Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Remember that the Church has to exercise the authority of Christ in this world. To do this, she needs to be free to deal with Catholics of every nationality, Riid therefore to bs free from the political interference of any particular nation. Now she can be free either by being independent of all rulers, or by being subject to a king who guarantees absolute liberty of action at least to the Pope. Kings, however, have ever been jealous of their authority, and prone to abuse it. If they grant freedom, they always regard it as being by privilege, and there is ever the danger that, if they happen to be displeased, they would try to interfere in Church administration. Hence God's Providence arranged that certain early kings legally donated territory to the Church, rendering her independent of earthly authority altogether. After hundreds of years these states were illegally taken from the Church, and she certainly protested.
Pope Pius IX. was in just possession of the Papal States, and he was just in taking all ordinary precautions to preserve what lawfully belonged to the Church.
The Catholic Church is not a kingdom of this world. It is the Kingdom of Christ in this world. And the Pope as Pope is not monarch of the Church in any national sense. No national considerations sway his rule over the millions of Catholics of every race and clime. He has temporal authority to-day in Vatican City, but that is merely that he may secure complete immunity from the interference of worldly powers.
He did. And the Pope demands independence of any earthly king's authority precisely that Caesar, with his worldly power, may not interfere with the things that belong to God.
The Pope as Pope must forget his nationality. As a man his sympathies might be with Italy. But he could not favor Italy in his official capacity. Despite his national sympathies, the Pope has insisted upon being perfectly independent of Italian authority. If an English Pope had done this many would have ascribed it to anti-Italian prejudices. But when an Italian Pope insists upon it, whose national sympathies are all with Italy, there is no explanation except that in his official capacity the Pope refuses to be an Italian. If an mi just war broke out between Italy and England, and Italy was in the wrong, the Pope would condemn the unjust policy of Italy.
Catholics are human beings with souls devoted to the service of God according to their Catholic Faith, yet with bodies which link them with this world, and render them subject to social relations and duties. These duties are regulated to a great extent by civil law, and Catholics do their share as citizens in the making of those laws. But do not think that all their activities as citizens are necessarily to be attributed to them as Catholics, and to be regarded as due to the influence of the Catholic Church.
The majority of the people in the countries you mention happen to be Catholics, But that does not mean that the Catholic Church as a Church has political control. Meantime the Church does not want political control her*, and would absolutely refuse on principle to accept it, were it offered,
The Church devotes her energies to the assisting of men in their spiritual needs. But since they are human beings in this world, these spiritual needs are often bound up with earthly cares. For men's bodily needs the Church has inspired the construction of institutions, homes, orphanages, and hospitals, throughout the world. In national and civic matters also she tries to sway the conduct of men by some degree of political influence, since the politicians of this world so often trespass against God's laws. But the Church does not interfere in lawful political matters which are of civic moment only, and which involve no violation of moral principles.
Not necessarily. Tf an anti-Christian law is proposed the Priest would probably warn his people publicly from the pulpit. In such a case he should do his best to persuade them to be true to God and vote against any law which God would forbid, repeating the words of Christ, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." If some individual wished for personal advice in the confessional, he could ask it there. But in ordinary matters Catholics are told neither in the confessional nor from the pulpit how to vote. They are told that they are free.
I do not think you know of many. In any case, if some Priest did so offend, that would not justify anyone in giving up his religion. We have a duty to offer public worship to God. The faults of the clergy could not be a reason, they could at best be an excuse for another's neglect of duty. It is a foolish argument to say, "The Priest does not serve God as he should, therefore I shall not serve God as I should." Each must fulfill his duties to God no matter what others do. But, as a matter of fact, I deny that Priests as a body offend in this way.
She does not. But the Catholic Church to-day is as it was in the time of the Apostles, "not many noble, not many of the worldly wise, not many powerful." Most of her children are drawn from the class Christ loved so much—the working class. And in civil life the majority of these workers happen to have Labor sympathies. But these men vote as workers, not precisely as Catholics.
Loyalty to the Catholic Church does not divide a man's loyalty from his country. In religious matters a Catholic obeys his Church; in temporal affairs, the laws of his country. They are services in two different spheres.
He did. And we Catholics have but one Master—Christ. And we are serving Him even by the fulfillment of our lesser civic duties in so far as we do them for the love of Him. It is the man who gives himself up to worldly affairs in such a way as to separate them from the service of God wTho is attempting to serve two masters,
To British Catholics the Church is not controlled by a foreigner. She is controlled by the Vicar of Christ. It would be just the same if St. Peter were still there to-day, and he was a Palestinian Jew. If a Frenchman or an Englishman were elected, no Italian Catholic would regard the Pope as Pope in the light of any foreign nationality. I cannot be at once subject to two opposed monarchs as national sovereigns, but I can be subject to my earthly ruler in temporals and to the representative of Christ in spirituals. Until the Reformation all Englishmen were subject to the Pope, yet were filled with great love for their country. You would not presume to say that there was not a single loyal Englishman in the time of Henry V. Yet all England was Catholic then, and any Catholic can do to-day what Catholics could do then. The only Catholics in the world who owe temporal allegiance to the Pope are those who actually reside in Vatican City, over which, and over which only, he has the full rights of a temporal ruler. If, through unjust ambition, the Vatican City State were to despatch an immense army to invade Australia, it would be the duty of Australian Catholics to join the Australian army and defend their country. That ought to make it clear that spiritual allegiance to the Pope does not interfere with our citizenship.
Catholics are perfectly loyal to the Protestant king. They admit that he is head of the Anglican Church as the law declares. Since by law he is head of that Church, every Catholic says, "Right. Then he is head of the Anglican Church." And loyalty demands no more. It certainly does not demand that I accept the Church of which he is the head. In religious matters my loyalty is concerned with God. In earthly matters I respect the laws of my nation. That law does not say, "And every citizen must belong to the Anglican Church." If it did, it would be an unjust law, at variance with God's laws, and not binding in conscience.
Catholics are subject to the Bishop of Rome on questions of religion. But they are not subject to him in national affairs. This distinction naturally flows from the doctrine that the religion of Christ is not an affair of the British Empire, but for all men. Britishers should be Christians, but Christianity is not necessarily British. We Catholics are not so foolish as to confuse these two things. As Catholics and as citizens we are content to remain under the British flag, and to shed our blood in defending it. Why should we not be? We are not Italians, or Frenchmen, or Germans. And we have as much right to love our country and die for it, if necessary, as any other citizen.
I do not. I am of purely English descent, and I acknowledge no other loyalty than that to the British Empire. I do not like English faults, but then, love of my own mother does not demand that I call her faults virtues. I am opposed to unjust laws which inflict disabilities on Catholics just because they are Catholics. I do not like the law which deprives the king of freedom of conscience, insisting upon his being a Protestant. But that does not affect my loyalty.
I am quite satisfied with the king, and wish to hear nothing to his discredit. I do not accept his hospitality. A child does not accept the hospitality of his own parents. I was born a British subject. I do my duty. The king does his. I admit that he is head of the Anglican Church, although I deny that he is head of the true Church of Christ. The question of the relative merits of the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church has nothing to do with national status and loyalty.
In other countries I would not have to deny that the temporal ruler was head of the Church. That anomaly seems to be peculiar to the British Empire. Of course it is no fault of our present good king. I think he must feel very uncomfortable about it at times.
If there be a conflict between the two interests, I put Church first. God comes before Caesar. The Church, as the Kingdom of God, is more important than any earthly kingdom. No country has rights against God. And in our own case, if there be a question of soul and body, the soul is the more important, and the body must give way to its interests. It is better to die keeping God's laws than to live breaking them. If a man is faithful to God and to his conscience, there is some hope of his being faithful to lesser duties. But if a man will not be faithful to God, how can a thing so much less than God as one's country expect him to be faithful to it? Think it over.