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Offline Matthew

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Everyone get off your butts - Catholic Action
« on: August 01, 2015, 06:08:04 PM »
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  • Isn't the title of this thread a bit offensive, as if we've all just been warming our couches all this time?

    But it's not as uncommon as you think. I think it's un-called for too.

    But every so often, you get some antsy pro-action sort that says, "What's the matter with the WHOLE of Tradition? You're all a bunch of depressed losers! Get off your ___es! Let's starts some guilds! Raise an army! Let's not let those __stards win! Let's physically take back all the churches!
    etc."

    But this same sort is lacking in one department: reliance on God's strength (rather than our own) and humility (maybe ALL the trads are right, and it's me that's wrong)

    Perhaps there's a REASON why we haven't started a new militant Catholic order with branches all over the world.

    Maybe we all have LEGITIMATE excuses why we haven't "done more". I don't think these action-heroes realize just what a challenge it is JUST to raise a family and keep everyone Catholic in this world. You have to homeschool, that takes a lot of time. The whole world is against you, that's a huge challenge. How many of us have extended family we can rely on? Less than 1% of us. Many of us are the only Trads in our extended families. At best, some of us managed to find a spouse and start a Trad Catholic family. But there's a lot of isolation.

    That really limits what you can do. It's like expecting survivalists (who try to rely on themselves for everything) to create beautiful architecture such as a cathedral. No, they're lucky to make their own food, meat, soap, clothing, etc. and don't have leisure for anything else.

    Until you get a FEW families, you can't start specializing and making masterpieces of art -- or politics.

    Catholics today are spiritual lone-wolf survivalists. And just study survivalism for a few days -- you'll quickly conclude that FEW can actually do it successfully. How many are cut out to be a jack-of-all-trades renaissance man? Likewise, many Catholics are barely making it as spiritual "lone-wolf survivalists".

    Don't get me wrong -- they've been thrown into the role involuntarily, so God will provide. But you certainly can't get your hopes up.

    They're in a bunker mentality because they face 10000 to 1 opposition, that's why! Hunkering down in a bunker is the only way in that situation! What did they do at the Alamo? Did they try to take on Santa Ana on the open battlefield? Try to conquer Mexico? Good thing they didn't try. They would have been wiped out easily.

    Sometimes, when you're outnumbered, staying alive is the best you can do, until your underground is developed enough, and enough people stop being apathetic, and a real counter-revolution can get off the ground. Then the re-conquering can begin.

    The world today is every bit as corrupt as Sodom and Gomorrha, or the world before the flood. Actually, it might be worse. That isn't my opinion either, but that of a famous saint. I'm bad with names though; maybe someone can fill in the blank.

    Think about it though -- before the Flood, they probably didn't have cell phones and the attention spans of people today.
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    Offline Iuvenalis

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    « Reply #1 on: August 01, 2015, 06:14:38 PM »
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  • I wish I had a counterargument to anything you just said.


    Offline FrayDomingo

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    « Reply #2 on: August 06, 2015, 11:10:56 AM »
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  • There is no such thing as a Catholic lone wolf survivalist. That is very well for Lutheranism, but not Catholicism. Firstly, to work for the salvation of souls where God puts us is not optional, for God so loved the world, not just you. Catholicism is a militant religion that seeks that all be Catholic, and works for that. The Church is a Body, and salvation depends on us doing our part in building it up.

    Secondly, the work for the conversion of the State to Catholicism is the layman's job in particular. For a State not to be Catholic is to rob Our Lord of His rights, and guess who will be punished for it? you. God will wipe out the USA infallibly if we do not become Catholic, and that might include your children or yourself.

    It is not all about action, if we mean by our own power, but God can do all things if we become nothing so that He can work through us. To sit back and let the world go to perdition is going to end us meaning that God will wipe you out and find people who actually want to be His servants and accomplish His desires. And Scripture says, "He must reign".


    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 03:18:59 PM »
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  • FrayDomingo, I think you totally don't get it. Your response seems to prove this. Lutherans don't have any spiritual lone wolf survivalists -- you obviously missed the point about what I was saying. For the Lutheran, the world is a smiling, inviting, normal place. They don't have to go into an individualist "spiritual survival mode" -- like I said, you obviously missed the point.

    I was drawing a parallel, or analogy, between survivalism (having to hunker down as individuals/small groups to survive physically) and what Traditional Catholics have to do today (hunker down spiritually, isolating themselves and having to rely on themselves to help keep the Faith -- procuring their own children's education, books, Mass, etc. whereas normally these things would come more easily through "public" or "mainstream" channels)

    I believe it is a very accurate and appropriate comparison.

    Ideally, no one would have to be a survivalist or spiritual survivalist. It's better for the world to keep operating normally, or for the Church to keep operating normally. But sometimes you don't get your wish, and you have to deal with a catastrophic collapse.

    Right now, we're in the midst of a SHTF, apocalyptic Mad Max collapse scenario -- in the Catholic Church. Every Catholic who wants to survive (keep the Faith) has to take matters into their own hands (leave the N.O., find good Catholic books, find a Tridentine Mass to attend, withdraw from the world, etc.)

    Normally you wouldn't have to school your own children, the Catholic Church would do a better job. Normally you don't have to make your own soap, you buy it at the store.



    I think a debate like this will go nowhere with most people, unless we start talking specifics.

    FrayDomingo, what exactly are you militantly doing to take over the world for Christ?

    My "opinion" about this matter comes from being a lifelong trad, and talking with hundreds of men -- offline and online -- who are struggling enough just to support their families and keep their children Catholic.

    Re-conquering the world for Christ isn't even on their radar -- unless you count prayer, increasing in personal holiness, trying to raise up saintly children, and being a good leaven in the world around them. You know, "doing your part".

    There is only so much that laymen have resources to do. The modern world keeps us very busy, and very poor. I'm not talking about voluntary time-wasting either. I'm talking about spending hours every day on mundane tasks like home schooling, earning a living, taking care of house/land, dealing with social obligations, family, in-laws, discussing things with your spouse, raising children, you name it.

    Just keeping our families safe, healthy, fed, clothed, sheltered, educated and CATHOLIC is a herculean task by itself. Don't try to tell me what else God expects of me. I know better!
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    Offline songbird

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    « Reply #4 on: August 06, 2015, 03:39:06 PM »
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  • Is this comment a way of getting Catholics/Christians to rally?  That is what Communism would like.  Communism wants rally/revolution.  Let us not satisfy them.  BUT processions, with rosary and the Blessed Sacrament is what the Communist hate.  So, we also need to pinch ourselves, sometimes, to remind ourselves and others, that we as Catholic's have the most powerful weapon of all, The Mass and Rosary!  The world gets worse as we do less of these Powers.  The Mass, Power of the Blood, and Our Lady!

    the next time some asks you what you are doing?  or Get up and do something, let them know and say you will be in a procession, but not a rally/revolution.

    You can see the that the New Order has this going; Rally for religious freedoms, and you may have read the "Public Square".  The new order is marxist and they do a very good dog and pony show.


    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #5 on: August 06, 2015, 03:43:37 PM »
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  • Quote from: songbird
    Is this comment a way of getting Catholics/Christians to rally?  That is what Communism would like.  Communism wants rally/revolution.  Let us not satisfy them.


    I know. That was my point.

    Did you read any of my post, besides the title? My first words in the post were:

    Quote
    Isn't the title of this thread a bit offensive, as if we've all just been warming our couches all this time?

    But it's not as uncommon as you think. I think it's un-called for too.
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    Offline Kazimierz

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    « Reply #6 on: August 06, 2015, 04:17:22 PM »
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  • You say you want a revolution, well, you know,
    Better to pray the Rosary

     As for a militant solution, well you know,
    How about Catholic martyrdom instead?

    I jokingly asked His Excellency +Williamson in a recent conversation, that in willing to be martyred for the Faith as the world closes in on us remnant bunker Catholics, that it would be ok to take out a huge swath of the enemy as we go down? That is not the Lord's way he amusingly replied. Worth a shot said i, and sighed jestfully. But I will go down fighting, but with the rosary as my HK rifle, and the Mass as my napalm. :wink:

    And yet......Dont mess with Texas, dont mess with the South, dont mess with Our Lord and His Mother lest I ram cotton down your mouth. :boxer:
    Da pacem Domine in diebus nostris
    Qui non est alius
    Qui pugnet pro nobis
    Nisi  tu Deus noster

    Offline LaramieHirsch

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    « Reply #7 on: August 06, 2015, 07:01:02 PM »
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  • I agree completely with Matthew's original post.  I agree with it for his stated reasons, as well as other reasons not stated.  

    At this point, I do not think that the Catholic laity is capable of mounting any kind of a "counter-strike" against the culture.  

    We are living off of the burning embers of the past.  (By last burning embers, I am talking about published articles and websites catering to us that have only been tolerated up to this point.  But also, TLM circles.)  Once those are stamped out, we're then even more of an island unto ourselves than ever before.  I imagine that governmental takeover of Internet content will snuff out these last remaining embers.  Then, that's it.  

    .........................

    Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.  - Aristotle


    Offline richard

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    « Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 11:45:25 AM »
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  • We have our Traditional Priests, and Traditional sacraments,we have our forums and blogs,who cares about the rest of the world,their all going to hell anyway.Why should I reach to try to save their souls I have a family to take care of,I went to mass today I have done my duty,right guys?
     I'm just a little concerned as to what I should say to Our Lord on judgement day when he asks me what did I do to defend and expand the kingdom of Christ on earth.

    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 12:02:05 PM »
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  • Quote from: richard
    We have our Traditional Priests, and Traditional sacraments,we have our forums and blogs,who cares about the rest of the world,their all going to hell anyway.Why should I reach to try to save their souls I have a family to take care of,I went to mass today I have done my duty,right guys?
     I'm just a little concerned as to what I should say to Our Lord on judgement day when he asks me what did I do to defend and expand the kingdom of Christ on earth.


    First, you must be single.
    Second, I never said that. Don't put words into my mouth.

    We can reach out to them as laymen, as co-workers, as neighbors, as acquaintances, as in-laws to try to set a good example, and answer their questions about the Faith. We must know our Faith well, so we can give decent apologetics (defense of the Faith) to the pagans and heretics around us.

    We might do some small amount of good. But we're not going to be "hero level", unless we can do it full-time, which requires a special vocation.

    All you single guys out there -- I'm looking at you! If God doesn't provide a suitable spouse, then maybe He wants YOU to take all that free time/money and put it to good use, and I don't mean watching funny Youtube videos, seeing the world, or buying every gadget just because you can. Even if you don't become a priest or take vows of Religion, you still have a crapload more free time and money than the average married person. You can do a lot more "out in the world" for Christ the King than them.

    Do you really think God gave you all that free time and/or money so you can indulge your curiosity on the Internet all day, experience every restaurant, or have fun in general? I think you need to take up your yoke as well. The religious have their daily grind, priests do, fathers/mothers certainly do -- what, the single get to act like children (with no parents to tell them what to do, a car, and a really big allowance) until death? I doubt it.

    If your life is too easy or fun, or lacks daily challenges, a red flag should go off.

    Everyone does what he can for Christ the King. That "what he can" part varies by person. If you deny that, you're just stupid.

    Obviously God doesn't expect a homeschooling mother of 7 to do anything more than do her best to raise those children Catholic and keep the household running smoothly. She isn't physically capable of anything more than that. God doesn't expect the impossible.
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    Offline Capt McQuigg

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    « Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 12:22:15 PM »
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  • Prayer is the best way to fight the sins of the world.

    Pray for the Church and for priests.  Pray for priests.  Pray for your family, neighbors and for those who persecute you.  

    The Church provides the sacraments and the teaching for salvation.  

    A Catholic must stand fast in the Catholic Faith and a Catholic cannot be faithful without prayer.



    Offline jen51

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    « Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 12:23:46 PM »
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  • Matthew, I agree. Especially with your last post.

    There are so many different ways for Catholics to take action. For the family where dad works long hours and Mom stays home to homeschool, that is some serious action. For out of these homes come holy children that may become priests or religious, or who may remain single in this world to devote their lives to a more Apostolic mission. Out of these holy homes come fervent prayers and penances for the salvation of those in this world. Without these families, NO CATHOLIC ACTION CAN OR WILL TAKE PLACE.

    To each person God gives a certain amount, and each person must do for God's Kingdom the work proportionate to what has been given to him. To each it is different, but for certain God expects action from all of us. The difference in how that action is carried out is dictated by our station in life. By being faithful to our duties in our state of life, we are taking the most effective and efficient form of action. How creative and genius must God be to make Catholics work in such a fine-tuned manner!

    Every persons course of action for The Church will look different according to their state in life. Let's encourage each other in our different roles, instead of comparing apples to oranges.

    Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
    ~James 1:27

    Offline Viva Cristo Rey

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    « Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 01:21:58 PM »
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  •  
    CATHOLIC ACTION
     
    by
    Fr. Francis E. Fenton

     
     
    The term, Catholic Action, as employed by the Church in times past, was a rather technical one and meant the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the Church’s hierarchy.  Nor could there be any properly so-called Catholic Action without the bishop’s authorization.  It is obvious that the words are not here used in that sense but rather as a general term to signify a broad range of apostolic activity in which Roman Catholics can engage themselves.  Some of those activities would directly relate to the defense or propagation of the Faith; others, because of the nature of a particular issue, would involve participation with non-Catholics as, for example, in anti-abortion demonstrations.  (Because abortion for whatever reason is murder, it is forbidden by the moral law of God not only to Catholics but to all without exception.)  Manifold, then, are the opportunities for traditional Roman Catholics to become involved in Catholic Action.
     
     The Roman Catholic Church is the one organization on the face of the globe founded by the Son of God for the salvation of mankind.  In it alone is found the totality of divine Truth. The code of conduct which it teaches is the moral law of God.  The sources of sanctification which it possesses (first and foremost, the Sacraments) are the means whereby multitudes of individuals have led lives of extraordinary holiness within its fold. God alone knows the number of those who have undergone all kinds of suffering and have joyfully accepted the most cruel and barbaric forms of death in martyrdom in glorious testimony to that Church and its divine Founder.  And, far and away the greatest of its possessions, there are found therein the supreme act of divine worship, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. (“I dare to say that God, though He be all-powerful, could not give us more; though He be all-wise, knows not how to give more; though He be all-rich, has not more to give.” – Saint Augustine)
     
     In a word, there is nothing comparable to the Roman Catholic Faith this side of Heaven.  It is unique. It is a pearl of inestimable value.  It is a gem of unparalleled worth.  It is the treasure of all treasures. Its greatness, its grandeur, its beauty, its nobility and, above all, its truth have, by the grace of God, led untold millions to become converts to it down through the Christian centuries.  And those converts include some of the keenest intellects of their time.  It was the famous author and convert to the Church, Robert Hugh Benson, who wrote: “The Catholic Church is supremely what she promises to be.  She is the priceless pearl for which the greatest sacrifice is not too great.”
     
     The thoughts expressed in the preceding two paragraphs have been stated numerous times in the pages of this newsletter. Nor would any traditional Roman Catholic disagree with them.  Indeed, he could not for they are absolutely true.  That being the case then, the living of the Faith in his daily life to the best of his ability should be the predominant concern of his life.  And it is safe to say that the vast majority of such Catholics are men and women of prayer; they attend Mass as often as they reasonably can; they receive the Sacraments; they have an awareness of sin and make an honest effort to observe the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church.  And they are concerned too about the spiritual and moral well-being and the living of the Faith of the members of their family and other loved ones.  They are, in short, commendable, some even exemplary, traditional Catholics, are they not?
     
     No, they are not. Typical traditionalists, they certainly are. Commendable, exemplary, they certainly are not.  How come?  Because the traditional Catholics to whom I refer, however praiseworthy they may otherwise be, lack or, at least, fail to manifest a spirit of militancy in relation to the Faith. In other words, while they themselves are good, sincere, wholesome men and women, they fail in their obvious obligation – and it is an obligation – to be activists, apostolic, militant in the promotion and defense of the Faith. The typical traditional Roman Catholic lives the Faith himself but God forbid that he proclaim it “from the housetops” or even endeavor to promote it in one or another of numerous ways in which he could do so. Indeed, were it not for a small percentage of exceptions who are genuinely apostolic and truly dedicated traditional Catholics, one might almost think that traditional Catholicism was supposed to be a strictly personal, private affair, a sort of secret religion.  So help me, that’s the impression that may well be conveyed at times. When I tell people with whom I casually converse in my Mass circuit travels that I am a traditional Roman Catholic priest, they invariably ask in effect: What’s that? The Conciliar Church media and the conservative “Catholic” publications do a masterful job, to be sure, in keeping genuine traditional Catholicism a practical nonentity but the generality of traditional Catholics bears a portion of the blame for this condition.
     
      As to what traditional Roman Catholics can do in the way of Catholic Action, well, a more or less complete list of such projects would be a lengthy one indeed. Nor is a detailed listing really needed since so many opportunities are self-evident and others can be found without much effort. Following, then, are a few suggestions for Catholic Action, some of them directly involving the defense or promotion of the Faith, others indirectly so.
     
    Protesting in one or more ways (picketing, letters to the editor of the local paper, calling in to radio talk shows) abortion locations, pornographic bookstores, immoral motion pictures, etc.
    Refusing to purchase any items or merchandise produced by companies or corporations which advertise their wares on morally objectionable and anti-God and anti-Catholic TV programs or in pornographic publications (there are scores of such companies and they produce hundreds of such items); refraining from trading in any stores which carry pornographic material; refraining too from purchasing any products coming from Communist countries, products which are all but certainly made by slave labor.  In all of this results are far more likely to be forthcoming if those responsible (the owner or manager of the store, the president of the corporation) are informed of one’s action and the reason for it. (Several chain stores around the country, for example, have removed objectionable literature as a consequence of persistent and widespread protest.)
    Striving to inform others about traditional Catholicism (in contrast to the Conciliar Church), Freemasonry, Communism and so much else of vital importance.
    Making every reasonable effort to explain and promote the Faith when there is the opportunity to do so (for example, instructing potential converts) and to defend it when it is attacked or misrepresented.
    Taking advantage of the various opportunities which arise to be an influence and force for good and, in word and deed, to reflect favorably upon the Faith which we profess.
    If and to the extent that circumstances permit, being active in civil and political affairs, especially those relating to religion and morality.  (We may criticize to our heart’s content the abhorrent moral condition of the country but, unless we try to do what we can to improve the situation, we are ourselves partially to blame for it.  “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”)
     
    Such, then, are a few suggestions for Catholic Action. Dedicated, apostolic, militant action has not been a particularly distinguishing mark of traditional Catholicism to date – and that assuredly is an understatement. How to explain this I do not know. Only in the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are found the answers to the spiritual and moral problems that plague our nation and the world – and the Roman Catholic Church today is traditional Catholicism. One would logically suppose, then, that traditional Roman Catholics would be burning with zeal and ablaze with enthusiasm to bring the glorious tidings of their divine Faith to their fellowmen and to make its influence felt as forcefully as possible upon the American scene. But where are they?
     
      The vast majority of traditional Roman Catholics have a tunnel vision with regard to the Faith, a self-centered outlook, a provincial frame of mind which ill becomes a Roman Catholic at any time – and especially here and now when the remnant of the Church so desperately needs warriors, crusaders, fighters for the Faith.  Each time we recite The Apostles Creed we profess our belief in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints; that is, the spiritual union under the headship of Christ of the Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Church Suffering in purgatory and the Church Militant on earth. But “militant” is defined as “fighting, having a fighting spirit.” The Church Militant today means us traditional Roman Catholics. But where, pray tell, is the militancy? For the most part, what I see is a Church Dormant.
     
      How long more before traditional Catholics cease merely bemoaning among themselves how bad things are and become what they are supposed to be by virtue of the Sacrament of Confirmation – active, dedicated, militant, apostolic warriors for the most glorious cause in the world, Christ and His Church, the Roman Catholic Faith?  Catholic Action is not something above and beyond the call of duty, a sort of “take-it-or-leave-it” proposition, for traditional Roman Catholics. It is a moral obligation for them. +

     
     
     Father Francis Fenton ranks among the foremost defenders of Holy Mother Church in this troubled era.  Born in 1918, this fearless prelate was well trained to do battle with the enemies of Christ.  He was educated at Fordham University and at the Catholic University of America, where among his professors was the renowned Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton (no relation).
     
     His studies produced a Masters Degree and a S.T.L (Sacrae Theologiae Licentiatus, a Licentiate of Sacred Theology permitting him to teach theology in seminaries and Catholic universities).
    To live with the Saints in Heaven is all bliss and glory....To live with the saints on Earth is just another story!  (unknown)

    Offline Viva Cristo Rey

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    « Reply #13 on: August 07, 2015, 01:29:01 PM »
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  • Catholic Action defined
    You are here:home
    This article by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais was first published in the August 2003 issue of The Angelus magazine.

    It has come to my attention that a certain amount of confusion has resulted from the juxtaposition of a portion of Bishop de Castro Mayer’s 1953 “Catechism of Opportune Truths” with a quotation from the encyclical of Pope St. Pius X, Il Fermo Proposito, in the March, 2003, issue of The Angelus. Considering the nature of the subject, with its historical and doctrinal complexities, the confusion is understandable. I hope that the following points will serve to eliminate that confusion, and I fully expect that this felix culpa will serve as the occasion for your readers to deepen their understanding of the mind of the Church concerning both the nature of Catholic Action and the proper relationship of the clergy and the laity to it.

    1) Bishop de Castro Mayer states that Catholic Action is part of the “hearing Church” and not the “teaching Church” (The Angelus, March 2003, “Catechism of Opportune Truths,” §16, p.3). Obviously this is correct insofar as the laity may collaborate with the hierarchy but not share in its powers. However, some of the confusion on this question stems from the way in which Pius XI chose to define Catholic Action, as compared to the way that St. Pius X did. This point is discussed in detail below (§3b).

    2) Catholic Action can never be construed as completely independent of the authority of the Church, as I pointed out in my conference on Supplied Jurisdiction of March 9-10, 1991, in Paris:

    That which is constant in all of the popes is the teaching that there can be no question of giving total autonomy to the laity in their action. This is impossible. This is repugnant to the Catholic sense. This is repugnant to the sense of hierarchy in the Church.
    3) Bishop de Castro Mayer defines Catholic Action as the “participation [by the laity] in the hierarchy’s apostolate” (§18, p.4), which, he points out, follows the definition of Pope Pius XI, which reads: Catholic Action “does not wish to be nor can be anything other than ‘the participation and the collaboration of the laity with the Apostolic Hierarchy.’” This is extremely problematic for a number of reasons.

    a) It differs essentially from the definition given previously by Pope St. Pius X in Il Fermo Proposito, of June 11, 1905:

    “To restore all things in Christ” has always been the Church’s motto, and it is especially Our own during these fearful moments through which we are now passing. “To restore all things” — not in any haphazard fashion, but “in Christ”; and the Apostle adds, “both those in the heavens and those on earth” (Eph. 1:10). “To restore all things in Christ” includes not only what properly pertains to the divine mission of the Church, namely, leading souls to God, but also what We have already explained as flowing from that divine mission, namely Christian civilization in each and every one of the elements composing it. (§6)

    Since We particularly dwell on this last part of the desired restoration, you clearly see, Venerable Brethren, the services rendered to the Church by those chosen bands of Catholics who aim to unite all their forces in combating anti-Christian civilization by every just and lawful means. They use every means in repairing the serious disorders caused by it. They seek to restore Jesus Christ to the family, the school and society by re-establishing the principle that human authority represents the authority of God. They take to heart the interests of the people, especially those of the working and agricultural classes, not only by inculcating in the hearts of everybody a true religious spirit (the only true fount of consolation among the troubles of this life) but also by endeavoring to dry their tears, to alleviate their sufferings, and to improve their economic condition by wise measures. They strive, in a word, to make public laws conformable to justice and amend or suppress those which are not so. Finally, they defend and support in a true Catholic spirit the rights of God in all things and the no less sacred rights of the Church. (§7)

    All these works, sustained and promoted chiefly by lay Catholics and whose form varies according to the needs of each country, constitute what is generally known by a distinctive and surely a very noble name: “Catholic Action,” or the “Action of Catholics.” At all times it came to the aid of the Church, and the Church has always cherished and blessed such help, using it in many ways according to the exigencies of the age. (§8) (Emphasis mine)
    b) Pope Pius XI’s definition is partially responsible for the confusion addressed by Bishop de Castro Mayer (§18, p.4) in the first place. The bishop correctly calls “false” the notion that “Catholic Action confers on [a layman] a participation in the apostolic mandate...”; but Pius XI himself repeatedly refers to Catholic Action as “the participation and the collaboration of the laity with the Apostolic Hierarchy.” Clearly the defining of Catholic Action in this way lends itself to misinterpretation, a fact which is only too evident — for instance — from a mere cursory reading of Msgr. Civardi’s A Concise Manual of Catholic Action. Therein Civardi defines Catholic Action in numerous different ways, variously referring to it as a true “apostolate” and in other places maintaining that it has for its principal aim the reconstruction of the Christian State.

    4) The definition of Pius XI is not wrong, but it certainly refers to something essentially and totally different than that which St. Pius X strove to promote. Pius XI’s idea of Catholic Action is clearly apostolic and religious, something clearly in the spiritual sphere, essentially a part of the priestly ministry, and therefore under the direct authority of the Church. St. Pius X’s notion is that Catholic Action is a temporal work principally of the layman, and insofar as it is temporal it falls under the indirect authority of the Church.

    a) I have already referred to this distinction in my 1991 conference:

    This morning I tried to summarize the idea of Pope St. Pius X, who distinguished two sorts of apostolic endeavors for the laity:

    1)  Direct participation of the laity in the priestly apostolate inasmuch as it is possible. This includes the education of youth, teaching in our schools, and special, more properly apostolic youth movements which have as their purpose the conversion of souls. It is obvious that such a movement has an essential dependence with respect to the clergy. It would be quite erroneous to say that such a movement is a movement of Catholic Action in the strict sense of the word, with a relatively loose dependence on the clergy.

    From the very fact that it is for the conversion of souls, it follows that there is an intrinsic dependence on the clergy. The same applies to the Catholic Scout movement and the Legion of Mary which has as its purpose, by the intercession of Our Lady, the conversion of souls. This is, if you wish, a participation in the priestly ministry on the part of the laity, and consequently it requires a mandate. The priest gives a mandate to the laity to exercise a part of his priestly apostolate.

    2) Quite different is Catholic Action understood as a work of the Catholic laity in the temporal order, so as to bring about the reign of Christian social principles in the State. It is this which St. Pius X strove especially to promote, and which can be called Catholic Action in the strict sense of the term. We cannot say that such Catholic Action, because it is not the ministry of the priest, is independent of the priest. St. Pius X, as I reminded you this morning, said that “One cannot at all conceive of this Catholic Action of the faithful independently from the counsel and higher guidance of ecclesiastical authority.”

    It is an essential distinction. Pope Pius XII, following Pius XI, blurred somewhat its importance, which is not without consequences. He simply spoke of a gradation in the dependence of works of Catholic Action on the hierarchy. The more a work is properly priestly the more must it have an intimate dependence on the priest, and the more a work properly belongs to the laity, the more tenuous the link with respect to the clergy. (Emphasis mine)
    b) St. Pius X himself (in Il Fermo Proposito) was very clear about the two types of activities in which Catholics may participate (Catholic Action, and more properly apostolic endeavors) and the relation of each to the direct and indirect authority of the Church:

    We must touch, Venerable Brethren, on another point of extreme importance, namely, the relation of all the works of Catholic Action to ecclesiastical authority. If the teachings unfolded in the first part of this letter are thoughtfully considered it will be readily seen that all those works which directly come to the aid of the spiritual and pastoral ministry of the Church and which labor reli­giously for the good of souls must in every least thing be subordinated to the authority of the Church and also to the authority of the Bishops placed by the Holy Spirit to rule the Church of God in the dioceses assigned to them. Moreover, the other works which, as We have said, are prima­rily designed for the restoration and promotion of true Chris­tian civilization and which, as explained above, constitute Catholic Action, by no means may be considered as indepen­dent of the counsel and direction of ecclesiastical authority, especially since they must all conform to the principles of Christian faith and morality. At the same time it is impossible to imagine them as in opposition, more or less openly, to that same authority. Such works, however, by their very nature, should be directed with a reasonable degree of freedom, since responsible action is especially theirs in the temporal and eco­nomic affairs as well as in those matters of public administration and political life. These affairs are alien to the purely spiritual ministry. Since Catholics, on the other hand, are to raise always the banner of Christ, by that very fact they also raise the banner of the Church. Thus it is no more than right that they receive it from the hands of the Church, that the Church guard its immaculate honor, and that Catholics submit as docile, loving children to this maternal vigilance. (§22) (Emphasis mine)
    c) Archbishop Lefebvre also approached the question with the assumption that there were two distinct types of lay activity, one an ecclesiastically approved, hierarchically constituted and institutionalized “Catholic Action” which was essentially spiritual and religious, and another consisting of the activity of the laity in the temporal order for the defense or restoration of the Christian state.

    i) That the Archbishop possessed this conception of two types of lay activity is evident from a letter of encouragement that he wrote to Jean Ousset, whose work was being opposed by liberal French bishops as detailed on p.274 of my book Marcel Lefebvre: Une Vie. [His Excellency refers to his 643-page book in French, published in English under the title, Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography —Ed.]

    Are you criticized for not having the bishops’ permission? Such permission is not needed for any activity which is not properly speaking Catholic Action. All that is needed is for an activity to be fully in accord with the spirit of the Church and her discipline, and every bishop can judge that for himself in his own diocese.
    Here Archbishop Lefebvre uses the phrase “Catholic Action” to indicate the spiritual activity–participation and collaboration with the apostolate of the hierarchy — which Pius XI encouraged, and he therefore concludes that the work of Jean Ousset and La Cite Catholique is not “strictly speaking” Catholic Action. This inversion of terms is a result of the prevailing situation during the early part of both the archbishop’s as well as Bishop de Castro Mayer’s lifetimes, where organs of so-called “Catholic Action” — in fact they were specifically so called — were established and constituted officially by the hierarchy as movements of the Church, following the understanding of Pius XI. This institutional “Catholic Action” is an essentially different activity (though there may be points of overlap, especially when the teaching of the Social Doctrine is involved) from what St. Pius X encouraged, which is an activity in fact quite similar to what Ousset undertook, and which, according to Archbishop Lefebvre, falls under the indirect authority of the Church; hence all that is required of it is that it “fully conform to the spirit of the Church and her discipline.”

    ii) The archbishop’s understanding of the question is further illustrated by one of his interventions prior to the Second Vatican Council (related in Une Vie on p.298):

    At the seventh and last preparatory meeting [for the Council], the archbishop acted decisively in support of the reign of Christ the King even over temporal affairs. On 18 June [1962] he spoke about the lay apostolate and asked for a reaffirmation of its dependence on the priestly apostolate. Following Pius X, he distinguished two ways in which this dependence operates: the first regards the lay apostolate in the broadest sense — “the sanctification of professions and civil society” — in which the laypeople are “subject to the bishops’ vigilance”; the second is through an apostolate in the strict sense in which laypeople “unquestionably depend directly and immediately on the authority of the bishops and the priests appointed by them, since they then collaborate in the very mission entrusted by Christ to the bishops.”

    Having made this enlightening distinction, Archbishop Lefebvre added that, nevertheless, one cannot separate the temporal and the spiritual domains; on the one hand the temporal is in fact subject to the supernatural order, and on the other the clergy cannot be excluded from the care and possession of temporal things. (Emphasis mine)
    5) The juxtaposition of Bishop de Castro Mayer’s statement of p.5 (§21), “Catholic Action… is entirely subject to the bishop’s authority.... His authority is not only for vetoing anything contrary to faith and morals, but is also for governing all social activity,” with Pope St. Pius X’s definition of Catholic Action (§§3a and 4b above) implies an entirely incorrect notion of Catholic Action, i.e., that it is essentially a work of the laity in the temporal sphere (Pius X), and that it is entirely subject to the authority of the Bishop.

    The correct notion, rather, is that Catholic Action is essentially the work of the laity in the temporal sphere, and that it has a relatively loose dependence on the clergy, who do not direct the temporal work of building the Christian State, but rather exercise their jurisdiction over faith and morals to ensure that the means and ends proposed by the laity are in conformity with Catholic faith and morals. Another way of saying this would be that Catholic Action, properly speaking, falls under the indirect authority of the Church (in keeping with the traditional teaching of the Church on the relation between the spiritual and temporal powers), and that the participation of the laity in the ministry of the priest is not Catholic Action, strictly speaking; such activity, rather, is essentially spiritual and falls therefore under the direct authority of the Church.

    6) Bishop de Castro Mayer’s statement, “If the priest had over Catholic Action the simple power of veto, it would practically escape the bishop’s power” illustrates the unfortunate confusion which results from an inadequate definition of Catholic Action.

    a) Over Catholic Action, strictly speaking, the Church does have only veto power — the power to correct errors in faith and morals. This “veto” power is the exercise of the Church’s indirect temporal authority and, in such circumstances, Catholic Action does not escape the bishop’s power, but is rather submitted to it in a way proper to both the nature of Catholic Action and the nature of the bishop’s authority. Put another way, this “veto” is simply an exercise, adapted to modern circumstances, of the Church’s right to intervene in the temporal sphere ratione peccati.

    b) Since Bishop de Castro Mayer is referring not to Catholic Action strictly speaking, but to the essentially religious and spiritual “participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy,” it is evident that he is simply referring to the fact that the Church has direct authority over this kind of activity, and that this direct authority is (naturally) all-encompassing.

    7) Following this line of thought, when Bishop de Castro Mayer maintains that, “Since organizations of Catholic Action wholly belong in the ranks of the ‘hearing Church,’ its members must normally be received by the vicar or the priest who directs the association,” it is evident that he is referring to an essentially spiritual and religious activity. When, following St. Pius X, laymen “strive, in a word, to make public laws conformable to justice and amend or suppress those which are not so” (Il Fermo Proposito, §7), it would be absurd to suggest that they need to somehow be received by the local priest in order to do so. Over this kind of activity–Catholic Action strictly speaking–the priest exercises his indirect authority by teaching the general principles of social justice and correcting the laity in the event that they pursue aims contrary to those principles or attempt to implement them in a way which would be condemned by the Catholic Faith or the Moral Law.

    8) Ultimately, all the statements of Bishop de Castro Mayer are correct when understood in light of his assumption that when he says “Catholic Action,” we actually are to understand him to be speaking of the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy, and not “Catholic Action” strictly speaking, as it has been best defined by Pope St. Pius X in Il Fermo Proposito.

    9) Our understanding of the question rests, finally, with the profound wisdom of St. Pius X and the subtle yet precise distinctions which he makes in his encyclical. I would like to conclude by inviting you to look closely at the following passages, in which will be found an elaboration of the general principles that form the basis of the foregoing discussion.

    a) Pius X begins by pointing out the extremely wide scope of lay activity, what we might call the entire “lay apostolate,” generally and loosely so-called; his reference to the “direct or indirect” missions of the Church sets up the distinctions he will make later in his letter:

    The field of Catholic Action is extremely vast. In itself it does not exclude anything, in any manner, direct or indirect, which pertains to the divine mission of the Church. Accordingly one can plainly see how necessary it is for everyone to co-operate in such an important work, not only for the sanctification of his own soul, but also for the extension and increase of the Kingdom of God in individuals, families, and society; each one working according to his energy for the good of his neighbor by the propagation of revealed truth, by the exercise of Christian virtues, by the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. (§3)
    b) Following this, the Pope alludes to the difference between the goods of the soul, over which the Church has a direct mission, and the temporal goods of Christian civilization, over which the Church has no direct mission but of which she is “the guardian and protector” thanks to the “Catholic revelation,” the “evangelical counsels,” and the “doctrine and morality” which she preaches:

    Over and above spiritual goods, however, there are many goods of the natural order over which the Church has no direct mission, although they flow as a natural consequence from her divine mission.... By the very nature of things, the Church has consequently become the guardian and protector of Christian society. That fact was universally recognized and admitted in other periods of history. In truth, it formed a solid foundation for civil legislation. On that very fact rested the relations between Church and State; the public recognition of the authority of the Church in those matters which touched upon conscience in any manner, the subordination of all the laws of the State to the Divine laws of the Gospel; the harmony of the two powers in securing the temporal welfare of the people in such a way that their eternal welfare did not suffer. (§4)
    c) And following this distinction between the spiritual goods which it is the business of the Church’s hierarchy to foster, and the temporal goods which are fostered chiefly by the laity and which are guarded and preserved by the Church by her preaching and her doctrine, St. Pius X reminds the clergy and the laity of their respective roles in promoting those works which are “designed for the restoration and promotion of true Christian civilization”:

    i) He reminds the clergy of the fact that their “proper field of action is the Church” (§25), and indicates that their participation in organizations of Catholic Action must be oriented towards “favoring and promoting” the various temporal organizations constituted to assist the masses, thus guaranteeing that their involvement will have “a truly religious purpose”:

    By means of the printed and spoken word, by direct participation in the above-mentioned cases, he can labor on behalf of the people according to the principles of justice and charity by favoring and promoting those institutions which propose to protect the masses from the invasion of Socialism, saving them at the same time from both economic ruin and moral and religious chaos. In this way the assistance of the clergy in the works of Catholic Action has a truly religious purpose (emphasis mine). It will then not be a hin­drance, but rather a help, to the spiritual ministry by enlarg­ing its sphere and multiplying its results. (§26)
    Notice, please, how St. Pius X completely reverses the “participation”: In this work of the laity for promoting Christian civilization, it is not the laity that share in the hierarchical apostolate but on the contrary, it is the clergy that may participate in organizations of lay action. A most significant inversion of perspectives!

    ii) Additionally, he warns the clergy specifically against placing too much emphasis on temporal activity:

    While pointing out the true nature of Catholic Action, Venerable Brethren, We cannot minimize the grave danger to which the clergy may find themselves exposed because of the conditions of the time. They may attach such importance to the material interests of the people that they will forget those more important duties of the sacred minis­try. (§24)
    iii) To the laity the Pope says that their activity–in this case, for instance, their participation in the national politics of Italy–must at all times be based upon Catholic principle, and must involve a well-informed Catholic conscience, resolved to be as Catholic in public as in private:

    This concession [resumption of participation by Catholics in Italian political life] places a duty on all Catholics to prepare themselves prudently and seriously for political life in case they may be called to it. Hence it is of the utmost importance that the same activity (previously so praiseworthily planned by Catholics for the purpose of preparing themselves by means of good electoral organization for the administrative life of common and provincial councils) be extended to a suitable preparation and organization for political life.... At the same time the other principles which regulate the conscience of every true Catholic must be inculcated and put into practice. Above all else he must remember to be and to act in every circumstance as a true Catholic, accepting and fulfilling public offices with the firm and constant resolution of promoting by every means the social and economic welfare of the country and particularly of the people, according to the maxims of a truly Christian civilization, and at the same time defending the supreme interests of the Church, which are those of religion and justice. (§19) (Emphasis mine)

    iv) Additionally, he indicates that the activity of the laity must be of evident worth, constructive, and useful:

    It is also important to define clearly the works which the Catholic forces must energetically and constantly undertake. These works must be of such evident importance that they will be appreciated by everybody. They must bear such a relation to the needs of modern society and be so well adapted to moral and material interests, especially those of the people and the poorer classes, that, while arousing in promoters of Catholic Action the greatest activity for obtaining the important and certain results which are to be looked for, they may also be readily understood and gladly welcomed by all. (§12)
    v) Finally, St. Pius X reminds the laity that to restore Christ to the family and society, to promulgate His Social Reign, they must be well-prepared and well-suited to the work at hand, by relying on divine grace and Catholic doctrine to form them in piety and in manly virtue:

    Above all, one must be firmly convinced that the instrument is of little value if it is not adapted to the work at hand. In regard to the things We mentioned above, Catholic Action, inasmuch as it proposes to restore all things in Christ, constitutes a real apostolate for the honor and glory of Christ Himself. To carry it out right one must have divine grace, and the apostle receives it only if he is united to Christ. Only when he has formed Jesus Christ in himself shall he more easily be able to restore Him to the family and society. Therefore, all who are called upon to direct or dedicate themselves to the Catholic cause, must be sound Catholics, firm in faith, solidly instructed in religious matters, truly submissive to the Church and especially to this supreme Apostolic See and the Vicar of Jesus Christ. They must be men of real piety, of manly virtue, and of a life so chaste and fearless that they will be a guiding example to all others. (§11)
    With these brief observations I leave you with my sincere hope that all misunderstanding of Catholic Action may be eliminated, and that, with a true harmony of mind and will, Catholics everywhere may work effectively to restore to His throne Our Lord Jesus Christ, who must reign over temporal and civil society no less than He does over the perfect spiritual society which is His Church.

    In Christo Domino,

    +Bp. Bernard Tissier de Mallerais

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