Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
What would you say were I to ask you, "Does a Protestant boy place his father before the King?" If you reasoned rightly you would say, "In some things he does; in other things he does not." You see, two different factors come into the case, and it is illogical to jump from one to the other in the same breath. The boy would owe filial piety to his father, and civic loyalty to his King. So, too, Catholics owe spiritual allegiance to the Pope, and civic loyalty to the King. In spiritual matters, they place the Pope before the King. In the civic order, they place the King before the Pope.
I have just said that in spiritual matters the authority of the Pope comes before that of the King. In temporal and national matters, the authority of the King is supreme. If you ask me whether the spiritual and religious sphere is of greater dignity and importance than the temporal and national sphere, I must reply that it is. And as the Pope is the supreme ruler in the higher sphere, his office is greater than that of the King.
It is not only possible. The Pope himself tells Catholics that it is their bounden duty.
Not always, by any means. We have to obey rulers for the love of God—and that can be done only in lawful matters. If rulers exceed their authority and demand obedience to unlawful commands—then the love of God forbids us to obey. The law of obedience in a spirit of loyalty to God imposes definite restrictions upon them. Thus Catholics can never admit that the State has any right to allow divorced people to re-marry if the previous and lawful partners are still living. And the fact that the State does allow it, in no way frees the conscience of a Christian from guilt.
She does not. She bids them to be loyal to their countries insofar as the law of God permits. But they cannot accept those doctrines specifically which are opposed to God's law, religious freedom, and rightful individual liberties.
She does, and she repudiates their totalitarian principles. All three countries demand State Absolutism, Russia on a communistic basis, Italy and Germany on the basis of a fascist dictatorship. Italy, however, professes to exclude State authority in religious matters, though its tendency is ever to trespass on the religious field and conflict with the rights of the Church. Hitler, in Germany, would like to suppress the rights of the Church altogether, and repeatedly violates the guarantees he gave in his Concordat with the Vatican.
Not merely because of that, although that is one good and sound reason for the opposition of the Catholic Church to "State Absolutism." The "Totalitarian State is also an invasion of domestic rights, and most dangerous to the freedom and independence of religion. Moreover, it is essentially wrong in itself. It supposes unlimited power vested in a dictator, or a ruling group, not constrained by law, and basing its power on force and violence. This means in practice the servile States with a tyranny established which was unknown even in ancient Sparta. The Catholic Church insists that justice will never be done unless government is truly representative in which the people's affairs are managed by men chosen by the people, and answerable to the people for their policy. On February 11th, 1929, the Lateran Concordat between Italy and the Vatican was signed. On May 13th, 1929, Mussolini declared that the education of youth belonged to the State; and that, whilst then would be taught the Catholic religion, they must be moulded according to Fascist ideals with a sense of virility and power of conquest. Next day, May 14th, the Pope denounced Mussolini's doctrine of State absolutism, his principle that children belonged to the State, and denied the right to instill aggressive nationalism and ideas of conquest. And he reminded Mussolini that the powers of the State are conferred upon it by those it governs. "Hence," he said, "the State must use its powers on behalf of those who conferred them." These words of the Pope show the wide gap between the democratic social principles of the Catholic Church, and the anti-democratic ideas of Fascism.
It is a very unhappy one.
That is the only impression which the ruling tyranny allows to be published in German papers. But it is not true.
That is true. But Catholics cannot wholeheartedly support the methods adopted. The "Totalitarian State," whether on Communistic or Fascist lines, is opposed to Catholic principles.
The attacks on the Church, and on Catholics generally, have been most severe, and throughout Germany.
The essential tendency of the present regime in Germany, if it can accomplish it, is to rob a Catholic of his Faith, and to turn him from a son of the Fatherland into a slave of a Fascist dictatorship.
I deny that the present form of government in Germany alone offers hope even from the national point of view. From the viewpoint of their religion, it offers Catholics but death and destruction. Yet it means persecution, misery, and death, if they do not submit in general to the prevailing tyranny. And I can but say of Catholics in Germany what the Pope himself said of Catholics in Italy as regards the Fascist regime. Here are his words: "We must say that one is not a Catholic—except in Baptism and by name as opposed to his obligations—who adopts and develops a program so opposed to the rights of the Church of Jesus Christ, and of souls." But he adds that he realizes how, for countless persons, daily bread and life itself, are at stake. So he says that, if they are compelled externally to support the "Totalitarian State," they must in their own consciences make the reservation "insofar as the laws of God and the Church permit," or "in accordance with the duties of a good Christian." And they must be prepared, if need be, to declare their reservation externally should they be asked to choose between the State and their religion. That judgment concerning the position of Catholics in Fascist Italy could apply to Catholics in Fascist Germany. The only difference is that Catholics in Germany are much the more likely to meet with the necessity of rejecting State demands in the name of God, and of suffering the consequences of their fidelity to conscience.
Fascism is not essentially akin to Communism, although it can be perverted in the Communistic direction, as in Germany. The Catholic Church prescribes no political policy, and sanctions any form of government within the bounds of social justice. She does not accept Fascism any more than she accepts the present British constitution. She tolerates both, and would be quite prepared to condemn any abuses which might arise in these different forms of government.
Fascism does not aim at the destruction of the worker. Mussolini's Fascism sanctions and supports religion, and aims at the well-being of every individual in the State; and for that purpose demands that every individual must contribute towards the service, discipline, and progressive construction of the national well-being. Remonstrance by the Church against a few initial abuses, secured their rectification. Hitler's imitation of Fascism in Germany is no true indication of what real Fascism is. He has not understood at all the aims and principles of Fascism. Meantime, whilst Communism's objective has been to dethrone both religion and capitalism, it has succeeded in destroying the worker, and has merely imposed a new and worse tyranny. Nor only that. The Soviet is rapidly turning back towards capitalism, and is working on Capitalistic principles in its own name.