11 comments

  1. Liberalism. It pains me to see how much it infects Catholics and Christians in general. According to liberalism, if our dogmas teach that sin leads to everlasting torment, our dogmas are wrong. You can replace sin in general with the cause celebre sin of the day–see usury, divorce, sodomy, etc.

    Go to Zippy Catholic’s blog if you ever have a chance. Every discussion about liberalism inevitably devolves into (rightist) liberals trying to salvage a nice, manageable liberalism from the clear light of Church teaching.

  2. How are you defining liberalism (Right and Left) and what are the rights of Christ the King? How is liberalism incompatible with Christianity and/or Catholic theology? Can you summarize? On the theological side, is there a difference between what some, perhaps post-Vatican II members of the Magesterium teach as opposed to other, perhaps pre-Vatican II documents might say? While true believers might point to proof as to what the real teaching of the Church is, can an outsider legitimately be confused as to which authority in Catholicism represents that real teaching? I feel like there is a great deal of context assumed in posts and comments like this that simply stipulate what the terms mean and that they are unquestionably incompatible.

    1. Liberalism is an ideology rooted in 18th century post-enlightenment thought. The United States and French Revolution were founded on its principles and the 19th Century was rocked by it in both Europe and Latin America.

      “Conservativism”, on he other hand, is just the defense of the status quo whether it be communism, liberalism, protestantism, Americanism, or what have you. In the US, the “conservatives” are liberals and they are opposed by the pernicious progressive socialists.

      Both are unacceptable from an orthodox Christian standpoint.

      1. Respectfully, that still very general and more of a stipulation. I am seriously not sure I understand what is unacceptable or incompatible, whatever the roots, etc. Maybe this isn’t the place to explore those reasons.

        1. More specifically, why you/some/traditionalist Catholics view “liberalism” of whatever sort as unacceptable.

            1. I knew a Protestant minister who converted to Orthodoxy. Many of his former peers in ministry were all up in arms about how this person had broken his ordination vows to uphold that church body’s official teachings. Of course, Martin Luther had done the same thing relative to his vows as a priest and religious. What stuck in my mind was the response to the inconsistency. A pastor with a very public in that church body said something to the effect, “The difference is Rome and Orthodoxy are wrong.” In effect, his argument was, “error has no rights”, which is very much a part of “The Program of Christ Against The Plans of Satan” by Fr. Denis Fahey, C.S. Sp. It’s all fine and good to proclaim that “it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights” in theory. In practice, the difficulty is in determining who defines error and truth. Protestants used this line of argument against Catholics, Orthodox, the wrong kind of Protestants, Native American animists, and every other non-Protestant they came in contact with at home and in the colonies. Muslims have used the same argument against Christians of all stripes, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. The way some ‘traditionalist’ Catholics speak it would seem they have been persecuted by ‘progressive’ Catholic hierarchs, including the current Pope. That is, “error has no [or limited] rights.” That’s all fine and good as long as you are the one wielding the sword and defining truth and error. I’m not sure most religious people would want a good number of their co-religionists in charge of defining orthodoxy and heresy for their religion, much less all of society. The argument that “the difference is we are right and they are wrong” is wrong.

            2. And I’m not meaning to be disrespectful or to suggest Rome should change its view, if that is its official teaching. One can see why the prospect of a ‘good’ Catholic like JFK raised Protestants’ hackles back in the day.

            3. Chris,

              This basically sounds like an argument for epistemological relativism. “Who can really know the truth? So…”

              Just because there are — and have always been — different religions, groups, etc. contending to profess the truth doesn’t mean there isn’t *the truth*, and standing contrary to *the truth* is error. Even if 99% of the people on the planet profess error, that does not mean they have the right to profess it, just as no right to rape or murder arises from the fact that these two acts are commonplace in human history. That is the principle that is being upheld here, over and against liberalism with its strange mix of agnosticism toward the truth while, ironically, professing absolute truth claims about human beings, society, religion, etc.

              Just because Protestant and Orthodox polities have suppressed the fulness of truth at various points in history does not mean they were right to do so. However, as classic Catholic doctrine maintains, a principle of tolerance may need to be exercised in order to avert worse social harms, such as uprisings, rebellions, etc. In other words, in a Catholic polity which also has longstanding religious minorities such as Jews, Protestants, Muslims, etc., those groups ought to be tolerated (unless social welfare demands otherwise).

            4. I don’t think a Catholic would be content or feel secure living under a non-Catholic regime professing the same commitment to absolute truth and tolerance. Do unto others… The Muslim analogy is easiest, and it also quickly goes to the distrust regarding the toleration espoused when Islam is in the minority as opposed to what tolerance should be expected in its majority.

              Not sure an organization like a state need profess any position on absolute truth, for that matter. States aren’t saved or damned, persons are. Only a “who” need have an opinion on such matters, perhaps a “what” can be excused for not knowing the truth.

              One need not be a relativist to acknowledge most people throughout most of history have not known the truth – and perhaps were unable to for various reasons – and that is true regardless of which system or organization is claiming it alone has the fullness of the Truth. Acknowledging such as a practical matter of fact when organizing society – and humanity’s seeming inability to live up to whatever Truth a portion of it claims to understand and follow – wouldn’t seem to require either relativism or agnosticism. That is, I can know killing is wrong and still support a system that assumes it will happen and acknowledges it may even be necessary, acceptable, or allowable under certain circumstances.

              None of what I wrote should be taken to argue for the absolute virtues of the state over and against “religion”, either, cf. William T. Cavanaugh, “The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict” (Oxford University Press, 2009).

              Sounds like preaching to the choir and yearning for a golden age of Holy Spain, pre-Revolutionary France, the Holy Roman Empire, etc. in a way very much like the same tendency in Orthodoxy (and other religions), but I understand your points better, now. Thanks.

              The fact you are arguing for this would imply this teaching is not as widely accepted within Catholicism as you would like. Is this true of American or European Catholicism alone, or is this a view commonly held throughout global Catholicism, at the Vatican, by the Pope? That is, is this something more like the SSPX view of Catholic political theology?

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