought that the laity are free from guilt. Shocked by the Modernist crisis and its extent, many good people have done sterling work to retain or rebuild pockets of the traditional Faith, and in the process many have expended a great amount of time, energy and money. They have built such outposts of Tradition according to the Catholic law that when the Church is in full crisis, every baptised Catholic is obliged to become a missionary and work for the restoration of Catholic Order. Yet, such good souls frequently resent handing over the running of an outpost to a priest when, by the grace of God, one is granted them. They forget that their justification for such action is purely temporary; it exists merely for the duration of the crisis. Now, when a priest arrives, the crisis may be said to have terminated in a purely localised sense, and thus the priest is fully within his divine rights to undertake the exercise of his full priestly power, the spiritual power. This resentment shows itself not merely in outright statements, but also in actions. How many laity, despite reminders, will not stand, kneel or sit according to the prescriptions of Tradition, during Holy Mass? How many women will not cover their heads during the Mass, despite the fact that it is one of the Church's most ancient traditions and indicates in itself a right attitude to God? How many men turn up at Mass in beach shorts, or women in unsuitable dress, arguing that this is not the business of the priest? It is evident that both clergy and laity are at fault.

    Now, whilst the doctrine of the Two Swords is perfectly clear, human frailty has frequently made observation of it tendentious, to say the least. It is plainly obvious that this doctrine is absolutely central to the notion of Catholic Action, for it determines the nature and scope of Catholic Action. Should there be confusion on the nature of the Two Swords, it will logically follow that there will be confusion on Catholic Action.


    To be continued


    Offline John Grace

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    The USA and Catholic social teaching
    « Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 01:34:49 PM »
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    continued

    A TALE OF TWO POPES

    In 1905, St. Pius X issued the encyclical, Il Fermo proposito, an encyclical that reminded lay Catholics of the need for Catholic values in farming, in economics, in all aspects of society, and of the consequent need for action to bring this about. He stated: "All of these works, in which the principal promoters and supporters are lay catholics, and in which the conception changes according to the needs of each nation and the particular circumstances of each country, constitutes precisely what one has come to refer to by the special and most noble name of Catholic Action, or the action of Catholics."

    It is beyond question that the pope is calling for Catholics to impregnate all aspects of temporal society with Catholic values, according to the circumstances of any given situation. It is also evident that this task is essentially the work of the laity. It is for this reason that the pope uses the term "principle promoters and supporters," for thereby he opens out the field of action to the laity, but conserves at the same time the indirect jurisdiction of the clergy: this is plain, for the use of the term "principle" necessarily implies a secondary component. By way of emphasising the leading role of the laity, St. Pius X adds this note of caution for the benefit primarily of the clergy: "He ought not therefore to join any association of this kind except after mature consideration, with the approval of his bishop, and in those cases only where his assistance is safe from danger and is evidently useful."

    From this we conclude:

    a) Catholic Action is concerned with the temporal order only.
    b) It is pre-eminently the preserve of the laity.
    c) The priestly role is very restricted and defined.
    d) It is in perfect accord with the doctrine of the Two Swords.

    However, writing to Cardinal Segura in 1928, Pius XI states: "those who undertake Catholic Action are called to that office by a very particular grace and that vocation is not far removed from the sacerdotal mission, since Catholic Action is in short nothing else but the apostolate of the faithful bringing their collaboration to the Church under the ministry."

    Again, in a letter to Cardinal Bertram on 13th November, 1928, he writes: "that Catholic Action is nothing other than the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy." In the same letter he adds that: "Catholic Action will never be of a material order, but spiritual; never of a worldly order, but celestial; never political, but religious."

    What do we conclude from these definitions?

    a) Catholic Action is concerned only with the spiritual order.
    b) It is pre-eminently the preserve of the clergy.
    c) The role of the laity is delimited and subordinate.
    d) It is in accord with the doctrine of the Two Swords.

    The problem, however, is that the definitions of Popes Pius X and XI of Catholic Action are almost completely opposed to one another. Either Pius XI has redefined Catholic Action to mean something wholly different from that of his predecessor, or we are dealing with two distinct types of activity which have had the same name applied to them. However you look at it, there is a profound confusion, or source of confusion, here on the question of Catholic Action. This ought to be evident to the alert reader, for if Catholic Action is purely spiritual, as Pius XI has stated, then Pius X's note of caution to the clergy cited above makes absolutely no sense. It would have to mean that priests could only get involved in a spiritual apostolate after deep reflection, the consent of the bishop, and then only where there was an evident use and advantage. In other words a warning concerning the very field for which they were ordained! It is surely obvious that Pius X's note of caution could only have been directed at clergy, so as to prevent their immersion - through excess of zeal, or a lack of discernment, or ambition - in a field that belongs of divine right primarily to the laity.

    Of course, if things had remained static in this position, it would have been wholly possible to give the activity conceived of by Pius X one name, and that of Pius XI another. Unfortunately, Pius XI merely adds confusion to the matter by gently widening out his definition of Catholic Action. For example, he says: "Catholic Action is the participation of the laity in the hierarchic apostolate, for the defence of religious and moral principles, for the development of a healthy and beneficent social action, under the guidance of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, above and beyond all political parties, so as to establish Catholic life in the family and in society."

    What should strike readers is the reference to "a beneficent social action" in what is supposed to be a definition of a purely spiritual apostolate. It is a curious, out of place, statement but you might be able with thought to explain it away satisfactorily. But if "Catholic Action is never political," as Pius XI says, what need is there to say that Catholic Action "is above all political parties"? If something is purely spiritual, it is superfluous to say that it is above party politics; indeed it is wholly irrelevant.

    There is here an unsettling ambivalence which is merely confirmed by the following: "Catholic Action also consists of a true apostolate in which Catholics of every social class participate, coming thus to be united in thought and action around those centres of sound doctrine and multiple social activity, legitimately constituted, and as a result, aided and sustained by the authority of the bishops." What does this reference to "multiple social activity" mean or imply? To be consistent with his first definitions, should not the pope have referred to 'multiple spiritual activity' so as to preserve the spiritual framework of Catholic Action?

    Or again, in a letter to Cardinal Cerejeira: "Included in the many forms of activity [of Catholic Action] there are some particularly urgent works, corresponding to needs that are more widely and more keenly felt. Amongst these we enumerate help for the working classes, and we mean not only spiritual help, which must occupy the first place, but material assistance by means of those institutions whose special object it is to realise the principles of justice." Does this not contradict the statement that: "Catholic Action will never be of the material order"? There is, of course, no objection to the notion of helping our fellow man in need, far from it. But why should this be undertaken in subordination to the hierarchy, and on what grounds?

    Let's look at one final quotation: "We would remark, in order to forestall and destroy any misunderstanding, that associations which, while conforming their activity to the religious and moral programme of Catholic Action, employ this activity in the economic and professional domain, do alone themselves bear the responsibility of their initiative and activity in so far as they are concerned with purely economic interests, but in what is religious and moral they depend on Catholic Action, which they should serve as instruments of the apostolate."

    Several comments come to mind. First, if Catholic Action is clearly and obviously spiritual, what possible misunderstanding could arise? Secondly, Pius XI's assertion that the economic and professional activity of Catholics is a matter for themselves alone is perfectly obvious, but what has it got to do with Catholic Action? It is like saying that a Catholic mechanic is alone responsible for his affairs - but what connection is there between this and this apostolate of Catholic Action which is supposed to be purely spiritual?

    The only satisfactory answer is that Pius XI's Catholic Action goes beyond the purely spiritual. Once this is understood, it explains the apparently curious references to the social and economic; it explains why Pius XI saw the need to forestall 'misunderstandings'; and it explains perfectly why the Italian Fascist government accused Catholic Action of being a political organisation.

    It is for this reason that we conclude from Pius XI's several definitions that:

    a) Catholic Action is concerned with the temporal and spiritual orders.
    b) It is pre-eminently the preserve of the clergy.
    c) The role of the laity is delimited and subordinate.
    d) It appears to disagree fundamentally with the doctrine of the Two Swords.

    It is obvious that there is a distortion of the doctrine of the Two Swords here, for once you accept that Pius XI's Catholic Action was not purely spiritual, you have to accept that the governance of the social, economic and professional activity of Catholics - no matter how vaguely carried out, no matter how well-meaning, and with no value judgement being made on the activity - by the clergy is not in accord with Church teaching. It is the illegal seizure of power; it is an infringement of the rights of the laity, rights granted by Almighty God.


    To be continued

    Offline John Grace

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    « Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 01:36:10 PM »
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    This conclusion also explains something else of importance. Why is it that orthodox Catholics in France, Spain and Italy of a particular generation remark that 'Catholic Action was left-wing' or that 'it opened the doors of the Church to the Left'? How could a purely spiritual activity become left-wing? Has anyone ever suggested that rosary crusades, sodalities or Blessed Sacrament confraternities became left-wing? No. Yet these too are purely spiritual activities. Surely the reason for this lies in the fact that there was no point of entry for subversion in such societies until the quasi-totality of the Church moved consciously or otherwise into the field of Modernism. But the point of entry in Catholic Action was its extension to fields social and economic - and its successful penetration was due to the fact that it was all done in the name of obedience to the hierarchy!

    This confusion, created by Pius XI, has blurred in a very serious manner the traditional concept of the Two Swords. Thus, for example, we find in reply to the question: "Can the Church be concerned with politics?" that Cardinal Verdier says: "It is not Her business to become involved in purely political questions; for example, in the question of what form of government a country adopts, it is not the Church's business to become involved in the purely political arrangements a country may make for the regulation of its domestic or foreign affairs. The settlement of these matters belongs exclusively to Caesar." This is, of course, perfectly true and traditional, yet in response to a later question: "Is a citizen obliged to vote?", he replies: "We must say that it is every citizen's duty to vote". Is it not clear that the Cardinal's reply constitutes an interference in "the political arrangements that a country may make"? What if the citizen is opposed to Liberal Democracy per se? What if there are no candidates that can be voted for in all tranquility? This certainly occurs very frequently these days with the rise of Masonic, abortionist and pro-usury parties.

    Now, consider the slim volume authored by Benoit Carret, and in which he discussed the work undertaken by an association founded by Abbe Linsolas in 1788, and which arranged for young women to visit prisoners; visit and instruct the sick in the Faith; catechise the young and prepare First Communicants. Mr. Carret concludes: It was clearly, as we can see, a movement of Catholic Action in the sense that we now understand it; that is to say, a collaboration by the laity in the apostolate of the priesthood in an organised movement." It seems to this author that this is not Catholic Action as defined by Pius X, but rather the participation of the laity, by delegation, in the spiritual sphere; all of the works cited are clearly works that pertain to the spiritual power of the priests. What is being objected to here is not the formation of lay groups to aid the priests fulfill their priestly functions - it is obvious that helping prepare the church for Mass; participating in the choir; catechism; cleaning the church and so forth are both acceptable and commendable - but rather to designate such assistance as 'Catholic Action'. Catholic Action involves that order where the principal authority is the laity, and by no stretch of the imagination can the commendable work initiated by Abbe Linsolas be seen as the prerogative primarily of the laity. Indeed, it appears that Mr. Carret is conscious to some degree of this confusion on this matter since he writes: "Pius XI has therefore, in the facts, really weakened that activity pertaining to lay Catholics which is political and social. Pius XI encouraged lay Catholics to put aside temporal action so as to consecrate themselves to purely spiritual activity. He thereby left open the field of temporal combat."

    It is plain, therefore, that we must admit to an irreconcilable contradiction between the Catholic Action advocated by Pius X, and the creation wrought of the same name by Pius XI. It is equally evident that Tradition is obliged to identify resolutely which of the two papal definitions of Catholic Action conforms to Tradition; and to initiate actions that logically result from the chosen definition. To remain undecided, or to ignore this reality, is merely to perpetuate confusion amongst priests and laity with attendant destructive tendencies.

    From what has been said above, it is evident that it is Pius XI who has deformed the traditional teaching on the Two Swords. To acknowledge this fact is not to cast him in the role of a Modernist or Judas, nor to esoteric speculation on the possible influence of Freemasonry. It is simply to recognise a mistake. As Jesus Himself said: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor a bad tree bring forth sound fruit. Every tree that doth not bring forth sound fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. By their fruits, then, ye shall know them."

    In deciding between the two definitions, we need firstly to look at the persons of Pius X and Pius XI. The first is the last canonised pope since St. Pius V; in other words there was a time lapse of more than three centuries between these two saintly popes, making Pius X a remarkable pope amongst popes. The value of this fact is not to be underrated, for it is an uncontested fact that his papacy wrought only good; this is not to say that it achieved everything necessary, but simply to assert that all of his actions took place in the right direction. The fruits, therefore, were good. But what of the fruits of the papacy of Pius XI?

    In dealing with the definitions cited above, some readers might have thought that the line of argument was tendentious at times, believing that whilst there were peculiarities of expression they were of no great import. Yet we need to remember that as we believe, so we act - not necessarily in every respect, but in a general way. Now, with very little reflection we can ascertain that Pius XI's reign encompassed three major disasters for the Catholic Church and for Her people in those countries. One could put them down to mistakes, since we all make mistakes, but there is a case to be made for saying that each of the three mistaken actions are a consequence of mistaken theology in respect of Catholic Action.

    The first disaster was the unjust condemnation of Action Francaise which saved the Masonic French Republic from being overwhelmed by resurgent Catholicism. The second was the silencing of Father Charles Coughlin, the Irish-Canadian 'Radio Priest', whose powerful weekly broadcasts and his massive National Union For Social Justice directly threatened the hold of Freemasonry and the Banks on the American Republic. Allying Catholics with Bible protestants, he created a movement that knocked at the very door of power in Washington. The response of the Freemasons was to appeal to Rome, and the Vatican silenced this gallant priest who was carrying out Catholic Action according to St. Pius X's definition. The loss to the American people, and thereby the world, was incalculable. The third was the blasphemous betrayal of the Mexican Cristeros, the fighters for the Social Kingship of Christ, who were delivered into the hands of the Masonic Mexican government. Whilst it is said that Pius XI wept at the results reaped by what were called 'the arrangements', how much more did Mexico weep when 200,000 of her sons were butchered by the Masons, after laying down their weapons at the command of Rome? A human and religious catastrophe could have been avoided if the doctrine of the Two Swords had been known and understood by Rome and the Mexican Cristeros peasants.

    These three examples alone demonstrate conclusively that God has not granted the priesthood an omnicompetence that embraces the social order. It can, of course, be argued in defence of Pius XI that he was quite likely manipulated by hostile forces within the Vatican, but this does not alter the fact that if he had grasped the Two Swords doctrine properly, he would have stayed out of areas that did not concern him as Pontifex Maximus, and would thereby have made this manipulation impossible. We might also add, by way of illumination from another perspective, that in the negotiations between the Vatican and Dr. Antonio Salazar of Portugal about a concordat, the claims of Pius XI were such that Dr. Salazar felt obliged to resist them, pointing out that the State too, as a perfect society, possessed rights, and that it was his duty as Head of State to preserve them in its relations with the Church. Be it remembered that Salazar was no despot or opportunist, but a statesman of profound culture and immense faith, and one, moreover, who knew the theory and the practise of the Two Swords doctrine. That he felt obliged to resist Rome on such a question throws an interesting light upon the thought processes of Pius XI.

    What traditionalists must grasp, after all is said and done, is this: whilst confusion on this matter is allowed to continue, the door remains open to further such disasters, misunderstandings and rejections, both great and small.


    to be continued


    Quote
    continued

    HAIL AND FAREWELL TO THE 'SUNDAY CATHOLIC'

    For the purposes of the remainder of this article, Catholic Action will be understood in the sense given it by St. Pius X. However, before we proceed to a consideration of Catholic Action in its widest sense, we need to dispose of two objections which are commonly promoted by those who feel that Catholic Action is somehow not quite central to the Catholic religion.

    There is a certain mentality amongst some traditionalists which reflects the idea that politics is something that has no connection whatever with Catholicism, and that, therefore, they should be kept well apart. In so far as this refers to interaction between political parties and the Catholic Church, this is undoubtedly true. Fr. Fahey reminds us that: "The Church does not prefer one of the three forms of government: Monarchy, Aristocracy or Democracy, to the others, but She does insist that whatever form of government a people may give itself, Caesar shall acknowledge the Divine Plan for Order. Thus it is right for the authorities of the Church to refrain from involvement in party political affairs as it could compromise Her independence and freedom of action.

    Not infrequently, however, those Catholics who show themselves hostile to political involvement go beyond the teaching of the Church and appear to suggest that the Church has no legitimate interest in matters political. If this is followed logically to its conclusion, we find ourselves before the idea of complete separation of Church and State - a wholly Masonic conception and ideal. It is one thing to say that party political affairs are to be avoided, it is another to say that Catholicism has no interest in politics per se. Fr. Fahey writes: "As man is by nature a social being, and as the average member of society is, to an almost incalculable extent, at the mercy of his surroundings, he must be sustained, in his efforts to cultivate his personality, by a social framework permeated by the supernatural outlook. That framework in itself, of course, is not enough, but the order of life demands that we should ever and always strive for its realisation, to the best of our ability."

    It follows naturally, that if Catholics do not mould their surroundings in line with the tenets of the Faith, then others, hostile to the Faith, will mould it in their own image. Again, the saintly St. Pius X speaks without hesitation on this important matter: "We do not conceal the fact that We shall shock some people by saying that We must necessarily concern ourselves with politics. But anyone forming an equitable judgement clearly sees that the Supreme Pontiff can in no wise violently withdraw the category of politics from subjection to the supreme control of faith and morals confided to him." In other words, it is for Catholics to involve themselves in politics in such manner that it conduces to the Social Reign of Christ, whilst the indirect jurisdiction of the clergy is applied to ensure that neither the means nor the ends sought by the laity contradict the teaching of Holy Church.

    The second objection raised against Catholic Action is easier to dispose of. Few traditionalists will disagree with Carol Robinson when she writes: "For the most part our Christianity is residual. There are scraps of it left over from the Middle Ages, but daily fewer scraps." The trouble arises when we have to decide what to do in the face of such a situation. Some would say that we must adapt to the times and thus follow Paul VI in asking only that the Church be allowed to serve the world; this forgets that some in the world do not want a servant, or that they want one that really approximates to a slave. However, there are not a few who say that the situation is now so degenerate, so beyond human effort, that we can do nothing. There are a number of ways in which this can be answered.

    Firstly, on the purely emotional level, what mother or father, who takes seriously the name 'Catholic', can remain immobile before a world growing daily more satanic, and which is the inheritance of their children? Secondly, to those who say things have gone too far, that it is too late, we must reply by saying: "But about that day or the hour no man knoweth, not even the angels in Heaven, nor yet the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for ye know not when is the time." So who or what is the authority for saying it is too late? Thirdly, the enormity of the task before us, and the smallness of our numbers, relatively speaking, is not an argument that can be taken seriously. Did the first Apostles baulk at the idea of converting the world as Our Lord commanded them? Are we not more numerous than they? Do we not possess the same Catholic Faith, guaranteed by the Father until the end of time? Once again, it is Fr. Fahey who puts an end to such objections: "All Catholics are, by the fact of their membership of Christ, whole-time Christians, and should be intimately convinced of this solidarity with Christ and with their fellow members of His Mystical Body in the really vital struggle that is going on in the world. Their attitude when leaving the church after Mass is not intended to be merely the negative one of not allowing themselves to be carried in the direction of Naturalism by the current of life around them, but the positive one of striving to organise the whole framework of society under Christ the King and of impregnating the State, family life, education and economic organisation with the great truth of human solidarity in Christ's Mystical Body." This is nothing else other than a call to pray, to study, to action, to crusade! It is not an option, but a duty to be carried out by all Catholics in a manner appropriate to their state of life. To refuse or to ignore this duty of the Faith is a grave sin of omission, and does grave damage to the mission of the Church in the world as well as threatening our own personal salvation.

    Let us now proceed to a consideration of the most difficult question: What is to be done in a world so dechristianised, so hellish? This writer has met not a few Catholics who would like to do something in this field, and yet they confess they do not have the faintest idea where to start. The succinct answer is this: if the world is to have Christ's personality imprinted upon it, then we have a world to make!

    In order to make this perfectly clear, let us imagine that our life, our whole existence, is one massive chateau made up of billions and billions of rooms. Upon each door is to be found a sign: Law, Finance, Architecture, Science, Culture, Craftsmanship, Communications, History, Medicine and so forth. At the centre of the chateau is to be found a chapel - this is the Church. The door to the chateau was the Garden of Eden; through it, Satan passed into the chateau. His strategy, thereafter, was to win control of one room after another, by lies, by deceit, by the winning over to his side of souls who turned against God. History has been the record of how he has built his power base within the chateau until such time as control of sufficient numbers of rooms made a direct and general assault upon the chapel a realistic possibility. The task of the laity, drawing spiritual sustenance from the Sacraments available at the chapel, was to give combat to Satan at every turn, confronting him in every room in order to maintain it under God's control. In rooms related to science, it was the duty of teachers and scientists to fight Materialist pseudo-science with the weapons of Catholic science. In rooms related to work, it was the laity's duty to promote work forms and structures that contributed to the elevation of the human personality, and to combat the industrialism and commercialism that has made work hateful and a drudgery. In architecture, it was for the lay Catholic to advance those building principles that inspired, that consoled the human condition, and to fight against the soullessness of contemporary architecture which saddens and provokes a suicidal mentality.

    This, then, was the duty of the Catholic laity - from the richest to the poorest, from the most intelligent to the least intelligent, from the most saintly to the least saintly. The reality has been altogether different: no Catholic Action, or a deviant form of Catholic Action, handed over a vast number of rooms in the chateau to Satan with little or no struggle. Instead of giving battle everywhere, most of the laity withdrew to the chapel, ostensibly to protect it, but frequently simply to avoid having to fight in the world for Christ the King. Hardly surprisingly, Satan's forces, exhilarated by easy victory upon easy victory, breached the doors of the chapel and invaded the Sanctuary defended by too few committed, well-formed Catholics surrounded by an ocean of 'Sunday Catholics' and who, at the first sight of battle, took to flight. The reality today is that most of the rooms of the chateau are now, directly or indirectly, under Satan's control; the Sanctuary is a battle field where large numbers have either laid down their arms or gone over to the forces of Satan; the traditionalists are simply that ultra-minority of priests and laity skirmishing in the Sanctuary, to maintain the altar, to maintain the Perpetual Sacrifice. Pockets of resistance, pockets of the Faith, have been won in the Sanctuary after three decades of struggle, but it is now the duty of the laity to counter-attack, to attempt to regain control of a room here, a room there, and in so doing to attempt to rally those who fled from the battle; to convert back those who betrayed; to win over those millions in those rooms who have never known anything other than the rule of Satan. Not to do so is to risk whatever gains have been made in the Sanctuary. This is not an option, but a vital necessity. We need recruits for both the laity and the clergy. This can only be had from proclaiming mission and crusade, by appealing to those susceptible to a religious message with religious arguments, and to those worried on the purely temporal level with the great truth of Catholic Social Teaching.


    to be continued

    Offline John Grace

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    « Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 01:37:38 PM »
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    The first necessity of a serious programme for Catholic Action is a new mentality amongst Catholics, for thought precedes and moulds action. It is patently obvious that the old mentality, the mentality of the 'Sunday Catholic', is worse than useless, for it is this mentality which has brought us to our current, dire, situation. It is also evident that this new mentality must take root, above all, in our young people; they must have held before them a vision of another way of life, a way that differs in its essentials from the contemporary world, and yet is attractive in its own way. Fr. Fahey, speaking of youth, says: "They are not accustomed to think that they must co-operate with other young Catholics for Our Lord's programme. They display a lamentable lack of cohesion and a pitiable want of enthusiasm for christ's interests, with the result that Catholics who stand for integral Christianity can always count on finding other Catholics in the service of the enemy."

    Remember, this was written decades before the Second Vatican Council. Fahey continues: "Catholic youth should come forth from schoo into the world with a clear vision of the fact that, if they do not mould the social organisation of the world, political and economic, so as to have the supernatural spirit of the Mystical Body prevail, the world will be moulded by the organised forces striving for the elimination of supernatural life and for the spread of Naturalism." These "organised forces" are headed, he says, by World Jewry and International Freemasonry; a statement wholly in conformity with traditional papal teaching.

    Of course, it may be argued that Fr. Fahey is simply expressing the Celtic tendency to look on the dark side of things. Yet we find Carol Robinson, an American traditionalist of the first order, writing: "As long as Catholic schools, employment agencies and clubs continue to sponsor talks by representatives of the Bell Telephone Company, personnel managers of big department stores and chemical manufacturing companies, they will be steering students into life work which virtually renders them impotent to participate in God's Plan for the renovation of society, thereby jeopardizing society and their soul's salvation."

    Ask yourself: how many of our best youngsters are working for National Westminster or one of the other banks; how many are bureaucrats within the System; how many work for insurance companies, financial consultancies and the like? Ask yourself: why are the best traditionalist minds spending their working lives to prop up the Masonic, Naturalist and Capitalist System? Simply because no-one is holding up before our young people an alternative, a Catholic alternative. Simply because no-one is telling them that there is an alternative. Again, in tones reminiscent of Fahey, Mrs. Robinson adds: "It takes a lot of strength to go against the current and those who try will not get much encouragement. That is one reason why they should stick together. This is no age for individual achievements."

    There are, of course, countless other solid Catholic writers who tell us the same thing: be in the world, but don't be of the world. It seems to me that the essential point in the creation of a new mentality is to convey to our young people that they should embrace a vocation - this does not refer to purely religious vocations - and reject a career. The reason is that the former descends from Heaven, whilst the latter rises from Hell. Not convinced?

    What should we understand by the word 'career'? Here it signifies that situation where a person devotes his entire life in real terms - his talents, his energies, his time - to what is, in reality, merely the economic aspect of his life and elevates this to his final end. How many people wear themselves out in pursuit of promotion within the advertising agency, the insurance company or the banking corporation, without ever a thought for the afterlife? How many realise that in climbing the 'ladder of success', they are descending into Hell? It cannot be otherwise for a career exalts, deifies, a means - economics - and makes of it an end. It is pure idolatry, and it is the religion of millions; sadly, it is also the religion of vast numbers of Catholics, weakened in Faith, and ignorant of the Divine Plan for Order.

    By contrast, a vocation is that form of work which allows a man to live, to support his family, to do good unto his neighbour, and aids his efforts to attain Heaven. It is the Catholic notion that work can, in a healthy society, be a positive aid to a man's salvation. Yet it sounds almost Kafkaesque in our society. A vocation allows us to see Christ in other people, and to act accordingly. A doctor or nurse, who regards his work as a vocation and not merely as a money-making exercise, is genuinely missed in a community whenever he leaves a locality or passes on from this life. A craftsman: a carpenter, a silversmith, an artist; all who see in their work a vocation, leave for others works that edify, that bear the imprint of the personality of their creators, a personality striving to be Christ-like, striving to express that talent which is God-given. The men who built the great cathedrals of Europe have only left us in one sense, for their personalities are still with us - imprinted on stone for a thousand years. Are we not the richer for their work, work that tried to scale the heights of Heaven? Is not their glory their attempt to proclaim the greatness of God?

    Now look at the careers of the modern world. Who misses the bank executive who has spent his life in the service of Mammon, shackling the world to usury in its most systematic and refined form in history? What society feels the richer for the presence of the man who has typed up and processed 10,000 car insurance policies in his life-time? How many weep a tear from their eye for the Stock exchange dealer who lived a life of material ease, built upon immoral dealing and the misery of the masses? Which destination, Heaven or Hell, has the sharp advertising man won for himself, using his talent and his intelligence, to get people to buy that which they didn't need, didn't want, and couldn't afford?

    When you consider the modern world in this light, what proportion of traditionalists are doing worthwhile jobs? What percentage can truly say that their work is advancing the Kingdom of God, or even their own salvation? And the crucial question: how many of them would be prepared to turn to a truly Catholic way of life, a way of life conducive to simplicity and holiness, avoiding poverty, but where the materialistic standard of living was much lower? In pondering such profound questions, remember: "The contrast between God's Order and the New Order is the contrast between the natural order and an artificial one."

    The time has clearly come for traditionalists to begin the process of extricating themselves from this godless system and to begin laying down the foundations of the Catholic alternative. This is the aim of Catholic Action. Let no-one pretend that this will be a relatively easy thing; let no-one pretend that it is not going to involve sacrifices of all kinds on a colossal scale; let no-one pretend that it will only be the work of 10 or 15 years duration. "But it is the condition of turning the world to Him, as well as the requisite of our own salvation."


    to be continued


    Offline pio123

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    « Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 07:56:02 PM »
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  • Quote from: jman123
    Does traditional Catholic social teaching apply here in the USA?

    I ask because I read they have Uncrowned Him by Bp Lefebvre.  

     He talks mostly on the European situation where Catholics are the majority.


    Here in the USA we are a minority.   How do the teachings of the past Popes like leo XIII apply to us here in the USA?

    You also have to keep in mind that this country was founded on principles like freedom of religion and freedom of the Press.  

     Weren't these rights condemned or not?  

     A change  of those principles here is a radical change.


    What I want to know is how does all this apply to us in our situation here in the USA where historically we were never a majority unlike Europe.


    social teaching appies throughout the world.

    Offline pio123

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    « Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 08:01:24 PM »
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  • What is your opinion on this issue?

    Offline John Grace

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    « Reply #10 on: May 02, 2012, 09:15:17 AM »
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  • Those who find this thread might be interested in this conference

    http://www.rebuildingchristendom.com/
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