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Monday, February 11, 2008

Confessional State - Read 'Em and Weep

About a week ago I read Cardinal Ottaviani's "Duties of the Catholic State in Regard to Religion."

I almost jumped out of my skin with delighted satisfaction. Let me share a few choice passages:

"I have said, first of all, that the State has the duty of professing its religion, even socially."

"I have said, in the second place, that it is the duty of the Rulers to see to it that the moral principles of the True Religion inspire the social activity of the State as such and its legislation.

He quotes Pope Leo XIII's Libertas: "Justice 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."

From the section entitled "The Rights of Truth":

"Here it is necessary to answer another question, or rather a difficulty, so specious that, at first sight, it may seem insoluble.

"The objection is put to us: You maintain two different standards or norms of action according as it suits you. In a Catholic country, you uphold the doctrine of the Confessional State with the duty of exclusive protection for the Catholic religion. On the other hand, where you form a minority, you claim the right of toleration or straightaway the equality of forms of worship. Hence for you there are two weights and two measures. The result is a really embarrassing duplicity from which the Catholics who take account of the actual developments of civilization wish to be delivered.

"Well, quite frankly, two weights and two measures are to be employed, one for TRUTH, the other for ERROR."(emphasis added with reckless abandon)

In other words, we owe God worship and He has revealed that he wants to receive worship through the liturgy of the Catholic Church. So, it is the duty of the State to acknowledge, protect and honor the one true Faith.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo to all that! I can hardly count the number of AC students I've clobbered in arguments about the "separation of Church and State". They never come over to my side, true enough, but they never can come up with a real reason to have it, and are always boxed into an absurd, Enlightenment dogmatist corner. Interestingly enough, the more courses a student has taken in Political Science, the more lightly they are usually attached to the Separation. We are making progress... Jefferson will not have the last laugh.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Torq said...

Interesting, but I am not sure that I agree. To be honest I am not sure that I disagree either, but what impact do you feel this would have on non-state religion? If there is not at least a moderate level of religious toleration, don't you violate the principles of the church? The suppression of one religion at the encouragement of another through the means of the state suggests that the symbol of worship (the physical actions) is more important than the intent (the corresponding state of the mind and soul).

Heh, I may very well just be misunderstanding your point!


11:35 AM  
Blogger Raindear said...

This is a complex and delicate issue, so I can definitely appreciate your concerns. That said, I don't think I understand your first question.

As to the second, it depends on how you define a moderate level of religious toleration. It would certainly be wrong to torture and murder people for believing in a form of Protestantism or Judaism, but one might legitimately prohibit their leaders from public teaching or missionary efforts in order to protect souls from error. Other possible measures: public schools officially Catholic; the Church's teaching on marriage legally enshrined; unnecessary business transactions prohibited on Sundays; and holy days of obligation civilly observed. The Catholic faith is meant to transform society - if you remove it from the civil sphere, you thereby limit its power to enliven, enrich and illuminate culture.

Official encouragement of the true(one, holy, catholic, apostolic) Faith acknowledges the objectivity of truth and the reality that, whether he realizes it or not, man is better off when he lives in conformity with the truth.(see my earlier post)

Pax Christi

12:11 PM  
Blogger Torq said...

I admit that my concern for the non-state religion had it's basis in the possibility of violent suppression. I am not a relativist and am certainly not suggesting that Christianity is not the one true religion, but I have often found my own thoughts to be clarified and refined through a study of what my opponents have had to say. As such I tend to shy away from the idea that there should be a suppression of the teachings of the opposition.

I do see your point about preventing potentially soul destroying philosophies. However, I would suggest that this is better done through our own efforts in missionary work and teaching than in systematic suppression.

That said, I do agree with the major thrust of our argument. Man IS better off when living in conformity with the truth, even if one has to badger him into realizing it. A child has to be taught that theft is wrong after all.

Is it better to never encounter an opposing viewpoint and to live in peace or to struggle with the truth, to fight against those who disagree? It might be argued that through such struggle we develop a deeper faith and understanding of our own beliefs.

That said, I am not sure how much I disagree. I will have to think more about this!

Pax Christi

4:06 PM  
Blogger Raindear said...

"Is it better to never encounter an opposing viewpoint and to live in peace or to struggle with the truth, to fight against those who disagree? It might be argued that through such struggle we develop a deeper faith and understanding of our own beliefs."

I think that is a dangerous argument. With the grace of God, one can always bring good out of evil. However, the evil still remains evil even if it resulted in some good. Throughout the ages, the Church developed the clarity and richness of many doctrines in order to combat heresy. While that development of doctrine was wonderful, the heresies probably led many souls into damning error. We should not risk souls on the chance that some good may result.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Torq said...

Good point! I suppose unfortunately for us both, we do not live in a perfect world. As such, there will probably be opportunities to struggle against evil and ignorance until the end of time.

If the world were perfect, there would be no need for the strength to resist evil. As the world is not perfect, we should strengthen ourselves so that when we face doubt it will not terrify us.

You are right though!

6:58 PM  

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