29 October 2008

Spiritual Sloth

Like many people I will be very glad when the campaign season is over and the constant saturation of our lives with political messages and debate has ceased. It has been a constant challenge particularly in what will likely be the most important election for several generations to maintain proper focus on our spiritual lives. I came across the following in the book "The Light of the World" by Benedict Baur O.S.B. which is a book of meditations for Sundays and weekdays of the liturgical year. It deals with Spiritual Sloth and the danger it poses in growing in virtue.

"Brethren: See how you walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The times are indeed evil, filled with temptations, allurements, and dangers for our unstable supernatural aspirations and efforts. The chief danger and difficulty lie in our natural inclination toward spiritual sloth, which hinders us in our attempts to make use of our time for God and for the cultivation of a deep spirituality. the three chief forms of spiritual sloth are distraction, melancholy or depression of spirit, and occupation with unnecessary things.

Distraction is a state in which we are occupied with things which should not occupy us at the time. It is a "sin without a body." Distractions work in silence and call no attention to themselves. In fact, one of the most dangerous aspects of distractions is the fact that we scarcely notice that we are distracted. They are like a cancerous growth on our spiritual life, which gives birth to many unwholesome conditions, such as dissatisfaction with ourselves, a critical attitude toward others, a restless desire to justify ourselves, and an unhealthy tendency to criticize others. it destroys our recollection in prayer, makes us listless after our Holy Communion, causes us to fulfill our dties without zeal, and fills us with an verpowering distate for mortification. This condition causes us to postpone until later deeds which we should do this very day and moment. We fall into a state of unrest and spiritual sloth, we no longer see God in our duties, but only an intolerable burden. distraction causes us to overburden ourselves with too many oral prayers and too many outward practices of piety.

Spiritual melancholy - No other condition in the spiritual life can lead to so many grievous sins as melancholy. It is opposed to humility, since it makes us quarrelsome and contentious rather than patient. We have lost the courage necessary to break with our faults and imperfections. We inwardly turn to creatures and seek consolation from them. We want to be noticed and recognized, and we think that others ought to know how we feel and how we travail and suffer. It gives the devil power over our soul. It weakens and impedes the effetiveness of the sacraments. it makes sweet things bitter, and causes the salutary instruments of the spiritual life to act like poison. We can no longer find God, and this very difficulty plunges us into a deeper melancholy. (What he is describing here should not be confused with spiritual dryness or the "dark night of the soul" as described by St. John of the Cross.) The chief source of such deep melancholy is the tendency to be less concerned with God and His honor and will than with our own will and what is pleasing to us. [The goal of our spiritual effort should be God's honor and glory, not our own spiritual progress.]

Preoccupation with unnecessary things. There perhaps never was a time when men were so prone to become absorbed in unnecessary things as now. They are tempted on all sides to waste their precious time in an inordinate and excessive preoccupation with lectures, newspapers, radio, movies, sports, etc. In our own age we could add even many more distractions. (It is important to note his qualifier here of inordinate and excessive preoccupation with . . .) This preoccupation impairs our spirit of prayer and recollection, and prevents us from giving ourselves entirely to God.

27 October 2008

Our Lady of Victory Novena

The novena prayer to Our Lady of Victory whose intercession led to the defeat of the Turkish Navy at the Battle of Lepanto can be prayed between now and the election for the defeat of the 'culture of death.'

Let us pray:

Our Lady of Victory, we have unshaken confidence in your influence with your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Humbly we ask your intercession for all of us associated under your title, Our Lady of Victory.We beg your powerful assistance also for our own personal needs. (Please mention here your special intention in you own words.) In your maternal kindness please ask Jesus to forgive all our sins and failings, and to secure His blessings for us and for all the works of charity dedicated to your name. We implore you to obtain for us the grace of sharing Christ’s victory and yours forever in the life that knows no ending. May we join you then to praise forever the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, one God, for all the ages to come. Amen.

22 October 2008

Where are the Poor?

There is a re-print of an article by Dorothy Day titled, "Where are the Poor?" which can be read at the ChesterBelloc website. In it she quotes from the 1952 Christmas letter of Pope Pius XII which bears repeating here.

If we were convinced of the need, if our consciences were aroused, how much could we not do, even those of most modest income, in the way of helping the poor. We must reprint, and read again and again the words of Pope Pius XII, who cried out two years ago in a most noble encyclical, Christmas 1952.

"While our thoughts dwell on these scenes of poverty and utter destitution," he writes, "Our heart fills with anxiety and is overwhelmed, we can say, by a sadness unto death. We are thinking of the consequences of poverty,still more of the consequences of utter destitution. For some families there is a dying daily, a dying hourly: a dying multiplied, especially for parents, by the number of dear ones they behold suffering and wasting away. Meanwhile sickness becomes more serious, because not properly treated; it strikes little ones in particular, because preventive measures are lacking. Then there is the weakening and consequent physical deterioration of whole generations.

We cannot conclude without mentioning that the very best charitable organization would not suffice of itself alone to assist those in need. Personal action must intervene, full of solicitude, anxious to overcome the distance between helper and helped, drawing near to the poor because he is Christ's brother and our own.

"The great temptation in an age which calls itself social--when besides the Church, the state, the municipality and other public bodies devote themselves so much to social problems--is that when the poor man knocks on the door, people, even believers will just send him away to an agency or social center, to an organization, thinking that their personal obligation has been sufficiently fulfilled by their contributions in taxes or voluntary gifts to those institutions.

"Undoubtedly the poor man will receive your help that way but often he counts also on yourselves, at least on your words of kindness and comfort. Your charity ought to resemble God's, Who came in person to bring His help.

"These considerations encourage us to call on your personal collaboration. The poor, those whom life has rudely reduced to straightened circumstances, the unfortunate of every kind, await it. In so far as it depends on you, strive that none shall say any more, as once did the man in the Gospel who had been infirm for 38 years: 'Lord, I have no one.'"

21 October 2008

Feast of Bl. Charles of Austria

Lt. Colonel James Bogle, a Knight of Malta in Great Britain, together with his wife Joanna wrote a wonderful book on the life of Blessed Charles and his wife, Empress Zita. He gave a condensed version along with his first hand description of the Beatification Mass in 2004 which was published in the The Remnant newspaper in 2005. You can read the whole story here and below are a few excerpts. I also posted on him last year which you can read by following the label for this post below.

Successor of the Roman Emperors of that Roman Empire of the christened Constantine I, of the Catholic Byzantium of Justinian and, lastly, of Charlemagne, the progenitor of that empire that truly did last for 1,000 years from Christmas Day 800 AD until its dissolution under the attacks of the Bonapartist Republicans in 1806,the Blessed Emperor Charles is indeed a most fitting exemplar of Christian chivalry.

I shall recount a little of the events of these days but I first invite you to consider the time in which Divine Providence chose to unfold His revelation of the beatitude of His servant and chevalier.

The Feast Day of the Blessed Emperor Charles had been chosen by the Holy Father, at the behest of the Habsburg family, to be 21 October, being not the day of his death but rather the day of his wedding to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma. Empress Zita herself had two sisters who were cloistered nuns in the convent of St. Cecilia at Ryde on the Isle of Wight – a Benedictine convent still much blessed by God and most worthy of a visit.

It comes therefore but 10 days before the Feast of Christ the King in the old calendar and 1 month before the same feast in the new calendar. Friday 8 October 2004is the Feast of St. Birgitta (Bridget) of Sweden, Princess of Nericia of the House of Persson, Bengtsdotter and Gudmarsson. Our Lord in vision appeared to her and
gave her the most harrowing descriptions of his Passion and of the Passion of the Blessed Virgin – harrowing but imbued with the deepest mystical significance. Our Lord was at pains to extol to her the spirit of chivalry as the safest path leading to sainthood, the spirit of disinterested and self-denying service for the common good. He said to her, in a vision: “A knight who keeps the laws of his order is exceedingly dear to me. For if it is hard for a monk to wear his heavy habit, it is harder still for a knight to wear his heavy armour.” The Blessed Emperor Charles exemplified that chivalric spirit.

This spirit is meant to signify an interior attitude of the soul to accomplish God’s will whatever the cost, a disposition of mind whereby in the revelations of St. Birgitta the faithful knight and the self-denying, cloistered and most hidden nun or monk are at one. She explains that the Christian cavalier (or lady) gives his or her life to Christ and “orders his (or her) life according to the commandments of Christ, he represses the wicked and aids the humble in the community to obtain their rights. He shall therefore enter into everlasting joy; Christ Himself is the Head of the Christian knights’ army, the Holy Cross his royal banner and Christ’s passion is the fight against the enemy of mankind and his temptations.”

16 October 2008

Hierarchical Organization of Society

Bishop George Speltz, former bishop of St. Cloud Minnesota wrote his doctoral thesis on the importance of rural life based on the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. He brings to bear these philosophical principles on the socio-economic problems of today.

According to St. Thomas this cooperation of men as social beings is not carried on in strict equality, i.e., men do not cooperate on one horizontal plane to achieve a common good. His teaching on this question is clear. Nature doe not incline men to cooperate on one horizontal level; rather it incline them to cooperate on many diverse functional levels to form an ordered hierarchy. Men are not equal in all things, though they do possess in common a rational nature a common origin, and destiny. They differ accidentally in power of intellect, will, and of body. Consequently, they differ in their contribution to and participation in the benefits of the common good. These differences among men, St. Thomas regards as one of the necessary conditions of true order within any social or economic group having autonomous existence within the state. Thus the functional and hierarchical organization of the manor is according to man's nature. It provided for the opportunity of socio-economic cooperation on a local basis, and it provided for individual differences. As a consequence of this fact of individual differences in men, there will classes in society. But it need not be that the membership within these classes should be static. Thomistic philosophy with much reason insists that the classes which naturally form in society be subordinated one to another, is a true inner unity within a hierarchy. The absence of this ordering is a cause of many contemporary socio-economic evils.

15 October 2008

The Bailout of Finance Capitalism

On the Remnant Newspaper website there is an online column dealing with the recent financial crisis and how to resolve the crisis according to Catholic social teaching. It is a good article to explain and understand why the violation of Catholic principles is responsible for this mess and how by properly ordering our lives on these principles we can began to restore our economy and society at large. As neither political party is willing or able to understand the nature of the problem we are justifibly pessimistic that conditions will improve anytime soon and that a greater danger lies ahead if people start to believe that solutions are to be found along socialist lines. One interesting item he mentions is the concept of "just price." We constantly hear about a "just wage" for employees but rarely the equally important concept of "just price."

The Catholic doctrine of the just price is another moral lens through which to view these transactions. In summary, it is a violation of justice to sell something for more than (or buy something for less than) its just price. For our purposes the definition of just price can be summarized as the general estimation of the value of human needs satisfied by the thing sold. Although in a particular case this may be difficult to calculate, it is an objective standard not based on the particular needs of a transaction participant. Just because I am very hungry, does not mean you can charge more than the common estimation of the price of a sandwich merely because I am in greater need of it. Let us apply the just price theory to the housing market.

Although Americans have been indoctrinated to think that they own their homes, such a belief is a mere delusion. A simple definition of ownership encompasses the ability to retain the possession and use of a thing. All one needs to do is fail to make a mortgage payment and he will learn that he does not own the house where he lives, as millions of Americans have been realizing daily.

It takes only a modicum of common sense to realize that if I do not pay for something I do not own it (unless it has been given to me as a gift). When a bank has paid 85%, 90% or even over 100% of the purchase price (as in negative equity mortgages) of a house how can we with a straight face claim that the consumer “owns’ that house? In substance the bank has bought the house at one price (the purchase price paid to the seller) and is reselling it over time to the borrower at a higher price.

Given the staggering amounts of money repaid over a loan’s life as seen in the chart above, can we really claim that the bank is reselling the house at its just price? This is especially true when we compare the rates of residential home appreciation over long periods of time (excluding the recent artificial bubble of value growth which has popped).

Unless the Lord Build the House

Many people are panicked and stressed by the current state of the economy. The politicians, economists, media, everyone has an opinion on, who's to blame, who can fix, how we can fix etc. But very few people (and nobody in the above groups) realize that our first step toward fixing these problems, and even those in our personal lives, can be found in Psalm 127:

Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.

Unless the Lord watch over the city, in vain does the guard keep vigil.

It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night,

You who toil for the bread you eat, when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.

Children too are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are children born in one's youth.

Blessed are they whose quivers are full, they will never be shamed contending with their foes at the gate.

12 Week Old Preborn Baby Picture

I showed my 2 year old this image on a card this morning and asked him if he knew what it was. After looking closely at if for a few seconds (it was a small picture) he replied "Baby." If a small child can easily recognize that, why is it so difficult for adults?

13 October 2008

What Are We Defending?

The duty of a knight is to defend the sick and the poor. This picture needs no commentary only prayers for the people who seek to destroy the innocent child.

11 October 2008

Bl. Pope John XXIII - Bailiff Order of Malta

Today is the memorial for the newest member of The Order of Malta to be beatified, Blessed Pope John XXIII. After Napolean forced the Order out of Malta there was a period of uncertainty regarding the future of the Order. They relocated to Rome in 1834, later in 1879 Pope Leo XIII restored the grand mastership of the Order and then in June of 1961 after nearly 10 years of deliberation Pope John XXIII approved the new Constitutional Charter of the Order.

By this time, an important new development had been underway since the 1920s: the appointment of Knights and Dames of Magistral Grace which is to say, knights and dames, mostly outside of Europe, who were not of noble descent but by the grace and favor of the Grand Master were admitted to what had previously been a category restricted to nobility.

He also contributed to the development of the 2nd class members of the Order, those In Obedience.

When he met with the Knights in Obedience in 1961, Blessed John XXIII provided them with his own motto: Obedientia et Pax. Angelo Roncalli had adopted this moto when he was ordained a bishop, and it became the guiding principle of his life. John XXIII took these words from Cesare Baronius, who used to say them every time he kissed the foot of the statue of St. Peter.

Baronius was the most eminent historian of his day, and also a close friend of St. Philip Neri. St. Philip knew that someone with Cesare’s abilities would receive adulation (he was named a cardinal), and in many ways great and small he called his friend to a deep spirit of humility. For example, in spite of Baronius’s erudition St. Philip assigned him to work in the kitchen, so much so that Baronius wrote his name on the wall, followed by the words: “perpetual cook.”
From the example of Cardinal Baronius, Angelo Roncalli drew the lesson that obedience meant a willingness to let go of one’s own preferences, to accept whatever duties needed to be done, and not to take one’s position too seriously. In this way, obedience leads to peace. John XXIII confided at the end of his life that this was the secret of his serenity.

To enter into the Second Class of our Order should thus be understood, not as a step up, but as a step down. Pre-eminence in a Christian context is tied to deeper humility and greater generosity

09 October 2008

Vote for Pedro

Here's a light-hearted look at campaigns.

The Poor You Will Have With You Always

Recent comments from prominent Catholic voices have argued that it is better to vote for Sen. Obama despite his rabid anti-life views and his support of other evils that the Catholic Church considers intrinisically evil; embryonic stem cell research, contraception (how else do you think he plans to reduce the number of abortions?) refusal to define marriage as between man and woman. They justify this by suggesting that the abortion issue is lost, Roe v. Wade won't be overturned and besides Obama will do more to reduce abortion through his economic policies (again read massive funding for contraception and Planned Parenthood) and that by eliminating poverty we will ultimately end abortion.

Now forget for a moment that the Church has stated that there is a hierarchy of values to consider and She says that voting for a pro-death candidates even though they want universal healthcare, or oppose the war in Iraq, simply is not justified. There is something more to consider if we carefully look at their argument that abortion/Roe v. Wade are lost causes as currently fought and we must look at alternatives to ending aboriton, i.e., getting rid of poverty.

But Jesus told us that the poor you will have with you always,

And the disciples seeing it had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you: but Me you have not always.
Now clearly this does not mean we ignore the poor or that we don't try and work to alleviate the conditions and causes of poverty which we certainly must do. But it would seem that from this that our ultimate success in eliminating poverty is that that it won't happen. So what expectation can we have of ending abortion by economic means if Jesus told us "the poor you have always with you?" It would seem very slim. And as I noted a couple other times the Obama plan to solve abortion is to make contraception freely available which is contrary to Church teaching. You cannot use unjust means to solve a problem no matter how important that problem is.

In this passage we see also a hierarchy of values. Certainly the money spent on the perfume would have helped a few of "the poor" but it is more important to honor God first. As St. Thomas More said, "I am the King's good servant, but God's first." While we have an obligation to help the poor we cannot abandon the innocent to be slaughtered. We must continue to fight abortion and not despair that the cause is lost. There is no cause that is lost except for the one we quit.

08 October 2008

The Door of God's Love Poured Out to the World

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, "the door through which the eternal love of the Father is poured out on the world" (Pope John Paul II, Homily, Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, America's Center, St. Louis, Jan. 27, 1999, n. 1c).
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been known since the earliest ages of the Church though our understanding of this devotion has grown and developed since then. In his encyclical on devotion to the Sacred Heart Pope Pius XII commented on this development.

"We are convinced, then, that the devotion which we are fostering to the love of God and Jesus Christ for the human race by means of the revered symbol of the Pierced Heart of the crucified Redeemer has never been altogether unknown to the piety of the faithful, although it has become more clearly known and has spread in a remarkable manner throughout the Church in quite recent times. ...

"But if men have always been deeply moved by the Pierced Heart of the Savior to a worship of that infinite love with which He embraces mankind ... it must yet be admitted that it was only by a very gradual advance that the honors of a special devotion were offered to that Heart as depicting the love, human and divine, which exists in the Incarnate Word" (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Haurietas Aquas [May 25, 1956], nn. 90 and 93).

Devotion to the Sacred Heart becomes increasingly necessary in those times like our own when we see love of God growing cold and indifferent, if not openly hostile, as evidenced by numerous recent acts of desecration of the Blessed Eucharist to which this devotion is intimately united.

When Garcia Moreno of Ecuador became president he sought to save his country by consecrating it to the Sacred Heart and what blessings from Heaven were showered upon that little country. During this election year we see our country divided more than ever in so many ways. And the cause of this division is primarily a result of the moral breakdown that has been building for generations. Pray that more of our Catholic politicians follow the examples of St. Thomas More, Blessed Charles of Austria, and Garcia Moreno rather than compromising and equivocating with the world.

As the family is the basic unit of society and consequently the focus of the attack by our enemies it is necessary then that the renewal of our social life begin with the the family. We need a renewed devotion to the Sacred Heart which we can begin by enthroning the Sacred Heart in our homes. Father Mateo Crawley, the Apostle of the Sacred Heart, wrote and preached endlessly on this devotion and gave us the practical means to accomplish it. There is much wonderful information on this devotion and for an introduction I would suggest reading Archbishop Burke's four articles that were published in the diocesan newspaper of St. Louis and can be found posted at the Women for Faith and Family website.

Fr. Mateo was a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart and they continue to be responsible for spreading this devotion and providing materials for the Enthronement and Night Adoration in the Home. You can find more information here.

I can provide no further incentive for this devotion than the words of Fr. Mateo himself,

“As the family is the necessary foundation and the original source of Christian and social vitality, I am convinced that there is no apostolate which can bring about more effectively the reign of the Lord over individuals and collectivity's than that which enthrones Him precisely as King of the Family.”

07 October 2008

Resources for Men

H/T to A Knights Walk in the Kingdom for links to some good resources. Both are iniatives of he Knights of Columbus. The first is more for husbands and fathers called, Fathers for Good, the second is the Catholic Information Service which offers online courses and podcasts on the Catechism and Faith Formation as well as other resources for men in general. The Luke E. Hart Catechism series was written by Peter Kreeft.

Argument of the Month October Speaker - Fr. Z

The guest speaker for the October, Argument of the Month Club, at St. Augustine's will be Fr. Zuhlsdorf, aka. Fr. Z, of the award winning blog, What Does the Prayer Really Say. Visit the new AOTM website for the menu and more on the topic of his talk.

Our Lady of the Rosary - Victory at Lepanto

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary whose intercession was so important to the victory of the Christian fleet against a superior Turkish naval force. The victory was so amazing and decisive it is still studied in naval warfare to this day.

Being that it is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary I thought it would be a good reminder to encourage everyone to join The Rosary Confraternity, entrusted to the Dominican Order by the Holy See more than 500 years ago.

As Pope Leo XIII said in an encyclical, "whenever a person fulfills his obligation of reciting the Rosary according to the rule of the Confraternity, he includes in his intentions all its members, and they in turn render him the same service many times over."

05 October 2008

Mass at St. Augustine's Today

Here is a picture of Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Augustine's in So. St. Paul today with our Archbishop Nienstedt. Please visit Fr. Z's blog WDTPRS for more pictures and go vote for his blog in the blogger's choice awards so hopefully he won't mind that I used one of his pictures.

01 October 2008

The Sacred Character of Jesus Christ

I mentioned in the previous post the recent attempt to characterize Jesus as a community organizer. Again from the encyclical against the French Sillon, Pius X states:

We wish to draw attention to the distortion of the Gospel and to the sacred character of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man, prevailing within the Sillon and elsewhere."

As soon as the social question is being approached, it is a fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His companion of all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbour and to the brotherhood of men.

True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realisation of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept his doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors.

Further while Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but he instructed them in order to convert them and save them. While He called to Himself in order to comfort the, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. While He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. He was as strong as He was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised; knowing and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom . . .

Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross. These are teachings that it would be wrong to apply only to one's personal life in order to win eternal salvation; these are eminently social teachings, and the show in Our Lord Jesus Christ something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism.

Fraternity v. Charity

After the speech by Sarah Palin at the Republican convention much was made of her comment about community organizers/organizing. This comment was picked up by the media, liberal bloggers and assorted commenters and twisted into the catch-phrase, "Jesus was a community organizer, Pilate was a goveror."

It is this corrupted interpretation of Jesus as a community organizer that I would like to address by looking at the similarities between the current idea of community organizing/activism and the French Sillon movement of the early 20th century. In 1910Pope Pius X wrote his encyclical letter to the French Bishops and Archbishops on the condemnation of the errors of the Sillon, originally a movement grouping early Christian Democrats of the 20th century which in time became simply a Democratic movement. (This term Democratic is not to be understood as akin to the Democratic political party in the U.S.)

The Sillonists were more 'progressive' than the Liberal Catholics of a generation earlier. In contrast to them the Sillonists made their own the political concepts condemned by Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII. Eventually the leaders of the Sillon movement began denying teachings of the Church and it was this error that got them into trouble and merited the encyclical from Pius X.

There are some who claim that the Vatican II encyclical Gaudium et Spes exhonorates the Sillon and that the Church now accepts the errors for which they were condemned. At first study I would disagree with that claim but have not sufficiently been able to study each of the documents to defend that position. Nor have I found any other studies comparing and contrasting the two that I can link to.

Here is part of the letter against the Sillon illustrating the difference between the ideas of fraternity and charity. Fraternity springing from the false philosophies of the 'Englightenment' with the true Catholic teaching of 'Caritas.'

The same (error) applies to the notion of Fraternity which they found on the love of common interest or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the mere notion of humanity, thus embracing with an equal love and tolerance all human beings and their miseries, whether these are intellectual, moral or physical and temporal. But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethern plunged, but in zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbour flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others, we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting.

Indeed, we have the human experience of pagan and secular societies of ages past to show that concern for common interests or affinities of nature weigh very little against the passions and wild desires of the heart. No, Venerable Brethren, there is no genuine fraternity outside Christian charity. Through love of God and His Son Jesus Christ our Saviour, Christian charity embraces all men, comforts all, and leads all to the same faith and same heavenly happiness.

By separating fraternity from Christian charity thus understood, Democracy, far from being a progress, would mean a disastrous step backwards for civilization. If, as We desire with all Our heart, the highest possible peak of well-being for society and its members is is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress towards the ideal civilization.


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.