Skip to comments.Liberalism Brings Slavery When It Confuses License with Liberty
Posted on 01/18/2013 6:58:34 AM PST by marshmallow
In my latest essays Ive noted that there cannot be a social teaching unless we know what a society is. Pope Leo XIII, in his many social encyclicals, expresses the constant wisdom of the Church when he affirms the reality of societyneither a numerical aggregate nor a collectiveand when he sees this reality as rooted in mans nature, created by God. For it is God, writes Leo in Libertas praestanstissimum (1888), who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others.
Leo is thinking not only of material goods, as needful as these may be, but of moral and spiritual goods. For the laws that men enact cannot oblige us simply on utilitarian grounds. Authority, he writes, is the one and only foundation of all law, and authority is of God. Laws that enjoin good and forbid evil by no means derive their origin from civil society; because just as civil society did not create human nature, so neither can it be said to be the author of the good which befits human nature, or of the evil which is contrary to it. This principle provides a check against the whims of ambitious men, whether they rule as monarchs, or as party leaders in a democracy. We do not create law; we recognize it: Laws come before men live together in society.
Law is the prerequisite for genuine freedom. Leos reasoning is plain. If freedom meant the capacity to choose anything at all, including evil, then God and the blessed angels would not be free. But whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin (Jn. 8:34). When man.....
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