Warning!: SERIOUSLY heavy thinking needed. Proceed at your own risk!
Let those who say that the teaching of Christ is hurtful to the State produce such armies as the maxims of Jesus have enjoined soldiers to bring into being; such governors of provinces; such husbands and wives; such parents and children; such masters and servants; such kings; such judges, and such payers and collectors of tribute, as the Christian teaching instructs them to become, and then let them dare to say that such teaching is hurtful to the State. Nay, rather will they hesitate to own that this discipline, if duly acted up to, is the very mainstay of the commonwealth. (St Augustine of Hippo. Epist. 138 ad Marcellinum).
( IF duly acted UP to – there’s the rub!)
Hence, lest concord be broken by rash charges, let this be understood by all, that the integrity of Catholic faith cannot be reconciled with opinions verging on naturalism or rationalism, the essence of which is utterly to do away with Christian institutions and to install in society the supremacy of man to the exclusion of God. Further, it is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and never in the least point nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue.
But in matters merely political, as, for instance, the best form of government, and this or that system of administration, a difference of opinion is lawful. Those, therefore, whose piety is in other respects known, and whose minds are ready to accept in all obedience the decrees of the apostolic see, cannot in justice be accounted as bad men because they disagree as to subjects We have mentioned; and still graver wrong will be done them, if — as We have more than once perceived with regret — they are accused of violating, or of wavering in, the Catholic faith.
Let this be well borne in mind by all who are in the habit of publishing their opinions, and above all by journalists. In the endeavor to secure interests of the highest order there is no room for intestine strife or party rivalries; since all should aim with one mind and purpose to make safe that which is the common object of all — the maintenance of religion and of the State. If, therefore, they have hitherto been dissensions, let them henceforth be gladly buried in oblivion. If rash or injurious acts have been committed, whoever may have been at fault, let mutual charity make amends, and let the past be redeemed by a special submission of all to the apostolic see. In this way Catholics will attain two most excellent results: they will become helpers to the Church in preserving and propagating Christian wisdom, and they will confer the greatest benefit on civil society, the safety of which is exceedingly imperiled by evil teachings and bad passions. (From:IMMORTALE DEI Encyclical by Pope Leo XIII1885)
But then, lest we get carried away and think Leo X111 might have been a most excellent intellectual and True Man of God – the most perfect (infalliable) Catholic on the planet in His days as Pope… he also gave this Gem in the same Edict.
“To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”
Two Big problems there:
1. “…most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice.” Crap! Simply because MAN is imperfect and finite and therefore incapable of perfectly following God’s understanding and so forms countless variations of His Will (which, as i see it, is simply to unite with us as individuals in symbiosis and harmony) which man calls ‘a religion’ with various laws that are at variance with other humans who believe differently ( have a different religion/Faith) to the other groups, does not ultimately lead to the conclusion that man MUST reject all Religion in both theory and practice.
Simply because – God is Perfect and infinite (to our limited ability to understand ) and so can perform His Will over any failing of individual or ‘religion’s making.
it’s like saying that because ten different witnesses all have varying accounts of a crime that there was no crime committed because we cannot determine from each witness statement what actually happened.
All religions work towards the same goal ( prety much!?) 😉 union of us as individuals with a greater power than ourselves. Because NONE of us are exactly the same – neither can our religions be.
We do need however to select ONE WAY, one Faith, to hold dear to our Heart and do what it intends – without misunderstanding – and there is the difficulty that has bedeviled us all so far.
Our own understanding, and those of the humans who have usurped what a ‘Church’ truly is and made it into our own image, is ‘the Devil in us all.
2. Right at the very end – Leo XIII’s brain apparently gave out and ego cut in… ” and equally acceptable to God.” Only God can tell each one of us perfectly what IS and IS not acceptable to Him. We cannot fully KNOW the Mind of God. But Leo has a whole systematic religion (Catholicism) dedicated to declaring that Leo (all Popes) are infallible and apparently are able to issue edicts on all that is acceptable to the One God.
Makes for a bit of an ego ‘trip’ at times! Hopefully this was just one of few.