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Fortnight For Freedom 2017

 

As in years past The American Catholic will participate in the Fortnight for Freedom proclaimed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Each day up to the Fourth of July we will have a special blog post on the subject of liberty and freedom.

I debated in my mind whether to participate this year.  With a friend of liberty in the White House, it seemed less pressing to participate than under the odious Obama regime that was a clear and pressing danger to American liberty.  However, as our history shows, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and the issues raised in regard to the defense of our freedoms goes to the very heart of what it means to be an American.  This country was born in furious debate and thus it must continue.  And so we will take part again this year.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

27 Comments

  1. God made all things AND KEEPS THEM IN EXISTENCE. it is this “KEEPS THEM IN EXISTENCE” battle that must be fought against the forces of hell. It is God’s battle. Make no mistake. “their Creator” created man in freedom and endowed the sovereignty of man to each and every person. It is to maintain the kingdom of heaven that we must be constantly vigilant.

  2. Freedom, use it or loose it. The same can be said of Teaching Authority.

    It was during the Obama administration when I first heard… a sermon on contraception, a weak one, but one none the less. Now, things are suddenly quiet again.
    We need exercises in solid Teaching much more than a “Fortnight For Freedom 2017” celebration.

  3. The captains of our ships…both secular and sacred, seem to be asleep at the wheel! Bishops wake up!

  4. The USCCB claims “How to talk about Religious Liberty,” that religious Freedom is “2. A Fundamental Right” but religious freedom is not a fundamental right in Catholic Tradition and so it seems to ABS that claim is in direct opposition to Mirari Vos, Pascendi, The Syllabus of Errors, the Leonine Encyclicals, (Immortale Dei, and Libertas) and other examples could be multiplied.

    It can not be contested the Magisterium of today has pitted itself against the Magisterium of Tradition and so instead of celebrating this contentious chaos, let’s consider just getting drunk.

    The Thomist, Msgr. BruneroGherardini, “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II A MUCH NEEDED DISCUSSION” produces a recapitulation of the Church historic opposition to the claims of the USCCB (See Denzinger 647 for a rather different consideration of Religious LIberty).

    On page 217 of his text, Msgr Gherardini observes: The content of DH and the contents of the previous Magisterium are different. So, there is neither continuity nor development of the previous Magisterium in DH.

  5. It’s not so simple as that. Limited religious tolerance was always extended to the Jews, for example, with the Popes of the Middle Ages often being the protector of the Jews. The Crusaders, with the consent of the Church, extended tolerance to many Christian groups in the East that would have been considered to be heretical. During the first three centuries of Christianity the Church asked to be merely left alone by Caesar. The discussion is complicated by the fact that heretical groups often didn’t seek tolerance but rather to destroy the Church. It is interesting that at the height of the Wars of Religion, during the reign of Mary Tudor, the Pope through his representatives was counseling a tolerant go slow approach. Pope Innocent XI expressed his displeasure at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the persecution of the French Protestants undertaken by Louis XIV. Pope Gregory XVI, no fan of republics, noted that because of the hands off policy to religion in the United States, that except for the Papal States in no other country was he more the Pope.

    I think a good case can be made that the Church never came out against religious freedom, as we understand it today, in a regime where the Catholic Church was tolerated and protected by the Civil Authority. Actions of the past cannot be viewed in isolation but must be understood as they related to the conditions of the time.

  6. “religious freedom, as we understand it today” I wish I understood how we understand it today 🙂
    We are getting into the odd position of seculars discussing and dividing theological questions– like Bernard Sanders- whose opinion has some weight.
    Plus, of course, words don’t mean what they have always meant– and they mean different things in different places. I read that religious freedom in England meant that every citizen had the right to the ministration of the Anglican church.

  7. “We are getting into the odd position of seculars discussing and dividing theological questions–”

    In my case I am discussing the history of the Church and religious freedom.

  8. Yes I understood that and appreciated your post. I was just jumping to a aspect of the discussion that is a concern to me– a lack of shared understanding of the meaning of terms.
    And also the very loud voice of today’s secular politicians who have a big impact religious liberty, maybe without a personal involvement in religion.

  9. With the Catholic Church siding with the secular world in so many ways we have to wonder whether in the future the Fortnight of Freedom will be seen as an archaic and un-necessary practice. Seems to me our general loss of faith within and outside the Church should be our main concern.

  10. Limited religious tolerance was always extended to the Jews, for example, with the Popes of the Middle Ages often being the protector of the Jews

    True enough but the Church did not let them proselytise and Catholics could not work for them etc. whereas the Judaised protestants who established America were keen on preventing the true religion from being an effective force against its desires and so they chose to keep religion private even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.

    ABS acknowledges we disagree on this but he is not about to belabor the point on your blog so ABS will just retire from this thread and thank you for your patience.

    Simliar repossess could be made to your other examples

  11. “even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.”

    And what a disaster getting into bed with Caesar has been for the Church. At best it makes for a lazy Church. At worst it makes for a Church that becomes a national Church that looks to the State for marching orders as occurred with the Gallican movement in the Church in France. Where the State has historically adopted a hands off policy with the Church, the Church has flourished. Modern liberalism seeks to place hands on the Church which is one reason why I oppose it so strongly.

  12. While prudential concerns might dictate that tolerance be extended by the state, and indeed, in the modern world, it’s hard to imagine a state (though some exceptions come to mind: Poland, for instance) *not* exercising practical tolerance, it is undeniable that the Church taught, as part of its ordinary magisterium, that the state qua state has a duty to acknowledge the one true religion and favor it, since the purpose of the state is to facilitate the telos of human existence, namely salvation, and salvation comes only through Christ and His Church. Again, that the public recognition of the Church and the suppressing of sects might be utterly impractical at a given time does not diminish the reality of the state’s duties with respect to God.

  13. “does not diminish the reality of the state’s duties with respect to God.”

    Having Caesar act as a guardian for the Church has, in practice, been bad for the Church. I am glad that the idea of it being accomplished anywhere currently seems impossible. The less involvement that the Church has with Caesar the better.

  14. Well, the point is, regardless of one’s view about the historical success or not of state cooperation with the Church (a lengthy, complicated, and nuanced one, revealing successes and failures), the Church’s *doctrine* as opposed to any individual’s assessment of the wisdom of how the doctrine has concretely played out, is clear: the State, deriving authority as it does from God, is bound to cooperate in helping men achieve their final end. For further study, cf, Mortalium Animos, Libertas Praestantissimum, Mirari Vos, the Syllabus of Errors, Vehementer Nos, and even the “liberal” Leo XII in Longique Oceana, where he said: “it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced.”
    I agree with the Popes and the Magisterium on this one.

  15. whereas the Judaised protestants

    Oh?

    who established America were keen on preventing the true religion from being an effective force against its desires and so they chose to keep religion private even though Catholic Doctrine teaches the state has a duty to worship God publicly.

    That’s a most … inventive understanding of New England Puritans.

  16. “I agree with the Popes and the Magisterium on this one.”

    Actually you disagree with some of the Popes and the Magisterium on this one, as do I, since Popes and the Magisterium have proclaimed different things in regard to religious freedom and the relationship of the Church to the State at different times.
    In regard to religious freedom I say ditto to John Paul II:
    https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/messages/pont_messages/1980/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_19800901_helsinki-act.html

    The history of the Church with the State tends to be a combative and an unhappy one and the Church should always have followed the example of Christ and the early Christians who never asked anything of Caesar for three centuries except to be left alone.

  17. Sorry, but the perennial doctrine on the duties of the state to the true Faith remains unchanged by Vatican II, as the Declaration on Religious Liberty expressly stated, that document, while acknowledging a personal right to free exercise of religion, “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”
    That “untouched traditional doctrine” was expressed in the papal magisterial documents I mentioned previously. There is no more definitive statement than these encyclicals, affirmed by the express words of an Ecumenical Council, regardless of the personal opinions of a particular Pope. A Catholic may not like that teaching, but a Catholic is bound to accept them by “religious submission of the mind and will,” as Lumen Gentium, another document of Vatican II phrased it.

  18. Where the State has historically adopted a hands off policy with the Church, the Church has flourished

    Not in America.

    Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies in that each has as its disposal all of the means to meet each of its ends (salvation and Sanctification, Church Common Good, State) but both must acknowledge God as the source of authority and, thus, the state can not legislate in opposition to Jesus Christ the King as His commandments and yet we see that America has established positive law that succors the Four Sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance.

    Abortion
    Sodomy
    Usury
    Open Borders -> excessive labor -> decreased wages
    etc etc.

    This malign madness is one that ought not be celebrated

  19. “Not in America.”

    Of course it has, at least until Vatican II. Also compare and contrast the state of the Church in this country with traditional Catholic countries like Spain and Austria where the Church is on life support.

    “Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies:Both the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and The State are perfect societies ”

    Even a cursory review of history would indicate that is complete and total rubbish. The only aspect of the Church that is a perfect society is the Church Triumphant.

  20. “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

    “Leaves untouched”, yes. Smashed to bits would be more accurate. As we attorneys know Tom, words can be used in many ways but they can never alter reality. The idea that the Church today would support a state that forbade all religions except Catholicism is simple lunacy.

    “Government is also to help create conditions favorable to the fostering of religious life, in order that the people may be truly enabled to exercise their religious rights and to fulfill their religious duties, and also in order that society itself may profit by the moral qualities of justice and peace which have their origin in men’s faithfulness to God and to His holy will. (6)

    If, in view of peculiar circumstances obtaining among peoples, special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional order of society, it is at the same time imperative that the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom should be recognized and made effective in practice.

    Finally, government is to see to it that equality of citizens before the law, which is itself an element of the common good, is never violated, whether openly or covertly, for religious reasons. Nor is there to be discrimination among citizens.

    It follows that a wrong is done when government imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other means, the profession or repudiation of any religion, or when it hinders men from joining or leaving a religious community. All the more is it a violation of the will of God and of the sacred rights of the person and the family of nations when force is brought to bear in any way in order to destroy or repress religion, either in the whole of mankind or in a particular country or in a definite community”

    Compare and contrast that section of DH with this section from the Syllabus of Errors:’

    “77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. — Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship. — Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.”

  21. That’s a most … inventive understanding of New England Puritans.

    It is not really inventive, rather, it just describes what happened in a nutshell.

    The English Puritans exited to the Low Countries where they we’re schooled by such men as the Jews who had been bounced out of Spain and those prots/puritans came to the colonies and established their Judaised Protestant state.

    P. 84 here:

    http://www.nhinet.org/moots23-1.pdf

    OK, earlier ABS said he would shut up and so he will even though the topic is interesting

  22. Of course it has, at least until Vatican II. Also compare and contrast the state of the Church in this country with traditional Catholic countries like Spain and Austria where the Church is on life support.

    I think you mean France, not Spain. I’m not aware of any country in Europe bar Malta (and perhaps Poland) where the Church has much vigor, but IIRC Spain and Portugal are above the median.

  23. It is not really inventive, rather, it just describes what happened in a nutshell.

    In the space between your ears only.

  24. I wrote my undergrad thesis on the conflict between Dignitatis Humanae and the traditional teaching of the Church, particularly as enunciated by the Church Fathers, so yes, I’m acutely aware of the “tension” (to put it mildly) between DH and tradition. Nonetheless, the duty of a Catholic is, to use the legalese we so love, to interpret the teaching in pari materia, attempting to show continuity, not discontinuity. Many have done so with respect to DH, some with more success than others. Fr. Brian Harrison (another lawyer!) came closest in my view. http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt151.html
    What all orthodox commenters maintain, however, is that the traditional teaching remains intact so far as the duties of individuals and societies both to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ and order their affairs accordingly. This does not, by the way, necessarily mean a fusion of Church and State, but rather the State accompanying the Church in the effort to save souls. Think 15th and 16th century Spain, where a confessional state kept the country from going Protestant. Other examples exist, but it’s a sidetrack, since the issue is the principle. By the way, “perfect society” is a theological/philosophical term of art, not a concrete descriptive. Both Church and state are in fact perfect societies. (cf., http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35522)

  25. “By the way, “perfect society” is a theological/philosophical term of art, not a concrete descriptive. Both Church and state are in fact perfect societies.”

    I’m aware of that Tom but I find it amusing since historically it is simply not accurate of any human society. It is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that the term has not been used by the Church much since its swan song usage by Paul VI in ’69.

    I understand the desire to pretend that DH does not break with tradition but I find the arguments simply unconvincing. It is like arguing that there is no difference between our Universe and the Bearded Spock Universe. One can imagine Pope John Paul II in Heaven futilely attempting to convince Pio Nono that DH did not involve a rupture from what he taught in the Syllabus of Errors.

    In regard to Spain one could argue that the close alliance of State and Church fanned the flames of the anti-clericalism that became such a feature of Spanish life in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Longterm I think such identification by the Church with a local Caesar is almost always a bad bargain for the Church.

  26. IMMORTALE DEI
    ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON THE CHRISTIAN CONSTITUTION OF STATES

    See #23- #36
 if there is no time to read all of it
    note #35 in which Pope Leo XII reiterates Tradition that Church and State are perfect societies.

    The Church has abandoned Tradition vis a vis the Church and State and it is impossible to reconcile DH with Tradition.

    In any event, were a nominal Catholic (i.e. the USCCB members) to read the great encyclicals of Pope Leo XII, they’d be constrained to clam-up about glorifying Freedom of Religion.

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