Category Archives: Society

Pius XI’s Condemnation of Communism – Relevant Still!

Part 4

Two key principles with which to address the errors of communism are the Existence of God and the Dignity of the Person.

God exists; therefore, people believe in him. This is the true order, not the reverse. Whereas the communists claim that God is the invention of the powers in the status quo. They invent God in order to appease the masses, claim the revolutionaries. But, only the ill-willed man disbelieves in God, claims Pius XI, echoing the biblical dictum: “The fool said in his heart, there is no God.”

Believe in God, and our spirits are enlightened by the true depth of our lives. Our end is God, and God alone. Each of us is called to him, to union with him. We are not just bodies. We are also spiritual. And in the end, we shall arise bodily. Thus, our hopes are not all and only in this world. Hence, we need not put our endless desire into only this-worldly hopes. Were we to do so, we should be plunged into a desperate search either (a) for more property alone, as the economic liberals selfishly do, or (b) for a classless society of equals, as those who rightly reject (a), most foolishly do. Rather, we can place things in proper perspective. We can work for equitable distribution of resources while not fomenting revolution and anti-religion to do so. And our very work unto this end is sanctifying.

We can sanctify our work in the humdrum ways. It is our cross and our joy.

This sanctification of work, and this effort to order society aright, is the Joy of the Gospel.

We have already discovered our human dignity in the above. For the individual human person is the only entity on earth with intellect and free will. The pope very simply, quite frankly, states an obvious fact that is ignored by many who promote “social justice”. The state, the corporation, has no free will. It is the persons in the state, the persons in the corporation who have free will. And free will is the primary locus of responsibility. When we act, each of us, in his own office, yes, we “amount” to something more than the sum of the individual efforts. Yes, there can be structures that cause, systematically, adverse circumstances for persons. Nevertheless, the moral culpability rests not on social structures. It rests on individuals, who are the ultimate source of such structures.

Trust God, and give him your true debt, and he in his wisdom will rightly order the resultant activity.

 

 

Pius XI’s Condemnation of Communism – Relevant Still!

Part 3

Now, in all this condemnation of communism, Pius XI is by no means endorsing classical liberalism. He is by no means endorsing Adam Smith. On the contrary, he writes,

“By pretending to desire only the betterment of the condition of the working classes, by urging the removal of the very real abuses chargeable to the liberalistic economic order, and by demanding a more equitable distribution of this world’s goods (objectives entirely and undoubtedly legitimate), the Communist takes advantage of the present world-wide economic crisis to draw into the sphere of his influence even those sections of the populace which on principle reject all forms of materialism and terrorism.”

On the other hand, the proponents of communism engage in uniquely brutal activities. And with perfect consistency, claims the great pope. For the system is materialistic. It contends that man is merely the matter from which he has sprung. For communism, man is only a product of blind evolution. He has no soul. He shall not live after he dies. The laws of morality are strictly derivable from economic considerations alone – and those, as read by the Marxists (a title he explicitly mentions, art. 8!). Hence, the Soviet, Mexican, and Spanish communists use techniques from which even barbarians would shrink in horror.

 

 

Pius XI against Communism: Relevant Still!

Part 2

Since the 1960s the Magisterium has refrained from naming specific states in its condemnations of abusive governments. Even the word “communism” appears seldom if at all. We should not take this as a sign that the Magisterium has no competence to name defective governments, that it is only the role of the laity to judge these matters. For Pius XI mentions the Soviet Union explicitly and gives the name Atheistic Communism to the subtitle of his great encyclical. He mentions bolshevism. He indicates that the sundry revolutionary movements in the world are being directed from Moscow (art. 5). He mentions Mexico and Spain (art. 18ff).  He also lists his various previous condemnations of communism in the same article. He mentions Pius IX’s and Leo XIII’s defenses of private property against the communistic revolts, in art. 4.

The genus of communism is, Pius XI states, false messianism. Its specific difference is dialectical materialism. In short, Communism preys off the ravages of arrogant monopolistic enterprises of classical liberals. Note: Classical liberal = modern “economic conservative”. (Positions regarding individual morality are a different matter.) These were non-religious profiteers. The communists rebelled against this evil, but not for the good; rather, the communists sought only to drum up the masses to an only this-worldly hope to be achieved by sedition, revolution and war. The aim of communism: total egalitarianism in a classless society and, therefore, as means unto this end, the destruction of all private property.

The first society to be “hit” by this anti-hierarchical movement is the family, which is essentially hierarchical. For, children must obey the parents, and the wife is to obey the husband. This, the perennial teaching of the Church and the divinely revealed faith of our fathers.

In addition, the very notion of the family is that it is a primordial society. Thus, the family is anterior to every other union of persons, especially that which is the state. But since communism recognizes only the state as a “person” (the term is legal) with rights, it necessarily aims at the destruction of the family. It severs the married woman from her family and thrusts her into the public world of work, the pope points out. It arrogates to itself alone the duty and right of educating children, and, if it permits parents a role here, it only uses parents to accomplish its ends.

This world-bound hope of communism presents itself as the “New Gospel” of salvation for all.

Pius XI against Communism: Relevant Still!

Part 1

It is time that Catholics return to a study of the Church’s definitive condemnation of communism. For many people begin with the banal a priori statement that the Church prescribes no particular form of government and proscribes no particular political party. But banal, a priori approaches to real and serious concrete issues amount to non-existence in the political realm. We cannot afford to be non-existent. In fact, that non-existence in the political realm is contrary to Catholic teaching and to the Social Kingship of Christ.

Thus, in the coming days, we will study Pius XI’s encyclical against Atheistic Communism.

Matrimony – Part 39 (Obedience within Marriage)

Part 39 Obedience in Marriage?

That wives should be subject to their husbands is also clearly taught by the great pope Pius XI in his clear and masterful Casti Connubii. He declares,

 “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]

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 39 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 38 (Obedience within Marriage)

 

Part 38 Obedience within Marriage?

Some would pretend that Paul did not say this, or that he did not mean it. They cite his opening verse: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21) as though it undermines what he teaches about headship. This is unfortunate, since it introduces chaos into the familial society. For, to eliminate proper leadership is to introduce chaos.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 38 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 37 (Obedience within Marriage)

 

Part 37 Obedience within Marriage?

There is a very important practical teaching that has woefully been neglected for over five decades. The Magisterium and Bishops and priests have been silent about this matter, much to the disruption of right order within the marriage.

The family is a society. It involves more than one rational agent. Plurality is part of the beauty of creation. But plurality is not good simply for its own sake, otherwise every example of plurality would be good. But chaos is an example of plurality. Ordered plurality is good; chaos is evil. A society without order is chaotic, tottering on collapse.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 37 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 36 (As Sacrament of Christ)

Part 36 Marriage as Sacrament

Much of what we have discussed above regarded any marriage, sacramental or simply natural. In all that we have said, one read the realities in a twofold light: the light of nature and the light of revelation. The latter shows the heights to which Christ has elevated this sacrament.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 36 (As Sacrament of Christ)

Matrimony – Part 35: Who constitutes a Marriage?

Part 35

We have seen all along what the Material Cause of marriage must be. Recall that the “material cause” is the “stuff out of which” the product is made. If the product is a marriage, the bond of spouses, then the material cause is the spouses. Since that bond is essentially procreative in orientation, the spouses must be sexual opposites. Man and woman are the material cause of marriage.

In sum, marriage is a sexual friendship; thus, its ingredients must be opposites, Male and Female. Any other relation is not genuinely sexual.

 

On Matrimony – Part 34 (Monogamy and Indissolubility Revisited)

Part 34

From the vantage point of the posts on procreation as the primary or defining end of the marital bond, we can from another angle appreciate the importance of the monogamy and indissolubility of marriage.

Children require an environment of the deepest personal maturity. Persons mature most deeply when they properly give themselves to each other. The natural way of totally giving oneself to another is through the friendship called marriage. This gift would require totality, love unto death. But such love can be very trying. At times, one might be tempted to give up. To bring out what is best in man and woman, God has decreed that this bond be indissoluble. And if a man is to lay his life entirely down in this relationship, he will have nothing left whereby to do it again for another woman. Therefore, the marriage should be monogamous and indissoluble.

John Paul II marvelously saw the signs of that totality in the very marriage act itself. There is an exhaustion that sweetly rests only with one another.