POPE LEO XIII ON GOVERNMENTS
"Philosophy shows and history confirms the fact, that the greater the morality of States, the greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy."
"Civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless."
"The profession of one religion is necessary in the State."
"Sometimes the powerful ones of earth are good and fear God; at other times they fear Him not. Julian was an emperor unfaithful to God, an apostate, a pervert, an idolater. Christian solders served this faithless emperor, but as soon as there was question of the cause of Jesus Christ they recognized only Him who was in heaven. Julian commanded them to honor idols and offer them incense, but they put God above the prince. However, when he made them form into ranks and march against a hostile nation, they obeyed instantly. They distinguished the eternal from the temporal master and still in view of the eternal Master they submitted to such a temporal master." (Saint Augustine of Hippo)
"That kind of civilization which conflicts with the doctrines and laws of holy Church is nothing but a worthless imitation and a meaningless name. Of this those peoples on whom the Gospel light has never shown afford ample proof, since in their mode of life a shadowy semblance only of civilization is discoverable, while its true and solid blessings have never been possessed. Undoubtedly that cannot by any means be accounted the perfection of civilized life which sets all legitimate authority boldly at defiance,. nor can that be regarded as liberty which, shamefully and by the vilest means, spreading false principles, and freely indulging the sensual gratification of lustful desires, claims impunity for all crime and misdemeanors; and thwarts the goodly influence of the worthiest citizens of whatsoever class. Delusive, perverse, and misleading as are these principles, they cannot possibly have any inherent power to perfect the human race and fill it with blessing, for 'sin maketh nations miserable.' (Prov. 14:34). Such principles, as a matter of course, must hurry nations, corrupted in mind and heart, into every kind of infamy, weaken all right order; and thus, sooner or later; bring the standing and peace of the State to the very brink of ruin."
Evils Affecting Modern Society
"Just as Christianity cannot penetrate in the soul without making it better; so it cannot enter into public life without establishing order. ..If it has transformed pagan society-and that transformation was a veritable resurrection-for barbarism disappeared in proportion as Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the states and peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a sincere love of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."
Review of His Pontificate
"To reject the supreme authority of God, and to cast off all obedience to Him in public matters, or even in private and domestic affairs, is the greatest perversion of liberty and the worst kind of Liberalism:'
"Take away the supremacy of God, who judges right and wrong, and law necessarily loses its paramount authority, while at the same time justice is undermined, these two being the strongest and most essential bonds of social union. In the same way, when the hope and expectation of immortality are gone, it is only human to seek greedily after perishable things, and everyone will try, in proportion to his power; to clutch a larger share of them. Hence spring, jealousies, envies, hatreds,' the most iniquitous plots to overthrow all power; and mad schemes of universal ruin are formed. There is no peace abroad, nor security at home, and social life is made hideous by crime."
The Evils Affecting Modern Society
"Such too is the purpose of the seizing of the temporal power, conferred many centuries ago by Divine Providence on the Bishop of Rome, that he might without let or hindrance use the authority conferred by Christ for the eternal welfare of the nations. We have recalled to your minds, Venerable Brothers, .this deathly mass of ills, not to increase the sorrow naturally caused you by this most sad state of things, but because we believe that from its consideration you will most plainly see how serious are the matters claiming our attention as well as devotedness, and with what energy.
"We should work and, more than ever, under the present adverse conditions, protect, so far as in Us lies, the Church of Christ and the honor of the Apostolic See-the objects of so many slanders-and assert their claims. It is perfectly clear and evident, Venerable Brothers, that the very notion of civilization is a fiction of the brain if it rest not on the abiding principles of truth and the unchanging laws of virtue and justice, and if unfeigned love knit not together the wills of men, and gently control the interchange and the character of their mutual service.
"Now, who would make bold to deny that the Church, by spreading the Gospel throughout the nations, has brought the light of truth amongst people utterly savage and steeped in foul superstition, and has quickened them alike to recognize the Divine Author of nature and duly to respect themselves? Further, who will deny that the Church has done away with the curse of slavery and restored men to the original dignity of their noble nature; by uplifting the standard of Redemption in all quarters of the globe, by introducing, or shielding under her protection, the sciences and arts, by founding and taking into her keeping excellent charitable institutions rich provide relief for ills of every kind-has throughout .world, in private or in public life, civilized the human rice, freed it from degradation, and with all care trained it to a way of living such as befits the dignity and the hopes of man? And if anyone of sound mind compare the age in which We live, so hostile to religion and to the Church of Christ, with those happy times when the Church was revered as a mother by the nations, beyond all question he will see that Our epoch is rushing wildly along the straight road to destruction; while in those times which most abounded in excellent institutions, peaceful life, wealth, and prosperity the people showed themselves most obedient to the Church's rule and laws. Therefore, if the many blessings We have mentioned, due to the agency and saving help of the Church, are the true and worthy outcome of civilization, the Church of Christ, far from being alien to or neglectful of progress, has a just claim to all men's praise as its nurse, its mistress, and its mother.
"Furthermore, that kind of civilization which conflicts with the doctrines and laws of holy Church is nothing but a worthless imitation and a meaningless name. Of this those peoples on whom the gospel light has never shown afford ample proof, since in their mode of life a shadowy semblance only of civilization is discoverable, while its true and solid blessings have never been possessed.
"Undoubtedly that cannot by any means be accounted the perfection of civilized life which sets all legitimate authority boldly at defiance; nor can that be regarded as liberty which, shamefully and by the vilest means, spreading false principles, and freely indulging the sensual gratification of lustful desires, claims impunity for all crime and misdemeanor, and thwarts the goodly influence of the worthiest citizens of whatsoever class. Delusive, perverse, and misleading as are these principles, they cannot possibly have any inherent power to perfect the human race and fill it with blessing, for sin maketh nations miserable. Such principles, as a matter of course, must hurry nations, corrupted in mind and heart, into every kind of infamy, weaken all right order, and thus, sooner or fail.
"All such censures, We, following in the steps of Our predecessors, do confirm and renew from this Apostolic Beat of truth, whilst We earnestly ask of the Father of lights that all the faithful, brought to thorough agreement ~ in the like feeling and the same belief, may think and ~ speak even as Ourselves. It is your duty, Venerable Brothers, sedulously to strive that the seed of heavenly doctrine be sown broadcast in the field of God, and that the teachings of the Catholic faith may be implanted early in the souls of the faithful, may strike deep root in them, and be kept free from the ruinous blight of error. The more the enemies of religion exert themselves to offer the uninformed, especially the young, such instruction as darkens the mind and corrupts morals, the more actively should we endeavor that not only a suitable and solid method of education may flourish, but above all that this education be wholly in harmony with the Catholic faith, its literature and system of training, and chiefly in philosophy, upon which the foundation of other sciences in great measure depends. Philosophy seeks not the control of divine revelation, but delights rather to prepare its way, and defend it against assailants, both by example and' in written works, as the great Augustine, the Angelic Doctor, with all other teachers of Christianity have proved to Us.
Matrimony - Foundation of Society
"Now, the training of youth most conducive to the defense of faith and religion and to the preservation of morality find its beginning from an early stage within the love of home life; and this family Christian training,
Matrimony, undermined in these our times, cannot possibly be restored to its due dignity, save by those laws under which it was established in the Church by her Divine Founder Our Lord Jesus Christ, by raising to the dignity of a sacrament the contract of matrimony, in which He would have His Own union with the Church typified, not only made the marriage-tie more holy, but in addition provided efficacious sources of aid for parents and children alike, so that, by the discharge of their duties one to another, they might with greater ease attain to happiness both in time and in eternity. But when impious laws, setting at naught the sanctity of this great sacrament, put it on the same footing with mere civil contracts, the lamentable result followed, that, outraging the dignity of Christian matrimony, citizens made use of legalized concubine in place of marriage; husband and wife neglected their bounden duty to each other; children refused obedience and reverence to their parents; the bonds of domestic love were loosened; and, alas! the worst scandal and of all the most ruinous to public morality, very frequently an unholy passion opened the door to disastrous and fatal separations. These most unhappy and painful consequences, Venerable Brothers, cannot fail to arouse your zeal and move you constantly and earnestly to warn the faithful committed to your charge, to listen with docility to your teaching regarding the holiness of Christian marriage, and to obey the laws by which the Church controls the duties of married people and of their offspring. Then, indeed, will that most desirable result come about, that the character and conduct of individuals also will be reformed; for just as from a rotten stock are produced healthless branches or worthless fruits, so do the ravages of a pestilence which ruins the household spread wide their cruel infection to the hurt and injury of individual citizens. On the other hand, when domestic society is fashioned in the mould of Christian life, each member will gradually grow accustomed to the love of religion and piety, to the abhorrence of false and harmful teaching, to the pursuit of virtue, to obedience to elders and to the restraint of that insatiable seeking after self-interest alone, which so spoils and weakens the character of men.
SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, NIHILISM = MASONS
Venerable Brothers, you know full well that the atrocious war which, starting from the sixteenth century, was declared against the Catholic faith by the Reformers, and which has been growing from day to day in vehemence, aimed at giving free course to the rejection of all revelation, the subversion of the supernatural order, and the enthronement of unaided reason, with its vagaries or rather ravings. Deriving pretentiously its name from Reason, this false doctrine, by flattering and stimulating the eagerness to outstrip others which is interwoven with man's nature, and giving the rein to every kind of unlawful desire, has taken willing possession of the minds of great numbers, and has even pervaded the whole of civilized society.
Hence by a fresh act of impiety, unknown even to very pagans, governments have been organized without God and the order established by Him being taken at all into account. It has even been contended that public authority, with its dignity and its power of ruling, originates not from God but from the mass of the people, which, considering itself unfettered by all divine sanction, refuses to submit to any laws that it has not itself passed of its own free will. Next, after having attacked and cast away the supernatural truths of faith as being contrary to reason, the very Author and Redeemer of mankind has been forced slowly and gradually to withdraw from the scheme of studies at universities, colleges, and high-schools, as well as from all the practical working of public life. In fine, after having consigned to oblivion the rewards and punishments of a future and never-ending existence, the keen longing after happiness has been narrowed down to the range of the present life. With such doctrines spread far and wide, and such license in thought and action, it is no wonder that men of the most lowly condition, heartsick of a humble home or poor workshop, should fix eager eyes on the abodes and fortunes of the wealthy; no wonder that tranquillity no longer prevails in public or private life.
The endeavors of these sects would have been of no effect had the doctrine of the Catholic Church and the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, among rulers and peoples alike, always remained in due honor. For the Church of the Living God, which is the pillar and ground of truth, proclaims those doctrines and precepts whereby the security and calm of society is provided for, and the accursed brood of Socialism is utterly destroyed.
For although the Socialists, turning to evil use the Gospel itself so as to deceive more readily the unwary, have been wont to twist it to their meaning, still so striking is the disagreement between their criminal teachings and the pure doctrine of Christ, that no greater can exist: For what participation hath justice with injustice, or what fellowship hath light with darkness? They in good sooth cease not from asserting-as we have already mentioned-that all men are by nature equal, and hence they contend that neither honor nor respect is owed to public authority, nor any obedience to the laws, saving perhaps to those which have been sanctioned according to their good pleasure.
Contrariwise, from the Gospel records, equality among men consists in this, that one and all, possessing the same nature, are called to the sublime dignity of being sons of God; and, moreover, that one and the same end being set before all, each and every one has to be judged according to the same laws and to have punishments or rewards meted out according to individual deserts. There is, however, an inequality of right and authority which emanates from the Author of nature Himself, whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named. As regards rulers and subjects, all without exception, according to Catholic teaching and precept, are mutually bound by duty and rights, in such manner that, on the one hand, moderation is enjoined on the appetite for power, and, on the other, obedience is shown to be easy, stable, and wholly honorable, Therefore does the Church constantly urge upon each and all who are subject to her the apostolic precept: There is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the powers resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. And again: Be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake; and render to all men their dues. Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear,' honor to whom honor.
For He who has created and governs all. Things, has in His provident wisdom so disposed them that the lowest attain to their end by the middlemost, and the middlemost by the highest. Just then as the Almighty willed that, in the heavenly kingdom itself, the choirs of angels should be of differing ranks, subordinated the one to the other; again just as in the Church God has established different grades of orders with diversity of functions, so that all should not be apostles, all not doctors, all not prophets,' so also has He established in civil society many orders of varying' dignity, right, and power. And this, to the end that the State, like the Church, should form one body comprising many members, some excelling others in rank and importance, but all alike necessary to one another and solicitous for the common welfare.
But to the end that the rulers of the people shall employ the power bestowed for the advancement, and not detriment, of those under rule, the Church of Christ very fittingly warns the rulers themselves that the Sovereign Judge will call them to a strict and speedy account, and evoking the words of divine wisdom, she addresses them showing, in some way, the intrinsic nature of the cause whence they come. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor a bad tree produce good fruit." Now, the Masonic sect produces fruits that are pernicious and of the bitterest savor. For, from what We have above most clearly shown, that which is their ultimate purpose forces itself into view-namely, the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere Naturalism.
What We have said, and are about to say, must be understood of the sect of the Freemasons taken generically, and in so far as it comprises the associations kindred to it and confederated with it, but not of the individual members of them. There may be persons amongst these, and not a few, who, although not free from the guilt of having entangled themselves in such associations, yet are neither themselves partners in their criminal acts, nor aware of the ultimate object which they are endeavoring to attain. In the same way, some of the affiliated societies, perhaps, by no means approve of the extreme conclusions which they would, if consistent, embrace as. necessarily following from their common principles, did not their very foulness strike them with horror. Some of these, again, are led by circumstances of times and places either to aim at smaller things than the others usually attempt, or than they themselves would wish to attempt. They are not, however, for this reason, to be reckoned as alien to the Masonic federation; for the Masonic federation is to be judged not much by the things which it has done, or brought to completion, as by the sum of its pronounced opinions.
Now, the fundamental doctrine of the Naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things which are known by the teaching of nature must begin to fall -namely, that all things were made by the freewill of God the Creator; that the world is governed by Providence; that souls do not die; that to this life of men upon the earth there will succeed another and an everlasting life.
When these truths are done away with, which are as the principles of nature and important for knowledge and for practical use, it is easy to see what will become of both public and private morality. We say nothing of those more heavenly virtues, which no one can exercise or even acquire without a special gift and grace of God; of which necessarily no trace can be found in those who reject as unknown the redemption of mankind, the grace of God, the sacraments, and the happiness to be obtained in heaven. We speak now of the duties which have their origin in natural probity. That God is the Creator of the world and its provident Ruler; that the eternal law commands the natural order to be maintained, and forbids that it be disturbed; that the last end of men is a destiny far above human things and beyond this sojourning upon the earth: these are the sources and these the principles of all justice and morality. If these be taken away, as the Naturalists and Freemasons desire, there will immediately be no knowledge as to what constitutes justice and injustice, or upon what principle morality logic founded. And, in truth, the teaching of morality which alone finds favor with the sect of Freemasons, and in which they contend that youth should be instructed, is that which they call "civil," and "independent," and "free," namely, that which does not contain any religious belief. But how insufficient such teaching is, how wanting in soundness, and how easily moved by every impulse - passion, is sufficiently proved by its sad fruits, which move already begun to appear. For wherever, by removing Christian education, the sect has begun more completely to rule, there goodness and integrity of morals begun quickly to perish, monstrous and shameful since generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and proposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless license of vice, as, when this had been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring.
What refers to domestic life in the teaching of the Naturalists is almost all contained in the following declarations. That marriage belongs to the genus of commercial contracts, which can rightly be revoked by the will of those who made them, and that the civil rulers of the State have power over the matrimonial bond; that in the education of youth nothing is to be taught in the matter of religion as of certain and fixed opinion; and each one must be left at liberty to follow, when he comes of age, whatever he may prefer. To these things the Freemasons fully assent; and not only assent, but have long endeavored to make them into a law and institution. For in many countries, and those nominally Catholic, it is enacted that no marriages shall be considered lawful except those contracted by the civil rite; in' other places the law permits divorce; and in others every effort is used to make it lawful as soon as may be. Thus the time is quickly coming when marriages will be turned into another kind of contract-that is, into changeable and uncertain unions which fancy may join together, and which the same when changed may disunite.
With the greatest unanimity the sect of the Freemasons endeavors to take to itself the education of youth. They think that they can easily mould to their opinions that soft and pliant age, and bend it whither they will; and that nothing can be more fitted than this to enable them to bring up the youth of the State after their own pattern. Therefore in the education and instruction of children they allow no share, either of teaching or of discipline, to the ministers of the Church; and in many places they have procured that the education of- youth shall be exclusively in the hands of laymen, and that nothing which treats of the most important and most holy duties of men to God shall be introduced into the instructions on morals.
Then come their doctrines of politics, in which the Naturalists lay down that all men have the same right, and are in every respect of equal and like condition; that each one is naturally free; that no one has the right to command another; that it is an act of violence to require men to obey any authority other than that which is obtained from themselves. According to this, therefore, all things belong to the free people; power is held by the command or permission of the people, so that, when the popular will changes, rulers may lawfully be deposed; and the source of all rights and civil duties is either in the multitude or in the governing authority when this is constituted according to the latest doctrines. It is held also that the State should be without God; that in the various forms of religion there is no reason why one should have precedence of another; and that they are all to occupy the same place.
That these doctrines are equally acceptable to the Freemasons, and that they would wish to constitute States according to this example and model, is too well known to require proof. For some time past they have openly endeavored to bring this about with all their strength and resources; and in this they prepare the way for not a few bolder men who are hurrying on even to worse things, in their endeavor to obtain equality and community of all goods by the destruction of every distinction of rank and property.
What therefore the sect of the Freemasons is, and what course it pursues, appears sufficiently from the summary We have briefly given. Their chief dogmas are so greatly by God the Author of nature; and from Him, as from their principle and source, flow in all their strength and permanence the countless benefits with which society abounds. As we are each of us admonished by the very voice of nature to worship God in piety and holiness, as the Giver unto us of life and of all that is good therein, so also and for the same reason, nations and States are bound to worship Him; and therefore it is clear that those who would absolve society from all religious duty act not only unjustly but also with ignorance and folly.
As men are by the will of God born for civil union and society, and as the power to rule is so necessary a bond of society that, 'if it be taken away, society must at once be broken up, it follows that from Him who is the Author of society has come also the authority to rule; so that whosoever rules, he is the minister of God. Wherefore, as the end and nature of human society so requires, it is right to obey the just commands of lawful authority, as it is right to obey God who ruleth all things; and it is most untrue that the people have it in their power to cast aside their obedience when so ever they please.
In like manner, no one doubts that all men are equal one to another, so far as regards their common origin and nature, or the last end which each one has to attain, or the rights and duties which are thence derived. But as the abilities of all are not equal, as one differs from another in the powers of mind or body, and as there are very many dissimilarities of manner, disposition, and character, it is most repugnant to reason to endeavor to confine all within the same measure, and to extend complete equality, to the institutions of civil life. Just as a perfect condition of the body results from the conjunction and composition of its various members, which, though differing in form and purpose, make, by their union and the distribution of each one to its proper place, a combination beautiful to behold, firm in strength, and necessary for use; so, in the commonwealth, there is an almost infinite dissimilarity of men, as parts of the whole. If they are to be all equal, and each is to follow his own will, the State will appear most deformed; but if, with a distinction of degrees of dignity, of pursuit and employment, all aptly conspire for the common good, they will present a natural image of a well-constituted State.
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. And if these men ,do not at once and everywhere endeavor to carry out their extreme views, it is not to be attributed to their teaching and their will, but to the virtue of that divine religion which cannot be destroyed; and also because the sounder part of men, refusing to be enslaved to secret societies, vigorously resist their insane attempts.
Would that all men would judge of the tree by its fruits, and would acknowledge the seed and origin of the evils which press upon us, and of the dangers that are impending!
We have to deal with a deceitful and crafty enemy, who, putrefying the ears of people and of princes, has ensnared them by smooth speeches and by adulation. Ingratiating themselves with rulers under a pretence of friendship, the Freemasons have endeavored to make them their allies and powerful helpers for the destruction of the Christian name; and that they might more strongly urge them on, they have, with determined calumny, accused the Church of invidiously contending with rulers in matters that affect their authority and sovereign power.
CHRISTIAN CONSTITUTION OF STATES
Many, indeed, are they who have tried to work out a plan of civil society based on doctrines other than those approved by the Catholic Church. Nay, in these latter days a novel scheme of law has begun here and there to gain increase and influence, the outcome, as it is maintained, of an age arrived at full stature, and the result of liberty in evolution. But though endeavors of various kinds have been ventured on, it is clear that no better mode has been devised for the building up and ruling the State than that which is the necessary growth of the teachings of the Gospel. We deem it, therefore, of the highest moment, and a strict duty of Our Apostolic office, to contrast with the lessons taught by Christ the novel theories now advanced touching the State. By this means We cherish hope that the bright shining of the truth may scatter the mists of error and doubt, so that one and all may see clearly the imperious law of life which they are bound to follow and obey.
It is not difficult to determine what would be the form and character of the State were it governed according to the principles of Christian philosophy. Man's natural instinct moves him to live in civil society, for he cannot, if dwelling apart, provide himself with the necessary requirements of life, nor procure the means of developing his mental and moral faculties. Hence it is divinely ordained that he should lead his life-be it family, social or civil-with his fellowmen, amongst whom alone his several wants can be adequately supplied. But as no society can hold together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good; every civilized community must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its author.
Hence it follows that all public power must proceed from God. For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world. Everything, without exception, must be subject to Him, and must serve Him, so that whosoever holds the right to govern, holds it from one sole and single source, namely, God, the Sovereign Ruler of all. There is no power but from God!
The right to rule is not necessarily, however, bound up with any special mode of government. It may take "this or that form, provided only that it be of a nature to insure the general welfare. But whatever be the nature of the government, rulers must ever bear in mind that God is the paramount ruler of the world, and must set Him before themselves as their exemplar and law in the administration of the State. For, in things visible, God has fashioned secondary causes, in which His divine action can in some wise be discerned, leading up to the end to which the course of the world is ever tending. In like manner in civil society, God has always willed that there should be a ruling authority, and that they who are vested with it should reflect the divine power and providence in some measure over the human race.
They, therefore, who rule should rule with even-handed justice, not as masters, but rather as fathers, for the rule of God over man is most just, and is tempered always with a father's kindness. Government should, moreover, be registered for the well-being of the citizens because they who govern others possess authority solely for the welfare of the State. Furthermore, the civil power must not be subservient to the advantage of anyone individual, but to the common good.
It is a public crime to act as though there were no God, so, too, is it a sin in 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, All who rule, therefore, should 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 wellbeing 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. Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfillment of prophecies; miracles in great number; the rapid spread of the faith in the midst.
Nay more, princes and all invested with power to rule have themselves approved it, in theory alike and in practice. It cannot be called in question that in the making of treaties, in the transaction of business matters, in the sending and receiving ambassadors, and in the interchange of other kinds of official dealings, they have been wont to treat with the Church as with a supreme and legitimate power. And assuredly all ought to hold that it was not without a singular disposition of God's providence that this power of the Church was provided with a civil sovereignty as the surest safeguard of her independence.
The Almighty, therefore, has appointed the charge of the human race between two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right. But inasmuch as each of these two powers has authority over the same subjects, and as it might come to pass that one and the same thing related differently, but still remaining one and the same thing might belong to the jurisdiction and determination of both, therefore God, who foresees all things, and who is the author of these two powers, has marked out the course of each in right correlation to the other. For the powers that are, are ordained of God. Were this not so, deplorable contentions and conflicts would often arise, and not infrequently men, like travelers at the meeting of two roads, would hesitate in anxiety and doubt, not knowing what course to follow. Two powers would be commanding contrary things, and it would be a dereliction of duty to disobey either of the two.
But it would be most repugnant to deem thus of the wisdom and goodness of God. Even in physical things, albeit of a lower order, the Almighty has so combined the forces and springs of nature with tempered action and wondrous harmony that no one of them clashes with any other, and all of them most fitly and aptly work together for the great purpose of the universe. There must, accordingly, exist, between these two powers, a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the union of the soul and body in man. The nature and scope of that connection can be determined only, as We have laid down, by having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account of the relative excellence and nobleness of their purpose. One of the two has for its proximate and chief object the well-being of this mortal life; the other the everlasting joys of heaven. Whatever, therefore, in things human is of a sacred character, whatever belongs either of its own nature or by reason of the end to which it is referred, to the salvation of souls, or to the worship of God, is subject to the power and judgment of the Church. Whatever is to be ranged under the civil and political order is rightly subject to the civil authority. Jesus Christ has Himself given command that what is Caesar's is to be rendered to Caesar, and that what belongs to God is to be rendered to God.
There are, nevertheless, occasions when another method of concord is available for the sake of peace and liberty: We mean when rulers of the State and the Roman Pontiff come to an understanding touching some special matter. At such times the Church gives signal proof of her motherly love by showing the greatest possible kindliness and indulgence. Such then, as We have briefly pointed out, is the Christian organization of civil society; not rashly or fancifully shaped out, but educed from the highest and truest principles, confirmed by natural reason itself. In such an organization of the State, there is nothing to both the issue of events has taught us only too frequently.
Doctrines which cannot be approved by human reason, and most seriously affect the whole civil order, Our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs (well aware of what their apostolic office required of them) have never allowed to pass uncondemned. Thus Gregory XVI in His Encyclical Letter Mirari vas) of date August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms, which even at his time were being publicly inculcated - namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man's conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views; whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the State. On the question of the separation of Church and State the same Pontiff writes as follows:
"Nor can we hope for happier results either for religion or for the civil government from the wishes of those who desire that the Church be separated from the State, and the concord between the secular and ecclesiastical authority be dissolved. It is clear that these men, who yearn for shameless liberty, live in dread of an agreement which has always been fraught with good, and advantageous alike to sacred and civil interests."
Christian action may relate to private and domestic matters, or to matters public. As to private affairs, the first duty is to conform life and conduct to the gospel precepts, and to refuse to shrink from this duty when Christian virtue demands some sacrifice difficult to make. All, moreover, are bound to love the Church as their common mother, to obey her laws, promote her honor, defend her rights, and to endeavor to make her respected and loved by those over whom they have authority. It is also of great moment to the public welfare to take a prudent part in the business of municipal administration, and to endeavor above all to introduce effectual measures, so that, as becomes a Christian people, public provision may be made for the instruction of youth in religion and true morality. Upon these things the well-being of every State greatly depends.
Hence, lest concord be broken by rash charges, let this be understood by all, that the integrity of Catholic faith cannot be reconciled with opinions verging on Naturalism or Rationalism, the essence of which is utterly to sterilize Christianity, and to install in society the supremacy of man to the exclusion of God. Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue.
But in matters merely political, as for instance the best form of government, and this or that system of administration, a difference of opinion is lawful. Those, therefore, whose piety is in other respects known, and whose minds are ready to accept in all obedience the decrees of the Apostolic See, cannot in justice be accounted as bad men because they disagree as to subjects We have mentioned; and still graver wrong will be done them, if as We have more than once perceived with regret-they are accused of violating, or of wavering in, the Catholic faith.
Let this be well borne in mind by all who are in the habit of publishing their opinions, and above all by journalists. In the endeavor to secure interests of the highest never venture to affix such a calumny on the Church as to assert that she is the foe to individual and public liberty. But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, "I will not serve"; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves Liberals.
What Naturalists or Rationalists aim at in philosophy, that the supporters of Liberalism, carrying out the principles laid down by Naturalism, are attempting in the domain of morality and politics. The fundamental doctrine of Rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth.
Hence these followers of Liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. The end of all this is not difficult to foresee, especially when society in question. For, when once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought by any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man's individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority.
When a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.
This kind of liberty, if considered in relation to the State, clearly implies that there is no reason why the State should offer any homage to God, or should desire any public recognition of Him; that no one form of worship is to be preferred to another, but that all stand on an equal footing, no account being taken of the religion of the people, even if they profess the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must needs be taken as true that the State has no duties towards God, or that such duties, if they exist, can be abandoned with impunity, both of which assertions are manifestly false. For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. God it is who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others.
Wherefore civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. 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 (88 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, engraved 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.
All this, however, We have explained more fully elsewhere. We now only wish to add the remark that liberty of so false a nature is greatly hurtful to the true liberty of both rulers and their subjects. 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 election, forbidding all seditions and venturesome enter, calculated to disturb public order and tranquillity, cause greater restrictions to be put upon the liberty .the people. We need not mention how greatly religion leads to pure morals, and pure morals to liberty.
Philosophy shows, and history confirms the fact, that the greater the morality of States, the greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy.
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 liberty. For right is a moral power which-as We have said before and must again and again repeat it saying of the Angelic Doctor contains briefly the whole doctrine of the permission of evil. But, to judge alright, we must acknowledge that the more a State is driven to tolerate evil the further is it from perfection; and that the tolerance of evil which is dictated by political prudence should be strictly confined to the limits which its justifying cause, the public welfare, requires. Wherefore, if such tolerance would be injurious to the public welfare, and entail greater evils on the State, it would not be lawful; for in such case the motive of good is wanting. And although in the extraordinary condition of these times the Church usually acquiesces in certain modern liberties, not because she prefers them in themselves, but because she judges it expedient to permit them, she would in happier times exercise her own liberty; and, by persuasion, exhortation, and entreaty, would endeavor, as she is bound, to fulfil the duty assigned to her by God of providing for the eternal salvation of mankind. One thing, however, remains always true that the liberty which is clarified for all to do all things is not, as We have often said, of itself desirable, inasmuch as it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights. And as to tolerance, it is surprising how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who profess what is called Liberalism.
For, in allowing that boundless license of which We have spoken, they exceed all limits, and end at last by making no apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty. And because the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, and the unerring teacher of morals, is forced utterly to reprobate and condemn tolerance of such an abandoned and criminal character, they calumniate her as being wanting in patience and gentleness, and thus fail to see that, in so doing, they impute to her as a fault what is in reality a matter for commendation.
It is not of itself wrong to prefer a democratic form of government, if only the Catholic doctrine be maintained as to the origin and exercise of power. Of the various forms of government, the Church does not reject any that are fitted to procure the welfare of the subject; she wishes only, and this nature itself requires, that they should be constituted without involving wrong to anyone, and especially without violating the rights of the Church.
Unless it be otherwise determined, by reason of some exceptional condition of things, it is expedient to take part in the administration of public affairs. And the Church approves of everyone devoting his services to the common good, and doing all that he can for the defense, preservation, and prosperity of his country.
Neither does the Church condemn those who, if it can be done without violation of justice, wish to make their country independent of any foreign or despotic power.
Nor does she blame those who wish to assign to the State the power of self-government, and to its citizens the greatest possible measure of prosperity. The Church has always most faithfully fostered civil liberty, and this was seen, especially in Italy, in the municipal prosperity and wealth and glory, which were obtained at a time when the salutary power of the Church had spread, without opposition, to all parts of the State.
Should, therefore, the superiors really have committed grievous sins, their inferiors, penetrated with the fear of God, ought not to refuse them respectful submission. The actions of superiors should not be smitten by the sword of the word, even when they are rightly judged to have deserved censure.
ALLEGIANCE TO THE REPUBLIC (French)
Here We intend alluding principally to the political differences among the French in regard to the actual republic-a question We would treat with the clearness which the gravity of the subject demands, beginning with the principles and descending thence to practical results. Various political governments have succeeded one another in France during the last century, each having its own distinctive form: the Empire, the Monarchy, and the Republic. By giving one's self up to abstract tions, one could at length conclude which is the best of these forms, considered in themselves; and in all truth it may be affirmed that each of them is good, provided it lead straight to its end-that is to say, to the common good for which social authority is constituted; and finally, it may be added that, from a relative point of view, such and such a form of government may be preferable because of being better adapted to the character and customs of such or such a nation. In this order of speculative ideas, Catholics, like all other citizens, are free to prefer one form of government to another precisely because no one of these social forms is, in itself, opposed to the principles of sound reason nor to the maxims of Christian doctrine.
What amply justifies the wisdom of the Church is that in her relations with political powers she makes abstraction of the forms which differentiate them and treats with them concerning the great religious interests of nations, knowing that hers is the duty to undertake their tutelage above all other interests. Our preceding Encyclicals have already exposed these principles, but it was nevertheless necessary to recall them for the development of the subject which occupies Us today.
In descending from the domain of abstractions to that of facts, we must beware of denying the principles just established: they remain fixed. However, becoming incarnated in facts, they are clothed with a contingent character, determined by the center in which their of improving, will stubbornly continue in a course which must end in plucking from the minds and hearts of Frenchmen the religion which has made them so great.
And here is precisely the ground on which, political dissensions aside, upright men should unite as one to combat, by all lawful and honest means, these progressive abuses of legislation. The respect due to constituted power cannot prohibit this: unlimited respect and obedience cannot be yielded to all legislative measures, of no matter what kind, enacted by this same power. Let it not be forgotten that law is a precept ordained according to reason and promulgated for the good of the community by those who, for this end, have been entrusted with power. ...Accordingly, such points in legislation as are hostile to religion and to God should never be approved; to the contrary, it is a duty to disapprove them. It was this that St. Augustine, the great Bishop of Hippo, brought out so strongly in his eloquent reasoning:
"Sometimes the powerful ones of earth are good and fear God; at other times they fear Him not. Julian was an emperor unfaithful to God, an apostate, a pervert, an idolater. Christian solders served this faithless emperor, but as soon as there was question of the cause of Jesus Christ they recognized only Him who was in heaven. Julian commanded them to honor idols and offer them incense, but they put God above the prince. However, when he made them form into ranks and march against a hostile nation, they obeyed instantly. They distinguished the eternal from the temporal master and still in view of the eternal Master they submitted to such a temporal master."
We know that, by a lamentable abuse of his reason, and still more so of his will, the atheist denies these principles. But, in a word, atheism is so monstrous an error that it could never, be it said to the honor of humanity, annihilate in it the consciousness of God's claims and substitute them with idolatry of the State.
THE REUNION OF CHRISTENDOM.
US all the countries which have long since passed, by the mercy of God, from timeworn error to the wisdom of the Gospel. Nor could We, indeed, recall anything more pleasing or better calculated to extol the work of divine Providence than the memory of the days of yore, when the faith that had come down from heaven was looked upon as the common inheritance of one and all; when civilized nations, separated by distance, character and habits, in spite of frequent disagreements and warfare on other points, were united by Christian faith in all that concerned religion. The recollection of that time causes Us to regret all the more deeply that as the ages rolled by the waves of suspicion and hatred arose, and great and flourishing nations were dragged away, in an evil hour, from the bosom of the Roman Church. In spite of that, however, We trust in the mercy of God's almighty power, in Him who alone can fix the hour of His benefits and who has power to incline man's will as He pleases; and We turn to those same nations, exhorting and beseeching them with fatherly love to put an end to their dissentions and return again to unity.
First of all, then, We cast an affectionate look upon the East, from whence in the beginning came forth the salvation of the world. Yes, and the yearning desire of Our heart bids us conceive and hope that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned. We hope it all the more, that the distance separating them from Us is not so great: nay, with some few exceptions, we agree 80 entirely on other heads that, in defense of the Catholic faith, we often have recourse to reasons and testimony borrowed from the teaching, the rites, and customs of the East.
Although We have spoken on this subject in the strongest terms before, yet We are led by Our Apostolic watchfulness to urge it once more, and We repeat Our warning again and again, that in face of such an eminent peril, no precaution, howsoever great, can be looked upon as sufficient. May God in His mercy bring to naught their impious designs; nevertheless, let all Christians know and understand that the shameful yoke of Freemasonry must be shaken off once and for all; and let them be the first to shake it off who are most galled by its oppression-the men of Italy and of France. With what weapons and by what method this may best be done We Ourselves have already pointed out: the victory cannot be doubtful to those who trust in that leader whose divine words still remain in all their force: I have overcome the world.
Were this twofold danger averted, and government and States restored to the unity of faith, it is wonderful what efficacious remedies for evils and abundant store of benefits would ensue. We will touch upon the principal ones.
The first regards the dignity and office of the Church. She would receive that honor which is her due and she would go on her way, free from envy and strong in her liberty, as the minister of Gospel truth and grace to the stable welfare of States. For as she has been given by God as a teacher and guide to the human race, she can contribute assistance which is peculiarly adapted to direct ;I~ the most radical transformations of time to the common good, to solve the most complicated questions, and promote uprightness and justice, which are the most solid foundations of the commonwealth.
We behold the condition of Europe. For many years past peace has been rather an appearance than a reality. Possessed with mutual suspicions, almost all the nations are vying with one another in equipping themselves with military armaments. Inexperienced youths are removed from parental direction and control, to be thrown amid the dangers of the soldier's life; robust young men are taken from agriculture or ennobling studies or trade or the arts to be put under arms. Hence the treasures of States are exhausted by the enormous expenditure, the national resources are frittered away, and private fortunes impaired; and this, as it were, armed peace, which now prevails, cannot last much longer. Can this be the normal condition of human society? Yet we cannot escape from this situation, and obtain true peace, except by the aid of Jesus Christ. For to repress ambition and covetousness and envy-the chief instigators of war- nothing is more fitted than the Christian virtues and, in particular, the virtue of justice; for, by its exercise, both the law of nations and the faith of treaties may be maintained inviolate, and the bonds of brotherhood continue unbroken, if men are but convinced that justice exalteth a nation.
As in its external relations, so in the internal life of the State itself, the Christian virtues will provide a guarantee of the commonweal much more sure and stronger far than by any which laws or armies can afford. For there is no one who does not see that the dangers to public security and order are daily on the increase, since seditious societies continue to conspire for the overthrow and ruin of States, as the frequency of their atrocious outrages testifies.
There are two questions, forsooth-the one called the social, and other the political question-which are discussed with the greatest vehemence. Both of them, without doubt, are of the last importance, and, though praiseworthy efforts have been put forth, in studies and measures and experiments for their wise and just solution, yet nothing could contribute more to this purpose than that the minds of men in general should be imbued with right sentiments of duty from the internal principle of Christian faith. We treated expressly of the social question in this sense a short time ago, from the standpoint of principles drawn from the Gospel and natural reason.
As regards the political question, which aims at reconciling liberty with authority-two things which many confound in theory, and separate too widely in practice - most efficient aid may be derived from the Christian philosophy. For, when this point has been settled and recognized by common agreement, that, whatsoever the form of government, the authority is from God, reason at once perceives that in some there is a legitimate right to command, in others the corresponding duty to obey, and that without prejudice to their dignity, since obedience is rendered to God rather than to man; and God has denounced the most rigorous judgment against those in authority, if they fail to represent Him with uprightness dnd justice. Then the liberty of the individual can afford ground of suspicion or envy to no one; since, without injury to any, his conduct will be guided by truth and rectitude and whatever is allied to public order.
Lastly, if it be considered what influence is possessed by the Church, the mother of and peacemaker between rulers and peoples, whose mission it is to help them both with her authority and counsel, then it will be most manifest how much it concerns the commonweal that all nations should resolve to unite in the same belief and the same profession of the Christian faith.
With these thoughts in Our mind and ardent yearnings in Our heart, We see from afar what would be the new era of things that would arise upon the earth, and the thing could be sweeter to Us than the contemplation of the benefits that would flow from it. It can hardly be imagined what immediate and rapid progress would be made all over the earth, in all manner of greatness and prosperity, with the establishment of tranquillity and peace, the promotion of studies, the founding and the multiplying on Christian lines according to Our directions, of associations for the cultivators of soil, for workmen and tradesmen, through whose agency rapacious usury would be put down, and a large field opened up for useful labors.
And these abundant benefits would not be confined within the limits of civilized nations, but, like an over charged river, would flow far and wide. It must be remembered, as we observed at the outset, that an immense number of races have been waiting, all through the long ages, to receive the light of truth and civilization. Most certainly, the counsels of God with regard to the eternal salvation of peoples are far removed above the understanding of man; yet if miserable superstition still prevails in so many parts of the world, the blame must be attributed in no small measure to religious dissensions.
For, as far as it is given to human reason to judge from the nature of events, this seems without doubt to be the mission assigned by God to Europe, to go on by degrees carrying Christian civilization to every portion of the earth. The beginnings and first growth of this great work, which sprang from the labors of former centuries, were rapidly receiving large development, when all of a sudden the discord of the sixteenth century broke out.
Christendom was torn with quarrels and dissension's. Europe exhausted with contests and wars, and the sacred missions felt the baneful influence of the times. While the causes of dissension still remain, what wonder is it that so large a portion of mankind is held enthralled with barbarous customs and insane rites?
Let us one and all, then, for the sake of the common welfare, labor with equal assiduity to restore the ancient concord. In order to bring about this concord, and spread abroad the benefits of the Christian revelation, the present is the most seasonable time; for never before have the sentiments of human brotherhood penetrated so deeply into the souls of men, and never in any age has enabled to erect unnumbered religious and useful institutions, sacred edifices, schools for the instruction of youth, colleges for the higher branches, homes for the poor, hospitals for the sick, and convents and monasteries.
As for what more closely touches spiritual interests, which are based upon the exercise of Christian virtues, many facts have been brought to Our notice, whereby We are animated with hope and filled with joy, namely, that the numbers of the secular and regular clergy are steadily augmenting, that pious sodalities and confraternities are held in esteem, that the Catholic parochial schools, the Sunday-schools for imparting Christian doctrine, and summer schools are in a flourishing condition; moreover, associations for mutual aid, for the relief of the indigent, for the promotion of temperate living, add to all this the many evidences of popular piety.
The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance.
Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced.
The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.
For Our part We have left nothing undone, as far as circumstances permitted, to preserve and more solidly establish amongst you the Catholic religion. With this intent, We have, as you are well aware, turned Our attention to two special objects: first, the advancement of learning; second, a perfecting of methods in the management of Church affairs. There already, indeed, existed several distinguished universities. We, however, thought it advisable that there should be one founded by authority of the Apostolic See and endowed by Us with all suitable powers, in which Catholic professors might instruct those devoted to the pursuit of learning. The design was to begin with philosophy and theology, adding, as means and circumstances would allow, the remaining branches, those particularly which the present age has introduced or perfected. An education cannot be deemed complete which takes no notice of modern sciences. It is obvious that in the existing keen competition of talents, and the widespread and, in itself, noble and praiseworthy passion for knowledge, Catholics ought to be not followers but leaders. It is necessary, therefore, that they should cultivate every refinement of learning, and zealously train their minds to the discovery of truth and the investigation, so far as it is possible, of the entire domain of nature. This in every age has been the desire of the Church; upon the enlargement of the boundaries of the sciences has she been wont to bestow all possible labor and energy. By a letter, therefore, dated the seventh day of March, in the year of Our Lord 1889, directed to you, Venerable Brethren, We established at Washington, your capital city, esteemed by a majority of you a very proper seat for the higher studies, a university for the very many among you who differ from Catholics rather through ignorance than because of any disposition of the will, who, perchance, if the truth is put before them in a familiar and friendly manner, may more easily be led to the one sheepfold of Christ.
Hence, from all that We have hitherto said, it is clear, Beloved Son, that We cannot approve the opinions which some comprise under the head of Americanism. If, indeed, by that name be designated the characteristic qualities which reflect honor on the people of America, just as other nations have what is special to them; or if it implies the condition of your commonwealths, or the laws and customs which prevail in them, there is surely no reason why We should deem that it ought to be discarded. But if it is to be used not only to signify, but even to commend the above doctrines, there can be no doubt but that our Venerable Brethren the bishops of America would be the first to repudiate and condemn it, as being especially unjust to them and to the entire nation as well.
For it raises the suspicion that there are some among you who conceive of and desire a church in America different from that which is in the rest of the world. One in the. unity of doctrine ag in the unity of government, such is the Catholic Church, and, since God hag established its center and' foundation in the Chair of Peter, one which is rightly called Roman, for where Peter is there is the Church. Wherefore he who wishes to be called by the name of Catholic ought to employ in truth the words of Jerome to Pope Damacus, "I following none as the first except Christ and associated in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock I know is built the Church; whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth."
There were working men's societies and other enterprises for work or beneficence. Thus under the auspices of the Church, united action of Catholics was secured as well as wise discrimination exercised in the distribution of help for the poor who are often as badly dealt with by chicanery and exploitation of their necessities, as they are oppressed by indigence and toil. These schemes of popular benevolence were, at first, distinguished by no particular appellation. The name of Christian Socialism with its derivatives which was adopted by some was very properly allowed to fall into disuse. Afterwards some asked to have it called The Popular Christian Movement.
In the countries most concerned with this matter, there are some who are known as Christian Socialists. Elsewhere the movement is described as Christian Democracy, and its partisans Christian Democrats, in contradistinction to those who are designated as Socialists, and whose system is known as Social Democracy. Not much exception is taken to the former, i.e., Christian Socialism, but many excellent men find the term Christian Democracy objectionable. They hold it to be very ambiguous and for this reason open to two objections. It seems by implication to covertly favor popular government, and to disparage other methods of political administration.
Secondly, it appears to belittle religion by restricting its scope to the care of the poor, as if the other sections of society were not of its concern. More than that, under the shadow of its name, there might easily lurk a design to attack all legitimate power either civil or sacred. Wherefore, since this discussion is now so widespread, so exaggerated and so bitter, the consciousness of duty warns Us to put a check on this controversy and to define what Catholics are to think on this matter. We also propose to describe how the movement may extend its scope and be made more useful to the commonwealth.
What Social Democracy is and what Christian Democracy ought to be, assuredly no one can doubt. The first, with due consideration to the greater or less intemperance of its utterance, is carried to such an excess by many as to maintain that there is really nothing existing above the natural order of things, and that the acquirement and enjoyment of corporal and external goods constitute man's happiness. It aims at putting all government in the hands of the people, reducing all ranks to the same level, abolishing all distinction of class, and finally introducing community of goods. Hence, the right of ownership is to be abrogated, and whatever property a man possesses, or whatever means of livelihood he has, is to be common to all.
As against this, Christian Democracy, by the fact that it is Christian, is built, and necessarily so, on the basic principles of divine faith, and provides for the betterment of the masses, with the ulterior object of availing itself of the occasion to fashion their minds for things which are everlasting. Hence, for Christian Democracy justice is sacred; it must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be impugned, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth.
Finally it must endeavor to preserve in every human society the form and the character which God ever impresses on it. It is clear, therefore, that there is nothing in common between Social and Christian Democracy. They differ from each other as much as the sect of Socialism differs from the profession of Christianity. Moreover it would be a crime to distort this name of Christian Democracy to politics, for although democracy, both in its philological and philosophical significations, implies popular government, yet in its present application it is so to be employed that, removing from it all political significance, it is to mean nothing else than a benevolent and Christian movement in behalf of the people. For the laws of nature and of the Gospel, which by right are superior to all human contingencies, are necessarily independent people, We should all the more keep Our hold upon the upper classes, because association with them is proper and necessary, as We shall explain later on, for the happy issue of the work in which We are engaged.
Let there be no question of fostering under this name of Christian Democracy any intention of diminishing the spirit of obedience, or of withdrawing people from their lawful rulers. Both the natural and the Christian law command us to revere those who, in their various grades are above us in the State, and to submit ourselves to their just commands. It is quite in keeping with our dignity as men and Christians to obey, not only exteriorly but from the heart, as the Apostle expresses it, for conscience, sake, when he commands us to keep our soul subject to the higher powers. It is abhorrent to the profession of a Christian for anyone to be unwilling to be subject and obedient to those who rule in the Church, and first of all to the bishops whom (without prejudice to the universal power of the Roman Pontiff) the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God which Christ has purchased by His blood He who thinks or acts otherwise is guilty of ignoring the grave precept of the Apostle who bids us to obey our rulers and to be subject to them, for they watch, having to give an account of our souls. Let the faithful everywhere implant these principles deep in their souls, and put them in practice in their daily life, and let the ministers of the Gospel meditate them profoundly, and incessantly labor not merely by exhortation but especially by example to make them enter into the souls of others.
We have recalled these matters which on other occasions We have made the subject of Our instructions, in the hope that all dissension about the name of Christian Democracy will cease and that all suspicion of any danger coming from what the name signifies will be put at rest.
REVIEW OF HIS PONTIFICATE
We would wish, Venerable Brothers, to entertain you with subjects less sad and more in harmony with the great and auspicious occasion which induces Us to address you. But nothing suggests such tenor of discourse - neither the grievous trials of the Church which call with instance for prompt remedies; nor the conditions of contemporary society which, already undermined from a moral and material point of view, tend toward a yet more gloomy future by the abandonment of the great Christian traditions; a law of Providence, confirmed by history, proving that the great religious principles cannot be renounced without shaking at the same time the foundations of order and social prosperity. In those circumstances, in order to allow souls to recover, to furnish them with a new provision of faith and courage, it appears to Us opportune and useful to weigh attentively, in its origin, causes, and various forms, the implacable war that is waged against the Church; and in denouncing its pernicious consequences to indicate a remedy. May Our words, therefore, resound loudly, though they but recall truths already asserted; may they be hearkened to, not only by the children of Catholic unity, but also by those who differ from Us, and even by the unhappy souls who have no longer any faith; for they are all children of one Father, all destined for the same supreme good: may Our words, finally, be received as the testament which, at the short distance that separates Us from eternity, We would wish to leave to the people as a presage of the salvation which We desire for all.
During the whole course of her history the Church of Christ has had to combat and suffer for truth and justice. Instituted by the divine Redeemer Himself to establish throughout the world the kingdom of God, she must, by the light of the Gospel law, lead fallen humanity to its immortal destinies; that is, to make it enter upon the possession of the blessings without end which God has promised us, and to which our unaided natural power could antiquity have declared, religion is the chief foundation of justice and virtue. When the bonds are broken which unite man to God, who is the Sovereign Legislator and Universal Judge, a mere phantom of morality remains; a morality which is purely civic and, as it is termed, independent, which, abstracting from the Eternal Mind and the laws of God, descends inevitably till it reaches the ultimate conclusion of making man a law unto himself.
Incapable, in consequence, of rising on the wings of Christian hope to the goods of the world beyond, man will seek a material satisfaction in the comforts and enjoyments of life. There will be excited in him a thirst for pleasure, a. desire of riches, and an eager quest of rapid and unlimited wealth, even at the cost of justice. There will I, be enkindled in him every ambition and a feverish and I frenzied desire to gratify them even in defiance of law, and he will be swayed by a contempt for right and for public authority, as well as by licentiousness of life which, when the condition becomes general, will mark the real decay of society. .
Perhaps We may be accused of exaggerating the sad consequences of the disorders of which We speak. No; for the reality is before our eyes and warrants but too truly Our forebodings. It is manifest that if there is not some betterment' soon, the bases of society will crumble and drag down with them the great and eternal principles of law and morality.
It is in consequence of this condition of things that he social body, beginning with the family, is suffering such serious evils. For the lay State, forgetting its limitations and the essential object of the authority which it wields, has laid its hands on the marriage bond to profane it and has stripp ed it of its religious character; it has dared as much as it could in the matter of that natural right which parents possess to educate their children, and in many countries it has destroyed the stability of marriage by giving a legal sanction to the licentious institution of divorce. All know the result of these attacks.
More than words can tell they have multiplied marriages which are prompted only by shameful passions, which are speedily dissolved, and which, at times, bring about bloody tragedies, at others the most shocking infidelities. We say nothing of the innocent offspring of these unions, the children who are abandoned or whose morals are corrupted on one side by the bad example of the parents, on the other by the poison which the officially lay State constantly pours into their hearts.
Along with the family, the political and social order is also endangered by doctrines which ascribe a false origin to authority, and which have corrupted the genuine conception of government. For if sovereign authority is derived formally from the consent of the people and not from God, who is the supreme and Eternal Principle of all power, it loses in the eyes of the governed its most august characteristic and degenerates into an artificial sovereignty which rests on unstable and shifting bases, namely, the will of those from whom it is said to be derived. Do we not see the consequences of this error in the carrying out of our laws? Too often these laws instead of being sound reason formulated in writing are but the expression of the power of the greater number and the will of the predominant political party. It is thus that the mob is cajoled in seeking to satisfy its desires; that a loose rein is given to popular passion, even when it disturbs the laboriously acquired tranquillity of the State, when the disorder in the last extremity can only be quelled by violent measures and the shedding of blood.
Consequent upon the repudiation of those Christian principles which had contributed so efficaciously to unite the nations in the bonds of brotherhood, and to bring all humanity into one great family, there has arisen little by little, in the international order, a system of jealous egoism, in consequence of which the nations now watch each other, if not with hate, at least with the suspicion of the actual conditions of society by making use of every means that a blind and savage passion can suggest. And as society draws its unity and its life from the authority which governs it, so it is against authority that anarchy directs its efforts. Who does not feel a thrill of horror, indignation, and pity at the remembrance of the many victims that of late have fallen beneath its blows, emperors, empresses, kings, presidents of powerful republics, whose only crime was the sovereign power with which they were invested?
In presence of the immensity of the evils which overwhelm society and the perils which menace it, Our duty compels Us to again warn all men of good will, especially those who occupy exalted positions, and to conjure them as We now do, to devise what remedies the situation calls for and with prudent energy to apply them without delay.
First of all, it behooves them to inquire what remedies are needed, and to examine well their potency in the present needs. We have extolled liberty and its advantages to the skies, and have proclaimed it as a sovereign remedy and an incomparable instrument of peace and prosperity which will be most fruitful in good results. But facts have clearly shown us that it does not possess the power which is attributed to it. Economic conflicts, struggles of the classes are surging around us like a conflagration on all sides, and there is no promise of the dawn of the day of public tranquillity. In point of fact, and there is no one who does not see it, liberty as it is now understood, that is to say, a liberty granted indiscriminately to truth and to error, to good and to evil, ends only in destroying all that is noble, generous, and holy, and in opening the gates still wider to crime, to suicide, and to a multitude of the most degrading passions.