40 – A State should be secular. Peaceful coexistence between different religions is favored by the laicity of the state

Pilate, who was filled with fear in the presence of the God-Man, shielded himself with his temporal power to hide the dread and insecurity that was overwhelming him, threatening Jesus with his supposed authority, ‘Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?’ (Jn 19: 10). This gave the opportunity for our Divine Savior to confirm until the end of time the origin of any kind of worldly authority, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above’ (Jn 19:10). In consequence, within the development of Christianity it is entirely normal that the Western countries be configured in union with and under the influence of the Catholic Church, the promoter of universities, cultures and hospitals, etc., always spreading the light of the Gospel among all people with its beneficial action, and thus bringing them to surpass the pagans.

However, the great transformations in the Western world, provoked by the decadence of the Middle Ages, the calamitous convulsions of the French Revolution and finally the arrival at the modernization of the XIX century, fomented and reiterated the calumnious accusation that the Church was not a friend of the State, while affirming it incapable of promoting the development of a well constituted society. The separation between the two ambits was thus promoted, with all the consequences we are familiar with today. This is the topic that Leo XIII brought to light in his famous Encyclical Immortale Dei, regarding the Christian constitution of the State. Preoccupied with the winds of secularization and religious relativism of his time, the Pontiff recalled the Apostle’s avowal that ‘there is no authority except from God’ (Rom 13:1). And ‘since no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its reaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion – it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety’ (Immortale Dei, no. 6).

Regardless, and contrary to all historical evidence, in Francis’ view ‘the State should be secular’ and ‘confessional States end badly’…

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors

I – The State must not be indifferent with respect to religion
II – Benefits for the State by the recognition of the true Religion
III – Pernicious effects of the laicity of the State

I – The State must not be indifferent with respect to religion

Leo XIII

Justice and reason itself forbids the State to be godless or to treat various religions alike
It is a sin for the State not to have care for religion as something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit
Conflict between Church and State puts virtue to proof

Gregory XVI

Religious indifferentism is a most unhealthy error

Pius XII

It is the tradition of the Church to maintain the distinction, but also the unity of the two powers

Catechism of the Catholic Church

To the Church belongs the right to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order

II – Benefits for the State by the recognition of the true Religion

Gregory XVI

Concord between Church and State has always been fortunate and salutary for the ecclesiastical and the civil welfare

Leo XIII

The attempts of the sects would be vain if the doctrine of the Catholic Church had always survived among princes and peoples
Christ commanded His Church to restore whatever might have fallen into ruin in human society
The divine power of the Christian religion has given birth to order for the State
No better mode has been devised for the building up and ruling the State than following the teachings of the Gospel

Vatican Council II

Christian revelation leads us to a deeper understanding of the laws of social life

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church makes a moral judgment about economic and social matters, inspiring right attitudes with respect to socio-economic relationships

Saint Augustine

In this world the dominion of good men is profitable for human affairs
Two cities formed by two loves: the earthly by the egoistic love of self, the heavenly by the love of God – only in the latter can charity and justice reign

III – Pernicious effects of the laicity of the State

Pius XII

Laicity of the State deprives it of the beneficent and regenerating influence of God and the Church

Vatican Council I

The abandonment of God and his Christ overthrows the very foundations of human society

Saint Augustine

Justice being taken away, what are kingdoms but great robberies?

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    2 thoughts on “40 – A State should be secular. Peaceful coexistence between different religions is favored by the laicity of the state

    1. To argue the case for the laicity of the State is to propose the dethronement of Christ the King. Who could ever have imagined a Roman Pontiff backing such a tragedy? Well did Pope Gregory XVI call religious indifference “an insanity”.

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