Little more than a gaggle of hacks and geeks.

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  1. Do you want undeniable proof that Catholicism is not what you may think it is? Do you want to know why some doctrines of the church of Rome don’t add up completely with the Bible? I challenge you to watch the video lecture series entitled “Total Onslaught”.This will blow your mind and bring you closer to God than ever before.


    December 15, 2008 at 1:12 am

  2. Goodness alive! Door-to-door propaganda has gone digital??

    Let me inform you of a policy we have that will blow your mind: no spam comments allowed. So please don’t act surprised if your comment eventually hits the cutting room floor.

    For the record: I am a preterist.


    December 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

  3. Amazingly, it’s quotes like Tertullian that the State through the ages believed Christians to be revolutionaries…to think, authority is subject to God! Blasphemy of the State!


    December 15, 2008 at 10:35 am

  4. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    I bind myself to absolute obedience to the Holy Roman Catholic Catholic. Any questions and statements made in this post must be considered humble questioning of a child, not a protest.

    I have read both “Immortale Dei” and “Diuturnum” and I have a few questions and would appreciate your thoughts.

    What power do the people of a state have in deciding who receives the authority from God? Why would one person receive the authority of God over another person? If a person claims authority, what right do the people have reject that persons authority, for while authority comes from God what give a person the right to claim that authority over someone else?

    Do people have the right to secede from a society not just emigrate away from their state? Could Maine secede from the union even though the helped elect Federal government?

    I understand that “one only reason which men have for not obeying is when anything is demanded of them which is openly repugnant to the natural or the divine law, for it is equally unlawful to command to do anything in which the law of nature or the will of God is violated.” (Diuturnum 15) But what if a “long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,” is it our “right, our duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new forms for our future security?” What “redress of grievances” are justified?

    “And yet there is no reason why those who so behave themselves should be accused of refusing obedience; for, if the will of rulers is opposed to the will and the laws of God, they themselves exceed the bounds of their own power and pervert justice; nor can their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null.” (Diuturnum 15) What are we allowed to do, or what is our duty to do in cases when the state’s authority is invalid?

    While the social contract of Rousseau is flawed but is the “classic republicanism” of men like Locke and Jefferson incorrect? Classic republicanism seems to be against tyranny and not opposed to monarchies or any other form of government. Republicanism also derives its authority from “nature and natures God.”

    I have never heard any Catholic condemn these men or their ideas.

    My questions are probably simple and easy to answer but I am greatly confused. Caught in between obedience to the Church and my reverence of the Federalist Republics, limited government, and the writings of John Locke and the Founding Fathers. Please use as many sources as possible in your explanation that I can see where you received your beliefs, and, upon reading your response, I can follow your train of thought.

    Thank you very much.


    Apostle of Mary

    December 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

  5. Diuturnum is a rather harsh criticism of the underlying philosophy of the American Revolution.

    Their first mistake was “We the people…”

    The pope condemns in section 5 the idea that “all power from the people; so that those who exercise it in the State do so not as their own, but as delegated to them by the people, and that, by this rule, it can be revoked by the will of the very people by whom it was delegated. Section 23 says that those who say that the right of ruling or the splendor of political power is dependent upon the will of the people “err in opinion first of all,” and this on account of placing authority on “too weak and unstable a foundation.”

    While section 6 grants a certain legitimacy to the concept of democratically held elections, it is also very clear in saying that the neither the “rights of ruling” or “authority delegated to him” are conferred by man, but by God.

    The Church has consistently shied away from declaring one form of government to be the only (or even best) form of government. It sees open opportunities for both good and evil in all forms, but that is on account of human nature.

    None of this is meant to imply that they have been silent. As you are well aware, Communism has been condemned. Socialism, as a political system and philosophy, has been condemned. But to insist that Democracy, or even constitutionalism is the only or best form of government would be to go beyond the writings of the popes.

    Concerning other portions of your comment…

    The purpose of government is to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ (E Supremi, 8), and the principle way that this is accomplished is through religious instruction (12).

    Mater et Magistra 20 and 21 would add that the State’s “whole raison d’etre is the realization of the common good in the temporal order” and that “it must do all in its power to promise the production of a sufficient suppy of material goods” and that it has a sacred “duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weakest members, the workers, women and children.”

    In 127, the same pope says that the pubic authorities are to give considerable thought to “the suitable development of essential facilities in country areas – such as roads; transportation; means of communication; drinking water; housing; health services; elementary, technical and professional education; religious and recreational facilities; and the supply of modern installations and furnishings for farm residence.”

    Why some to govern over others? Order, hierarchy, reflection of God’s rule. Diuturnum is simplistic to a fault. It is so because God has instituted it as such and because of its necessity for the kind of order and stability that fosters the increase of virtues and the dominion of Christ over all things.


    What about armed rebellion? I would fall on the side of passive resistance here. The institution is valid, and they have a monopoly on the sword. We must refuse to obey laws that could cause us to blatantly violate God’s law, but if the troops come knocking, we run for a Rosary rather than a revolver. I’d prefer the lions to the revolution, but that is my take on Catholic civil obedience.

    If I am wrong, or if I have missed anything, I am more than willing to hear one out.

    btw- I wrote a post about Pope Leo XIII on the so-called freedoms of speech and of press. Check it out and tell me what you think.


    December 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

  6. Your article reminds me of the movie, The Mission.


    December 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm

  7. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    I have spent the last few hours thinking about all these matters and I have reached a few conclusions.

    I think that those who developed the Social Contract erred because they took a truth; that men freely choose to be in society and that no one can be forced to join a society against their will, (with the exception of your family), and used that truth to try to explain the origin of the power of Government.

    The authority of a ruler comes from God but the right to choose who is going to be the leader of the society is given to those in the society. Those members can choose an from of government they choose, as long as it isn’t inherently unjust like communism.

    As far as why a state is established, the Catholic answer is incredibly Catholic, but why shouldn’t it be? Christ is the Lord of History, the King of Kings, and Him to whom “every knee must bend”. If all our actions must be for the greater glory of God and the establishment of His kingdom, then why would a state be constructed divorced of that obligation? A state should be constructed in such a way that leads people towards their ultimate end and purpose as well as helping them in the temporal order. So our position on the state, that it’s ultimate goal is lead mankind under the dominion of Christ and to establish His justice in the temporal order, makes perfect sense.

    But as far as armed rebellion I think we have a slight disagreement here, perhaps only one of preference and not of dogma, but we shall see. Correct me if I am wrong in these things, but I think it isn’t right that the only institution that man doesn’t have the right to defend himself from through violent means, (after all other options have been exhausted), is the state that man resides in. If China were to attack us in the United States we could justly declare war and defend ourselves, and if a man were to come to my home and attack my family I could justly stop him through violent means. But why should it be that I am unable to do the same if the aggressor is the government of my state? If not for my own defense then for that of my fellow countrymen and those who are “weakest members; women and children.”

    Certainly all other possible means for peaceful resolution must be exhausted. That goes without question in my eyes. But when a “long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce us under absolute Despotism,” I would hold that it is “our right, our duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for our future security.” Again in the words of the Declaration: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established will not be changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath strewn, that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, then to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    Did the Germans or the Jews have the right to rebel against Hitler and the Nazi party? And if not, why not? Why must a state be allowed to exterminate millions of people unrestricted? Why don’t people have a right to defend themselves? Won’t such a system lead to tyranny almost inevitably?

    Certainly fear of the government of its members isn’t good, but a healthy respect is. A knowledge that you can’t order the extermination of a race of people without good men standing up with God and their guns to stop you. Certainly emigration isn’t the only option for those who are persecuted by a government, is it?

    You were a soldier, and that is a most commendable vocation and you deserve much honor and respect for your service. (And as an American I thank you.) You of all people should realize the importance of protecting freedoms and the need of armed force to do so. It is for precisely this reason that the 2nd amendment states that: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” We must protect ourselves from enemies foreign and domestic. From states without and within.

    I had read your post on the freedom of the press around the time you posted it. I would not like to comment on it yet until I have read the encyclicals listed in your post for it is a waste of your time and mine if I am arguing from a position of ignorance. However, the words of Abraham Lincoln came immediately to mind, “You can not logically say that anyone has the right to do wrong.” Thus you can’t say that anyone has a right to show things that are evil, say things that are lies, or in any manner break the 8th commandment, (or in the case of pornography the 6th commandment as well). I will read the encyclicals though and get back to you.


    Apostle of Mary

    December 17, 2008 at 12:36 am

  8. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    I found this in Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

    Nature and Purpose of the Political Community: (74)
    “Individuals, families, and the various groups which make up the civil community, are aware of their inability to achieve a truly human life by their own unaided efforts; they see the need for a wider community where each one will make a specific contribution to an even broader implementation of the common good. For this reason they set up various forms of political communities. The political community, then, exists for the common good: this is its full justification and meaning and the source of its specific and basic right to exist. The common good embraces the sum total of all those conditions of social life which enable individuals, families, and organizations to achieve complete and efficacious fulfillment.
    The persons who go to make up the political community are many and varied; quite rightly, then, they may veer towards widely differing points of view. Therefore, lest the political community be ruined while everyone follows his own opinion, an authority is needed to guide the energies of all toward the common good — not mechanically or despotically, but by acting above all as a moral force based on freedom and a sense of responsibility. It is clear that the political nature, and therefore that they need belong to an order established by God; nevertheless, the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rules are left to the free decision of the citizens.
    It follows that political authority, either within the political community as such or through organizations representing the state, must be exercised within the limits of the moral order and directed toward the common good (understood in the dynamic sense of the term) according to the juridical order legitimately established or due to be established. Citizens, then, are bound in conscience to obey. Accordingly, the responsibility, the dignity, and the importance of state rulers is clear.
    When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do whatever is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against abuses of this authority within the limits of natural authority and the law of the Gospel.
    The concrete forms of structure and organization of public authority adopted in any political community may vary according to character of various peoples and their historical development; but their aim should always be for the formation of a human person who is cultured, peace-loving, and well disposed towards his fellow men with a view, to the benefit of the whole human race.”

    I think that gives a pretty good synopsis of what we have been discussing. It is for that reason, and the benefit of context, that I posted the entire section.

    As far as revolutions I believe the right is upheld in this document: ‘it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against abuses of this authority within the limits of natural authority and the law of the Gospel.’ It demands that we protect the rights of ourselves and of our neighbors against abuses in authority.

    It also speaks of power coming from God, why it must come from God, and that it comes through the people. For, “lest the political community be ruined while everyone follows his own opinion, an authority is needed to guide the energies of all toward the common good — not mechanically or despotically, but by acting above all as a moral force based on freedom and a sense of responsibility. It is clear that the political nature, and therefore that they need belong to an order established by God; nevertheless, the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rules are left to the free decision of the citizens.”

    It also gives a nice slap in the face to anarchists, and those who oppose state assistance for those in dire need. If the states entire “justification and meaning and the source of its specific and basic right to exist” is the “common good” of its “individuals, families, and organizations” then doesn’t a state which ignores individuals and families contradict itself? By failing to do the only thing it has right to do, what then becomes its purpose?


    Apostle of Mary

    December 19, 2008 at 4:11 pm

  9. I must admit that I don’t see how you get a warrant for revolution from:

    “it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against abuses of this authority within the limits of natural authority and the law of the Gospel.”

    This is especially true as this quote is preceded by this:

    “When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do whatever is objectively demanded of them by the common good.”

    Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the early Church were under far more oppressive regimes than that of King George III, yet you don’t hear them calling for a cry to arms. Not once.

    They were being commanded to worship the emperor. And we aren’t talking the symbolic worship regarded to as Statism. We are talking about publicly recognizing the deity of the Caesar and the gods.

    But they didn’t fight. No call to arms. Instead, they were commanded by Jesus to give Caesar what was his. They were commanded by Paul to obey and pray for their leaders, that we may live peaceably and that they too would come to salvation.

    All of this is revolutionary, but not as the world understands revolution. Our weapons are prayer, love, compassion, evangelism, discipleship, and dominion.

    Remember, the men behind the Revolution were theologically Newtonian, in many cases Unitarian. A large number of them were Freemasons, and plenty were tax-evaders in England. Furthermore, their anthropology and political theory was more influenced by the Enlightenment than historical Christian philosophy. This isn’t to say that this disqualifies them from making just decisions or from coming to right conclusions pertaining to war and revolution; it just causes me to be a tad skeptical.

    Lastly, try to come up with a Declaration of Independence for the early Christians. List off the abuses of those in power. Then compare it to the US Declaration. Better yet, which abuses listed by the Federal Founders were contrary to Biblical or natural law and would justify a bloody rebellion? I am interested in your thoughts.


    December 19, 2008 at 5:12 pm

  10. Did you read the quote by Pope John Paul II on “Never Again War!”? The ramifications it would have upon one’s view of armed revolution may be worthy of consideration.


    December 19, 2008 at 5:13 pm

  11. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    Misunderstanding is the basis of this argument. I was in no way saying that the Declaration of Independence or the Independence of the United States was justified at all. Period.

    I only used the Declaration of Independence in my thoughts on the subject because they articulated the principles of revolution. I would disagree with Jefferson on what a ‘long train of abuses’ is, but nevertheless the principles of that document were correct, though poorly interpreted. I trust very little anything that isn’t written by a saint, published by the Vatican, or infallibly taught by the Magisterium.

    With that said I am only trying to established the need of the ability to have a revolution and to defend yourself against the state. That’s all I am saying. I am not trying to defend any particular revolution or any particular war. Not at all. Simply trying to establish the right as a final recourse.

    I read the comment on “never again war” and agreed with everything the Pope said. I believe that teaching must be read as exhortation against war instead of pure dogma condemning war.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches;
    2264: “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
    ‘If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.'”

    2263 “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

    2307: “The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.”

    2308: ‘All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

    However, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.”‘

    2309: “The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

    * the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

    * all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

    * there must be serious prospects of success;

    * the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

    These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine.

    The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

    So for the defense of yourself you may use violence. And for the defense of your nation a nation may use violence. In both cases there are many restrictions.

    I don’t understand why, if you may use violence in self-defense and in war, why you can’t use violence in defending yourself against your own state? I honestly don’t understand what the differences is?

    If it is God given authority then what right would you have if your parents tried to kill you in defending yourself or your children? They would have authority over you and your children. But by all means you would have the right to kill them if necessary, (though only as a last recourse and even then it would be a “lesser of two evils” choice.)

    Lets say a cop wanted to rape your wife our your mother, or the governor wanted to molest your child? Despite their swords and despite their authority, (which they would be abusing beyond their jurisdiction), would you resist? Would you die defending them? Would you use violence if it was your only recourse?

    I pray to God you would.

    There is a difference between allowing yourself to be martyred by the state and defending your brother, your sister, your child, et cetera. I find it perfectly reasonable that if the state demands you to revoke your religion, (lets just hypothetically say that no one who is a state official can be Catholic), or resign, or they will put you to death. Certainly there is no cause for revolution in that, but instead you should resign and humbly obey despite the injustice.

    I think it is a matter of preference whether you choose to obey or revolt in serious religious persecutions in which you have no other recourse. You can choose martyrdom, the dream of Christians, or you can choose to fight. In most cases Christians choose martyrdom over revolution for the sake of those who were persecuting them. In the eyes of the world they may be fools, but those with faith can see their wisdom. Indeed the teaching on loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you is so that you may convert them. (And in even deeper reality it is so that one day you might share your love with them and their love with you.)

    But a spiritual reality, that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church, does not eliminate an option of the temporal order.

    As far as the quote in Gaudium et Spes, I think the first section; “When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do whatever is objectively demanded of them by the common good.” I think the key part of that is “objectively demanded of the by the common good”; thus that we must obey all just laws of that state. We can’t say “the state permits abortion and abortionists, therefore I can kill abortionists in order to stop that evil.”

    However, “it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against abuses of this authority within the limits of natural authority and the law of the Gospel.” It states right here that there is a legitimate defense for those who are oppressed by a state. And as we saw early legitimate defense does not exclude the possibility of armed defense. They must act in this defense according to the law of the Gospel, which is, practically speaking, the rules of Just War.

    I guess my underlining questions in all of this, and if you will answer anything answer these; How our inability to revolt won’t result in a tyrannical state; How man has a right to defend himself without state authority or assistance and that states have right to defend themselves from other states, but a man has not the right to defend himself from his state, what is the distinction? What Catholic document has condemned revolutions or commented on them specifically?

    I repeat what I stated at the beginning: I bind myself to absolute obedience to the Holy Roman Catholic Catholic. Any questions and statements made in this post must be considered humble questioning of a child, not a protest.

    God Bless!


    Apostle of Mary

    December 19, 2008 at 6:35 pm

  12. I like the discussion. I would like to add to the questions offered by Apostle of Mary, “What if the state is compelling you to do something immoral?” Jeremiah does point out that our weapons are “Our weapons are prayer, love, compassion, evangelism, discipleship, and dominion,” but is there a point where we are obliged to take action? Is this one of those things where prudential judgment applies? I glibly mentioned that this topic reminds me of the movie, The Mission. Do we fight at the coming of the enemy or do we die are martyrs? I’m not convinced either answer is incorrect. Using the extreme, would we as Catholics be obliged to work to overthrow the Nazi were we living in Germany in that era?

    You really should have beer on this site. 🙂


    December 19, 2008 at 7:46 pm

  13. Apostle Of Mary

    I think “Never again war!” is an awfully strong exhortation.

    What the Catechism goes through are the basics of Just War theory. The problem is when we look at the key players being dealt with:

    1. States against one another
    2. Men against one another

    We can attempt to put into play yet another:

    3. Citizens against the State

    2264: Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow

    This here is specifically dealing with personal self-defense against another (unspecified) who is aiming at harming someone in a lethal manner.

    Cont… “Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.’”

    This is now touching on the defense of others who are bound to be dealt a lethal blow. For example, if my fellow citizen (take for example my wife) was being attacked, I could defend them. Interestingly, this has two phrases worthy of notice:

    1. Moderate self-defense
    2. It is not “necessary for salvation.”

    Number 2 is of more concern here. It is saying that the type of pacifism promoted by the Anabaptists is absurd, and that my salvation is not on the line were I to act in this particular manner, which also happens to be categorized as self-defense, even though I am technically defending another person.

    2263 actually works against those who advocate armed revolution against civil authority. While it is specifically dealing with the civil authorities right to use force against aggressors, this could very well include those within the nation (revolutionaries) as those without (foreign aggressors).

    2308 gives us the outline for Just War. Note though that these rules are given in 2309 as “the strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force.” Contextually, we are still dealing with those who have been given the institutional authority of defense, namely the state.

    For us to apply them to the citizenry would be a tough sell. We would have to follow all the very specific rules given.

    The first condition would be a tough sell. We would have to be in worse shape than we are now to attempt arguing that we have reached this point.

    The second has certainly not been met, nor do I see this happening in the USA, at least not soon. Even in countries such as China, the former USSR, and Korea, the popes have not called for armed rebellion.

    Unless one can argue that a citizen revolution against the US military has a probable degree of success, then this isn’t even worth consideration.

    The last condition would require it to be a Catholic revolution. No pluralism here. The aims of undefined or ecumenically defined freedom, liberty, rights, and order would be out of the question.

    In short, the standard of Just War theory makes war… well… a tough sell, even for the civil authorities to whom such defense is delegated as an institutional responsibility.

    Now, can I defend my family? Yes. This was covered under 2264. Why the difference? Because I am covenantally and institutionally bound to protect and defend my family from aggressors.

    Most of the time this is a matter of being a second line of defense. In cases of immediate danger, I may be the first line of defense, but I ought to notify the civil authorities as well. If something bad happens, I am not to be an avenger, but to allow the institution of the civil government to perform this task. This is law and order. So while I can and must defend my family and my neighbors (I own a shotgun for this very purpose), I must realize that I am limited in jurisdiction.

    Lastly, yes, you are quite correct that we have a right to protect ourselves from the tyranny of the state. The stick in the mud is exactly how this ought (or must) be done. Who says when revolution is acceptable? To what degree am I defending myself and others from lethal danger? To what degree am I permitted to use force? Is force even the best means by which to “defend” ourselves? Have we exhausted all other recourse? Plenty of questions, not very many cut-and-dry questions.

    As I said, I would side with martyrdom. Would I condemn those who fight? Probably not. But I would say that, in all likelihood, as the pope said so clearly”

    “No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problem which provoked the war.”

    … making it all the more difficult to find a just solution to the very problem with provoked the war.


    December 20, 2008 at 12:44 am

  14. Stu,

    It reminds me of The Mission as well. I watched that movie for the first time a few months ago. Brilliant film, and it really does embody the internal struggle with Catholics over the use of force.

    Antipelagian is a High Life guy. I’ll stick with IPA and Guinness… and occasional Rumple Minze or Bacardi 151.


    December 20, 2008 at 12:46 am

  15. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    I think we have come to an understanding and an agreement. Your position is very practical and clearly articulated. Certainly a revolution is a hard sell, like war, and certainly it isn’t something necessary for salvation. But even more certainly if the good people roll over and die and just whiff at every unjust action of the state, we will have tyranny.

    I liked that you condemned extreme pacifism and wouldn’t condemn, necessarily, those who start a revolution. For the record I think that this country is far from the need of having a revolution of arms. However a revolution of ideas, of morals, of “prayer, love, compassion, evangelism, discipleship, and dominion” is the revolution we need to work “without ceasing” for. Arms is, after all, the final and terrible recourse.

    It is very true that the exhortation of the Pope is a strong exhortation and must be seriously considered by all men of good will. We must exhaust all means necessary to avoid war and foster peace. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to stop evil with force as in the case of Hitler or Stalin.

    In the end I agree completely with all your sentiments. And as I can’t really add anything but in what way I agree with what you said I will end my comments here. Very well done.


    Apostle of Mary

    December 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

  16. Then I have to disagree and say I’d rather be a fighter than a martyr.

    As were the heroes of the Shimabara Rebellion in Japan.

    Or the Cristero Rebellion in Mexico.

    Or the Vorkuta Prison Rebellion in Soviet Russia.

    Or – especially – the Vendean Rebellion in Revolutionary France.

    Roy F. Moore

    December 20, 2008 at 1:39 pm

  17. I would most certainly never deny the existence of brave Catholics in human history who engaged themselves in armed-revolution. I would quickly follow that by asserting the obvious: that the vast majority of saints in our great history have chosen otherwise, even under the most tyrannical of regimes.

    At any rate, if one wishes to make the case for Just Revolution, that is their burden to bear, not mine. Let it suffice to say that I think such a case borders the impossible, if for no other reason than God and His Church have always emphasized order, obedience, peace and prayer.


    December 21, 2008 at 11:29 am

  18. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    You should read Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville especially his thoughts on the French Revolution found in his introduction. Its to much material to go into great depth here but a little segment of the text might be of some interest;

    “In no country in Europe has the great social revolution that I have just described, (the movement toward equality and democracy), made such rapid progress as in France; but it has always advanced without guidance. The most powerful, the most intelligent, and the most moral classes of the nation have never attempted to control it in order to guide it. Democracy has consequently been abandoned to its wild instincts, and it has grown up like those children who have no parental guidance, who receive their education in the public streets, and who are acquainted only with the vices and wretchedness of society. Its existence was seemingly unknown when suddenly it acquired supreme power. All then servilely submitted to its caprices; it was worshiped as an idol of strength; and when afterwards it was enfeebled by its own excesses, the legislator conceived the rash project of destroying it, instead of instructing it and correcting its vices. No attempt was made to fit it to govern, but all were bent on excluding it from government.
    “The result has been that the democratic revolution has taken place in the body of society without concomitant change in the laws, ideas, customs, and morals which was necessary to render such a revolution beneficial. Thus we have a democracy without anything to lessen its vices and bring out its natural advantages; and although we already perceive the evils it brings, we are ignorant of the benefits it may confer.”

    He later says that; “The spell of royalty is broken, but it has not be succeeded by the majesty of the laws. The people learn to despise all authority, but they still fear it; and fear now extorts more then was formerly paid from reverence and love.”

    Much later he asks: “Has such been the fate of the centuries which have preceded our own? and has man always inhabited a world like the present, where all things are not in their proper relationships, where virtue is without genius, and genius without honor; where love of order is confused with a taste for oppression, and the holy cult of freedom with a contempt of law; where the light thrown by conscience on human actions is dim, and where nothing seems to be any longer forbidden or allowed, honorable or shameful, false or true?”

    Upon reading that my question is this; what should be the proper action of a state when its citizens demand a new government?

    I have to wonder from what de Tocqueville wrote whether the French Revolution needed to be a bloody one, or had the “The most powerful, the most intelligent, and the most moral classes of the nation have ever attempted to control it in order to guide it,” could there have been a peaceful transition of government?

    When we look at the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the present Constitution, we have an example of a peaceful transformation of government. The representatives of the United States realized that the Articles of Confederation were insufficient as a system of government, and fearing a collapse of the union assembled to discuss and propose a new Constitution for our government. Certainly the Constitution had its opponents, but those who did so opposed its ideas while it was still being debated. They did, however, submit after it became law.

    For the last few comments I have been trying to defend the right of Revolution as a final recourse, but as I would seriously like all revolutions to be avoided, (and as I agree with Paleo that the case for it is next to impossible to make), I have been thinking about what ways a revolution might be avoided peacefully while producing at the same time a transition of power and a change in the constitution of government. Certainly the Church wouldn’t oppose a change in governments, and therefore rule bodies, of a state, (as long as the government wasn’t unjust).

    I guess the more interesting question about this isn’t whether or not governments can be changed to fit the just will of the people, and whether or not that could be done, and if it would avoid a revolution; but what role should the state take in changing its government to fit the preference of its people?

    What obligation would be placed upon those who are in power to avoid revolution, not just punish those who are revolutionaries, when the people desire a new government? Can it be justly argued that a King must forfeit his right to rule as Monarch if the people wish to establish a Democracy, Republic, or another system? If a leader knew the people demanded a new form of government, and were requesting it peacefully, and knowing human nature and the way crowds act, knew that the people would quickly and violently revolt, but failed to succeed power for personal self interest, would that be a grave sin against justice?

    It seems that it is the role of the ruler of that state to ensure a smooth transition of power, the protection of the common good during the formulation of the new constitution, and the promotion of the virtue and education necessary for that society and government. He must work for the success of the new government. He must work so that as “the spell of royalty is broken”, the “majesty of the laws” might take its place.

    So essentially my questions to you are thus; what right do the people have to peacefully ask for a new form of government; does the state have the duty to act upon that request if a just system of government is to be set up in the place of the current one; and what is the role of the leader of the state to provide that new and just government, to ensure its worth before he gives his duty to protect his citizens to it, and promote and work toward the success of that new government?

    I think my opinions on the matter are made pretty clear so I need not go into them. Your thoughts would be interesting though.


    Apostle of Mary

    December 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm

  19. what should be the proper action of a state when its citizens demand a new government?

    Listen. Take counsel. Make a decision.

    what right do the people have to peacefully ask for a new form of government?

    I don’t see any reason why “the people” wouldn’t have the right to ask. The catch is in what is meant by “the people.” Take the US as an example. When the Federal Founders wrote “We the People” there were just under 1/3 of the adult population behind them. That is a far cry from being the voice of “the people.”

    Does the state have the duty to act upon that request if a just system of government is to be set up in the place of the current one?

    The state would have a responsibility to act on behalf of the common good. But the common good is not always one and the same with the wishes of the majority.

    Catholics ought to be cautious on this point. The Church has always taken a rather neutral position on forms of government, so long as they provide for the common good. This can be done, as Aquinas rightly noted, as easily (if not more easily) in an autocracy as in a democracy. That being said, we can argue for just reform to the form of government, but our emphasis should be reform within the form of government. I hope my distinction makes sense.

    In response to the last question, I would safely assume that it all depends upon his beliefs regarding the transformation. Does he believe the new form to be just? Does he believe it to be more just? A number of questions would rattle around with this one…

    SIDE NOTE: I take a very different position regarding the so-called transfer from the Articles to the Constitution. My position (minus much of the theological stuff) would run along the lines of Dr. Gary North in his book entitled “Political Pluralism.” Ah, but that is for another day…


    December 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

  20. “When the Federal Founders wrote “We the People” there were just under 1/3 of the adult population behind them. That is a far cry from being the voice of “the people.”

    the men behind the Revolution were theologically Newtonian, in many cases Unitarian. A large number of them were Freemasons…their anthropology and political theory was more influenced by the Enlightenment than historical Christian philosophy.”

    My thoughts exactly.
    Because there were already papal bulls issued condemning the slave trade, i’ve got to question this lionizing of the framers myself.
    Samuel Johnson made a comment to the effect that they talked alot of freedom for a crew that owned slaves.

    My loyalty to America is based on the fact that older generations of churchgoers worked, laboured, fought, and suffered so we could live godly and peaceably.
    It’s based on our veterans who fought the nazis and communism. It’s based on the anti-slavery and de-segregation movements. It’s based on my loyalty to my catholic parents who taught me to respect my nation.

    It’s not based on a constitution. It’s not based on Jefferson. In my view, the Church was preaching about equal long before any declaration.


    January 12, 2009 at 2:23 am

  21. Totus Tuus ad Jesum per Mariam

    George Washington: “there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.”
    —Letter to Morris, April 12, 1786

    John Adams: “Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States…. I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in …abhorrence.”
    —Letter to Evans, June 8, 1819

    Benjamin Franklin: “Slavery is …an atrocious debasement of human nature.”
    —”An Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery” (1789)

    Alexander Hamilton: “The laws of certain states …give an ownership in the service of negroes as personal property…. But being men, by the laws of God and nature, they were capable of acquiring liberty—and when the captor in war …thought fit to give them liberty, the gift was not only valid, but irrevocable.”

    From Thomas Jefferson’s original Declaration of Independence:
    “he [the king of Britain] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”

    To say that the founders were pro-slavery or didn’t do enough to oppose it is simply not fair. Slavery existed in this country before the founders in all the colonies. It was a British institution. After the Declaration of Independence many men freed their slaves and many states outlawed slavery. Provisions were also made to end the slave trade.

    In truth the founders hit slavery with the first big hammer in this country. You must remember that Abraham Lincoln, the man who finally removed slavery once and for in this country, invoked the founders in his Gettysburg Address.

    It is also true that the founders thought preserving the union was more important then abolishing slavery and I agree with them. Even Fredrick Douglas thought it better to be united then to have a “free north” and a “slave south”. For what influence would the north have over the south if they were divided enemies. They believed the abolishment of slavery would come about quicker with a union. It is little different then the “democrats for life” plaN to end ninety percent of abortions in ten years. Of course I would wish all abortions could be ended ten years ago, but that’s not possible and we must be practical and prudent. That is what the founders were trying to be.

    Was the Church saying all those things before the founders? Absolutely. But that doesn’t discredit the founders. The founders had the unique position of creating a constitution to govern, whereas the Church only had a position to preach. Great credit must be given to the founders for doing what was right, (with some prudent concessions), and working for the abolishment of slavery.

    They were men, the were deistic, they were part of the “enlightenment” mentality, they were wrong on some things, they were weak, and sometimes they didn’t live up to their highest ideals. But they did establish the greatest country that has ever been seen. In a time of great religious bickering and violence they offered theological freedom and refuge for protestants and Catholics. Some ill effects came of this, but some ill effects come of all things.
    They preserved freedom of dissenting and unwelcome speech (not pornography). And helped establish a agrarian and just society. Et cetera, et cetera.

    It saddens me that people have such dislike for the founders today and that you very rarely here anything positive about them. The best thing I can say about them is that they built a country so great that we today are decrying its collapse. And that its collapse is caused by a rejection of life, of the liberty of law, and the pursuit of virtue. The three principles they fought so hard for.

    You should read “Vindicating the Founders” by Thomas West. If only for a better understanding of what the founders originally intended for this country.

    “I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from one single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration of Independence. I think I may defy Judge Douglas to show that he ever said so, that Washington ever said so, that any President ever said so, that any member of Congress ever said so…. And I will remind Judge Douglas and this audience, that while Mr. Jefferson was the owner of slaves, as undoubtedly he was, in speaking upon this very subject, he used the strong language that “he trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just.”
    Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglas debates.


    Apostle of Mary

    January 12, 2009 at 11:33 am

  22. It is no secret that I am not a fan of the Federal Founders. As I have said many times in the past, they were largely Masonic, Newtonian, Unitarian, and terribly hypocritical, especially on the matter of slavery. Once again, this is no secret.

    Still, I have a love for my homeland. My love is not rooted in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, I don’t think very highly of the document. My love is not rooted in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, neither of which are at the top of my favorites’ list. Nor is my love for this country on account of our so-called exceptionalism, as I believe it to be as much a fabrication as the so-called “Protestant work ethic.”

    I love this country because it happens to be where I reside, where my family resides, and where my Church resides. I love it because I am to have a love for my neighbor. I appreciate much of our history, much of our culture, and a decent amount of the rights we are afforded as citizens. But appreciation isn’t necessarily love.

    Were I to reflect on the matter further, I may find that I love an idea that is made up of a people and land, both which exist, and both which have yet to come into existence. A paradox to be sure. But in restoring all things in King Christ, we aren’t creating something out of nothing. Rather, we would be creating a social order as uniquely Catholic as it would be American.

    Is it perfect? No. Are we the second Israel? No. Are we the greatest nation to have existed on God’s green earth? Sean Hannity may say so, but many would contend this claim. At any rate, there is much to love, much to appreciate, and more than plenty to dislike.


    January 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

  23. Looking for an American history book written from a catholic perspective. Wondering if you can recommend a title.


    January 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm

  24. None that I know of, but I have never taken the time to look. Looking at history through a different scope than “the victors” have given us gets you labeled a “revisionist” or a “blame America firster.” But for a well-rounded view of history, a look at the works of popular “revisionists” would be advantageous.


    January 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm

  25. So far, two titles look promising. One title is a catholic high school book called Christ and the Americas by Ann W. Carroll.
    Another is an elementary schoolbook called Pioneers and Patriots by Bishop Philip Furlong.

    From my catholic school years, I remember the names of Isaac Jogues, and Indian convert to catholicism Katerine Tekakwitha from books on lives of saints.

    Other than John Rao’s Founding Fathers vs Church Fathers, and other writers at Chesterbelloc which I love, you’re really the only other writer I can trust on the subject.

    I’m convinced that the Catholic Church had more to do with the founding of America than we’re commonly told.

    Only two or three scholars I know about have written about the Catholic influence on the mis-named king James Bible, and I think there was much more Vulgate influence on it than many historians say.

    Just to not be greedy, I’d be content with a Christian-oriented American history book that doesn’t bash the Catholic Church.

    My motivations for all my studies on these things is my wish that the strife and schism between Trinitarian Christians would come to an end.
    I really think that there’s no need for it.
    I also think that history gets pretty well falsified because of anti-Catholic bigotry.


    January 13, 2009 at 2:39 am

  26. BTW, Paleocrat. I wish to apologize for rambling.
    Wouldn’t mind seeing something from you about preterism.
    I’ve read some things on it.
    It looks a lot more hopeful than the futuristic interpretation, which looks fatalistic not to mention terrifying.
    You’ve been a very gracious host, Paleocrat. Thank you.


    January 13, 2009 at 2:47 am

  27. I would be interested to read John Rao’s book to get his take on it. I once read a book by Protestant author Gary North entitled “Political Pluralisim.” He goes into great depth about the theological and philosophical views commonly held by the Federal Founders and compares them with the settlers. He also compares the earlier ruling documents of the colonies and states with the later Constitution. Whether or not one agrees with him entirely is irrelevant. The point is that he brings many things to light that are otherwise shrouded in darkness.

    I read the Douay-Rheims.

    The aim of this site would make a post on preterism stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe another forum. Suffice it to say that preterism, accompanied with a positive Catholic eschatology, is very hopeful… and Biblical.

    A gracious host? Uh-oh, I must be slipping! haha


    January 13, 2009 at 10:36 am

  28. Sorry to be late to the party but a distinction is missiong from this post. Armed Resistance to protect you life or property (or the lives of others) from tyranny by opression is a legitimate option. This is resistance as distinct from revolution and resistance only to immoral actions of those in authority–by force only if necessary but never to directly attack the government or refuse to obey it in a lawful matter.

    Defensive war against illegitmate (narrowly defined) government actions is not the same as going on offense.

    John F. Triolo

    February 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  29. I will allow the Popes to speak on this one:

    Diuturnum (Pope Leo XIII)

    18. But the Church has always so acted that the Christian form of civil government may not dwell in the minds of the men, but that it may be exhibited also in the life of the habits of nations. As long as there were at the helm of the States pagan emperors, who were prevented by superstition from rising to that form of imperial government which We have sketched, she studied how to instill in the minds of subjects, immediately on their embracing the Christian institutions, the teaching that they must be desirous of bringing their lives into conformity with them. Therefore, the pastors of souls, after the great example of the Apostle Paul, were accustomed to teach the people with the utmost care and diligence “to be subject to princes and powers, to obey at a word,” and to pray to God for all men and particularly “for kings and all that are in a high station: for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” And the Christians of old left the most striking proofs of this: for, when they were harassed in a very unjust and cruel way by pagan emperors, they nevertheless at no time omitted to conduct themselves obediently and submissively, so that, in fact, they seemed to vie with each other: those in cruelty, and those in obedience.

    19. This great modesty, this fixed determination to obey, was so well known that it could not be obscured by the calumny and malice of the enemies…

    20. The case, indeed, was different when they were ordered by the edicts of emperors and the threats of praetors to abandon the Christian faith or in any way fail in their duty. At these times, undoubtedly, they preferred to displease men rather than God. Yet even under these circumstances, there were so far from doing anything seditious or despising the imperial majesty that they took it on themselves only to profess themselves Christians, and declare that they would not in any way alter their faith. But they had no thought of resistance, calmly and joyfully they went to the torture rack, in so much that the magnitude of the torments gave place to their magnitude of mind.


    7. …And if at any time it happens that the power of the State is rashly and tyrannically wielded by princes, the teaching of the Catholic Church does not allow an insurrection on private authority against them, lest public order be only the more disturbed and lest society take greater hurt therefrom. And when affairs come to such a pass that there is no other hope of safety, she teaches that relief may be hastened by the merits of Christian patience and by earnest prayers to God.

    Mr. Triolo,

    While all of the citations are significant, the last one is central. Not only does Leo declare that the Catholic Church does not allow for what you are describing, but even under a rash and tyrannical State, and under a condition where there is seen to be no hope of “safety.”

    There was no sedition. There was no despising tyrannical and pagan emperors. They were joyfully willing to be humiliated, tortures, and even killed. They didn’t need to fight, they prayed, lived out Christian obedience, and taught others to do the same.


    February 14, 2009 at 2:01 am

  30. (I realize I’m coming on the scene late) Interesting post. I’ve printed the comments to read later, but for what I gather skimming, mine might be a middle view. Although I think that we are pretty far away from such a thing being permissible in America, I disagree with the post to the extent it implies that armed resistance/revolution is not morally permissible. Consider that a number of Mexican revolutionaries were recently made saints. Consider also the following from the Catechism at section 2243:

    Armed resistance to oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all the following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged violation of fundamental rights; 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted; 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders; 4) there is well-founded hope of success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution.

    One thing I do find unfortunate is the extent to which we as Americans have failed to be vigilant. We ourselves, our parents, our grandparents, are largely responsible for not being informed and not taking action as our coutry has starayed further and further from priciples of justice. Another thing I find unfortunate is that those who are the most belligent right now are people who have typically had next to zero participation in the political process (“all other means of redress have been exhausted”?).

    One other thing I would like to say is that America has not really tasted war on this continent since the 1860’s. As a veteran, let me say 1) You have no idea how good you have it in America 2) People who are eager for conflict are fools. War is not about good guys in white hats or the triumph of good over evil. As often as not, bad guys win. The real face of war is death, rape, hunger, destruction of property, disfigurement, infidelity, drug addicition and broken marriages.


    April 1, 2009 at 11:28 am

    • I laid out the exceptions the Church has made for armed citizen revolution. They do exist, but they are rather specific and require all of them to be met before such action would be considered permissible. If I remember correctly, they are the exact same that you referenced here.

      There is no disagreement with your indictment of America’s apathy in regards to participation in the political-economy. I didn’t get involved until the 2000 election. I was 22 at the time. I am now 31. Since then I have worked as an activist, a lobbyist in the state capitol, a national delegate for a third party, a state delegate for the Republican party, a citizen journalist, a member of Associated Collegiate Press, a columnist for the Olivet College Echo, a contributor for The Distributist Review, a member of the Society for Distributism, and a talk-show host. Suffice it to say that I hit the road running. I also do a decent amount of public speaking on Catholic Social Teaching. While it would be unfair for me to expect as much from everyone, it does go to show that people can do much more than they may imagine.

      Lastly, I am also a veteran. I was signing into the Navy when the first plane struck the Twin Towers. I know where I was on 9-11. Unlike many others who were there that day, I decided to finish signing my paperwork. My sister, father, and grandfather were also in the military. Two of them were Marines, the other was in the Army.

      This being said, I know that we have it very well in the USA. I may be critical of various policies, and I certainly refuse to gloss over our decay on account of an indefensible adherence to American Exceptionalism, but I most certainly love my country and my fellow citizens. And it is for this reason, above and beyond most others, that I am so radically opposed to our political establishment’s consensus on matters surrounding foreign policy. It is also at the heart of my opposition to armed revolution against legitimate authorities.

      Thanks for the remark. Please visit out new site at


      April 8, 2009 at 7:01 am

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