Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Thoughts on the Mortara case

As has been well described elsewhere, in 1858, in Bologna when it was part of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX, a 6-year-old Jewish boy who had been secretly baptised by a servant when he had been thought to be at the point of death, was taken from his parents to be raised a Catholic.

This was a rare kind of case, but it had been contemplated in the civil law of the Papal States, and the decision was in accordance with longstanding practice. In the face of an international outcry, Pope Pius IX refused to restore little Edgardo to his family.

First Things has been getting more ‘traddy’ in recent years but they have jumped the shark by publishing a defence of this action of Pius IX by a Dominican theologian, Romanus Cessario. This must surely be one of the most indefensible actions by any Pope of modern times, not least because there is no dispute about the facts of the case. Nothing in the article made me remotely more sympathetic to this action of Pius IX.

I have a lot of time for Pius IX, in general. I also think the Papal States were good and necessary (so necessary, in fact, that they had to be resurrected in miniature form in 1929). Furthermore, I accept the constant teaching of the Popes on the cooperation of Church and State. None of this obliges me to accept that every decision made by Pius IX as head of the Papal States in the Good Old Days was a good one, nor that all the policies of the Papal States were good and just. The whole point of being Traditional Catholics is that we are not slaves of the daily thoughts and doings of Popes. We are not Ultramontanists. It would be silly to reject Ultramontanism about the post-Conciliar Popes and adopt it for the pre-Conciliar ones. We can leave that kind of inconsistency to liberal and conservative Catholics.

Popes have made many mistakes over the centuries. Some of their foreign policy decisions were disastrous, as anyone who reads any history can see. Their internal policies are no more impeccable. I labour the point because, really, we are at complete liberty to assess the civil laws and temporal policies of the Papal States without fear of undermining the Faith.

Is this, then, not about the Faith directly? No, it isn’t. It is about the exercise of temporal power in the Papal States. States routinely intervene in family life where the good of members demands it. This interference is sometimes absolutely necessary, but it remains extremely important that it is kept within strict limits. The integrity of the family in general, and the rights of parents over children in particular, do not exist at the pleasure of the state: as the Church has consistently taught, they predate the state and their prerogatives cannot be overridden by the state.

In this case, the justification for overriding the rights of parents over a young child was that the child had been baptised. It is perfectly true that baptism places a person under the jurisdiction of the Church: it gives the Church certain rights over the person, and gives the baptised person certain obligations towards the Church. It is also perfectly true that the State can and should enforce some of these rights and obligations on behalf of the Church, where this is necessary. Thus the duty of Catholics to provide financial support to the Church, to observe various rules about marriage, and so forth, could be, in Catholic states, determined in cases of dispute by Church courts, whose judgements could if necessary be enforced by agents of the state. The cooperation of Church and State was particularly seamless in the Papal States, but the distinction still existed. What is important to note is that the Church would not, obviously, attempt to enforce such obligations against non-Catholics, of whom the most prominent examples in Catholic states has historically been members of various Jewish communities.

This is where the Mortara case becomes interesting. The child may have been baptised, but the parents most certainly had not been. The duty of baptised parents or godparents to raise a baptised child in the Faith were not being violated by these parents: they had no such obligation. It was to fulfil the child’s right to a Catholic upbringing that he was removed from his family. No one claimed that the parents had done anything wrong.

The right to a Catholic upbringing is violated, however, by every nominal Catholic family, and come to that by baptised non-Catholics, who fail to educate their children in the Faith as they should. No doubt in some cases this did lead to state intervention, though I fancy not under that description: I mean, the civil authorities would have found places in orphanages for children whose parents were dead, insane, or otherwise incapable of bringing up their children in a reasonable way. The problem is that while the Church would have greater justification for demanding state intervention in cases where the parents are baptised, but it would appear that in such cases there is actually far more reluctance to intervene. Only in the most extreme cases would children be taken from their baptised parents: no one in the Papal States was demanding small children from parents who had, for example, simply lapsed. Something strange is going on here.

I’m afraid the strange thing going on is the attitude towards the Jews. I don’t want to engage in any kind of self-flagellation, but it is a historical fact that the treatment of the Jews in Catholics countries has not always been just, and since we do not think Popes are impeccable there is no a priori reason to think the shadow of such injustice should not have fallen on the Papal States. The civil law and policy applied to the Mortara family placed Jews in a specially disadvantageous position, compared to other families who might be failing to bring up their baptised children right, and I do not see the moral or theological justification for this special treatment.

As with the sex-abuse scandals, it is relevant to point out the wider context: in this case, that Jews were in many cases protected by Church teaching and Papal policies; that Protestant theology and Protestant states have been problematic in this area to say the least; and that the worst anti-semitism of all time has come from an ideology--Nazism--also hostile to Christianity. But it remains important not to let our Catholic amour propre blind us to the seriousness of the historical problem inside the Church, lest our failure to recognise or criticise it cause more scandal.

But there is something else as well. As I have noted, this is about the use of State power: the temporal arm of the Papal States.  It seems Stephen Spielberg is planning to make a film about the Mortara case. Is he going to make a film about the Johanssen case, when Swedish social services kidnapped a home-schooled Christian child? Is he going to make a film about UK social services attempting to meet targets for the number of children taken into care, and the secret family courts which cannot be reported in the press, which have become a national scandal? Is he going to make a film about the Romeike family, which fled from Germany because social services there were likely to abduct the children for the crime of being home-schooled, who sought and gained asylum in the USA until they were very nearly forcibly repatriated by the lovely President Obama?

I don’t think so.

Please note, gentle reader, that today's debate about family policy does not have liberals on the side of the rights of the family, and the wicked old Catholic Church on the side of the state’s right to snatch away children who, in the eyes of some petty functionary, would do better in care. No, it is liberals who have the second attitude, and it is the teaching of the Church which supports the former. The Mortara case is a case in which the Papal States had slipped into a way of thinking and acting which is today characteristic of liberals. Defenders of Pope Pius IX, please note.

See also: Position Paper on the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews; and see the corresponding label in this blog.

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40 comments:

  1. Pio Nono, to be consistent, should have removed baptized children from the homes of lapsed Catholics and of Protestants. Such children in Romanus Cessario’s reasoning, had a new supernatural life which needed to be nurtured, and the parents were not doing it. I think you are right to detect a specifically anti-Jewish motive to Pio Nono’s action.

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    1. I think for the Protestant scenario, it would be difficult since he would risk exposing Catholics in Protestant lands to the same fate. In the case of lapsed Catholics, the only ones who would outspokenly be lapsed Catholics in that historical context would have been those with some power and influence. It was very rare to find both the husband and the wife among the peasants that were publicly touting their apostasy from the faith (probably even non-existent at that time?). So once again, it would be difficult for the Pope to actually accomplish such a removal, and also detect one reasonably.

      In the case of Mortara, it was a situation where given the historical context at the time, the Pope knew that he could actually exercise his temporal power effectively, which he did.

      So if we do grant that the Pope has a responsibility to protect the baptized Catholics from clear danger to their faith when he has the means to do so, then it would seem that his actions would be morally justified.

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  2. I do see your perspective. But, what if someone argues in the following the manner:-
    1) There was a clear danger that Mortara growing up with his non-Catholic parents will lose the faith
    2) To safeguard against such a loss of a Catholic soul, which would be a primary duty of a prelate, the Pope rightfully removed Mortara from his parents.

    In reply to the argument about nominal Catholics, one could argue that it is harder to assert the first proposition that there is a clear danger to the faith. So there is a distinction in the two cases.

    In regards to the remaining assertion that the Church is acting like the liberals by acting this way, one could counter that liberals are merely enforcing and protecting their own doctrine and its implications. So the error of liberalism is not in its enforcement methodology but the doctrine itself.

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    1. On the point of nominal Catholics, what I meant to say was that it is harder to identify someone as a nominal Catholic. Even when identified as such, usually there are other conventional ways to help them become better Catholics (sermons forcefully preaching against such nominal Catholic living etc). So it would seem that the "clear danger" aspect is hard to assert definitively in the case of nominal Catholics.

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    2. There are objective ways of assessing whether baptised persons are bringing their children up in the Faith: reception of the sacraments, educational progress, public reputation, etc.. Some of these are even subject to penalties in confessional states: for example penalties for living in sin. So your argument doesn't work.

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    3. I do not disagree with the existence of objective methods (though they may not always be practical), but even when objectively assessed as incompetent in regards to bringing up children in the Catholic faith, there are more conventional ways to correct the situation when it is Catholics parents.

      So unless one can prove that there is no clear distinction that can be made between the case of nominal Catholic parents vs. non-Catholic parents, I do not see how arguments of the form I presented above does not work.

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    4. More conventional ways: in some cases. What of a Protestant or staunchly atheist family?

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    5. I think if the same was done by the Pope for Protestants, then there was a clear risk that the Protestants would do the same in Protestant states. In regards to those publicly known as staunchly atheists, in that historical context, they were usually folks who were higher up in the power scale. Also, the folks who fell into that category back in the day didn't often get married and have children (thinking of the likes of Voltaire)

      So for those kind of reasons, I think the Pope would have thought it infeasible to pursue the same course of action against them.

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    6. Well if the problem of people being up the 'power scale' is the liklihood of there being a stink, then Pius IX made a terrible blunder with the Mortara family. What his supporters say is that he acted on principle regardless of the consequences.

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    7. By power scale, I think about it in the context of being able to actually act. I don't think it was even possible to carry out the action of taking the child away in the case of someone in power, and keeping them away from the family.

      But in the case with the Jewish population, due to them not having that much power and influence at the time, the Pope did have the ability to actually carry out his action.

      One could argue that he should have still at least attempted to do the same with the staunch atheist families of his time. But I think one can argue that he could reasonably foresee the failure of such an act and the equally likely backlash in such an attempt. So he can still be heralded as a man of principle, and also commended for not being too overzealous.

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    8. I would think that the fact that the Church has means at her disposal of disciplining Catholic families lax in bringing up their children properly would be an argument for, rather than against, Mortara's being taken: the Church would otherwise have no means of ensuring it, Mortara's parents being outside the Church's discipline.

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  3. Without entering into any polemics, here are some aspects of the "Mortara case" which may be of interest to Catholics.

    Anna Morisi, a Catholic, was employed as a maid in the household of the Jewish Mortara family. In doing so the Mortaras broke the law of Bologna where they lived, because the Papal States officially forbade Jews to have Christian servants. It suited them to do this, because a Christian maid was not subject to Jewish laws and so could carry out all the household tasks on the Sabbath when they were forbidden to do so according to Jewish law.

    As part of her work Morisi looked after their infant son Edgardo. When he was four months old he became gravely ill and she feared he might die. She saw how the Mortaras sat sadly by his crib reading from a book in Hebrew that the Jews read when one of them is about to die. This convinced her to secretly perform an emergency Baptism on Edgardo.

    Edgardo later recovered. But consider this: if he had died he would have had access to the Beatific Vision because of his Baptism.

    After being removed from his family at age six he was raised as a Catholic by Pope Pius IX and became a priest at the age of 21. He died a faithful Catholic priest at the age of 88, after a life of preaching throughout Europe. Being raised in Rome did not mean that he was prevented from seeing his parents, and they visited him at fairly regular intervals. On attaining majority he maintained frequent contact with them, and also with other relatives.

    Consider how on becoming an adult, and hearing from his parents and relatives how he had been taken away from his family as a child, and raised as a Catholic instead of a Jew, he could have have weighed things up and made a choice.

    He could view what had happened to him either as a terrible travesty and injustice, leading him to revert to Judaism, or as a good thing, leading him to stay faithful to Catholicism and to bring others to it by his preaching. He made a deliberate choice for the latter option, and remained a Catholic priest even while maintaining relations with his Jewish family.

    Should we be unhappy that he did so? Should we regret that the actions of certain Catholics, from the very lowly to the most high, enabled him to do so? It is said that God writes straight with crooked lines. No doubt the forthcoming Spielberg movie "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara" will castigate the Catholic Church and attempt to paint her in the blackest of black colours.

    But the witness of the life of Fr Edgardo Mortara will forever speak otherwise.

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    1. God certainly writes straight with crooked lines, bringing good out of this injustice.

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    3. So sad that this story can elicit anything other than horror over the actions of the church. sad and despicable truth about Catholic history.

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    4. Considering the things that God has revealed about His Sacrament of Holy Baptism, it would be reprobate to feel horror over Blessed Pius' actions -- even if one is of the opinion that his actions were unjust. Through those events that God permitted, Father Mortara's hope of salvation was placed upon a sure foundation, and he was able to administer salvation to hundreds or thousands of others through his life (and even after his life, through the memory of his witness). I think it was to remind us of those things -- of far greater import and value than the political ideologies temporarily popular in modern times --
      that Romano Cessario wrote his book review. And considering the distorted propaganda motion picture that Steven Spielberg is reportedly making about Father Mortara, it is needful for us Catholics to be reminded of them so we can be prepared for the anti-Catholic assault that will ensue, that the movie would be intended to provoke.

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  4. Your argument that a terrible injustice was perpetrated on the Mortara family carries great weight; indeed, I think that, despite the happy outcome of the affair, you are right. I also think, however, that it is a mistake to read back into historical events our modern understanding of the issues, and to judge Pio Nono's action according to 21st century attitudes is perhaps to judge him unfairly.

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    1. It caused an international outcry in the 19th century. Those were the standards of the times.

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    2. But Dr Shaw, the critics of the Pope were not motivated by concern for the boy but by an opportunity to bash 'popery', where might I ask were the international headlines denouncing the enslavement and forced conversion of Catholics living under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire?

      I would urge you to stop supplicating at the shrine of establishment thought and join in the prayers for Bl. Pio Nono's canonization.

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    3. I think the standards that lead to the outrage were motivated from the point of view of secular thought. Under secular thought, the spiritual well-being of the individual would be of lesser importance. Thus the spiritual threat present when raised by non-Catholic parents would be a minor issue.

      So I do agree with Pattif and .... ahem... mad Catholic.... above :)

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    4. Pattif wanted to judge Pius IX by the standards of the time, and I just pointed out that he was condemned by those standards. If you'd like to judge him by universal and objective standards, then for the reasons I've explained I think he stands condemned by those as well.

      What I've said is not incompatible with him being a saint. The poor man had a lot to suffer between 1858 and his death.

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    5. In fairness, that outcry was, to the best of my knowledge, almost entirely confined to non-Catholic circles - Protestant countries, some Jewish communities, and (secular and freemasonic) Italian nationalist milieus. The Catholic press seems to have been pretty unified in defending Pio Nono; the one exception I am aware of is Napoleon III, who of course is something of a complicated case as a Catholic.

      So was this the "standards of the time?" Not for Catholics, in the main - though obviously expectations have changed for them, too, over the subsequent century and a half.

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    6. Given the responses of Mar and T-C-, I am glad that Israel exists. You guys try doing that now to Jewish children and then you'll get an Entebbe-style raid. And so you should.

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    7. I have deleted your other two comments. I won’t have curses and insults on this blog.

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  5. This passage raises an interesting point:

    The integrity of the family in general, and the rights of parents over children in particular, do not exist at the pleasure of the state: as the Church has consistently taught, they predate the state and their prerogatives cannot be overridden by the state.

    In modern times, of course, this principle was most prominently articulated by Leo XIII (cf. Rerum novarum 12-14, Immortale Dei 38, etc.). And yet it is striking that, based on what I have seen, Leo XIII consistently supported Pius IX's actions, and gave Fr. Mortara a number of steps in his clerical career. Did Leo's ultramontanity, or just fear of scandal attaching to an appearance of condemnation of his predecessor's actions - override his principles?

    Historical context may help here. Pius XI himself had actually begun a process of withdrawing more and more authority in the ecclesiastical sphere from secular authorities (even from Catholic states), a process which continued under Leo XIII. For Leo (and Pius), this seems to have been more a contingent judgment rather than a principled position - they trusted even Catholic states less and less (and not without good reason) to act on the authority of the Church in the religious sphere. If we follow Thomas Pink, in fact, we can see in Dignitatis Humanae a final decisive step in this withdrawal of authority. Post-conciliar popes (certainly the current one), being heavily shaped by liberal thought, have arguably abandoned in large degree even the principle, even if not in a magisterial way that binds the conscience, I think.

    A more succinct way of putting what I think is the Leonine position would be this: The natural law protects the family in a powerful degree from such impositions, but the divine law is higher than the natural law and can trump it where the salvation of souls is at stake. The difficulty is in the application, which can be fraught with perils, especially if consistently applied (e.g., to all of those most obviously lapsed Catholic families living in the Papal States in the 1850's - and not just the Jews - let alone in increasingly nominal Catholic confessional states like France pre-1904, Spain, Belgium, Austria, etc.). There is not a single state which any of us, I think, would trust to undertake a similar action today as Pius XI did - nor would we trust the present pontiff to do so either.

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  6. Ten years after the outrage, the God of Israel locked up Pio Nono and his whole 'Pontificial State' in the square-mile museum it has remained to this day. 'Nuff said.

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    1. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

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    2. What are you implying, nemesis? While you are at it, how do you interpret the burning of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the genocide under Hitler? Do you attribute it as the work of the God of Israel too? I think you should not rashly presume to declare the ill-treatment received by others as being from God.

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    3. And here I thought it was the House of Savoy who did it.

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  7. What should be remembered, however, is that the child himself, when asked, refused to rejoin his parents; and when he grew up, he defended Pius IX. Children are not their biological parents' property, after all.

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  8. I completely agree with Josephs views on the Motara case. Certainly Father Motara in later life seems to have been very happy as a Catholic Priest but merely because good may have come out of evil does not protect the initial evil action. The taking of the child through no fault of his parents interferred with the natural rights of the parents to raise their own child.

    Also the action of the Papal Stats set a very bad precedent which today will make it difficult to argue with Civil authorities taking children of 'fundamentalist' Christian parents. What is worthy of note is the uniqueness of the Motara case. Jews lived in the Papal States and other Catholic States for centuries but their children were not taken off them.

    If a film of the Motara case is released it would be a mistake for Catholics to defend what happened far better to agree that children should not be withdrawn from their parents except in cases of clear cruelty.

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    1. I don't think the line of argument you make is valid though.

      The secular state is not exactly wrong in concluding that children should be taken away, if the parents are not teaching them the secular values. The secular state is wrong simply because the secular values are incorrect, and hence there is no divine mandate to protect the secular values. BUT, even in the case of a secular state, when the particular values coincide with the Catholic values, we do grant that the state has a right and duty to remove the child (in case of abuse etc.)

      The Catholic Church on the other hand can do it on the grounds that it is what is best for the salvation of the child.

      I also noticed that you said we should reserve such intervention for cases of cruelty. But in the eyes of the Catholic faith, cruelty is a lesser evil compared to the loss of the faith. So shouldn't one have a duty to intercede in the case of Motara than that of mere cruelty?

      I would like to propose that the reason we see the actions of Pius IX as cruel is simply because we as a society do not really value the salvation of souls above all things.

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  9. TC The problem with your argument is the precedent and justification it provides for the secular or atheist state. People can be persuaded that it is morally wrong to take children off their parents but few people will accept the argument that it is morally OK for the Catholic Church to remove children from their parents but morally wrong for the secular state to do so. Justifying the Motarra case opens a very big can of worms

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    1. But that is my point. For a long time, we have come to see the secular state as interchangeable with a Catholic state. That is not true. The secular state is not wrong because it is willing to persecute those who are contrary to its values. Rather, it is wrong because the values it holds are actually wrong/incorrect in the first place.

      If you were to condemn Pius IX falsely, just to maintain a face of integrity against opposing the state from taking away children, I doubt you would be successful anyway. This is because the position would be unreasonable. Just as a secular state feels the need to act against a family that might be training their kids to murder, rape and steal, it will still feel compelled to act against those who oppose its social order in other ways (teaching the Catholic teaching on marriage, sexuality, etc).

      However, by criticizing the actions of Pius IX, we would have the secular state proponents and other enemies of the Church going "We told you so!!!". So we would have given further credence to the secular state as knowing better than the Catholic Church/state.

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  10. As Fr. Cessario, OP, stated at the very outset, all this affair started with a transgression of the very wise state law by the Edgardo's parents. That Christians should not work at Jewish households the Popes have taught already earlier (certainly 18th c.), and it is logical that this was implemented in the law of the Papal States. I would say that this should have applied to Islamic and other nominally non-Christian households.

    Thus the Pope found himself in a terrible dilemma where the parental rights were positioned against the spiritual rights of the baptized child.

    Too bad that Fr. Cessario has discussed this only with respect to "religious liberty" and "civil liberties", but not specifically parental rights which are the decisive aspect here. While the Church has been clear on non-interference in the life of non-Catholic families, the situation discussed here is a borderline case. I don't know if the theologians have analyzed it. And it seems it was also a unique event.

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    2. I agree with you that it is unfortunate that Fr. Cessario chose to discuss this case only, with respect to 'religious liberty', and civil liberties, but I do not agree that parental rights is the decisive aspect here, because what you are doing, is importing a foreign ideology of human rights, as these are understood within a particular ethical and philosophical perspective, known as secular humanism, into Catholicism, which has its own understanding of these rights, that is very distinct, and understood completely differently, in a completely different context, that makes a great deal of difference, when compared to how human rights are understood in post-Christian Western civilization today, which is as an alternative ultimate ‘Good’, a fundamental ethical and philosophical assumption, that replaces and serves the purpose of God in an alternative belief system.
      Religious liberty, is quite simply, a heresy, despite the despicable attempts of Peter Hunerman and Robert Fastiggi (the editors of the current edition of Denziger) to hide this fact. You won't find the paragraphs 1688 to 1690 from the Pope Pius XI encyclical Quanta Cura in the 43rd edition of Denziger, because they have been deliberately omitted, most probably, because the wording qualifies their condemnation of religious liberty, as infallible, but just because this is a blatant attempt to supress the truth, does not mean, that these words, do not mean, what they mean.

      I’m not going to quote them, because we’re not discussing religious liberty, as such. My point is mainly, and most obviously, that what has it come to, when a Dominican friar, defends a decision of a pope, with arguments based on a heretical concept.

      There are plenty of other statements that support the view of Pope Pius XI. Pope Pius VI in Quod Aliquantum, shows, how a Catholic views human rights, as they are understood today. He rejects them as an illusory, evil, erroneous, and alien, alternative system of belief, conceived in direct opposition to The Church, reason, and the true natural order.

      I’m not going to offer line by line exegesis of Quod Aliquantum, the words speak for themselves, without my assistance. I just want to make the point, that we should not be using the language and thinking of the enemy, but the language and thinking of Catholic Tradition, because if we play their game, so to speak, we are going to lose.

      I realise the reluctance Catholics have to going against the grain of society, because just as Pope Leo XIII argues, liberalism and modernism, are a thinly veiled form of despotism, that is already, making the world an uncomfortable place for those who don’t want to ‘burn incense for Caesar’, in the neo-Pagan temple of secular humanism, but we have to believe, and defend the view, expressed in doctrines like Christ The King, that Catholicism is true, not just on the basis of supernatural faith, but also, according to reason. We must refuse the classification of Catholicism as a 'private hobby' tolerated by the secular state. We need to have the courage of our convictions like Pope Pius IX and all the pre-Conciliar popes, and argue that society, should be ordered according to the Catholic view, not the false religion of liberalism or secular humanism, with its groundless dogma of human rights.

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  11. The point this case raises, is made by asking some fundamental questions: What is ultimate reality? What is the most important thing in life or what comes before everything else, at whatever cost? Does believing The Catholic Faith to be true, actually mean, that you believe that it is true or is the word 'believing' here being used in some lesser sense, that implies, for example, that we do not take dogmas like: outside The Church there is no salvation, as seriously, as we would a statement like: 'a bomb is about to go off in this building'?

    In other words, what I am trying to point out, is that if you actually believe that people that knowingly, deny The Catholic Faith, are going to Hell, and you put a child in an environment, where it is quite likely, that he will be nurtured in a false faith, that will lead him straight to Hell, how are you any different, to someone who leads a child into a building that he knows is going to explode?

    No moral person would lead a child to mortal physical danger. If there is any difference in the case of a danger to the soul, it is, as Our Lord said (Mathew 10:28), that the fate of the soul, is more important than the fate of the body, and apart from anything else, the supreme law of The Church, is the salvation of souls.

    Pope Pius IX unquestionably, did the right thing, and it is not even a difficult case to work out, from the perspective of supernatural faith in The Catholic Faith, unless one simultaneously, believes some version of liberalism or subscribes to the idea of some form of accommodation with secular humanism, that requires trade offs and negotiation, between competing values and imperatives.

    If the answer is always and everywhere, to hold and be true to The Catholic Faith, then there is, I repeat, no question that Pope Pius IX did the right thing. Apart from anything else, even if it is only, indirectly, a matter of faith and morals, the relevant principles he had to consider, are infallible and immutable dogmas, that come before all other principles and considerations.

    What are the rights of man, compared to the rights of God, and the rights given to The Church, and the Roman Pontiff, by God? The answer is "nothing".

    We believe in God and one Church, outside of which, there is no salvation, not in human rights, political correctness, and the rest of the panoply of Frankfurt School pseudo-ethical ideological mumbo jumbo, that is rammed down everyone's throat in the western world.

    As Saint Paul said (Philippians 3:8): "Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ."

    Pope Pius IX had the courage of his convictions, and with the greatest respect Dr. Shaw, what you 'feel' and think about it, is irrelevant. It is all a question of what is true or real and we have to orientate our moral judgements from that rock, which is the infallible and immutable truths of The Catholic Faith, and trust in the authority of the Roman Pontiff, which as Pastor Aeternis says, extends far further than you suggest:

    "So, then, if anyone says that the Pope has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that the Pope has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema."

    All this shows is that feelings can be mistaken.

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  12. "To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor. In this subordination and dependence lie the order and life of the Church; in it is to be found the indispensable condition of well-being and good government. On the contrary, if it should happen that those who have no right to do so should attribute authority to themselves, if they presume to become judges and teachers, if inferiors in the government of the universal Church attempt or try to exert an influence different from that of the supreme authority, there follows a reversal of the true order, many minds are thrown into confusion, and souls leave the right path." (Pope Leo XIII, Epistola Tua)

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