The Kingship of Christ over All Human Societies: Modern Catholic Social Teaching on the separation of Church and State

The Apostolic letter Post tam Diuturnas and the later encyclical Quas Primas were both explicitly hostile to eighteenth-century notions of the separation of Church and State.  In Arcanum and elsewhere, Leo XIII envisioned the Church and the State as working together:  “If civil power combines in a friendly manner with the spiritual power of the Church, it necessarily follows that both parties will greatly benefit.”  St. Pius X was outspoken on the issue, and Pius XI asserted that the “Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs” was a “grave error.”  Casti Connubi is quite fulsome in its expressed desire that the State will “assist” the Church by creating laws that protect all those matters that we now identify with “the culture of life,” including the discouragement of divorce and birth control.

Papal statements denouncing any assertion for the “separation of church and state” are uniform in the eighteenth through twentieth centuries.  A summary of early statements can be found in the “syllabus” collected by Bl. Pius IX and promulgated in Quant Cura.  This encyclical and its syllabus were referenced throughout the first half of the twentieths century.  It contains a group of errors related to Church-State relations, all soundly condemned.

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Tom Roeser on certain downtrodden minorities … and pro-lifers

…you have heard it said by Jefferson and Lincoln that all of us are equal. Not so.

All minorities are more than equal—as are these members of the downtrodden: gays, lesbians, transgenders—but not to be given any separate recognition are the unborn whose supporters come close to violating the sacred tradition of separation of church and state and allowing the pollution of the secular world with religiosity in contradistinction to the founders’ wishes.

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Matt C. Abbot talks with Fr. John Triglio about capital punishment and abortion

“Unlike abortion, which is intrinsically evil in every situation, capital punishment is a natural right of the state. Like war, however, the death penalty is not an absolute right. Both have significant restrictions and criteria in order for them to be done morally. Otherwise, both can be as immoral as murder or abortion if no attention is given to following the moral parameters established by the natural law and the Magisterium.”

And what are the moral parameters for capital punishment?

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Is it wrong for the Church to “interfere” in the political arena?

Q: Is it wrong for the Church to interfere in the political arena, as Nancy Pelosi recently claims the Catholic Church did, just prior to the Stupak Amendment passing in the House last month?

A:  Here is a quote from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on the subject:

“If by interference in politics is meant judging or condemning a philosophy of life which makes the party, or the state, or the class, or the race the source of all rights, and which usurps the soul and enthrones party over conscience and denies those basic rights for which this war was fought, the answer is emphatically Yes! The Church does judge such a philosophy. But when it does this, it is not interfering with politics, for such politics is no longer politics but Theology. When a State sets itself up as absolute as God, when it claims sovereignty over the soul, when it destroys freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, then the State has ceased to be political and has begun to be a counter-Church.” ~ Bishop Sheen, Characters of the Passion

Q&A provided by Phil S.

Submitted by Bob Stanley

A Guiding Principle to the Debate on Healthcare: The Principle of Subsidiarity

Given the anti-Catholic bias in many circles, I must point out that the Catholic Church has no desire to gain power over the State, or even impose its teachings on those who do not share our Faith. Nevertheless, the Church offers her various social teachings, such as the Principle of Subsidiarity, as guiding principles in order to do Her part to promote reasonable dialogue and to make the Church’s own contribution toward the common goal of a just solution to social issues such as healthcare.

We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est , 28).

The Principle of Subsidiarity, which has been an integral part of Catholic Social teaching for over a century, states that only things that need to be done at the national or “federal” level should be done by a “federal” government; and allows for things that can be done at the local or smaller level to be done at the more local and smaller units of society. Where individuals, intermediary groups, or small private groups of persons can address the particular exigencies and realities of a given situation, it is best to defer to such smaller groups because human beings need some flexibility and autonomy in order to effectively address their particular circumstances.

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