Parts 1-4 of this continuing series, we have been discussing
the "mentality" of the
Vatican Council, both generally and in particular. In Part
5 we will concentrate on the doctrinal errors of Vatican
II regarding 1) the false representations
of non-christian religions, and 2) errors
politics, political community, and relations between Church
The False Representation of Non-Christian Religions
attributing to non- Christian religions that, like us, they
believe in God the Creator.
et Spes §36 states: "...[All] believers
of whatever religion have always heard His revealing voice
in the discourse of creatures."1 To attribute
this to non-Christian religions is false. Citing just the
two examples of Hinduism and Buddhism, both completely ignore
the idea of a God who created from nothing and who reveals
Himself in His creatures, since both are convinced that
reality proceeds through emanation of an impersonal, cosmic,
eternal force which is identically replicated in all things,
from which force all comes and to which all returns, becoming
a part of it, dissolving into it.
inconceivably awarding the marks of truth and holiness to
all the non-Christian religions, whereas they do not contain
revealed truth, but are the fruit of the human spirit and,
so, neither redeem nor save anyone.
Aetate §2 states:
Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy
(vera et sancta) in these religions. She
looks with sincere respect upon those ways of conduct
and of life, those rules and teachings which, though differing
in many particulars from what she holds and sets forth,
nevertheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens
is necessary to note the contradiction in the above, noting
too its decidedly Deist tone. That is, if these religions
"differ... in many particulars" from the Catholic
Church's teaching, how can they "often reflect a ray
of that Truth which enlightens all men"? This means
that, for the Council, the truth "which enlightens
all men" perhaps comes through rules and teachings
that differ "in many particulars" from the Church's
teaching! (How could an authentic ecumenical Council of
the Catholic Church have been inspired to articulate such
baseless assertion, always denied by Tradition and Holy
Scripture (e.g., Ps. 95:5: "For all the gods
of the Gentiles are devils"; and I Cor. 10:20), that
pagan religions, past and present, would have in some way
been included in the plan of salvation.
fact, §18 of Ad Gentes, on missionary activity, states:
to plant the Church, and thoroughly enriched with the
treasures of mysticism adorning the Church's religious
tradition, religious communities should strive to give
expression to these treasures and to hand them on in a
manner harmonious with the nature and the genius of each
nation. Let them reflect attentively on how Christian
religious life may be able to assimilate the ascetic and
contemplative traditions whose seeds were sometimes already
planted by God in ancient cultures prior to the preaching
of the gospel.
"ancient cultures" whose gods were "devils,"
and whose sacrifices were offered "to devils and not
to God" (I Cor. 10:20), are unjustly re-evaluated by
the Council, which wants to recognize in them a salvific
presence of "semina Verbi" of the "seeds
of revealed Truth." But that violates a truth always
held to belong to the deposit of Faith. In Lumen Gentium
§17 and in Ad Gentes §11, the same idea is applied
to all contemporary non-Christian peoples, including pagans:
missionaries must discover the "hidden seeds of the
Word" in the people whose evangelization has been entrusted
false representation of Hinduism, because Nostra Aetate
in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express
it through an unspent fruitfulness of myths and through
searching philosophical inquiry. They seek release from
the anguish of our human condition through ascetical practices
or deep meditation or a loving, trusting flight toward
is a false representation because it leads the Catholic
to see Hindu mythology and philosophy as valid, as if they
might effectively "search for" the "divine
mystery," and as if Hindu asceticism and meditation
bring about something similar to Christian asceticism. On
the contrary, we know that the mix of mythology, magic,
and speculation that characterizes Indian spirituality from
the Veda era (16th to 10th centuries B.C.) was responsible
for a totally monist and pantheistic conception of the divinity
and the world, because by conceiving of God as a cosmic,
impersonal force, it does not admit the idea of creation,
and, consequently, it does not distinguish between sensible
reality and supernatural reality. Nor does it distinguish
between material and spiritual reality, nor between the
whole and specific elements. Because of this, all individual
existence dissolves into the amorphous cosmic One, from
which all emanates and to which all eternally returns. Thus,
the individual "I" is, per se, purely appearance.
The Council characterizes this thought as "penetrating,"
yet it lacks the idea of the individual soul (which was
well recognized by the Greeks) and what we call free will
and free choice.
to this the doctrine of reincarnation, a particularly perverse
idea. Reincarnation was explicitly condemned in the schema
of the Dogmatic Constitution De Deposito Fidel Pure Custodiendo,
which was elaborated during the preparatory phrase of
the Council. But John XXIII and the progressives saw to
it that it was run aground during the Council because of
its paucity of "ecumenical" character. There is
also the fact that so-called Hindu "asceticism"
is nothing more than a form of Epicureanism for Brahmins,
an egotistical and refined search for a superior spiritual
attitude toward all desire, even good, and toward all responsibility,
an indifference justified by the idea that all suffering
makes up for the faults committed in one's former life,
etc. One would really like to know how anyone could
want to lead Catholics into such a conception of the world?
false representation of Buddhism, an autonomous variant
partially purified of Hinduism. In fact, in Nostra Aetate
§2, one reads:
in its multiple forms acknowledges the radical insufficiency
of this shifting world. It teaches a path by which men,
in a devout and confident spirit, can either reach a state
of absolute freedom or attain supreme enlightenment by
their own efforts or by higher assistance.
is a portrait of Buddhism a la de Lubac, one revised
and corrected so that ignorant Catholics can think well
of it. Such Catholics do not know that "the radical
insufficiency of this shifting world" is enshrined
by Buddhists in a veritable "metaphysics of nonbeing,"
according to which the existence of the world and the self
are illusory and appearance only. Therefore, Buddhism does
not just say that the self and the world are decaying and
transient, but still truly real, as for the Christian. For
the Buddhist, everything "is being made and is decaying"
simultaneously. Life is a continual flux filled with universal
pain and grief. In order to banish this sadness, it is necessary
to persuade oneself that all is vain. It is also necessary
to free oneself from all desire and to entrust oneself to
undergo an intellectual initiation, a gnosis similar to
the Hindus' (going so far as to permit "sexual magic"
in Tantric Buddhism). This gnosis must make us arrive at
complete indifference to everything, which is termed, Nirvana,
meaning "disappearance," "extinction":
a final condition of absolute privation, in which there
is nothing but nonexistence, the void, in which the self
is totally extinguished in order to be anonymously dissolved
into the All and the One. This is the "state of absolute
freedom" or "supreme enlightenment" that
Vatican II dared to offer to the attention and respect of
Lumen Gentium §16, the statement:
the plan of salvation ( propositum salutis ) also
includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first
place ( in primis ) among these there are the Moslems,
who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with
us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day
will judge mankind ( qui fidem Abrahae se tenere profitentes,
nobiscum Deum adorant unicum, etc. ).
statement falsely attributes adoration of our God to the
Moslems, and includes them, per se, in the plan of
salvation. This statement is contrary to dogma because those
who do not worship the true God are not included in the
plan of salvation. And the Moslems do not adore the true
God because, although they attribute to God (Allah = "God"),
the creation of "the world" and "man"
from nothing, and accord traditional attributes of omnipotence
and omniscience to Him, and although they recognize him
as Judge of human beings at the end of time, Allah is not
thought of as God the Father, who in His goodness created
man "in his image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26; Deut.
32:6, etc.). Further, Moslems do not believe in the
Holy Trinity, and their abhorrence of it repeats the Jews'
error. Consequently, they deny grace, our Lord's Divinity,
Incarnation, Redemption, His death on the Cross, and His
Resurrection. They deny all of our dogmas and refuse to
read the Old and New Testaments. Because they obviously
contain no mention of Mohammed, the Moslems consider the
Old and New Testaments to be falsified texts.
Moslems deny free will (defended only by a few minority
Moslem exegetes who are viewed as heretics), while professing
an absolute determinism which admits of there being no place
in the world for true relationships between cause and effect,
so that, out of time, all of our actions, good or bad, have
already been "created" by Allah's inscrutable
decree (Koran 54: 52-53).
Gentium §16's recognition of Islam is repeated in an
even more detailed and gravely erroneous way in the Declaration
Nostra Aetate's §3:
the Moslems, too, the Church looks with esteem. They adore
one God, living and enduring, merciful and all-powerful,
Maker of heaven and earth and Speaker to men (qui unicum
Deum adorant etc...., homines allocutum). They strive
to submit wholeheartedly even to His inscrutable decrees
(cuius occultis etiam decretis toto animo se submittere
student), just as did Abraham, with whom the Islamic
faith is pleased to associate itself.
goes so far as to state that the God in whom the Moslems
believe "has spoken to men"! Therefore, by this
does the Council demonstrate that it views as authentic
the "revelation" transmitted by Mohammed in the
Koran? If so, isn't this implicit apostasy from the Christian
faith, given that the "revelation" in the Koran
specifically contradicts all of Christianity's basic truths?
it also represents the Moslems' way of believing precisely
as they themselves understand it, as if to approve it. In
fact, it employs the usage, "submission to God,"
which is the meaning of the term "Islam" (submission),
and whose substantive adjective is muslim (Mussulman
= submission [to God]). In its entirety, this passage seems
to reflect the Koran's own 4:124: "And who has a better
religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah,
doing good and following the belief of Abraham, like a pure
monotheist (hanif)?" Finally, the allusion
to obedience to the decrees of Allah "even if they
are hidden" has a strong Islamic aura because it reminds
us that in the Koran, Allah is defined as "the visible
and the hidden" (57:3), visible in his works and hidden
in his decrees. Therefore it seems that the Council wanted
to have its "esteem" understood, rather than shrink
from according such esteem to the Koran and Islam because
of the ambiguous, troubling, impenetrable quality of the
entity spoken of in the Koran.
II praise of the Moslems' profession of the "faith"
of Abraham, as if it constitutes a quality linking them
to us, obscures the truth, since we know that the Abraham
of the Koran, who is infused with a legendary and apocryphal
quality, does not correspond to the real Abraham, who is
evidently the Abraham of the Bible. This, because the Koran
attributes a "pure monotheism" or anti-Trinitarianism,
anterior to Judaic and Christian monotheism, to Abraham.
Thus, as an Arab prophet and a descendant of Abraham thanks
to Israel, Mohammed would have been sent in order to restore
this pure monotheism by liberating it from the so-called
Jewish and Christian falsifications!
Nostra Aetate §3 also takes into serious consideration
the veneration that the Moslems accord Jesus and the Blessed
Virgin Mary: "Though they do not acknowledge Jesus
as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary,
His virgin Mother; at times they call on her, too, with
it is well known that the Koran's "Christology"
is founded on an altered and deformed Jesus of the apocryphal
gospels and of all sorts of Gnostic heresies that proliferated
in Arabia in Mohammed's time. The Koran's Jesus (Isa) was
born of a virgin through a divine intervention (of the angel
Gabriel), a prophet particularly appreciated by Allah, a
simple mortal whom Allah permitted to work numerous miracles,
a prophet who thus preached the same monotheism as that
attributed to Abraham (57:26-27), whose recited formula
is: "There is no God but God, one, lord" (38:65).
This is why, for the Moslems, Jesus was a servant of God
(19:31), submissive to Allah, that is, a Moslem, a Mussulman,
to the point that, like Abraham, he announced the coming
of Mohammed (51:6)! Therefore, when the Moslems venerate
Jesus as a prophet, they mean that he is a "prophet
of Islam," a lie that any Catholic, provided that he
still has the Faith, obviously cannot accept.2
for the Moslem veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that
they "sometimes call on her with devotion," from
a practical standpoint, it must be said that this "devotion"
is meaningless and based on superstition. Such as it is,
this "devotion" to Mary is such only in terms
of her being the mother of a "prophet of Islam,"
and not because she is the Mother of God. Therefore, it
is offensive to Catholic ears.
it is necessary to repeat that the Koran's "Mariology"
is also entirely corrupted because its origins are in apocryphal
and heretical sources. The existences of St. Joseph and
the Holy Ghost are completely ignored. And Mary is called
"sister of Aaron," "sister of Moses,"
and "daughter of Imram" (Hebr. Amram), who was
their father (Num. 26:59), thus confusing her with the prophetess
Mary (Ex. 15: 21) who lived circa 12 centuries before Christ!
And as if this weren't enough, she is introduced into the
Christian Trinity, so detested, and which is denied with
such aggressiveness, because, according to the Koran, it
is made up of God (the Father), Mary (Mother) and Jesus
(the Son): "Jesus never said: take me and my mother
as two divinities, before God"! (5:116).
Finally, Nostra Aetate §3 seems to praise the Moslems
and to present them as an example to Catholics because "they
await the day of judgment when God will give each man his
due after raising him up. Consequently, they prize the moral
life and give worship to God especially through prayer,
almsgiving and fasting." The article concludes:
in the course of the centuries many quarrels and hostilities
have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this most
sacred Synod urges all to forget the past and to strive
sincerely for mutual understanding. On behalf of all mankind,
let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering
social justice, moral values, peace, and freedom.
facts are also overturned here, since the bloody, long,
and cruel battles, faith against faith, that we have had
to launch over the course of the centuries to repulse Islam's
assault, are adroitly reduced to the size of simple "quarrels
and hostilities." Passed over in silence are the abysmal
differences that exist between Catholic and Moslem eschatology
(the absence of a Beatific Vision, the luxury of paradise,
the eternity of infernal punishments reserved only for infidels),
as well as the abysmal differences between our and their
conception of "moral life" and of "veneration":
Islam is a religion which not only allows unacceptable moral
structures, such as polygamy, with all of its corollaries,
but also alleges to guarantee salvation simply by carrying
out legalistic practices of worship: therefore, it is an
exterior and legalist religion, even more so than
Pharisaism, expressly condemned by our Lord (cf. Mt. 6:5).
of this is passed over in silence in order to invite us
into collaboration that is impossible for the simple reason
that the meaning the Moslems give to the words "social
justice," "peace," "freedom," etc.,
is merely that which can be drawn from the Koran or
from the words and deeds of Mohammed, a meaning established
over the course of the centuries by "orthodox"
interpretation: an Islamic meaning totally different
from our own. For example, Moslems do not understand
peace in the way that the currently reigning Pope understands
it. They do not believe that Moslems can live under infidels.
This is why they divide the world into two parts, one where
Islam rules (the house of Islam) and the rest of
the world, necessarily an enemy unless it converts and submits
(house of war), the rest of the world with whom the
Islamic community believes itself to be perpetually at war.
Therefore, for them, peace is not an end in itself that
allows them to coexist with different nations and religions;
it is only a means, imposed by circumstances which
oblige them to make truces with infidels. But the truce
must have a limited duration; it must never exceed ten years;
and every time they have the means, then war must be resumed.
For the Moslem, this is a juridical, religious, and moral
obligation. It is in force until the final, inevitable battle
that results in the installation of a world Islamic State.
Council seems to justify its statement that "the Moslems
adore with us the one true God, etc." by the
quote contained in a note of personal gratitude sent by
St. Gregory VII, Pope from 1073 to 1085, to Anazir, Emir
of Mauritania. The Emir had been well disposed to oblige
certain of the Pope's requests and had also been generous
concerning some Christian whom he had taken prisoner. In
this letter, the Pope stated that this act of "goodness"
was "inspired by God," who commanded us to love
our neighbor, and specifically asks "from us and you...that
we believe in and confess the same God, although by different
modes (licet diverso modo), that we praise and venerate
each day the Creator of the ages and master of this world"
(PL, 148, 451 A). How can such a statement be explained?
The answer: by that era's ignorance regarding the religion
founded by Mohammed.
the time of St. Gregory VII, the Koran had not yet been
translated into Latin. This is why basic aspects of its
"credo" were not understood. It was known that
the Moslems, those fierce enemies of Christianity, who suddenly
emerged from the Arabian desert in 633 with a conquering
violence, would sometimes demonstrate a certain respect
for Jesus, but only as a prophet, and for the Virgin Mary;
that they believed in one God, in the inspired nature of
Sacred Scripture, in the Judgment and in a future life.
Consequently, they could have been taken for an heretical
Christian sect ("the Mohammedan sect"), an equivocation
that was held for a long time since, at the beginning of
the 14th century, Dante placed Mohammed in hell among heretics
and schismatics (Hell, XVIII, V. 31 ff.).
is in this context that the praise privately addressed to
the Emir by Gregory VII ought to be seen: praise for someone
held to be a heretic who, on this occasion, had behaved
charitably, as if the true God, in whom he thought he believed,
had touched his heart. Thus, in effect, one can speak of
a heretic who believes in the same God as ours, but in a
different way. Nevertheless, St. Gregory VII's praise of
the Emir did not prevent him from defending, in a perfectly
coherent way, the idea of an expedition launched from all
of the Christian countries against the Moslems, in order
to help Eastern Christianity when it was threatened with
extinction. This idea was carried out shortly after his
death with the first crusade, preached by Urban II.
first Latin translation of the Koran did not take place
until 1143, fifty-eight years after the death of St. Gregory
VII, by the Englishman Robert de Chester for the Abbot of
Cluny, Peter the Venerable, who added a strong refutation
of the Islamic creed. Actually, this translation was a summary
of the Koran, and remained the only translation for many
centuries, until the critical and complete version was done
by Fr. Marracci in 1698. In the first half of the 15th century,
the Cardinal of Cusa set the stage for this first translation
by writing his famous Cribatio Alcorani, a critical
study of the Koran. This preceded by a few years the Bull
issued in October 1458 by Pius II (Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini)
for the purpose of launching a crusade (which was never
carried out) against the Turks who surged into the Balkans
after having seized Constantinople. In this Bull, the Pope
referred to the Moslems as disciples of the "false
prophet Mohammed," a definition that he reasserted
on September 12, 1459, in a remarkable speech in the Mantua
Cathedral, where the Diet charged with approving the crusade
was convoked. In this speech, he referred again to Mohammed
as an impostor; he also said that if the Sultan Mehmed were
not stopped, after subjugating all of the Western princes,
he would then "destroy the Gospel of Christ and impose
the law of his false prophet on the entire world."3
Therefore, this speech rectified the former perception and
constituted the Pontifical teaching's clear and strong condemnation
of Islam and its prophet. Once and for all, it eliminated
the equivocation which had defined Islam as a Christian
In Nostra Aetate §4, the propositions:
authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead
pressed for the death of Christ (cf. Jn. 19:6); still,
what happened in His passion cannot be blamed upon all
the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the
Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of
God, the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or
cursed by God, as if such views followed from the holy
to note here is the attempt to limit the responsibility
for Deicide to a small group of quasi private individuals,
whereas the Sanhedrin, the supreme religious authority,
represented all of Judaism. Therefore, in the rejection
of the Messiah and Son of God, it had collective responsibility
for the Jewish religion and the Jewish people, and this
irrefutably is stated in Holy Scripture: "And from
then on, Pilate was looking for a way to release him. But
the Jews cried out, saying, 'If thou release this man, thou
are no friend of Caesar; for everyone who makes himself
king sets himself against Caesar'" (Jn. 19:12); and
"And all of the people answered and said, 'His blood
be on us and our children'" (Mt. 27:25).
striking is the statement that "the Jews should not
be presented as repudiated or cursed by God, as if such
views followed from the holy Scriptures." This lacks
the necessary distinction between individuals and the Jewish
religion. If the subject is individual Jews, the statement
is true, and is exemplified by the great number of converts
from Judaism in all eras. But if the subject is Judaism
as a religion, the assertion is both erroneous and
illogical: erroneous, because it contradicts the
evangelical texts and the Church's constant faith from her
origins. (Cf. Mt. 21:43: "Therefore I say to you, that
the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will
be given to a people yielding its fruits.") And it
is illogical, because if God did not reject the Jewish religion
or the Jewish people in the religious sense (which in Jesus'
time was one and the same thing), then the Old Testament
has to be viewed as being still valid, and contiguous and
concurrent with the New Testament. This, then, would sanction
the unjustified awaiting of the Messiah, a hope still entertained
by today's Jews! All of this is a totally lying representation
of Judaism and its relationship to Christianity.
The unacceptable statement, contrary to the eternal doctrine
of the Church as well as to all Catholic exegesis, that
the books of the Old Testament clarify and explain the New,
whereas it has always been taught that the opposite is true,
without reciprocity, and, therefore, that the New
Testament sheds light upon and explains the Old Testament.
Dei Verbum § 16 states:
the inspirer and author of both testaments, wisely arranged
that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old
be made manifest in the New. For, though Christ established
the New Covenant in His blood (cf. Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25),
still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts,
caught up in the proclamation of the gospel, acquire and
show forth their full meaning in the New Testament [a
true affirmation up to this point. -Ed.] and
in turn shed light on it and explain it [a false affirmation,
contradicting the preceding one].
inversion of Catholics' mission regarding the members of
than exhort the faithful to a renewed energy for converting
the greatest number of unbelievers possible by wresting
them out of the shadows they are in, in Nostra Aetate
§2, the Council exhorts her sons:
and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with
the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian
faith and life, acknowledge, preserve, and promote the
spiritual and moral goods found among these men, as well
as the values in their society and culture.
other words, it is saying that [the Church's sons] should
conduct themselves in such a way that the Buddhists, Hindus,
Moslems, and Jews, etc., remain Buddhists, Hindus,
Moslems, and Jews, etc., and that [the Church's sons]
should even "promote" the social and cultural
values of their respective religions, all hostile to revealed
truth. This exhortation expresses a general principle set
forth by the Council to the "Church" which was
to be born of its reforms and which defines itself as "the
Conciliar Church" (cf. Cardinal Benelli), a principle
which tells "the people of God"-priests and laity-the
attitude that they are to take concerning the "separated
brethren" and all non-Christians. This and other pastoral
exhortations (for example in Lumen Gentium §17';
Gaudium et Spes §28; Unitatis Redintegratio §4)
constitute overt treason against the order given by the
Risen Christ Jesus to the Apostles: "Go then, teach
all nations" (Mt. 28:19), an order which, mutatis
mutandis, is valid for all believers, insofar as they
are able, because every believer, as miles Christi, must
bear witness to the faith according to the works of corporal
and spiritual mercy.
can anyone be surprised that the application of this deadly
exhortation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Catholics
having already become Buddhists or Moslems, whereas the
conversions of Buddhists or Moslems to Catholicism are practically
nonexistent? How can anyone deny that this exhortation
is one of the factual proofs that the post-conciliar
crisis has its roots in the false doctrines which suffused
the Council's texts?
Errors Concerning Politics,
Political Community, and Relations Between Church and State
non-Catholic idea of "political life" that seems
to conform to the secular principle of humanity. Gaudium
et Spes §73 states:
better way exists for attaining a truly human political
life than by fostering an inner sense of justice, benevolence,
and service for the common good, and by strengthening
basic beliefs about the true nature of the political community,
and about the proper exercise and limits of public authority.
the text is not concerned with "political life"
marked by Christian values, but "political life"
marked by human values, that is, by values that are generally
characterized by "an inner sense of justice, service
for the common good." In fact, in this scheme, it is
not a question of intellect and will adhering to principles
of "justice" and "charity" and to "service"
founded on revealed Truth, principles that are objectively
set forth by God and taught by the Church throughout the
centuries, and necessitate our adherence to them.
Rather it is a matter of values merely heeding to an "inner
sense" (interiorem...sensum) which the subject
can have regarding these values, so that they are consequently
based on the subject, on his opinions: a subjectivist
idea of "political life," of praxis in general,
or of orthopraxis (right conduct). Totally foreign to Catholicism,
and even mortally contrary to it, this is typical of modern
The definition of "the true nature of political community"
which must contribute to the installation of "truly
human political life" (GS §73, cit.)
is situated within the same perspective marked by secularism
and immanentism, and is not Catholic. In fact, it does not
define what a "political community" is per
se, but only states that it exists "as a function
of the common good." Gaudium et Spes §74 sets
forth the relationship between the two:
families, and various groups which compose the civic community
are aware of their own insufficiency in the matter of
establishing a fully human condition of life. They see
the need for that wider community in which each would
daily contribute his energies toward the ever better attainment
of the common good. It is for this reason that they set
up the political community in its manifold expressions.
this an idea of the common good that harmonizes with the
traditional teaching of the Church? No, because this
conception identifies the common good with "conditions
of social life" that allows individual and collective
"accomplishment" that demonstrate no connection
to the supernatural. This then is a doctrinal error because
the Church has always insisted on the fact that, although
enjoying a certain autonomy, the pursuit of the temporal
common good must, nevertheless, always work toward the pursuit
of the "highest good" which, for everyone, is
salvation and the Beatific Vision. In Immortale Dei,
Leo XIII, in wrote:
favoring public prosperity, civil society...must provide
for the good of the citizens not only by opposing every
obstacle, but by assuring all of the possible means for
the pursuit and acquisition of this supreme and immutable
good to which they aspire. The first of these means consists
in according respect for the holy and inviolable observance
of religion whose just acts unite man to God.4.
"accomplishment" spoken of by the Council, on
the contrary, concerns human values and not Christian ones.
Too, the existence of authority presiding over the realization
of the common good is justified, but with one reservation:
it must not exercise its function "in a mechanical
[?] or despotic fashion, but by acting above all as a moral
force which appeals to each one's freedom and sense of responsibility"
(GS §74). This means that there is a reservation
in favor of democracy, expressed in the emphasis placed
on "liberty" and "the sense of responsibility"
understood as the presiding authority's determinate values
in the exercise of its power.
is only after this clarification that the conciliar text
recalls Rom. 13:1-5, which establishes the divine
origin of all constituted authority. But the text invokes
this passage by deforming and reversing it, since it states:
"It is therefore obvious that the political community
and public authority are based on human nature and hence
belong to an order of things divinely foreordained"
(GS §74). The distortion, and even the inversion,
are found in the statement that the "political community"
and authority have their basis in "human nature"
and thus (ideoque) "belong to an order
of things divinely foreordained [praefinitum]."
This amounts to placing man before God, and views him
as being the "basis" in the "human nature"
of the political community of the democratic type (because
it is founded on "liberty" and a "sense of
responsibility"). This, then, is a substantive condition
of his "belonging" to the order fixed by God.
But in this, there is nothing of the Apostle of the Gentile's
idea that the Holy Ghost teaches us that all "potestas"
comes from God, on which all government takes its form,
and which has its "foundation" in human nature,
and in human nature corrupted by original sin, and so always
needing the sword of civil power to restrain it.
The obscure explanation that:
also follows that political authority, whether in the
community as such or in institutions representing the
state, must always be exercised within the limits of morality
and on behalf of the dynamically conceived common good,
according to a juridical order enjoying legal status.
When such is the case citizens are conscience-bound to
obey (GS §74).
is an obscure statement because it does not say which
"morality" this concerns. Also, it is impossible
to understand what "the dynamically conceived common
good" means. This dynamism is the quality so much desired
as the backdrop of the myth of progress, growth and expansion
of human activity in the universe, in sum, the values of
the age, but not Catholic values.
A type of ideal individual that the so called "political
community" ought "to form." This is not at
all Catholic, since, as Gaudium et Spes explains
in article 74:
practical ways in which the political community structures
itself and regulates public authority can vary according
to the particular character of a people and its historical
development. But these methods should always serve to
mold men who are civilized, peace-loving, and well disposed
toward ail-to the advantage of the whole human family.
us compare this portrait with that of the perfect Freemason
as it appears in one of the Order's many Constitutions:
Mason is a peaceful subject of the civil powers, where
he resides and works, and he ought never to become involved
in plots or conspiracies against the public peace or the
good of the nation, nor disobey his superior. (Grand Loge
des Sept Provinces Unies des Pays-Bas, S'Gravenhage, 1761,
in an appendix of G. Fay's, La Franc-maçonnerie et
la revolution intellectuelle du XVIII siècle, whose
article 43 invites Christians to conduct themselves as
"citizens of the world."; cf §17.5.)
A definition of love of country that flows more with the
meaning of humanitarianism and
fraternity than the traditional Catholic meaning:
should develop a generous and loyal devotion to their
country, but without any narrowing of mind. In other words,
they must always look simultaneously to the welfare of
the whole human family, which is tied together by the
manifold bonds linking races, peoples, and nations. (GS
tradition has never seen in "the human family"
any value superior to that which is inherent in Christian
societies and nations, which, on the contrary, must be defended-sometimes
militarily-against the assault of a world hostile to Christ
(for example in the case of Islamic expansion into Europe).
An ideal type of politician (one who exercises the "most
honorable art of politics") which has nothing Catholic
about it, since he is just the democratic political stereotype
of both the past and present:
those who are suited for it, or can become so, prepare
themselves for the difficult but most honorable art of
politics. Let them work to exercise this art without thought
of personal convenience and without benefit of bribery.
Prudently and honorably let them fight against injustice
and oppression, the arbitrary rule of one man or one party,
and lack of tolerance. Let them devote themselves to the
welfare of all sincerely and fairly, indeed with charity
and political courage. (Gaudium et Spes §75)
is a cloying and rhetorical portrait, generic and banal.
It is completely devoid of the fundamental qualities proper
to any Catholic statesman, as the spirit of an ecumenical
Council ought to define him: engagement on behalf of the
defense and affirmation of the Catholic religion and of
the morality the Catholic religion teaches.
idea that the independence of the "political community"
is such that it excludes all, even indirect, subordination
with regard to the Church. According to GS §76:
their proper spheres, the political community and the
Church are mutually independent and self-governing. Yet,
by a different title, each serves the personal and social
vocation of the same human beings. This service can be
more effectively rendered for the good of all, if each
works better for wholesome mutual cooperation, depending
on the circumstances of time and place. For man is not
restricted to the temporal sphere. While living in history
he fully maintains his eternal vocation.
it is just to state, in a general way, that "in their
proper spheres, the Church and the political community are
mutually independent and self-governing," for, from
the point of view of organization, they have independent
structures (cf. Immortale Dei, Denzinger 1866), on
the other hand, it is false to state that, all that they
have in common is the fact that they "serve" a
generic "personal and social vocation of the same human
beings," which should lead them to seek "wholesome
mutual cooperation, depending on the circumstances of time
and place"-in other words according to a simple criterion
doctrine contradicts all previous teaching, which has always
affirmed the primacy of the Church, in as much as
it is a societas perfecta, over civil society or
the so-called "political community," and therefore
her potestas indirecta (indirect power) over it.
This primacy, as regards the end, is justified because of
the necessary subordination of the temporal common good,
towards which the "political community" tends,
to the supreme good towards which the Church aims. But the
end which Vatican II attributes to the Church is an earthly
one. Therefore, of itself, this end is not any different
from that of the "political community" as it appears
in GS §76, where, quoting Lumen Gentium §13, it is
repeated that the Church does "foster and take to herself,
insofar as they are good, the ability, resources, and customs
of each people. Taking them to herself, she purifies, strengthens,
and ennobles them."
"healthy collaboration" of the "political
community" with the Catholic Church cannot be left
to the mercy of circumstances, nor can it be a function
of so-called "human" values. On the contrary,
it is necessary to reaffirm that this "collaboration"
is a duty for the States because they have the obligation
to defend the one true, revealed Religion and to achieve
the social Kingship of Christ by imprinting Catholic values
on the common good. It must also be noted that the false
doctrine of the independence and separation of the "political
community" and Church was already condemned by Pius
IX in proposition 55 of the Syllabus, as well
as by St. Pius X in the Encyclical Pascendi, against
Quotations are from The Documents of Vatican II, ed.
Walter M. Abbott, SJ. (NY: America Press,
Cf. R. Arnaldez, Jesus, fils de Marie, Prophete de I'lslam
(Jesus, Son of Mary, Prophet of Islam), (Paris,
1980), pp.11-22, 129-141.
Cf. C. DeFrede, La premiere traduction italienne du Coran
(The First Italian Translation of the Koran),
(Naples, 1967); F. Babinger, Mahomet le conquerant (Mohammed
the Conqueror), 1947.
Leo XIII, ImmortaleDei, Nov. 1, 1885, and St. Thomas
De Reg. Princ. I, XV.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)
2003 Volume XXVI, Number 9