Post by Admin on Nov 13, 2019 11:46:26 GMT
Chapter 15 -- Can a Liberal Be in Good Faith?
Is there such a thing in rerum nature
["in the nature of things"] as a Liberal in good faith? In our day it seems almost impossible to reconcile Liberalism with good faith, which is the only thing that can give it the shadow of excuse
. It cannot, however, be denied that, absolutely speaking, there may exist under peculiar circumstances an exceptional case, but this will indeed be unique.
In the history of heresy we frequently find some individuals, even many, who, in spite of themselves, are dragged into the torrent of error for no other reason than their supreme ignorance. But it must be admitted that, if ever an error has been deprived of any excuse on this score, that error is Liberalism as it exists today. Most heresies which have rent the bosom of the Church have attempted to disguise their errors under an exterior of affected piety. Jansenism, perhaps the most subtle of all heresies, won over a great number of adherents by its cunning simulation of sanctity. Its morals were rigid to the extreme; its dogmas formidable; the exterior conduct of its promoters ascetic and apparently enlightened. It wore the visage of a Saint, while at heart it reeked with the corruption of pride.
The majority of ancient heresies turned upon very subtle points of doctrine, which only the skilled theologian could discern, and upon which the ignorant multitude could give no judgment, save such as they received in confidence from their leaders. By a very natural consequence, when the hierarch of a diocese fell into error, most of his subordinates -- clerics and laity full of confidence in their pastor -- fell with him. This was all the easier, owing to the difficulty of communication with Rome in ancient times, when the infallible voice of the Universal Pastor could not readily reach the flock in parts remote from the Chair of Peter. The diffusion of many ancient heresies, which were mostly purely theological, was nearly always due to this cause. Hence we find St. Jerome crying out in the fourth century: Ingemuit universus orbis se esse Arianum: "The whole world groaned to find itself Arian." This also explains how in the midst of great schisms and great heresies, such as the Greek Schism and Anglican heresy, there may be numbers of souls in whom the roots of the True Faith are not dead, although in its exterior profession this faith may appear deformed and vicious. Such was the case in England for many years after the rebellion of Henry VIII, and such, in some instances, is the case in our own times , for the ready acceptance of the True Faith by many English converts of recent years bears ample witness to the vitality of the Faith in souls so grossly betrayed into heresy by apostate guides three centuries ago [i.e., in the 16th century]. Such souls, united to the Mystical Body of the Church by Baptism, by interior Sanctifying Grace, are able to gain eternal salvation with ourselves.
Can the same be said of Liberalism? Liberalism first presented itself under a political mask, but since its debut, this mask has become so transparent that blind indeed is he who cannot divine the perversity of such a miserable travesty.
The veil of hypocrisy and pietism which some of its panegyrists first threw around it has been stripped off. The halo in which it was first depicted has shown itself to be, not the soft light of Heaven, but the lurid glare of Hell. It has gathered under its banner all the dregs of society, wherever corruption was its precursor and promoter. The new doctrines which it preached -- and which it wished to substitute for ancient truth -- had nothing abstract nor metaphysical; it rejected everything but brutal facts, which betrayed it as the offspring of Satan and the enemy of mankind.
The terrors of the French Revolution were the evidence of its origin, as sprung from the corruptions of a society that had abandoned God and battened on the bestial results of Voltarian skepticism. No wonder it avoided the abstract and the metaphysical, to revel in the atrocious deeds of a bloody revolution [The French Revolution, 1789-1799], which proclaimed the absolute sovereignty of man against his Creator and the Church.If such were the horrors of the birth of Liberalism, what must be said of its odious development in our own day, when its infernal principles bask in the full light of the world's approbation? Never has an error been more severely castigated by the condemnation of the Church; never more accurately have those condemnations been borne out by the testimony of experience and history. When Protestantism is fast losing its power, sinking into the abyss out of sheer impotence, Liberalism, even more formidable and more dangerous, fills the ranks of this decaying heresy with enemies still more resourceful, implacable and obstinate. Protestantism is now a dead dog; Liberalism a living lion going about seeking whom he may devour. Its dreadful doctrine is permeating society to the core;
It has become the modern political creed and threatens us with a second revolution, to turn the world over once again to paganism. Are there any good Catholics who do not believe this? Let them but read the signs of the times, not with the eyes of the world, but by the light of the Faith, which Jesus Christ gave to them. "I am the way, the truth and the life," said our Divine Lord. "He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12). He who follows the Church follows Him, for He Himself said to the Apostles and their successors, "He who hears you, hears Me."
What then is the attitude of the Church towards Liberalism? Is not its entire hierarchy considered hostile to Liberalism? Does not Liberalism itself bear witness to this? What does the word "Clericalism" with which the Liberals have honored those most energetically opposed to their doctrine, prove, if not that they regard the Church as their most implacable adversary? How do they look upon the Pope, upon bishops, priests, religious of all kinds, on pious people and practical Catholics? "Clericals" "clericals" always, that is, "anti-Liberals!" How then can we expect to find good faith on the part of a Liberal Catholic when orthodoxy is so distinctly and completely opposed to Liberalism? Those who are capable of comprehending the principles of the question can readily satisfy themselves on its merits by its intrinsic reasons; those who cannot so comprehend have an extrinsic authority [The Catholic Church] more than sufficient to form an accurate judgment for them, such as it should be in every good Christian in matters touching the Faith. Light is not wanting; those who will, can see well enough. But alas! Insubordination, illegitimate interests and the desire to take and make things easy are abundantly at hand to prejudice and to blind. The seduction of Liberalism is not of the kind that blinds by a false light, but rather by the seduction which, in sullying the heart, obscures the understanding. We may therefore justly believe, except perhaps with very rare exception, that it requires a very vigorous effort of charity to admit in our day, in accordance with true moral principles, the excuse of "good faith" in a Catholic who entertains Liberal principles.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 14, 2019 12:02:13 GMT
Chapter 16 -- The Symptoms of Liberalism
What are the signs or symptoms by which we may distinguish what is and what is not Liberalism
in a person, a journal, a book or an institution? We are surrounded by Liberalism in all its shapes and varieties, and it behooves us to be on our guard against its subtle dangers. To lay down special rules by which we may detect it in its shadings and minutiae is neither practical nor necessary. But some general directions may be given. Their application must be left to each one's proper discretion.
To facilitate the matter, we will divide Liberals, whether persons or writings, into three classes:1) Extreme Liberals; 2) Moderate Liberals; 3) Quasi Liberals, or those only tainted with Liberalism.
We will essay a description of each of these types. The study of their physiognomy will not be without interest and profit, for in the types we shall find a rule for our guidance in distinguishing Liberalism in its practical details.The Extreme Liberal is easily recognized; he does not attempt to deny or conceal his perversity.
He is the declared enemy of the Pope, of priests, of everything ecclesiastical; a thing has only to be sacred to rouse his implacable wrath; "priestcraft" is his favorite shibboleth. He subscribes to all the most violent and incendiary journals, the more impious and blasphemous, the better to his liking. He is ready to go to the furthermost conclusions of his baneful system. His premise of destruction once laid down, his conclusion of nihilism is a mere matter of logic. He would put it into practical execution with pleasure and exultation if circumstances permitted. He is a revolutionist, socialist, anarchist. He glories in living a life devoid of all religion. He belongs to secret societies, dies in their embrace and is buried by their ritual. He has always defied religion and dies in his defiance.The moderate Liberal is just as bad as his extreme confrere, but he takes good care not to appear so.
Social conventionalities and good manners are everything to him; these points secured, the rest is of little importance. Provided his iniquity is kid-gloved, it finds ready extenuation in his own mind. The niceties of polite society preserved, his Liberalism knows no bounds. He would not burn a convent -- that would appear too brutal, but the convent once burned, he has no scruple in seizing upon the outraged property. The cheap impiety of a penny paper grates on his well-bred nerves; the vulgar blasphemy of Ingersoll he deprecates; but let the same impiety and the same blasphemy appear in the columns of a so-called reputable journal, or be couched in the silken phraseology of a Huxley in the name of science, and he applauds the polished sin. It is with him a question of manner, not matter. At the mere mention of the name of a nihilistic or socialistic club, he is thrown into a cold sweat, for there, he declares, the masses are seduced into principles which lead to the destruction of the foundations of society; yet, according to him, there is no danger, no inconvenience in a free lyceum where the same principles are elegantly debated and sympathetically applauded; for who could dare to condemn the scientific discussion of social problems? The moderate Liberal does not detest the Pope; he may even express admiration for his sagacity; he only blames certain pretensions of the Roman Curia and certain exaggerations of Ultramontanism, which do not fall in with the trend of modern thought. He may even like priests, above all, those who are enlightened, that is, such as have caught the twang of modern progress; as for fanatics and reactionaries, he simply avoids or pities them. He may even go to Church and, stranger still, sometimes approach the Sacraments; but his maxim is, in the Church to live as a Christian, outside of the Church to live as the world lives, according to the times in which one is born and not obstinately to swim against the stream. He dies with the priest on one side, his infidel literature on the other and imagines that his Creator will applaud his breadth of mind.The Catholic simply tainted with Liberalism is generally a good man and sincerely pious; he exhales nevertheless an odor of Liberalism in everything he says, writes, or takes up
. Like Madame de Sevigne, he can say, "I am not the rose, but standing by it, I have caught some of its perfume" This courageous man reasons, speaks, and acts as a Liberal without knowing it. His strong point is charity; he is charity itself. What horror fills his soul at the exaggerations of the Ultramontane press! To treat as a liar the man who propagates false ideas is, in the eyes of this singular theologian, to sin against the Holy Spirit. To him the falsifier is simply misguided; it is not the poor fellow's fault; he has, simple soul, been misled. We ought neither to resist nor combat him; we must strive to attract him by soft words and pretty compliments.How the devil must chuckle over the mushy charity held out as a bait to abet his own cause! To smother evil under an abundance of good is the tainted Catholic's favorite maxim
, read one day by chance in Balmes, and the only thing he has ever retained of the great Spanish philosopher. From the Gospel he is careful to cite only those texts flavored with milk and honey. The terrible invectives of Our Lord against Pharisaism astonish and confound him; they seem to be an excess of language on the part of our Divine Saviour! He reserves these denunciatory texts to use against those provoking Ultramontanes who every day compromise, by their exaggerated and harsh language, the cause of a religion that he thinks should be all peace and love. Against them his Liberalism, ordinarily so sweet and gentle, grows bitter and violent. Against them his zeal flames up, his polemics grow sharp, and his charity becomes aggressive.
In a celebrated discourse delivered apropos certain accusations against Louis Veuillot, Pere Felix once cried out, "Gentlemen, let us love and respect even our friends." But no, our Catholic tainted with Liberalism will do nothing of the kind. He saves the treasures of his tolerance and his charity for the sworn enemies of the Faith! What is more natural? Does not the poor man want to attract them? On the other hand, for the most heroic defenders of the Faith, he has only sarcasm and invective.
In short, the tainted Catholic cannot comprehend that direct opposition, per diametrum
, of which St. Ignatius speaks in his Spiritual Exercises
. He does not know how to give a direct blow. He knows no other tactics than to attack on the flank, tactics which, in religion, may perhaps be convenient, but are never decisive. He wants to conquer, but on the condition of not wounding the enemy, of never disturbing his ease or his rest. The mere mention of war painfully agitates his nerves and rouses all his pacific dispositions. With the enemy in full assault, with the implacable hatred and cunning of falsehood almost sweeping over him, he would withstand the hostile charge and stem the overwhelming tide with the paper barriers of an illusive peace.
In a word, we may recognize the extreme and the moderate Liberal by his bitter fruits; the tainted Catholic may be recognized by his distorted affection for Liberalism and its works.
The extreme Liberal roars his Liberalism; the moderate Liberal mouths it; the tainted Catholic whispers and sighs it. All are bad enough and serve the devil well. Nevertheless, the extreme Liberal overreaches himself by his violence; the fecundity of the tainted Catholic is partially sterilized by his hybrid nature; but the moderate is the real Satanic type; his is the masked evil, which in our times is the chief cause of the ravages of Liberalism.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 14, 2019 12:07:31 GMT
Chapter 17 -- Christian Prudence and Liberalism
Owing to their circumstances, Catholics in this country [America] live in the very midst of Liberalism; we are surrounded by and come into daily contact with extreme and moderate Liberals, as well as with Catholics tainted with its all-pervading poison. So did Catholics in the fourth century live among Arians, those of the fifth among Pelagians, and those of the seventeenth amongst Jansenists. It is impossible not to sustain some relations with the Liberals who surround us; we meet them everywhere -- in our social dealings, in our business affairs, in our amusements and pleasures, even in Church and in the family. How then shall we comport ourselves in our unavoidable intercourse with those who are thus spiritually diseased?
How may we avoid contagion, or at least diminish the risk to a minimum? To lay down a precise rule for every case is a difficulty beyond human capacity, but some general rules of guidance may be given; their application must be left to the prudence of those who are individually concerned, according to their circumstances and special obligations. It will be well first to distinguish, in a general way, three possible relations between a Catholic and Liberalism, or rather between a Catholic and Liberals: 1) Necessary relations; 2) Useful relations; 3) Relations of pure affection or pleasure. Necessary relations are imposed upon everyone by his station in life and his particular position; they cannot be avoided. Such are the family relations, the relations of inferior and superior, etc.
1. It is evident that a son who has the misfortune to have a Liberal father cannot on this account abandon him, nor the wife the husband, the brother the sister, nor the parent the child, except in the case where their Liberalism exacts from any of their respective inferiors acts essentially opposed to religion, so as to conduce to a formal apostacy.
But, for the taking of such a step, it will not suffice, on the part of a Catholic, that mere restraint is put upon his liberty in the performance of the precepts of the Church. For we must remember that the Church places no obligation in such matters on a person who could only perform them under grave inconvenience (sub gravi incommodo
).The Catholic unfortunate enough to be so placed must bear with Christian patience his painful situation and surround himself, as far as lies in his power, with every precaution to avoid the contagion of bad example in word or deed.
Prayer should be his chief recourse, prayer for himself and the victims of error. He should avoid, as far as possible, all conversations on this topic, but when he finds that a controversy is thrust upon him, let him accept it in the full confidence of the truth, and armed with effective weapons of defense and offense. A prudent spiritual director should be consulted in the selection of his arsenal. As an antidote to much association with Liberals, let him frequent the company of other persons of science and authority who are in the constant possession of sound doctrine. Obedience to a superior in all that is not directly or indirectly against faith and morals is his bounden duty, but it is equally his duty to refuse obedience to anything directly or indirectly in opposition to the integrity of his faith. Courage he can draw only from supernatural sources; God, who sees the struggle, will not refuse all the assistance needed.
2. There are other relations which we have with Liberals, which are not absolutely, but which are morally indispensable, and without which social life, which consists in a mutual exchange of services, is impossible. Such are the relations of commerce, trade, labor, the professions, etc.
But that strict subjection, which holds under the necessary relations of which we have just been speaking, does not exist here, and in consequence, one can exercise more independence. The fundamental rule in these cases is not to enter into unnecessary intercourse; what the gearing of the social machine demands, and no more, is sufficient.
If you are a merchant, buy and sell with Liberals in accordance with the needs of your business; more than this, avoid; if you are a domestic, limit your intercourse to the necessities of your service; if you are a laborer, to giving and receiving what is due on either part. Guided by these rules, one could live without injury to his faith amidst a population of Jews. At the same time, it should never be forgotten that any manifestation of weakness or compromise is never needed. Even Liberals cannot refuse respect to the man who stands firmly and unflinchingly in his conviction, and when the Faith is in question, despicable in all men's eyes does he become who would sell his birthright for a mess of pottage.3. Relations of pure friendship, pleasure or affectation, which we enter into as mere matters of taste or inclination, should be eschewed and, if once contracted, ought to be voluntarily broken off.
Such relations are a certain danger to our faith. Our Lord says that he who loves danger shall perish in it. Is it difficult to sever such connections? What if it is; we must burst the bonds that place us in peril.
Reflect for a moment. If your Liberal companion with whom you are constantly associating were subject to some contagious disease, would you then court him? If your relations with him compromised your reputation, would you continue them? If he were to asperse [attack] your family, would you cling to him still? Well, the honor of God and your own spiritual safety are at stake in this matter; what human prudence would counsel you to do for your worldly interest and human honor, surely that much at least your spiritual interests require from you. There is but one condition upon which intimacy with a Liberal is justifiable at all, and that is for the purpose of converting him. For this, two dispositions are necessary: your Liberal friend's willingness and your capacity to lead him to the light. Even here danger is not lacking. One must be very sure of his ground before he attempts the task.
Above all, have a horror of heresy, and Liberalism today is the most malignant of all heresies. Its face is absolutely set against religious faith. The first thing to do in an infected country is to isolate oneself, and if this is not possible, take all sanitary precautions against the deadly germ. Spiritual health is always endangered whenever we come into contact with Liberalism, and infection is almost certain if we neglect those precautions which prudence suggests.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 14, 2019 12:11:06 GMT
Chapter 18 -- Liberalism and Literature
Liberalism is a system
, as Catholicism is, although in a contrary sense. It has its arts, its science, its literature, its economics, its ethics; that is, it has an organism all its own, animated by its own spirit and distinguishable by its own physiognomy. The most powerful heresies, for instance, Arianism in ancient times and Jansenism in our own days, presented like peculiarities.
Not only are there Liberal journals, but there exists a literature in all the shades and degrees of Liberalism; it is abundant and prolific. The present generation draws its main intellectual nourishment from it. Our modern literature is saturated with its sentiments, and for this reason should we take every precaution to guard against its infections, of which so many are the miserable victims. How is it to be avoided?The rules of guidance in this case are analogous to or almost identical with the rules which should govern a Catholic in his personal relations with Liberals, for books are after all but the representatives of their authors, conveying by the printed, instead of the spoken word, what men think, feel and say.
Apply to books those rules of conduct which should regulate our intercourse with persons, and we have a safeguard in reading the literature of the day. But in this instance, the control of the relation is practically in our own power, for it depends entirely on ourselves whether we seek or tolerate the reading of Liberal books. They are not apt to seek us out, and if they are thrust upon us, our consent to their perusal is practically all our own doing. We have none but ourselves to blame if they prove to be our own undoing.
There is one point, however, worthy of our close consideration. It should be a fundamental rule in a Catholic's intellectual life. It is this: Spare your praises of Liberal books, whatever be their scientific or literary merit, or at least praise with great reserve, never forgetting the reprobation rightly due to a book of Liberal spirit or tendency. This is an important point. It merits the strictest attention. Many Catholics, by far too naive (even some engaged in Catholic journalism), are perpetually seeking to pose as impartial and are perpetually daubing themselves with a veneer of flattery.
They lustily beat the bass drum and blow all the trumpets of their vocabulary in praise of no matter what work, literary or scientific, that comes from the Liberal camp. They are fearful of being considered narrow-minded and partial if they do not give the devil his due. In the fulsomeness of their flattery, they hope to show that it costs a Catholic nothing to recognize merit wherever it may be found; they imagine this to be a powerful means of attracting the enemy. Alas, the folly of the weaklings; they play a losing game; it is they who are insensibly attracted, not the enemy! They simply fly at the bait held out by the cunning fisher who satanically guides the destinies of Liberalism.
Let us illustrate. When Arnold's Light of Asia
appeared, not a few Catholics joined in the chorus of fulsome praise which greeted it. How charming, how beautiful, how tender, how pathetic, how humane; what lofty morality, what exquisite sentiment! Now what was the real purport of the book and what was its essence? To lift up Guatama, the founder of Buddhism, at the expense of Jesus Christ, the Founder of Christianity! The intention was to show that Guatama was equally a divine teacher with as high an aspiration, as great a mission, as lofty a morality as our Divine Lord Himself. This was the object of the book; what was its essence? A falsification of history by weaving a series of poetical legends around a character, about whose actual life practically nothing is known. But not only this, the character was built up upon the model of Our Lord, which the author had in his own mind as the precious heirloom of Christianity; and his Gautama, whom he intended to stand out as at least the divine equal of the Founder of Christianity, became in his hands in reality a mere echo of Christ, the image of Christ, made to rival the Word made flesh! Buddhism, in the borrowed garments of Christianity, was thus made to appeal to the ideals of Christian peoples, and gaining a footing in their admiration and affections, to usurp the throne in the Christian sanctuary. Here was a work of literary merit, although it has been greatly exaggerated in this respect, praised extravagantly by some Catholics who, in their excessive desire to appear impartial, failed or refused to see in Edwin Arnold's Light of Asia
a most vicious, anti-Christian book! What difference does it make whether a book be excellent in a literary sense or not, if its effect be the loss of souls and not their salvation? What if the weapon in the hands of the assassin be bright or not, if it be fatal? Though spiritual assassination be brilliant, it is nonetheless deadly.Heresy under a charming disguise is a thousand times more dangerous than heresy exposed in the harsh and arid garb of the scholastic syllogism -- through which the death's skull grins in unadorned hideousness.
Arianism had its poets to propagate its errors in popular verse. Lutheranism had its humanists, amongst whom the elegant Erasmus shone as a brilliant writer. Arnauld, Nicole, Pascal threw the glamour of their belles lettres over the serpentine doublings [tricks, artifices] of Jansenism. Voltaire's wretched infidelity won its frightful popularity from the grace of his style and the flash of his wit. Shall we, against whom they aimed the keenest and deadliest shafts, contribute to their name and their renown! Shall we assist them in fascinating and corrupting youth! Shall we crown these condemners of our faith with the laurels of our praises and laud them for the very qualities which alone make them dangerous! And for what purpose? That we may appear impartial? No. Impartiality is not permissible when it is distorted to the offense of truth, whose rights are imprescriptible [inalienable, absolute].
A woman of bad life is infamous, be she ever so beautiful, and the more beautiful, the more dangerous. Shall we praise Liberal books out of gratitude? No! Follow the liberals themselves in this, who are far more prudent than we; they do not recommend and praise our books, whatever they be. They, with the instinct of evil, fully appreciate where the danger lies. They either seek to discredit us or to pass us by in silence.
Si quis non amat Dominum Nostrum Jesum Christum, Sit anathema ["If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema"], says St. Paul. Liberal literature is the written hatred of Our Lord and His Church. If its blasphemy were open and direct, no Catholic would tolerate it for an instant; is it any more tolerable because, like a courtesan, it seeks to disguise its sordid features by the artifice of paint and powder?
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 15, 2019 11:55:05 GMT
Chapter 19 -- Charity and Liberalism
Narrow! Intolerant! Uncompromising!
These are the epithets of odium hurled by Liberal votaries of all degrees at us Ultramontanes [i.e., Roman Catholics or papists -- literally: "beyond the mountains" for entrance to Italy from the continent of Europe requires traversing the Alpine Mountains, the highest in Europe. Thus, to Europe the Roman Catholic Church has its government, its head, its nerve center "beyond the mountains"]. Are not Liberals our neighbors like other men? Do we not owe to them the same charity we apply to others? Are not your vigorous denunciations, it is urged against us, harsh and uncharitable and in the very teeth of the teaching of Christianity, which is essentially a religion of love? Such is the accusation continually flung in our face. Let us see what its value is. Let us see all that the word "Charity" signifies.The Catechism [of the Council of Trent], that popular and most authoritative epitome of Catholic theology, gives us the most complete and succinct definition of charity; it is full of wisdom and philosophy. Charity is a supernatural virtue which induces us to love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God.
Thus, after God we ought to love our neighbor as ourselves, and this not just in any way, but for the love of God and in obedience to His law. And now, what is it to love? Amare est velle bonum
, replies the philosopher. "To love is to wish good to him whom we love." To whom does charity command us to wish good? To our neighbor, that is to say, not to this or that man only, but to everyone. What is that good which true love wishes? First of all supernatural good, then goods of the natural order which are not incompatible with it. All this is included in the phrase "for the love of God."It follows, therefore, that we can love our neighbor when displeasing him, when opposing him, when causing him some material injury, and even, on certain occasions, when depriving him of life; in short, all is reduced to this: Whether in the instance where we displease, oppose, or humiliate him, it is or is not for his own good, or for the good of someone whose rights are superior to his, or simply for the greater service of God.
If it is shown that in displeasing or offending our neighbor we act for his good, it is evident that we love him, even when opposing or crossing him. The physician cauterizing his patient or cutting off his gangrened limb may nonetheless love him. When we correct the wicked by restraining or by punishing them, we do nonetheless love them. This is charity -- and perfect charity.
It is often necessary to displease or offend one person, not for his own good, but to deliver another from the evil he is inflicting. It is then an obligation of charity to repel the unjust violence of the aggressor; one may inflict as much injury on the aggressor as is necessary for defense. Such would be the case should one see a highwayman attacking a traveler. In this instance, to kill, wound, or at least take such measures as to render the aggressor impotent, would be an act of true charity.The good of all good is the divine Good, just as God is for all men the Neighbor of all neighbors. In consequence, the love due to a man, inasmuch as he is our neighbor, ought always to be subordinated to that which is due to our common Lord.
For His love and in His service we must not hesitate to offend men. The degree of our offense towards men can only be measured by the degree of our obligation to Him. Charity is primarily the love of God, secondarily the love of our neighbor for God's sake. To sacrifice the first is to abandon the latter. Therefore, to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a true act of charity. Not to offend our neighbor for the love of God is a sin.
Modern Liberalism reverses this order; it imposes a false notion of charity: our neighbor first, and, if at all, God afterwards. By its reiterated and trite accusations toward us of intolerance, it has succeeded in disconcerting even some staunch Catholics. But our rule is too plain and too concrete to admit of misconception. It is this: Sovereign Catholic inflexibility is sovereign Catholic charity. This charity is practiced in relation to our neighbor when, in his own interest, he is crossed, humiliated, and chastised. It is practiced in relation to a third party when he is defended from the unjust aggression of another, as when he is protected from the contagion of error by unmasking its authors and abettors and showing them in their true light as iniquitous and pervert, by holding them up to the contempt, horror, and execration of all. It is practiced in relation to God when, for His glory and in His service, it becomes necessary to silence all human considerations, to trample under foot all human respect, to sacrifice all human interests -- and even life itself -- to attain this highest of all ends. All this is Catholic inflexibility and inflexible Catholicity in the practice of that pure love which constitutes sovereign charity. The Saints are the types of this unswerving and sovereign fidelity to God, the heroes of charity and religion. Because in our times there are so few true inflexibles in the love of God, so also are there few uncompromisers in the order of charity. Liberal charity is condescending, affectionate, even tender in appearance, but at bottom it is an essential contempt for the true good of men, of the supreme interests of truth and [ultimately] of God. It is human self-love, usurping the throne of the Most High and demanding that worship which belongs to God alone.
[Emphasis- The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 15, 2019 12:09:23 GMT
Chapter 20 -- Polemical Charity and Liberalism
Liberalism never gives battle on solid ground; it knows too well that in a discussion of principles it must meet with irretrievable defeat. It prefers tactics of recrimination and, under the sting of a just flagellation, whiningly accuses Catholics of lack of charity in their polemics. This is also the ground which certain Catholics, tainted with Liberalism, are in the habit of taking.
Let us see what is to be said on this score.We Catholics, on this point as on all others, have reason on our side; whereas, Liberals have only its shadow.
In the first place, a Catholic can handle his Liberal adversary openly, if such he be in truth [i.e., openly Liberal]; no one can doubt this. If an author or a journalist make open profession of Liberalism and does not conceal his Liberal predilections, what injury can be done him in calling him a Liberal? Si palam res est, repetitio injuria non est
: "To say what everybody knows is no injury." With much stronger reason, to say of our neighbor what he every instant says of himself cannot justly offend. And yet, how many Liberals, especially those of the easy-going and moderate type, regard the expressions "Liberal" and "friend of Liberals" which Catholic adversaries apply to them, as offensive and uncharitable!
Granting that Liberalism is a bad thing, to call the public defenders and professors of Liberalism bad is no want of charity.
The law of justice, potent in all ages, can be applied in this case. The Catholics of today are no innovators in this respect. We are simply holding to the constant practice of antiquity. The propagators and abettors of heresy, as well as its authors, have at all times been called heretics. As the Church has always considered heresy a very grave evil, so has she always called its adherents bad and pervert. Run over the list of ecclesiastical writers -- you will then see how the Apostles treated the first heretics, how the Fathers and modern controversialists and the Church herself in her official language has pursued them. There is then no sin against charity in calling evil; its authors abettors and its disciples bad; all its acts, words, and writings iniquitous, wicked, malicious. In short, the wolf has always been called the wolf; and in so calling it, no one ever has believed that wrong was done to the flock and the shepherd.
If the propagation of good and the necessity of combating evil require the employment of terms somewhat harsh against error and its supporters, this usage is certainly not against charity. This is a corollary or consequence of the principle we have just demonstrated. We must render evil odious and detestable. We cannot attain this result without pointing out the dangers of evil, without showing how and why it is odious, detestable and contemptible.
Christian oratory of all ages has ever employed against impiety the most vigorous and emphatic rhetoric in the arsenal of human speech. In the writings of the great athletes of Christianity, the usage of irony, imprecation, execration and of the most crushing epithets is continual. Hence the only law is the opportunity and the truth.
But there is another justification for such usage. Popular propagation and apologetics cannot pre-serve elegant and constrained academic forms. In order to convince the people, we must speak to their heart and their imagination, which can only be touched by ardent, brilliant, and impassioned language. To be impassioned is not to be reprehensible -- when our heat is the holy ardor of truth.
The supposed violence of modern Ultramontane journalism not only falls short of Liberal journalism, but is amply justified by every page of the works of our great Catholic polemists of other epochs. This is easily verified. St. John the Baptist calls the Pharisees a "race of vipers"; Jesus Christ, Our Divine Saviour, hurls at them the epithets "hypocrites, whitened sepulchres, a perverse and adulterous generation," without thinking for this reason that He sullies the sanctity of His benevolent speech. St. Paul criticizes the schismatic Cretians as "always liars, evil beasts, slothful bellies." The same Apostle calls Elymas the magician a "Seducer, full of guile and deceit, a child of the devil, an enemy of all justice."
If we open the Fathers, we find the same vigorous castigation of heresy and heretics.
St. Jerome, arguing against Vigilantius, casts in his face his former occupation of saloon-keeper: "From your infancy," he says to him, "you have learned other things than theology and betaken yourself to other pursuits. To verify at the same time the value of your money accounts and the value of Scriptural texts, to sample wines and grasp the meaning of the prophets and apostles are certainly not occupations which the same man can accomplish with credit." On another occasion, attacking the same Vigilantius, who denied the excellence of virginity and of fasting, St. Jerome, with his usual sprightliness, asks him if he spoke thus "in order not to diminish the receipts of his saloon?" Heavens! what an outcry would be raised if one of our Ultramontane controversialists were to write against a Liberal critic or heretic of our own day in this fashion!
What shall we say of St. John Chrysostom? Is his famous invective against Eutropius not comparable, in its personal and aggressive character, to the cruel invectives of Cicero against Catiline and against Verres! The gentle St. Bernard did not honey his words when he attacked the enemies of the Faith. Addressing Arnold of Brescia, the great Liberal agitator of his times, he calls him in all his letters, "seducer, vase of injuries, scorpion, cruel wolf".The pacific St. Thomas of Acquin [Aquinas] forgets the calm of his cold syllogisms when he hurls his violent apostrophe against William of St. Amour and his disciples: "Enemies of God" he cries out, "ministers of the devil, members of antichrist, ignorami, perverts, reprobates!"
Never did the illustrious Louis Veuillot speak so boldly. The seraphic St. Bonaventure, so full of sweetness, overwhelms his adversary Gerard with such epithets as "impudent, calumniator, spirit of malice, impious, shameless, ignorant, impostor, malefactor, perfidious, ingrate!" Did St. Francis de Sales, so delicately exquisite and tender, ever purr softly over the heretics of his age and country? He pardoned their injuries, heaped benefits on them even to the point of saving the lives of those who sought to take his, but with the enemies of the Faith he preserved neither moderation nor consideration. Asked by a Catholic, who desired to know if it were permissible to speak evil of a heretic who propagated false doctrines, he replied:
"Yes, you can, on the condition that you adhere to the exact truth, to what you know of his bad conduct, presenting that which is doubtful as doubtful, according to the degree of doubt which you may have in this regard." In his Introduction to the Devout Life, that precious and popular work, he expresses himself again: "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry wolf when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock and in every way and place we may meet him."
But enough. What the greatest Catholic polemists and Saints have done is assuredly a fair example for even the humblest defenders of the Faith. Modern Ultramontanism has never yet surpassed the vigor of their castigation of heresy and heretics. Charity forbids us to do unto another what we would not reasonably have them do unto ourselves. Mark the adverb reasonably; it includes the entire substance of the question.
The essential difference between ourselves and the Liberals on this subject consists in this, that they look upon the apostles of error as free citizens, simply exercising their full right to think as they please on matters of religion. We, on the contrary, see in them the declared enemies of the Faith, which we are obligated to defend. We do not see in their errors simply free opinions, but culpable and formal heresies, as the law of God teaches us they are. By virtue of the assumed freedom of their own opinions, the Liberals are bound not only to tolerate but even to respect ours; for since freedom of opinion is, in their eyes, the most cardinal of virtues, no matter what the opinion be, they are bound to respect it as the expression of man's rational freedom. It is not what is thought, but the mere thinking that constitutes the standard of excellence with them. To acknowledge God or deny Him is equally rational by the standard of Liberalism, and Liberalism is grossly inconsistent with itself when it seeks to combat Catholic truths, in the holding of which there is as much exercise of rational freedom, in the Liberal sense, as in rejecting them. But our Catholic standpoint is absolute; there is but one truth, in which there is no room for opposition or contradiction. To deny that truth is unreasonable; it is to put falsehood on the level with truth. This is the folly and sin of Liberalism. To denounce this sin and folly is a duty and a virtue. With reason, therefore, does a great Catholic historian say to the enemies of Catholicity: "You make yourselves infamous by your actions, and I will endeavor to cover you with that infamy by my writings." In this same way the law of the Twelve Tables of the ancient Romans ordained to the virile generations of early Rome: Adversus bostem aeterna auctoritas esto, which may be rendered: "To the enemy no quarter."
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 15, 2019 12:16:58 GMT
Chapter 21 -- Personal Polemics and Liberalism
"It is all well enough to make war on abstract doctrines" some may say, "but in combating error, be it ever so evident, is it so proper to make an attack upon the persons of those who uphold it?"
We reply that very often it is, and not only proper, but at times even indispensable and meritorious before God and men.
The accusation of indulging in personalities is not spared to Catholic apologists, and when Liberals and those tainted with Liberalism have hurled it at our heads, they imagine that we are overwhelmed by the charge. But they deceive themselves. We are not so easily thrust into the background. We have reason -- and substantial reason -- on our side. In order to combat and discredit false ideas, we must inspire contempt and horror in the hearts of the multitude for those who seek to seduce and debauch them. A disease is inseparable from the persons of the diseased.
The cholera threatening a country comes in the persons of the infected. If we wish to exclude it, we must exclude them. Now ideas do not in any case go about in the abstract; they neither spread nor propagate of themselves. Left to themselves -- if it be possible to imagine them apart from those who conceive them -- they would never produce all the evil from which society suffers. It is only in the concrete that they are effective, when they are the personal product of those who conceive them. They are like the arrows and the balls which would hurt no one if they were not shot from the bow or the gun. It is the archer and the gunner to whom we should give our first attention; save for them, the fire would not be murderous. Any other method of warfare might be Liberal, if you please, but it would not be common sense.The authors and propagators of heretical doctrines are soldiers with poisoned weapons in their bands. Their arms are the book, the journal, the lecture, their personal influence. Is it sufficient to dodge their blows? Not at all; the first thing necessary is to demolish the combatant himself. When he is hors de combat ["out of the fight"], he can do no more mischief.It is therefore perfectly proper not only to discredit any book, journal or discourse of the enemy, but it is also proper, in certain cases, even to discredit his person; for in warfare, beyond question, the principal element is the person engaged, as the gunner is the principal factor in an artillery fight and not the cannon, the powder, and the bomb. It is thus lawful, in certain cases, to expose the infamy of a Liberal opponent, to bring his habits into contempt and to drag his name in the mire. Yes, this is permissible, permissible in prose, in verse, in caricature, in a serious vein or in badinage, by every means and method within reach.
The only restriction is not to employ a lie in the service of justice. This never. Under no pretext may we sully the truth, even to the dotting of an "i'" As a French writer says: "Truth is the only charity allowed in history," and, we may add, in the defense of religion and society.
The Fathers of the Church support this thesis. The very titles of their works clearly show that, in their contests with heresy, their first blows were at the heresiarchs. The works of St. Augustine almost always bear the name of the author of the heresy against which they are written: Contra Fortunatum Manichoeum
, Adversus Adamanctum
, Contra Felicem
, Contra Secundinum
, Quis fuerit Petiamus
, De gestis Pelagii
, Quis fuerit julianus
, etc. Thus, the greater part of the polemics of this great Father and Doctor of the Church was personal, aggressive, biographical, as well as doctrinal -- a hand-to-hand struggle with heretics, as well as with heresy.
What we here say of St. Augustine we can say of the other Fathers.
Whence do the Liberals derive their power to impose upon us the new obligation of fighting error only in the abstract and of lavishing smiles and flattery upon them? We, the Ultramontanes, will fight our battles according to Christian tradition and defend the Faith as it has always been defended in the Church of God. When it strikes, let the sword of the Catholic polemist wound, and when it wounds, wound mortally. This is the only real and efficacious means of waging war.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2019 12:14:47 GMT
Chapter 22 -- A Liberal Objection to Ultramontane Methods
The Liberals tell us that our violent methods of warfare against them are not in conformity with the Pope's counsels to moderation and charity. Has he not exhorted Catholic writers to a love of peace and union, to avoid harsh, aggressive and personal polemics? How then can we Ultramontanes reconcile the Holy Father's wishes with our fierce methods? Let us consider the force of the Liberals' objection. To whom does the Holy Father address these repeated admonitions? Always to the Catholic press, to Catholic journalists, to those who are supposed to be worthy of the name. These counsels to moderation and charity, therefore, are always addressed to Catholics, discussing with other Catholics free questions, i.e., those not involving established principles of faith and morality, and they do not in any sense apply to Catholics waging a mortal combat with the declared enemies of the Faith.
There is no doubt that the Pope here makes no allusion to the incessant battles between Catholics and Liberals, for the simple reason that Catholicity is truth and Liberalism heresy, between which there can be no peace, but only war to the death. By consequence, therefore, it is certain that the Pope intends his counsels to apply to our "family quarrels" unhappily much too frequent, and that by no means does he seek to forbid us from waging an unrelenting strife with the eternal enemies of the Church, whose hands, filled with deadly weapons, are ever lifted against the Faith and its defenders.
Therefore, there can be no contradiction between the doctrine we expound and that of the briefs and allocutions of the Holy Father on the subject, provided that logically both apply to the same matter under the same respect, which holds perfectly in this instance. For how can we interpret the words of the Holy Father in any other way? It is a rule of sound exegesis that any passage in Holy Scripture should always be interpreted according to the letter, unless such meaning be in opposition to the context; we can only have recourse to a free or figurative interpretation when this opposition is obvious. This rule applies also to the interpretation of pontifical documents.
How could we suppose the Pope to be in contradiction with all Catholic tradition from Jesus
Christ to our own times? Is it for a moment admissible that the style and method of most of the celebrated Catholic polemists and apologists from St. Paul to St. Francis de Sales should be condemned by a stroke of the pen? Clearly not, for if we were to understand the Pope's counsels to moderation and calm in the sense in which the Liberal conclusion would construe them, we should evidently have to answer, "Yes." Consequently, we must conclude that the Holy Father's words are not addressed to Catholics battling with the enemies of Catholicity, but only to Catholics controverting on free questions amongst themselves.
Common sense itself shows this. Imagine a general in the midst of a raging battle, issuing an order to his soldiers not to injure the enemy too severely! Imagine a captain rushing up and down the ranks shouting to his soldiers, "Be careful! Don't hurt the enemy! Attention there! Don't aim at the heart!" What more need be said! Pius IX has given us an explanation of the proper meaning of his words. On a memorable occasion he calls the sectaries of the Commune demons; and worse than demons the sectaries of Liberalism. Who then need fear to thunderbolt such an enemy with epithets too harsh and severe? In vain do the Liberals cite the words of Leo XIII (1878-1903) in the encyclical Cum Multa , exhorting Catholics to avoid violence in the discussion of the sacred rights of the Church, and to rely rather upon the weight of reason to gain victory; for the words have reference to polemics between Catholics discussing the best means to preserve their common cause, and by no means apply as a rule to govern polemics with the sectaries of Liberalism. The intrinsic evidence of the encyclical proves this beyond cavil. The Pope concludes by exhorting all associations and individual Catholics to a still closer and more intimate union, and after pointing out the inestimable advantages of such a union, he instances, as the means of preserving it, that moderation of language and charity of which we are speaking. The argument is plain: the Pope recommends moderation and charity to Catholic writers as a means of preserving peace and mutual union. Clearly, this peace and union is between Catholics and not between Catholics and their enemies. Therefore, the moderation and charity recommended by the Pope to Catholic writers applies only to Catholic polemics between Catholics on free questions. Would it not be absurd to imagine that there could be any union between truth and error, therefore between the advocates of truth on the one side and error on the other? Irreconcilable opposites never unite. One or the other must disappear.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2019 12:24:47 GMT
Chapter 23 -- The Civilta Cattolica's Charity to Liberals
Charity in controversy with Liberals would be like taking a serpent to ones bosom.
It would be as if one embraced some loathsome contagious disease with the foolish notion that to court it would secure immunity from its fearful ravages.
Notwithstanding the plain common sense of the situation and the memorable warning of Our Lord that he who loves the fire shall perish in it, some foolish Catholics join with the Liberals in their cry for a magnanimous display of charity on our part when we wage war against them.
Lest our competence to judge in so important a matter be called into question, we will cite as authority on this subject the foremost religious journal of the world, the Civilta Cattolica
, founded by Pius IX himself and confided by him to the conduct of the fathers of the Society of Jesus. The Civilta
, never suffering an instant of repose to Italian Liberalism, has often been reproached for its want of charity towards the Liberals. Replying to these pharasaical homilies on the measure of charity due them, the Civilta
published a delightfully humorous, and at the same time solidly philosophical article, some passages of which we here transcribe for the consolation of our Liberals -- and those tainted Catholics who make common cause with them -- in decrying Ultramontane methods:
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2019 12:27:21 GMT
Chapter 24 -- A Liberal Sophism and the Church's Diplomacy
Liberals often urge as an objection to Ultramontane vigor the fact that the Church herself enters into amicable relations with Liberal governments and personages, or what comes to the same thing, with Liberalism itself.
If the Church can take such a position, surely Ultramontanes, who are looked upon as the vanguard of the Church, may find an example in this her policy worthy of imitation.
We reply. We are to consider these relations as official amities, and nothing more. They by no means suppose any particular affection for the persons who are their object, much less approbation of their actions, and infinitely less any adhesion to their doctrines or the approval of them.
In the first place, we must remember that there are two ministrations in the Church of God: one which we may call apostolic, relative to the propagation of the Faith and the salvation of souls; the other, which we may very properly term diplomatic, having for its subject human relations with the powers of the world.The first is the most noble; properly speaking, it is the principal and essential ministration. The second is inferior and subordinate to the first, of which it is only the auxiliary. In the first, the Church is intolerant and uncompromising; in this she goes straight to her end and breaks rather than bends: frangi non flecti. Witness in this respect the persecutions she has suffered. When it is a question of divine rights and divine duties, neither attenuation nor compromise is possible.
In the second ministration, the Church is condescending, benevolent and full of patience. She discusses, she solicits, she negotiates, she praises, that she may soften the hard; she is silent sometimes, that she may better succeed; seems to retreat, that she may better advance and soon attain a better vantage. In this order of relations, her motto might be: flecti non frangi ["to bend not to break"]. When it is a question of mere human relations, she comports herself with a certain flexibility and admits the usage of special resources.
In this domain, everything that is not declared bad and prohibited by the law common to the ordinary relations of men is lawful and proper.
More explicitly, the Church deems that she may properly make use of all the resources of an honest diplomacy.
Who would dare reproach her for accrediting ambassadors to bad and even infidel governments, and on the other hand, in accepting ambassadors from them; for honoring their noble and distinguished families by her courtesies and enhancing their public festivities by the presence of her legates?
"But why," interrupt the Liberals, "should you manifest such detestation for Liberalism and so vehemently combat Liberal governments, when the Pope thus negotiates with them, recognizes them, and even confers distinctions on them?" We can best answer this foolish thrust by a comparison.
We will suppose you are the father of a family. You have five or six daughters, whom you have brought up in the most scrupulous and rigorous virtue. Opposite to your house, or perhaps next door, we will imagine, dwell some neighbors of blemished reputation. You command your daughters, without cessation, under no circumstances to have aught to do with these people. They obey you strictly. But suppose now that some matter should arise relative to both you and your neighbor's interest in common, such as the paving of a street, the laying of a water main, etc. This obliges you to consult and advise with your neighbors as to this common interest. In your intercourse with them, you treat them with the usual courtesies of society and seek to conclude the business on hand in an harmonious way. Would your daughters, therefore, be justified in declaring that, as you their father had entered into certain relations with these neighbors and extended to them the usual courtesies of society, so should they be allowed to associate with them; as long as you their father had thus entered into relation with them, so they had a right to conclude that they were people of good morals? The Church is the home of good people (or of those who ought to be and desire to be), but she is surrounded by governments more or less perverted, or even entirely perverted. She says to her children: "Detest the maxims of these governments; combat these maxims; their doctrine is error; their laws are iniquitous."
At the same time, in questions when her own and sometimes their interests are involved, she finds herself under the necessity of treating with the heads or the representatives of these governments, and in fact she does treat with them, accepts their compliments, and employs in their regard the formula of the polished diplomacy in usage in all countries; she negotiates with them in relation to matters of common interest, seeking to make the best of the situation in the midst of such neighbors. In thus acting does she do anything wrong) By no means. Is it not ridiculous then for a Catholic, availing himself to this example, to hold it up as a sanction of doctrines which the Church has never ceased to condemn, and as the approbation of a line of conduct which she has ever combated?
Does the Church sanction the Koran when she enters into negotiations, power to power, with the sectaries of the Koran? Does she approve of polygamy because she receives the presents and embassies of the Grand Turk? Well, it is in this way that the Church approves of Liberalism when she decorates its kings or its ministers, when she sends her benedictions, simple formulae of Christian courtesy, which the Pope extends even to Protestants. It is a sophism to pretend that the Church authorizes by such acts what she has always condemned by other acts. Her diplomatic can never frustrate her apostolic ministration, and it is in this latter that we must seek the seeming contradictions of her diplomatic career.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2019 12:31:00 GMT
Chapter 25 -- How Catholics Fall into Liberalism
Various are the ways in which a faithful Christian is drawn into the error of Liberalism.
Very often corruption of heart is a consequence of errors of the intellect, but more frequently still, errors of the intellect follow the corruption of the heart. The history of heresies very clearly shows this fact.
Their beginnings nearly always present the same character, either wounded self-love or a grievance to be avenged; either it is a woman that makes the heresiarch lose his head and his soul, or it is a bag of gold for which he sells his conscience.
Error nearly always has its origin, not in profound and laborious studies, but in the triple-headed monster which St. John describes and calls Concupiscentia carnis, concupiscentia oculorum, superbia vitae 'Concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, the pride of life." Here are the sources of all error, here are the roads to Liberalism. Let us dwell on them for a moment.
1. Men become Liberal on account of a natural desire for independence and for an easy life. Liberalism is necessarily sympathetic with the depraved nature of man, just as Catholicity is essentially opposed to it. Liberalism is emancipation from restraint; Catholicity the curb of the passions. Now, fallen man, by a very natural tendency, loves a system which legitimatizes and sanctifies his pride of intellect and the license of passion. Hence, Tertullian says, "The soul, in its noble aspirations, is naturally Christian." Likewise may it be said that man, by the taint of his origin, is born naturally Liberal. Logically then does he declare himself a Liberal in due form when he discovers that Liberalism offers a protection for his caprices and an excuse for his indulgences.
2. Men become Liberal by the desire for advancement in life
. Liberalism is today the dominating idea; it reigns everywhere and especially in the sphere of public life. It is therefore a sure recommendation to public favor.
On starting out in life, the young man looks around upon the various paths that lead to fortune, to fame, to glory, and sees that an almost indispensable condition of reaching the desired goal is, at least in our times, to become Liberal.
Not to be Liberal is to place in his way, at the outset, what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle. He must be heroic to resist the Tempter, who shows him, as he did Jesus Christ in the desert, a splendid future, saying: Haec omnia tibi dabo si cadens adoraveris me:
"All this will I give thee, if, falling down, thou wilt adore me." Heroes are rare, and it is natural that most young men beginning their career should affiliate with Liberalism.
It promises them the assistance of a powerful press, the recommendation of powerful protectors, the potent influence of secret societies, the patronage of distinguished men. The poor Ultramontane requires a thousand times more merit to make himself known and to acquire a name, and youth is ordinarily little scrupulous.
Liberalism, moreover, is essentially favorable to that public life which this age so ardently pursues.
It holds out as tempting baits public offices, commissions, fat positions, etc., which constitute the organism of the official machine. It seems an absolute condition for political preferment. To meet an ambitious young man who despises and detests the perfidious Corrupter is a marvel of God's grace.
3. Men become Liberal out of avarice, or the love of money.
To get along in the world, to succeed in business, is always a standing temptation of Liberalism. It meets the young man at every turn. Around him in a thousand ways does he feel the secret or open hostility of the enemies of his faith. In mercantile life or in the professions he is passed by, overlooked, ignored. Let him relax a little in his faith, Join a forbidden secret society, and lo, the bolts and bars are drawn; he possesses the "open sesame" to success! Then the invidious discrimination against him melts in the fraternal embrace of the enemy, who rewards his perfidy by advancing him in a thousand ways. Such a temptation is difficult for the ambitious to withstand. Be Liberal, admit that there is no great difference between men's creeds, that at the bottom they are really the same after all. Proclaim your breadth of mind by admitting that other religious beliefs are just as good for other people as your faith is for you; they are, as far as they know, just as right as you are; it is largely a question of education and temperament what a man believes; and how quickly you are patted on the back as a "broad-gauged" man who has escaped the narrow limitations of his creed. You will be extensively patronized, for Liberalism is very generous to a convert.
"Falling down adore me, and I will give you all these things' " says Satan yet to Jesus Christ in the desert.
Such are the ordinary causes of perversions to Liberalism; from these all others flow. Whoever has any experience of the world and the human heart can easily trace the others.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 16, 2019 12:35:38 GMT
Chapter 26 -- Permanent Causes of Liberalism
Liberalism is spread around us like a network
Its web is being constantly spun round about us
as spiders weave their meshes for insects. Where one is brushed away, two are multiplied. What is the reason for this?
Philosophy teaches us that the same sources which produce also preserve and increase things.Per quae gignitur, per eadem et servatur et augetur
What then are the permanent causes of Liberalism?
1. Corruption of morals
: The theater, literature, public and private morals are all saturated with obscenity and impurity. The result is inevitable; a corrupt generation necessarily begets a revolutionary generation
. Liberalism is the program of naturalism. Free thought begets free morals, or immorality. Restraint is thrown off and a free rein given to the passions. WHOEVER THINKS WHAT HE PLEASES WILL DO WHAT HE PLEASES. Liberalism in the intellectual order is license in the moral order
. Disorder in the intellect begets disorder in the heart, and vice-versa. Thus does Liberalism propagate immorality, and immorality Liberalism.
: Incalculable is the influence exercised without ceasing by the numerous publications which Liberalism spreads broadcast. In spite of themselves, by the ubiquity of the press, people are forced to live in a Liberal atmosphere.
Commerce, the arts, literature, science, politics, domestic and foreign news, all reach us in some way through Liberal channels and come clothed in a Liberal dress. UNLESS ONE IS ON HIS GUARD, HE FINDS HIMSELF THINKING, SPEAKING AND ACTING AS A LIBERAL. Such is the tainted character of the empoisoned air we breathe!
Poor people, by very reason of their simple good faith, absorb more easily the poison than anyone else; they absorb it in prose, in verse, in pictures, in public, in private, in the city, in the country, everywhere.
Liberal doctrines ever pursue them and, like leeches, fasten onto them, never to relax their hold. Its work is rendered much more harmful by the particular condition of the disciple, as we shall see in our third count.
3. General ignorance in matters of religion
: In weaving its meshes around the people, Liberalism has applied itself to the task of cutting them off from all communication with that which alone is able to lay bare its imposture -- the Church
. For the past two hundred years, Liberalism has striven to paralyze the action of the Church, to render her mute, and -- especially in the Old World -- to leave her merely an official character, so as to sever her connections with the people. The Liberals themselves have avowed this to be their aim: to destroy the religious life, to place every hindrance possible in the way of Catholic teaching, to ridicule the clergy and to deprive them of their prestige
. In Italy and France today, see the thousand and one artificial arrangements thrown around the Church to hinder and hamper her actions, to render ineffectual her opposition to the flood of Liberalism. The concordats, such as are observed at the present time, are so many iron collars which Liberalism has placed around her neck to stifle her. Freemasonry in Europe and South America are constantly seeking to bind her hand and foot, that she may be put at its satanic mercy.
By open and secret means, this organization has sought to undermine her discipline in every country where it has obtained a footing. Between her and the people, it seeks to dig a deeper and deeper abyss of hate, prejudice and calumny. NATURALISM, THE DENIAL OF THE SUPERNATURAL, IT INCULCATES EVERYWHERE. To divorce the entire life of the people from her influence -- by the institution of civil marriage, by civil burial and divorce, by teaching the insidious doctrine that society as such has no religious relations or obligations and that man as a social and civil being is absolutely independent of God and His Church and that religion is a mere private opinion to be entertained or not entertained, as one pleases such is the program, such is the effect, and such, in turn, is the cause of Liberalism.
But the most pernicious -- because the most successful and lasting -- propagator of Liberalism is:
4. Secular education: To gain the child is to secure the man. To educate a generation apart from God and the Church is to feed the fires of Liberalism to repletion. When religion is divorced from the school, Liberalism becomes its paramour. Secularism is naturalism, the denial of the supernatural. When that denial is instilled into the soul of the child, the soil of the supernatural becomes sterilized. Liberalism has realized the terrific power of education and with satanic energy is now striving, the world over, for the possession of the child. (With what success we have only to look around us to realize.) In its effort to slay Christ, it decrees the slaughter of the innocents. "Snatch the soul of the child from the breast of its mother the Church," says Liberalism, "and I will conquer the world." HERE IS THE REAL BATTLEGROUND BETWEEN FAITH AND INFIDELITY. HE WHO IS VICTOR HERE IS VICTOR EVERYWHERE.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 17, 2019 13:12:05 GMT
Chapter 27 -- How to Avoid Liberalism
How may Catholics, who are perpetually surrounded by the snares of Liberalism, guard themselves securely against its dangers?
1. By the organization of all good Catholics, be their number great or small: They should become known to each other, meet each other, unite together in every locality -- every city, town or village, should have a nucleus of Catholic men of action.
Such an organization will attract the undecided, give courage to the hesitating and counteract the influence of hostile or indifferent surroundings. If you number only a dozen men of spirit, no matter. Found societies, especially of young men. Put yourselves in correspondence with older societies in your neighborhood, or even at a distance. Link your associations together association with association -- as the Roman legions used to form the military tortoise, by uniting shield with shield over their heads. Thus united, be your number ever so small, lift on high the banner of a sound, pure and uncompromising doctrine, without disguise, without attenuation, yielding not an inch to the enemy. Uncompromising courage is always noble, commands sympathy, and wins over the chivalric. To see a man battered by the floods, yet standing firm as a rock, upright and immovable, is an inspiring sight! Above all, give good example, give good example always.
What you preach, do! You will soon see how easily you force people to respect you; when you have gained their admiration, their sympathy will soon follow. Proselytes will be forthcoming. If Catholics only understood what a brilliant secular apostolate they could exercise by being open, straightforward, uncompromising practical Catholics, in word and deed, Liberalism and heresy would die a quick death.
2. Good journals
: Choose from among good journals that which is best, the one best adapted to the needs and the intelligence of the people who surround you. Read it; but not content with that, give it to others to read; explain it; comment on it, let it be your basis of operations. Busy yourself in securing subscriptions for it. Encourage the reluctant to take it; make it easy for those to whom it seems troublesome to send in their subscriptions. Place it in the hands of young people who are beginning their careers. Impress on them the necessity of reading it; show them its merits and its value. They will begin by tasting the sauce and will at last eat the fish. This is the way the advocates of Liberalism and impiety work for their journals; so then ought we to work for ours. A good Catholic journal is a peremptory or imperative necessity in our day. Whatever be its defects or inconveniences, its advantages and its benefits will outweigh them a thousandfold.
The Holy Father has said that "a Catholic paper is a perpetual mission in every parish." It is ever an antidote to the false journalism that meets you on every side. In general, do all in your power to further the circulation of Catholic literature, be it in the shape of book, brochure, lecture, sermon or pastoral letter. The weapon of the crusader of our times is the printed word.
3. The Catholic school: With all your power support the Catholic school, in deed and in word, with your whole heart and your whole soul. The Catholic school has become in this age the only secure bridge of the Faith from generation to generation. In our own country, we have been compelled to establish our own schools, unaided and alone. The prejudice and intolerance of Liberalism has refused us common justice. While we protest against the wrong and never cease demanding our right, our clear and peremptory duty is to provide the best possible schools of our own, where our children may be educated in the full and only true sense of the word. Where Catholic schools are needed, build them, build them, build them! Never tire in this absolutely necessary work. Bend every energy to it. Archbishop Hughes said, "Not until I have built my school shall one stone of my Cathedral be laid upon another' " This great prelate fully realized what every Catholic today should take as his motto, "The foundation of the parish church is the schoolhouse'" Be the support of the school a burden, be it built and perpetuated at a great sacrifice, its value is beyond estimation, the burden and the sacrifice are featherweights in comparison to the good that arises from the Catholic school. The spiritual life of a parish without a school is tepid, neither hot nor cold. Let the school be the best possible. Too much time or too much care cannot be given to it, for Catholic education amidst the deluge of Liberalism -- which has overwhelmed the world -- is the ark of salvation. Speak out fearlessly on this matter of education. Say squarely and frankly that irreligious education leads to the devil. An irreligious school is the school of Satan. Danton, a celebrated French revolutionist, continually cried, "Boldness! More boldness!" But we, for our part, must let our constant cry be, "Frankness! Frankness! Light! Light!" Nothing will more quickly put to flight the legions of Hell, who seduce only under the shelter of darkness.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 17, 2019 13:23:21 GMT
Chapter 28 -- How to Distinguish Catholic from Liberal Works
Qui male agit odit lucem
-- "Everyone that doth evil hateth the light" (John 3:20) -- said our Divine Lord. Iniquity works in obscurity.
It is not difficult to discover an enemy who comes to meet us in the broad daylight, or not to recognize as Liberals those who frankly declare themselves to be such.
But this sort of frankness is not ordinary to the Liberal sect. On the contrary, it is usually very clever and cautious in concealing its real meaning in various disguises. We may add that often the eye that ought to discover the imposture is not the clear-sighted eye of a lynx. There should therefore be some easy and popular criterion to distinguish, at every instant, the Catholic cry from the infernal birdcall of Liberalism.It often happens that some project or enterprise is put on foot, some sort of a work is undertaken, whose bearings Catholics cannot promptly or easily apprehend. It may appear indifferent or even innocent enough, and yet it may have its roots in error and be a mere artifice of the enemy -- flying our colors to allure us into an ambuscade.
It may speak the language of charity, appealing to us from the tenderest side, and ask us to associate ourselves with it in the name of a common humanity. "Sink all differences of creed and let us fraternize on the broader plane of brotherly love" is often its most insidious appeal. Such instances are arising every day of our lives. "Consult the Church" some may say; "its word is infallible and will dissipate all uncertainty." Very true, but the authority of the Church cannot be consulted at every moment and in every particular case. The Church has wisely laid down certain general principles for our guidance, but it has left to the judgment and prudence of each of us the special application of these principles to the thousand and one concrete cases which we have to face every day.
Now a case of this kind presents itself to be determined according to our own judgment and discretion. We are asked to give a contribution to such and such an undertaking, to Join such and such a society, to take part in such and such an enterprise, to subscribe to such and such a journal, and all this may be for God or the devil; or what is worse, it may be evil cloaked in the garb of holy things. How shall we guide ourselves in such a labyrinth?
Here are two very practical rules of ready service to a Catholic who is walking on slippery ground:
1. Observe carefully what class of people are the projectors of the affair. Such is the first rule of prudence and common sense.
It is based on that maxim of Our Lord: "A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit." Liberalism is naturally bound to produce writings, works and deeds impregnated with the spirit of Liberalism, or at least tainted with it. Therefore, we must carefully scrutinize the antecedents of the person or persons who organize or inaugurate the work in question. If they are such that you cannot have entire confidence in their doctrines, be on your guard against their enterprises. Do not disapprove immediately, for it is an axiom of theology that not all the works of infidels are sinful, and this axiom can be applied to the works of Liberals. But be careful not to take them immediately for good; mistrust them, submit them to examination, await their results.
2. Observe the kind of people who praise the work in question. This is an even surer rule than the preceding.
There are in the world two perfectly distinct currents: the Catholic current and the Liberal current. The first is reflected for the most part by the Catholic press; the second is reflected by the Liberal press. Is a new book announced? Are the beginnings of a new project published? See if the Liberal current approves, recommends and accounts them its own. If yes, the book and the project are judged: they belong to Liberalism.
It is evident that Liberalism has inspired them, distinguishing immediately what is injurious or useful to it, for Liberalism is never such a fool as not to understand what is opposed to it or to be opposed to that which is favorable to it. The sects, religious or infidel, have an instinct, a particular intuition (olfactus mentis
), as philosophers say, which reveals to them a priori
what is good or what is bad for them. Repudiate, then, whatever Liberals praise or vaunt.
It is evident that they have recognized -- by its nature or by its origin, or as a means or as an end -- something in the object so praised that is favorable to Liberalism. The clairvoyant instinct of the sect cannot deceive them. Certain scruples of charity and the habit of thinking well of our neighbor sometimes blind good people to such an extent as to lead them to attribute good intentions where unhappily they do not exist. This is not the case with falsifiers.
They always send their shot right to the center; they never credit good intentions where there are none, or even where there are. They always beat the bass-drum in favor of all that advances in any way their own nefarious propaganda. Discredit, therefore, what you see your known enemies proclaiming with hallelujahs.
It seems to us that these two rules of common sense, which we can call rules of good Christian sense, suffice -- if not to enable us to judge definitively every question -- at least to keep us from perpetually stumbling over the roughness of the uneven soil which we daily tread and where the combat is always taking place. The Catholic of the age should always bear in mind that the ground on which he walks is undermined in every direction by secret societies, that it is these who give the keynote to anti-Catholic polemics, that unconsciously and very often these secret societies are served even by those who detest their infernal work
. The actual strife is principally underground and against an invisible enemy, who rarely presents himself under his real device. He is to be scented, rather than seen; to be divined by instinct, rather than pointed out with the finger.
A good scent and practical sense are more necessary here than subtle reasoning or labored theories.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]
Post by Admin on Nov 17, 2019 13:26:09 GMT
Chapter 29 -- Liberalism and Journalism
The press has grown so omnipresent nowadays that there is no escape from it. It is therefore important to know exactly how to steer our course amidst the many perils that beset Catholics on this score. How then are we to distinguish between journals that merit or do not merit our confidence?
Or rather, what kind of journals ought to inspire us with very little and what with no confidence? In the first place, it is clear that such journals as boast of their Liberalism have no claim to our confidence in matters that Liberalism touches on. These are precisely the enemies against whom we have constantly to be on guard, against whom we have to wage perpetual war.
This point then is outside of our present consideration. All those who in our times claim the title of Liberalism, in the specific sense in which we always use the term, become our declared enemies and the enemies of the Church of God.But there is another class of journals less prompt to unmask and proclaim themselves, who love to live amidst ambiguities in an undefined and indefinite region of compromise. They declare themselves Catholic and aver their detestation and abhorrence of Liberalism, at least if we credit their words. These journals are generally known as Liberal Catholic. This is the class which we should especially mistrust, and we should not permit ourselves to be duped by its pretended piety.
When we find journals, Catholic in name and in profession, strongly leaning to the side of compromise and seeking to placate the enemy by concessions, we may rest assured that they are being drawn down the Liberal current, which is always too strong for such weak swimmers. He who places himself in the vortex of a maelstrom is sure in the end to be engulfed in it. The logic of the situation brings the inevitable conclusion.
The Liberal current is easier to follow. It is largely made up of proselytes and readily attracts the self-love of the weak. The Catholic current is apparently more difficult; it has fewer partisans and friends and requires us constantly to row against the stream, to stem the tide of perverse ideas and corrupt passions. With the uncertain, the vacillating and the unwary, the Liberal current easily prevails and sweeps them away in its fatal embrace. There is no room, therefore, for confidence in the Liberal Catholic press, especially in cases where it is difficult to form a judgment.
Moreover, in such cases, its policy of compromise and conciliation hampers it from forming any decisive or absolute judgment, for the simple reason that its judgment has nothing decisive or radical in it; on the contrary, it is always over-weighted with a preponderating inclination towards the expedient. Opportunism is its guiding star. The truly Catholic press is altogether Catholic, that is to say, it defends Catholic doctrine in all its principles and applications; it opposes all false teaching (known as such) always and entirely, opposite per diametrum
["diametrically opposed"], as St. Ignatius says in that golden book of his exercises. Arrayed with unceasing vigilance against error, it places itself on the frontier, always face-to face with the enemy. It never bivouacs with the hostile forces, as the compromising press loves to do.
Its opposition is definite and determined; it is not simply opposed to certain undeniable maneuvers of the foe, letting others escape its vigilance, but watches, guards, and resists at every point. It everywhere presents an unbroken front to evil, for evil is evil in everything, even in the good which, by chance, may accompany it.
Let us here make an observation to explain this last phrase, which may appear startling to some, and at the same time explain a difficulty entertained by not a few.Bad journals (we include doctrinally unsound journals under this head) sometimes contain something good. What are we to think of the good thus imbedded with the bad in them? We must think that the good in them does not prevent them from being bad, if their doctrine or their character is intrinsically bad.
In most cases this good is a mere artifice to recommend, or at least disguise, what in itself is essentially bad. Some accidentally good qualities do not take away the bad character of a bad man. An assassin and a thief are not good because they sometimes say a prayer or give alms to a beggar. They are bad in spite of their good works, because the general character of their acts, as well as their habitual tendencies, is bad and if they sometimes do good in order to cloak their malice, they are even worse than before.On the other hand, it sometimes happens that a good journal falls into such or such an error or into an excess of passion in a good cause and so says something which we cannot altogether approve. Must we for this reason call it bad? Not at all, and for a reverse although analogous reason. With it the evil is only accidental; the good constitutes its substance and is its ordinary condition. One of several sins do not make a man bad -- above all, if he repent of them and make amends. That alone is bad which is bad with full knowledge, habitually and persistently. Catholic journalists are not angels; far from it; they too are fragile men and sinners. To wish to condemn them for such or such a failing, for this or that excess, is to entertain a pharisaical or Jansenistic opinion of virtue, which is not in accord with sound morality!
To conclude, there are good and bad journals; among the latter are to be ranked those whose doctrine is ambiguous or ill-defined. Those that are bad are not to be accounted good because they happen to slip in something good, and those that are good are not to be accounted bad on account of some accidental failings.
Good Catholics, who judge and act loyally according to these principles, will rarely be deceived.
[Emphasis - The Catacombs]