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Reflections: Catholic Life Section (Government)

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Catholic Citizens

Civil Law


Danger of Democracy


Freedom / Liberty


Obligation of Voting

Private Property

Religion Helps the State

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Separation of Church & State Condemned



Also See: Classic Encyclicals: Economics / Government / Social Order / Liberty


Catholic Citizens

"[T]here is no better citizen than the man who has believed and practiced the Christian faith from his childhood." (Pope Leo XIII, "Spectata Fides", 1885)

Also See: Obligation of Voting | Our Actions Must Correspond to Our Faith

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Civil Law

Note: Christians are called to obey just laws. Also note that history proves that being a faithful Christian may sometimes be dangerous to one's bodily health (e.g. when persons are forced to disobey unjust laws). Consult appropriate, competent authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying items herein. Note that we do not advocate unlawful / immoral civil disobedience and we are not responsible for anything which may occur due to use of this site.

"The laws of Caesar are one thing, Christ's another." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 399 A.D.)

"A temporal law, however just, may be justly changed in course of time" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church) 

"[L]aws that are contrary to the commandments of God...[are] beyond the scope of (human) power. Wherefore in such matters human law should not be obeyed." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Human law is law only by virtue of its accordance with right reason; and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Certainly the purpose of civil law is different and more limited in scope than that of the moral law. But 'in no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things which are outside its competence', which is that of ensuring the common good of people through the recognition and defense of their fundamental rights, and the promotion of peace and of public morality. The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may 'lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way' (1 Tim 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which - were it prohibited - would cause more serious harm, it can never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals - even if they are the majority of the members of society - an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom." (Pope John Paul II)

"[H]uman law is a dictate of reason, whereby human acts are directed. Thus there may be two causes for the just change of human law: one on the part of reason; the other on the part of man whose acts are regulated by law. The cause on the part of reason is that it seems natural to human reason to advance gradually from the imperfect to the perfect. Hence, in speculative sciences, we see that the teaching of the early philosophers was imperfect, and that it was afterwards perfected by those who succeeded them. So also in practical matters: for those who first endeavored to discover something useful for the human community, not being able by themselves to take everything into consideration, set up certain institutions which were deficient in many ways; and these were changed by subsequent lawgivers who made institutions that might prove less frequently deficient in respect of the common weal. On the part of man, whose acts are regulated by law, the law can be rightly changed on account of the changed condition of man, to whom different things are expedient according to the difference of his condition. An example is proposed by Augustine (De Libero Arbitrio i,6): 'If the people have a sense of moderation and responsibility, and are most careful guardians of the common weal, it is right to enact a law allowing such a people to choose their own magistrates for the government of the commonwealth. But if, as time goes on, the same people become so corrupt as to sell their votes, and entrust the government to scoundrels and criminals; then the right of appointing their public officials is rightly forfeit to such a people, and the choice devolves to a few good men.'...The natural law is a participation of the eternal law...and therefore endures without change, owing to the unchangeableness and perfection of the Divine Reason, the Author of nature. But the reason of man is changeable and imperfect: wherefore his law is subject to change. Moreover the natural law contains certain universal precepts, which are everlasting: whereas human law contains certain particular precepts, according to various emergencies...A measure should be as enduring as possible. But nothing can be absolutely unchangeable in things that are subject to change. And therefore human law [but not natural law] cannot be altogether unchangeable." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Laws framed by man are either just or unjust. If they be just, they have the power of binding in conscience, from the eternal law whence they are derived, according to Proverbs 8:15: 'By Me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things.' Now laws are said to be just, both from the end, when, to wit, they are ordained to the common good - and from their author, that is to say, when the law that is made does not exceed the power of the lawgiver - and from their form, when, to wit, burdens are laid on the subjects, according to an equality of proportion and with a view to the common good. For, since one man is a part of the community, each man in all that he is and has, belongs to the community; just as a part, in all that it is, belongs to the whole; wherefore nature inflicts a loss on the part, in order to save the whole: so that on this account, such laws as these, which impose proportionate burdens, are just and binding in conscience, and are legal laws. On the other hand laws may be unjust in two ways: first, by being contrary to human good, through being opposed to the things mentioned above - either in respect of the end, as when an authority imposes on his subjects burdensome laws, conducive, not to the common good, but rather to his own cupidity or vainglory - or in respect of the author, as when a man makes a law that goes beyond the power committed to him - or in respect of the form, as when burdens are imposed unequally on the community, although with a view to the common good. The like are acts of violence rather than laws; because, as Augustine says (De Libero Arbitrio i,5), 'a law that is not just, seems to be no law at all.' Wherefore such laws do not bind in conscience, except perhaps in order to avoid scandal or disturbance, for which cause a man should even yield his right, according to Matthew 5:40,41: 'If a man... take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him; and whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two.' Secondly, laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry, or to anything else contrary to the Divine law: and laws of this kind must nowise be observed, because, as stated in Acts 5:29, 'we ought to obey God rather than man.'... As the Apostle says (Romans 13:1,2), all human power is from God... 'therefore he that resisteth the power,' in matters that are within its scope, 'resisteth the ordinance of God'; so that he becomes guilty according to his conscience." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Government | Obedience / Disobedience

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"[Communism is] the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin." (Pope Leo XIII)

"There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

"[T]he unspeakable doctrine of Communism, as it is called, a doctrine most opposed to the very natural law. For if this doctrine were accepted, the complete destruction of everyone's laws, government, property, and even of human society itself would follow." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)

"Communism is by its nature anti-religious. It considers religion as 'the opiate of the people' because the principles of religion which speak of a life beyond the grave dissuade the proletariat from the dream of a Soviet paradise which is of this world. But the law of nature and its Author cannot be flouted with impunity." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"In the Communistic commonwealth morality and law would be nothing but a derivation of the existing economic order, purely earthly in origin and unstable in character. In a word, the Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"Where Communism has been able to assert its power - and here We are thinking with special affection of the people of Russia and Mexico - it has striven by every possible means, as its champions openly boast, to destroy Christian civilization and the Christian religion by banishing every remembrance of them from the hearts of men, especially of the young." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"When religion is banished from the school, from education and from public life, when the representatives of Christianity and its sacred rites are held up to ridicule, are we not really fostering the materialism which is the fertile soil of Communism.? Neither force, however well organized it be, nor earthly ideals however lofty or noble, can control a movement whose roots lie in the excessive esteem for the goods of this world." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"Such, Venerable Brethren, is the new gospel which Bolshevistic and atheistic Communism offers the world as the glad tidings of deliverance and salvation! It is a system full of errors and sophisms. It is in opposition both to reason and to Divine Revelation. It subverts the social order, because it means the destruction of its foundations; because it ignores the true origin and purpose of the State; because it denies the rights, dignity and liberty of human personality." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"[T]he enemies of private property and states who are striving to confound all laws, divine and human, hope to effect their wicked plans chiefly by corrupting their young minds. For they are aware that the young are like soft wax and can easily be drawn in any direction, bent and moulded and that they firmly retain a form once they have received it and it has been hardened by advancing years; then they will reject a different form. Hence the well-worn proverb from scripture: 'A young man will not depart from his way even when he has grown old.'" (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800)

"Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937) 

"However, We are fully aware, alas, that in some nations amid which atheistic Communism is rampant, these methods of telecommunication are directed in the schools to root out all religious ideas from the mind. Indeed, anyone who considers this situation calmly and without prejudice, cannot fail to see that the consciences of children and youths, deprived of divine truth, are being oppressed in a new and subtle way, since they are unable to learn that truth revealed by God, which, as our Redeemer declared, makes us free; and that by this cunning method a new attack is being made on religion." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)

"There is another explanation for the rapid diffusion of the Communistic ideas now seeping into every nation, great and small, advanced and backward, so that no corner of the earth is free from them. This explanation is to be found in a propaganda so truly diabolical that the world has perhaps never witnessed its like before. It is directed from one common center. It is shrewdly adapted to the varying conditions of diverse peoples. It has at its disposal great financial resources, gigantic organizations, international congresses, and countless trained workers. It makes use of pamphlets and reviews, of cinema, theater and radio, of schools and even universities. Little by little it penetrates into all classes of the people and even reaches the better-minded groups of the community, with the result that few are aware of the poison which increasingly pervades their minds and hearts." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"[T]he enemies of all order, whether they be called Communists or by some other name, exaggerating the very grave straits of the economic crisis, in this great perturbation of morals, with extreme audacity, direct all their efforts to one end, seeking to cast away every bridle from their necks, and breaking the bonds of all law both human and divine, wage an atrocious war against all religion and against God Himself; in this it is their purpose to uproot utterly all knowledge and sense of religion from the minds of men, even from the tenderest age, for they know well that if once the Divine law and knowledge were blotted out from the minds of men there would now be nothing that they could not arrogate to themselves. And thus we now see with our own eyes - what we have not read of as happening anywhere before - impious men, agitated by unspeakable fury, shamelessly lifting up a banner against God and against all religion throughout the whole world." (Pope Pius XI, "Caritate Christi Compulsi", 1932)

"Communism teaches and seeks two objectives: Unrelenting class warfare and absolute extermination of private ownership. Not secretly or by hidden methods does it do this, but publicly, openly, and by employing every and all means, even the most violent. To achieve these objectives there is nothing which it does not dare, nothing for which it has respect or reverence; and when it has come to power, it is incredible and portentlike in its cruelty and inhumanity. The horrible slaughter and destruction through which it has laid waste vast regions of eastern Europe and Asia are the evidence; how much an enemy and how openly hostile it is to Holy Church and to God Himself is, alas, too well proved by facts and fully known to all. Although We, therefore, deem it superfluous to warn upright and faithful children of the Church regarding the impious and iniquitous character of Communism, yet We cannot without deep sorrow contemplate the heedlessness of those who apparently make light of these impending dangers, and with sluggish inertia allow the widespread propagation of doctrine which seeks by violence and slaughter to destroy society altogether. All the more gravely to be condemned is the folly of those who neglect to remove or change the conditions that inflame the minds of peoples, and pave the way for the overthrow and destruction of society." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"In the beginning Communism showed itself for what it was in all its perversity; but very soon it realized that it was thus alienating the people. It has therefore changed its tactics, and strives to entice the multitudes by trickery of various forms, hiding its real designs behind ideas that in themselves are good and attractive. Thus, aware of the universal desire for peace, the leaders of Communism pretend to be the most zealous promoters and propagandists in the movement for world amity. Yet at the same time they stir up a class-warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and, realizing that their system offers no internal guarantee of peace, they have recourse to unlimited armaments. Under various names which do not suggest Communism, they establish organizations and periodicals with the sole purpose of carrying their ideas into quarters otherwise inaccessible. They try perfidiously to worm their way even into professedly Catholic and religious organizations. Again, without receding an inch from their subversive principles, they invite Catholics to collaborate with them in the realm of so-called humanitarianism and charity; and at times even make proposals that are in perfect harmony with the Christian spirit and the doctrine of the Church. Elsewhere they carry their hypocrisy so far as to encourage the belief that Communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume another and much milder form. It will not interfere with the practice of religion. It will respect liberty of conscience. There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into soviet legislation as a proof that Communism is about to abandon its program of war against God. See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

Also See: Socialism | Democracy | Government | Private Property | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Taxes | Freemasonry / Secret Societies | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Danger of Democracy

"The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that may hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

Also See: Democracy | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Obligation of Voting

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"Neither is it blameworthy in itself, in any manner, for the people to have a share greater or less, in the government: for at certain times, and under certain laws, such participation may not only be of benefit to the citizens, but may even be of obligation." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"[W]ithout an objective moral grounding not even democracy is capable of ensuring a stable peace...Even in participatory systems of government, the regulation of interests often occurs to the advantage of the most powerful, since they are the ones most capable of maneuvering not only the levers of power but also of shaping the formation of consensus. In such a situation, democracy easily becomes an empty word." (Pope John Paul II)

"Modern writers in great numbers, following in the footsteps of those who called themselves philosophers in the last century, declare that all power comes from the people; consequently, those who exercise power in society do not exercise it from their own authority, but from an authority delegated to them by the people, and on the condition that it can be revoked by the will of the people from whom they hold it. Quite the contrary is the sentiment of Catholics, who hold that the right of governing derives from God as its natural and necessary principle." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum Illud")

"By separating fraternity from Christian charity thus understood, Democracy, far from being a progress, would mean a disastrous step backward for civilization. If, as We desire with all Our heart, the highest possible peak of well-being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress toward the ideal civilization." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910)

"Nature itself bears witness that all power, of every kind, has its origin from God, who is its chief and most august source. The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that may hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"There is another kind of liberty of which the world boasts, and for the acquiring whereof it sets men at variance with men. It consists in avoiding as a crime all subjection and dependence, and in recognizing no authority except the one appointed by our own elections, which we can remove as soon as we please. Deliver us...from this false liberty, which is so opposed to the Christian spirit of obedience, and is simply the triumph of human pride. In its frenzy, it sheds torrents of blood; and with its pompous cant of what it calls the rights of man, it substitutes egoism for duty. It acknowledges no such thing as truth, for it maintains that error has its sacred rights; it acknowledges no such things as good, for it has given up all pretension to prevent evil. It puts God aside, for it refuses to recognize him in those who govern. It puts upon man the yoke of brute force: it tyrannizes over him by what it calls a Majority; and it answers every complaint that he may make against injustice by the jargon of Accomplished Facts. No, this is not the liberty into which we are called by Christ, our Deliver. We are free, as St. Peter says, and yet make not liberty a cloak for malice (Pt. ii 16)" (Gueranger)

Also See: Catholic Citizens | Freedom / Liberty | Government | Obligation of Voting | Religion Helps the State | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Taxes

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Freedom / Liberty

"[W]hen freedom is detached from objective truth it becomes impossible to establish personal rights on a firm rational basis; and the ground is laid for society to be at the mercy of the unrestrained will of individuals or the oppressive totalitarianism of public authority." (Pope John Paul II)

"The true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State: but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the Eternal Law." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas")

"From all this may be understood the nature and character of that liberty which the followers of liberalism so eagerly advocate and proclaim. On the one hand, they demand for themselves and for the State a license which opens the way to every perversity of opinion; and on the other, they hamper the Church in divers ways, restricting her liberty within narrowest limits, although from her teaching not only is there nothing to be feared, but in every respect very much to be gained." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

"[F]reedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth. When freedom, out of a desire to emancipate itself from all forms of tradition and authority, shuts out even the most obvious evidence of an objective and universal truth, which is the foundation of personal and social life, then the person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion or, indeed, his selfish interest and whim. This view of freedom leads to a serious distortion of life in society. If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail. Still, in the face of other people's analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual. In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life. This is what is happening also at the level of politics and government: the original and inalienable right to life is questioned or denied on the basis of a parliamentary vote or the will of one part of the people - even if it is the majority. This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the 'right' ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. The State is no longer the 'common home' where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: 'How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others are denied that dignity?' When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun." (Pope John Paul II)

Also See: Danger of Democracy | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Religious Liberty | Obedience / Disobedience | God's Laws | Civil Law | Catholic Citizens | Government

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Note: Christians are called to obey just laws. Also note that history proves that being a faithful Christian may sometimes be dangerous to one's bodily health (e.g. when persons are forced to disobey unjust laws). Consult appropriate, competent authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying items herein. Note that we do not advocate unlawful / immoral civil disobedience and we are not responsible for anything which may occur due to use of this site.

"[T]he safety of the commonwealth is not only the first law, but it is a government's whole reason of existence" (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"For the city is not made happy from one source, and man from another, since the state is nothing else than a harmonious multitude of men." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[A]ll those are pitiably deluded, whose theory of government makes no account of man's last and highest end, of the right use of the goods of this life." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

"No Christian is an enemy, certainly not of the emperor. Since we know that the emperor is appointed by God, it is necessary that he be loved and reverenced, and that we wish him well." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"[I]n the sixteenth century...a fatal novelty of opinions infatuated many. Since that epoch, not only has the multitude striven after a liberty greater than is just, but it has seen fit to fashion the origin and construction of the civil society of men in accordance with its own will." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum", 1881)

"And furthermore it is not of itself contrary to one's duty to prefer a form of government regulated by the popular class, provided Catholic doctrine as to the origin and administration of public power be maintained. Of the various kinds of government, the Church indeed rejects none, provided they are suited of themselves to care for the welfare of citizens; but she wishes, what nature clearly demands likewise, that each be constituted without injury to anyone, and especially with the preservation of the rights of the Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"Nature did not form society in order that man should seek in it his last end, but in order that in it and through it he should find suitable aids whereby to attain to his own perfection. If, then, a political government strives after external advantages only, and the achievement of a cultured and prosperous life; if, in administering public affairs, it is wont to put God aside, and show no solicitude for the upholding of moral law, it deflects woefully from its right course and from the injunctions of nature; nor should it be accounted as a society or a community of men, but only as the deceitful imitation or appearance of a society." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890)

"[S]ince men united by the bonds of a common society depend on God no less than individuals, associations whether political or private cannot, without crime, behave as if God did not exist, nor put away religion as something foreign to them, nor dispense themselves from obtaining, in that religion, the rules according to which God has declared that He wills to be honored. Consequently, the heads of the State are bound, as such, to keep holy the name of God, make it one of their principal duties to protect religion by the authority of the laws, and not command or ordain anything contrary to its integrity." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice - not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion - it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"If, however, it should ever happen that public power is exercised by princes rashly and beyond measure, the doctrine of the Catholic Church does not permit rising up against them on one's own terms, lest quiet and order be more and more disturbed, or lest society receive greater harm therefrom. Whenever matters have come to such a pass that no other hope of a solution is evident, it teaches that a remedy is to be hastened through the merits of Christian patience, and by urgent prayers to God. But if the decisions of legislators and princes should sanction or order something that is contrary to divine and natural law, the dignity and duty of the Christian name and the opinion of the apostles urge that 'we ought to obey God, rather than men' (Acts 5:29)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Apostolici muneris", 1878 A.D.)

"Now while it is true that no man is refused temporal blessings, be he good or bad, and while misfortunes can overtake all, the virtuous as well as the wicked, yet we may not doubt that benefits and adversities are allotted by God for the furtherance of the eternal salvation of souls and for the well-being of the heavenly city. Therefore the leaders and rulers of the nations have received their authority from God for his end, that in the regions subject to them they should - as His associates - lend their efforts to promoting the designs of Divine Providence. Clearly, then, it is their duty to keep their gaze riveted on the supreme end set for man's attainment, and while active for the earthly prosperity of their citizens, to do and command nothing in abatement of the laws of Christian justice and charity, but rather to make it easier for those under them to recognize and pursue the prizes that never fail." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

"Indeed, very many men of more recent times, walking in the footsteps of those who in a former age assumed to themselves the name of philosophers, say that all power comes from the people; so that those who exercise it in the State do so not as their own, but as delegated to them by the people, and that, by this rule, it can be revoked by the will of the very people by whom it was delegated. But from these, Catholics dissent, who affirm that the right to rule is from God, as from a natural and necessary principle. It is of importance, however, to remark in this place that those who may be placed over the State may in certain cases be chosen by the will and decision of the multitude, without opposition to or impugning of the Catholic doctrine. And by this choice, in truth, the ruler is designated, but the rights of ruling are not thereby conferred. Nor is the authority delegated to him, but the person by whom it is to be exercised is determined upon." (Pope Leo XIII, "Diuturnum", 1881)

"As there are on earth two great societies: the one civil, whose immediate end is to procure the temporal and earthly well-being of the human race; the other religious, whose aim is to lead men to the eternal happiness for which they were created: so also God has divided the government of the world between two powers. Each of these is supreme in its kind; each is bounded by definite limits drawn in conformity with its nature and its peculiar end. Jesus Christ, the founder of the Church, willed that they should be distinct from one another, and that both should be free from trammels in the accomplishment of their respective missions; yet with this provision, that in those matters which appertain to the jurisdiction and judgment of both, though on different grounds, the power of which is concerned with temporal interests, must depend, as is fitting, on that power which watches over eternal interests. Finally, both being subject to the eternal and to the natural Law, they must in such a manner mutually agree in what concerns the order and government of each, as to form a relationship, comparable to the union of soul and body in man." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness - namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engraven upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide - as they should do - with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community. For public authority exists for the welfare of those whom it governs; and, although its proximate end is to lead men to the prosperity found in this life, yet, in so doing, it ought not to diminish, but rather to increase, man's capability of attaining to the supreme good in which his everlasting happiness consists: which never can be attained if religion be disregarded." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

"Hallowed, therefore, in the minds of Christians is the very idea of public authority, in which they recognize some likeness and symbol as it were of the Divine Majesty, even when it is exercised by one unworthy. A just and due reverence to the laws abides in them, not from force and threats, but from a consciousness of duty; 'for God hath not given us the spirit of fear.' But, if the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with the divine law, containing enactments hurtful to the Church, or conveying injunctions adverse to the duties imposed by religion, or if they violate in the person of the supreme Pontiff the authority of Jesus Christ, then, truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, a crime; a crime, moreover, combined with misdemeanor against the State itself, inasmuch as every offense leveled against religion is also a sin against the State. Here anew it becomes evident how unjust is the reproach of sedition; for the obedience due to rulers and legislators is not refused, but there is a deviation from their will in those precepts only which they have no power to enjoin." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890)

"Furthermore, it is in general fitting and salutary that Catholics should extend their efforts beyond this restricted sphere, and give their attention to national politics. We say 'in general' because these Our precepts are addressed to all nations. However, it may in some places be true that, for most urgent and just reasons, it is by no means expedient for Catholics to engage in public affairs or to take an active part in politics. Nevertheless, as We have laid down, to take no share in public matters would be as wrong as to have no concern for, or to bestow no labor upon, the common good, and the more so because Catholics are admonished, by the very doctrines which they profess, to be upright and faithful in the discharge of duty, while, if they hold aloof, men whose principles offer but small guarantee for the welfare of the State will the more readily seize the reins of government. This would tend also to the injury of the Christian religion, forasmuch as those would come into power who are badly disposed toward the Church, and those who are willing to befriend her would be deprived of all influence. It follows clearly, therefore, that Catholics have just reasons for taking part in the conduct of public affairs. For in so doing they assume not nor should they assume the responsibility of approving what is blameworthy in the actual methods of government, but seek to turn these very methods, so far as is possible, to the genuine and true public good, and to use their best endeavors at the same time to infuse, as it were, into all the veins of the State the healthy sap and blood of Christian wisdom and virtue. The morals and ambitions of the heathens differed widely from those of the Gospel, yet Christians were to be seen living undefiled everywhere in the midst of pagan superstition, and, while always true to themselves, coming to the front boldly wherever an opening was presented." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

Also See: Religion Helps the State | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Religious Liberty | Communism | Socialism | Democracy | Danger of Democracy | Catholic Citizens | Freedom / Liberty | Freemasonry / Secret Societies | Taxes

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Obligation of Voting

"Unfortunately, too often in such crises Catholic organizations are conspicuous only by their absence. Consequently, there is a heavy responsibility on everyone, man or woman, who has the right to vote, especially when the interests of religion are at stake; abstention in this case is in itself, it should be thoroughly understood, a grave and a fatal sin of omission. On the contrary, to exercise, and exercise well, one's right to vote is to work effectively for the true good of the people, as loyal defenders of the cause of God and of the Church." (Pope Pius XII)

Also See: Our Actions Must Correspond to Our Faith | Catholic Citizens | Danger of Democracy | Democracy | Freedom / Liberty | Government | Religion Helps the State | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Religious Liberty

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Private Property

"The natural right itself both of owning goods privately and of passing them on by inheritance ought always to remain intact and inviolate, since this indeed is a right that the State cannot take away: 'For man is older than the State'" (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"The right to possess private property as one's own is granted man by nature... Nor is there any reason why the providence of the state should be introduced; for man is older than the state, and therefore he should have had by nature, before any state had come into existence, the right to care for life and body... For those things which are required to preserve life, and especially to make life complete, the earth, to be sure, pours forth in great abundance; but it could not pour it from itself with out its cultivation and care by man. Now, when a man applies the activity of his mind and the strength of his body to procuring the goods of nature, by this very act he attaches to himself that part of corporeal nature which he has cultivated, on which he leaves impressed a kind of form as it were, of his personality; so that it should by all means be right for him to possess this part as his own; and by no means should anyone be permitted to violate this right of his. - So obvious is the force of these arguments that it seems amazing that certain ones who would restore obsolete opinions should disagree with them; these, to be sure, concede to the private person the use of the soil and the various fruits of estates, but they deny openly that it is right that either the soil on which he has built, or the estate which he has cultivated be owned by him... Indeed, rights of this kind which belong to men individually are understood to be much stronger, if they are looked upon as appropriate to and connected with his duties in domestic and social life... This right of property, then, which we have demonstrated to have been assigned to an individual person by nature, through which he is the head of the family, ought to be transferred to man; rather, that right is so much the stronger, as the human person embraces more responsibilities in domestic and social society. The most holy law of nature is that the father of a family provide with training and livelihood all whom he has begotten; and, likewise, it is deduced from nature herself that he seek to acquire and prepare for his children, who bear and continue in a way the father's personality, that by which they can honorably protect themselves from a wretched fate in this uncertain course of life. But this he cannot effect in any way other than by the possession of lucrative property to transmit by inheritance to his children... To wish, therefore, that the civil government at its own option penetrate even to the intimate affairs of the home is a great and pernicious error... The power of the father is such that it can neither be destroyed nor absorbed by the state... Therefore, when the alleviation of the masses is sought, let this be enduring, that it must be held as fundamental that private property is to be inviolable. The just possession of money is distinguished from the just use of money. To possess goods privately, as we have seen above, is a natural right of man; and to exercise this right, especially in the society of life, is not only lawful but clearly necessary... But, if indeed this is asked, of what nature must the use of goods be, the Church answers without hesitation: As far as this is concerned, man ought not to hold his exterior possessions as his own, but as common, so that one may easily share them in the need of others. Therefore, the Apostle says: 'Charge the rich of this world... to give easily, to communicate' (1 Tim. 6:17 f.). No one, certainly, is ordered to give assistance to others from that which pertains to his own use and that of the members of his family; nor also to give over to others what he himself needs to preserve what befits his person, and what is proper... But when sufficient care has been given to necessity and decorum, it is a duty to assist the indigent from what remains: 'That which remaineth, give alms,' (Luke 11:41). These are not duties of justice, except in extreme cases, but of Christian charity, which of course it is not right to seek by legal action. But the law and judgment of Christ are above the laws and judgments of men, and He in many ways urges the practice of almsgiving... and He will judge a kindness conferred upon or denied to the poor as conferred upon or denied to Himself (cf. Matt. 25:34 f.)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

Also See: Socialism | Communism | Government | Work / Wages [Pg.] | Taxes

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Religion Helps the State

"Religion, of its essence, is wonderfully helpful to the State. For, since it derives the prime origin of all power directly from God Himself, with grave authority it charges rulers to be mindful of their duty, to govern without injustice or severity, to rule their people kindly and with almost paternal charity; it admonishes subjects to be obedient to lawful authority, as to the ministers of God; and it binds them to their rulers, not merely by obedience, but by reverence and affection, forbidding all seditious and venturesome enterprises calculated to disturb public order and tranquility, and cause greater restrictions to be put upon the liberty of the people. We need not mention how greatly religion conduces to pure morals, and pure morals to liberty. Reason shows, and history confirms the fact, that the higher the morality of States; the greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888)

Also See: Catholic Citizens | Separation of Church & State Condemned 

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Religious Liberty (Trad.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) [Note: It is, however, unlawful to force others to embrace the Catholic Faith (click here)]

"Experience shows that there is no more direct way of alienating the populace from fidelity and obedience to their leaders than through that indifference to religion propagated by the sect members under the name of religious liberty." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Inter Praecipuas", 1844 A.D.)

"[I]t is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.' Let them hear [St.] Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: 'He who is for the See of Peter is for me.' A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed [St.] Augustine would reply to such a man: 'The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?' This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. 'But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,' as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly 'the bottomless pit' is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws - in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832 A.D.)

"We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power which - as We have before said and must again and again repeat - it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak. And this all the more surely, because by far the greater part of the community is either absolutely unable, or able only with great difficulty, to escape from illusions and deceitful subtleties, especially such as flatter the passions. If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. Thus, too, license will gain what liberty loses; for liberty will ever be more free and secure in proportion as license is kept in fuller restraint. In regard, however, to all matter of opinion which God leaves to man's free discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech is naturally within the right of everyone; for such liberty never leads men to suppress the truth, but often to discover it and make it known." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that 'that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.' From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an 'insanity,' viz., that 'liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.' But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching 'liberty of perdition;' and that 'if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling.'" (Pope Pius IX, "Quanta Cura", 1864 A.D.)

"The Spouse of the Son of God could never permit her champions to solicit for her the protection accorded to a slave. Truth has its rights - or, rather, it is truth alone that has the right to claim liberty. Our apologists...must...make the State ashamed not to grant to the Church a liberty accorded to all sects. But Christian champions may not rest satisfied with a toleration extended equally to Christ and Satan. They must cry...even when fresh violence is threatened: 'Our cause is just, for we, and we alone, speak the truth.'" (Gueranger)

"[W]e should never make a compromise with heresy, nor approve the measures taken by worldly policy for securing what it calls the rights of heresy. If the past ages, aided by the religious indifference of Governments, have introduced the toleration of all religions, or even the principle that 'all religions are to be treated alike by the state,' let us, if we will, put up with this latitudinarianism, and be glad to see that the Church, in virtue of it, is guaranteed from legal persecution; but as Catholics, we can never look upon it as an absolute good. Whatever may be the circumstances in which Providence has placed us, we are bound to conform our views to the principles of our holy faith, and to the infallible teaching and practice of the Church - out of which there is but contradiction, danger and infidelity." (Gueranger)

"[When one] sees the world convulsed by revolutions, he knows that all comes from the Church having been deprived of her rights. Once of these is that she should not only be recognized, in the secret of our conscience, as the one only true Church, but that, as such, she should be publicly confessed and outwardly defended against every opposition or error. Jesus, her divine Founder, promised to give her all nations as her inheritance; she kept his promise, and she was once the Queen and Mother of them all. But nowadays, a new principle has been asserted, to the effect that the Church and all sects must be on an equal footing as far as the protection of the State goes. The principle has been received with acclamation, and hailed as a mighty progress achieved by modern enlightenment: Even Catholics, whose previous services to religion had endeared them to our hearts and gained our confidence, have become warm defenders of the impious theory." (Gueranger)

"But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"Nothingness can have no rights since it has no existence. It is impossible for a thing which does not exist to have any rights. Therefore to attribute rights to a non-existent entity is an injustice. But what are you doing if you attribute rights to error except attributing them to a non-existent entity? It is enough to consider what truth and error are in order to understand this. Truth is found in the intellect in the measure in which the intellect is in exact conformity with reality. When the intellect has an idea which is not in conformity with reality, then we have an error. But what is really happening in such a case? I have in my mind the idea of something as if this thing formed part of the order of being. I attribute it rights in my mind, as if it were portion of the divine scheme of things. But it is not so in reality. In point of fact it is a baseless creation of my own mind. How can I take as the foundation of my life and of my actions a 'reality' which is no reality? What can be the outcome of such an aberration? Precisely what happens in the case of any structure raised without foundation. If I take as a basis for my life and action an idea of my own to which nothing real or objective corresponds the whole intellectual and social edifice I raise on that basis is of necessity bound to crumble. There can be no other solid foundation for action and life than an objective reality. This then is why truth alone has the right to exist in the individual and in the social order. From no point of view can error claim this right. When it gets a footing in a mind or among the multitude, it usurps rights not belonging to it, it is unjust. Evil is the privation of the being and goodness due to a thing. Now error is the specific evil of the intelligence, the privation of the grasp of the order of the world which the intelligence is meant to have. It is a malady to be cured, a disease to be healed, a cancer to be eradicated, not a perfection to be extolled and proclaimed worthy of respect... Our Lord came down to restore the Divine Life of Grace to the human race and to each individual in it. For this end He revealed truth to the world. This truth belongs to Him in virtue of His divine right and also in virtue of His work of redemption. If this truth belongs to Him and is given to the world by Him in a well-defined sense and for a very definite purpose, then to ruin or lessen it is to commit an injustice. It is to sacrifice the rights of Jesus Christ... Certainly there is no place for anything but truth." (Fahey)

Also See: Freedom / Liberty | Against Religious Liberty (Coming Home Reflections) | Against Religious Indifferentism (Coming Home Reflections) | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Coming Home Reflections) | The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church (Coming Home) 

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Separation of Church & State Condemned

Note: Of course, items herein refer to the One True Church - the Catholic Church - and not to false 'churches'. It would be altogether wrong to have a 'state church' which is not the true Church.

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from public life, from making laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and pernicious error." (Pope Leo XIII)

"How comes it that we, who live in the full light of Christianity, can give the name of progress to a system which tends to separate society from everything that is supernatural?" (Gueranger)

"The condition of the commonwealth depends on the religion with which God is worshipped; and between one and the other there exists an intimate and abiding connection. (Sacr. Imp. ad Cyrillum Alexand)" (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"Those who are in authority owe it to the commonwealth not only to provide for its external well-being and the conveniences of life, but still more to consult the welfare of men's souls in the wisdom of their legislation." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum")

"To wish to draw an exact line of separation between religion and life, between the natural and the supernatural, between the Church and the world, as if they had nothing to do with each other, as if the rights of God were valueless in all the manifold realities of daily life, whether human or social, is entirely foreign to Catholic thought and is positively anti-Christian." (Pope Pius XII)

"To have in public matters no care for religion, and in the arrangement and administration of civil affairs to have no more regard for God than if He did not exist, is a rashness unknown to the very pagans; for in their heart and soul the notion of a divinity and the need of public religion were so firmly fixed that they would have thought it easier to have city without foundation than a city without God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus")

"We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900)

"The more closely the temporal power of a nation aligns itself with the spiritual, and the more it fosters and promotes the latter, by so much the more it contributes to the conservation of the commonwealth. For it is the aim of the ecclesiastical authority by the use of spiritual means, to form good Christians in accordance with its own particular end and object; and in doing this it helps at the same time to form good citizens, and prepares them to meet their obligations as members of a civil society. This follows of necessity because in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing. How grave therefore is the error of those who separate things so closely united, and who think that they can produce good citizens by ways and methods other than those which make for the formation of good Christians. For, let human prudence say what it likes and reason as it pleases, it is impossible to produce true temporal peace and tranquility by things repugnant or opposed to the peace and happiness of eternity." (Pope Pius XI, ref. Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, "Divini Illius Magistri")

"All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavor should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the well-being of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action. To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above things supernatural; the many benefits which the Church, if free to act, would confer on society are either prevented or at least lessened in number; and a way is prepared for enmities and contentions between the two powers, with how evil result to both the issue of events has taught us only too frequently." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885)

"And (these wretches) also impiously declare that permission should be refused to citizens and to the Church, 'whereby they may openly give alms for the sake of Christian charity'; and that the law should be abrogated 'whereby on certain fixed days servile works are prohibited because of God's worship;' and on the most deceptive pretext that the said permission and law are opposed to the principles of the best public economy. Moreover, not content with removing religion from public society, they wish to banish it also from private families. For, teaching and professing the most fatal error of 'Communism and Socialism,' they assert that 'domestic society or the family derives the whole principle of its existence from the civil law alone; and, consequently, that on civil law alone depend all rights of parents over their children, and especially that of providing for education.' By which impious opinions and machinations these most deceitful men chiefly aim at this result, viz., that the salutary teaching and influence of the Catholic Church may be entirely banished from the instruction and education of youth, and that the tender and flexible minds of young men may be infected and depraved by every most pernicious error and vice. For all who have endeavored to throw into confusion things both sacred and secular, and to subvert the right order of society, and to abolish all rights, human and divine, have always (as we above hinted) devoted all their nefarious schemes, devices and efforts, to deceiving and depraving incautious youth and have placed all their hope in its corruption. For which reason they never cease by every wicked method to assail the clergy, both secular and regular, from whom (as the surest monuments of history conspicuously attest), so many great advantages have abundantly flowed to Christianity, civilization and literature, and to proclaim that 'the clergy, as being hostile to the true and beneficial advance of science and civilization, should be removed from the whole charge and duty of instructing and educating youth.'" (Pope Pius IX, "Quanta Cura,'' 1864 A.D.)

Also See: Government | Religion Helps the State | The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church (Coming Home) 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937)

"Human society, as established by God, is composed of unequal elements, just as parts of the human body are unequal; to make them all equal is impossible, and would mean the destruction of human society itself." (Pope St. Pius X)

"Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism... cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth... [N]o one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"Inasmuch as the Socialists seek to transfer the goods of private persons to the community at large, they make the lot of all wage earners worse, because in abolishing the freedom to dispose of wages, they take away from them by this very act the hope and the opportunity of increasing their property and of securing advantages for themselves. But, what is of more vital concern, they propose a remedy openly in conflict with justice, inasmuch as nature confers on man the right to possess things privately as his own." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum")

"Here, however, it is expedient to bring under special notice certain matters of moment. First of all, there is the duty of safeguarding private property by legal enactment and protection. Most of all it is essential, where the passion of greed is so strong, to keep the populace within the line of duty; for, if all may justly strive to better their condition, neither justice nor the common good allows any individual to seize upon that which belongs to another, or, under the futile and shallow pretext of equality, to lay violent hands on other people's possessions." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"Now, from the disturbing errors which We have described the greatest dangers to States are to be feared. For, the fear of God and reverence for divine laws being taken away, the authority of rulers despised, sedition permitted and approved, and the popular passions urged on to lawlessness, with no restraint save that of punishment, a change and overthrow of all things will necessarily follow. Yea, this change and overthrow is deliberately planned and put forward by many associations of communists and socialists; and to their undertakings the sect of Freemasons is not hostile, but greatly favors their designs, and holds in common with them their chief opinions." (Pope Leo XIII, "Humanum Genus", 1884)

"Paternal authority can be neither abolished nor absorbed by the State; for it has the same source as human life itself. 'The child belongs to the father,' and is, as it were, the continuation of the father's personality; and speaking strictly, the child takes its place in civil society, not of its own right, but in its quality as member of the family in which it is born. And for the very reason that 'the child belongs to the father' it is, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, 'before it attains the use of free will, under the power and the charge of its parents.' The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"It must be first of all recognized that the condition of things inherent in human affairs must be borne with, for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts; and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"We, in keeping with Our fatherly solicitude...make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism, if it remains truly Socialism, even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth. For, according to Christian teaching, man, endowed with a social nature, is placed on this earth so that by leading a life in society and under an authority ordained of God he may fully cultivate and develop all his faculties unto the praise and glory of his Creator; and that by faithfully fulfilling the duties of his craft or other calling he may obtain for himself temporal and at the same time eternal happiness. Socialism, on the other hand, wholly ignoring and indifferent to this sublime end of both man and society, affirms that human association has been instituted for the sake of material advantage alone." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"Nevertheless to restrain the danger of socialism there is only one genuinely effective means, in the absence of which the fear of punishment has little weight to discourage offenders. It is that citizens should be thoroughly educated in religion, and restrained by respect for and love of the Church. For the Church as parent and teacher is the holy guardian of religion, moral integrity, and virtue. All who follow the precepts of the Gospel religiously and entirely are, by this very fact, far from the suspicion of socialism. For religion commands us to worship and fear God and to submit to and obey legitimate authority. It forbids anyone to act seditiously and demands for everyone the security of his possessions and rights. It furthermore commands those who have wealth to come graciously to the aid of the poor. Religion aids the needy with all the works of charity and consoles those who suffer loss, enkindling in them the hope of the greatest eternal blessings which will be in proportion to the labor endured and the length of that labor." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886)

"So strong and convincing are these arguments that it seems amazing that some should now be setting up anew certain obsolete opinions in opposition to what is here laid down. They assert that it is right for private persons to have the use of the soil and its various fruits, but that it is unjust for any one to possess outright either the land on which he has built or the estate which he has brought under cultivation. But those who deny these rights do not perceive that they are defrauding man of what his own labor has produced. For the soil which is tilled and cultivated with toil and skill utterly changes its condition; it was wild before, now it is fruitful; was barren, but now brings forth in abundance. That which has thus altered and improved the land becomes so truly part of itself as to be in great measure indistinguishable and inseparable from it. Is it just that the fruit of a man's own sweat and labor should be possessed and enjoyed by any one else? As effects follow their cause, so is it just and right that the results of labor should belong to those who have bestowed their labor." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891)

"For, 'the church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of truth,' hands down those doctrines and precepts whose special object is the safety and peace of society and the uprooting of the evil growth of socialism. For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist: 'for what participation hath justice with injustice or what fellowship hath light with darkness?' Their habit, as we have intimated, is always to maintain that nature has made all men equal, and that, therefore, neither honor nor respect is due to majesty, nor obedience to laws, unless, perhaps, to those sanctioned by their own good pleasure. But, on the contrary, in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel, the equality of men consists in this: that all, having inherited the same nature, are called to the same most high dignity of the sons of God, and that, as one and the same end is set before all, each one is to be judged by the same law and will receive punishment or reward according to his deserts." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Apostolici Muneris", 1878)

"For, while the socialists would destroy the 'right' of property, alleging it to be a human invention altogether opposed to the inborn equality of man, and, claiming a community of goods, argue that poverty should not be peaceably endured, and that the property and privileges of the rich may be rightly invaded, the Church, with much greater wisdom and good sense, recognizes the inequality among men, who are born with different powers of body and mind, inequality in actual possession, also, and holds that the right of property and of ownership, which springs from nature itself, must not be touched and stands inviolate. For she knows that stealing and robbery were forbidden in so special a manner by God, the Author and Defender of right, that He would not allow man even to desire what belonged to another, and that thieves and despoilers, no less than adulterers and idolaters, are shut out from the Kingdom of Heaven. But not the less on this account does our holy Mother not neglect the care of the poor or omit to provide for their necessities; but, rather, drawing them to her with a mother's embrace, and knowing that they bear the person of Christ Himself, who regards the smallest gift to the poor as a benefit conferred on Himself, holds them in great honor. She does all she can to help them; she provides homes and hospitals where they may be received, nourished, and cared for all the world over and watches over these. She is constantly pressing on the rich that most grave precept to give what remains to the poor; and she holds over their heads the divine sentence that unless they succor the needy they will be repaid by eternal torments. In fine, she does all she can to relieve and comfort the poor" (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Apostolici Muneris", 1878)

Also See: Communism | Government | Private Property | Separation of Church & State Condemned | Work / Wages [Pg.] | Wealth / Poverty [Pg.] | Taxes | Freemasonry / Secret Societies | Parents' Right to Educate Their Children

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due." (Rom.13:7)

"[I]t is grossly unjust for a State to exhaust private wealth through the weight of imposts and taxes." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931)

"Public authority therefore would act unjustly and inhumanly if in the name of taxes it should appropriate from the property of private individuals more than is equitable." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum")

Also See: Work / Wages [Pg.] | Private Property | Wealth / Poverty [Pg.] | Government 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflectns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

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