Skip to comments.Cardinal Ratzinger Discovers America
Posted on 12/12/2004 8:54:32 AM PST by Land of the Irish
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John Rao, Ph.D.
REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York
Cardinal Ratzinger has discovered America. Troubled by the total secularization of European lifereflected, most recently, in the battles over European unification and the continental chorus of criticism accompanying Professor Rocco Buttigliones reiteration of the Churchs teaching on homosexualitythe cardinal now suggests that the United States may perhaps offer the better model of Church-State relations for a desacralized world. According to a November 25, 2004, report on Zenit.com, the Cardinal, responding to the secularization of Europe, made the following comments on Vatican Radio:
I think that from many points of view the American model is the better one. Europe has remained bogged down. People who did not want to belong to a state church, went to the United States and intentionally constituted a state that does not impose a church and which simply is not perceived as religiously neutral, but as a space within which religions can move and also enjoy organizational freedom without being simply relegated to the private sphere One can undoubtedly learn from the United States [and this] process by which the state makes room for religion, which is not imposed, but which, thanks to the state, lives, exists and has a public creative force. It certainly is a positive way.
This, of course, was the position of the Americanists of the 1890s, who argued that things spiritual thrived in the United States to a degree that Europeans, passive and obedient to their manipulative governments, could never match. Cardinal Ratzinger has apparently arrived at a similar judgment in typical contemporary Catholic fashion: much later than everybody else, and naively uncritical.
It seems to be the fate of the post-conciliar Church to take up the banner of erroneous causes just as their poisons are beginning to become somewhat clearer to the rest of the outside world. I hope that His Eminence has been misquoted. If not, I pray that a deeper study of the system in the United States will reveal to him just how much the so-called religious character of America is, at best, heretical, and, at worst, a spiritualized secularism emerging from errors inherent in Protestant thought.
One still hears the argument that the threat of Americanism was exaggerated at the time of Leo XIIIs encyclicals against it, and that, in any case, it disappeared shortly thereafter. Certainly many people in Rome as well as the United States wanted to make believe this was the case, using the Modernist crisis, and undoubted American loyalty to the Papacy throughout it, as proof positive of the countrys orthodoxy. But the crises warned against by St. Pius Xs pontificate precisely involve the sort of philosophical, theological, and exegetical issues that Americanism sweeps aside as a horrendous waste of time and energy. Modernisms intellectual character stood in the way of the Yankee pragmatism that simply wanted to get the job done without worrying about anything as fruitlessly divisive as unpaid thought. It was part and parcel of all that pretentious European cultural hoo-ha responsible for the Old Worlds ideologies, revolutions, wars, and bad plumbing. Americans could recite the Creed and memorize catechisms better and in larger numbers than anywhere else. Confident in their orthodoxy and the Catholic-friendly character of their political and social system, they could move on to devote themselves to the practical realities of daily life. Criticisms of what the practical life might actually mean in the long run could be disregarded as unpatriotic, communist, and useless for short or long-term fund raising.
America, with Catholic Americans in lock-step, thus marched forward to nurture what St. Cyril of Alexandria called dypsychia: a two-spirited existence. On the one hand, it loudly proclaimed outward commitment to many traditional doctrines and moral values making it look spiritually healthy. On the other, it allowed the practical life, to which it was really devoted, to be defined by whatever the strongest and most successful men considered to be most important, silencing discussion of the gross contradiction by laughing such fruitless intellectual quibbles out of the parlors of a polite, common-sense guided society. It marched this approach into Europe in 1945, ironically linking up with one strain of Modernism that itself encouraged Catholic abandonment to the direction of anti-intellectual vital energies and mystique. Vitalism and Americanism in tandem then gave us Vatican II which, concerned only with getting the practical pastoral job done, has destroyed Catholic doctrine infinitely more effectively than any mere straightforward heretic like Arius could have done. Under the less parochial sounding name of Pluralism, it is the very force which Cardinal Ratzinger is criticizing inside the European Union, and which is now spreading high-minded moral values, freedom, and democracy around the globe through the work of well-paid mercenaries and five hundred pound bombs.
If, heaven forbid, Cardinal Ratzinger honestly believes that true religion prospers under our system better than under any other, he is urging upon Catholics that spiritual and intellectual euthanasia which Americanism-Vitalism-Pluralism infallibly guarantees. The fate of many conservative Catholic enthusiasts for this false God, in their response to the war in Iraq, should be one among an endless number of warnings to him. No one is more publicly committed to orthodoxy than they are. No one praises the name and authority of the Pope more than they do. And yet never have I heard so many sophistic arguments reducing to total emptiness both profound Catholic teachings regarding the innocence of human life, as well as the value of the intellect in understanding how to apply those teachings to practical circumstances, as I have heard coming from their circles.
May God save His Eminence from adulation of a system that waves the flag of moral righteousness and then tells us that we are simply not permitted to use our faith and reason to recognize a wicked, fraudulent war for the anti-Catholic disaster that it is; an evil that a number of Catholics are some day legitimately going to have to apologize for having helped to justify. May God save His Eminence from a religiosity which will eventually line fundamentalist Catholic terrorists against the wall along with other divisive enemies of the system who cannot live or die under a regime of dypsychia.
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(I do not know what HM Queen Elizabeth II's opinion on abortion is. However, it is clear that the royal family do not approve of the tyrannical fox-hunting ban, and the Queen has at least privately raised questions about the surrender of Britain's sovereignty to the EU. But given the modern era's worship of "democracy," there is nothing she can do.)
Oh and I forgot if Tolkien had any doubts he could ask his closest friend CS Lewis - Chair of Midieval History at Cambridge.... ROFL.
Presidents come up for re-election. One thought unfit can be denied an additional term. Bush I. Carter. Ford. Johnson. Truman/52. Hoover. Taft.
As well, even the ones re-elected can only go eight years.
A moderately bad monarch, however, may reign for a long time.
A well established republic has minority protections and checks and balances. There is hardly a "tyranny of the mob" present in America -- most of the populace obeys the rules of the constitutional order. Abortion can be imposed by unelected powers (like judges here) just as well as democratic majorities. That is a specific moral issue on which to fight within the constitutional structure. To overthrow all popular civil rights on that one basis is ridiculous. Autocracy is a crapshoot. In most autocracies, there is a civil war between reigns and sometimes in the midst of them. Even in traditional Europe, where rules of legitimate succession evolved over time, there were sometimes problems.
You sound like a French revolutionist.
What about being a true Catholic?
What about striving for the Social Reign of Christ the King?
If you think that ancient Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian monarchies would be remotely suitable to the vastly different economic and cultural situation of today, I believe you and Tolkien are mistaken, as much as I admire Tolkien.
"Since Tolkien said that he favored "'unconstitutional' monarchy," he clearly had something rather different in mind than the modern powerless British monarchy, which has no practical ability to check democratic forces when they get out of control.":
I will agree that if a country is going to go through all the trouble of having a real, honest-to-goodness monarchy, it ought to have something more than the enfeebled "constitutional monarchy" currently in place in the United Kingdom.
Yet, one might argue that the historical forces that made the British monarchy worthwhile all ultimately enfeebled it, as well. The very checks on power that you cite - common law, judiciary (not even the king is above the law), parliament, etc., seem to have slowly, but inexorably narrowed the ambit of action available to the British monarch.
Then again, maybe we can lay all the blame for that at Henry VIII's feet, too. ;-)
Freedom to "choose" to kill one's child? Freedom of men to sodomize each other? Freedom to allow the governmmnet to steal nearly 50% of one's income? Freedom is great!
I understand your frustration. But let's keep in mind the simple historical fact that all the European monarchs who refused to become "rubber stamps" lost their thrones--and, in the cases of Charles I, Louis XVI, and Nicholas II, their lives. King Constantine II of Greece was the last European monarch to try to stand up for his rights against the leftists, and I admire him for it. But his actions only led to a seven-year dictatorship, the fall of the monarchy, and the eventual triumph of socialism. In the end, what good did his stand do?
If today's constitutional monarchies were as useless as you say, the Left would not bother hating them so much. But if you read leftist newspapers like the Guardian, it really infuriates them that the monarchies still exist, even though they no longer have any power. Their very existence denies total victory to the forces of egalitarianism.
As traditionalist Catholic monarchist Charles Coulombe pointed out to me in response to my query about a correspondent with similar views to yours, "While on the one hand, I share their annoyance with current crop, and prefer an effective Monarchy, what we have is still a better alternative than a republic would be. If anyone thinks Blair would be better as President than as PM, they have not really thought it through. And, of course, bad as the Windsors et al. may be, their opponents are worse. If the Monarchy is preserved, we may hope in time for better. If not, it will be much harder. "
most are protestant or worse
Of the ten reigning European sovereigns, five are Protestant and five are Catholic. I am not sure what you mean by "worse."
The best monarchs are mythical like King Arthur. They are not weighed down by human failings and the judgments of history.
What about the real, historical monarchs that the Church has canonized, like Louis IX of France, Ferdinand III of Spain, Henry of Germany, Stephen of Hungary, and the recently beatified Karl of Austria? What about the late King Baudouin of Belgium (1930-1993), who was known for his stand against abortion?
What is ridicoulous is to assoiciate civil rights only with democracy - it fact it is moderately ridicoulous to associate rights with democracy at all! It can be definitely demonstrated that men under monarchies enjoyed considerably more liberty than under the soft tyranny of the omnicompentent democratic state.
I refer you specifically to the brillant work of the Catholic Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn - Liberty or Equality
And Catholic monarchs have come up for beheadings. Is it the elected "presidents" of democracries or Catholic monarchs who have pursued the Social Reign of Christ the King?
"Catholic monarchs who have pursued the Social Reign of Christ the King?"
You mean like Catholic King Henry VIII?
The "vastly different" cultural and economic climate you refer to is a result of the de-Christianization of Western society and its rejection of the natural law as a basis of human law. You are defending the very liberalism that has undercut Western civilization - a civilization predicated on the Christian (Catholic) religion and the institution of the Christian monarchy.
It's all a cycle tho, we are on the downside of Plato's anakyklosis of government. We will not return to monarchy until we return to the Truth.
Let's solve this one real fast - Henry VIII was not Catholic. He excommunicated himself when he rejected the just authority of the Holy Father in Rome. That excommunication was later publically acknowledge by Rome. Henry VIII was a heretic k?
Henry VIII was excommunicated by the pope and it wasn't by any of this mumbo-jumbo "excommunication latae sententiae" now used regarding traditional Catholics.
The core of liberalism is opposition to Catholic doctrine and practice. American conservatives are actually liberals.
and for Unam
I think part of the problem here is many posters don't understand the institution of the monarchy or the sacral culture that is present in a Catholic confessional state - probably because that due to liberalism none exist in the world. I like Mr. Coulombe's description:
"Directly accessible to us is the medieval intelligentsia's perception of its own culture and society. In assessing their own world, medieval intellectuals were heavily conditioned by a persistent idealism that saw in society around them signs of the earthly incarnation of the Heavenly City. The perception of the early-twelfth-century poet Bernard of Morval was the base line in Medieval assessment: "God's own nation, God's own congregation. Magnificent towers, fair homeland of flowers, thou country of life [Trans. E.J. Martin].
The central dogma of the Incarnation likewise governed the social perceptions of medieval people. They were preconditioned by the dogma of the Incarnation, and the philosophy of "realism" which underlies it, to find the ideal within the material, the beautiful within the ugly, the moral and peaceful in the midst of violence and disorder. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among usÖfull of grace and truth." Since everything was of divine creation, medieval intellectuals had no doubt that all the pieces would ultimately fit together in an idealistic, morally committed structure. Whatever they saw or experienced was part of a divine manifestation.
The Catholic or universal Church does not merely aim to be an aggregation of particular Christian communities and of the believers composing them; she regards herself as a superior power, as a reality distinct from and independent of the individuals belonging to the fold. If the Idea, that is, the general or universal, were not a reality, "the Church" would be a mere collective term, and the particular churches, or rather the individuals composing them, would be the only realities. Hence, the Church must be [Ultra-] realistic, and declare with the Academy [Plato's School]: Universals are real. Catholicism is synonymous with [Ultra-] realism.
These notions had political repercussions as well. If a given Pope or Emperor were evil, this was not held to diminish the essential goodness of the Institutions which they headed. Moreover, resistance to evils committed by Pope or Emperor did not necessarily imply disloyalty to Church or Empire.
Similarly, the doctrine grew up on the national level of the "King's Two Bodies." The Body Political was simply the King as embodiment of the Crown. He never died, nor could do any wrong. He was Crowned and anointed by God through the medium of the country's leading prelate, and in some places was held to have miraculous powers. Loyalty to the King was indeed a holy obligation.
But there also subsisted in the person of the King the Body natural. This was the human being who wore the Crown at the moment. He could sin, he could err, he would die. If he stepped out of bounds, if he broke the law, then loyalty demanded he be compelled to step back within its bounds. Hence Magna Carta is couched as a gracious confirmation of the rights of his Bishops and Barons by a loving King. We moderns might consider it an exercise in hypocrisy, since we know that King John was forced to sign it by the great men of his realm. But it would not have been seen that way by either the King or the Magnates.
This is because, for the Medievals, Law was also seen as something self-existent; it bound King and Subjects alike. It could not be created, and legislation in our sense did not exist. Rather, it was something to be discovered and concretely applied to any given situation. It was thus considered natural that different provinces should have wildly differing systems of law, and that the King should reign in each province in accord with its particular legal code.
But that reign was, in itself, a very intangible thing. The medieval world distinguished between authority and power. Authority, which came from God, was the right to say what ought to be done; power was the ability to make it happen. In a word, it was the difference between a doctor's authority to prescribe, and his patient's power not to fulfil that prescription. Without the Secret Police and Internal Revenue of the Modern State, the King's power outside his capital, palaces, and estates was limited. Power was widely diffused among the Church, nobility, and guilds. But the King's authority, subject to the law, was unlimited. Hence, although there were no FBI nor RCMP to enforce it, the King's Peace was observed on the King's Highways. When private citizens or groups suppressed banditry, they did not (although unsubsidised by and often unknown to the King) enforce peace on their own account, but in the name of the King. If His Majesty wanted to bring a restive city or great lord to heel, he must declare them outside his protection --- "outlawed." In a word, the Medieval state, to a degree unbelievable to us to-day, rested upon an act of collective Faith, a product of Neo-Platonism.
This being true of national entities, it was truer still of the Holy Roman Empire. In theory, the Empire had never died. Rather, it encompassed all of Christendom, and its frontiers ran wherever a baptised Christian lived. Founded by Constantine and renewed (in the West) by Charlemagne, it formed the psychological and spiritual bedrock of all European governance. As Viscount Bryce puts it:
The realistic philosophy, and the needs of a time when the only notion of civil or religious order was submission to authority, required the World State to be a monarchy: tradition, as well as the continued existence of a part of the ancient institutions, gave the monarch the name of Roman Emperor. A king could not be universal sovereign, for there were many kings: the Emperor must be universal, for there had never been but one Emperor; he had in older and brighter days been the actual lord of the civilised world; the seat of his power was placed beside that of the spiritual autocrat of Christendom. His functions will be seen most clearly if we deduce them from the leading principle of medieval mythology, the exact correspondence of earth and heaven [Neo-Platonism again! CAC]. As God, in the midst of the celestial hierarchy, rules blessed spirits in Paradise, so the Pope, His vicar, raised above priests, bishops, metropolitans, reigns over the souls of mortal men below. But as God is Lord of earth as well as of heaven. So must he (the Imperator coelestis ) be represented by a second earthly viceroy, the Emperor ( Imperator terrenus), whose authority shall be of and for this present life. And as in this present world the soul cannot act save through the body, while yet the body is no more than an instrument and means for the soulës manifestation, so there must be a rule and care of menës bodies as well as their souls, yet subordinated always to the well-being of that element which is the purer and more enduring. It is under the emblem of soul and body that the relation of the papal and imperial power is presented to us throughout the Middle Ages. The Pope, as Godës Vicar in matters spiritual, is to lead men to eternal life; the Emperor, as vicar in matters temporal, must so control them in their dealings with one another that they are able to pursue undisturbed the spiritual life, and thereby attain the same supreme and common end of everlasting happiness. In view of this object his chief duty is to maintain peace in the world, while towards the Church his position is that of Advocate or Patron, a title borrowed from the practise adopted by churches and monasteries of choosing some powerful baron to protect their lands and lead their tenants in war. The functions of Advocacy are twofold: at home to make the Christian people obedient to the priesthood, and to execute priestly decrees upon heretics and sinners; abroad to propagate the Faith among the heathen, sparing not to use carnal weapons. Thus does the Emperor answer in every point to his antitype the Pope, his power being yet of a lower rank, created on the analogy of the papalÖThus the Holy Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire are one and the same thing, seen from different sides; and Catholicism, the principle of the universal Christian society, is also RomanismÖ
H.H. Leo XIII also gives an insight into that lost culture
"There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. The State, constituted in this wise, bore fruits important beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, witnessed to as they are by countless proofs which can never be blotted out or ever obscured by any craft of any enemies. Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; stood forth in the front rank as the leader and teacher of all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is -- beyond all question, in large measure, through religion, under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion.
A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the agreement of the two powers been lasting. More important results even might have been justly looked for, had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching, and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty. For that should be regarded in the light of an ever-changeless law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: "When kingdom and priesthood are at one, in complete accord, the world is well ruled, and the Church flourishes, and brings forth abundant fruit. But when they are at variance, not only smaller interests prosper not, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay."
Henry VIII was a Catholic monarch, a defender of the Faith, who, while Catholic, kept a mistress and tried to con the pope into permitting him to put his wife away. Only when the pope refused to go along with his little project in bigamy did the rupture occur.
Thus, this Catholic monarch, defender of the Faith, turned out not to be a very good Catholic monarch, not a very moral one. Ultimately he even turned out to be an excommunicated Catholic monarch. And then, he took his entire country out of the Catholic Church, not without some amount of violence against those who wished to remain authentically Catholic (although it required the actions of his heretic daughter, QEI, to complete the job).
So much for the superiority of monarchy.
The pope only excommunicates Catholics.
Thus, Henry VIII was a Catholic monarch, at least for most of his reign.
Tell me, please, how he promoted the Social Reign of Christ the King.
And Judas was an apostle of Christ for most of Christ's public life; and Lucifer was one of God's angels. What's your point?
Think ahead carefully so as to avoid painting yourself into a corner. You would run the risk of violating your own principles if you were to indicate, in any way whatsoever, that a monarchist has no place in your society.
It would be a simple matter to isolate the hypocracy and to dispatch it.
I'll let you do it for me.
Tell me why a monarchist has no place in American society.
A person has a right to believe in Prester John, the Easter Bunny or an absolute monarchy. Its when they think it is an ideal form of government to replace our constitutional Republic that I think they go too far.
But what about freedom of religion, thought and expression, of speech?
You would deny them political posts? Wouldn't this be an act of discrimination, and would it not therefore violate your own Americanist principles?
"And Judas was an apostle of Christ for most of Christ's public life; and Lucifer was one of God's angels. What's your point?"
C'mon, LotI, pay attention to the conversation.
Not only that, but Ratzinger is the Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Congregation formerly known as the Holy Office). Not a good sign.
. . . and one I've had before, it seems, in a galaxy far, far away.
It is useless to argue with the supporters of democracy as it currently exists in the U.S. because they are intentionally blind. They are also basically ignorant of history.
Your time would be better spent talking to a brick wall; you know what they say about trying to teach a pig to dance.
I'm going to grab a cup of coffee while you sort this out. brb.
Take all the time you need. I'm just going to just kind of wait it out until I hear you explain to me why a monarchist has no place in your Americanist society.
Could I run for office?
But no one could prevent them from trying, is that correct?
Unam Sanctam. Behold your Americanist principles.