My government angers me …

obama_berlusconi_medvedMany of us become quite exercised about the condition of our countries. Quite understandably so.  A Catholic cannot rise in the morning and go through his daily round without arriving home in the evening feeling his sensibilities have been violated in a hundred ways, and we cannot help but ask ourselves: how did our country become such a godless wasteland.  The answer that readily comes to mind is that our nations have turned their back on Christ.  The remedy, then, is for the nations to face Christ and acknowledge His social kingship.

Brown and MerkelBut much of the talk about the social kingship of Christ is just that – talk.  It doesn’t go anywhere.  A speaker at a Traditional Catholic conference can give a rousing oration in which he presents incontrovertible proof that rulers of nations, as well as individuals, are obliged to acknowledge Jesus Christ not only as the head of the one true Church but as the head of humanity.  None of us would argue with that claim, but where does it leave us?  How do we establish this kingship?

Paris uprisingSt. Thomas tells us that we don’t have to be constantly proclaiming our faith, but there are times when we must.  Should the faith be denied or denigrated in a public setting when we are present, we ought to rise in its defense, but our actions should be proportioned to the circumstance and tempered by charity.  Of course, not everyone is a gifted polemicist and an incompetent apologia might do more harm than good.  We should realize our limitations.  Most importantly, we should avoid anger.  mugabeThis can be very difficult, for there is much to be angry about.  Yet, there are few displays of human emotion less attractive than anger. You may succeed in intimidating someone through anger, but you will not win his mind or heart. Quite the reverse.  You will engender resentment.

Some traditional Catholics are very angry at their governments which they denounce as a cabal of freemasons and atheists.  They want to insist on the social kingship of Christ, and they see the governments as the agents of those who would deny this kingship, and so they rail at the governments.  I am in sympathy with their general cause, but I don’t think that cause is advanced through these fomentations.

So what should be our attitude toward the state?  As in all things, we should look at where we are, not at where we would like to be, then look to our tradition.

ruddWhat was our Lord’s attitude?  We find no denunciation of the civil power in the Gospels.  Our Lord never gave voice to any condemnation of imperial Rome.  Of its paganism, its brutality, its lust for domination, no mention is made.  A trap was set for Him, an inducement to seditious talk, but Our Lord responded with words that we might well ponder: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”.  And then He told Peter to pay the tax for both of them with the coin found in the mouth of a fish.

And let’s recall that before we receive communion, we repeat the words of a Roman centurion, a detested agent of the evil state but a man who had greater faith than anyone in Israel.  Our Lord showed no interest in politics – He was interested in men, in their individual salvation, no matter what party they belonged to.


23 Responses to “My government angers me …”

  1. 1 Ron July 13, 2009 at 17:05

    We have been slowly and deliberately taught that monarchies and kings are bad things, and papal supervision of any kind in government, even over its morals, is a very bad thing AND scarcely anyone is ever told any more that France, Spain and Portugal, Poland and Hungary, England and Sweden and Belgium, all had kings and queens who ruled their lands gloriously and brought untold happiness and well-being to their subjects. Interesting to note too, historically, that all these countries were ‘great’ when Catholic! 🙂
    Indeed, the pages of both Dom Gueranger and Alban Butler, whose respective Liturgical Year and Lives of the Saints are true classics, are filled with accounts of Royal Sanctity.

    There were, to be sure, corrupt Kings, just as there were and are corrupt clerics. But that does not change the fact that the institutions these fallible humans represent are capable of producing greatness in a way their alternatives cannot.

    Examine the history of any republic you like – with the exceptions of such men as Garcia Moreno in Ecuador, Lucas Alaman in Mexico, Engelbert Dollfuss in Austria, and Heinrich Bruening in Germany (all of whom, coincidentally, were Monarchists who thought the time of restoration as yet unripe for their particular countries), it is a record of mediocrities at best, and monsters at worst.
    Hitler was elected, after all.

    Thanks for the post in English 🙂 I look forward to your ‘musings’ …

  2. 2 Marcie July 13, 2009 at 17:10

    But Ron, Isn’t a king simply a dictator with a crown?

  3. 3 Ron July 13, 2009 at 17:25

    Certainly not. Every dictator is a self-made man. Having clawed his way to the top, he considers himself beholden neither to God nor man. His talent for acquiring power is generally unaccompanied by learning or skill in state-craft—hence the often crude and clownish impression made by such folk. Unbound by tradition, he may rule according to his own whim.

    A Monarch, on the other hand, is bound by tradition and ceremonial to reign in a certain way. He has been trained for his role since infancy, and knows he owes his position to no talent of his own. In a word, a Monarch may just have a little room for humility; no dictator ever can.

  4. 4 andrea July 13, 2009 at 23:30

    Aspettando la Gerusalemme celeste. In attesa della parusìa,la seconda venuta di Cristo,noi cristiani dobbiamo partecipare all’edificazione del Regno di Dio in terra. E’ il compito della Chiesa. La nostra attesa non è passiva,ma è un’attesa attiva. La politica,come diceva un Papa sarebbe la più alta forma di Carità. Sarebbe lo strumento per eccellenza per questa preparazione attiva dell’avvento del Regno di Cristo sulla Terra. Tuttavia, questo non si sta verificando,a causa delle speranze mondane e strettamente terrestri dell’azione politica e della mentalità delle “leadership”,mentalità sempre più impostata da un punto di vista materialistico e utilitaristico. Perciò, anche la frase di Gesù “date a Cesare quel che è di Cesare e date a Dio ciò che è di Dio,è stata usata negativamente e più volte fraintesa secondo il proprio comodo. Noi cristiani dobbiamo avere il coraggio di dire “attento Cesare”,non approfittare delle Parole di Cristo,secondo i tuoi fini;la mia vita e i miei valori “non sono negoziabili”,non ti appartengono,non ti do la mia vita e non ti appoggio in nessun modo nelle scelte che mettono a rischio la vita umana,la dignità,quella mia e sopratutto quella del mio prossimo.
    Esempio:Avremmo noi il coraggio di rifiutare di partire per una guerra ingiusta(anche se tutte le guerre sono ingiuste),come hanno fatto alcuni soldati israeliani,che hanno rifiutato di arruolarsi e adesso sono in carcere?


  5. 5 Brian July 14, 2009 at 05:02

    I have to say that when I return home from work – my sensabilities have been violated. First of all, most of my co-workers are pro-choice (a stupid term). I have all but given up on trying to bring them the Truth, or at least a taste of it. A few of my co-workers are right out of college, a Jesuit College. And they are clueless about their faith. Then of course, my government, right now, is an mess.

    What is the best government? I would agree with Aquinas.
    Monarchy would be the best, providing the ruler adhere’s to God’s law. But what are the chances of that….

    St. Aquinas says “whatever is in accord with nature is best, for nature always operates for the best. But in nature government is always by one. Among the members of the body, the heart moves all the other parts;among the parts of the soul one power, reason, predominates. Among the bees there is one king bee, and in the whole universe one God is the maker and ruler of all.This is in accord with reason since every plurality derives from unity. Therefore since art imitates nature and a work of art is better to the degree that it resembles what is in nature, it follows that it is best for a human group to be ruled by one person.”

    God bless!

  6. 6 Davide July 14, 2009 at 07:07

    Ron, I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said! This blog has really sparked a good arguement and I hope those reading these comments adopt a socratic approach of communication and take in Ron’s clear distinction between a monarch and a dictator. There is, indeed, a lack of knowledge in this matter in today’s world.

  7. 7 Federico Sangallo July 14, 2009 at 08:32

    Ben detto Andrea.

    Il Cattolico che fa politica deve avere non solo la compassione delle mani e del cuore, ma anche la compassione del cervello. Analizza in profondità le situazioni di malessere. Apporta rimedi sostanziali sottratti alla fosforescenza del precariato. Non fa delle sofferenze della gente l’occasione per gestire i bisogni a scopo di potere. Paga di persona il prezzo di una solidarietà che diventa passione per l’uomo. Addita in termini planetari e senza paure, i focolai da cui partono le ingiustizie, le violenze, le guerre, le oppressioni, le violazioni dei diritti umani.

    Sicché, man mano che il Cattolico entra in politica, dovrebbe uscirne di pari passo la mentalità clientelare, il vassallaggio dei sistemi correntizi, la spartizione oscena del denaro pubblico, il fariseismo teso a scopi reconditi di dominio.

    Ma è realta questa? O solo un sogno?

  8. 8 Lavinia July 14, 2009 at 08:45

    Per me è chiaro che dire ‘cattolico’ non può significare una categoria della politica. Oggi, in Italia i cattolici sono più liberi: possono impegnarsi in politica portando nel partito che hanno scelto la propria declinazione del cattolicesimo. Io, per esempio, da cattolica democratica (questa, sì, è una categoria politica), mi sento serenamente più vicina alle posizioni della sinistra, fermo restando che sui problemi eticamente sensibili convergerei sulle posizioni del mondo cattolico che, in molti casi, sono quelli della desta…… ecco il mio dilemma! 😦

  9. 9 Ward Torres July 14, 2009 at 09:30

    I agree with Davide, there is a lot of ignorance on this matter, a lot of jabber about the superiority of a republic (whose fault? The history teachers?) 🙂 The popular wisdom holds that Catholics must be republicans (!)

    I believe we must not forget that the Church is a Monarchy. Our religious head, the Pope, is also a temporal sovereign, albeit having signed away most of his land in 1929. The tiara, the triple crown, reminds us that he is the last of all Christian absolute monarchs. Although the Popes since Leo XIII (1878-1903) have been at pains to emphasise that the Church can coexist with any form of government, Pius VI (1775-1799) was clear in echoing his predecessors from St. Peter (“Fear God, Honour the King”) on. In his 1793 allocution, Pourquoi Notre Voix, after calling Monarchy “the best of governments”; he went on to attack the French Revolutionaries for abolishing it. In writing after writing, before and since, various Popes heaped praise on the institution, pointing out its roots in the Kingship of Christ Himself. In 1925, Pius XI wrote an encyclical on the topic, Quas primas, in which he maintained that: Christ Himself speaks of His own Kingly authority; in His last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in his reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked Him publicly whether He were a King or not; after His resurrection, when giving to His Apostles the mission of teaching and baptising all nations, He took the opportunity to call Himself King, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given Him in heaven and on earth.

    The Pontiff goes on to say that “When once men recognise, both in private and in public life that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well ordered discipline, peace and harmony. Our Lord’s regal office invests the human authority of princes and rulers with a religious significance; it ennobles the citizen’s duty of obedience.” To underscore this point, he enacted at that time a new feast-day for the Church calendar – the Feast of Christ the King.

  10. 10 Griff July 14, 2009 at 10:47

    A solid post and beautifully put.

    It’s always tempting to say “It’s worse where I am”, but I honestly think things in the UK are amongst the worst anywhere in the World as far as moral decline and secular heathenism are concerned.

    For all of his faults, at least Berlusconi has character and humour, which is a lot more than can be said for Gordon Brown!

  11. 11 Benedek July 14, 2009 at 18:47

    In 2004 Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, drew national headlines. In his final weeks as bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, he asked three Catholic public figures to refrain from presenting themselves for Communion. He then asked his priests to withhold Communion from Catholic public officials who supported abortion rights. The three offending politicians claimed merely to be pro-choice. In Burke’s view, though, their actions showed a material support for abortion and a stubborn disregard for their own faith. All three had voted for or otherwise supported forcing Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. In effect, they had publicly tried to coerce the Church to violate her teaching on a serious sanctity-of-life issue.

    Burke’s action made quite a few enemies, even among people who saw themselves as Catholic. Burke received no glowing praise from the “New York Times”. He got rather offensive treatment from the news media. But he hadn’t checked with the “Times” for its approval. What the “Times” thought didn’t matter. What the Church believed, did.

    That for me is standing up for one’s faith against modern politics! How proud I feel knowing that Burke is a Catholic Bishop!

    First, when Catholics take their Church seriously and act on her teaching in the world, somebody, and often somebody with power, won’t like it. Second, in recent politics, the line that divides “prophetic witness” from “violating the separation of Church and state” usually depends on who draws the line, who gets offended – and by what issue. The line wanders conveniently. But Catholics, in seeking to live their faith, cannot follow convenience.

  12. 12 Joe of St. Therese July 14, 2009 at 22:15

    This is something I’m actually as a side project doing more research into.

    I totally agree with Ron on this…As I’ve taught in my classes the State is supposed to be servant of the Truth . Laws should not be contrary to Divine Law or Natural Law.

    I’ve had to put to bed the liberal education of many of my students about the forms of government. It’s caused interesting debate in many of my classes.

  13. 13 booklady July 15, 2009 at 02:21

    Thank you SO much Gabriella!

    I struggle with this issue on a daily basis and you have put into words — so eloquent they bring tears to my eyes! — exactly how we are to respond to this godless wasteland which we live in. Praise Him!

  14. 14 Cinzia July 16, 2009 at 11:34

    I agree so much with what Brian says – I feel exactly like you do Brian – about my sensibilities being violated every day, particularly by a stupid, narrow-minded media. I have completely given up trying to say anything to anyone about my faith and Catholicism. The reactions I invariably get are those of derision and scorn. Also, because I am not able to put to words my thoughts and beliefs nowhere near as superbly as Gabriella can (and indeed so many of you other commentators) I keep my mouth shut, because, as your post says Gabriella, I risk doing more damage than good … except when it comes to the issue of abortion! I feel so strongly about this and am so appalled and horrified at what I read, see and hear, that I always say my bit and bring up the subject as often as I can … no matter what, and I couldn’t care less in this instance who’s sensibilities I violate!

    How sad to think of our respective countries as godless wastelands. But what else can we think? A few months ago a new “updated” law was welcomed with applause and tears of joy by many in Australia – a new law allowing late term abortions, or second and third trimester abortions. God help us!! Already there are some 150,000 abortions being performed every year (but that is not an exact figure – there are NO exact figures anywhere to be found). It’s a figure I read in an article once a couple of years ago – and I believe it comes close to the reality.

    The most amazing thing of all is that if you talk to people, all these “pro-choicers” – they have no idea how these abortions are done and what happens to the baby afterwards. Most have no clue that a baby’s skull gets “vacuumed” to as to allow its head to exit after the limbs and the rest of the body has been pulled out .. and then that most of these babies end up in a crematorium in a heap (does that picture in your mind’s eye ring a bell?)….

    I believe more than 100 million abortions have taken place in the world in just the last few years …. how’s that for a holocaust? More than Mao and Stalin and Hitler put together? yes a godless wasteland indeed!!

  15. 15 Feliks Wallenty, Denmark July 16, 2009 at 14:54

    How right you are Cinzia! How awful is this whole killing of innocents!
    Is there any hope for those of us who refuse, as the prophet Daniel refused, to worship the beast and see abortion as it really is: a holocaustal monument to the god of death? Do we dare enter the lion’s den of political correctness and challenge a false right masqueraded as a woman’s right? Do we believe we can emerge without a trace of it’s stench on our souls, redeemed and alive? Yes, yes and yes!!!! The answer is us, the Church, the Body of Christ and our obedient response to God’s world. As daylight is to vampires and penicillin is to infection, pro-abortionists hate God’s word, especially when it is forcefully proclaimed by His people against their evil license.
    They will come crawling to the Church to ask for help.
    “Fidel Castro wants help from the Church to fight the plague of abortion in his country”, reported an Italian cardinal at the end of a visit with the Cuban president.
    Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, spoke of his recent trip in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
    “Fidel Castro is asking us for help to combat the plague of abortion in Cuba. The spread of abortion, as Fidel Castro emphasized, is among the causes of the country’s demographic crisis,” he said. “And it is also a consequence of the plague of sexual tourism.”

  16. 16 Cinzia July 17, 2009 at 00:36

    Thank you Feliks for words of reassurance. So good to hear that there is at least a start somewhere in trying to stop, or at least minimise, in some way this terrible slaughter of human beings.

    Hopefully more leaders will follow in Castro’s footsteps, and more and more women will come to their senses and “see the light.”

    Have a wonderful day.

  17. 17 Gabor Hajas July 17, 2009 at 13:51

    I too find the days hard. Government coworkers etc I am not sure what they stand for anymore. I see a strong moral decay in society today as we become more and more godless. Young people are taught to idloize so called music icons or sport icons and when these icons mess uop their lives they aare told it is okay.
    God is never an option presented at all or the teachings of the bible.
    When I went to school we had to recite the Lord’s prayer everyday, now that is not needed as the other religions would have their rights violated.
    Catholic schools also do not uphold catholic values or teach them! As I said the more godless we become the worse we get!!! Time to change!!!

  18. 18 Cinzia July 18, 2009 at 06:03

    Yes Gabor, time to change – but how? what a daunting task!! Perhaps all of us who comment on this blog, and other similar ones, should be putting our thoughts out there to the wider community … in these blogs we all sort of agree with each other – that is why our writings would be more useful “out there” where there is no religion, no values etc and where, as you rightly say, sports and music icons, no matter how depraved or godless, get turned into gods, legends and idols.

    I believe the saddest of all things (if we can categorise them) is the fact that even Christmas is now to be regarded as a politically correct day – and schools, public places and workplaces are banned from saying “Happy Christmas” – but should say instead “Happy holidays” (so as not to offend others!!!) Christmas trees and cribs cannot be put up anywhere any more, and Christmas day is now “just another public holiday.”

    The world has gone completely mad is what I think!!! To get to the point of completely distorting the commemoration of Jesus’ birth ….. how very very sad …….

    How can we, the ones who participate in this blog and are the ones who, along with Gabriella, swim against a very strong current, how can we begin to change things?

    I am willing to be a part of something, anything …. that can get, say, Gabriella’s great articles, and everyone’s ideas and comments …. out there in the wider jungle !!!!

  19. 19 james m July 18, 2009 at 11:04

    Great post Gabriella.

    While everything appeared at its darkest (during the Crucifixion), the greatest good was being wrought.

    And now in 2009, even though much appears grim, we have stupendous reason for full Hope.

    Viva Cristo Rey!

  20. 20 Bill Turner July 18, 2009 at 20:39

    Cinzia, I know exactly how you feel. One does get to feel so hopeless. I suppose we can start by spreading the link to Gabriella’s blog (and all the other beautiful blogs of the commentators) to all the people we know.
    And then, of course, we can pray.

    James, I know we should never forget HOPE but, boy, wish I had your optimism! 😉

  21. 21 Cinzia July 19, 2009 at 03:01

    Dear James – put a tiny bit of your wonderful hope and optimism in a parcel and post it out to me via UPS express international ……

    On a serious note though, as I write this I am looking at the beautiful picture of Our Lady “Causa nostrae laetitiae.” All I need to do is put all my faith and trust in Her and in Her Beloved Son – and then I will feel heartened, encouraged and hopeful.

    “Hail holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.”

    Bill, I will do exactly as you say and start spreading the links.

    Greetings to all.

  22. 22 anne bender July 23, 2009 at 00:55

    I’m with James-let’s try to see the bright side of things. I know it isn’t easy. I myself struggle within my family (didn’t Jesus say something about divisions in the family?) My sister has left the Catholic Church over 20 years ago. We continue to have faith discussions even today. You’d think with all that practice my apologetics would be so strong by now, but I still need so much work! Looking on the bright side helps me to get out of bed each day when there is so much to be distressed about. On the other hand, the world is filled with so many lovely people, like the ones I meet on the blogs, how can I keep from smiling?

    Thanks Gabriella for the invite-I just may take you up on it someday! I’ve always wanted to visit Rome!

  23. 23 anne bender July 23, 2009 at 00:55

    Forgot to mention, I love your pro-life picture! It ‘s the cutest one I’ve ever seen!

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July 2009
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INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

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“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
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Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.

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Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
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Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.

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