Jul 11, 2013

Pope Pius VI, “Inscrutabile”

"When they have spread this darkness abroad and torn religion out of men's hearts, these accursed philosophers proceed to destroy the bonds of union among men, both those which unite them to their rulers, and those which urge them to their duty. They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.

Everyone must understand that such ravings and others like them, concealed in many deceitful disguises, cause greater ruin to public calm the longer their impious originators are unrestrained. They cause a serious loss of souls redeemed by Christ’s blood wherever their teaching spreads, like a cancer, it forces its way into public academies, into the houses of the great, into the palaces of kings, and even enters the sanctuary, shocking as it is to say so."

-Pope Pius VI, “Inscrutabile” (On The Problems Of The Pontificate)

Jul 3, 2013

Lord Acton on Liberty

Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

Jun 29, 2013

Lincoln, Writing to Thurlow Weed

Men are not flattered by being shown that there is a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, though, in this case would be to deny that there is a God governing the world.”

May 29, 2013

Lactantius on the Free Will of Religious Association

"Oh with what an honorable inclination the wretched men go astray! For they are aware that there is nothing among men more excellent than religion, and that this ought to be defended with the whole of our power; but as they are deceived in the matter of religion itself, so also are they in the manner of its defense. For religion is to be defended, not by putting to death, but by dying; not by cruelty, but by patient endurance; not by guilt, but by good faith. … For if you wish to defend religion by bloodshed, and by tortures, and by guilt, it will no longer be defended, but will be polluted and profaned. For nothing is so much a matter of free will as religion; in which, if the mind of the worshiper is disinclined to it, religion is at once taken away, and ceases to exist."
Lactantius, “The Divine Institutes, in “Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries,” in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 156-7.

Nov 14, 2012

L’abbé Laberthonnière on the Triumph of the Church in Society

"The triumph of the Church in society? That would be excellent. But then, it is necessary to examine by what means our religion permits us to pursue it. Moreover, it has not been promised us. And then, it is not, perhaps, the most pressing of our tasks... Her power does not consist in giving orders, to which external obedience is required, backed up by threats or favors. Her power is to raise souls to the life above. It is to give birth to and to cultivate in consciences the supernaturalizing obligation to live for God and for others, through Christ, and to pass through temporal defeats to a triumph that is timeless. 'Do not indulge in childish dreams, when you have in your grasp eternal realities that invite you. Understand, all you who would triumph and reign on earth – Et nunc, reges, intellegite."

Nov 6, 2012

Monsignor Ronald Knox's Test for Defining Christians

"The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome… And in fact there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labeling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other."

Nov 5, 2012

The Then Cardinal Ratzinger Addressing The Bundestag On Political Morality

It is of course always difficult to adopt the sober approach that does what is possible and does not cry enthusiastically after the impossible; the voice of reason is not as loud as the cry of unreason. The cry for the large-scale has the whiff of morality; in contrast limiting oneself to what is possible seems to be renouncing the passion of morality and adopting the pragmatism of the faint-hearted. But, in truth, political morality consists precisely of resisting the seductive temptation of the big words by which humanity and its opportunities are gambled away. It is not the adventurous moralism that wants itself to do God’s work that is moral, but the honesty that accepts the standards of man and in them does the work of man. It is not refusal to compromise but compromise that, in political things, is the true morality.”
Cardinal Ratzinger, as he then was, addressing the Catholic members of the Bundestag on 26 November 1981