Monthly Archives: March 2012

Part 4: How God’s Taught me About Detachment Over and Over and Over

In 1989, when I was 12 years old, I began thinking I might be called to the priesthood. If I did so, I considered four options. One was, of course, to be a Diocesan priest and have some of the financial “perqs” that come from not taking a vow of poverty, as well as knowing I’d be close to my family (except that my parents eventually left SC, so if I had become a diocesan priest, I might have been on my own). Another option was to join the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the order that served my then-parish (although they had left that parish by the time I graduated from college). I really wanted to be either a Discalced Carmelite or a Dominican. Every day, I would pray for God to miraculously cure me of Marfan syndrome, and if He did, then I would go become a Carmelite or a Dominican and go live in some third world country and do missionary work (therein again was a dilemma: I really preferred the Carmelites, but if i was going to fulfill my dream of being a missionary, the Dominicans seemed more suited).

Anyway, around the age of 15, I discerned in prayer that my prayer for a miracle, and my desire to be a priest, were both forms of attachment. I was trying to force God to give me the life and vocation *I* wanted, not the ones *He* wanted. I figured *I* had to be a priest because the Church “needed” priests, and no one else in my family seemed to be doing it.

At the time, everyone was talking about “Medjugorje,” and I took for granted that it was ‘the next big thing’ in the Church. As I started reading more about Fatima, Lourdes, and the lives of the saints, I started realizing that some of the things out of Medjugorje seemed to be not “kosher” compared to other cases of apparitions and miracles.

In 1995, I was given copies of three key books–Wayne Weible’s _Medjugorje: the Message_, Michael Brown’s _The Final Hour_ and Ted & Mary Flynn’s _Thunder of Justice_ (which I did not actually read till 2002). Now, these books were extremely helpful, but I also see how, in retrospect, they stunted my spiritual growth. I developed an unhealthy attachment to praying the Rosary and to Sacramentals. I developed such an obsession with the need to say a mechanical, legalistic Rosary that I was stunting God’s attempts to give me contemplation. I became judgemental of those who did not accept the alleged apparitions or their dire warnings about an impending doom for the world if people didn’t turn to fasting and prayer.

It took me years to achieve these realizations. After I began to encounter very devout and knowledgeable Catholics, particularly Carmelites, who warned me against Medjugorje, I did more research and read sources on both sides of the debate. By the late 2000s, I came to the conclusion that the alleged apparitions were not only false but diabolical–which I’ve also documented many times on this blog. People ask, “Why would God allow all this ‘good fruit’?” “Why the conversions?” “Why the miracles?” “Why all the Masses and Confessions and Rosaries?” Well, for one thing, because it’s all about Attachment. I just read a story of a nun who had half a rosary “turn to gold” and wanted to go back to see if the other half would “turn to gold”–attachment. People insist there are “miracles” even though the Church has investigated those “miracles” and found “no evidence of the supernatural” (so they’re not “miracles”)–attachment (and credulity). Even when I was pro-Medjugorje, I was perplexed by people who insisted one had to go there. Why? I can read a book.

Even authentic apparitions or shrines can be unhealthy when people insist on spending a fortune travelling over and over again to go to visit them, for the sheer attachment of visiting the place, like the attachment to a particular vacation spot. It’s all about the feelings, and not about growth, which comes from self-denial. Mother Angelica used to joke about people coming to visit EWTN and complaining about the inconveniences of their trips, waiting in line, etc., and pointed out that the whole point of a pilgrimage is to make you miserable. Pilgrimages should be like the Irish island. Yes, they should involve spiritual refreshment, but they should also involve self-denial. Most people would be far better served by a trip to their local adoration chapel and their local soup kitchen by a trip to Medjugorje, or even Fatima, or even the Vatican or the Holy Land.

In 1997, I learned about third orders and found that that might be the avenue for living a deeper spirituality and adopting a more austere life while accepting the married vocation I had discerned God called me to (though I had another 3 years to go before I met and married my wife). Again, the Carmelites and Dominicans both attracted me, and there were both in Columbia, SC. Interestingly enough, if I had begun *then*, I might have ended up joining the Carmelite community I’m now a member of (Columbia, SC, has two communities, one TOCarm and one OCDS).

I was also going to start working on an MA in Religious studies.

My parents moved, and I moved with them–again, what *I* wanted for me wasn’t what God wanted. I ended up with an MA in English–my least favorite subject–but one that served me well for a variety of reasons (including preparing me for Carmel in that John of the Cross is a poet, and Carmelites seem to love writing poetry). Again, detachment.

I did join an OCDS “study group,” and there began a 14-year off-and-on journey of membership in the OCDS, which I believe I have recounted elsewhere on this blog, but again, one thing God was working on in me was attachment to the notion of “being a Carmelite.” I took the name John of the Little Way of St. Therese, because I try to live the Little Way as the basis of my spirituality, and I have a great devotion to the Little Flower. However, I’ve found that another consolation of having Therese as my patroness is that it’s 14 years, and I still haven’t made my final profession as a Carmelite, and I still may not–should my Community’s committee decide to hold me back for attendance reasons, or should my aorta dissect again, as it did a few week’s after my last temporary promises), but I take consolation in the fact that St. Therese never became a “fully professed” Carmelite in this lifetime.

It’s all about detachment. When we are detached from worldly goods, from selfish pride, from our own desires, we are truly free. People often tell me how “advanced” they think I am in prayer or spirituality because I know so much and pray so hard and make the sacrifices I do in regard to coping with Marfan syndrome, but I’m just a “beginner” in the eyes of Holy Mother Teresa and Holy Father John. After 23 years since I first got serious about prayer, first started considering the priesthood, I am just now teetering on the beginnings of what they consider “stage 2,” and I still have a long way to go. In John of the Cross’s schema, the last stage before the unitive way is the “passive night of the soul” (often confused with the “dark night of the soul”), which is when the person has become totally detached from worldly things, has accepted contemplation, and then Christ teaches that person what it was like for Him on the Cross–and extremely few people reach that stage, much less the unitive stage, simply because it’s too hard. It’s hard enough to voluntarily give up our worldly attachments, but then to move on to where Jesus infuses into us the complete desolation of the Cross?? Most of us back off and say, “I’m not ready for that!”

Yet we *must* be ready for that. We cannot get into Heaven without it. If we don’t achieve it in this life, then we will achieve it in Purgatory, and that will be a *lot* harder than crawling on rocks for 2 days without food or sleep.

Part 3: Detachment from Things that are Good (or seemingly so)

Continued from Part 2: Jesus and the Saints on Detachment

It is sad to talk to people who are totally immersed in a worldly life. “I’ve been living for 20 years with a man who was married for 30 years before his divorce before we met. I believe abortion is fine because an unviable fetus isn’t a baby. I believe birth control is fine, and it’s hypocritical of the Church to oppose both abortion and birth control. I have the right to do whatever I want with my body. You have no right to tell me what to do. I was told by priests in the 1960s that it’s my freedom of conscience. I think people have the right to make as much money as they want.” The hiss of Satan echoes behind words like these, and it’s sad when people are so brainwashed and think they are “free.”

It is equally sad when people don’t realize their attachments to “goods.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen said one of the greatest errors is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

We can be come improperly attached to our loved ones, which the psychologists call co-dependency. “My son *needs me.*” “I have to love X in spite of his/her behavior, so that means complete tolerance.’

“God *needs me* to be in full time pro-life work. I’m too important to be a lowly parish priest.” “God *needs me* to go around giving speaking engagements. I’m too important to be a lowly parish priest.” “God *needs me* to bring down Planned Parenthood by whatever means necessary because no one else will.” “God *needs me* to ______.” “I’m too important.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola once had a vision of being surrounded by a profound light. He began to think how blessed he was to receive this vision, and how God must have been confirming his sanctity. He realized these thoughts were prideful, so he realized it was a vision from the Devil, made the sign of the cross and renounced the vision, and it went away.

Odds are, in most situations, if you’re faced with two options that are equally meritorious, or morally neutral, then God’s preference is for you to choose the one that’s less desirable to you, since the whole point of our life is to overcome our disordered inclinations, to achieve spiritual detachment (now, “detachment” really means “non-attachment”; even “detachment” can be an “attachment” if taken the wrong way, like, “I’m too detached to care about anyone else”).

It can be difficult to realize that we are “attached” to holy things, like particular forms of prayer. Some people are so obsessive with the Dominican Rosary, for example, that they judge other people harshly for using other prayer forms, or they even prevent their own spiritual growth by forcing meditation when God is trying to move them on to contemplation (see my post from a few months ago about “When God Tells You to Shut Up”)

It is even possible to be “attached” to the Sacraments. For example, a scrupulous person has an unhealthy “attachment” to Reconciliation. Someone who demands Anointing of the Sick for a cold (and doesn’t have an underlying condition that makes the cold life-threatening) has an unhealthy attachment to that Sacrament. We can be too attached to a particular priest or parish community, to particular liturgical choices or artwork. Maybe we are too habitual and need to appreciate the Mass more. Maybe we’ve come to take Communion for granted or over-justify ourselves in potentially sacrilegious Communions. Maybe we use some lay ministry, or even dressing up for Mass, as a source of pride. As C. S. Lewis writes in one of his _Letters to An American Lady_ (mandatory clarification that the “American Lady” was NOT JOY), sometimes God wants us to miss Mass (by giving us legitimate reasons).

Part 2: Jesus and the Saints On Detachment.

Continued from Part 1: “Attachment to ‘Freedom’ Is Not Freedom.”

Jesus says “No man can serve two masters: he will hate one and serve the other. . . . You cannot serve both God and money.” The entire teaching of Jesus is about detachment. Jesus tells us “Blessed are the poor.” He tells us “consider the lilies of the field.” He tells us that when a man demands our cloak, we give our tunic as well. He tells us to turn the other cheek in the face of violence. He tells us that the man who saved his surplus grain was a fool and should have given it to the poor. He tells us to be perfect we must sell all we have and give it to the poor. He tells us that any of us who does not hate mother or father, sister or brother, son or daughter is not worthy of Him. He tells us that the dead bury their dead.

Yet we read these passages, and we quickly jump to, “That doesn’t apply to me.” Priests reassure us in our homilies that Jesus’s seemingly extreme teachings must be modified with “common sense,’ and they assure us that the modifications the Church makes for our human weaknesses (such as legitimate self-defense or telling us it’s OK to collect “moderate” interest) are the norm, not the exceptions.

The early Christians understood all this, because they knew they were putting their very lives on the line just by professing Christ. Even today, around the world, more Christians are martyred every year than under the entire history of Roman persecution. The message of the Resurrection–that Jesus raised Himself from the dead, so He was God, and not only that but He opened Heaven to us so we no longer had to fear death–was so fresh in their minds that they were willing to sacrifice everything for it. As the centuries have passed, sadly, we’ve become inured to it. We’re too familiar with it, so we don’t realize how radical it is. We’ve been taught that everyone goes to Heaven.

As Christianity became gradually more accepted in Roman culture, some Christians began to grow more worldly and modify Christ’s teachings to adjust to worldliness. Others, however, chose intentional sufferings to replace the persecution they no longer suffered. They went out into the desert and lived as monks and nuns and hermits. St. Jerome wrote a famous letter in which he said he thought a desert priest who was going back to the city to serve as a bishop was sacrificing his salvation by doing even that.

The saints write about detachment. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for example, warns us that the angels only had that one choice. They made one choice and merited eternal hellfire for it. We talk about “mortal” and “venial” sin, yet even a single venial sin merits our immediate death and eternal damnation–mortal sin just merits it moreso. However, God in His mercy veils Himself from us in this life so we have an excuse: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We are blessed with lack of wisdom, unlike the poor angels. However, the more we claim to know, Jesus warns us, the more we will be held accountable. But we should not presume upon God’s Mercy. We never know when He will take us.

One person gets hit by a car. Another dies in a terrorist’s bomb. A teenaged boy is shot in “self defense” by a gun-happy “Christian”. A law-abiding citizen is shot to death by a drug-addled teenager out for money. Another person dies in an earthquake. Unlike those who are blessed with a “happy death” and the opportunity to receive formal reconciliation with the Church and God through the Sacraments, these poor individuals are killed suddenly and unexpectedly, cut down in the prime of their sins. Maybe some of them were in states of grace. Maybe some were given a chance to be forgiven through an extraordinary act (Our Lord told St. Faustina He calls to every soul 3 times before death). Maybe not. Is “freedom of choice” worth that gamble?

Yet we read St. Ignatius, or similar warnings in other saints (Bl. John Henry Newman said that it would be better for all the stars to fall from Heaven than anyone ever commit a single venial sin), and we balk at their “austerity” or “extremeness.” “I can’t handle thinking about Hell.” “Why would a loving God condemn people to Hell?” (The real question is, “Why would a loving God force people to go to Heaven who don’t want Him?”)

So when saints, like John of the Cross, talk about detachment, we say, “Oh, they have such a negative view of things.” Yet the process of negation is what this post-Fall life is about. Jesus says so. We have to give up our attachments to everything that isn’t God.

Part 1: Attachment to “Freedom” is not Freedom.

In his installment of _The Catholicism Project_ on Purgatory, Fr. Robert Barron talks about this island in Ireland that’s one of the original “retreat centers,” dating back supposedly to St. Patrick himself. This island is known as the “gate of Purgatory,” and it has a harsh climate. People arrive on Friday, and they get down on their knees. They crawl on their knees and pray. They are not allowed to eat or sleep, or lay down or stand up, for 2 days, and attendants hit them if they do. From Friday through Sunday morning, they crawl on their knees on the rocks and pray, until they arrive at Mass.

Back when the angels were created, God gave them a choice. We don’t know what it was, because the Bible doesn’t tell us, but the usual consensus is that God revealed His plan to create human beings and then have the Word become incarnate among us, and Lucifer balked at the notion of having spirit “tainted” with matter–and, worse, of having to bow down to the God Man. Whatever the exact cause, we know God gave the angels one “choice.” They had a “choice,” and Lucifer, the greatest of all angels, said, “Non servam!” One lowly archangel replied, “Who is like God?” And for that he gained the name “Michael,” meaning “Who is like God?” and was appointed as the new chief of the angels.

Lucifer got 1/3 of the angels to join with him in rebelling against God, and for that one “choice,” God cast them all out of Heaven–FOREVER. JUST ONE choice.

When God *did* create the first man and woman, He gave them complete freedom over creation. He put them in Paradise. He gave them physical immortality. They lived in total peace. We don’t know a lot of particulars about their situation, such as how long they were in that state, but mystics and theologians have offered many speculations over the centuries. We *do* know that God told Adam to care for and guard the Garden. We do know that the Serpent–whom Revelation identifies with the Dragon, Satan, whom mythology experts tell us is cognate to the giant serpent/river god of the Canaanites (not simply a garden snake)–slipped in the garden because Adam was shirking his duty. We know that the serpent tempted Eve–and that Adam was standing right there when it happened.

We know that the temptation was to “be like Gods who know the difference between good and evil.” In other words, Satan tempted them with ‘freedom of choice.’ We know that God gave them only *one* taboo, and they violated that one taboo in the name of choice, and because of that we now have a lot of taboos, and we have our freedom limited by concupiscence and original sin.

We know that our redemption was begun when the Patriarchs said “yes” to God when He made seemingly strange demands of them: pray for a child. OK, now that I’ve given you that child, I want you to sacrifice him. OK, you were willing to do it, but I don’t really want you to. You passed the test. Go away from your homeland into the land I’m giving you. Just kidding. Go into Egypt. Suffer in Egypt. Go into the desert. Suffer there a bit. OK, now go back to the land I promised you. Part the Red Sea. Part the Jordan. Destroy Jericho by marching around it. Fight Goliath with a sling shot. Tell X that he/she/they needs to straighten up, even though the message will likely get you killed.

Our redemption was at hand when a lowly Jewish girl said, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done,” and He prayed those words at Gethsemane before accomplishing our redemption on the Cross-which He accepted voluntarily.

And today, Satan blinds people to the slaughter of God’s children by getting them to proclaim their “freedom of choice,” “My right to do whatever I want with my body.” But it’s not “your” body; it’s God’s. And the life inside that body is also God’s. You are not the master of your own fate. God is. Your choice is to conform to God or not.

Straight from the Donkey’s Mouth: JPII opposed Liberation Theology

In promoting his new “Bible Commentary,” former president Jimmy Carter has called Blessed John Paul II a “Fundamentalist” and compared him to the late Ayatollah Khomeini.
Carter claims that, during their 1978 meeting, he attacked the Church for “perpetuating the subservience of women” and that they had an “angry exchange” over liberation theology.

It’s very common to hear from members of the Catholic Left that, since JPII and Cardinal Ratzinger where very specific in condemning “certain aspects” of the theology of liberation, that means the notion in general is OK and it’s just those “certain aspects” that aren’t (even though you’d also be hard pressed to find an advocate of “liberation theology” who doesn’t agree with at least some of those specific aspects).

So, here we have no less a liberal than Jimmy Carter saying that JPII wholeheartedly opposed “liberation theology.’

Why This Paleocon Solidly Supports Rick Santorum

Let me start this very clearly: anyone reading this blog should realize I’m a solid paleoconservative, and I’ve been very critical of both neoconservatism as a philosophy and Rick Santorum insofar as he exemplifies it. That said, with all things put together, I have decided that Santorum is not only the best candidate among the standing Republicans but the only possible candidate to face the crisis our country is in.

Will he win? Well, polls are indicating he’s the only Republican who has a chance of beating Obama, and it’s really a question of whether he has a chance of beating Romney. At this point, since I’ve argued for years that a repeat of 1860 is the only way to end abortion, I’m counting on the GOP to split at the convention the way the Democrats did in 1860. In a three way race between Obama, Romney and Santorum (or Paul, but he hasn’t got a shot at this point), I’m sure Santorum would be the spoiler the way Lincoln was in 1860, because Santorum appeals to the same voters Lincoln did, and they’re still roughly the same percentage of the population.

A. Constistently Pro-Life?

Again, I disagree strongly with some of Santorum’s foreign policy positions. I agree with those who say that his positions on “enhanced interrogation,” assassination of civilians, and foreign interventionism belie his pro-life convictions and do not reflect a consistent pro-life philosophy. However, I always recognize, with the Church, that there is a hierarchy to pro-life issues.

1. Abortion and contraception are absolutes. I’ve always argued that given the choice between two anti-abortion candidates, the next issue to consider is contraception, and Santorum is better than the other candidates on that. Indeed, my otherwise favorite Ron Paul and his non-Catholic supporters have specifically criticized Santorum’s position on contraception. This was why, literally at the last minute, I decided to vote for Rick in the SC primary.

2. War is not an absolute, as then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his infamous “secret letter” to Cardinal McCarrick. Since the state has the right to wage war when necessary, and since the judgement of whether a war is just or unjust is prudential, even though I disagree with Santorum’s positions on war-related issues, he seems to be exercising his prudential judgement and taking Church teaching, as he understands it, into consideration.

3. Santorum has shown himself willing to adjust his own beliefs to the Church’s teachings, more than any other politician I’ve seen. Since being voted out of office, from what I’ve heard from him on EWTN, he seems to have repented of his support of Specter, for example. If any politician is willing to change to be more in accord with the Church, he’s it. So I pray he’ll alter his foreign policy views as time goes on.

4. While I disagree with his views, again, I think he’s sincere in them. I’ve always pointed to Pat Buchanan as the ideal Catholic paleocon and the late Bob Casey, Sr., as the ideal Catholic liberal–both argue sincerely from their Catholic principles to their political conclusions. I happen to agree more with Buchanan, but respect Casey’s reasoning. I say the same thing about Santorum: I respect his reasoning, even though I disagree with some of his conclusions and his view on the function of government.

B. Paleocon versus Neocon view of Government

As a paleocon, I’d prefer small-government solutions to problems. I’d rather we outlaw abortion the Ron Paul way than by passing yet another federal law.

However, I have to recognize the signs of the times. If Ron Paul had done better so far, it would be one thing, but he’s hardly gotten any votes at all. Paleoconservatism is a dying position. In Canada, neither dominant coalition is officially pro-life anymore, and the “Religious Right” is suffering as a minority. That will happen in the US if Romney gets the GOP nomination. Rush Limbaugh said last year how the GOP leadership wants to the Christians to shut up about abortion. For the most part, paleocons and neocons agree about issues; we just disagree about the best way to tackle them. Even though I disagree with Santorum about *how* to tackle them, I also acknowledge that, at this point, his methods may be the only way to win on certain issues. Having seen Buchanan, Dornan, Keyes and now Paul get rejected time and again, I have to admit that paleoconservatism is a losing viewpoint, and if we don’t find a way of working with the neocons, we face the fate of not just paleocons but all pro-lifers in Canada.

C. Catholicism

Right before I went to the polls in the South Carolina primary, I went across the border to a pro-life rally in Augusta for the Anniversary of _Roe v. Wade_. It was sponsored by the interfaith “Alleliua” community. It was raining, and crowded, so I sat in my van and listened to some of the talks. I heard some speaker–don’t know if he was Catholic or Protestant–saying how we’re all “flavors of the same Christianity,” and that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is subordinate to the Bible. Heresy trumps abortion, and I high-tailed it out of there. Then I went to the polls, and thought how I could not stomach voting for a non-Catholic when I had two acceptable Catholic candidates to choose from. Then I thought about the fact that Paul’s people were criticizing Santorum’s position on contraception, and voted for him.

That same weekend, this stuff about the HHS mandate came out. We are faced with a true culture war, where everything is pointed against the Catholic Church. Even ex-Catholic Glenn Beck, who was criticized here and elsewhere for seeming to tell Catholics to leave their Church a few years ago when he told people to leave any churches that talk of social justice, is praising the Church for taking a stand, and saying that the Obama administration is at war with the Catholic Church. Glenn Beck and the Limbaugh brothers have recently been speaking out in support of the Catholic Church, Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, saying how they’re taking a firm stand against Obama and for Christian values.

We’re at a watershed moment in our culture, and the Church Herself is under attack. I have no doubt that Romney, if elected, will just continue the work that Bush and Obama have started. The only one who can stem this tide against the Church in America is Rick Santorum.

D. Santorum shows signs of being the next “Reagan.”

It was under Ronald Reagan that Pat Buchanan coined the term “Paleocon” to distinguish from the former liberals who had joined the GOP over abortion and other social issues. Reagan breaking his promises to shut down the then relatively new EPA and Department of Education in favor of using them to promote a conservative agenda was one of the tell-tale signs of the so-called “neo-conservatism.”

The last GOP primary to last this long was 1976, when Reagan won 10 states against Ford. Obviously, Ford lost the election to Carter, but Reagan won four years later. If Santorum *doesn’t* win this nomination, he’s a shoe-in for 2016 (assuming there *is* a 2016 to look forward to). If the delegates are tied or close to it going into the Convention, we may see what I’ve been predicting: a party split where the GOP divides along its social conservative and economic conservative lines the way the Whigs did in the 1850s and the Democrats did in 1860. If Obama and Romney split the secularists, and Santorum wins the religious voters, Santorum could win.

E. Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy

Those three are now the longest-serving members of the Supreme Court, if not the oldest. At least one of them is most likely to die, retire or get sick in the next 5 years. If Obama has a chance to nominate another justice, it will most likely be to replace a conservative or moderate. We’re not only dealing with overturning Roe v. Wade now, but “gay marriage” in numerous states, as well as Obamacare (which may hopefully be overturned in a few weeks), and several other unconstitutional laws passed under Obama (and Bush).

In 8 Years, George W. Bush nominated 2 justices to replace a couple “moderate” Republican justices. Obama’s replaced a liberal with a liberal. If he can replace a moderate or a solid conservative with a liberal, then liberals will have the majority on the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, and if any of these issues make it to the Court, they can solidify them into so-called “settled law.”

If Romney gets in, he’ll most likely appoint “moderate Republicans” who can go either way.

Only with Santorum do we have a chance of appointing conservative jutices and getting the solid conservative majority we need to get this country back on the right track.

That’s why paleocons need to hold their noses and vote for Rick.

The Iraq War In Perspective

Now, if a war is unjust, or the method used in a just cause is unjust, it doesn’t matter if one person dies.
However, I get sick of hearing about how the war in Iraq should have outweighed abortion as a respect life issue.

So, we all know that in America, abortion kills about 4,000 people daily, about 1.2 million per year. Worldwide, there are 42 million abortions a year, which works out to about 115,000 per day.
Under Saddam Hussein’s regime, between 70 and 125 Iraqis were killed per day.

While some sources claim the total deaths in Iraq from 2003-2011 number in the millions, there is no official statement to back that up. We know a total of 4408 US soldiers died, a total of 318 soldiers from other coalition countries, and a total of 1487 contractors.

187 reporters and media support staff were killed, and 94 Aid Workers.

Given that a certain number of soldiers die every day just due to accidents, given that the reporters and aid workers who died would have been in Iraq or some other troubled part of the world, I wonder how many of them would have died anyway.

The Iraqi government estimates that between 110,000 and 150,000 Iraqis died of violence between 2003-2011, including Iraqi security forces, “insurgents,” and, again, those who died from acts of terrorism and other violence that may have happened without the war. A little over 40,000 of those were Iraqi security and “insurgents.”

So if we go with the maximum figure of 150,000 Iraqis, as stated by the Iraqi government, and add the whopping total of 6,494 non-Iraqi deaths in the conflict, that’s an average of 17,389 deaths per year.

So if we are to accept the false dichotomy that a Catholic voting in 2004 or 2008 was choosing between the pro-life issue of Iraq, and the pro-life issue of abortion, and had to decide which was more pressing:
0,017,389 deaths per year (Iraq)
1,200,000 deaths per year (abortion).

Which looks more pressing to you?

110,000-150,000 total Iraqis killed from 2003-2011
115,000 abortions per day, worldwide

48 deaths per day in Iraq, versus 4,000 abortions per day in the US
48 deaths per day in the Iraq war (including people who probably would have been murdered, died from accidental causes in the military, or killed by terrorism or violence if the war wasn’t going on), versus as many as 125 Iraqis killed per day by Saddam Hussein during his regime (not to mention the people he killed in the wars he fought).

One of the arguments by the Vatican to say that the Iraq invasion was unjust was that the damage to potentially be done outweighed the damage to be rectified.

I don’t see how 48 deaths per day in the war is worse damage than 125 deaths per day before it.

You Might Be A Liberal If . . .

So, let me get this straight, Mr. “President” (and all his supporters) . . .

Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger, a racist and a eugenicist, to wipe out poor people, minorities, and disabled people.
The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, the Son of God made flesh, to spread salvific grace around the world and convert people to belief in the Trinity and to live in a spirit of faith, hope and love embodied by poverty, chastity and obedience.
Yet the Catholic Church is vilified and Planned Parenthood is exalted.

We are not to criticize Planned Parenthood for its founder’s “outmoded” beliefs, even though Planned Parenthood still exercises those beliefs, but we *are* to criticize the Catholic Church for the behaviors of some Catholics, both laity and clerics, who have sinned in the name of the Church yet been condemned *by* the Church for doing so, when their actions clearly went aganist everything the Church stands for.

The Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world and provides more free healthcare services than any other organization, yet the Church is open fodder for vilification, attacks, and censure, and the Church is to be forced to provide abortions, contraceptives, adoptions to same sex couples, same sex “marriage,” etc.

However, even though abortion accounts for over 99% of Planned Parenthood’s activities, any attempt to criticize, de-fund or censure Planned Parenthood, or to force Planned Parenthood to actually give women informed consent, is met with protestations that Planned Parenthood is a vital charitable organization because something like 1 in 200 women who walk in pregnant are referred to third party agencies for adoption services, women who walk in with concerns they may have breast cancer get a free feel-up and a referral to a third party organization for a mammogram, and one or two PP “clinics” in the country actually provide mammograms.

All Catholics are besmeared because of a tiny fraction of less than 1% of pedophiles in the priesthood, with a much larger percentage of active homosexuals who preyed on teenaged boys in spite of numerous Vatican documents that forbid ordination of anyone with “same sex attraction.” Yet the fact that Planned Parenthood “clinics” regularly cover up sexual abuse and statutory rape when underage girls come in for abortions, or the fact that many PP workers engage in sexual molestation themselves (see also “free cancer screenings”) is to be ignored because Planned Parenthood is such a vital charitable organization.

I get it.

“Wrongful Life”?

Liberals tell me that I’m nuts, ridiculous, a fanatic, that I don’t know what I’m talking about when I say they want to kill me.

Then they go and file, and award people money in, “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” lawsuits.

Yet they don’t know why I think that they think people with genetic disorders should be killed.

Oh, and don’t forget: Sarah Palin was called paranoid for saying that Obamacare would lead to “preventative” medicine in the form of eliminating people with genetic disorders, and Kathleen Sebelius has now said that preventing people will be the top way of saving money in Obamacare.

See also, “Why do some people see my daughter’s life as wrongful?” which was astonishingly published by the Huffington Post–probably so that the despicable people who frequent that site could just post hateful comments about what a burden people with disabilities are to society.

Any parent who sues for “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” ought to have their children taken away from them. 

Remember

“Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone: person to person.”
–Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

The most legitimate form of the “I’m personally against abortion” argument from the Catholic Left–and even this is a cop-out to anyone who’s read _Evangelium Vitae_–is, “It should be handled on a one-on-one basis. Why does it have to be illegal?”

OK, that’s fine. So why, then, Catholic Left, do you object when conservatives say, “Charity should be done on a one-on-one basis. Why does it have to done by the government?”

Fr. Guzman Speaks Out

Fr. Marcel Guzman, the founder of Aid to the Church in Russia who was recently “suspended” for charges of “intimidating behavior” after he refused Communion to a Buddhist Lesbian at a funeral (who proceeded to receive from the EMC, which shows her lack of respect for the Eucharist and the reason we should not be using lay EMCs), has issued a statement in his self-defense.
Now, here’s the situation as Fr. Guzman explains it:
1. He heard Confessions for an hour before the funeral.
2. After he was done hearing Confessions, but while he was vesting in the sacristy, Barbara Johnson, the decedent’s daughter, introduced herself to him and introduced another woman with her as her “lover.” He began to say something, and Johnson immediately turned and left. He tried to follow, but her “lover” positioned herself in the door way so he couldn’t get by (who’s engaging in “intimidating behavior”?).
3. Johnson came up for Communion. He put his hand over the paten and very quietly refused her communion–contrary to statements that he publicly proclaimed her sins to everyone–so quietly that even the EMC standing next to him did not hear. Johnson went over to the EMC and took Communion sacrilegiously.
4. During 25 minutes of eulogies (which, of course, shouldn’t be happening at Catholic funerals), Fr. Guzman left for a few moments to take some migraine medicine because he felt a migraine coming on.
5. He finished the funeral and accompanied the body to the hearse, but he felt the migraine coming on full force, so he asked another priest to cover for him at the grave site.
6. He says that while people keep arguing Canon 915, Canon 915 has nothing to do with this situation. As I’ve argued regarding this case and regarding the Archdiocese of Washington “policy” in general (discussed below), there are other situations about Communion that have nothing to do with Canon 915: such as when a person comes to Communion drunk or immodestly dressed or high on drugs or something. He said this was that sort of situation.
7. Contrary to reports (and the claims of the aux. bishop of Washington, Barry Knestout) that there were “long-standing” reports of “intimidating behavior,” Fr. Guzman says that the bishop told him directly that the “accusations” came from two conversations with participants in the funeral, and Fr. remembers both conversations being civil. Bishop Knestout had the letter signed on his desk when Fr. Guzman came to meet him to “discuss” the matter. This sounds more and more like Bishop Loverde’s treatment of Fr. Haley and Fr. Clark (the latter of whom sucessfully appealed his case to the Vatican).

Now, here’s what we knew about the case before Fr. Guzman’s statement:
8. Johnson didn’t say it to him, but she’s a practicing Buddhist, and not even Catholic.
9. Bishop Knestout says that the official policy of the Archdiocese is never to deny anyone Communion (even in the cases like someone who’s visibly drunk?) A priest, according to the Archdiocese of Washington, should privately advise people who are unworthy not to receive, but never refuse someone who presents himself/herself. This policy was established by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick and apparently not rescinded by Cardinal Wuerl, who claimed he would at least honor the decisions of other bishops regarding politicians (i.e., the bishop of Kansas City, who has since been arrested on trumped-up charges, telling Kathleen Sebelius she’s not to present herself for Communion). McCarrick infamously said that he didn’t believe in turning Communion into a “fight.” This is presumably also the position of San Francisco’s Archbishop George Niederauer, who infamously gave Communion to members of the notorious “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” claiming that he didn’t know who they were and just thought they were “oddly dressed.”
10. Barbara Johnson made all sorts of accusations about Fr. Guzman’s demeanor which he says aren’t true, and she implied that he made up the migraine just to snub her family.
11. Fr. Guzman’s situation is rather tricky. He’s founder of Aid to the Church in Russia. He was ordained in Russia and is incardinated as a priest in a Russian diocese; he is only officially a visiting priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, and he was only serving as a parochial vicar. He is not “suspended” as a priest; he is merely on “administrative leave” and has had his *faculties* suspended in that Archdiocese (so, for example, he could get faculties from Bishop Loverde of Arlington–though I doubt Loverde would do it–and begin serving in that diocese). A canonical suspension would mean that he can’t serve as a priest, period, until the Archdiocese says otherwise, but he’d have to be incardinated in that diocese to have that happen. Any bishop in the US who wants to pick up a priest can grant Fr. Guzman faculties tomorrow.

Now, prior to this statement by Fr. Guzman, my “take” on the situation had been that I think this is a situation where both sides were a little right and a little wrong, though I thought it was clearly a hit job by a liberal Archdiocese against a conservative priest. I know someone who used to work for him at Aid to the Church in Russia and complained about how difficult he was to work for, but Fr. Guzman has now said that the Diocese didn’t say anything about long-standing disputes. On the other hand, as Fr. Dwight Longenecker has pointed out, accusations of “intimidating behavior” are made against priests all the time (esp. when they’re conservative), and are a great way for having a witch hunt.

Nothing triggers a migraine like anger or stress, and while I believe Fr. Guzman is sincere in saying he had one, I also believe he might have let Ms. Johnson’s intimidating behavior agitate him enough to give him a migraine. Even *if* the Archdiocese were acting on longstanding questions of Fr. Guzman’s temperament, this would be a horrible time to act on it, as it makes it look very much like the Archdiocese puts human respect above the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament. In any case, my suggestion to Fr. Guzman would be to try and learn some relaxation techniques and study contemplative prayer to achieve some inner peace, so he can help prevent his migraines.

Regardless of whatever Fr. Guzman is or is not accused of doing, the Archdiocese’s policy of not denying anyone Communion is downright evil and needs to be overturned by the Vatican.

I also saw a comment somewhere by a Buddhist who said that Barbara Johnson’s actions were doubly offensive from a Buddhist standpoint. For one thing, she was being disruptive and making a show of herself to make a point, by forcing herself into a ceremony she did not belong in just to make a point and disrupt others’ peace (i.e., contrary to her claims about Fr. Guzman, *she* is the one who disrupted her mother’s funeral, and if her mother was at all deserving of a Catholic funeral, I’m sure her mother would agree). Secondly, she was engaging in the Buddhist equivalent of breaking the First Commandment: she claims to be a Buddhist yet is engaging in another religion’s service that symbolizes unity–either she’s a Buddhist or a Catholic; she can’t be both.

HOWEVER, having read Fr. Guzman’s statement, I have several observations about why I think Fr. Guzman’s self-defense rings true, especially when contrasted with Fr. John Corapi’s public statements last year.

1. In the Fr. Corapi situation, I saw a comment from a police officer who said, “Innocent people talk.” Fr. Corapi’s statements were very selective. He selected very few facts to discuss, always the ones in his favor, and totally ignored complete claims made by SOLT or others he was supposedly responding to. Instead, Fr. Corapi’s statements focused on deflection, attacking his accusers or critics. This police officer was saying that Fr. Corapi’s statements had all the tell-tale signs of someone lying, whereas an innocent person will give great detail about the facts and try to be as polite as possible to the accuser.
In this case, Barbara Johnson has gone out of her way to say what a horrible person she thinks Fr. Guzman is–and, let’s face it, she’s a lesbian, which means she already has issues with men, authority, etc. I’ve never met a lesbian, or even a heterosexual feminist, who didn’t have a deep-set hatred of men or see all men as inherently intimidating (which probably comes from unfortunate histories of abuse in their own backgrounds, but it’s unjust of them to accuse all men of abusive behavior because of whatever happened to them). Her mother’s Catholic, and she’s a Buddhist, which means she has nothing but antipathy towards the Catholic Faith. Fr. Guzman, however, never attacks Johnson in his statement, other than to mention the physically intimidating behavior engaged in by Johnson and her “lover.” He gives great detail on the day’s events, and the subsequent events from his perspective.
2. As an English teacher, I teach my students about critical reading techniques, and how to discern between two sources with contrary versions of events. Usually, we should presume both sources are manipulating the facts in their own favor, and I’m willing to grant that there may be a certain amount of that going on here.
However, the one with the agenda in this case, the one with the most to gain, is Barbara Johnson. Worst case scenario for Fr. Guzman is he goes back and serves his home diocese in Russia. Yes, he has a reputation to protect, but he doesn’t have the agenda that Johnson does. Everything Johnson has said and done in this situation is to push a radical homosexualist, anti-Catholic agenda. As one commenter noted, by not taking Fr. Guzman’s side, the Archdiocese of Washington has just given carte blanche for homosexualist protestors to do just what Johnson did: march into Catholic churches, whether they’re Catholic or not, present themselves for Communion and then try to get priests suspended for refusing them Communion.
Fr. Guzman’s worldly interests would be best served by acquiescing in the situation. Instead, he’s standing on principle. Again, a big difference from Fr. Corapi is that we’re talking about *principles*. No one is disputing the facts in this case, except for the question of Fr. Guzman’s demeanor and the question of his migraine. Fr. Guzman is not accused of any real wrongdoing. He’s being accused of being “mean.” He’s being accused of violating a diocesan policy that is itself unjust and sacrilegious. So it’s not the same thing as a priest refusing to comply with a legitimate investigation in to allegations of wrongdoing.
Further, in the “he said/she said” aspect of it, his description of events perfectly conforms with what she said–she’s just making allegations about his motives and attitude.

I think Fr. Guzman’s best call is to seek out a friendly bishop who will take him in–I’m sure there are at least a few, maybe Vasa or Jurgis or someone like that–and shake the dust of Washington, DC, off his feet.

“Blue State” Liberal Producers of _American Idol_ try to censor Christian Contestant

Apparently, an _American Idol_ contestant named Colton Dixon has been making Christian statements on his Twitter and Facebook feeds that the show’s producers think he should “tone down” for fear of “alienating” potential voters.

As the columnist I linked, Noel Sheppard, points out, most _American Idol_ winners have appealed to “red state” values, and the 2009 competition between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen was seen as a little battle of the Culture War, when non-viewers of both sides voted en masse to support the contestant who was perceived as reflecting their values.

This is up there with Megan Fox’s tirade against “red state” people when _Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen_ came out (and every effort was later made to deny that was the cause of her being fired from the franchise).

Are Hollywood types *that* clueless about where their money comes from? There’s a reason we condemn “liberal elites”: they’re liberal, and they’re elitist, and they live in their own little closed-off enclaves on the Left Coast and the Northeast where they’re totally out of touch with the real world. They come from around the country to live where they’ll be close to people who think like they do, even if that means working as waiters and waitresses, calling themselves “actors” and then occupying Wall Street because they can’t get real jobs. . . . And then, creating this artificial world where they never meet a believing Christian (Buzz Dixon has noted that he was the *only* Christian working for Marvel Comics in the 1980s), where people who have kids at all are like aliens, and where every other person is a homosexual, they don’t get the fact that they are really the minority, and their views are not only out of touch with the rest of the country, but with the Cosmos.

“Advance Notice” on Forcing Contraception on the Country

The HHS has published some “advance notices” on “Women’s Preventive Services” (read “Services to Prevent Women from Being Women”):
http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/03/20120316g.html
Supposedly, according to the link I got this from, there’s an opportunity to speak out, but I can’t find it.

“The President’s policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Today’s announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment.”

How does a policy that forces religious people to pay for something we find abominable respect religious liberty?
Does their policy pay for NFP classes or NFP supplies?

They keep claiming that this is about “equality” for women, but what it does, like “gay marriage,” is create a special right for feminists that is denied to women who do not believe in birth control, if they don’t pay for NFP.

It also creates a special “right” for women that is not available to men, even though they try to claim this is equivalent to paying for Viagra (which women also take).

Liberals are hypocrites.

GLAAD says Christianity has “No Place in Modern America”

In saying that Kirk Cameron’s views on same sex “marriage” have “no place in modern America,” GLAAD is essentially saying that Christianity has no place in modern America.

Meanwhile, Cameron himself has stood by his comments, and accused his attackers–including _Growing Pains_ co-stars Alan Thicke and Tracey Gold–of hate speech for their attacks on Christianity and their claims that *his* comments (that he believes abortion and homosexual behavior are sinful and contrary to God’s plan) are hate-speech.

Piers Morgan ambushed Cameron in an interview that was supposed to stick to his new movie. Cameron stated his views–aka basic Christian teaching–in a very diplomatic way, and got blasted for it. His comments have been labelled “homophobic” and an “anti-gay diatribe,” yet they are anything but.

As typical with liberals and their nonsense about “hate speech,” what they’re really saying is that they hate any speech that expresses views they disagree with. They can say whatever hateful things they want about Christianity or about Christians, but for a Christian to say, “That behavior is sinful; stop doing it” is “hate speech.” Makes a lot of sense.

Mater et Magistra

MATER ET MAGISTRA

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII
ON CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS

MAY 15, 1961

To His Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and all other Local Ordinaries that are at Peace and in Communion with the Apostolic See, and to the Clergy and Faithful of the entire Catholic World.

Venerable Brethren and Dearest Sons, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Mother and Teacher of all nations—such is the Catholic Church in the mind of her Founder, Jesus Christ; to hold the world in an embrace of love, that men, in every age, should find in her their own completeness in a higher order of living, and their ultimate salvation. She is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1) To her was entrusted by her holy Founder the twofold task of giving life to her children and of teaching them and guiding them—both as individuals and as nations—with maternal care. Great is their dignity, a dignity which she has always guarded most zealously and held in the highest esteem.

2. Christianity is the meeting-point of earth and heaven. It lays claim to the whole man, body and soul, intellect and will, inducing him to raise his mind above the changing conditions of this earthly existence and reach upwards for the eternal life of heaven, where one day he will find his unfailing happiness and peace.

Temporal and Eternal

3. Hence, though the Church’s first care must be for souls, how she can sanctify them and make them share in the gifts of heaven, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man’s daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity.

4. In all this she is but giving effect to those principles which Christ Himself established in the Church He founded. When He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” (2) “I am the light of the world,” (3) it was doubtless man’s eternal salvation that was uppermost in His mind, but He showed His concern for the material welfare of His people when, seeing the hungry crowd of His followers, He was moved to exclaim: “I have compassion on the multitude.” (4) And these were no empty words of our divine Redeemer. Time and again He proved them by His actions, as when He miraculously multiplied bread to alleviate the hunger of the crowds.

5. Bread it was for the body, but it was intended also to foreshadow that other bread, that heavenly food of the soul, which He was to give them on “the night before He suffered.”

Teaching and Example

6. Small wonder, then, that the Catholic Church, in imitation of Christ and in fulfilment of His commandment, relies not merely upon her teaching to hold aloft the torch of charity, but also upon her own widespread example. This has been her course now for nigh on two thousand years, from the early ministrations of her deacons right down to the present time. It is a charity which combines the precepts and practice of mutual love. It holds fast to the twofold aspect of Christ’s command to give, and summarizes the whole of the Church’s social teaching and activity.

The Impact of Rerum Novarum

7. An outstanding instance of this social teaching and action carried on by the Church throughout the ages is undoubtedly that magnificent encyclical on the christianizing of the conditions of the working classes, Rerum Novarum, published seventy years ago by Our Predecessor, Leo XlIl. (5)

8. Seldom have the words of a Pontiff met with such universal acclaim. In the weight and scope of his arguments, and in the forcefulness of their expression, Pope Leo XIII can have but few rivals. Beyond any shadow of doubt, his directives and appeals have established for themselves a position of such high importance that they will never, surely, sink into oblivion. They opened out new horizons for the activity of the universal Church, and the Supreme Shepherd, by giving expression to the hardships and sufferings and aspirations of the lowly and oppressed, made himself the champion and restorer of their rights.

9. The impact of this remarkable encyclical is still with us even today, so many years after it was written. It is discernible in the writings of the Popes who succeeded Pope Leo. In their social and economic teaching they have frequent recourse to the Leonine Encyclical, either to draw inspiration from it and clarify its application, or to find in it a stimulus to Catholic action. It is discernible too in the subsequent legislation of a number of States. What further proof need we of the permanent validity of the solidly grounded principles, practical directives and fatherly appeals contained in this masterly encyclical? It also suggests new and vital criteria by which men can judge the magnitude of the social question as it presents itself today, and decide on the course of action they must take.

I. RERUM NOVARUM AND AFTERWARDS

10. Leo XIII spoke in a time of social and economic upheaval, of heightening tensions and actual revolt. Against this dark background, the brilliance of his teaching stands out in clear relief.

Social Conditions in Leo’s Time

11. As is well known, the outlook that prevailed on economic matters was for the most part a purely naturalistic one, which denied any correlation between economics and morality. Personal gain was considered the only valid motive for economic activity. In business the main operative principle was that of free and unrestricted competition. Interest on capital, prices—whether of goods or of services—profits and wages, were to be determined by the purely mechanical application of the laws of the market place. Every precaution was to be taken to prevent the civil authority from intervening in any way in economic matters. The status of trade unions varied in different countries. They were either forbidden, tolerated, or recognized as having private legal personality only.

12. In an economic world of this character, it was the might of the strongest which not only arrogated to itself the force of law, but also dominated the ordinary business relationships between individuals, and thereby undermined the whole economic structure.

13. Enormous riches accumulated in the hands of a few, while large numbers of workingmen found themselves in conditions of ever-increasing hardship. Wages were insufficient even to the point of reaching starvation level, and working conditions were often of such a nature as to be injurious alike to health, morality and religious faith. Especially inhuman were the working conditions to which women and children were sometimes subjected. There was also the constant spectre of unemployment and the progressive disruption of family life.

14. The natural consequence of all this was a spirit of indignation and open protest on the part of the workingman, and a widespread tendency to subscribe to extremist theories far worse in their effects than the evils they purported to remedy.

Preparing the Way for a New Order

15. It was at such a time and under pressure of such circumstances as these that Leo XIII wrote his social encyclical, Rerum Novarum, based on the needs of human nature itself and animated by the principles and spirit of the Gospel. His message, not unnaturally, aroused opposition in some quarters, but was received by the majority of people with the greatest admiration and enthusiasm.

A Complete Synthesis

It was not, of course, the first occasion on which the Apostolic See had come out strongly in defence of the earthly interests of the poor; indeed, Leo himself h ad made other pronouncements which in a sense had prepared the way for his encyclical. But here for the first time was a complete synthesis of social principles, formulated with such historical insight as to be of permanent value to Christendom. It is rightly regarded as a compendium of Catholic social and economic teaching. (5a)

No Solution Apart from Religion and Church

16. In this Leo XIII showed his complete mastery of the situation. There were those who presumed to accuse the Church of taking no interest in social matters other than to preach resignation to the poor and generosity to the rich, but Leo XIII had no hesitation in proclaiming and defending the legitimate rights of the workers. As he said at the beginning of his exposition of the principles and precepts of the Church in social matters: “We approach the subject with confidence, and in the exercise of the rights which manifestly appertain to Vs, for no practical solution of this question will be found apart from the counsel of religion and of the Church.” (6)

17. You know well enough, Venerable Brethren, the basic economic and social principles for the reconstruction of human society enunciated so clearly and authoritatively by this great Pope.

Work—a Specifically Human Activity

18. They concern first of all the question of work, which must be regarded not merely as a commodity, but as a specifically human activity. In the majority of cases a man’s work is his sole means of livelihood. Its remuneration, therefore, cannot be made to depend on the state of the market. It must be determined by the laws of justice and equity. Any other procedure would be a clear violation of justice, even supposing the contract of work to have been freely entered into by both parties.

Private Property and Its Social Aspect

19. Secondly, private ownership of property, including that of productive goods, is a natural right which the State cannot suppress. But it naturally entails a social obligation as well. It is a right which must be exercised not only for one’s own personal benefit but also for the benefit of others.

The State’s Role

20. As for the State, its whole raison d’etre is the realization of the common good in the temporal order. It cannot, therefore, hold aloof from economic matters. On the contrary, it must do all in its power to promote the production of a sufficient supply of material goods, “the use of which is necessary for the practice of virtue.” (7) It has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children. It can never be right for the State to shirk its obligation of working actively for the betterment of the condition of the workingman.

21. It is furthermore the duty of the State to ensure that terms of employment are regulated in accordance with justice and equity, and to safeguard the human dignity of workers by making sure that they are not required to work in an environment which may prove harmful to their material and spiritual interests. It was for this reason that the Leonine encyclical enunciated those general principles of rightness and equity which have been assimilated into the social legislation of many a modern State, and which, as Pope Pius XI declared in the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, (8) have made no small contribution to the rise and development of that new branch of jurisprudence called labor law.

Right to Enter into Associations

22. Pope Leo XIII also defended the worker’s natural right to enter into association with his fellows. Such associations may consist either of workers alone or of workers and employers, and should be structured in a way best calculated to safeguard the workers’ legitimate professional interest. And it is the natural right of the workers to work without hindrance, freely, and on their own initiative within these associations for the achievement of these ends.

Human Solidarity and Christian Brotherhood

23. Finally, both workers and employers should regulate their mutual relations in accordance with the principle of human solidarity and Christian brotherhood. Unrestricted competition in the liberal sense, and the Marxist creed of class warfare; are clearly contrary to Christian teaching and the nature of man.

24. These, Venerable Brethren, are the basic principles upon which a genuine social and economic order must be built.

25. The response of good Catholics to this appeal and the enterprise they showed in reducing these principles into practice is hardly surprising. But others too, men of good will from every nation in the world, were impelled, under pressure of human necessity, to pursue the same course.

26. Hence, the Leonine encyclical is rightly regarded, even today, as the Magna Charta (9) of social and economic reconstruction.

The Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno

27. Forty years after the appearance of this magnificent summary of Christian social principles, Our Predecessor, Pius XI, published his own encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno. (10)

28. In it the Supreme Pontiff confirmed the right and duty of the Catholic Church to work for an equitable solution of the many pressing problems weighing upon human society and calling for a joint effort by all the people. He reiterated the principles of the Leonine encyclical and stressed those directives which were applicable to modern conditions. In addition, he took the opportunity not only to clarify certain points of this teaching which had given rise to difficulties even in the minds of Catholics, but also to reformulate Christian social thought in the light of changed conditions.

29. The difficulties referred to principally concerned the Catholic’s attitude to private property, the wage system, and moderate Socialism.

Private Property; the Wage System

30. With regard to private property, Our Predecessor reaffirmed its origin in natural law, and enlarged upon its social aspect and the obligations of ownership.

31. As for the wage system, while rejecting the view that it is unjust of its very nature, he condemned the inhuman and unjust way in which is it so often implemented, and specified the terms and conditions to be observed if justice and equity are not to be violated.

32. In this connection, as Our Predecessor clearly points out, it is advisable in the present circumstances that the wage-contract be somewhat modified by applying to it elements taken from the contract of partnership, so that “wage-earners and other employees participate in the ownership or the management, or in some way share in the profits.” (11)

33. Of special doctrinal and practical importance is his affirmation that “if the social and individual character of work be overlooked, it can be neither justly valued nor equitably recompensed.” (12) In determining wages, therefore, justice demands that account be taken not only of the needs of the individual workers and their families, but also of the financial state of the business concern for which they work and of “the economic welfare of the whole people.” (13)

On Socialism

34. Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production, it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.

Other Problems of the Day

35. Pius XI was not unaware of the fact that in the forty years that had supervened since the publication of the Leonine encyclical the historical scene had altered considerably. It was clear, for example, that unregulated competition had succumbed to its own inherent tendencies to the point of practically destroying itself. It had given rise to a great accumulation of wealth, and, in the process, concentrated a despotic economic power in the hands of a few “who for the most part are not the owners, but only the trustees and directors of invested funds, which they administer at their own good pleasure.” (l4)

36. Hence, as the Pope remarked so discerningly, “economic domination has taken the place of the open market. Unbridled ambition for domination has succeeded the desire for gain; the whole economic regime has become hard, cruel and relentless in frightful measure.” (15) As a consequence, even the public authority was becoming the tool of plutocracy, which was thus gaining a stranglehold on the entire world.

The Remedy

37. Pius XI saw the re-establishment of the economic world within the framework of the moral order and the subordination of individual and group interests to the interest of the common good as the principal remedies for these evils. This, he taught, necessitated an orderly reconstruction of society, with the establishment of economic and vocational bodies which would be autonomous and independent of the State. Public authority should resume its duty of promoting the common good of all. Finally, there should be co-operation on a world scale for the economic welfare of all nations.

38. Thus Pius XI’s teaching in this encyclical can be summed up under two heads. First he taught what the supreme criterion in economic matters ought not to be. It must not be the special interests of individuals or groups, nor unregulated competition, economic despotism, national prestige or imperialism, nor any other aim of this sort.

39. On the contrary, all forms of economic enterprise must be governed by the principles of social justice and charity.

40. The second point which We consider basic in the encyclical is his teaching that man’s aim must be to achieve in social justice a national and international juridical order, with its network of public and private institutions, in which all economic activity can be conducted not merely for private gain but also in the interests of the common good.

Pius XII’s Radio Address

41. For all that he did to render more precise the Christian definition of social rights and duties, no small recognition is due to Our late Predecessor, Pius XII. On Pentecost Sunday, June 1st, 1941, he broadcast his message “to call to the attention of the Catholic world a memory worthy of being written in letters of gold on the Church’s Calendar: the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the epoch-making social encyclical of Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum,” (l6) and “to render to Almighty God from the bottom of Our heart, Our humble thanks for the gift, which… He bestowed on the Church in that encyclical of His vicar on earth, and to praise Him for the lifegiving breath of the Spirit which through it, in ever-growing measure from that time on, has blown on all mankind.” (l7)

The Church’s Competence

42. In that broadcast message the great Pontiff claimed for the Church “the indisputable competence” to “decide whether the bases of a given social system are in accord with the unchangeable order which God our Creator and Redeemer has shown us through the Natural Law and Revelation.” (l8) He confirmed the perennial validity and inexhaustible worth of the teaching of Rerum Novarum, and took occasion “to give some further directive moral principles on three fundamental values of social and economic life. These three fundamental values, which are closely connected one with the other, mutually complementary and dependent, are: the use of material goods, work, and the family.” (19)

The Use of Material Goods

43. Concerning the use of material goods, Our Predecessor declared that the right of every man to use these for his own sustenance is prior to every other economic right, even that of private property. The right to the private possession of material goods is admittedly a natural one; nevertheless, in the objective order established by God, the right to property cannot stand in the way of the axiomatic principle that “the goods which were created by God for all men should flow to all alike, according to the principles of justice and charity” (20)

Work

44. On the subject of work, Pius XII repeated the teaching of the Leonine encyclical, maintaining that a man’s work is at once his duty and his right. It is for individuals, therefore, to regulate their mutual relations where their work is concerned. If they cannot do so, or will not do so, then, and only then, does “it fall back on the State to intervene in the division and distribution of work, and this must be according to the form and measure that the common good properly understood demands.” (21)

The Family

45. In dealing with the family the Supreme Pontiff affirmed that the private ownership of material goods has a great part to play in promoting the welfare of family life. It “secures for the father of a family the healthy liberty he needs in order to fulfil the duties assigned him by the Creator regarding the physical, spiritual and religious welfare of the family.” (22) It is in this that the right of families to migrate is rooted. And so Our Predecessor, in speaking of migration, admonished both parties involved, namely the country of departure and the country receiving the newcomers, to seek always “to eliminate as far as possible all obstacles to the birth and growth of real confidence” (24) between the nations. In this way both will contribute to, and share in, the increased welfare of man and the progress of culture.

Subsequent Changes

46. But in the twenty years which have elapsed since the changing economic climate noted at that time by Pius XII the economic scene has undergone a radical transformation, both in the internal structure of the various States and in their relations with one another.

Science, Technology, Economics

47. In the field of science, technology and economics we have the discovery of nuclear energy, and its application first to the purposes of war and later, increasingly, to peaceful ends; the practically limitless possibilities of chemistry in the production of synthetic materials; the growth of automation in industry and public services; the modernization of agriculture; the easing of communications, especially by radio and television; Faster transportation and the initial conquest of interplanetary space.

The Social Field

48. In the social field we have the development of social insurance and, in the more economically advanced communities, the introduction of social security systems. Men in labor unions are showing a more responsible awareness of the major social and economic problems. There is a progressive improvement in basic education, a wider distribution of essential commodities, greater opportunities for advancement in industry and the consequent breaking down of class barriers, and a keener interest in world affairs shown by people of average education. At the same time, however, this assessment of the increased efficiency of social and economic systems in a growing number of communities serves also to bring to light certain glaring discrepancies. There is, in the first place, a progressive lack of balance between agriculture on the one hand, and industry and public services on the other. Secondly, there are areas of varying economic prosperity within the same political communities. Finally—to take a world view—one observes a marked disparity in the economic wealth possessed by different countries.

The Political Field

49. To turn to the political field, We observe many changes. In a number of countries all classes of citizens are taking a part in public life, and public authorities are injecting themselves more each day into social and economic matters. We are witnessing the break-away from colonialism and the attainment of political independence by the peoples of Asia and Africa. Drawn together by their common needs nations are becoming daily more interdependent. There is, moreover, an ever-extending network of societies and organizations which set their sights beyond the aims and interests of individual countries and concentrate on the economic, social, cultural and political welfare of all nations throughout the world.

The Reasons for This New Encyclical

50. As We pass all this in review, We are aware of Our responsibility to take up this torch which Our great predecessors lighted, and hand it on with undiminished flame. It is a torch to lighten the pathways of all who would seek appropriate solutions to the many social problems of our times. Our purpose, therefore, is not merely to commemorate in a fitting manner the Leonine encyclical, but also to confirm and make more specific the teaching of Our predecessors, and to determine clearly the mind of the Church on the new and important problems of the day.

II. THE TEACHING OF RERUM NOVARUM

51. It should be stated at the outset that in the economic order first place must be given to the personal initiative of private citizens working either as individuals or in association with each other in various ways for the furtherance of common interests.

52. But—for reasons explained by Our predecessors—the civil power must also have a hand in the economy. It has to promote production in a way best calculated to achieve social progress and the well-being of all citizens.

Personal Initiative and State Intervention

53. And in this work of directing, stimulating, co-ordinating, supplying and integrating, its guiding principle must be the “principle of subsidiary function” formulated by Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno. (24) “This is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, unshaken and unchangeable. . . Just as it is wrong to withdraw from the individual and commit to a community what private enterprise and industry can accomplish, so too it is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, for a larger and higher association to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower societies. Of its very nature the true aim of all social activity should be to help members of the social body, but never to destroy or absorb them.” (25)

54. The present advance in scientific knowledge and productive technology clearly puts it within the power of the public authority to a much greater degree than ever before to reduce imbalances which may exist between different branches of the economy or between different regions within the same country or even between the different peoples of the world. It also puts into the hands of public authority a greater means for limiting fluctuations in the economy and for providing effective measures to prevent the recurrence of mass unemployment. Hence the insistent demands on those in authority—since they are responsible for the common good—to increase the degree and scope of their activities in the economic sphere, and to devise ways and means and set the necessary machinery in motion for the attainment of this end.

55. But however extensive and far-reaching the influence of the State on the economy may be, it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family. Hence every economic system must permit and facilitate the free development of productive activity.

56. Moreover, as history itself testifies with ever-increasing clarity, there can be no such thing as a well-ordered and prosperous society unless individual citizens and the State co-operate in the economy. Both sides must work together in harmony, and their respective efforts must be proportioned to the needs of the common good in the prevailing circumstances and conditions of human life.

57. Experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.

58. Where, on the other hand, the good offices of the State are lacking or deficient, incurable disorder ensues: in particular, the unscrupulous exploitation of the weak by the strong. For men of this stamp are always in evidence, and, like cockle among the wheat, thrive in every land.

Ramifications of the Social Process

59 . Certainly one of the principal characteristics which seem to be typical of our age is an increase in social relationships, in those mutual ties, that is, which grow daily more numerous and which have led to the introduction of many and varied forms of associations in the lives and activities of citizens, and to their acceptance within our legal framework. Scientific and technical progress, greater productive efficiency and a higher standard of living are among the many present-day factors which would seem to have contributed to this trend.

60. This development in the social life of man is at once a symptom and a cause of the growing intervention of the State, even in matters which are of intimate concern to the individual, hence of great importance and not devoid of risk. We might cite as examples such matters as health and education, the choice of a career, and the care and rehabilitation of the physically and mentally handicapped.

It is also partly the result, partly the expression of a natural, well-nigh irresistible urge in man to combine with his fellows for the attainment of aims and objectives which are beyond the means or the capabilities of single individuals. In recent times, this tendency has given rise to the formation everywhere of both national and international movements, associations and institutions with economic, cultural, social, sporting, recreational, professional and political ends.

Advantages and Disadvantages

61. Clearly, this sort of development in social relationships brings many advantages in its train. It makes it possible for the individual to exercise many of his personal rights, especially those which we call economic and social and which pertain to the necessities of life, health care, education on a more extensive and improved basis, a more thorough professional training, housing, work, and suitable leisure and recreation. Furthermore, the progressive perfection of modern methods of thought-diffusion—the press, cinema, radio, television—makes it possible for everyone to participate in human events the world over.

62. At the same time, however, this multiplication and daily extension of forms of association brings with it a multiplicity of restrictive laws and regulations in many departments of human life. As a consequence, it narrows the sphere of a person’s freedom of action. The means often used, the methods followed, the atmosphere created, all conspire to make it difficult for a person to think independently of outside influences, to act on his own initiative, exercise his responsibility and express and fulfil his own personality. What then? Must we conclude that these increased social relationships necessarily reduce men to the condition of being mere automatons? By no means.

Creation of Free Men

63. For actually this growth in the social life of man is not a product of natural forces working, as it were, by blind impulse. It is, as we saw, the creation of men who are free and autunomous by nature—though they must, of course, recognize and, in a sense, obey the laws of economic development and social progress, and cannot altogether escape from the pressure of environment.

64. The development of these social relationships, therefore, can and ought to be realized in a way best calculated to promote its inherent advantages and to preclude, or at least diminish, its attendant disadvantages.

Proper Balance Necessary

65. To this end, a sane view of the common good must be present and operative in men invested with public authority. They must take account of all those social conditions which favor the full development of human personality. Moreover, We consider it altogether vital that the numerous intermediary bodies and corporate enterprises—which are, so to say, the main vehicle of this social growth—be really autonomous, and loyally collaborate in pursuit of their own specific interests and those of the common good. For these groups must themselves necessarily present the form and substance of a true community, and this will only be the case if they treat their individual members as human persons and encourage them to take an active part in the ordering of their lives.

66. As these mutual ties binding the men of our age one to the other grow and develop, governments will the more easily achieve a right order the more they succeed in striking a balance between the autonomous and active collaboration of individuals and groups, and the timely coordination and encouragement by the State of these private undertakings.

67. So long as social relationships do in fact adhere to these principles within the framework of the moral order, their extension does not necessarily mean that individual citizens will be gravely discriminated against or excessively burdened. On the contrary, we can hope that they will help him to develop and perfect his own personal talents, and lead to that organic reconstruction of society which Our Predecessor Pius XI advocated in his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno as the indispensable prerequisite for the fulfilment of the rights and obligations of social life, (26)

The Remuneration of Work

68. We are filled with an overwhelming sadness when We contemplate the sorry spectacle of millions of workers in many lands and entire continents condemned through the inadequcy of their wages to live with their families in utterly sub-human conditions. This is probably due to the fact that the process of industrialization in these countries is only in its initial stages, or is still not sufficiently developed.

69. Nevertheless, in some of these lands the enormous wealth, the unbridled luxury, of the privileged few stands in violent, offensive contrast to the utter poverty of the vast majority. In some parts of the world men are being subjected to inhuman privations so that the output of the national economy can be increased at a rate of acceleration beyond what would be possible if regard were had to social justice and equity. And in other countries a notable percentage of income is absorbed in building up an ill-conceived national prestige, and vast sums are spent on armaments.

70. In economically developed countries, relatively unimportant services, and services of doubtful value, frequently carry a disproportionately high rate of remuneration, while the diligent and profitable work of whole classes of honest, hard-working men gets scant reward. Their rate of pay is quite inadequate to meet the basic needs of life. It in no way corresponds to the contribution they make to the good of the community, to the profits of the company for which they work, and to the general national economy.

Factors Determining Just Wage

71. We therefore consider it Our duty to reaffirm that the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity; which means that workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life and to fulfill their family obligations in a worthy manner. Other factors too enter into the assessment of a just wage: namely, the effective contribution which each individual makes to the economic effort, the financial state of the company for which he works, the requirements of the general good of the particular country—having regard especially to the repercussions on the overall employment of the working force in the country as a whole—and finally the requirements of the common good of the universal family of nations of every kind, both large and small.

72. The above principles are valid always and everywhere. So much is clear. But their degree of applicability to concrete cases cannot be deter mined without reference to the quantity and quality of available resources; and these can—and in fact do—vary from country to country, and even, from time to time, within the same country.

Balancing Economic Development and Social Progress

73. In view of the rapid expansion of national economies, particularly since the war, there is one very important social principle to which We would draw your attention. It is this: Economic progress must be accompanied by a corresponding social progress, so that all classes of citizens can participate in the increased productivity. The utmost vigilance and effort is needed to ensure that social inequalities, so far from increasing, are reduced to a minimum.

74. As Our Predecessor Pius XII observed with evident justification: “Likewise the national economy, as it is the product of the men who work together in the community of the State, has no other end than to secure without interruption the material conditions in which the individual life of the citizens may fully develop. Where this is secured in a permanent way, a people will be, in a true sense, economically rich, because the general well-being, and consequently the personal right of all to the use of worldly goods, is thus actuated in conformity with the purpose willed by the Creator.” (27) From this it follows that the economic prosperity of a nation is not so much its total assets in terms of wealth and property, as the equitable division and distribution of this wealth.

This it is which guarantees the personal development of the members of society, which is the true goal of a nation’s economy.

Sharing Ownership

75. We must notice in this connection the system of self-financing adopted in many countries by large, or comparatively large firms. Because these companies are financing replacement and plant expansion out of their own profits, they grow at a very rapid rate. In such cases We believe that the workers should be allocated shares in the firms for which they work, especially when they are paid no more than a minimum wage.

76. We should recall here the principle enunciated by Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno: “It is entirely false to ascribe to the property alone or to the work alone whatever has been obtained through the combined effort of both, and it is wholly unjust for either, denying the efficacy of the other, to arrogate to itself whatever has been produced.” (28)

77. Experience suggests many ways in which the demands of justice can be satisfied. Not to mention other ways, it is especially desirable today that workers gradually come to share in the ownership of their company, by ways and in the manner that seem most suitable. For today, even more than in the time of Our Predecessor, “every effort must be made that at least in future a just share only of the fruits of production be permitted to accumulate in the hands of the wealthy, and that an ample sufficiency be supplied to the workers.” (29)

The Demands of the Common Good

78. But a further point needs emphasizing: Any adjustment between wages and profits must take into account the demands of the common good of the particular country and of the whole human family.

79. What are these demands? On the national level they include: employment of the greatest possible number of workers; care lest privileged classes arise, even among the workers; maintenance of equilibrium between wages and prices; the need to make goods and services accessible to the greatest number; elimination, or at least the restriction, of inequalities in the various branches of the economy—that is, between agriculture, industry and services; creation of a proper balance between economic expansion and the development of social services, especially through the activity of public authorities; the best possible adjustment of the means of production to the progress of science and technology; seeing to it that the benefits which make possible a more human way of life will be available not merely to the present generation but to the coming generations as well.

80. The demands of the common good on the international level include: the avoidance of all forms of unfair competition between the economies of different countries; the fostering of mutual collaboration and good will; and effective co-operation in the development of economically less advanced communities.

81. These demands of the common good, both on a national and a world level, must also be borne in mind when assessing the rate of return due as compensation to the company’s management, and as interest or dividends to investors.

The Structure of Industry

82. Justice is to be observed not only in the distribution of wealth, but also in regard to the conditions in which men are engaged in producing this wealth. Every man has, of his very nature, a need to express himself in his work and thereby to perfect his own being.

83. Consequently, if the whole structure and organization of an economic system is such as to compromise human dignity, to lessen a man’s sense of responsibility or rob him of opportunity for exercising personal initiative, then such a system, We maintain, is altogether unjust—no matter how much wealth it produces, or how justly and equitably such wealth is distributed.

Pius XII’s Directive

84. It is not possible to give a concise definition of the kind of economic structure which is most consonant with man’s dignity and best calculated to develop in him a sense of responsibility. Pius XII, however, comes to our rescue with the following directive: “The small and average sized undertakings in agriculture, in the arts and crafts, in commerce and industry, should be safeguarded and fostered. Moreover, they should join together in co-operative associations to gain for themselves the benefits and advantages that usually can be gained only from large organizations. In the large concerns themselves there should be the possibility of moderating the contract of work by one of partnership.” (30)

Artisans and Co-operative Enterprises

85. Hence the craftsman’s business and that of the family farm, as well as the co-operative enterprise which aims at the completion and perfection of both these concerns—all these are to be safeguarded and encouraged in harmony with the common good and technical progress.

86. We shall return shortly to the question of the family farm. Here We consider it appropriate to say something about artisan and co-operative enterprises.

87. First of all it is necessary to emphasize that if these two kinds of undertaking are to thrive and prosper they must be prepared constantly to adjust their productive equipment and their productive methods to meet new situations created by the advance of science and technology and the changing demands and preferences of the consumer. This adaptation must be effected principally by the workers themselves and the members of the co-operatives.

88. Both these groups, therefore, need a thoroughgoing technical and general education, and should have their own professional organizations. It is equally important that the government take the proper steps regarding their training, taxation, credit, social security and insurance.

89. Furthermore, these two categories of citizens—craftsmen and members of cooperatives—are fully entitled to these watchful measures of the State, for they are upholding true human values and contributing to the advance of civilization.

90. We therefore paternally invite Our beloved sons—craftsmen and members of cooperatives throughout the world—to realize the greatness of this task which is theirs in the State. By the force of their example they are helping to keep alive in their own community a true sense of responsibility, a spirit of co-operation, and the constant desire to create new and original work of outstanding merit.

The Participation of Workers in Specific Enterprises

91. We, no less than Our predecessors, are convinced that employees are justified in wishing to participate in the activity of the industrial concern for which they work. It is not, of course, possible to lay down hard and fast rules regarding the manner of such participation, for this must depend upon prevailing conditions, which vary from firm to firm and are frequently subject to rapid and substantial alteration. But We have no doubt as to the need for giving workers an active part in the business of the company for which they work—be it a private or a public one. Every effort must be made to ensure that the enterprise is indeed a true human community, concerned about the needs, the activities and the standing of each of its members.

92. This demands that the relations between management and employees reflect understanding, appreciation and good will on both sides. It demands, too, that all parties co-operate actively and loyally in the common enterprise, not so much for what they can get out of it for themselves, but as discharging a duty and rendering a service to their fellow men.

Balancing Unity of Direction With Role of Individuals

All this implies that the workers have their say in, and make their own contribution to, the efficient running and development of the enterprise. As Pius XII remarked, “the economic and social function which every man aspires to fulfil, demands that the carrying on of the activity of each one is not completely subjected to the others.” (31)

Obviously, any firm which is concerned for the human dignity of its workers must also maintain a necessary and efficient unity of direction. But it must not treat those employees who spend their days in service with the firm as though they were mere cogs in the machinery, denying them any opportunity of expressing their wishes or bringing their experience to bear on the work in hand, and keeping them entirely passive in regard to decisions that regulate their activity.

93. We would observe, finally, that the present demand for workers to have a greater say in the conduct of the firm accords not only with man’s nature, but also with recent progress in the economic, social and political spheres.

94. For although many unjust and inhuman economic and social imbalances still exist in our day, and there are still many errors affecting the activity, aims, structure and operation of economies the world over, it is an undeniable fact that, thanks to the driving impulse of scientific and technical advance, productive systems are today rapidly becoming more modernized and efficient—more so than ever before. Hence a greater technical skill is required of the workers, and more exacting professional qualifications. Which means that they must be given more assistance, and more free time in which to complete their vocational training as well as to carry out more fittingly their cultural, moral and religious education.

95. As a further consequence, the modern youth is enabled to devote a longer time to his basic schooling in the arts and sciences.

96. All this serves to create an environment in which workers are encouraged to assume greater responsibility in their own sphere of employment. In politics, too, it is of no small consequence that citizens are becoming daily more aware of their responsibility for furthering the common good in all spheres of life.

The Participation of Workers in the Economy as a Whole

97. In modern times we have seen an extensive increase in the number of workers’ associations, and their general recognition in the juridical codes of single States and on the international level. Members are no longer recruited in order to agitate, but rather to co-operate, principally by the method of collective bargaining. But it is worthwhile stressing here how timely and imperative it is that workers be given the opportunity to exert their influence throughout the State, and not just within the limits of their own spheres of employment.

The More Important Decisions

98. The reason for this is that the individual productive concerns, regardless of their size, efficiency and importance in the State, form but a part—an integral part—of a nation’s entire economic and social life, upon which their own prosperity must depend.

99. Hence it is not the decisions made within the individual productive units which have the greatest bearing on the economy, but those made by public authorities and by institutions which tackle the various economic problems on a national or international basis. It is therefore very appropriate, or even necessary, that these public authorities and institutions bring the workers into their discussions, and those who represent the rights, demands and aspirations of the workingmen; and not confine their deliberations to those who merely represent the interests of management.

Praise and Appreciation

100. It is Our prerogative to be a Father, and there is a special place in Our thoughts and in Our heart for those professional groups and Christian associations of workers which exist and operate in so many parts of the world. We know the nature and extent of the difficulties under which these dearest sons of Ours are laboring, as they strive continually and effectually to promote in their own countries and throughout the world the material and moral interests of the working people.

101. They are fully deserving of Our praise. The importance of their work must be gauged not merely by its immediate and obvious results, but also by its effect on the working world as a whole, where it helps to spread sound principles of action and the wholesome influence of the Christian religion .

102. We wish further to praise those dear sons of Ours who in a true Christian spirit collaborate with other professional groups and workers’ associations which respect the natural law and the freedom of conscience of their members.

103. We must also express here Our heartfelt appreciation of the work that is being done by the International Labor Organization—popularly known in various countries as the O.I.L. or I.L.O. Or O.I.T. For many years now it has been making an effective and valued contribution to the establishment in the world of an economics and social order marked by justice and humanity, an order which recognizes and safeguards the lawful rights of the workingman.

Private Property

104. It is well-known that in recent years in the larger industrial concerns distinction has been growing between the ownership of productive goods and the responsibility of company managers. This has created considerable problems for public authorities, whose duty it is to see that the aims pursued by the leaders of the principal organizations—especially those which have an important part to play in the national economy—do not conflict in any way with the interests of the common good. Experience shows that these problems arise whether the capital which makes possible these vast undertakings belongs to private citizens or to public corporations.

105. It is also true that more and more people today, through belonging to insurance groups and systems of social security, find that they can face the future with confidence—the sort of confidence which formerly resulted from their possession of a certain amount of property.

An Advanced View of Work

106. And another thing happening today is that people are aiming at proficiency in their trade or profession rather than the acquisition of private property. They think more highly of an income which derives from capital and the rights of capital.

107. And this is as it should be. Work, which is the immediate expression of a human personality, must always be rated higher than the possession of external goods which of their very nature are merely instrumental. This view of work is certainly an indication of an advance that has been made in our civilization.

Confirmation of the Right of Ownership

108. What, then, of that social and economic principle so vigorously asserted and defended by Our predecessors: man’s natural right to own private property, including productive goods? Is this no longer operative today, or has it lost some of its validity in view of the economic conditions We have described above? This is the doubt that has arisen in many minds.

109. There is no reason for such a doubt to persist. The right of private ownership of goods, including productive goods, has permanent validity. It is part of the natural order, which teaches that the individual is prior to society and society must be ordered to the good of the individual.

Moreover, it would be quite useless to insist on free and personal initiative in the economic field, while at the same time withdrawing man’s right to dispose freely of the means indispensable to the achievement of such initiative.

Further, history and experience testify that in those political regimes which do not recognize the rights of private ownership of goods, productive included, the exercise of freedom in almost every other direction is suppressed or stifled. This suggests, surely, that the exercise of freedom finds its guarantee and incentive in the right of ownership.

110. This explains why social and political movements for the harmonizing of justice and freedom in society, though until recently opposed to the private ownership of productive goods, are today reconsidering their position in the light of a clearer understanding of social history, and are in fact now declaring themselves in favor of this right.

Guarantee for Both Individual and Society

111. Accordingly, We make Our own the directive of Our Predecessor Pius XII: “In defending the principle of private ownership the Church is striving after an important ethico-social end. She does not intend merely to uphold the present condition of things as if it were an expression of the divine Will, or to protect on principle the rich and plutocrats against the poor and indigent. . . The Church aims rather at securing that the institution of private property be such as it should be according to the plan of the divine Wisdom and the dispositions of Nature.” (32) Hence private ownership must be considered as a guarantee of the essential freedom of the individual, and at the same time an indispensable element in a true social order.

Wages and Property

112. Moreover, in recent years, as we have seen, the productive efficiency of many national economies has been increasing rapidly. Justice and fairness demand, therefore, that, within the limits of the common good, wages too shall increase. This means that workers are able to save more and thus acquire a certain amount of property of their own. In view of this it is strange that the innate character of a right which derives its force and validity from the fruitfulness of work should ever be called in question—a right which constitutes so efficacious a means of asserting one’s personality and exercising responsibility in every field, and an element of solidity and security for family life and of greater peace and prosperity in the State.

The Effective Distribution of Property

113. But it is not enough to assert that the right to own private property and the means of production is inherent in human nature. We must also insist on the extension of this right in practice to all classes of citizens.

114. As Our Predecessor Pius XII so rightly affirmed: The dignity of the human person “normally demands the right to the use of the goods of the earth, to which corresponds the fundamental obligation of granting an opportunity to possess property to all if possible.” (33) This demand arises from the moral dignity of work. It also guarantees “the conservation and perfection of a social order which makes possible a secure, even if modest, property to all classes of people.” (34)

115. Now, if ever, is the time to insist on a more widespread distribution of property, in view of the rapid economic development of an increasing number of States. It will not be difficult for the body politic, by the adoption of various techniques of proved efficiency, to pursue an economic and social policy which facilitates the widest possible distribution of private property in terms of durable consumer goods, houses, land, tools and equipment (in the case of craftsmen and owners of family farms), and shares in medium and large business concerns. This policy is in fact being pursued with considerable success by several of the socially and economically advanced nations.

Public Ownership

116. This, of course, is not to deny the lawfulness of State and public ownership of productive goods, especially those which “carry with them a power too great to be left to private individuals without injury to the community at large.” (35)

Principle of Subsidiarity

117. State and public ownership of property is very much on the increase today. This is explained by the exigencies of the common good, which demand that public authority broaden its sphere of activity. But here, too, the “principle of subsidiary function” must be observed. The State and other agencies of public law must not extend their ownership beyond what is clearly required by considerations of the common good properly understood, and even then there must be safeguards. Otherwise private ownership could be reduced beyond measure, or, even worse, completely destroyed.

Precautions

118. It is important, too, not to overlook the fact that the economic enterprises of the State and other agencies of public law must be entrusted to men of good reputation who have the necessary experience and ability and a keen sense of responsibility towards their country. Furthermore, a strict check should constantly be kept upon their activity, so as to avoid any possibility of the concentration of undue economic power in the hands of a few State officials, to the detriment of the best interests of the community.

The Social Function of Property

119. Our predecessors have insisted time and again on the social function inherent in the right of private ownership, for it cannot be denied that in the plan of the Creator all of this world’s goods are primarily intended for the worthy support of the entire human race.

Hence, as Leo XIII so wisely taught in Rerum Novarum: “whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and corporeal, or gifts of the mind, has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and, at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God’s Providence, for the benefit of others. ‘He that hath a talent,’ says St. Gregory the Great, ‘let him see that he hide it not; he that hath abundance, let him quicken himself to mercy and generosity; he that hath art and skill, let him do his best to share the use and the utility thereof with his neighbor’.” (36)

Always Vast Field For Personal Charity

120. In recent years the State and other agencies of public law have extended, and are continuing to extend, the sphere of their activity and initiative. But this does not mean that the doctrine of the social function of private ownership is out of date, as some would maintain. It is inherent in the very right of private ownership.

Then, too, a further consideration arises. Tragic situations and urgent problems of an intimate and personal nature are continually arising which the State with all its machinery is unable to remedy or assist. There will always remain, therefore, a vast field for the exercise of human sympathy and the Christian charity of individuals. We would observe, finally, that the efforts of individuals, or of groups of private citizens, are definitely more effective in promoting spiritual values than is the activity of public authority.

The Real Treasure

121. We should notice at this point that the right of private ownership is clearly sanctioned by the Gospel. Yet at the same time, the divine Master frequently extends to the rich the insistent invitation to convert their material goods into spiritual ones by conferring them on the poor. “Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (37) And the Lord will look upon the charity given to the poor as given to Himself. “Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” (38)

III. NEW ASPECTS OF THE SOCIAL QUESTION

122. History shows with ever-increasing clarity that it is not only the relations between workers and managers that need to be re-established on the basis of justice and equity, but also those between the various branches of the economy, between areas of varying productivity within the same political community, and between countries with a different degree of social and economic development.

The Depressed State of Agriculture

123. First, with regard to agriculture, it would not appear that the rural population as a whole is decreasing, but it is an undeniable fact that many people are moving away from their farms into more thickly populated areas as well as into the cities themselves. When we realize that this movement of population is going on in nearly every part of the world, often on a large scale, we begin to appreciate the complexity of the human problems involved and their difficulty of solution.

124. We know that as an economy develops, the number of people engaged in agriculture decreases, while the percentage employed in industry and the various services rises. Nevertheless, We believe that very often this movement of population from farming to industry has other causes besides those dependent upon economic expansion. Among these there is the desire to escape from confining surroundings which offer little prospect of a more comfortable way of life. There is the lure of novelty and adventure which has taken such a hold on the present generation, the attractive prospect of easy money, of greater freedom and the enjoyment of all the amenities of town and city life. But a contributory cause of this movement away from the country is doubtless the fact that farming has become a depressed occupation. It is inadequate both in productive efficiency and in the standard of living it provides.

A Fundamental Problem

125. Nearly every country, therefore, is faced with this fundamental problem: What can be done to reduce the disproportion in productive efficiency between agriculture on the one hand, and industry and services on the other; and to ensure that agricultural living standards approximate as closely as possible those enjoyed by city dwellers who draw their resources either from industry or from the services in which they are engaged? What can be done to persuade agricultural workers that, far from being inferior to other people, they have every opportunity of developing their personality through their work, and can look forward to the future with confidence?

Contributing to the Solution

126. It seems to Us opportune to indicate certain directives that can contribute to a solution of this problem: directives which We believe have value whatever may be the historical environment in which one acts—on condition, obviously, that they be applied in the manner and to the degree allowed, suggested, or even demanded by the circumstances.

Some Remedies

127. In the first place, considerable thought must be given, especially by public authorities, to the suitable development of essential facilities in country areas—such as roads; transportation; means of communication; drinking water; houseing; health services; elementary, technical and professional education; religious and recreational facilities; and the supply of modern installations and furnishings for the farm residence. Such services as these are necessary nowadays if a becoming standard of living is to be maintained. In those country areas where they are lacking, economic and social progress is either prevented or greatly impeded, with the result that nothing can be done to retard the drift of population away from the land, and it even becomes difficult to make a good appraisal of the numbers involved.

Balanced Development of the Economy

128. If a country is to develop economically, it must do so gradually, maintaining an even balance between all sectors of the economy. Agriculture, therefore, must be allowed to make use of the same reforms in the method and type of production and in the conduct of the business side of the venture as are permitted or required in the economic system as a whole. All such reforms should correspond as nearly as possible with those introduced in industry and the various services.

129. In this way, agriculture will absorb a larger amount of industrial goods and require a better system of services. But at the same time it will provide both industry and the services and the country as a whole with the type of products which, in quantity and quality, best meet the needs of the consumer and contribute to the stability of the purchasing power of money—a major consideration in the orderly development of the entire economic system.

130. One advantage which would result from the adoption of this plan would be that it would be easier to keep track of the movement of the working force set free by the progressive modernization of agriculture. Facilities could then be provided for the training of such people for their new kind of work, and they would not be left without economic aid and the mental and spiritual assistance they need to ensure their proper integration in their new social milieu.

The Need for a Suitable Economic Policy

131. In addition, a sound agricultural program is needed if public authority is to maintain an evenly balanced progress in the various branches of the economy. This must take into account tax policies, credit, social insurance, prices, the fostering of ancillary industries and the adjustment of the structure of farming as a business enterprise.

Taxation

132. In a system of taxation based on justice and equity it is fundamental that the burdens be proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing.

133. But the common good also requires the public authorities, in assessing the amount of tax payable, take cognizance of the peculiar difficulties of farmers. They have to wait longer than most people for their returns, and these are exposed to greater hazards. Consequently, farmers find greater difficulty in obtaining the capital necessary to increase returns.

Credit Banks

134. For this reason, too, investors are more inclined to put their money in industry rather than agriculture. Farmers are unable to pay high rates of interest. Indeed, they cannot as a rule make the trading profit necessary to furnish capital for the conduct and development of their own business. It is therefore necessary, for reasons of the common good, for public authorities to evolve a special credit policy and to form credit banks which will guarantee such capital to farmers at a moderate rate of interest.

Social Insurance and Social Security

135. In agriculture the existence of two forms of insurance may be necessary: one concerned with agricultural produce, the other with the farm workers and their families. We realize that agricultural workers earn less per capita than workers in industry and the services, but that is no reason why it should be considered socially just and equitable to set up systems of social insurance in which the allowances granted to farm workers and their families are substantially lower than those payable to other classes of workers. Insurance programs that are established for the general public should not differ markedly whatever be the economic sector in which the individuals work or the source of their income.

136. Systems of social insurance and social security can make a most effective contribution to the overall distribution of national income in accordance with the principles of justice and equity. They can therefore be instrumental in reducing imbalances between the different classes of citizens.

Price Protection

137. Given the special nature of agricultural produce, modern economists must devise a suitable means of price protection. Ideally, such price protection should be enforced by the interested parties themselves, though supervision by the public authority cannot be altogether dispensed with.

138. On this subject it must not be forgotten that the price of agricultural produce represents, for the most part, the reward of the farmer’s labor rather than a return on invested capital.

139. Hence, in Quadragesimo Anno Pope Pius XI rightly observed that “a proper proportion between different wages is also a matter of importance.” He continued: “And intimately connected with this is a proper proportion between the prices charged for the products of the various economic groups, agricultural, industrial, and so forth.” (39)

140. While it is true that farm produce is mainly intended for the satisfaction of man’s primary needs, and the price should therefore be within the means of all consumers, this cannot be used as an argument for keeping a section of the population—farm workers—in a permanent state of economic and social inferiority, depriving them of the wherewithal for a decent standard of living. This would be diametrically opposed to the common good.

The Promotion of Ancillary Industries

141. Moreover, the time has come to promote in agricultural regions the establishment of those industries and services which are concerned with the preservation, processing and transportation of farm products. Enterprises relating to other sectors of the economy might also be established there. In this case the rural population would have another means of income at their disposal, a means which they could exploit in the social milieu to which they are accustomed.

The Structure of the Farm Unit

142. It is not possible to determine a priori what the structure of farm life should be, since rural conditions vary so much from place to place and from country to country throughout the world. But if we hold to a human and Christian concept of man and the family, we are bound to consider as an ideal that form of enterprise which is modelled on the basis of a community of persons working together for the advancement of their mutual interests in accordance with the principles of justice and Christian teaching. We are bound above all to consider as an ideal the kind of farm which is owned and managed by the family. Every effort must be made in the prevailing circumstances to give effective encouragement to farming enterprises of this nature.

143. But if the family farm is not to go bankrupt it must make enough money to keep the family in reasonable comfort. To ensure this, farmers must be given up-to-date instruction on the latest methods of cultivation, and the assistance of experts must be put at their disposal. They should also form a flourishing system of cooperative undertakings, and organize themselves professionally to take an effective part in public life, both on the administrative and the political level.

The Self-Advancement of the Farming Community

144. We are convinced that the farming community must take an active part in its own economic advancement, social progress and cultural betterment. Those who live on the land can hardly fail to appreciate the nobility of the work they are called upon to do. They are living in close harmony with Nature—the majestic temple of Creation. Their work has to do with the life of plants and animals, a life that is inexhaustible in its expression, inflexible in its laws, rich in allusions to God the Creator and Provider. They produce food for the support of human life, and the raw materials of industry in ever richer supply.

145. Theirs is a work which carries with it a dignity all its own. It brings into its service many branches of engineering, chemistry and biology, and is itself a cause of the continued practical development of these sciences in view of the repercussions of scientific and technical progress on the business of farming. It is a work which demands a capacity for orientation and adaptation, patient waiting, a sense of responsibility, and a spirit of perseverance and enterprise.

Solidarity and Co-operation

146. It is important also to bear in mind that in agriculture, as in other sectors of production, association is a vital need today—especially in the case of family farms. Rural workers should feel a sense of solidarity with one another, and should unite to form co-operatives and professional associations. These are very necessary if farm workers are to benefit from scientific and technical methods of production and protect the prices of their products. They are necessary, too, if they are to attain an equal footing with other professional classes who, in most cases, have joined together in associations. They are necessary, finally, if farm workers are to have their proper voice in political circles and in public administration. The lone voice is not likely to command much of a hearing in times such as ours.

Social Responsibility

147. In using their various organizations, agricultural workers—as indeed all other classes of workers—must always be guided by moral principles and respect for the civil law. They must try to reconcile their rights and interests with those of other classes of workers, and even subordinate the one to the other if the common good demands it. If they show themselves alive to the common good and contribute to its realizations, they can legitimately demand that their efforts for the improvement of agricultural conditions be seconded and complemented by public authority.

148. We therefore desire here to express Our satisfaction with those sons of Ours the world over who are actively engaged in co-operatives, in professional groups and in worker movements intent on raising the economic and social standards of the agricultural community.

Vocation and Mission

149. In the work on the farm the human personality finds every incentive for self-expression, self-development and spiritual growth. It is a work, therefore, which should be thought of as a vocation, a God-given mission, an answer to God’s call to actuate His providential, saving plan in history. It should be thought of, finally, as a noble task, undertaken with a view to raising oneself and others to a higher degree of civilization.

Toward a Balanced Internal Economy

150. Among citizens of the same political community there is often a marked degree of economic and social inequality. The main reason for this is the fact that they are living and working in different areas, some of which are more economically developed than others.

Where this situation obtains, justice and equity demand that public authority try to eliminate or reduce such imbalances. It should ensure that the less developed areas receive such essential public services as their circumstances require, in order to bring the standard of living in these areas into line with the national average. Furthermore, a suitable economic and social policy must be devised which will take into account the supply of labor, the drift of population, wages, taxes, credit, and the investing of money, especially in expanding industries. In short, it should be a policy designed to promote useful employment, enterprising initiative, and the exploitation of local resources.

The Common Good

151. But the justification of all government action is the common good. Public authority, therefore, must bear in mind the interests of the state as a whole; which means that it must pro mote all three areas of production—agriculture, industry and services—simultaneously and evenly. Everything must be done to ensure that citizens of the less developed areas are treated as responsible human beings, and are allowed to play the major role in achieving their own economic, social and cultural advancement.

Contribution of Private Enterprise

152. Private enterprise too must contribute to an economic and social balance in the different areas of the same political community. Indeed, in accordance with “the principle of subsidiary function,” public authority must encourage and assist private enterprise, entrusting to it, wherever possible, the continuation of economic development.

International Disproportions

153. It is not out of place to remark here on a problem which exists in quite a number of countries, namely, a gross disproportion between land and population. In some countries arable land abounds, but there is a scarcity of population; whereas in other countries the position is reversed: the population is large, arable land scarce.

Surpluses and Scarcities

154. Again, some countries use primitive methods of agriculture, with the result that, for all their abundance of natural resources, they are not able to produce enough food to feed their population; whereas other countries, using modern methods of agriculture, produce a surplus of food which has an adverse effect on the economy.

155. It is therefore obvious that the solidarity of the human race and Christian brotherhood demand the elimination as far as possible of these discrepancies. With this object in view, people all over the world must co-operate actively with one another in all sorts of ways, so as to facilitate the movement of goods, capital and men from one country to another. We shall have more to say on this point later on.

The FAO

156. Here We would like to express Our sincere appreciation of the work which the F.A.0. (39a) has undertaken to establish effective collaboration among nations, to promote the modernization of agriculture especially in less developed countries, and to alleviate the suffering of hunger-stricken peoples.

Obligation of the Wealthy Nations

157. Probably the most difficult problem today concerns the relationship between political communities that are economically advanced and those in the process of development. Whereas the standard of living is high in the former, the latter are subject to extreme poverty. The solidarity which binds all men together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.

158. Mindful of Our position as the father of all peoples, We feel constrained to repeat here what We said on another occasion: “We are all equally responsible for the undernourished peoples.(40) [Hence], it is necessary to educate one’s conscience to the sense of responsibility which weighs upon each and every one, especially upon those who are more blessed with this world’s goods.” (41)

The Mystical Body of Christ

159. The Church has always emphasized that this obligation of helping those who are in misery and want should be felt most strongly by Catholics, in view of the fact that they are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. “In this we have known the charity of God,” says St. John, “because he has laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need and shall shut up his bowels from him; how doth the charity of God abide in him?” (42)

160. It is therefore a great source of joy to Us to see those nations which enjoy a high degree of economic wealth helping the nations not so well provided, so that they may more effectively raise their standard of living.

International Aid

161. Justice and humanity demand that those countries which produce consumer goods, especially farm products, in excess of their own needs should come to the assistance of those other countries where large sections of the population are suffering from want and hunger. It is nothing less than an outrage to justice and humanity to destroy or to squander goods that other people need for their very lives.

162. We are, of course, well aware that overproduction, especially in agriculture, can cause economic harm to a certain section of the population. But it does not follow that one is thereby exonerated from extending emergency aid to those who need it. On the contrary, everything must be done to minimize the ill effects of overproduction, and to spread the burden equitably over the entire population.

Scientific, Technical and Financial Co-operation

163. Of itself, however, emergency aid will not go far in relieving want and famine when these are caused—as they so often are—by the primitive state of a nation’s economy. The only permanent remedy for this is to make use of every possible means of providing these citizens with the scientific, technical and professional training they need, and to put at their disposal the necessary capital for speeding up their economic development with the help of modern methods.

164. We are aware how deeply the public conscience has been affected in recent years by the urgent need of supporting the economic development and social progress of those countries which are still struggling against poverty and economic disabilities.

165. International and regional organizations, national and private societies, all are working towards this goal, increasing day to day the measure of their own technical co-operation in all productive spheres. By their combined efforts thousands of young people are being given facilities for attending the universities of the more advanced countries, and acquiring an up-to-date scientific, technical and professional training. World banking institutes, individual States and private persons are helping to furnish the capital for an ever richer network of economic enterprises in the less wealthy countries. It is a magnificent work that they are doing, and We are most happy to take this occasion of giving it the praise that it deserves. It is a work, however, which needs to be increased, and We hope that the years ahead will see the wealthier nations making even greater efforts for the scientific, technical and economic advancement of those political communities whose development is still only in its initial stages.

Some Additional Counsels

166. We consider it Our duty to give further advice on this matter.

Learning from the Past

167. In the first place, those nations which are still only at the beginning of their journey along the road to economic development would do well to consider carefully the experiences of the wealthier nations which have traversed this road before them.

Proper Balance Essential

168. Increase in production and productive efficiency is, of course, sound policy, and indeed a vital necessity. However, it is no less necessary—and justice itself demands—that the riches produced be distributed fairly among all members of the political community. This means that everything must be done to ensure that social progress keeps pace with economic progress. Again, every sector of the economy—agriculture, industry and the services—must progress evenly and simultaneously.

Respecting a Nation’s Individuality

169. The developing nations, obviously, have certain unmistakable characteristics of their own, resulting from the nature of the particular region and the natural dispositions of their citizens, with their time-honored traditions and customs.

170. In helping these nations, therefore, the more advanced communities must recognize and respect this individuality. They must beware of

making the assistance they give an excuse for forcing these people into their own national mold.

Offering Disinterested Aid

171. There is also a further temptation which the economically developed nations must resist: that of giving technical and financial aid with a view to gaining control over the political situation in the poorer countries, and furthering their ownplans for world domination.

172. Let us be quite clear on this point. A nation that acted from these motives would in fact be introducing a new form of colonialism—cleverly disguised, no doubt, but actually reflecting that older, outdated type from which many nations have recently emerged. Such action would, moreover, have harmful impact on international relations, and constitute a menace to world peace.

173. Necessity, therefore, and justice demand that all such technical and financial aid be given without thought of domination, but rather for the purpose of helping the less developed nations to achieve their own economic and social growth.

174. If this can be achieved, then a precious contribution will have been made to the formation of a world community, in which each individual nation, conscious of its rights and duties, can work on terms of equality with the rest for the attainment of universal prosperity.

Respecting the True Hierarchy of Values

175. Scientific and technical progress, economic development and the betterment of living conditions, are certainly valuable elements in a civilization. But we must realize that they are essentially instrumental in character. They are not supreme values in themselves.

176. It pains Us, therefore, to observe the complete indifference to the true hierarchy of values shown by so many people in the economically developed countries. Spiritual values are ignored, forgotten or denied, while the progress of science, technology and economics is pursued for its own sake, as though material well-being were the be-all and end-all of life. This attitude is contagious, especially when it infects the work that is being done for the less developed countries, which have often preserved in their ancient traditions an acute and vital awareness of the more important human values, on which the moral order rests.

177. To attempt to undermine this national integrity is clearly immoral. It must be respected and as far as possible clarified and developed, so that it may remain what it is: a foundation of true civilization.

Contribution of the Church

178. The Church is by divine right universal. History itself bears this out, for the Church is present everywhere on earth, doing all that she can to embrace all peoples.

179. Now, in bringing people to Christ, the Church has invariably—both now and in the past—brought them many social and economical advantages. For true Christians cannot help feeling obliged to improve their own temporal institutions and environment. They do all they can to prevent these institutions from doing violence to human dignity. They encourage whatever is conducive to honesty and virtue, and strive to eliminate every obstacle to the attainment of this aim.

Never an Alien

180. Moreover, in becoming as it were the life-blood of these people, the Church is not, nor does she consider herself to be, a foreign body in their midst. Her presence brings about the rebirth, the resurrection, of each individual in Christ; and the man who is reborn and rises again in Christ never feels himself constrained from without. He feels himself free in the very depth of his being, and freely raised up to God. And thus he affirms and develops that side of his nature which is noblest and best.

Unity, not Uniformity

181. “The Church of Jesus Christ,” as Our Predecessor Pius XII observed with such penetration, “is the repository of His wisdom; she is certainly too wise to discourage or belittle those peculiarities and differences which mark out one nation from another. It is quite legitimate for nations to treat those differences as a sacred inheritance and guard them at all costs. The Church aims at unity, a unity determined and kept alive by that supernatural love which should be actuating everybody; she does not aim at a uniformity which would only be external in its effects and would cramp the natural tendencies of the nations concerned. Every nation has its own genius, its own qualities, springing from the hidden roots of its being. The wise development, the encouragement within limits, of that genius, those qualities, does no harm; and if a nation cares to take precautions, to lay down rules, for that end, it has the Church’s approval. She is mother enough to befriend such projects with her prayers.” (43)

Role of Catholic Citizens

182. It is a source of profound satisfaction to Us to see the prominent part which is being played by Catholic citizens of the less wealthy countries in the economic and social development of their own State.

183. Then, too, the Catholics of the wealthier States are doing all they can to increase the effectiveness of the social and economic work that is being done for the poorer nations. We would give Our special approval to the increasing assistance they are giving, in all sorts of ways, to African and Asian students scattered throughout the universities of Europe and America; and to the care that is being devoted to the training of those persons who are prepared to go to the less wealthy areas in order to engage in work of technical and professional nature.

184. To these Our beloved sons in every land who, in promoting genuine progress and civilization, are a living proof of the Church’s perennial vitality, We wish to extend Our kind and fatherly word of appreciation and encouragement.

Population Increase and Economic Development

185. How can economic development and the supply of food keep pace with the continual rise in population? This is a question which constantly obtrudes itself today—a world problem, as well as one for the poverty-stricken nations.

186. As a world problem, the case is put thus: According to sufficiently reliable statistics the next few decades will see a very great increase in human population, whereas economic development will proceed at a slower rate. Hence, we are told, if nothing is done to check this rise in population, the world will be faced in the not too distant future with an increasing shortage in the necessities of life.

187. As it affects the less developed countries, the problem is stated thus: The resources of modern hygiene and medicine will very shortly bring about a notable decrease in the mortality rate, especially among infants, while the birth rate—which in such countries is unusually high—will tend to remain more or less constant, at least for a considerable period. The excess of births over deaths will therefore show a steep rise, whereas there will be no corresponding increase in the productive efficiency of the economy. Accordingly, the standard of living in these poorer countries cannot possibly improve. It must surely worsen, even to the point of extreme hardship. Hence there are those who hold the opinion that, in order to prevent a serious crisis from developing, the conception and birth of children should be secretly avoided, or, in any event, curbed in some way.

The Problem Examined

188. Truth to tell, we do not seem to be faced with any immediate or imminent world problem arising from the disproportion between the increase of population and the supply of food. Arguments to this effect are based on such unreliable and controversial data that they can only be of very uncertain validity.

189. Besides, the resources which God in His goodness and wisdom has implanted in Nature are well-nigh inexhaustible, and He has at the same time given man the intelligence to discover ways and means of exploiting these resources for his own advantage and his own livelihood. Hence, the real solution of the problem is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order and which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed scientific and technical effort on man’s part to deepen and extend his dominion over Nature. The progress of science and technology that has already been achieved opens up almost limitless horizons in this held.

190. As for the problems which face the poorer nations in various parts of the world, We realize, of course, that these are very real. They are caused, more often than not, by a deficient economic and social organization, which does not offer living conditions proportionate to the increase in population. They are caused, also, by the lack of effective solidarity among such peoples.

191. But granting this, We must nevertheless state most emphatically that no statement of the problem and no solution to it is acceptable which does violence to man’s essential dignity; those who propose such solutions base them on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and his life.

Only Possible Solution

192. The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respects and promotes true human values. First consideration must obviously be given to those values which concern man’s dignity generally, and the immense worth of each individual human life. Attention must then be turned to the need for worldwide co-operation among men, with a view to a fruitful and well-regulated interchange of useful knowledge, capital and manpower.

Respect for the Laws of Life

193. We must solemnly proclaim that human life is transmitted by means of the family, and the family is based upon a marriage which is one and indissoluble and, with respect to Christians, raised to the dignity of a sacrament. The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life.

194. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.

Education Toward Sense of Responsibility

195. It is of the utmost importance that parents exercise their right and obligation toward the younger generation by securing for their children a sound cultural and religious formation. They must also educate them to a deep sense of responsibility in life, especially in such matters as concern the foundation of a family and the procreation and education of children. They must instill in them an unshakable confidence in Divine Providence and a determination to accept the inescapable sacrifices and hardships involved in so noble and important a task as the co-operation with God in the transmitting of human life and the bringing up of children.

To the attainment of this end nothing can be more effective than those principles and that supernatural aid which the Church supplies. On this score alone the right of the Church to full liberty in the exercise of her mission must be recognized.

Science in the Service of Life

196. Genesis relates how God gave two commandments to our first parents: to transmit human life—”Increase and mutliply” (44)—and to bring nature into their service—”Fill the earth, and subdue it.” (45) These two commandments are complementary .

197. Nothing is said in the second of these commandments about destroying nature. On the contrary, it must be brought into the service of human life.

198. We are sick at heart, therefore, when We observe the contradiction which has beguiled so much modern thinking. On the one hand we are shown the fearful specter of want and misery which threatens to extinguish human life, and on the other hand we find scientific discoveries, technical inventions and economic resources being used to provide terrible instruments of ruin and death.

199. A provident God grants sufficient means to the human race to find a dignified solution to the problems attendant upon the transmission of human life. But these problems can become difficult of solution, or even insoluble, if man, led astray in mind and perverted in will, turns to such means as are opposed to right reason, and seeks ends that are contrary to his social nature and the intentions of Providence.

Worldwide Co-operation

200. The progress of science and technology in every aspect of life has led, particularly today, to increased relationships between nations, and made the nations more and more dependent on one another.

201. As a rule no single commonwealth has sufficient resources at its command to solve the more important scientific, technical, economic, social, political and cultural problems which confront it at the present time. These problems are necessarily the concern of a whole group of nations, and possibly of the whole world.

202. Individual political communities may indeed enjoy a high degree of culture and civilization. They may have a large and industrious population, an advanced economic structure, great natural resources and extensive territories. Yet, even so, in isolation from the rest of the world they are quite incapable of finding an adequate solution to their major problems. The nations, therefore, must work with each other for their mutual development and perfection. They can help themselves only in so far as they succeed in helping one another. That is why international understanding and co-operation are so necessary.

The Effects of Mutual Distrust

203. Yet although individuals and nations are becoming more and more convinced of this twofold necessity, it would seem that men in general, and particularly those with high responsibility in public life, are showing themselves quite incapable of achieving it. The root of such inability is not to be sought in scientific, technical or economic reasons, but in the absense of mutual trust. Men, and consequently States, are in mortal fear of each other. Each fears that the other harbors plans of conquest and is only waiting for a favorable moment to put these plans into effect. Hence each organizes its own defense and builds up munitions of war as a deterrent against the would-be aggressor.

204. The result is a vast expenditure of human energy and natural resources on projects which are disruptive of human society rather than beneficial to it; while a growing uneasiness gnaws at men’s hearts and makes them less responsive to the call of nobler enterprises.

Failure to Acknowledge the Moral Order

205. The root cause of so much mistrust is the presence of ideological differences between nations, and more especially between their rulers. There are some indeed who go so far as to deny the existence of a moral order which is transcendent, absolute, universal and equally binding upon all. And where the same law of justice is not adhered to by all, men cannot hope to come to open and full agreement on vital issues.

206. Yes, both sides speak of justice and the demands of justice, but these words frequently take on different or opposite meanings according to which side uses them. Hence, when rulers of nations appeal to justice and the demands of justice, they not only disagree on terms, but often increase the tension that exists between their States. And so the belief is engendered that if a nation is to assert its rights and pursue its own interests, there is only one way open to it: to have recourse to violence; ignoring the fact that violence is the source of the very greatest evils.

God, the Foundation of the Moral Order

207. Mutual trust among rulers of States cannot begin nor increase except by recognition of, and respect for, the moral order.

208. But the moral order has no existence except in God; cut off from God it must necessarily disintegrate. Moreover, man is not just a material organism. He consists also of spirit; he is endowed with reason and freedom. He demands, therefore, a moral and religious order; and it is this order—and not considerations of a purely extraneous, material order—which has the greatest validity in the solution of problems relating to his life as an individual and as a member of society, and problems concerning individual states and their inter-relations.

209. It has been claimed that in an era of scientific and technical triumphs such as ours man can well afford to rely on his own powers, and construct a very good civilization without God. But the truth is that these very advances in science and technology frequently involve the whole human race in such difficulties as can only be solved in the light of a sincere faith in God, the Creator and Ruler of man and his world.

Spiritual and Moral Values

210. The almost limitless horizons opened up by scientific research only go to confirm this truth. More and more men are beginning to realize that science has so far done little more than scratch the surface of nature and reality. There are vast hidden depths still to be explored and adequately explained. Such men are appalled when they consider how these gigantic forces for good can be turned by science into engines of destruction. They realize then the supreme importance of spiritual and moral values, if scientific and technical progress is to be used in the service of civilization, and not involve the whole human race in irremediable disaster.

211. Furthermore, the increasing sense of dissatisfaction with worldly goods which is making itself felt among citizens of the wealthier nations, is rapidly destroying the treasured illusion of an earthly paradise. Men, too, are becoming more and more conscious of their rights as human beings, rights which are universal and inviolable; and they are aspiring to more just and more human relations with their fellows. The effect of all this is to make the modern man more deeply aware of his own limitations, and to create in him a striving for spiritual values. All of which encourages Us in the hope that individuals and nations will one day learn to unite in a spirit of sincere understanding and profitable cooperation.

IV. THE REBUILDING OF A SOCIAL ORDER

212. After all this scientific and technical progress, and even because of it, the problem remains: how to build up a new order of society based on a more balanced human relationship between political communities on a national and international level?

Incomplete and False Ideologies

213. The attempt to find a solution to this problem has given birth to a number of theories. Some of these were little more than ephemeral; others have undergone, and are still undergoing, substantial change; others again are proving themselves less and less attractive to modern man.

Why is this? It is because these ideologies do not take account of the whole man, nor even of his most important part. In particular, they take little account of certain inevitable human weaknesses such as sickness and suffering, weaknesses which even the most advanced economic and social systems cannot completely eliminate. Finally, they fail to take account of that deep-rooted sense of religion which exists in all men everywhere, and which nothing, neither violence nor cunning, can eradicate.

214. The most fundamental modern error is that of imagining that man’s natural sense of religion is nothing more than the outcome of feeling or fantasy, to be eradicated from his soul as an anachronism and an obstacle to human progress. And yet this very need for religion reveals a man for what he is: a being created by God and tending always toward God. As we read in St. Augustine: “Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts can find no rest until they rest in you”. (46)

The Real Source of Justice, Truth and Love

215. Let men make all the technical and economic progress they can, there will be no peace nor justice in the world until they return to a sense of their dignity as creatures and sons of God, who is the first and final cause of all created being. Separated from God a man is but a monster, in himself and toward others; for the right ordering of human society presupposes the right ordering of man’s conscience with God, who is Himself the source of all justice, truth and love.

216. Here is a spectacle for all the world to see: thousands of Our sons and brothers, whom We love so dearly, suffering years of bitter persecution in many lands, even those of an ancient Christian culture. And will not men who see clearly and compare the superior dignity of the persecuted with that refined barbarity of their oppressors, soon return to their senses, if indeed they have not already done so?

“Unless the Lord Build the House. . .”

217. The most perniciously typical aspect of the modern era consists in the absurd attempt to reconstruct a solid and fruitful temporal order divorced from God, who is, in fact, the only foundation on which it can endure. In seeking to enhance man’s greatness, men fondly imagine that they can do so by drying up the source from which that greatness springs and from which it is nourished. They want, that is, to restrain and, if possible, to eliminate the soul’s upward surge toward God. But today’s experience of so much disillusionment and bloodshed only goes to confirm those words of Scripture: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (47)

The Enduring Validity of the Church’s Social Teaching

218. The permanent validity of the Catholic Church’s social teaching admits of no doubt.

The Fundamental Principle

219. This teaching rests on one basic principle: individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution. That is necessarily so, for men are by nature social beings. This fact must be recognized, as also the fact that they are raised in the plan of Providence to an order of reality which is above nature.

220. On this basic principle, which guarantees the sacred dignity of the individual, the Church constructs her social teaching. She has formulated, particularly over the past hundred years, and through the efforts of a very well informed body of priests and laymen, a social doctrine which points out with clarity the sure way to social reconstruction. The principles she gives are of universal application, for they take human nature into account, and the varying conditions in which man’s life is lived. They also take into account the principal characteristics of contemporary society, and are thus acceptable to all.

Must be Studied, Applied, Taught

221. But today, more than ever, it is essential that this doctrine be known, assimilated, and put into effect in the form and manner that the different situations allow and demand. It is a difficult task indeed, yet a most noble one. To the performance of it We call, not only Our own sons and brothers scattered throughout the world, but also men of goodwill everywhere.

222. First, We must reaffirm most strongly that this Catholic social doctrine is an integral part of the Christian conception of life.

223. It is therefore Our urgent desire that this doctrine be studied more and more. First of all it should be taught as part of the daily curriculum in Catholic schools of every kind, particularly seminaries, although We are not unaware that in some of these latter institutions, this has been done for a long time now and in an outstanding way. We would also like to see it added to the religious instruction programs of parishes and of Association of the Lay Apostolate. It must be spread by every modern means at our disposal: daily newspapers, periodicals, popular and scientific publications, radio and television.

224. Our beloved sons, the laity, can do much to help this diffusion of Catholic social doctrine by studying it themselves and putting it into practice, and by zealously striving to make others understand it.

225. They should be convinced that the best way of demonstrating the truth and efficacy of this teaching is to show that it can provide the solution to present-day difficulties. They will thus win those people who are opposed to it through ignorance of it. Who knows, but a ray of its light may one day enter their minds.

Christian Education

226. It is not enough merely to formulate a social doctrine. It must be translated into reality. And this is particularly true of the Church’s social doctrine, the light of which is Truth, Justice its objective, and Love its driving force.

227. It is vitally important, therefore, that Our sons learn to understand this doctrine. They must be educated to it.

Theory and Practice

228. No Christian education can be considered complete unless it covers every kind of obligation. It must therefore aim at implanting and fostering among the faithful an awareness of their duty to carry on their economic and social activities in a Christian manner.

229. The transition from theory to practice is of its very nature difficult; and it is especially so when one tries to reduce to concrete terms a social doctrine such as that of the Church. There are several reasons why this is so; among them We can mention man’s deep-rooted selfishness, the materialism in which modern society is steeped, and the difficulty of determining sometimes what precisely the demands of justice are in a given instance.

230. Consequently, a purely theoretical instruction in man’s social and economic obligations is inadequate. People must also be shown ways in which they can properly fulfill these obligations.

231. In Our view, therefore, formal instruction, to be successful, must be supplemented by the students’ active co-operation in their own training. They must gain an experimental knowledge of the subject, and that by their own positive action.

232. It is practice which makes perfect, even in such matters as the right use of liberty. Thus one learns Christian behavior in social and economic matters by actual Christian action in those fields.

Lay Apostolate’s Role In Social Education

233. The Lay Apostolate, therefore, has an important role to play in social education—especially those associations and organizations which have as their specific objective the christianization of contemporary society. The members of these associations, besides profiting personally from their own day to day experience in this field, can also help in the social education of the rising generation by giving it the benefit of the experience they have gained.

Christian Spirit—Not Hedonism

234. But We must remind you here of an important truth: the Christian conception of life demands of all—whether highborn or lowly—a spirit of moderation and sacrifice. That is what God calls us to by His grace.

235. There is, alas, a spirit of hedonism abroad today which beguiles men into thinking that life is nothing more than the quest for pleasure and the satisfaction of human passions. This attitude is disastrous. Its evil effects on soul and body are undeniable. Even on the natural level temperance and simplicity of life are the dictates of sound policy. On the supernatural level, the Gospels and the whole ascetic tradition of the Church require a sense of mortification and penance which assures the rule of the spirit over the flesh, and offers an efficacious means of expiating the punishment due to sin, from which no one, except Jesus Christ and His Immaculate Mother, is exempt.

Practical Suggestions

236. There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgment on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what in the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: look, judge, act.

237. It is important for our young people to grasp this method and to practice it. Knowledge acquired in this way does not remain merely abstract, but is seen as something that must be translated into action.

When Differences Arise…

238. Differences of opinion in the application of principles can sometimes arise even among sincere Catholics. When this happens, they should be careful not to lose their respect and esteem for each other. Instead, they should strive to find points of agreement for effective and suitable action, and not wear themselves out in interminable arguments, and, under pretext of the better or the best, omit to do the good that is possible and therefore obligatory.

239. In their economic and social activities, Catholics often come into contact with others who do not share their view of life. In such circumstances, they must, of course, bear themselves as Catholics and do nothing to compromise religion and morality. Yet at the same time they should show themselves animated by a spirit of understanding and unselfishness, ready to cooperate loyally in achieving objects which are good in themselves, or can be turned to good. Needless to say, when the Hierarchy has made a decision on any point Catholics are bound to obey their directives. The Church has the right and obligation not merely to guard ethical and religious principles, but also to declare its authoritative judgment in the matter of putting these principles into practice.

The Layman’s Responsibility

240. These, then, are the educational principles which must be put into effect. It is a task which belongs particularly to Our sons, the laity, for it is their lot to live an active life in the world and organize themselves for the attainment of temporal ends.

241. In performing this task, which is a noble one, they must not only be well qualified in their trade or profession and practice it in accordance with its own proper laws, they must also bring their professional activity into conformity with the Church’s social teaching. Their attitude must be one of loyal trust and filial obedience to ecclesiastical authority.

They must remember, too, that if in the transaction of their temporal affairs they take no account of those social principles which the Church teaches, and which We now confirm, then they fail in their obligations and may easily violate the rights of others. They may even go so far as to bring discredit on the Church’s teaching, lending substance to the opinion that, in spite of its intrinsic value, it is in fact powerless to direct men’s lives.

Matter and Spirit

242. As We have noted already, modern man has greatly deepened and extended his knowledge of nature’s laws, and has harnessed the forces of nature, making them subservient to his ends. The magnitude of his achievements deserves ungrudging admiration; nor is he yet at the end of his resources.

Nevertheless, in his striving to master and transform the world around him he is in danger of forgetting and of destroying himself. As Our Predecessor, Pope Pius Xl, lamented in Quadragesimo Anno: “And so bodily labor, which even after original sin was decreed by Providence for the good of man’s body and soul, is in many instances changed into an instrument of perversion; for from the factory dead matter goes out improved, whereas men there are corrupted and degraded.” (48)

243. Similarly, Our Predecessor, Pius XII, rightly asserted that our age is marked by a clear contrast between the immense scientific and technical progress and the fearful human decline shown by “its monstrous masterpiece . . . transforming man into a giant of the physical world at the expense of his spirit, which is reduced to that of a pygmy in the supernatural and eternal world.” (49)

244. And so the words of the Psalmist about the worshippers of false gods are strikingly verified today. Men are losing their own identity in their works, which they admire to the point of idolatry: “The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of the hands of men.” (50)

True Hierarchy of Values

245. In Our paternal care as universal Pastor of souls, We earnestly beg Our sons, immersed though they be in the business of this world, not to allow their consciences to sleep; not to lose sight of the true hierarchy of values. 246. Certainly, the Church teaches—and has always taught—that scientific and technical progress and the resultant material well-being are good things and mark an important phase in human civilization. But the Church teaches, too, that goods of this kind must be valued according to their true nature: as instruments used by man for the better attainment of his end. They help to make him a better man, both in the natural and the supernatural order.

247. May these warning words of the divine Master ever sound in men’s ears: “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?” (51)

Making Sunday Holy

248. Allied to what We have said so far is the question of the Sunday rest.

249. To safeguard man’s dignity as a creature of God endowed with a soul in the image and likeness of God, the Church has always demanded a diligent observance of the third Commandment: “Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.” (52) God certainly has the right and power to command man to devote one day a week to his duty of worshipping the eternal Majesty. Free from mundane cares, he should lift up his mind to the things of heaven, and look into the depths of his conscience, to see how he stands with God in respect of those necessary and inviolable relationships which must exist between the creature and his Creator.

250. In addition, man has a right to rest a while from work, and indeed a need to do so if he is to renew his bodily strength and to refresh his spirit by suitable recreation. He has also to think of his family, the unity of which depends so much on frequent contact and the peaceful living together of all its members.

251. Thus, religion and moral and physical well-being are one in demanding this periodic rest, and for many centuries now the Church has set aside Sunday as a special day of rest for the faithful, on which they participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial and application of Christ’s redemptive work for souls.

252. Heavy in heart, We cannot but deplore the growing tendency in certain quarters to disregard this sacred law, if not to reject it outright. This attitude must inevitably impair the bodily and spiritual health of the workers, whose welfare We have so much at heart.

253. In the name of God, therefore, and for the sake of the material and spiritual interests of men, We call upon all, public authorities, employers and workers, to observe the precepts of God and His Church and to remember their grave responsibilities before God and society.

The Christian’s Work in the World

254. We have only been able to touch lightly upon this matter, but Our sons, the laity especially, must not suppose that they would be acting prudently to lessen their personal Christian commitment in this passing world. On the contrary, We insist that they must intensify it and increase it continually.

255. In His solemn prayer for the Church’s unity, Christ Our Lord did not ask His Father to remove His disciples from the world: “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil.” (53) Let no man therefore imagine that a life of activity in the world is incompatible with spiritual perfection. The two can very well be harmonized. It is a gross error to suppose that a man cannot perfect himself except by putting aside all temporal activity, on the plea that such activity will inevitably lead him to compromise his personal dignity as a human being and as a Christian.

Perfection Through Daily Work

256. That a man should develop and perfect himself through his daily work—which in most cases is of a temporal character—is perfectly in keeping with the plan of divine Providence. The Church today is faced with an immense task: to humanize and to Christianize this modern civilization of ours. The continued development of this civilization, indeed its very survival, demand and insist that the Church do her part in the world. That is why, as We said before, she claims the co-operation of her laity. In conducting their human affairs to the best of their ability, they must recognize that they are doing a service to humanity, in intimate union with God through Christ, and to God’s greater glory. And St. Paul insisted: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (54) “All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (55)

Greater Efficiency in Temporal Affairs

257. To search for spiritual perfection and eternal salvation in the conduct of human affairs and institutions is not to rob these of the power to achieve their immediate, specific ends, but to enhance this power.

The words of our divine Master are true for all time: “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (56) The man who is “light in the Lord” (57) and who walks as a “child of the light” (58) has a sure grasp of the fundamental demands of justice in all life’s difficulties and complexities, obscured though they may be by so much individual, national and racial selfishness.

Animated, too, by the charity of Christ, he finds it impossible not to love his fellow men. He makes his own their needs, their sufferings and their joys. There is a sureness of touch in all his activity in every field. It is energetic, generous and considerate. For “charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (59)

CONCLUSION

258. In conclusion, Venerable Brethren, We would remind you of that sublime truth of Catholic doctrine: our incorporation as living members in Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, “For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body; so also is Christ.” (60)

259. We most earnestly beg all Our sons the world over, clergy and laity, to be deeply conscious of the dignity, the nobility, which is theirs through being grafted on to Christ as shoots on a vine: “I am the vine; you the branches.” (61) They are thus called to a share in His own divine life; and since they are united in mind and spirit with the divine Redeemer even when they are engaged in the affairs of the world, their work becomes a continuation of His work, penetrated with redemptive power. “He that abideth in men, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit.” (62)

Thus is man’s work exalted and ennobled—so highly exalted that it leads to his own personal perfection of soul, and helps to extend to others the fruits of Redemption, all over the world. It becomes a means whereby the Christian way of life can leaven this civilization in which we live and work—leaven it with the ferment of the Gospel.

Era of Immense Possibilities

260. This era in which we live is in the grip of deadly errors; it is torn by deep disorders. But it is also an era which offers to those who work with the Church immense possibilities in the field of the apostolate. And therein lies our hope.

261. Venerable Brethren and dear sons, We began with that wonderful Encyclical of Pope Leo, and passed in review before you the various problems of our modern social life. We have given principles and directives which We exhort you earnestly to think over, and now, for your part, to put into effect. Your courageous co-operation in this respect will surely help to bring about the realization of Christ’s Kingdom in this world, “a kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, of love and of peace,” (63) which assures the enjoyment of those heavenly blessings for which we were created and for which we long most ardently.

Mother and Teacher

262. For here Our concern is with the doctrine of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. She is the Mother and Teacher of all nations. Her light illumines, enkindles and enflames. No age but hears her warning voice, vibrant with heavenly wisdom.

She is ever powerful to offer suitable, effective remedies for the increasing needs of men, and the sorrows and anxieties of this present life. Her words re-echo those of the Psalmist of old—words which never fail to raise our fainting spirits and give us courage: “I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me: for he will speak peace unto his people. And unto his saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart. Surely his salvation is near to them that fear him: that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace have kissed. Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven. For the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit. Justice shall walk before him: and shall set his steps in the way.” (64)

May Christ Reign

263. For some considerable time now, Venerable Brethren, Our solicitude for the Universal Church has been directed into the writing of this letter; and We wish to conclude it by voicing the following desires: May man’s divine Redeemer “who of God is made unto us wisdom and justice and sanctification and redemption,” (65) reign and triumph gloriously throughout all ages, in all and over all. And, with the right ordering of human society, may all nations at last enjoy true prosperity, happiness and peace.

264. In earnest of these wishes, and as a pledge of Our fatherly goodwill, may the Apostolic Blessing, which We give in the Lord with all Our heart, descend upon you, Venerable Brethren, and upon all the faithful entrusted to your care, and especially upon those who respond with generosity to Our appeals.

Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the 15th day of May, in the year 1961, the third of Our Pontificate.

JOHN XXIII

NOTES

LATIN TEXT: Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 53 (1961), 401-64.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: The Pope Speaks, 7 (April, 1962), 295-343.

REFERENCES:

(1) Cf. 1 Tim. 3:15.

(2) John 14:6.

(3) John 8:12.

(4) Mark 8:2.

(5) Acta Leonis XIII, XI, 1891, pp. 97-144.

(6) Ibid. p. 107.

(7) St. Thomas, De regimine principum, I, 15.

(8) Cf. AAS 23 (1931) 185.

(9) Cf. ibid. p. 189.

(10) Ibid. pp. 177-228.

(11) Cf. ibid. p. 199.

(12) Cf. ibid. p. 200.

(13) Cf. ibid. p. 201.

(14) Cf. ibid. p. 210 et seq.

(15) Cf. ibid. p. 211.

(16) Cf. AAS 33 (1941) 196.

(17) Cf. ibid. p. 197.

(18) Cf. ibid. p. 196.

(19) Cf. ibid. p. 198 et seq.

(20) Cf. ibid. p. 199.

(21) Cf. ibid. p. 201.

(22) Cf. ibid. p. 202.

(23) Cf. ibid. p. 203.

(24) AAS 23 (1931) 203.

(25) Ibid. p. 203.

(26) Cf. ibid. p. 222 et seq.

(27) Cf. AAS 33 (1941) 200.

(28) AAS 23 (1931) 195.

(29) Ibid. p. 198.

(30) Broadcast message, 1 Sept. 1944, cf. AAS 36 (1944) 254.

(31) Allocutio, 8 Oct. 1956; cf. AAS 48 (1956) 799-800. (TPS, III, 4, pp. 405 409.—Ed.)

(32) Broadcast message, I Sept. 1944; cf. AAS 36 (1944) 253.

(33) Broadcast message, 24 Dec. 1942; cf. AAS 35 (1943) 17.

(34) Cf. ibid. p. 20.

(35) Encyclical letter Quadragesimo anno; AAS 23 (1931) 214.

(36) Acta Leonis XIII, XI, 1891, p. 114.

(37) Matt. 6:19-20.

(38) Matt. 25:40.

(39) Cf. AAS 23 (1931) 202.

(40) Allocutio, 3 May, 1960; cf. AAS 52 (1960) 465.

(41) Cf. ibid.

(42) 1 John 3:16-17.

(43) Encyclical letter Summi Pontificatus: AAS 31 (1939) 428-29.

(44) Gen. 1:28.

(45) Ibid.

(46) Confessions I, 1.

(47) Ps. 126:1.

(48) AAS 23 (1931) 221 et seq.

(49) Broadcast message, Christmas Eve, 1953; cf. AAS 46 (1954) 10.

(50) Ps. 113:4.

(51) Matt. 16:26.

(52) Exod. 20:8.

(53) John 17:15.

(54) 1 Cor. 10:31.

(55) Col. 3:17.

(56) Matt. 6:33.

(57) Eph. 5:8.

(58) Cf. ibid.

(59) 1 Cor. 13:4-7.

(60) 1 Cor. 12:12.

(61) John 15:5.

(62) Ibid.

(63) The Preface of Christ the King.

(64) Ps. 84:9 et seq.

(65) 1 Cor. 1:30.

Dear US Bishops, Please Do Your Jobs

If there weren’t already plenty of reason to put Canon 915 into effect, now is the time. The 13 “Catholic” Senators who voted against the Church last week, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius (who was told not to receive Communion but not excommunicated), and possibly Joseph Biden (he claims to have had a profound experience on a recent visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe; maybe he converted?) have all clearly shown their complete disdain for the teachings of the Church, and they need to be excommunicated.

The Pope has said that Obama is an enemy of the Church. Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal George have said it. It’s time the bishops backed up their words with some actions.

Health care??

I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating:
Health care involves taking a body that isn’t functioning properly and helping it to function properly.
Contraception takes a body that is functioning properly and makes it function improperly. That’s not health care; that’s poison.

Testem Benevolentiae, in which Leo XIII Condemns Americanism

TESTEM BENEVOLENTIAE NOSTRAE
Concerning New Opinions, Virtue, Nature And Grace, With Regard To Americanism
Pope Leo XIII
Encyclical promulgated on January 22, 1899.

To Our Beloved Son, James Cardinal Gibbons,
Cardinal Priest of the Title Sancta Maria, Beyond the Tiber, Archbishop of Baltimore:

Beloved Son, Health and Apostolic Blessing:

We send to you by this letter a renewed expression of that good will which we have not failed during the course of our pontificate to manifest frequently to you and to your colleagues in the episcopate and to the whole American people, availing ourselves of every opportunity offered us by the progress of your church or whatever you have done for safeguarding and promoting Catholic interests. Moreover, we have often considered and admired the noble gifts of your nation which enable the American people to be alive to every good work which promotes the good of humanity and the splendor of civilization. Although this letter is not intended, as preceding ones, to repeat the words of praise so often spoken, but rather to call attention to some things to be avoided and corrected; still because it is conceived in that same spirit of apostolic charity which has inspired all our letters, we shall expect that you will take it as another proof of our love; the more so because it is intended to suppress certain contentions which have arisen lately among you to the detriment of the peace of many souls.

It is known to you, beloved son, that the biography of Isaac Thomas Hecker, especially through the action of those who under took to translate or interpret it in a foreign language, has excited not a little controversy, on account of certain opinions brought forward concerning the way of leading Christian life.

We, therefore, on account of our apostolic office, having to guard the integrity of the faith and the security of the faithful, are desirous of writing to you more at length concerning this whole matter.

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: “For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.” —Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.

We cannot consider as altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some of the principles of Christian doctrine, for all the principles come from the same Author and Master, “the Only Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father.”—John i, 18. They are adapted to all times and all nations, as is clearly seen from the words of our Lord to His apostles: “Going, therefore, teach all nations; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.”—Matt. xxviii, 19. Concerning this point the Vatican Council says: “All those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.”—Const. de fide, Chapter iii.

Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ.

The rule of life laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature that it cannot accommodate itself to the exigencies of various times and places. (VOL. XXIV-13.) The Church has, guided by her Divine Master, a kind and merciful spirit, for which reason from the very beginning she has been what St. Paul said of himself: “I became all things to all men that I might save all.”

History proves clearly that the Apostolic See, to which has been entrusted the mission not only of teaching but of governing the whole Church, has continued “in one and the same doctrine, one and the same sense, and one and the same judgment,”—Const. de fide, Chapter iv.

But in regard to ways of living she has been accustomed to so yield that, the divine principle of morals being kept intact, she has never neglected to accommodate herself to the character and genius of the nations which she embraces.

Who can doubt that she will act in this same spirit again if the salvation of souls requires it? In this matter the Church must be the judge, not private men who are often deceived by the appearance of right. In this, all who wish to escape the blame of our predecessor, Pius the Sixth, must concur. He condemned as injurious to the Church and the spirit of God who guides her the doctrine contained in proposition lxxviii of the Synod of Pistoia, “that the discipline made and approved by the Church should be submitted to examination, as if the Church could frame a code of laws useless or heavier than human liberty can bear.”

But, beloved son, in this present matter of which we are speaking, there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that her supervision and watchfulness being in some sense lessened, allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity. They are of opinion that such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom which is now the right and the foundation of almost every secular state.

In the apostolic letters concerning the constitution of states, addressed by us to the bishops of the whole Church, we discussed this point at length; and there set forth the difference existing between the Church, which is a divine society, and all other social human organizations which depend simply on free will and choice of men.

It is well, then, to particularly direct attention to the opinion which serves as the argument in behalf of this greater liberty sought for and recommended to Catholics.

It is alleged that now the Vatican decree concerning the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff having been proclaimed that nothing further on that score can give any solicitude, and accordingly, since that has been safeguarded and put beyond question a wider and freer field both for thought and action lies open to each one. But such reasoning is evidently faulty, since, if we are to come to any conclusion from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, it should rather be that no one should wish to depart from it, and moreover that the minds of all being leavened and directed thereby, greater security from private error would be enjoyed by all. And further, those who avail themselves of such a way of reasoning seem to depart seriously from the over-ruling wisdom of the Most High—which wisdom, since it was pleased to set forth by most solemn decision the authority and supreme teaching rights of this Apostolic See—willed that decision precisely in order to safeguard the minds of the Church’s children from the dangers of these present times.

These dangers, viz., the confounding of license with liberty, the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world, have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church’s teaching office than ever before, lest people become unmindful both of conscience and of duty.

We, indeed, have no thought of rejecting everything that modern industry and study has produced; so far from it that we welcome to the patrimony of truth and to an ever-widening scope of public well-being whatsoever helps toward the progress of learning and virtue. Yet all this, to be of any solid benefit, nay, to have a real existence and growth, can only be on the condition of recognizing the wisdom and authority of the Church.

Coming now to speak of the conclusions which have been deduced from the above opinions, and for them, we readily believe there was no thought of wrong or guile, yet the things themselves certainly merit some degree of suspicion. First, all external guidance is set aside for those souls who are striving after Christian perfection as being superfluous or indeed, not useful in any sense—the contention being that the Holy Spirit pours richer and more abundant graces than formerly upon the souls of the faithful, so that without human intervention He teaches and guides them by some hidden instinct of His own. Yet it is the sign of no small over-confidence to desire to measure and determine the mode of the Divine communication to mankind, since it wholly depends upon His own good pleasure, and He is a most generous dispenser ‘of his own gifts. “The Spirit breatheth whereso He listeth.”—John iii, 8.

“And to each one of us grace is given according to the measure of the giving of Christ.”—Eph. iv, 7.

And shall any one who recalls the history of the apostles, the faith of the nascent church, the trials and deaths of the martyrs—and, above all, those olden times, so fruitful in saints—dare to measure our age with these, or affirm that they received less of the divine outpouring from the Spirit of Holiness? Not to dwell upon this point, there is no one who calls in question the truth that the Holy Spirit does work by a secret descent into the souls of the just and that He stirs them alike by warnings and impulses, since unless this were the case all outward defense and authority would be unavailing. “For if any persuades himself that he can give assent to saving, that is, to gospel truth when proclaimed, without any illumination of the Holy Spirit, who give’s unto all sweetness both to assent and to hold, such an one is deceived by a heretical spirit.”—From the Second Council of Orange, Canon 7.

Moreover, as experience shows, these monitions and impulses of the Holy Spirit are for the most part felt through the medium of the aid and light of an external teaching authority. To quote St. Augustine. “He (the Holy Spirit) co-operates to the fruit gathered from the good trees, since He externally waters and cultivates them by the outward ministry of men, and yet of Himself bestows the inward increase.”—De Gratia Christi, Chapter xix. This, indeed, belongs to the ordinary law of God’s loving providence that as He has decreed that men for the most part shall be saved by the ministry also of men, so has He wished that those whom He calls to the higher planes of holiness should be led thereto by men; hence St. Chrysostom declares we are taught of God through the instrumentality of men.—Homily I in Inscrib. Altar. Of this a striking example is given us in the very first days of the Church.

For though Saul, intent upon blood and slaughter, had heard the voice of our Lord Himself and had asked, “What dost Thou wish me to do?” yet he was bidden to enter Damascus and search for Ananias. Acts ix: “Enter the city and it shall be there told to thee what thou must do.”

Nor can we leave out of consideration the truth that those who are striving after perfection, since by that fact they walk in no beaten or well-known path, are the most liable to stray, and hence have greater need than others of a teacher and guide. Such guidance has ever obtained in the Church; it has been the universal teaching of those who throughout the ages have been eminent for wisdom and sanctity—and hence to reject it would be to commit one’s self to a belief at once rash and dangerous.

A thorough consideration of this point, in the supposition that no exterior guide is granted such souls, will make us see the difficulty of locating or determining the direction and application of that more abundant influx of the Holy Spirit so greatly extolled by innovators To practice virtue there is absolute need of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, yet we find those who are fond of novelty giving an unwarranted importance to the natural virtues, as though they better responded to the customs and necessities of the times and that having these as his outfit man becomes more ready to act and more strenuous in action. It is not easy to understand how persons possessed of Christian wisdom can either prefer natural to supernatural virtues or attribute to them a greater efficacy and fruitfulness. Can it be that nature conjoined with grace is weaker than when left to herself?

Can it be that those men illustrious for sanctity, whom the Church distinguishes and openly pays homage to, were deficient, came short in the order of nature and its endowments, because they excelled in Christian strength? And although it be allowed at times to wonder at acts worthy of admiration which are the outcome of natural virtue—is there anyone at all endowed simply with an outfit of natural virtue? Is there any one not tried by mental anxiety, and this in no light degree? Yet ever to master such, as also to preserve in its entirety the law of the natural order, requires an assistance from on high These single notable acts to which we have alluded will frequently upon a closer investigation be found to exhibit the appearance rather than the reality of virtue. Grant that it is virtue, unless we would “run in vain” and be unmindful of that eternal bliss which a good God in his mercy has destined for us, of what avail are natural virtues unless seconded by the gift of divine grace? Hence St. Augustine well says: “Wonderful is the strength, and swift the course, but outside the true path.” For as the nature of man, owing to the primal fault, is inclined to evil and dishonor, yet by the help of grace is raised up, is borne along with a new greatness and strength, so, too, virtue, which is not the product of nature alone, but of grace also, is made fruitful unto everlasting life and takes on a more strong and abiding character.

This over-esteem of natural virtue finds a method of expression in assuming to divide all virtues in active and passive, and it is alleged that whereas passive virtues found better place in past times, our age is to be characterized by the active. That such a division and distinction cannot be maintained is patent—for there is not, nor can there be, merely passive virtue. “Virtue,” says St. Thomas Aquinas, “designates the perfection of some faculty, but end of such faculty is an act, and an act of virtue is naught else than the good use of free will,” acting, that is to say, under the grace of God if the act be one of supernatural virtue.

He alone could wish that some Christian virtues be adapted to certain times and different ones for other times who is unmindful of the apostle’s words: “That those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be made conformable to the image of His Son.”— Romans viii, 29. Christ is the teacher and the exemplar of all sanctity, and to His standard must all those conform who wish for eternal life. Nor does Christ know any change as the ages pass, “for He is yesterday and today and the same forever.”—Hebrews xiii, 8. To the men of all ages was the precept given: “Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart.”—Matt. xi, 29.

To every age has He been made manifest to us as obedient even unto death; in every age the apostle’s dictum has its force: “Those who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with its vices and concupiscences.” Would to God that more nowadays practiced these virtues in the degree of the saints of past times, who in humility, obedience and self-restraint were powerful “in word and in deed” —to the great advantage not only of religion, but of the state and the public welfare.

From this disregard of the angelical virtues, erroneously styled passive, the step was a short one to a contempt of the religious life which has in some degree taken hold of minds. That such a value is generally held by the upholders of new views, we infer from certain statements concerning the vows which religious orders take. They say vows are alien to the spirit of our times, in that they limit the bounds of human liberty; that they are more suitable to weak than ›o strong minds; that so far from making for human perfection and the good of human organization, they are hurtful to both; but that this is as false as possible from the practice and the doctrine of the Church is clear, since she has always given the very highest approval to the religious method of life; nor without good cause, for those who under the divine call have freely embraced that state of life did not content themselves with the observance of precepts, but, going forward to the evangelical counsels, showed themselves ready and valiant soldiers of Christ. Shall we judge this to be a characteristic of weak minds, or shall we say that it is useless or hurtful to a more perfect state of life?

Those who so bind themselves by the vows of religion, far from having suffered a loss of liberty, enjoy that fuller and freer kind, that liberty, namely, by which Christ hath made us free. And this further view of theirs, namely, that the religious life is either entirely useless or of little service to the Church, besides being injurious to the religious orders cannot be the opinion of anyone who has read the annals of the Church. Did not your country, the United States, derive the beginnings both of faith and of culture from the children of these religious families? to one of whom but very lately, a thing greatly to your praise, you have decreed that a statue be publicly erected. And even at the present time wherever the religious families are found, how speedy and yet how fruitful a harvest of good works do they not bring forth! How very many leave home and seek strange lands to impart the truth of the gospel and to widen the bounds of civilization; and this they do with the greatest cheerfulness amid manifold dangers! Out of their number not less, indeed, than from the rest of the clergy, the Christian world finds the preachers of God’s word, the directors of conscience, the teachers of youth and the Church itself the examples of all sanctity.

Nor should any difference of praise be made between those who follow the active state of life and those others who, charmed with solitude, give themselves to prayer and bodily mortification. And how much, indeed, of good report these have merited, and do merit, is known surely to all who do not forget that the “continual prayer of the just man” avails to placate and to bring down the blessings of heaven when to such prayers bodily mortification is added.

But if there be those who prefer to form one body without the obligation of the vows let them pursue such a course. It is not new in the Church, nor in any wise censurable. Let them be careful, however, not to set forth such a state above that of religious orders. But rather, since mankind are more disposed at the present time to indulge themselves in pleasures, let those be held in greater esteem “who having left all things have followed Christ.”

Finally, not to delay too long, it is stated that the way and method hitherto in use among Catholics for bringing back those who have fallen away from the Church should be left aside and another one chosen, in which matter it will suffice to note that it is not the part of prudence to neglect that which antiquity in its long experience has approved and which is also taught by apostolic authority. The scriptures teach us that it is the duty of all to be solicitous for the salvation of one’s neighbor, according to the power and position of each. The faithful do this by religiously discharging the duties of their state of life, by the uprightness of their conduct, by their works of Christian charity and by earnest and continuous prayer to God. On the other hand, those who belong to the clergy should do this by an enlightened fulfillment of their preaching ministry, by the pomp and splendor of ceremonies especially by setting forth that sound form of doctrine which Saint Paul inculcated upon Titus and Timothy. But if, among the different ways of preaching the word of God that one sometimes seems to be preferable, which directed to non-Catholics, not in churches, but in some suitable place, in such wise that controversy is not sought, but friendly conference, such a method is certainly without fault. But let those who undertake such ministry be set apart by the authority of the bishops and let them be men whose science and virtue has been previously ascertained. For we think that there are many in your country who are separated from Catholic truth more by ignorance than by ill-will, who might perchance more easily be drawn to the one fold of Christ if this truth be set forth to them in a friendly and familiar way.

From the foregoing it is manifest, beloved son, that we are not able to give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some “Americanism.” But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to the name. But if this is to be so understood that the doctrines which have been adverted to above are not only indicated, but exalted, there can be no manner of doubt that our venerable brethren, the bishops of America, would be the first to repudiate and condemn it as being most injurious to themselves and to their country. For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world.

But the true church is one, as by unity of doctrine, so by unity of government, and she is catholic also. Since God has placed the center and foundation of unity in the chair of Blessed Peter, she is rightly called the Roman Church, for “where Peter is, there is the church.” Wherefore, if anybody wishes to be considered a real Catholic, he ought to be able to say from his heart the selfsame words which Jerome addressed to Pope Damasus: “I, acknowledging no other leader than Christ, am bound in fellowship with Your Holiness; that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that the church was built upon him as its rock, and that whosoever gathereth not with you, scattereth.”

We having thought it fitting, beloved son, in view of your high office, that this letter should be addressed specially to you. It will also be our care to see that copies are sent to the bishops of the United States, testifying again that love by which we embrace your whole country, a country which in past times has done so much for the cause of religion, and which will by the Divine assistance continue to do still greater things. To you, and to all the faithful of America, we grant most lovingly, as a pledge of Divine assistance, our apostolic benediction.

Given at Rome, from St. Peter’s, the 22nd day of January, 1899, and the thirty-first of our pontificate.

Casti Connubii

A friend of mine told me yesterday on Facebook that Anthony Flew, the famous atheist philosopher who became a Deist in his last years, admitted that one of the causes of his conversion to Deism was that, though he had made a career as a “prominent philosopher” saying that Aristotle had been discredited, he had never actually read Aristotle, and it was picking up the Metaphysics in his old age that led him on the path to accepting Intelligent Design (which has nothing to do with the Bible and everything to do with Aristotelian philosophy).

Well, I’m sick and tired of people who debate contraception, debate Catholicism, debate the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception, but have never actually read the documents. It’s not just about papal authority, but the whole reason Popes write documents is that they’re well educated men who draw on the entire history of Christian teaching when they promulgate teachings. If it were just authoritarianism, the Popes would issue documents that said, “Don’t do this,” but, no: they issue long, carefully worded and argued documents that examine issues thoroughly, and are backed up with lots of footnotes. So I start with _Casti Connubii_, the encyclical of Pope Pius XI which was written in response to the Anglican Communion’s unprecedented endorsement of condom usage, and the subsequent calls that the Catholic Church follow suit. This document was the official endorsement of “Rhythm Method” by the Church, after over a century of consideration and case-by-case approval. It still notes that the Rhythm Method should only be used when absolutely necessary and kept private between a couple and their confessor. This letter inspired research into more sophisticated methods of Natural Family Planning, and in disobedience of the Pope’s instructions, Rhythm Method classes began to be set up in Catholic churches around the world. The emphasis here is still placed upon preference for intercourse in marriage, and not risking an occasion of sin for fear of materialistic concerns. It’s also noteworthy that, prior to Vatican II, all priests were required to preach against contraception in two homilies a year.

CASTI CONNUBII
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
TO THE VENERABLE BRETHREN, PATRIARCHS,
PRIMATES, ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES
ENJOYING PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church.

2. In order, however, that amongst men of every nation and every age the desired fruits may be obtained from this renewal of matrimony, it is necessary, first of all, that men’s minds be illuminated with the true doctrine of Christ regarding it; and secondly, that Christian spouses, the weakness of their wills strengthened by the internal grace of God, shape all their ways of thinking and of acting in conformity with that pure law of Christ so as to obtain true peace and happiness for themselves and for their families.

3. Yet not only do We, looking with paternal eye on the universal world from this Apostolic See as from a watch-tower, but you, also, Venerable Brethren, see, and seeing deeply grieve with Us that a great number of men, forgetful of that divine work of redemption, either entirely ignore or shamelessly deny the great sanctity of Christian wedlock, or relying on the false principles of a new and utterly perverse morality, too often trample it under foot. And since these most pernicious errors and depraved morals have begun to spread even amongst the faithful and are gradually gaining ground, in Our office as Christ’s Vicar upon earth and Supreme Shepherd and Teacher We consider it Our duty to raise Our voice to keep the flock committed to Our care from poisoned pastures and, as far as in Us lies, to preserve it from harm.

4. We have decided therefore to speak to you, Venerable Brethren, and through you to the whole Church of Christ and indeed to the whole human race, on the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the advantages and benefits which accrue from it to the family and to human society itself, on the errors contrary to this most important point of the Gospel teaching, on the vices opposed to conjugal union, and lastly on the principal remedies to be applied. In so doing We follow the footsteps of Our predecessor, Leo XIII, of happy memory, whose Encyclical Arcanum,[1] published fifty years ago, We hereby confirm and make Our own, and while We wish to expound more fully certain points called for by the circumstances of our times, nevertheless We declare that, far from being obsolete, it retains its full force at the present day.

5. And to begin with that same Encyclical, which is wholly concerned in vindicating the divine institution of matrimony, its sacramental dignity, and its perpetual stability, let it be repeated as an immutable and inviolable fundamental doctrine that matrimony was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man were the laws made to strengthen and confirm and elevate it but by God, the Author of nature, and by Christ Our Lord by Whom nature was redeemed, and hence these laws cannot be subject to any human decrees or to any contrary pact even of the spouses themselves. This is the doctrine of Holy Scripture;[2] this is the constant tradition of the Universal Church; this the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and establishes from the words of Holy Writ itself that God is the Author of the perpetual stability of the marriage bond, its unity and its firmness.[3]

6. Yet although matrimony is of its very nature of divine institution, the human will, too, enters into it and performs a most noble part. For each individual marriage, inasmuch as it is a conjugal union of a particular man and woman, arises only from the free consent of each of the spouses; and this free act of the will, by which each party hands over and accepts those rights proper to the state of marriage,[4] is so necessary to constitute true marriage that it cannot be supplied by any human power.[5] This freedom, however, regards only the question whether the contracting parties really wish to enter upon matrimony or to marry this particular person; but the nature of matrimony is entirely independent of the free will of man, so that if one has once contracted matrimony he is thereby subject to its divinely made laws and its essential properties. For the Angelic Doctor, writing on conjugal honor and on the offspring which is the fruit of marriage, says: “These things are so contained in matrimony by the marriage pact itself that, if anything to the contrary were expressed in the consent which makes the marriage, it would not be a true marriage.”[6]

7. By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life.

8. From this it is clear that legitimately constituted authority has the right and therefore the duty to restrict, to prevent, and to punish those base unions which are opposed to reason and to nature; but since it is a matter which flows from human nature itself, no less certain is the teaching of Our predecessor, Leo XIII of happy memory:[7] “In choosing a state of life there is no doubt but that it is in the power and discretion of each one to prefer one or the other: either to embrace the counsel of virginity given by Jesus Christ, or to bind himself in the bonds of matrimony. To take away from man the natural and primeval right of marriage, to circumscribe in any way the principal ends of marriage laid down in the beginning by God Himself in the words ‘Increase and multiply,'[8] is beyond the power of any human law.”

9. Therefore the sacred partnership of true marriage is constituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution.

10. Now when We come to explain, Venerable Brethren, what are the blessings that God has attached to true matrimony, and how great they are, there occur to Us the words of that illustrious Doctor of the Church whom We commemorated recently in Our Encyclical Ad salutem on the occasion of the fifteenth centenary of his death:[9] “These,” says St. Augustine, “are all the blessings of matrimony on account of which matrimony itself is a blessing; offspring, conjugal faith and the sacrament.”[10] And how under these three heads is contained a splendid summary of the whole doctrine of Christian marriage, the holy Doctor himself expressly declares when he said: “By conjugal faith it is provided that there should be no carnal intercourse outside the marriage bond with another man or woman; with regard to offspring, that children should be begotten of love, tenderly cared for and educated in a religious atmosphere; finally, in its sacramental aspect that the marriage bond should not be broken and that a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring. This we regard as the law of marriage by which the fruitfulness of nature is adorned and the evil of incontinence is restrained.”[11]

11. Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.”[12] As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy[13] when he says: “The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: ‘I wish,’ he says, ‘young girls to marry.’ And, as if someone said to him, ‘Why?,’ he immediately adds: ‘To bear children, to be mothers of families’.”[14]

12. How great a boon of God this is, and how great a blessing of matrimony is clear from a consideration of man’s dignity and of his sublime end. For man surpasses all other visible creatures by the superiority of his rational nature alone. Besides, God wishes men to be born not only that they should live and fill the earth, but much more that they may be worshippers of God, that they may know Him and love Him and finally enjoy Him for ever in heaven; and this end, since man is raised by God in a marvelous way to the supernatural order, surpasses all that eye hath seen, and ear heard, and all that hath entered into the heart of man.[15] From which it is easily seen how great a gift of divine goodness and how remarkable a fruit of marriage are children born by the omnipotent power of God through the cooperation of those bound in wedlock.

13. But Christian parents must also understand that they are destined not only to propagate and preserve the human race on earth, indeed not only to educate any kind of worshippers of the true God, but children who are to become members of the Church of Christ, to raise up fellow-citizens of the Saints, and members of God’s household,[16] that the worshippers of God and Our Savior may daily increase.

14. For although Christian spouses even if sanctified themselves cannot transmit sanctification to their progeny, nay, although the very natural process of generating life has become the way of death by which original sin is passed on to posterity, nevertheless, they share to some extent in the blessings of that primeval marriage of Paradise, since it is theirs to offer their offspring to the Church in order that by this most fruitful Mother of the children of God they may be regenerated through the laver of Baptism unto supernatural justice and finally be made living members of Christ, partakers of immortal life, and heirs of that eternal glory to which we all aspire from our inmost heart.

15. If a true Christian mother weigh well these things, she will indeed understand with a sense of deep consolation that of her the words of Our Savior were spoken: “A woman . . . when she hath brought forth the child remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world”;[17] and proving herself superior to all the pains and cares and solicitudes of her maternal office with a more just and holy joy than that of the Roman matron, the mother of the Gracchi, she will rejoice in the Lord crowned as it were with the glory of her offspring. Both husband and wife, however, receiving these children with joy and gratitude from the hand of God, will regard them as a talent committed to their charge by God, not only to be employed for their own advantage or for that of an earthly commonwealth, but to be restored to God with interest on the day of reckoning.

16. The blessing of offspring, however, is not completed by the mere begetting of them, but something else must be added, namely the proper education of the offspring. For the most wise God would have failed to make sufficient provision for children that had been born, and so for the whole human race, if He had not given to those to whom He had entrusted the power and right to beget them, the power also and the right to educate them. For no one can fail to see that children are incapable of providing wholly for themselves, even in matters pertaining to their natural life, and much less in those pertaining to the supernatural, but require for many years to be helped, instructed, and educated by others. Now it is certain that both by the law of nature and of God this right and duty of educating their offspring belongs in the first place to those who began the work of nature by giving them birth, and they are indeed forbidden to leave unfinished this work and so expose it to certain ruin. But in matrimony provision has been made in the best possible way for this education of children that is so necessary, for, since the parents are bound together by an indissoluble bond, the care and mutual help of each is always at hand.

17. Since, however, We have spoken fully elsewhere on the Christian education of youth,[18] let Us sum it all up by quoting once more the words of St. Augustine: “As regards the offspring it is provided that they should be begotten lovingly and educated religiously,”[19] – and this is also expressed succinctly in the Code of Canon Law – “The primary end of marriage is the procreation and the education of children.”[20]

18. Nor must We omit to remark, in fine, that since the duty entrusted to parents for the good of their children is of such high dignity and of such great importance, every use of the faculty given by God for the procreation of new life is the right and the privilege of the married state alone, by the law of God and of nature, and must be confined absolutely within the sacred limits of that state.

19. The second blessing of matrimony which We said was mentioned by St. Augustine, is the blessing of conjugal honor which consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person; nor may there be conceded to one of the parties anything which, being contrary to the rights and laws of God and entirely opposed to matrimonial faith, can never be conceded.

20. Wherefore, conjugal faith, or honor, demands in the first place the complete unity of matrimony which the Creator Himself laid down in the beginning when He wished it to be not otherwise than between one man and one woman. And although afterwards this primeval law was relaxed to some extent by God, the Supreme Legislator, there is no doubt that the law of the Gospel fully restored that original and perfect unity, and abrogated all dispensations as the words of Christ and the constant teaching and action of the Church show plainly. With reason, therefore, does the Sacred Council of Trent solemnly declare: “Christ Our Lord very clearly taught that in this bond two persons only are to be united and joined together when He said: ‘Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh’.”[21]

21. Nor did Christ Our Lord wish only to condemn any form of polygamy or polyandry, as they are called, whether successive or simultaneous, and every other external dishonorable act, but, in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even willful thoughts and desires of such like things: “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.”[22] Which words of Christ Our Lord cannot be annulled even by the consent of one of the partners of marriage for they express a law of God and of nature which no will of man can break or bend.[23]

22. Nay, that mutual familiar intercourse between the spouses themselves, if the blessing of conjugal faith is to shine with becoming splendor, must be distinguished by chastity so that husband and wife bear themselves in all things with the law of God and of nature, and endeavor always to follow the will of their most wise and holy Creator with the greatest reverence toward the work of God.

23. This conjugal faith, however, which is most aptly called by St. Augustine the “faith of chastity” blooms more freely, more beautifully and more nobly, when it is rooted in that more excellent soil, the love of husband and wife which pervades all the duties of married life and holds pride of place in Christian marriage. For matrimonial faith demands that husband and wife be joined in an especially holy and pure love, not as adulterers love each other, but as Christ loved the Church. This precept the Apostle laid down when he said: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church,”[24] that Church which of a truth He embraced with a boundless love not for the sake of His own advantage, but seeking only the good of His Spouse.[25] The love, then, of which We are speaking is not that based on the passing lust of the moment nor does it consist in pleasing words only, but in the deep attachment of the heart which is expressed in action, since love is proved by deeds.[26] This outward expression of love in the home demands not only mutual help but must go further; must have as its primary purpose that man and wife help each other day by day in forming and perfecting themselves in the interior life, so that through their partnership in life they may advance ever more and more in virtue, and above all that they may grow in true love toward God and their neighbor, on which indeed “dependeth the whole Law and the Prophets.”[27] For all men of every condition, in whatever honorable walk of life they may be, can and ought to imitate that most perfect example of holiness placed before man by God, namely Christ Our Lord, and by God’s grace to arrive at the summit of perfection, as is proved by the example set us of many saints.

24. This mutual molding of husband and wife, this determined effort to perfect each other, can in a very real sense, as the Roman Catechism teaches, be said to be the chief reason and purpose of matrimony, provided matrimony be looked at not in the restricted sense as instituted for the proper conception and education of the child, but more widely as the blending of life as a whole and the mutual interchange and sharing thereof.

25. By this same love it is necessary that all the other rights and duties of the marriage state be regulated as the words of the Apostle: “Let the husband render the debt to the wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband,”[28] express not only a law of justice but of charity.

26. Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that “order of love,” as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church.”[29]

27. This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband’s every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.

28. Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact .

29. With great wisdom Our predecessor Leo XIII, of happy memory, in the Encyclical on Christian marriage which We have already mentioned, speaking of this order to be maintained between man and wife, teaches: “The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as a servant but as a companion, so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bears the image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church.”[30]

30. These, then, are the elements which compose the blessing of conjugal faith: unity, chastity, charity, honorable noble obedience, which are at the same time an enumeration of the benefits which are bestowed on husband and wife in their married state, benefits by which the peace, the dignity and the happiness of matrimony are securely preserved and fostered. Wherefore it is not surprising that this conjugal faith has always been counted amongst the most priceless and special blessings of matrimony.

31. But this accumulation of benefits is completed and, as it were, crowned by that blessing of Christian marriage which in the words of St. Augustine we have called the sacrament, by which is denoted both the indissolubility of the bond and the raising and hallowing of the contract by Christ Himself, whereby He made it an efficacious sign of grace.

32. In the first place Christ Himself lays stress on the indissolubility and firmness of the marriage bond when He says: “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder,”[31] and: “Everyone that putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery, and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”[32]

33. And St. Augustine clearly places what he calls the blessing of matrimony in this indissolubility when he says: “In the sacrament it is provided that the marriage bond should not be broken, and that a husband or wife, if separated, should not be joined to another even for the sake of offspring.”[33]

34. And this inviolable stability, although not in the same perfect measure in every case, belongs to every true marriage, for the word of the Lord: “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” must of necessity include all true marriages without exception, since it was spoken of the marriage of our first parents, the prototype of every future marriage. Therefore although before Christ the sublimeness and the severity of the primeval law was so tempered that Moses permitted to the chosen people of God on account of the hardness of their hearts that a bill of divorce might be given in certain circumstances, nevertheless, Christ, by virtue of His supreme legislative power, recalled this concession of greater liberty and restored the primeval law in its integrity by those words which must never be forgotten, “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” Wherefore, Our predecessor Pius VI of happy memory, writing to the Bishop of Agria, most wisely said: “Hence it is clear that marriage even in the state of nature, and certainly long before it was raised to the dignity of a sacrament, was divinely instituted in such a way that it should carry with it a perpetual and indissoluble bond which cannot therefore be dissolved by any civil law. Therefore although the sacramental element may be absent from a marriage as is the case among unbelievers, still in such a marriage, inasmuch as it is a true marriage there must remain and indeed there does remain that perpetual bond which by divine right is so bound up with matrimony from its first institution that it is not subject to any civil power. And so, whatever marriage is said to be contracted, either it is so contracted that it is really a true marriage, in which case it carries with it that enduring bond which by divine right is inherent in every true marriage; or it is thought to be contracted without that perpetual bond, and in that case there is no marriage, but an illicit union opposed of its very nature to the divine law, which therefore cannot be entered into or maintained.”[34]

35. And if this stability seems to be open to exception, however rare the exception may be, as in the case of certain natural marriages between unbelievers, or amongst Christians in the case of those marriages which though valid have not been consummated, that exception does not depend on the will of men nor on that of any merely human power, but on divine law, of which the only guardian and interpreter is the Church of Christ. However, not even this power can ever affect for any cause whatsoever a Christian marriage which is valid and has been consummated, for as it is plain that here the marriage contract has its full completion, so, by the will of God, there is also the greatest firmness and indissolubility which may not be destroyed by any human authority.

36. If we wish with all reverence to inquire into the intimate reason of this divine decree, Venerable Brethren, we shall easily see it in the mystical signification of Christian marriage which is fully and perfectly verified in consummated marriage between Christians. For, as the Apostle says in his Epistle to the Ephesians,[35] the marriage of Christians recalls that most perfect union which exists between Christ and the Church: “Sacramentum hoc magnum est, ego autem dico, in Christo et in ecclesia;” which union, as long as Christ shall live and the Church through Him, can never be dissolved by any separation. And this St. Augustine clearly declares in these words: “This is safeguarded in Christ and the Church, which, living with Christ who lives for ever may never be divorced from Him. The observance of this sacrament is such in the City of God . . . that is, in the Church of Christ, that when for the sake of begetting children, women marry or are taken to wife, it is wrong to leave a wife that is sterile in order to take another by whom children may be hand. Anyone doing this is guilty of adultery, just as if he married another, guilty not by the law of the day, according to which when one’s partner is put away another may be taken, which the Lord allowed in the law of Moses because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of Israel; but by the law of the Gospel.”[36]

37. Indeed, how many and how important are the benefits which flow from the indissolubility of matrimony cannot escape anyone who gives even a brief consideration either to the good of the married parties and the offspring or to the welfare of human society. First of all, both husband and wife possess a positive guarantee of the endurance of this stability which that generous yielding of their persons and the intimate fellowship of their hearts by their nature strongly require, since true love never falls away.[37] Besides, a strong bulwark is set up in defense of a loyal chastity against incitements to infidelity, should any be encountered either from within or from without; any anxious fear lest in adversity or old age the other spouse would prove unfaithful is precluded and in its place there reigns a calm sense of security. Moreover, the dignity of both man and wife is maintained and mutual aid is most satisfactorily assured, while through the indissoluble bond, always enduring, the spouses are warned continuously that not for the sake of perishable things nor that they may serve their passions, but that they may procure one for the other high and lasting good have they entered into the nuptial partnership, to be dissolved only by death. In the training and education of children, which must extend over a period of many years, it plays a great part, since the grave and long enduring burdens of this office are best borne by the united efforts of the parents. Nor do lesser benefits accrue to human society as a whole. For experience has taught that unassailable stability in matrimony is a fruitful source of virtuous life and of habits of integrity. Where this order of things obtains, the happiness and well being of the nation is safely guarded; what the families and individuals are, so also is the State, for a body is determined by its parts. Wherefore, both for the private good of husband, wife and children, as likewise for the public good of human society, they indeed deserve well who strenuously defend the inviolable stability of matrimony.

38. But considering the benefits of the Sacrament, besides the firmness and indissolubility, there are also much higher emoluments as the word “sacrament” itself very aptly indicates; for to Christians this is not a meaningless and empty name. Christ the Lord, the Institutor and “Perfecter” of the holy sacraments,[38] by raising the matrimony of His faithful to the dignity of a true sacrament of the New Law, made it a sign and source of that peculiar internal grace by which “it perfects natural love, it confirms an indissoluble union, and sanctifies both man and wife.”[39]

39. And since the valid matrimonial consent among the faithful was constituted by Christ as a sign of grace, the sacramental nature is so intimately bound up with Christian wedlock that there can be no true marriage between baptized persons “without it being by that very fact a sacrament.”[40]

40. By the very fact, therefore, that the faithful with sincere mind give such consent, they open up for themselves a treasure of sacramental grace from which they draw supernatural power for the fulfilling of their rights and duties faithfully, holily, perseveringly even unto death. Hence this sacrament not only increases sanctifying grace, the permanent principle of the supernatural life, in those who, as the expression is, place no obstacle (obex) in its way, but also adds particular gifts, dispositions, seeds of grace, by elevating and perfecting the natural powers. By these gifts the parties are assisted not only in understanding, but in knowing intimately, in adhering to firmly, in willing effectively, and in successfully putting into practice, those things which pertain to the marriage state, its aims and duties, giving them in fine right to the actual assistance of grace, whensoever they need it for fulfilling the duties of their state.

41. Nevertheless, since it is a law of divine Providence in the supernatural order that men do not reap the full fruit of the Sacraments which they receive after acquiring the use of reason unless they cooperate with grace, the grace of matrimony will remain for the most part an unused talent hidden in the field unless the parties exercise these supernatural powers and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace they have received. If, however, doing all that lies with their power, they cooperate diligently, they will be able with ease to bear the burdens of their state and to fulfill their duties. By such a sacrament they will be strengthened, sanctified and in a manner consecrated. For, as St. Augustine teaches, just as by Baptism and Holy Orders a man is set aside and assisted either for the duties of Christian life or for the priestly office and is never deprived of their sacramental aid, almost in the same way (although not by a sacramental character), the faithful once joined by marriage ties can never be deprived of the help and the binding force of the sacrament. Indeed, as the Holy Doctor adds, even those who commit adultery carry with them that sacred yoke, although in this case not as a title to the glory of grace but for the ignominy of their guilty action, “as the soul by apostasy, withdrawing as it were from marriage with Christ, even though it may have lost its faith, does not lose the sacrament of Faith which it received at the laver of regeneration.”[41]

42. These parties, let it be noted, not fettered but adorned by the golden bond of the sacrament, not hampered but assisted, should strive with all their might to the end that their wedlock, not only through the power and symbolism of the sacrament, but also through their spirit and manner of life, may be and remain always the living image of that most fruitful union of Christ with the Church, which is to venerated as the sacred token of most perfect love.

43. All of these things, Venerable Brethren, you must consider carefully and ponder over with a lively faith if you would see in their true light the extraordinary benefits on matrimony – offspring, conjugal faith, and the sacrament. No one can fail to admire the divine Wisdom, Holiness and Goodness which, while respecting the dignity and happiness of husband and wife, has provided so bountifully for the conservation and propagation of the human race by a single chaste and sacred fellowship of nuptial union.

44. When we consider the great excellence of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, it appears all the more regrettable that particularly in our day we should witness this divine institution often scorned and on every side degraded.

45. For now, alas, not secretly nor under cover, but openly, with all sense of shame put aside, now by word again by writings, by theatrical productions of every kind, by romantic fiction, by amorous and frivolous novels, by cinematographs portraying in vivid scene, in addresses broadcast by radio telephony, in short by all the inventions of modern science, the sanctity of marriage is trampled upon and derided; divorce, adultery, all the basest vices either are extolled or at least are depicted in such colors as to appear to be free of all reproach and infamy. Books are not lacking which dare to pronounce themselves as scientific but which in truth are merely coated with a veneer of science in order that they may the more easily insinuate their ideas. The doctrines defended in these are offered for sale as the productions of modern genius, of that genius namely, which, anxious only for truth, is considered to have emancipated itself from all those old-fashioned and immature opinions of the ancients; and to the number of these antiquated opinions they relegate the traditional doctrine of Christian marriage.

46. These thoughts are instilled into men of every class, rich and poor, masters and workers, lettered and unlettered, married and single, the godly and godless, old and young, but for these last, as easiest prey, the worst snares are laid.

47. Not all the sponsors of these new doctrines are carried to the extremes of unbridled lust; there are those who, striving as it were to ride a middle course, believe nevertheless that something should be conceded in our times as regards certain precepts of the divine and natural law. But these likewise, more or less wittingly, are emissaries of the great enemy who is ever seeking to sow cockle among the wheat.[42] We, therefore, whom the Father has appointed over His field, We who are bound by Our most holy office to take care lest the good seed be choked by the weeds, believe it fitting to apply to Ourselves the most grave words of the Holy Ghost with which the Apostle Paul exhorted his beloved Timothy: “Be thou vigilant . . . Fulfill thy ministry . . . Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.”[43]

48. And since, in order that the deceits of the enemy may be avoided, it is necessary first of all that they be laid bare; since much is to be gained by denouncing these fallacies for the sake of the unwary, even though We prefer not to name these iniquities “as becometh saints,”[44] yet for the welfare of souls We cannot remain altogether silent.

49. To begin at the very source of these evils, their basic principle lies in this, that matrimony is repeatedly declared to be not instituted by the Author of nature nor raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a true sacrament, but invented by man. Some confidently assert that they have found no evidence of the existence of matrimony in nature or in her laws, but regard it merely as the means of producing life and of gratifying in one way or another a vehement impulse; on the other hand, others recognize that certain beginnings or, as it were, seeds of true wedlock are found in the nature of man since, unless men were bound together by some form of permanent tie, the dignity of husband and wife or the natural end of propagating and rearing the offspring would not receive satisfactory provision. At the same time they maintain that in all beyond this germinal idea matrimony, through various concurrent causes, is invented solely by the mind of man, established solely by his will.

50. How grievously all these err and how shamelessly they leave the ways of honesty is already evident from what we have set forth here regarding the origin and nature of wedlock, its purposes and the good inherent in it. The evil of this teaching is plainly seen from the consequences which its advocates deduce from it, namely, that the laws, institutions and customs by which wedlock is governed, since they take their origin solely from the will of man, are subject entirely to him, hence can and must be founded, changed and abrogated according to human caprice and the shifting circumstances of human affairs; that the generative power which is grounded in nature itself is more sacred and has wider range than matrimony – hence it may be exercised both outside as well as within the confines of wedlock, and though the purpose of matrimony be set aside, as though to suggest that the license of a base fornicating woman should enjoy the same rights as the chaste motherhood of a lawfully wedded wife.

51. Armed with these principles, some men go so far as to concoct new species of unions, suited, as they say, to the present temper of men and the times, which various new forms of matrimony they presume to label “temporary,” “experimental,” and “companionate.” These offer all the indulgence of matrimony and its rights without, however, the indissoluble bond, and without offspring, unless later the parties alter their cohabitation into a matrimony in the full sense of the law.

52. Indeed there are some who desire and insist that these practices be legitimatized by the law or, at least, excused by their general acceptance among the people. They do not seem even to suspect that these proposals partake of nothing of the modern “culture” in which they glory so much, but are simply hateful abominations which beyond all question reduce our truly cultured nations to the barbarous standards of savage peoples.

53. And now, Venerable Brethren, we shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act. Some justify this criminal abuse on the ground that they are weary of children and wish to gratify their desires without their consequent burden. Others say that they cannot on the one hand remain continent nor on the other can they have children because of the difficulties whether on the part of the mother or on the part of family circumstances.

54. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.

55. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, “Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it.”[45]

56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: “They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.[46]

58. As regards the evil use of matrimony, to pass over the arguments which are shameful, not infrequently others that are false and exaggerated are put forward. Holy Mother Church very well understands and clearly appreciates all that is said regarding the health of the mother and the danger to her life. And who would not grieve to think of these things? Who is not filled with the greatest admiration when he sees a mother risking her life with heroic fortitude, that she may preserve the life of the offspring which she has conceived? God alone, all bountiful and all merciful as He is, can reward her for the fulfillment of the office allotted to her by nature, and will assuredly repay her in a measure full to overflowing.[47]

59. Holy Church knows well that not infrequently one of the parties is sinned against rather than sinning, when for a grave cause he or she reluctantly allows the perversion of the right order. In such a case, there is no sin, provided that, mindful of the law of charity, he or she does not neglect to seek to dissuade and to deter the partner from sin. Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.

60. We are deeply touched by the sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children.

61. However, they should take care lest the calamitous state of their external affairs should be the occasion for a much more calamitous error. No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian Faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent. “Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you.”[48]

62. This same doctrine was again solemnly repeated and confirmed by the Church in the condemnation of the Jansenist heresy which dared to utter this blasphemy against the goodness of God: “Some precepts of God are, when one considers the powers which man possesses, impossible of fulfillment even to the just who wish to keep the law and strive to do so; grace is lacking whereby these laws could be fulfilled.”[49]

63. But another very grave crime is to be noted, Venerable Brethren, which regards the taking of the life of the offspring hidden in the mother’s womb. Some wish it to be allowed and left to the will of the father or the mother; others say it is unlawful unless there are weighty reasons which they call by the name of medical, social, or eugenic “indication.” Because this matter falls under the penal laws of the state by which the destruction of the offspring begotten but unborn is forbidden, these people demand that the “indication,” which in one form or another they defend, be recognized as such by the public law and in no way penalized. There are those, moreover, who ask that the public authorities provide aid for these death-dealing operations, a thing, which, sad to say, everyone knows is of very frequent occurrence in some places.

64. As to the “medical and therapeutic indication” to which, using their own words, we have made reference, Venerable Brethren, however much we may pity the mother whose health and even life is gravely imperiled in the performance of the duty allotted to her by nature, nevertheless what could ever be a sufficient reason for excusing in any way the direct murder of the innocent? This is precisely what we are dealing with here. Whether inflicted upon the mother or upon the child, it is against the precept of God and the law of nature: “Thou shalt not kill:”[50] The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it. It is of no use to appeal to the right of taking away life for here it is a question of the innocent, whereas that right has regard only to the guilty; nor is there here question of defense by bloodshed against an unjust aggressor (for who would call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?); again there is not question here of what is called the “law of extreme necessity” which could even extend to the direct killing of the innocent. Upright and skillful doctors strive most praiseworthily to guard and preserve the lives of both mother and child; on the contrary, those show themselves most unworthy of the noble medical profession who encompass the death of one or the other, through a pretense at practicing medicine or through motives of misguided pity.

65. All of which agrees with the stern words of the Bishop of Hippo in denouncing those wicked parents who seek to remain childless, and failing in this, are not ashamed to put their offspring to death: “Sometimes this lustful cruelty or cruel lust goes so far as to seek to procure a baneful sterility, and if this fails the fetus conceived in the womb is in one way or another smothered or evacuated, in the desire to destroy the offspring before it has life, or if it already lives in the womb, to kill it before it is born. If both man and woman are party to such practices they are not spouses at all; and if from the first they have carried on thus they have come together not for honest wedlock, but for impure gratification; if both are not party to these deeds, I make bold to say that either the one makes herself a mistress of the husband, or the other simply the paramour of his wife.”[51]

66. What is asserted in favor of the social and eugenic “indication” may and must be accepted, provided lawful and upright methods are employed within the proper limits; but to wish to put forward reasons based upon them for the killing of the innocent is unthinkable and contrary to the divine precept promulgated in the words of the Apostle: Evil is not to be done that good may come of it.[52]

67. Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother’s womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven.[53]

68. Finally, that pernicious practice must be condemned which closely touches upon the natural right of man to enter matrimony but affects also in a real way the welfare of the offspring. For there are some who over solicitous for the cause of eugenics, not only give salutary counsel for more certainly procuring the strength and health of the future child – which, indeed, is not contrary to right reason – but put eugenics before aims of a higher order, and by public authority wish to prevent from marrying all those whom, even though naturally fit for marriage, they consider, according to the norms and conjectures of their investigations, would, through hereditary transmission, bring forth defective offspring. And more, they wish to legislate to deprive these of that natural faculty by medical action despite their unwillingness; and this they do not propose as an infliction of grave punishment under the authority of the state for a crime committed, not to prevent future crimes by guilty persons, but against every right and good they wish the civil authority to arrogate to itself a power over a faculty which it never had and can never legitimately possess.

69. Those who act in this way are at fault in losing sight of the fact that the family is more sacred than the State and that men are begotten not for the earth and for time, but for Heaven and eternity. Although often these individuals are to be dissuaded from entering into matrimony, certainly it is wrong to brand men with the stigma of crime because they contract marriage, on the ground that, despite the fact that they are in every respect capable of matrimony, they will give birth only to defective children, even though they use all care and diligence.

70. Public magistrates have no direct power over the bodies of their subjects; therefore, where no crime has taken place and there is no cause present for grave punishment, they can never directly harm, or tamper with the integrity of the body, either for the reasons of eugenics or for any other reason. St. Thomas teaches this when inquiring whether human judges for the sake of preventing future evils can inflict punishment, he admits that the power indeed exists as regards certain other forms of evil, but justly and properly denies it as regards the maiming of the body. “No one who is guiltless may be punished by a human tribunal either by flogging to death, or mutilation, or by beating.”[54]

71. Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, that private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends; and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any other way render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body.

72. We may now consider another class of errors concerning conjugal faith. Every sin committed as regards the offspring becomes in some way a sin against conjugal faith, since both these blessings are essentially connected. However, we must mention briefly the sources of error and vice corresponding to those virtues which are demanded by conjugal faith, namely the chaste honor existing between man and wife, the due subjection of wife to husband, and the true love which binds both parties together.

73. It follows therefore that they are destroying mutual fidelity, who think that the ideas and morality of our present time concerning a certain harmful and false friendship with a third party can be countenanced, and who teach that a greater freedom of feeling and action in such external relations should be allowed to man and wife, particularly as many (so they consider) are possessed of an inborn sexual tendency which cannot be satisfied within the narrow limits of monogamous marriage. That rigid attitude which condemns all sensual affections and actions with a third party they imagine to be a narrowing of mind and heart, something obsolete, or an abject form of jealousy, and as a result they look upon whatever penal laws are passed by the State for the preserving of conjugal faith as void or to be abolished. Such unworthy and idle opinions are condemned by that noble instinct which is found in every chaste husband and wife, and even by the light of the testimony of nature alone, – a testimony that is sanctioned and confirmed by the command of God: “Thou shalt not commit adultry,”[55] and the words of Christ: “Whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.”[56] The force of this divine precept can never be weakened by any merely human custom, bad example or pretext of human progress, for just as it is the one and the same “Jesus Christ, yesterday and today and the same for ever,”[57] so it is the one and the same doctrine of Christ that abides and of which no one jot or tittle shall pass away till all is fulfilled.[58]

74. The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected. This emancipation in their ideas must be threefold, in the ruling of the domestic society, in the administration of family affairs and in the rearing of the children. It must be social, economic, physiological: – physiological, that is to say, the woman is to be freed at her own good pleasure from the burdensome duties properly belonging to a wife as companion and mother (We have already said that this is not an emancipation but a crime); social, inasmuch as the wife being freed from the cares of children and family, should, to the neglect of these, be able to follow her own bent and devote herself to business and even public affairs; finally economic, whereby the woman even without the knowledge and against the wish of her husband may be at liberty to conduct and administer her own affairs, giving her attention chiefly to these rather than to children, husband and family.

75. This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian. More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself, for if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man.

76. This equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted, must indeed be recognized in those rights which belong to the dignity of the human soul and which are proper to the marriage contract and inseparably bound up with wedlock. In such things undoubtedly both parties enjoy the same rights and are bound by the same obligations; in other things there must be a certain inequality and due accommodation, which is demanded by the good of the family and the right ordering and unity and stability of home life.

77. As, however, the social and economic conditions of the married woman must in some way be altered on account of the changes in social intercourse, it is part of the office of the public authority to adapt the civil rights of the wife to modern needs and requirements, keeping in view what the natural disposition and temperament of the female sex, good morality, and the welfare of the family demands, and provided always that the essential order of the domestic society remain intact, founded as it is on something higher than human authority and wisdom, namely on the authority and wisdom of God, and so not changeable by public laws or at the pleasure of private individuals.

78. These enemies of marriage go further, however, when they substitute for that true and solid love, which is the basis of conjugal happiness, a certain vague compatibility of temperament. This they call sympathy and assert that, since it is the only bond by which husband and wife are linked together, when it ceases the marriage is completely dissolved. What else is this than to build a house upon sand? – a house that in the words of Christ would forthwith be shaken and collapse, as soon as it was exposed to the waves of adversity “and the winds blew and they beat upon that house. And it fell: and great was the fall thereof.”[59] On the other hand, the house built upon a rock, that is to say on mutual conjugal chastity and strengthened by a deliberate and constant union of spirit, will not only never fall away but will never be shaken by adversity.

79. We have so far, Venerable Brethren, shown the excellency of the first two blessings of Christian wedlock which the modern subverters of society are attacking. And now considering that the third blessing, which is that of the sacrament, far surpasses the other two, we should not be surprised to find that this, because of its outstanding excellence, is much more sharply attacked by the same people. They put forward in the first place that matrimony belongs entirely to the profane and purely civil sphere, that it is not to be committed to the religious society, the Church of Christ, but to civil society alone. They then add that the marriage contract is to be freed from any indissoluble bond, and that separation and divorce are not only to be tolerated but sanctioned by the law; from which it follows finally that, robbed of all its holiness, matrimony should be enumerated amongst the secular and civil institutions. The first point is contained in their contention that the civil act itself should stand for the marriage contract (civil matrimony, as it is called), while the religious act is to be considered a mere addition, or at most a concession to a too superstitious people. Moreover they want it to be no cause for reproach that marriages be contracted by Catholics with non-Catholics without any reference to religion or recourse to the ecclesiastical authorities. The second point which is but a consequence of the first is to be found in their excuse for complete divorce and in their praise and encouragement of those civil laws which favor the loosening of the bond itself. As the salient features of the religious character of all marriage and particularly of the sacramental marriage of Christians have been treated at length and supported by weighty arguments in the encyclical letters of Leo XIII, letters which We have frequently recalled to mind and expressly made our own, We refer you to them, repeating here only a few points.

80. Even by the light of reason alone and particularly if the ancient records of history are investigated, if the unwavering popular conscience is interrogated and the manners and institutions of all races examined, it is sufficiently obvious that there is a certain sacredness and religious character attaching even to the purely natural union of man and woman, “not something added by chance but innate, not imposed by men but involved in the nature of things,” since it has “God for its author and has been even from the beginning a foreshadowing of the Incarnation of the Word of God.”[60] This sacredness of marriage which is intimately connected with religion and all that is holy, arises from the divine origin we have just mentioned, from its purpose which is the begetting and education of children for God, and the binding of man and wife to God through Christian love and mutual support; and finally it arises from the very nature of wedlock, whose institution is to be sought for in the farseeing Providence of God, whereby it is the means of transmitting life, thus making the parents the ministers, as it were, of the Divine Omnipotence. To this must be added that new element of dignity which comes from the sacrament, by which the Christian marriage is so ennobled and raised to such a level, that it appeared to the Apostle as a great sacrament, honorable in every way.[61]

81. This religious character of marriage, its sublime signification of grace and the union between Christ and the Church, evidently requires that those about to marry should show a holy reverence towards it, and zealously endeavor to make their marriage approach as nearly as possible to the archetype of Christ and the Church.

82. They, therefore, who rashly and heedlessly contract mixed marriages, from which the maternal love and providence of the Church dissuades her children for very sound reasons, fail conspicuously in this respect, sometimes with danger to their eternal salvation. This attitude of the Church to mixed marriages appears in many of her documents, all of which are summed up in the Code of Canon Law: “Everywhere and with the greatest strictness the Church forbids marriages between baptized persons, one of whom is a Catholic and the other a member of a schismatical or heretical sect; and if there is, add to this, the danger of the falling away of the Catholic party and the perversion of the children, such a marriage is forbidden also by the divine law.”[62] If the Church occasionally on account of circumstances does not refuse to grant a dispensation from these strict laws (provided that the divine law remains intact and the dangers above mentioned are provided against by suitable safeguards), it is unlikely that the Catholic party will not suffer some detriment from such a marriage.

83. Whence it comes about not unfrequently, as experience shows, that deplorable defections from religion occur among the offspring, or at least a headlong descent into that religious indifference which is closely allied to impiety. There is this also to be considered that in these mixed marriages it becomes much more difficult to imitate by a lively conformity of spirit the mystery of which We have spoken, namely that close union between Christ and His Church.

84. Assuredly, also, will there be wanting that close union of spirit which as it is the sign and mark of the Church of Christ, so also should be the sign of Christian wedlock, its glory and adornment. For, where there exists diversity of mind, truth and feeling, the bond of union of mind and heart is wont to be broken, or at least weakened. From this comes the danger lest the love of man and wife grow cold and the peace and happiness of family life, resting as it does on the union of hearts, be destroyed. Many centuries ago indeed, the old Roman law had proclaimed: “Marriages are the union of male and female, a sharing of life and the communication of divine and human rights.”[63] But especially, as We have pointed out, Venerable Brethren, the daily increasing facility of divorce is an obstacle to the restoration of marriage to that state of perfection which the divine Redeemer willed it should possess.

85. The advocates of the neo-paganism of today have learned nothing from the sad state of affairs, but instead, day by day, more and more vehemently, they continue by legislation to attack the indissolubility of the marriage bond, proclaiming that the lawfulness of divorce must be recognized, and that the antiquated laws should give place to a new and more humane legislation. Many and varied are the grounds put forward for divorce, some arising from the wickedness and the guilt of the persons concerned, others arising from the circumstances of the case; the former they describe as subjective, the latter as objective; in a word, whatever might make married life hard or unpleasant. They strive to prove their contentions regarding these grounds for the divorce legislation they would bring about, by various arguments. Thus, in the first place, they maintain that it is for the good of either party that the one who is innocent should have the right to separate from the guilty, or that the guilty should be withdrawn from a union which is unpleasing to him and against his will. In the second place, they argue, the good of the child demands this, for either it will be deprived of a proper education or the natural fruits of it, and will too easily be affected by the discords and shortcomings of the parents, and drawn from the path of virtue. And thirdly the common good of society requires that these marriages should be completely dissolved, which are now incapable of producing their natural results, and that legal reparations should be allowed when crimes are to be feared as the result of the common habitation and intercourse of the parties. This last, they say must be admitted to avoid the crimes being committed purposely with a view to obtaining the desired sentence of divorce for which the judge can legally loose the marriage bond, as also to prevent people from coming before the courts when it is obvious from the state of the case that they are Iying and perjuring themselves, – all of which brings the court and the lawful authority into contempt. Hence the civil laws, in their opinion, have to be reformed to meet these new requirements, to suit the changes of the times and the changes in men’s opinions, civil institutions and customs. Each of these reasons is considered by them as conclusive, so that all taken together offer a clear proof of the necessity of granting divorce in certain cases.

86. Others, taking a step further, simply state that marriage, being a private contract, is, like other private contracts, to be left to the consent and good pleasure of both parties, and so can be dissolved for any reason whatsoever.

87. Opposed to all these reckless opinions, Venerable Brethren, stands the unalterable law of God, fully confirmed by Christ, a law that can never be deprived of its force by the decrees of men, the ideas of a people or the will of any legislator: “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”[64] And if any man, acting contrary to this law, shall have put asunder, his action is null and void, and the consequence remains, as Christ Himself has explicitly confirmed: “Everyone that putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”[65] Moreover, these words refer to every kind of marriage, even that which is natural and legitimate only; for, as has already been observed, that indissolubility by which the loosening of the bond is once and for all removed from the whim of the parties and from every secular power, is a property of every true marriage.

88. Let that solemn pronouncement of the Council of Trent be recalled to mind in which, under the stigma of anathema, it condemned these errors: “If anyone should say that on account of heresy or the hardships of cohabitation or a deliberate abuse of one party by the other the marriage tie may be loosened, let him be anathema;”[66] and again: “If anyone should say that the Church errs in having taught or in teaching that, according to the teaching of the Gospel and the Apostles, the bond of marriage cannot be loosed because of the sin of adultery of either party; or that neither party, even though he be innocent, having given no cause for the sin of adultery, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other; and that he commits adultery who marries another after putting away his adulterous wife, and likewise that she commits adultery who puts away her husband and marries another: let him be anathemae.”[67]

89. If therefore the Church has not erred and does not err in teaching this, and consequently it is certain that the bond of marriage cannot be loosed even on account of the sin of adultery, it is evident that all the other weaker excuses that can be, and are usually brought forward, are of no value whatsoever. And the objections brought against the firmness of the marriage bond are easily answered. For, in certain circumstances, imperfect separation of the parties is allowed, the bond not being severed. This separation, which the Church herself permits, and expressly mentions in her Canon Law in those canons which deal with the separation of the parties as to marital relationship and co-habitation, removes all the alleged inconveniences and dangers.[68] It will be for the sacred law and, to some extent, also the civil law, in so far as civil matters are affected, to lay down the grounds, the conditions, the method and precautions to be taken in a case of this kind in order to safeguard the education of the children and the well-being of the family, and to remove all those evils which threaten the married persons, the children and the State. Now all those arguments that are brought forward to prove the indissolubility of the marriage tie, arguments which have already been touched upon, can equally be applied to excluding not only the necessity of divorce, but even the power to grant it; while for all the advantages that can be put forward for the former, there can be adduced as many disadvantages and evils which are a formidable menace to the whole of human society.

90. To revert again to the expression of Our predecessor, it is hardly necessary to point out what an amount of good is involved in the absolute indissolubility of wedlock and what a train of evils follows upon divorce. Whenever the marriage bond remains intact, then we find marriages contracted with a sense of safety and security, while, when separations are considered and the dangers of divorce are present, the marriage contract itself becomes insecure, or at least gives ground for anxiety and surprises. On the one hand we see a wonderful strengthening of goodwill and cooperation in the daily life of husband and wife, while, on the other, both of these are miserably weakened by the presence of a facility for divorce. Here we have at a very opportune moment a source of help by which both parties are enabled to preserve their purity and loyalty; there we find harmful inducements to unfaithfulness. On this side we find the birth of children and their tuition and upbringing effectively promoted, many avenues of discord closed amongst families and relations, and the beginnings of rivalry and jealousy easily suppressed; on that, very great obstacles to the birth and rearing of children and their education, and many occasions of quarrels, and seeds of jealousy sown everywhere. Finally, but especially, the dignity and position of women in civil and domestic society is reinstated by the former; while by the latter it is shamefully lowered and the danger is incurred “of their being considered outcasts, slaves of the lust of men.”[69]

91. To conclude with the important words of Leo XIII, since the destruction of family life “and the loss of national wealth is brought about more by the corruption of morals than by anything else, it is easily seen that divorce, which is born of the perverted morals of a people, and leads, as experiment shows, to vicious habits in public and private life, is particularly opposed to the well-being of the family and of the State. The serious nature of these evils will be the more clearly recognized, when we remember that, once divorce has been allowed, there will be no sufficient means of keeping it in check within any definite bounds. Great is the force of example, greater still that of lust; and with such incitements it cannot but happen that divorce and its consequent setting loose of the passions should spread daily and attack the souls of many like a contagious disease or a river bursting its banks and flooding the land.”[70]

92. Thus, as we read in the same letter, “unless things change, the human family and State have every reason to fear lest they should suffer absolute ruin.”[71] All this was written fifty years ago, yet it is confirmed by the daily increasing corruption of morals and the unheard of degradation of the family in those lands where Communism reigns unchecked.

93. Thus far, Venerable Brethren, We have admired with due reverence what the all wise Creator and Redeemer of the human race has ordained with regard to human marriage; at the same time we have expressed Our grief that such a pious ordinance of the divine Goodness should today, and on every side, be frustrated and trampled upon by the passions, errors and vices of men.

94. It is then fitting that, with all fatherly solicitude, We should turn Our mind to seek out suitable remedies whereby those most detestable abuses which We have mentioned, may be removed, and everywhere marriage may again be revealed. To this end, it behooves Us, above all else, to call to mind that firmly established principle, esteemed alike in sound philosophy and sacred theology: namely, that whatever things have deviated from their right order, cannot he brought back to that original state which is in harmony with their nature except by a return to the divine plan which, as the Angelic Doctor teaches,[72] is the exemplar of all right order.

95. Wherefore, Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, attacked the doctrine of the naturalists in these words: “It is a divinely appointed law that whatsoever things are constituted by God, the Author of nature, these we find the more useful and salutary, the more they remain in their natural state, unimpaired and unchanged; inasmuch as God, the Creator of all things, intimately knows what is suited to the constitution and the preservation of each, and by his will and mind has so ordained all this that each may duly achieve its purpose. But if the boldness and wickedness of men change and disturb this order of things, so providentially disposed, then, indeed, things so wonderfully ordained, will begin to be injurious, or will cease to be beneficial, either because, in the change, they have lost their power to benefit, or because God Himself is thus pleased to draw down chastisement on the pride and presumption of men.”[73]

96. In order, therefore, to restore due order in this matter of marriage, it is necessary that all should bear in mind what is the divine plan and strive to conform to it.

97. Wherefore, since the chief obstacle to this study is the power of unbridled lust, which indeed is the most potent cause of sinning against the sacred laws of matrimony, and since man cannot hold in check his passions, unless he first subject himself to God, this must be his primary endeavor, in accordance with the plan divinely ordained. For it is a sacred ordinance that whoever shall have first subjected himself to God will, by the aid of divine grace, be glad to subject to himself his own passions and concupiscence; while he who is a rebel against God will, to his sorrow, experience within himself the violent rebellion of his worst passions.

98. And how wisely this has been decreed St. Augustine thus shows: “This indeed is fitting, that the lower be subject to the higher, so that he who would have subject to himself whatever is below him, should himself submit to whatever is above him. Acknowledge order, seek peace. Be thou subject to God, and thy flesh subject to thee. What more fitting! What more fair! Thou art subject to the higher and the lower is subject to thee. Do thou serve Him who made thee, so that that which was made for thee may serve thee. For we do not commend this order, namely, ‘The flesh to thee and thou to God,’ but ‘Thou to God, and the flesh to thee.’ If, however, thou despisest the subjection of thyself to God, thou shalt never bring about the subjection of the flesh to thyself. If thou dost not obey the Lord, thou shalt be tormented by thy servant.”[74] This right ordering on the part of God’s wisdom is mentioned by the holy Doctor of the Gentiles, inspired by the Holy Ghost, for in speaking of those ancient philosophers who refused to adore and reverence Him whom they knew to be the Creator of the universe, he says: “Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves;” and again: “For this same God delivered them up to shameful affections.”[75] And St. James says: “God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble,”[76] without which grace, as the same Doctor of the Gentiles reminds us, man cannot subdue the rebellion of his flesh.[77]

99. Consequently, as the onslaughts of these uncontrolled passions cannot in any way be lessened, unless the spirit first shows a humble compliance of duty and reverence towards its Maker, it is above all and before all needful that those who are joined in the bond of sacred wedlock should be wholly imbued with a profound and genuine sense of duty towards God, which will shape their whole lives, and fill their minds and wills with a very deep reverence for the majesty of God.

100. Quite fittingly, therefore, and quite in accordance with the defined norm of Christian sentiment, do those pastors of souls act who, to prevent married people from failing in the observance of God’s law, urge them to perform their duty and exercise their religion so that they should give themselves to God, continually ask for His divine assistance, frequent the sacraments, and always nourish and preserve a loyal and thoroughly sincere devotion to God.

101. They are greatly deceived who having underestimated or neglected these means which rise above nature, think that they can induce men by the use and discovery of the natural sciences, such as those of biology, the science of heredity, and the like, to curb their carnal desires. We do not say this in order to belittle those natural means which are not dishonest; for God is the Author of nature as well as of grace, and He has disposed the good things of both orders for the beneficial use of men. The faithful, therefore, can and ought to be assisted also by natural means. But they are mistaken who think that these means are able to establish chastity in the nuptial union, or that they are more effective than supernatural grace.

102. This conformity of wedlock and moral conduct with the divine laws respective of marriage, without which its effective restoration cannot be brought about, supposes, however, that all can discern readily, with real certainty, and without any accompanying error, what those laws are. But everyone can see to how many fallacies an avenue would be opened up and how many errors would become mixed with the truth, if it were left solely to the light of reason of each to find it out, or if it were to be discovered by the private interpretation of the truth which is revealed. And if this is applicable to many other truths of the moral order, we must all the more pay attention to those things, which appertain to marriage where the inordinate desire for pleasure can attack frail human nature and easily deceive it and lead it astray; this is all the more true of the observance of the divine law, which demands sometimes hard and repeated sacrifices, for which, as experience points out, a weak man can find so many excuses for avoiding the fulfillment of the divine law.

103. On this account, in order that no falsification or corruption of the divine law but a true genuine knowledge of it may enlighten the minds of men and guide their conduct, it is necessary that a filial and humble obedience towards the Church should be combined with devotedness to God and the desire of submitting to Him. For Christ Himself made the Church the teacher of truth in those things also which concern the right regulation of moral conduct, even though some knowledge of the same is not beyond human reason. For just as God, in the case of the natural truths of religion and morals, added revelation to the light of reason so that what is right and true, “in the present state also of the human race may be known readily with real certainty without any admixture of error,”[78] so for the same purpose he has constituted the Church the guardian and the teacher of the whole of the truth concerning religion and moral conduct; to her therefore should the faithful show obedience and subject their minds and hearts so as to be kept unharmed and free from error and moral corruption, and so that they shall not deprive themselves of that assistance given by God with such liberal bounty, they ought to show this due obedience not only when the Church defines something with solemn judgment, but also, in proper proportion, when by the constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, opinions are prescribed and condemned as dangerous or distorted.[79]

104. Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

105. Consequently, since everything must be referred to the law and mind of God, in order to bring about the universal and permanent restoration of marriage, it is indeed of the utmost importance that the faithful should be well instructed concerning matrimony; both by word of mouth and by the written word, not cursorily but often and fully, by means of plain and weighty arguments, so that these truths will strike the intellect and will be deeply engraved on their hearts. Let them realize and diligently reflect upon the great wisdom, kindness and bounty God has shown towards the human race, not only by the institution of marriage, but also, and quite as much, by upholding it with sacred laws; still more, in wonderfully raising it to the dignity of a Sacrament by which such an abundant fountain of graces has been opened to those joined in Christian wedlock, that these may be able to serve the noble purposes of wedlock for their own welfare and for that of their children, of the community and also for that of human relationship.

106. Certainly, if the latter day subverters of marriage are entirely devoted to misleading the minds of men and corrupting their hearts, to making a mockery of matrimonial purity and extolling the filthiest of vices by means of books and pamphlets and other innumerable methods, much more ought you, Venerable Brethren, whom “the Holy Ghost has placed as bishops, to rule the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood,”[80] to give yourselves wholly to this, that through yourselves and through the priests subject to you, and, moreover, through the laity welded together by Catholic Action, so much desired and recommended by Us, into a power of hierarchical apostolate, you may, by every fitting means, oppose error by truth, vice by the excellent dignity of chastity, the slavery of covetousness by the liberty of the sons of God,[81] that disastrous ease in obtaining divorce by an enduring love in the bond of marriage and by the inviolate pledge of fidelity given even to death.

107. Thus will it come to pass that the faithful will wholeheartedly thank God that they are bound together by His command and led by gentle compulsion to fly as far as possible from every kind of idolatry of the flesh and from the base slavery of the passions. They will, in a great measure, turn and be turned away from these abominable opinions which to the dishonor of man’s dignity are now spread about in speech and in writing and collected under the title of “perfect marriage” and which indeed would make that perfect marriage nothing better than “depraved marriage,” as it has been rightly and truly called.

108. Such wholesome instruction and religious training in regard to Christian marriage will be quite different from that exaggerated physiological education by means of which, in these times of ours, some reformers of married life make pretense of helping those joined in wedlock, laying much stress on these physiological matters, in which is learned rather the art of sinning in a subtle way than the virtue of living chastely.

109. So, Venerable Brethren, we make entirely Our own the words which Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his encyclical letter on Christian marriage addressed to the bishops of the whole world: “Take care not to spare your efforts and authority in bringing about that among the people committed to your guidance that doctrine may be preserved whole and unadulterated which Christ the Lord and the apostles, the interpreters of the divine will, have handed down, and which the Catholic Church herself has religiously preserved, and commanded to be observed by the faithful of every age.”[82]

110. Even the very best instruction given by the Church, however, will not alone suffice to bring about once more conformity of marriage to the law of God; something more is needed in addition to the education of the mind, namely a steadfast determination of the will, on the part of husband and wife, to observe the sacred laws of God and of nature in regard to marriage. In fine, in spite of what others may wish to assert and spread abroad by word of mouth or in writing, let husband and wife resolve: to stand fast to the commandments of God in all things that matrimony demands; always to render to each other the assistance of mutual love; to preserve the honor of chastity; not to lay profane hands on the stable nature of the bond; to use the rights given them by marriage in a way that will be always Christian and sacred, more especially in the first years of wedlock, so that should there be need of continency afterwards, custom will have made it easier for each to preserve it. In order that they may make this firm resolution, keep it and put it into practice, an oft-repeated consideration of their state of life, and a diligent reflection on the sacrament they have received, will be of great assistance to them. Let them constantly keep in mind, that they have been sanctified and strengthened for the duties and for the dignity of their state by a special sacrament, the efficacious power of which, although it does not impress a character, is undying. To this purpose we may ponder over the words full of real comfort of holy Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who with other well-known theologians with devout conviction thus expresses himself: “The sacrament of matrimony can be regarded in two ways: first, in the making, and then in its permanent state. For it is a sacrament like to that of the Eucharist, which not only when it is being conferred, but also whilst it remains, is a sacrament; for as long as the married parties are alive, so long is their union a sacrament of Christ and the Church.”[83]

111. Yet in order that the grace of this sacrament may produce its full fruit, there is need, as we have already pointed out, of the cooperation of the married parties; which consists in their striving to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability and with unwearied effort. For just as in the natural order men must apply the powers given them by God with their own toil and diligence that these may exercise their full vigor, failing which, no profit is gained, so also men must diligently and unceasingly use the powers given them by the grace which is laid up in the soul by this sacrament. Let not, then, those who are joined in matrimony neglect the grace of the sacrament which is in them;[84] for, in applying themselves to the careful observance, however laborious, of their duties they will find the power of that grace becoming more effectual as time goes on. And if ever they should feel themselves to be overburdened by the hardships of their condition of life, let them not lose courage, but rather let them regard in some measure as addressed to them that which St. Paul the Apostle wrote to his beloved disciple Timothy regarding the sacrament of holy Orders when the disciple was dejected through hardship and insults: “I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.”[85]

112. All these things, however, Venerable Brethren, depend in large measure on the due preparation remote and proximate, of the parties for marriage. For it cannot be denied that the basis of a happy wedlock, and the ruin of an unhappy one, is prepared and set in the souls of boys and girls during the period of childhood and adolescence. There is danger that those who before marriage sought in all things what is theirs, who indulged even their impure desires, will be in the married state what they were before, that they will reap that which they have sown;[86] indeed, within the home there will be sadness, lamentation, mutual contempt, strifes, estrangements, weariness of common life, and, worst of all, such parties will find themselves left alone with their own unconquered passions.

113. Let then, those who are about to enter on married life, approach that state well disposed and well prepared, so that they will be able, as far as they can, to help each other in sustaining the vicissitudes of life, and yet more in attending to their eternal salvation and in forming the inner man unto the fullness of the age of Christ.[87] It will also help them, if they behave towards their cherished offspring as God wills: that is, that the father be truly a father, and the mother truly a mother; through their devout love and unwearying care, the home, though it suffer the want and hardship of this valley of tears, may become for the children in its own way a foretaste of that paradise of delight in which the Creator placed the first men of the human race. Thus will they be able to bring up their children as perfect men and perfect Christians; they will instill into them a sound understanding of the Catholic Church, and will give them such a disposition and love for their fatherland as duty and gratitude demand.

114. Consequently, both those who are now thinking of entering upon this sacred married state, as well as those who have the charge of educating Christian youth, should, with due regard to the future, prepare that which is good, obviate that which is bad, and recall those points about which We have already spoken in Our encyclical letter concerning education: “The inclinations of the will, if they are bad, must be repressed from childhood, but such as are good must be fostered, and the mind, particularly of children, should be imbued with doctrines which begin with God, while the heart should be strengthened with the aids of divine grace, in the absence of which, no one can curb evil desires, nor can his discipline and formation be brought to complete perfection by the Church. For Christ has provided her with heavenly doctrines and divine sacraments, that He might make her an effectual teacher of men.”[88]

115. To the proximate preparation of a good married life belongs very specially the care in choosing a partner; on that depends a great deal whether the forthcoming marriage will be happy or not, since one may be to the other either a great help in leading a Christian life, or, a great danger and hindrance. And so that they may not deplore for the rest of their lives the sorrows arising from an indiscreet marriage, those about to enter into wedlock should carefully deliberate in choosing the person with whom henceforward they must live continually: they should, in so deliberating, keep before their minds the thought first of God and of the true religion of Christ, then of themselves, of their partner, of the children to come, as also of human and civil society, for which wedlock is a fountain head. Let them diligently pray for divine help, so that they make their choice in accordance with Christian prudence, not indeed led by the blind and unrestrained impulse of lust, nor by any desire of riches or other base influence, but by a true and noble love and by a sincere affection for the future partner; and then let them strive in their married life for those ends for which the State was constituted by God. Lastly, let them not omit to ask the prudent advice of their parents with regard to the partner, and let them regard this advice in no light manner, in order that by their mature knowledge and experience of human affairs, they may guard against a disastrous choice, and, on the threshold of matrimony, may receive more abundantly the divine blessing of the fourth commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) that it may be well with thee and thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth.”[89]

116. Now since it is no rare thing to find that the perfect observance of God’s commands and conjugal integrity encounter difficulties by reason of the fact that the man and wife are in straitened circumstances, their necessities must be relieved as far as possible.

117. And so, in the first place, every effort must be made to bring about that which Our predecessor Leo Xlll, of happy memory, has already insisted upon,[90] namely, that in the State such economic and social methods should be adopted as will enable every head of a family to earn as much as, according to his station in life, is necessary for himself, his wife, and for the rearing of his children, for “the laborer is worthy of his hire.”[91] To deny this, or to make light of what is equitable, is a grave injustice and is placed among the greatest sins by Holy Writ;[92] nor is it lawful to fix such a scanty wage as will be insufficient for the upkeep of the family in the circumstances in which it is placed.

118. Care, however, must be taken that the parties themselves, for a considerable time before entering upon married life, should strive to dispose of, or at least to diminish, the material obstacles in their way. The manner in which this may be done effectively and honestly must be pointed out by those who are experienced. Provision must be made also, in the case of those who are not self-supporting, for joint aid by private or public guilds.[93]

119. When these means which We have pointed out do not fulfill the needs, particularly of a larger or poorer family, Christian charity towards our neighbor absolutely demands that those things which are lacking to the needy should be provided; hence it is incumbent on the rich to help the poor, so that, having an abundance of this world’s goods, they may not expend them fruitlessly or completely squander them, but employ them for the support and well-being of those who lack the necessities of life. They who give of their substance to Christ in the person of His poor will receive from the Lord a most bountiful reward when He shall come to judge the world; they who act to the contrary will pay the penalty.[94] Not in vain does the Apostle warn us: “He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need, and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?”[95]

120. If, however, for this purpose, private resources do not suffice, it is the duty of the public authority to supply for the insufficient forces of individual effort, particularly in a matter which is of such importance to the common weal, touching as it does the maintenance of the family and married people. If families, particularly those in which there are many children, have not suitable dwellings; if the husband cannot find employment and means of livelihood; if the necessities of life cannot be purchased except at exorbitant prices; if even the mother of the family to the great harm of the home, is compelled to go forth and seek a living by her own labor; if she, too, in the ordinary or even extraordinary labors of childbirth, is deprived of proper food, medicine, and the assistance of a skilled physician, it is patent to all to what an extent married people may lose heart, and how home life and the observance of God’s commands are rendered difficult for them; indeed it is obvious how great a peril can arise to the public security and to the welfare and very life of civil society itself when such men are reduced to that condition of desperation that, having nothing which they fear to lose, they are emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.

121. Wherefore, those who have the care of the State and of the public good cannot neglect the needs of married people and their families, without bringing great harm upon the State and on the common welfare. Hence, in making the laws and in disposing of public funds they must do their utmost to relieve the needs of the poor, considering such a task as one of the most important of their administrative duties.

122. We are sorry to note that not infrequently nowadays it happens that through a certain inversion of the true order of things, ready and bountiful assistance is provided for the unmarried mother and her illegitimate offspring (who, of course must be helped in order to avoid a greater evil) which is denied to legitimate mothers or given sparingly or almost grudgingly.

123. But not only in regard to temporal goods, Venerable Brethren, is it the concern of the public authority to make proper provision for matrimony and the family, but also in other things which concern the good of souls. just laws must be made for the protection of chastity, for reciprocal conjugal aid, and for similar purposes, and these must be faithfully enforced, because, as history testifies, the prosperity of the State and the temporal happiness of its citizens cannot remain safe and sound where the foundation on which they are established, which is the moral order, is weakened and where the very fountainhead from which the State draws its life, namely, wedlock and the family, is obstructed by the vices of its citizens.

124. For the preservation of the moral order neither the laws and sanctions of the temporal power are sufficient, nor is the beauty of virtue and the expounding of its necessity. Religious authority must enter in to enlighten the mind, to direct the will, and to strengthen human frailty by the assistance of divine grace. Such an authority is found nowhere save in the Church instituted by Christ the Lord. Hence We earnestly exhort in the Lord all those who hold the reins of power that they establish and maintain firmly harmony and friendship with this Church of Christ so that through the united activity and energy of both powers the tremendous evils, fruits of those wanton liberties which assail both marriage and the family and are a menace to both Church and State, may be effectively frustrated.

125. Governments can assist the Church greatly in the execution of its important office, if, in laying down their ordinances, they take account of what is prescribed by divine and ecclesiastical law, and if penalties are fixed for offenders. For as it is, there are those who think that whatever is permitted by the laws of the State, or at least is not punished by them, is allowed also in the moral order, and, because they neither fear God nor see any reason to fear the laws of man, they act even against their conscience, thus often bringing ruin upon themselves and upon many others. There will be no peril to or lessening of the rights and integrity of the State from its association with the Church. Such suspicion and fear is empty and groundless, as Leo XIII has already so clearly set forth: “It is generally agreed,” he says, “that the Founder of the Church, Jesus Christ, wished the spiritual power to be distinct from the civil, and each to be free and unhampered in doing its own work, not forgetting, however, that it is expedient to both, and in the interest of everybody, that there be a harmonious relationship. . . If the civil power combines in a friendly manner with the spiritual power of the Church, it necessarily follows that both parties will greatly benefit. The dignity of the State will be enhanced, and with religion as its guide, there will never be a rule that is not just; while for the Church there will be at hand a safeguard and defense which will operate to the public good of the faithful.”[96]

126. To bring forward a recent and clear example of what is meant, it has happened quite in consonance with right order and entirely according to the law of Christ, that in the solemn Convention happily entered into between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy, also in matrimonial affairs a peaceful settlement and friendly cooperation has been obtained, such as befitted the glorious history of the Italian people and its ancient and sacred traditions. These decrees, are to be found in the Lateran Pact: “The Italian State, desirous of restoring to the institution of matrimony, which is the basis of the family, that dignity conformable to the traditions of its people, assigns as civil effects of the sacrament of matrimony all that is attributed to it in Canon Law.”[97] To this fundamental norm are added further clauses in the common pact.

127. This might well be a striking example to all of how, even in this our own day (in which, sad to say, the absolute separation of the civil power from the Church, and indeed from every religion, is so often taught), the one supreme authority can be united and associated with the other without detriment to the rights and supreme power of either thus protecting Christian parents from pernicious evils and menacing ruin.

128. All these things which, Venerable Brethren, prompted by Our past solicitude We put before you, We wish according to the norm of Christian prudence to be promulgated widely among all Our beloved children committed to your care as members of the great family of Christ, that all may be thoroughly acquainted with sound teaching concerning marriage, so that they may be ever on their guard against the dangers advocated by the teachers of error, and most of all, that “denying ungodliness and worldly desires, they may live soberly and justly, and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and Our Savior Jesus Christ.”[98]

129. May the Father, “of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named,”[99] Who strengthens the weak and gives courage to the pusillanimous and fainthearted; and Christ Our Lord and Redeemer, “the Institutor and Perfecter of the holy sacraments,”[100] Who desired marriage to be and made it the mystical image of His own ineffable union with the Church; and the Holy Ghost, Love of God, the Light of hearts and the Strength of the mind, grant that all will perceive, will admit with a ready will, and by the grace of God will put into practice, what We by this letter have expounded concerning the holy Sacrament of Matrimony, the wonderful law and will of God respecting it, the errors and impending dangers, and the remedies with which they can be counteracted, so that that fruitfulness dedicated to God will flourish again vigorously in Christian wedlock.

130. We most humbly pour forth Our earnest prayer at the Throne of His Grace, that God, the Author of all graces, the inspirer of all good desires and deeds,[101] may bring this about, and deign to give it bountifully according to the greatness of His liberality and omnipotence, and as a token of the abundant blessing of the same Omnipotent God, We most lovingly grant to you, Venerable Brethren, and to the clergy and people committed to your watchful care, the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome, in Saint Peter’s, this 31st day of December, of the year 1930, the ninth of Our Pontificate.

PIUS XI

1. Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae, 10 Febr. 1880.

2. Gen., I, 27-28; II, 22-23; Matth., XIX, 3 sqq.; Eph., V, 23 sqq .

3. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV.

4. Cod. iur. can., c. 1081 & 2.

5. Cod. iur. can., c. 1081 & 1.

6. S. Thom Aquin., Summa theol., p. III Supplem 9, XLIX, art.3.

7. Encycl. Rerum novarum, 15 May 1891.

8. Gen., I, 28.

9. Encycl. Ad salutem, 20 April 1930

10. St. August., De bono coniug., cap. 24, n. 32.

11. St. August., De Gen. ad litt., lib. IX, cap. 7, n. 12.

12. Gen., I, 28.

13. I Tim., V, 14.

14. St. August., De bono coniug., cap. 24 n. 32.

15. I Cor., II, 9

16. Eph., II, 19.

17. John, XVI, 21.

18. Encycl. Divini illius Magistri, 31 Dec. 1929.

19. St. August., De Gen. ad litt., lib. IX, cap. 7, n. 12.

20. Cod. iur. can., c. 1013 & 7.

21. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV.

22. Matth., V, 28.

23. Decr. S. Officii, 2 March 1679, propos. 50.

24. Eph., V, 25; Col., III, 19.

25. Catech. Rom., II, cap. VIII q. 24.

26. St Greg the Great, Homii. XXX in Evang (John XIV,23-31), n.1.

27. Matth., XXII, 40.

28. I Cor., VII, 3.

29. Eph., V, 22-23.

30. Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae, 10 Febr. 1880.

31. Matth., XIX, 6.

32. Luke, XVI, 18.

33. St. August., De Gen. ad litt. Iib. IX, cap. 7, n. 12.

34. Pius VI, Rescript. ad Episc. Agriens., 11 July 1789.

35. Eph., V, 32.

36. St. August., De nupt. et concup., lib. I, cap. 10.

37. I Cor., XIII, 8.

38. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV.

39. Conc. Trid. Sess., XXIV.

40. Cod. iur. can., c. 1012.

41. St. August., De nupt. et concup., lib. I, cap. 10.

42. Matth., XIII, 25.

43. II Tim., IV, 2-5.

44. Eph., V, 3.

45. St. August., De coniug. adult., lib. II, n. 12, Gen, XXXVIII, 8-10.

46. Matth., XV, 14.

47. Luke, VI, 38.

48. Conc. Trid., Sess. VI, cap. 11.

49. Const. Apost. Cum occasione, 31 May 1653, prop. 1.

50. Exod., XX, 13; cfr. Decr. S. Offic. 4 May 1897, 24 July 1895; 31 May 1884.

51. St. August., De nupt. et concupisc., cap. XV.

52. Rom., III, 8.

53. Gen., IV, 10.

54. Summ. theol., 2a 2ae, q. 108 a 4 ad 2um.

55. Exod., XX, 14.

56. Matth., V, 28.

57. Hebr., XIII, 8.

58. Matth., V, 18.

59. Matth., VII. 27.

60. Leo XIII, Encycl. Arcanum, 10 Febr. 1880.

61. Eph., V, 32: Hebr. XIII, 4.

62. Cod. iur. can., c. 1060.

63. Modestinus, in Dig. (Lib. XXIII, II: De ritu nuptiarum), lib. I, Regularum.

64. Matth., XIX, 6.

65. Luke, XVI, 18.

66. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV, cap. 5

67. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV, cap. 7

68. Cod. iur. can., c. 1128 sqq.

69. Leo XIII, Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae 10 Febr. 1880.

70. Encycl. Arcanum, 10 Febr. 1880.

71. Encycl. Arcanum, 10 Febr. 1880.

72. St. Thom. of Aquin, Summ theolog., la 2ae, q. 91, a. I-2 .

73. Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae, 10 Febr. 1880.

74. St. August., Enarrat. in Ps. 143.

75. Rom. I, 24, 26.

76. James IV, 6.

77. Rom., VII, VIII.

78. Conc. Vat., Sess. III, cap. 2.

79. Conc. Vat., Sess. III, cap. 4; Cod. iur. can., c. 1324.

80. Acta, XX, 28.

81. John, VIII, 32 sqq.; Gal., V, 13.

82. Encycl. Arcanum. 10 Febr. 1880.

83. St. Rob. Bellarmin., De controversiis, tom. III, De Matr., controvers. II, cap. 6.

84. I Tim., IV,14.

85. II Tim., 1, 6-7.

86. Gal., Vl. 9.

87. Eph., IV, 13.

88. Encycl. Divini illius Magistri, 31 Dec. 1929.

89. Eph., VI, 2-3; Exod., XX, 12.

90. Encycl. Rerum novarum, 15 May 1891.

91. Luke, X, 7.

92. Deut. XXIV, 14, 15.

93. Leo XIII, Encycl. Rerum novarum, 15 May 1891.

94. Matth., XXV, 34 sqq.

95. I John, III, 17.

96. Encycl. Arcanum divinae sapientiae, 10 Febr. 1880.

97. Concord., art. 34; Act. Apost. Sed., XXI (1929), pag. 290.

98. Tit., II, 12-13.

99. Eph., I III, 15.

100. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIV.

101. Phil., II, 13.