Government as God
Following his recent chastisement for daring to teach Catholicism to Catholic children (reported last month) Bishop O'Donoghue should have this Chestertonian reflection engraved in letters of gold on the front cover of several Catechisms and distributed to members of the parliamentary committee which called him in for questioning. We can imagine the reaction.
The dig at corrupt and incompetent politicians, of course, would simply bounce off their politically correct skulls, making no impression whatsoever. But since they stopped laughing after the humour-bypass (mandatory for all PC guzzlers at the public trough) the black joke about hanging would be as welcome as bomb banter at airport security. "Hateful!" they would squeal as their eyes fell upon the priceless quote atop their catechetical compendiums. We might then expect years of hate crime litigation to deal with 'the Catholic problem': that unfinished post-Reformation business which until recently dared not speak its name.
All mirth aside, there can be no doubt that a neo-Elizabethan disdain for papists is gathering force. The astonishing O'Donoghue interrogation is just the latest in a string of Blairite attacks which include the compulsory adoption of children to sodomites, the push for secularising school quotas and the furious denunciation of bishops for decrying bio-ethical travesties. Catholic-baiting, "the anti-semitism of the Liberals", has been ratcheted up.
And so be it. Let the godless powers do their worst while we stand firm and unbowed. There is simply no other choice. For despite the euphoric anticipation of Vatican II, stooping to lick Social Democratic shoes in grovelling 'dialogue' has won us not friends and influence but jackboots on the Catholic neck. Compromise, marginalisation and now oppressive, bloodless coercion has been the post-conciliar pattern: the unholy fruit of the Nouvelle Theologie of Küng, Rahner and their Modernist brethren who preferred genuflecting to the world instead of Christ the King.
The more the Social Kingship of Christ fades in Catholic memory and praxis, the more we slip into tyranny by other (politically correct) means. Clearly, it should be at the forefront of Catholic teaching. Thanks to a deafening episcopal silence, however, this pivotal doctrine is now viewed as a medieval throwback: an embarrassing reminder of an absolutist yesteryear when the Church played a prominent role in the day to day life of men and the laws of European governments and their colonies.
Accordingly, the Feast of Christ the King, established by Pius XI in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, is now just a blip on the calendar. Yet in establishing the Feast during a period of great secularization of nations between the two World Wars, Pius XI warned that "as long as individuals and States refused to submit to the rules of the Saviour, there would be no really hopeful prospect of lasting peace among nations." Summarising the philosophical, socio-political and theological background to the encyclical, Father John Berg, Superior General of the Fraternal Society of St. Peter, writes:
With the "Enlightenment" and its philosophical tenets came the idea of a separation of religion and reason. It culminated with an idea called religious sentiment whereby a man had an innate sense of religion which was not necessarily wrong but was on a different level than or simply could not communicate with what man knew. The two, reason and religion, could contradict with no problem and therefore they should simply coexist but be totally separated. It was only with these ideas that things such as the principle of "not legislating morality" and "separation of Church and State" were ushered in, because with them of course followed an idea of religious law and civic or political law as two separate spheres which ought not to have any relation to or influence upon one another.
The purpose of Pius XI in instituting the feast was to remind mankind of Christ's reign and the unavoidable consequences of this truth. He is king of all men in His Sacred Humanity because it is united to the Word of God, and thus He reigns over all of creation, for "through Him all things were made". He also rules over all men insofar as He has redeemed it by His very blood....
His Lordship over us and over all Creation is threefold. He is a "law-giver, to whom obedience is due", while His kingdom is both spiritual and also sacerdotal, for "Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins".
The kingdom of Christ is primarily spiritual. The Gospel for the feast reflects this in the response of Our Lord to Pilate when he asks Him if He is a king: "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence" (Jn 18:36). This spiritual kingdom is one which is entered by faith and baptism and is prepared for by penance. "It demands of its subjects the spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross"
At the same time "it would be a grave error to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since ... all things are in his power." All men, whether Christian or not, are under His authority, since all authority itself comes from God (Jn 19:11). Christ's kingship extends not only over individuals but also all groups of men, whether it be families, or nations.
The words of Pius XI in 1925 seem hauntingly prophetic to us now: "With God and Jesus Christ excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation." If he has these words to say about his own times, what would he say about the outset of the 21st century?
I suggest that eighty years on, faced with the unremitting legislative crimes perpetrated against human life, the great pontiff would be at pains to trumpet this Chesterton dictum: Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God."
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's avowedly atheistic spin chief, famously said: "We don't do God". Yet wherever God is driven out of the public square, He is replaced by a State-substitute of one wicked degree or another. Thus, in Britain these past ten years, New Labour has filled the gap, with hellish results. If political correctness is "tyranny with manners", anti-life malevolence under Blairism is 'systemic mass murder with a toothy grin': different only in kind to brutal totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia, China and the rest.
Insofar as prelates and priests have dismissed the Social Kingship of Christ as an outdated irrelevancy not to be discussed in polite company, they have contributed to this catastrophic political pass.
Per usual, the shelving of Quas Primas was dressed up from the outset as necessary and inevitable adaptation to the times: aggiornamento. The simple truth, of course, is that having imbibed the reckless optimism of the Council, clerics high and low diluted or rejected troublesome notions of hierarchy, authority, obedience, penance and self-denial underpinning the social reign of Christ the King. They traded Catholic conviction for the good life. Then, having lost their faith, they lost their nerve, like Judas, and sought accommodation with their enemies. Attempting to engage the political process on its own secular terms, they accepted its default position on the absolute separation of Church and State. The more they connived and cuddled up, the more they were outwitted, outflanked and manipulated by a professional political class which has come to view both their ecclesiastical authority and the Church they represent with contempt.
The fallout is fatal. Take the key role of the English hierarchy in the Mental Capacity Bill fiasco. Even the secular press was appalled by the agreeable way in which the episcopate's spokesman on bioethics, Archbishop Peter Smith, allowed himself to be duped by the Blair government. On 15 December 2004 the Daily Mail let loose:
With the Chamber in chaos, MPs enraged at Government arrogance and bad faith, a hopelessly floundering Minister, a Labour rebellion, up to 100 abstentions and tempers barely under control, the measure opening the way to euthanasia by the back door scrapes shamefully through the Commons.
[....] How could we land in such a mess? The answer lies in this Prime Minister's control-freakery, his regime's rampant political correctness and his utter contempt for Parliament.
[This Bill] gives legal backing to 'living wills' (which needn't be written down) enabling patients to opt for death if they become incapacitated. Doctors could be forced to deny them food and water until they die, amounting to 'euthanasia by omission'. ... Disgracefully, against all Parliamentary conventions, [Tony Blair] insisted on a three-line whip and the disciplining of anyone who dared to rebel...
It gets worse. When his political thuggery seemed likely to backfire, he offered an apparent concession to critics. But MPs only learned of it minutes before the debate ended, when in farcical 'Parliamentary games' they were handed copies of a letter from Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer to a Catholic Archbishop setting out the terms of a possible deal.
So it comes to this. Ministers refuse to compromise in Parliament, but stitch up a private understanding with a churchman, which they then use to get the Bill through unamended. It stinks.
Dr Jacqueleine Laing of London Metropolitan University was equally disgusted. One of Britain's foremost Catholic experts in the field of criminal law and ethics, both she and the British pro-life organisation SPUC had vigorously counselled against doing deals with a morally bankrupt government to save its irredeemable legislation. Marginalised and ignored by the hierarchy and its clique of boot-licking advisers, Dr Laing looked on as the predictable tragedy unfolded, then gave her damning verdict: "By suppressing dissent and seeking amendments to this unamendable legislation," she stated, "the English hierarchy at the very least has been materially complicit in pushing this Bill through."
In other words, the Bishops helped pass the Bill which became the Mental Capacity Act which gave us de-facto euthanasia and a bundle of other horrors - like non-therapeutic research on non-consenting patients, to name but one. Moreover, despite the blood on its complicit hands, the hierarchy continues to facilitate the implementation of this baleful Act as if it is possible to work in conjunction with government to achieve a satisfactory middle-ground (a prime example being the ambiguous guidance in their CTS booklet: "The Mental Capacity Act and 'Living Wills'" ).
With such craven compromisers at the helm, is it any wonder that the socio-political influence of the Church, essential for the common good and Her salvific mission, relentlessly wanes. Meanwhile, society goes to the dogs as numerically tiny but highly organised secular lobbies inimical to the Faith increasingly fill the vacuum, successfully demonising the Church and orchestrating legislative programmes which outlaw Her moral teachings.
Negating truth and authority
The late Cardinal Basil Hume embodied the defeatist, humanistic mentality inherent in this largely self-inflicted failure. Although less obvious than his many other workaday contributions to the decline of the English Church as tirelessly documented in this magazine, his predictable rejection of Quas Primas in preference for the social gospel was among his most damaging Liberal nostrums. Viewing a Christian state under Christ as unenlightened, utopian and injurious, he was at odds with the teachings of Pius XI, Pius X and all Catholic tradition.
As recorded in our June/July 1999 edition, during a talk on the mission of the Church and dialogue with the world, delivered at All Hallows College, Dublin, on 20 September, 1986, he stated:
"We who have inherited the traditions of a Christian Europe must beware of the temptation to long nostalgically for the restoration of Christendom, even locally, or to harbour the delusion that anything less is an evil to be condemned."
At the time, Father Michael Clifton noted that these words "stand in direct contrast to those of Pope St. Pius X whose motto it was to 'Restore all things in Christ.' It is only when Christendom is properly restored that the world will be converted."
In the same talk, ignoring the precipitous decline in moral standards in Western society, a rampaging Culture of Death and the loss of believers and non-believers alike to pleasure-loving materialism rooted in sin, the Cardinal further stated:
Contrary to the jaw-dropping ideas proposed in the last two points, Fr. Clifton emphatically pointed out that: "Conversion to the true Faith IS our objective with the World and all our endeavours MUST be directed to this one end, [while] surely we DO possess the whole truth? The development of doctrine draws out more and more of the treasures of revelation but the Truth of Our Faith is there for us in its wholeness and we have the duty to preach this to all."
The Cardinal's negation of absolute truth and slavish deference to 'modern man' is incompatible with the hierarchical principle of Quas Primas. His rationalistic Liberalism leaves room for 'dialogue' about anything and everything except the priestly King and Law-giver "to whom obedience is due" by all men "whether collectively or individually." His All Hallows Social Gospel Charter explains a lot, however, about the ongoing Mental Capacity Act debacle, as also Hume's own concessions apropos the lowering of the homosexual age of consent and further decriminalization of homosexual acts, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols' backsliding acceptance of insidious "stable relationships" terminology as part of another stitch-up during Blair's anti-family push for homosexual indoctrination in schools.
The 'Charter' also accounts for the Liberal functionaries and advisers who rose to prominence in CAFOD, the National Board of Catholic Women and elsewhere during the Cardinal's tenure; neo-Marxist "change-agents" who mock Christ the King at every turn. One agency, Caritas-social action, excelled itself last year with a volume of essays systematically trashing Pope Benedict's first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love). Titled Catholic Social Justice and featuring an enthusiastic foreword by Bishop Budd of Plymouth, this work declares among much else that the Holy Father "cannot understand the developing world." since both he and John Paul II lived their lives "in a world dominated by white racism", further accusing Benedict of taking an ideological position in favour "the capitalist system and colonialism". It also explains that the Pope's views on social justice are "hardly credible" in view of the Church's historic record of violence, torture and theft.
The point is this: if the West now finds itself devoid of great Catholic political leaders like Gabriel Garcia Moreno (whose history we recount this month and next), men of faith and courage determined to apply the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ in legislative practice against all the odds, it is because their vocation has been snuffed out by the humanistic hubris of several generations of Modernists à la Hume: the sort of corrupting 20th century clerics prophesied by Our Lady of Good Success four hundred years ago when she simultaneously foretold Moreno's future rise to prominence.
As recorded in our May 2004 number, Our Lady appeared to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, a cloistered Conceptionist nun in Quito, Ecuador, between 1594 and 1634. She declared that a complete societal and ecclesial breakdown would occur at the end of the 19th and greater part of the 20th centuries. She stated that clerics who held a "position of authority" in these times would be used as tools of the devil to destroy the Church, resulting in a great deprivation of sacramental and sanctifying graces among the the faithful. Many souls and vocations would be lost and society would suffer greatly.
On 2 Feburary 1634, the Feast of the Purification and the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady of Good Success, the sanctuary lamp in the chapel where Mother Mariana was praying went out. Our Lady made clear that this represented the universal darkness which would engulf the Church and society in our own time due, above all, to clergy who would steal the light of our Faith, robbing us of dogma and tradition. "As these heresies spread and dominate," she stated, "the precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs." She went on:
"The secular clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to attain. How the Church will suffer during this dark night! Lacking a prelate and a father to guide them... many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger."
On the same day, after stating that the Dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption would be proclaimed several hundred years later, and while declaring that His Church would be "strongly attacked, but never conquered", the Child Jesus exclaimed:
"A thousand times cursed be the heretics and their followers who place in doubt these mysteries concerning Me and My Mother. Let them be cursed! And let their eternal abode be the centre of the earth, together with the father of the lie, Lucifer, and his henchmen, amidst the fire created by Divine Ire for the rebellious angels and the men who follow them, severing themselves from the truth outside the Catholic Church."
These prophecies and statements of Our Lord and Our Lady are stark and sobering, to say the very least. Yet they are also comforting because they provide the spiritual context in which to comprehend the chaos, incoherence and evil which now surrounds us. In particular, they reveal that a healthy clergy is a prerequisite for political programmes of Government under God: a commonsense Catholic foundation which President Moreno sought above all else. For without a virtuous people formed in the true religion by the teaching, example and virile leadership of their fathers in the Faith, all is lost. Testimony to this divine cause and effect is the convergent collapse of our local Church and the English nation, showcased so brazenly last month.
When I first broached the Moreno project with American author Frank Rega early last year, Tony Blair was winding down after 10 years in office and embarking on a long and carefully choreographed 'farewell tour' at home and abroad, on his way to lucrative 'retirement.' Thus, egoism, self-interest, greed, hypocrisy, cowardice and all the other bestial hallmarks of the modern politician were uppermost in my mind. In fact, I had just penned an editorial comparing Blair and his catastrophic legacy to Cardinal Murphy O'Connor and the rotten fruits of our Modernist hierarchy ["Delusion, Deception & Decay", Jan. 2007].
It was not until I recently received and read Mr Rega's splendid summation of the great man's life, however, that the chasm separating a true leader from our present day counterfeits really struck home: how utterly shallow and gutless our self-serving pygmies suddenly looked alongside this political giant of faith and courage. The gulf further broadened and deepened with Tony Blair's 'conversion' and the subsequent exposition of his pseudo-faith in Westminster Cathedral in early April.
Articulating a generic religion devoid of objective magisterial notions like truth and error, good and evil, heaven and hell, Mr Blair evoked an emotive faith based on "inclusion" and "exclusion" - elastic terms designed to embrace sodomy, abortion, cloning and the host of anti-life measures he champions like no other. How "extremist and exclusive" Catholic heroes like Moreno must seem to him.
Little more than a social gospel reading from The Tablet, his address was intended to promote the peace and harmony he seeks to foster through his Co-Exist Foundation - "respect, friendship and understanding between the major religious faiths." Not once in thirty-five minutes, however, did the name "Jesus Christ" pass his spurious lips. And yet Pius XI taught that if men only "recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony." We can be sure, moreover, that Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, his proud sponsor, did not set him straight, since the teaching of Quas Primas is as thoroughly mystifying to this Modernist exemplar as it is to his prize 'convert.'
Self-evidently, the Blair-Murphy O'Connor nexus embodies the diabolical 20th century turn of events prophesied at Quito: the Cardinal being used as a tool of the devil to destroy the local Church by making common cause with a proud and unrepentant public sinner, even to giving him a pulpit in the house of God to articulate his corrosive 'faith', as if acting out a dark chapter from Benson's Lord of the World ["End Times", CO, Aug/Sept 2007].
No, the sanctuary lamp did not go out on 3 April 2008 as it did in Mother Mariana's chapel 373 years before. But a pall of darkness surely enveloped Westminster Cathedral as angels wept at this crowning blasphemy: the endorsement of a man who gave us a decade of anti-life, anti-family, anti-Catholic legislation, culminating in animal-human hybrids and the State interrogation of a Catholic bishop for teaching Christ crucified. Chesterton was right: a government which boasted "We don't do God", has become God!
Against such monumental evil, we set the life of one brave, selfless, God-fearing politician: the antithesis of Blair; a divine rebuke to our allegedly 'Catholic' politicos and heretical clerics; a soul raised up to glorify the Lord by establishing His reign on earth. In these wicked times to which he is tied through Our Lady of Good Success, Gabriel Garcia Moreno remains a heaven-sent guide and inspiration, his life and death triumphant testimony to our glorious battle-cry:
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!