POPE PIUS XI
To our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See: On atheistic Communism.
VENERABLE BRETHREN: GREETING AND APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION
The Menace of Communism
1. The promise of the divine Redeemer sheds its radiance upon the first pages of the history of man, and so a confident hope of better times softened his regrets for the "paradise of pleasure" 1 he had lost and attended him on his toilsome and anxious journey towards the "fulness of time." 2 Then came our Saviour at last, fulfilling the hope so long deferred and inaugurating for all peoples a new civilization, the Christian civilization, immeasurably superior to the culture which some advanced nations had contrived with great labour and difficulty to attain.
2. But ever since Adam's unhappy fall, and in consequence of that hereditary sin, virtue has had a bitter struggle to wage against the suggestions of vice, and the wily old tempter has never desisted from misleading men by false promises. The result has been one upheaval after another through the course of ages, until we have come to the revolution of our own time, now either already raging or else frowning its menace in nearly every part of the world, exceeding in violence and magnitude any persecution which the Church has ever sustained, and threatening to reduce whole nations to a state of barbarism worse than that which prevailed among most peoples before the coming of the Redeemer.
3. Already you will have guessed, Venerable Brethren, to what peril We are alluding. It is none other than bolshevist communism, atheistic communism, whose one aim is to upset completely the ordered structure of society and undermine the very foundations of Christian civilization.
1 Gen. iii, 23.
2 Gal. iv, 4.
I THE ATTITUDE OF THE CHURCH TOWARDS COMMUNISM
The defence of truth and justice
4. Confronted with this menace, the Catholic Church could not remain silent, nor has she done so. This Apostolic See has spoken out, because it knows full well that it is its proper function to defend truth and justice, and to vindicate precisely those imperishable values which communism derides and attacks.
Pius IX and communism
5. No sooner had the "intellectuals" begun to claim it as their mission to deliver civilization from the shackles of religion and moral control, than Our Predecessors, mindful of their duty, warned the world in plain terms what would be the outcome of thus divorcing human society from Christian principles. And as for communism, its false doctrines were solemnly denounced as long ago as 1846 by Our Predecessor Pius IX, who subsequently included his condemnation in the Syllabus. He wrote, in his Encyclical Qui pluribus, 1 of "that infamous doctrine of communism, utterly opposed to the natural law itself, the adoption of which would completely destroy all men's rights, their property and fortune, and even human society itself."
Leo XIII and communism
6. At a later time another of Our Predecessors, Leo XIII, spoke clearly and significantly when he described these same aberrations as "a deadly plague insidiously penetrating the very vitals of human society and threatening it with extinction"; and it was with an intuitive power characteristic of his mind that he showed how the organized tendency of the masses towards atheism, occurring in an age of great technical progress, was the result of a philosophy which had long sought to set up a barrier between science and faith, and between human life and the Church. 2
Pius XI and communism
7. We too, more than once during Our Pontificate, have urgently and anxiously called attention to the menacing spread of this tide of wickedness. In 1924, on the return of Our relief mission from Russia, We denounced the false doctrines and methods of communism in a
1 9 Nov., 1846 ( Acta Pii IX, vol. I, p. 13). Cf. Syll., § IV ( A.S.S. III, p. 170).
2 Encycl. Quod Apostolici muneris, 28 Dec., 1878 ( Acta Leonis XIII, vol. I, pp. 170183).
special Address to the whole world 1 ; in one Encyclical after another We have solemnly protested against the persecution of Christians in Russia, in Mexico and in Spain 2 ; and Our pronouncements last year, on the occasion of the World Exhibition of the Catholic Press 3, in the audience granted by Us to Spanish refugees, and in Our broadcast Message on Christmas Eve, are still fresh in the memory.
Communist attacks on the Papacy
8. Indeed, this is the reason why the leaders of this campaign against Christian civilization in Moscow are so unremitting in their attacks upon the Papacy; these bitter enemies of the Church are thus testifying, by their deeds if not by their words, that the Papacy is maintaining its tradition of defending the truth of the Christian religion with faith inviolate, and that the Holy See, of all public authorities on earth, has been most insistent and most emphatic in denouncing and condemning the great peril of communism.
Need of a further and solemn pronouncement
9. But still the danger grows. Notwithstanding these repeated warnings of Ours, notwithstanding the careful explanations of them which you, Venerable Brethren, have given the faithful even in joint pastoral letters, the danger of communism, fomented by skilful agitators, is becoming more and more serious every day. We have therefore deemed it necessary to raise Our voice again, and to speak now by means of this more solemn document, conformably with the usage of this Apostolic See, teacher of truth. We do this the more willingly because We know it to be the universal desire of the Catholic world; but We are confident that Our utterance will be welcomed also by every unprejudiced mind, by everyone who has sincerely at heart the welfare of human society. Have not our earlier warnings been only too woefully justified by events? And do we not see those disastrous results, which We foretold as the outcome of these revolutionary theories, already spreading with alarming rapidity in countries controlled by communism, and threatening to make their appearance in other countries as well?
Scope of the present Encyclical
10. Once again, therefore, We propose to summarize and explain the theory and principles of communism, especially as they appear
1 Alloc., 18 Dec., 1924: A.A.S. XVI, pp. 494, 495.
2 Miserentissimus Redemptor, 8 May, 1928 ( A.A.S. XX, pp. 165-178); Quadragesimo anno, 15 May, 1931 ( A.A.S. XXIII, pp. 177-228); Caritate Christi, 3 May, 1932 ( A.A.S. XXIV, pp. 177-194); Acerba animi, 29 Sept., 1932 ( A.A.S. XXIV, pp. 321-332); Dilectissima Nobis, 3 June, 1933 ( A.A.S. XXV, pp. 261-274).
3 A.A.S. XXIX (Appendix), pp. 139-144.
in the bolshevist system, and with these fallacious doctrines to contrast the luminous teaching of the Church; and We want to renew Our earnest appeal to the world to make use of those aids by which Christian civilization--the only atmosphere in which the true Civitas humana can thrive--may be both preserved from this terrible scourge and fostered in the interests of true social progress.
THE DOCTRINE OF COMMUNISM AND ITS FRUITS
§ 1 The Doctrine of Communism
False ideals and claims
11. The communism of to-day, even more pretentiously than similar theories in the past, poses as the saviour of the poor. A pseudo-ideal of justice, equality and brotherhood among workers inspires the whole of its theory and practice, permeating the movement with a counterfeit mysticism which, combined with the glamour of illusive promises, both dupes the masses and fills them with a contagious and vehement enthusiasm. And there is no doubt that the movement is assisted by the present situation, in which an unjust distribution of wealth has resulted in widespread and exceptional poverty. Indeed it is the boast of the communists that their ideal has effected an improvement in economic conditions. The truth, however, is that any increase there has been in production is due to other causes: to the intensification of manufacturing industries in countries hitherto devoid of them; to the very profitable exploitation of immense natural resources by brutal methods; and to a harsh system of forced labour by which low wages are paid for extremely heavy work.
12. The doctrine of modern communism, though sometimes presented in specious and attractive guise, is really based upon Marx's theory of dialectical and historical materialism, of which the bolshevist intellectuals claim alone to possess the genuine interpretation. The theory teaches that matter, with its blind and hidden forces, is the only reality which exists, and that it is matter which by a natural process evolves into a tree, an animal, or a man. Even human society is only a particular manifestation or form of matter, evolving in the same way and tending by an irresistible necessity and by a perpetual conflict of forces to the attainment of its final goal, which is a classless sociey. Such a doctrine obviously leaves no room for the idea of an eternal God, for a distinction between spirit and matter or between body and soul, for the survival of the soul after death, or for any hope of a future life.
Dialectical materialism and class warfare
13. Developing the "dialectical" side of their materialism, the communists maintain that the pace of the aforesaid conflict, which is to bring all things to their final consummation, can be accelerated by the action of man. They therefore make it their aim to accentuate the differences between class and class in the community; to represent class warfare, actually the source of so much strife and bloodshed, as a crusade of human progress; and therefore to crush utterly any opposition raised to their systematic violence as though it were a crime against the human race.
Freedom and rights of the human person denied
14. The communistic theory, moreover, denies the freedom of man; it deprives him of that which is the principle of his life as a rational being, and so strips the human person of his dignity and of all moral control over his vicious inclinations. And because, for the communists, the human person is nothing more than a cog in the machinery of the world system, they deny to individuals all the natural rights which derive from personality and ascribe them to the community.
15. In relation to one another all citizens are held to be absolutely equal, and accordingly any divinely constituted authority or subordination of one person to another, even parental authority, is repudiated; such power, such subjection as the communists acknowledge, is derived from the State as its first and only source. Nor is any individual allowed the right of ownership over natural resources or the means of production, because, these being the potential source of further wealth, their ownership must necessarily result in some men obtaining power over others. This is why they want to abolish this right of private property altogether, for they hold it to be the chief cause of economic enslavement.
Marriage and family under communism
16. In a system which thus scorns and rejects all the sacred functions of human life it follows as a matter of course that matrimony and the family are considered to be a purely civil and artificial institution, originating in a particular set of economic conditions; and as the theory refuses to recognize any matrimonial bond of the juridical and moral order not completely dependent on the will of the individual or the community, it likewise and as a necessary consequence denies the indissoluble perpetuity of wedlock.
17. The complete emancipation of woman from any ties with home or family is a special characteristic of the communist theory. Held to be totally free from the protective authority of her husband, the wife is withdrawn from the home and the care of her children and, equally with her husband, thrust into the turmoil of public life and communal industry, her home and children being handed over to the custody of the State. 1 Parents, finally, are denied the right to educate their offspring; this right is claimed exclusively for the community and is therefore allowed to be exercised only in its name and by its mandate.
A purely economic and godless society
18. What does human society become, based on these materialistic principles? An association of human beings, with no other principle of unity save an authority deriving from economic factors. Its sole function is to produce wealth by communal labour; and its sole aim is the enjoyment of material goods in a paradise where each man "gives labour according to his strength and receives wealth according to his needs."
19. It is to be noted also that this system grants the community the right, indeed the practically unlimited and arbitrary power, to direct individual citizens into communal industry regardless of their personal welfare, and even to constrain the unwilling by force. The only moral code, the only law acknowledged in this society, is that which has its origin in the economic system of the time; earthly in origin, therefore, and subject to constant change. Briefly, the object is to introduce a new order and a new civilization, evolved from the hidden forces of nature, and culminating in a godless human society.
Liquidation of the political State
20. When all men have finally acquired the qualities and habitual outlook needed for the formation of such a community and when the classless utopia has at last become a reality, then the political State, whose only purpose at present is to enable capitalists to oppress the proletariat, will in the natural course of things perish and be "liquidated." Meanwhile, and until that happy condition of life is achieved, the communists make use of the government and its authority as being the most effective means available for the attainment of their purpose.
Summary of communist errors
21. Such, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine which bolshevist and atheistic communism preaches to the world as a new gospel, as
1 Cf. Encycl. Casti connubii, 31 Dec., 1930 ( A.A.S. XXII, p. 567, par. 74-77.)
the harbinger of salvation and deliverance: a doctrine full of error and sophistry, contrary to revelation and reason alike; a doctrine destructive of the foundations of civil society and subversive of social order; a doctrine which refuses to acknowledge the true origin of the State, its true nature and purpose; which repudiates and denies the rights, the dignity, and the freedom of the human person.
§ 2 The Spread of Communism explained
22. But how are we to explain the fact that this doctrine, long ago outmoded by the best scholarship and utterly belied by daily experience, should be spreading so rapidly all over the world?
Specious claims and extravagant promises
23. To understand this we must first of all bear in mind that only too few fully apprehend what it is that the communists really want and are trying to accomplish, while only too many fall easy victims to their astute methods of persuasion and their extravagant promises. Their agents, with some show of truth, proclaim that their only object is to better the condition of the worker, to remedy the abuses of economic liberalism, and to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth--legitimate objectives, admittedly, which can be legitimately attained. By using this plea and by exploiting the opportunity which the present universal economic crisis affords, they are able to gain the adherence even of those who on principle are opposed to materialism and to the criminally violent methods which the communists employ.
24. Like every other error communism contains some element of truth, and its adherents make adroit play with this in order on occasion to disguise the repulsive cruelty which is intrinsic to the doctrine and its methods. They thus succeed in duping persons of more than ordinary integrity, these in their turn becoming apostles of error and instilling it in the minds of others, especially of young people who are easily misled. The agents of communism are also skilful in exploiting international dissensions and political differences: and the confusion into which godlessness has thrown modern learning offers them a further opportunity of which they are not slow to take advantage, in order to insinuate themselves into the universities and so find support for their doctrine in pseudo-scientific arguments.
The workers prepared for communism by economic liberalism
25. The unquestioning adherence of so many of the workers to this false system becomes easier to understand when we remember that these had already been reduced to a sad state of religious destitution by the policy of economic liberalism. Working-shifts had been so arranged that employees were often prevented from observing their religious duties on Sundays and holy days; no steps had been taken to build churches in the neighbourhood of the factories or to facilitate the ministrations of the priest; while on the other hand secularist institutions, far from being discontinued, had been positively encouraged. In this you may see the dire consequences which both Our Predecessors and Ourself foretold as the fruit of error. No wonder the tide of communism threatens to engulf so many nations, already strangers to Christian principles.
26. But there is another factor which explains why the fallacies of communism are able to spread so rapidly and to worm their way into every country, great or small, highly civilized or not, and to reach even the remotest parts of the earth. The secret lies in a diabolically efficient system of propaganda, probably unparalleled in history. Directed from one centre, it is skilfully adapted to the special conditions of each country; having enormous funds at its disposal it makes use of numerous organizations, great international congresses, and intensive campaigns. Newspapers, pamphlets, films, the theatre, the radio, schools, universities, all these are channels by which its influence is made gradually to reach men of every class and condition, even the higher classes; and their minds and hearts are the more fatally poisoned by its venom because they are probably quite unconscious of imbibing it.
The silence of the Press
27. Another powerful ally of the agents of communism is undoubtedly the conspiracy of silence concerning the movement which is observed by the greater part of the non-Catholic Press of the world. We call it a conspiracy; it is impossible otherwise to explain why journalists, accustomed to seize avidly upon the most trivial happenings, should have refrained so long from mentioning the horrible crimes which are being committed in Russia, Mexico, and latterly also in a great part of Spain, and should have relatively so little to say about the world-wide organization which has its headquarters at Moscow. It is a matter of common knowledge that this course is attributed to reasons of policy--surely a short-sighted one; and it is also encouraged by various secret forces which have long been plotting to destroy the Christian social order.
§ 3 The Fruits of Communism
Atrocities in Russia and Mexico
28. Meanwhile the lamentable consequences of this propaganda are before our eyes. Wherever the communists have gained power and control--We think with fatherly affection especially of the people of Russia and Mexico--they openly proclaim and pursue the policy of using every means to destroy utterly the foundations of the Christian religion and civilization, and to obliterate the memory of it entirely from the minds of men, especially of the young. Bishops and priests have been exiled, condemned to forced labour in the mines, shot, or otherwise cruelly put to death; while laity suspected of defending the cause of religion have been harassed, persecuted, brought to trial, and imprisoned.
Atrocities in Spain
29. Even in countries, such as Our beloved Spain, where this pestilential scourge has not yet had time to beget the whole of its monstrous brood of calamities, it has none the less aroused a frenzy of violence and crime. We have seen not merely one church here or there destroyed, not merely one monastery here or there laid in ruins; but, wherever possible, every church, every religious house, every trace of the Christian religion, even though connected with most precious monuments of civilization, has been beaten to the ground.
30. And the fury of the communists has not been content only to murder bishops and priests, as well as religious of both sexes in their thousands, singling out for special persecution those devoted to the care of the workers and the poor; but very many of the laity also, of every class and condition, have fallen its victims and to this very day are being massacred in great numbers, for no other reason than that they profess the Christian faith, or at least are hostile to the atheism of the communists. And the hatred, the barbarity, the unbridled violence with which this horrible butchery is being carried out, are such as to be hardly credible in our age.
31. Is there a man of sane understanding, whether private citizen or responsible statesman, who is not horrified at the thought that what is now happening in Spain may soon also befall the other civilized countries of the world?
The natural outcome of a lawless system
32. And let it not be suggested that such atrocities are the inevitable consequence of every revolution, sporadic outbursts of violence such as every war entails. Not so; they are the natural outcome of a system constitutionally devoid of any principle of restraint. Human beings, whether as individuals or as members of society, need restraint. Even the barbarian nations acknowledged the obligations imposed by the natural law which God has engraved upon the hearts of men; and it is where this law was habitually observed that we find the nations of antiquity attaining that level of greatness which is so much, indeed too much, admired nowadays by superficial students of history. But uproot from men's minds the idea of the Supreme Being, and they will surely lapse into the savagery and uncivilized behaviour of barbarians.
Intrinsic impiety of communism
33. This, alas, is precisely what we see happening to-day. For the first time in human history we are witnessing a calculated and systematic rebellion against "every divine name." 1 The theory of communism is intrinsically hostile to religion in any form whatsoever; it regards religion as "the opium of the people" because its doctrines and precepts, which are concerned with an everlasting life alter death, distract men's minds from the pursuit of that paradise which, according to the communists, they are destined to attain on this earth.
Communism doomed to failure because it is lawless
34. But the natural law, and God who is its author, are not mocked with impunity; and that is why even in the economic field the communists have not succeeded in achieving their aim--and they never will. It is true that in Russia their efforts have done much to arouse the people of that country and its institutions from the state of apathy in which they had languished so long; that with the use of every resource and every means, often illegitimate means, they have brought about some improvement in material conditions. But their success even in this respect, as We know from recent and unimpeachable evidence, has fallen short of their lavish promises. And it is also to be remembered that the communist reign of terror has reduced whole masses of citizens to the state of slavery. Even economic administration calls for some ethical standard to which men must conscientiously conform in the discharge of their public duties. But, based on materialism, the communistic theory can supply no such standard, and therefore there is no room for anything but a criminal and terror-ridden conspiracy such as we see in Russia, in which former fellow-conspirators and colleagues plot the death of one another. Such a system of terrorism cannot even stay the process of moral corruption; still less can it prevent the dissolution of the social fabric.
Sympathy for the victims of communism in Russia
35. But it is far from Our intention to condemn the peoples of
1 II Thess. ii, 4.
the Soviet Union as a whole. On the contrary, We love them with the ardent charity of a father. We know that many of them are victims of an unjust oppression, exerted by individuals for the most part quite indifferent to the true interests of the people; that many more of them have been deluded by false promises. What We condemn is the system with its authors and partisans, who have chosen that nation as a convenient field in which to sow the long-prepared seed of their doctrine, with the intention of subsequently spreading it through every part of the world.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH CONTRASTED WITH COMMUNISM
§ 1 The Doctrine of the Church
36. Having thus fully exposed the false doctrines of the bolshevistic atheists and their lying and violent methods, We must now, Venerable Brethren, contrast with them the true notion of the Civitas humana, and set forth briefly the concept of the civil society as it is made known to us by reason and revelation through the mouth of the Church, Teacher of all nations.
God the sovereign reality
37. The first fact to be borne in mind is that there exists above all things one Supreme Being, God, who is the almighty creator of the whole universe and the all-wise and all-just judge of mankind. This sovereign reality, God, is the utter and complete refutation of the arrogant and baseless falsehoods of the communists. And, mark it well, it is not because men believe in God that God exists. No, it is because He really exists that all men, at any rate all who are not wilfully blind to the truth, believe in Him and pray to Him.
Man and his rights
38. Concerning man, the teaching of the Catholic faith and of the human reason has been explained in its main features in Our Encyclical on Christian Education. 1 Man has a spiritual and immortal soul, and, being a person and endowed by the Creator with quite marvellous gifts of mind and body, he is rightly called a "microcosm" (to use the expression of the ancients) because in perfection he far transcends the whole measureless world of inanimate nature. His final end, not only in this life but also in the everlasting life to come, is God alone; and because he has been
1 Divini illius Magistri, 31 Dec., 1929 ( A.A.S. XXII, 1930, pp. 49-86).
raised up by sanctifying grace to the dignity of a son of God, he is united to the kingdom of God in the mystical Body of Jesus Christ. In consequence of this God has bestowed upon him various prerogatives, such as the right to integrity of life and body; the right to acquire the necessities of life and duly pursue the end which God has appointed to him; the right of association, and the right to own and use private property.
39. Moreover, marriage and the natural use of marriage being of divine institution, the constitution of the family and its chief functions likewise have their origin in the sovereign Creator of all, and not in the will of man or in any economic system. These are matters which We have explained fully enough in Our Encyclical on the sanctity of Christian Marriage as well as in the aforesaid Encyclical on Christian Education.
Civil society divinely instituted for the sake of man
40. But God has also destined man for the civil society which his nature requires. In the Creator's plan society is the natural means which every citizen can and must use for the attainment of his appointed end; and therefore society exists for the sake of man, not man for the sake of society. But this principle is not to be understood in the individualistic sense of the liberals, who subordinate the community to the selfish interests of each single citizen. What it means is that their organic union in society enables all citizens, through their mutual collaboration, to attain true earthly prosperity. The grouping of human beings in society also develops and fosters in man those individual and social qualities with which he is naturally endowed, and which, transcending as they do the immediate and selfish interests of the individual, exhibit in human society an aspect of the divine perfection which man living in solitude could never display. In this respect too society is a benefit to man, enabling him to recognize this reflection of the divine goodness and to render thanks for it to the Creator by praise and worship. For it is only individual human beings, not any association of them, that are endowed with reason and moral freedom.
Reciprocal rights and duties of man and society
41. From this it follows that a man cannot repudiate the duties which by God's commandment bind him to the civil society; its rulers have accordingly the right to constrain him to his duty should he unlawfully refuse to obey. But it follows equally that society cannot deprive the citizen of his God-given rights, the chief of which
We have mentioned above, nor by its decree make the exercise of them impossible. It is therefore a conclusion of the human reason itself that all earthly things are given to man for his use and benefit, so that he may thus direct them back to the Creator who is their source; and this accords with what the Apostle of the Nations wrote to the Corinthians concerning the Christian economy of salvation: "Everything is for you . . . and you for Christ, and Christ for God." 1 See, then, how communism, by inverting the true relation of man to society, debases human personality, and how reason and revelation exalt it!
General economic and social principles
42. As for the economic and social order and the cause of the workers, the guiding principles to be observed on these matters have been expounded by Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum novarum, 2 and We Ourself, in Our Encyclical on the Social Order, 3 have adapted them to the conditions and needs of modern times. In this same letter, closely adhering to the ancient doctrine of the Church on the nature of private property in its relation to the individual and to society, We clearly and distinctly emphasized the rights and dignity of human labour, the mutual relations of help and support which should subsist between those who provide capital and those who supply their labour, and the worker's right in strict justice to the wage necessary for himself and his family.
The only hope for the salvation of society
43. We showed, further, that there can be no hope of saving human society from the ruin and disaster to which an amoral liberalism is driving it, unless the economic and social order is inspired and guided by the principles of social justice and Christian charity; no salvation, certainly, is to be found for it in class warfare, in terrorism, or in the arbitrary and tyrannical use of the power of the State. We indicated also that the true welfare of the people should be secured through a properly devised system of corporations which would acknowledge and respect the different ranks Of social authority; that all workers' associations should combine in friendly collaboration to pursue the common good of society; and that therefore the true and proper function of the public authority consists in doing everything possible to encourage such mutual cooperation and harmony.
1 I Cor. iii, 22, 23.
2 15 May, 1891. Acta Leonis XIII, vol. XI, pp. 97-144.
3 15 May, 1931. A.A.S. XXIII, pp. 177-228.
Authority of the State and rights of citizens
44. With a view to the attainment of social peace by means of this universal co-operation, the principles of Catholic doctrine recognize to the government such dignity and authority as it needs in order to keep vigilant guard over those divine and human rights upon which the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church so greatly insist. It is utterly untrue, and mere empty talk, to say that all citizens have equal rights and that there are no ruling ranks in society. On this subject We need only mention the aforesaid Encyclicals of Leo XIII, especially those on Civil Authority 1 and on the Christian Constitution of States, 2 where Catholics may find clearly expounded the principles of reason and revelation which will arm them against the beguiling and dangerous doctrines of communism.
45. To deprive citizens of their personal rights and thus reduce them to slavery; to deny the first and primary origin of civil society and its authority; iniquitously to use the authority of the State as the tool of a criminal conspiracy--all this is completely opposed to natural ethics and to the will of the divine Creator. The community as well as the citizen is of divine origin, and each is adapted to the other; therefore neither citizen nor society can repudiate each other's obligations nor deny or reduce each other's rights. In their fundamentals these mutual relations of citizen and community have been established and regulated by God Himself; and therefore the arrogant claim of the communists to substitute for the divine law, based upon the principles of truth and charity, a political party programme inspired by hate and devised by the wit of man, is beyond all doubt a most unjust and iniquitous usurpation.
Aim of the Church's social doctrine
46. In proclaiming her clear teaching on this subject the Catholic Church has but one object: to realize on earth that glory for God and peace for men 3 of which the angels sang in their joyous message over the cave of Bethlehem; to establish true peace and true happiness so far as these can be attained, at any rate by men of good will, even during this mortal life, in preparation for the perfect happiness of heaven.
Rights and duties reconciled
47. It is a doctrine opposed equally to all erroneous extremes and to the violent methods and policies of those who embrace them. To-day as ever in the past, the Church pursues the even path of
1 Diuturnum illud, 29 June, 1861. Acta Leonis XIII, vol. II, pp. 269-287.
2 Immortale Dei, 1 Nov., 1883. Acta Leonis XIII, vol. V, pp. 118-150.
3 Cf. Luke ii, 14.
truth and justice, vindicating her teaching by argument and promoting its realization in practice. This she does by harmonizing rights and duties with each other: authority with liberty; the dignity of the State with the dignity of the individual; the human personality of the subject and his consequent duty of obedience, with the function of those who wield authority in God's name; and finally by reconciling an ordinate love of self, family, and country with that charity towards other families and other nations which is based upon the love of God, the common Father of all, the source of all things and their final goal.
Spiritual and temporal claims reconciled
48. But in its solicitude for eternal values Catholic doctrine does not neglect a proper care for the things of earth. It does indeed subordinate the perishable to the everlasting, in obedience to the command of the Master: "Make it your first care to find the kingdom of God, and his approval, and all these things shall be yours without the asking." 1 But far from neglecting human affairs, far from obstructing social progress and material improvements, it promotes them in every legitimate and most effective way. In the social and economic field the Church has admittedly never propounded any definite technical system. This is not her function. But she has nevertheless laid down fundamental principles and general directions which, while capable of adaptation according to differences of time, place and people, do point out to civil society the safe path towards an era of improved culture and greater happiness.
49. The supreme wisdom of this doctrine and the great benefits it confers are acknowledged by all who are truly acquainted with it; and political economists of the first rank have asserted that, in the various economic systems they have studied, they have found nothing to surpass in wisdom the principles laid down by the Encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno. Even in non-Catholic and non-Christian countries there are many who pay tribute to the benefits which human society owes to the social principles of the Church; and less than a month ago a well-known political student from the Far East, himself not a Christian, stated without hesitation that by her doctrine of peace and brotherhood the Church makes an important contribution to establishing and preserving world peace. Finally, even the communists, as We know from reliable information which from every part of the world flows to this centre of Catholicism--even communists, if they are
1 Matth. vi, 33.
not yet entirely corrupt and if they have had the doctrine of the Church explained to them, admit that it is greatly superior to that of their own teachers and leaders. It is only those whose hearts are blinded by passion and hate that wilfully shut their eyes to the truth, and obstinately oppose it.
§ 2 The Doctrine of the Church in Practice
Christian brotherhood and the abolition of slavery
50. But the enemies of the Church, even though conceding the superiority of her principles, accuse her of failing to shape her conduct according to her teaching, and give this as their reason for having recourse to other systems and methods. The falseness and injustice of this charge is proved by the whole of Christian history. To mention but one instance, it was the heralds of the Gospel who for the first time preached, with a conviction and fulness till then unknown, the true brotherhood of all men regardless of race and condition, and thus did much to pave the way for the abolition of slavery--a reform brought about, be it noted, not by a bloody revolution but by the intrinsic influence of a doctrine which could move the Roman lady of patrician blood to embrace her handmaid as a sister in Christ.
The Incarnation and the dignity of labour
51. Moreover it was through the Christian doctrine which teaches us to adore the Son of God become man for love of men, become even the son of a carpenter and an artisan Himself, 1 that human labour was elevated to its true dignity; and this came about in an age when labour was held in such contempt that a Cicero, man of sense and balance though he was, could voice the opinion of his contemporaries in words of which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: "All artisans," he wrote, "are busied with sordid tasks; there can be nothing noble about a workshop." 2
Charitable institutions--guilds--vindication of labour
52. By her adherence to these principles the Church has renewed the face of human society. For it is to her inspiration that the world owes the most marvellous charitable institutions, as well as those influential guilds of craftsmen which, though derided by the liberals of the last century as "mediaeval inventions," are so much admired to-day that attempts are being made in many parts of the world to revive them in modern form. Men have tried to hinder her salutary work and to resist her influence, but the Church has continued even
1 Matth. xiii, 55; Mark vi, 3.
2 De officiis, lib. i, c. 42.
till now to denounce the obstructors. Suffice it to recall the firm stand taken by Leo XIII in defence of the workers' right of association, in the face of liberal governments in the more powerful countries which wanted to deprive them of it. And even to-day the influence of Christian social doctrine is more effective than many might be inclined to suppose. The action of ideas upon events is real, though it is not always easy to measure and appraise it.
Failure of liberalism and secularism
53. Indeed it may truly be said that the Church, like her divine Founder, spends her life in "doing good." The widespread errors of the socialists and the communists would not exist to-day had governments accepted the principles of the Church and hearkened to her motherly counsels. But they preferred to embrace the doctrine and principles of liberalism and secularism. Having shaped their economic and social policy in accordance with these false theories, they seemed at first to have achieved some success. Then they found their plans and projects crumbling away before their eyes. The structure was collapsing, as everything must of necessity collapse which is not built upon the corner-stone, which is Christ.
Urgent need for action
54. This, Venerable Brethren, is the teaching of the Church, the only teaching which, in the sociological sphere as in every other, can bring true light; and it is the only teaching which can protect us against the ideology of communism.
55. But it must be translated into action, according to the admonition of St. James the Apostle: "You must be honest with yourselves; you are to live by the word, not content merely to listen to it." 1 The most urgent need of to-day therefore is that all our energies should be bent to applying those remedies which will best avert the dissolution now threatening the world. And We are confident that that enthusiasm which moves the children of darkness to labour night and day in spreading the false doctrine of materialism, will stir the children of light to a similar, and even greater, zeal for the cause of God's honour.
56. What must we do, then, what remedies must we use to defend Christ and the Christian way of life against this deadly enemy? We want to talk to you familiarly and confidentially, as a father
1 James i, 22.
talks with his children in the privacy of the home, about the duties which this great peril of our times imposes upon every child of the Church; but We would have Our fatherly counsels heard also by those of our children who have forsaken their father's house.
§ 1 Renewal of Christian Life
57. To-day, as in every stormy period of the Church's history, there is one fundamental and capital remedy: all who glory in belonging to the fold of Christ must sincerely reform their lives, both private and public, in accordance with the principles of the Gospel, and so become truly the salt of the earth to preserve the whole of society from moral corruption.
Perceptible signs of spiritual revival
58. It is therefore with heartfelt and undying thanks to the Father of lights, from whom comes "every good and every perfect gift," 1 that We witness everywhere consoling signs of this spiritual revival; not only in the band of chosen ones, men and women, who have recently attained the summit of heroic sanctity; not only in the increasing numbers of those who are devotedly striving after the same goal; but also in the renewed growth of a sincere and living piety in persons of every class and condition, and even among members of the learned classes, as We had occasion to observe last year when We re-opened the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. 2
But there is widespread externalism
59. But We have also to acknowledge that much remains to be done and that the pace of this renewal of the spirit needs to be quickened. Even in Catholic countries there are far too many whose Catholicism is little more than a name; far too many who, although they discharge more or less faithfully the essential duties of the religion they profess, take no steps to grow in their understanding of it or to acquire a sincere and intimate conviction of their faith. The result is that their external religious profession is not matched, as it should be matched, by the interior splendour of an upright and unblemished conscience, a conscience which views and discharges every duty under the eye of God. We know how detestable such an empty show of religion is in the sight of our divine Saviour, who bids all men worship the Father "in spirit and in truth." 3 The man who fails to mould his life according to the teaching of the faith he professes will not be able long to withstand the storm of
1 James i, 17.
2 Ap. Letter In multis solaciis, 18 Oct., 1936 ( A.A.S. XXVIII, pp. 421-424).
3 John iv, 23.
persecution now threatening; he will be engulfed and carried away by the flood of evil, and so not only encompass his own ruin but also make the name of Christ a mockery.
§ 2 The Spirit of Detachment
60. At this point, Venerable Brethren, there are two of God's commandments which We want to emphasize as especially appropriate to the present condition of the human race: detachment from earthly things, and the observance of the precept of charity.
Spirit of detachment in the rich
61. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." These are the first words which the divine Master addressed to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, 1 and they convey a lesson especially necessary in an age when materialism grasps so greedily at the goods and pleasures of this life. It is the duty of all Christians, rich and poor alike, to keep their eyes always fixed upon heaven, mindful that "we have an everlasting city, but not here; our goal is the city that is one day to be." 2 Those who have wealth in abundance should not rest their hopes of happiness upon it nor devote their best energies to increasing it. Recognizing that they are nothing more than stewards of such possessions, and that they will have to render an account of them to God, they must use their riches as a powerful means which God has given them for leading a virtuous life, and remember to give their superfluous goods to the poor, as the Gospel bids us. 3 Otherwise both they and their riches will fall under the condemnation thus pronounced by St. James the Apostle: "Come, you men of riches, bemoan yourselves and cry aloud over the miseries that are to overtake you. Corruption has fallen on your riches; all the fine clothes are left moth-eaten, and the gold and silver have long lain rusting. That rust will bear witness against you, will bite into your flesh like flame. These are the last days given you, and you have spent them in heaping up a store of retribution." 4
Spirit of detachment in the poor
62. But the poor also, while endeavouring in accordance with the laws of justice and charity to gain what is needful for themselves and even to better their lot, must in like manner be "poor in spirit" 5 and set greater store by heavenly things than by earthly joys. Let them bear in mind, too, that men will never succeed in ridding this life entirely of misery, sorrow, and disease--evils that afflict even those who to all appearance are more fortunate than they. All men,
1 Matth. v, 3.
2 Hebr. xiii, 14.
3 Cf. Luke xi, 41.
4 James v, 1-3.
5 Matth. v, 3.
therefore, need patience, that Christian patience which maintains a cheerful spirit and finds confidence in the divine promise of eternal bliss. Let us hear St. James again: "Wait, then, brethren, in patience for the Lord's coming. See how the farmer looks forward to the coveted returns of his land, yet waits patiently for the early and the late rains to fall before they can be brought in. You too must wait patiently, and take courage; the Lord's coming is close at hand." 1
The blessedness of the poor
63. Only so will the consoling promise of Jesus Christ be fulfilled: "Blessed are the poor." This is not a promise like those of the communists, bringing nothing but hollow comfort. They are words of eternal life, containing sovereign truth, a truth which is apparent even now on this earth, though it will become especially manifest in everlasting bliss. Have not many of the poor, relying on these words and hoping for the kingdom of heaven which is proclaimed by the Gospel to be their inheritance--"Yours is the kingdom of heaven" 2 --found a happiness which many a rich man, weary of his wealth and ever athirst to increase it, is never able to attain?
§ 3 Charity
The fruits of true Christian charity
64. Still more important as a remedy for the evils we are considering, indeed purposely designed for their cure, is the commandment of charity. And when We say this We mean Christian charity, the charity which "is patient, is kind," 3 which abhors all insolence and patronising condescension; the charity which in the earliest days of Christianity won over to Christ the poorest men of all, the slaves. We therefore give Our heartfelt thanks to all who devote themselves to works of charity and to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, whether through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or through other more modern organizations for social service. The more the workers and the needy experience at first-hand what is done for them by that charity which springs from the power of Jesus Christ, the more readily will they shed their prejudice that the Church has lost her influence and is siding with those who unjustly exploit the working classes.
Destitution side by side with luxury 65. But, so long as We see on the one hand a countless multitude of poor people who for various reasons beyond their control are suffering utter destitution, and on the other hand a great number
1 James v, 7-8.
2 Luke vi, 20.
3 I Cor. xiii, 4.
of persons giving themselves without restraint to lives of luxury and spending enormous sums of money on quite useless things--so long as We see this, We feel bound to acknowledge with deep sorrow that not all men are observing justice as they should, that not all fully understand what it means to practise Christian charity in their daily lives.
The binding duty of Christian charity
66. We therefore desire the faithful, Venerable Brethren, to be more and more fully instructed, by spoken and written word, concerning this divine commandment whose observance Jesus Christ willed to be the distinctive badge of His true disciples; this commandment which bids us see in all the afflicted the person of the divine Redeemer Himself, and love all men as brethren with the love wherewith He has loved us, love them at the cost of fortune and even, if need be, of life itself. Let everyone think often of that sentence, so consoling and yet so dreadful, which the Supreme Judge will pronounce at the Last Judgment: "Come, you that have received a blessing from my Father . . . For I was hungry, and you gave me food, thirsty, and you gave me drink . . . Believe me when you did it to one of the least of my brethren here, you did it to me." 1 And on the other hand: "Go far from me, you that are accursed, into eternal fire . . . For I was hungry, and you never gave me food, I was thirsty, and you never gave me drink . . . Believe me, when you refused it to one of the least of my brethren here, you refused it to me." 2
The relief of the poor and our eternal salvation
67. Therefore for the ensuring of our eternal salvation, as well as for the effectual relief of the poor, it is absolutely necessary for us to return to a more frugal mode of life; to renounce those pleasures, often sinful, which the present age offers in such abundance; and to forget self in the love of our neighbour. The divine power which can bring about such regeneration is contained in this "new commandment" 3 of Christian charity, the faithful observance of which will not only give to our hearts an inner peace unknown to the spirit of this world, but will also most surely cure the evils which are now afflicting the human race.
§ 4 Justice
No true charity without justice
68. But charity does not deserve the name of charity unless it is grounded in justice. Therefore the Apostle, having said that "he
1 Matth. xxv, 34-40.
2 Matth. xxv, 41-45.
3 John xiii, 34.
who loves his neighbour has done all that the law demands," goes on to explain that "all the commandments, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not steal. . . and the rest, are resumed in this one saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." 1 According to the Apostle, then, all our duties, even those to which we are bound in strict justice, such as the avoidance of murder and theft, are reduced to the one commandment of true charity.
69. It therefore follows that a charity which defrauds the worker of his just wage is no true charity, but a hollow name and a pretence; doles given out of pity will not exempt a man from his obligations of justice. Charity imposes its own obligations and so does justice. They may both be involved in the same thing under different respects; but the worker, as his personal dignity demands, is rightly sensitive in distinguishing between these different obligations of others towards him.
Catholic employers and rights due in charity
70. Therefore We appeal most particularly to you, Christian employers and industrialists. We know that your task is often a difficult one, burdened as you are with a legacy of error from an unjust economic system which has ruinously affected many generations. But We charge you: be mindful of your duty and your responsibilities. It is deplorable, but true, that the behaviour of certain Catholics has done much to alienate the working classes from the Christian religion. They have refused to be convinced in their minds and hearts that there are certain rights which must be recognized as due to workers in virtue of Christian charity, rights which the Church has clearly and definitely vindicated for them. What are we to think of the conduct of those who in certain places succeeded in preventing the Encyclical Quadragesimo anno from being read in the churches of which they were patrons? And what of those Catholic industrialists who to this very day persist in opposing a workers' movement which We Ourself have commended? Is it not a lamentable thing that the very right of ownership which the Church sanctions and defends should be abused to defraud the worker of his wage and his social rights?
Social justice and the obligations it imposes
71. For it is to be noted that besides what is called commutative justice there is also a social justice to be observed, and this imposes obligations which neither workers nor employers may evade. It is
1 Rom. xiii, 8, 9.
the function of social justice to require of each individual that which is necessary for the common good. Consider a living organism; the good of the whole is not being properly secured unless arrangements are made for every single member to receive all that it needs to fulfil its own function. Exactly the same is true of the constitution and government of a community: the common good of a society cannot be adequately provided for unless each individual member, a human being endowed with the dignity of personality, receives all that he needs to discharge his social function. If social justice has been observed, therefore, the national economy will bear fruit in the shape of an intensive and thriving activity, developing in a peaceful and orderly manner and manifesting the vigour and stability of the nation; very much as a regular, full, and productive activity gives evidence of good health in a human body.
What social justice demands 72. It follows that the demands of social justice will not have been met if it is not within the power of workers to earn a wage providing a secure livelihood for themselves and their families; if they cannot accumulate a modest fortune insuring them against that widespread poverty which, like a running sore, afflicts so great a part of the human race; and if measures are not devised in their interests enabling them, either through public or private insurance organizations, to make provision for old age, sickness, and unemployment. On this point We may usefully repeat what We wrote in Quadragesimo anno:
"The economic structure of society will be stable and successful only when each and every individual citizen has been provided with all that natural resources, technical methods, and the social economy can make available. The amount of such wealth must be such as is required for their needs and decent comfort, and for the securing of such measure of earthly contentment as, with prudence, will be found a great help to a virtuous life and not a hindrance to it." 1
73. It frequently happens nowadays, however, that individual employers can only observe justice in the payment of wages on condition that all of them pledge themselves by agreement to a like observance, and this they do by forming employers' associations with the object of avoiding competition prejudicial to the rights of the workers. Where this is the case owners and employers should
1 A.A.S. XXIII, p. 202.
support and encourage such associations, as the normal means enabling them to fulfil their just obligations. And the workers too, on their side, must be mindful of their own duties of charity, and feel confident that such organizations will certainly be beneficial to their own interests.
74. As we consider the whole field of economics, therefore, it becomes clear that--as We pointed out in Our Encyclical Quadragesimo anno --the mutual influence of justice and charity can only be brought to bear upon economic and social relations by means of a federation of professional and inter-professional bodies, established on a Christian basis and constituting, under different forms adapted to time and place, what used to be known as "corporations."
§ 5 The study of Catholic social principles
Instruction in Catholic sociology
75. But for the greater efficacy of this social action it is quite essential that Catholic sociology should be more closely studied, and that the principles of this science, under the auspices of the divinely constituted authority of the Church, should be given the widest possible publicity. If the conduct of some Catholics in the social and economic sphere has left something to be desired, this has often happened because they had not duly considered the teaching of the Popes on the subject. Everyone, therefore, no matter to what class of society he belongs, ought to receive fuller instruction on social principles according to his degree of education, and the social teaching of the Church must be made widely known among the working classes.
Lamentable inconsistency in some Catholics
76. Let Catholic principles enlighten men's minds with their sure radiance, and so move their wills that they will find therein the right rule of conduct to guide them in the strict and careful observance of their social duties. So will everyone help to banish from the lives of Christians that inconsistency which We have more than once deplored, and which causes some Catholics, to all appearance scrupulous in fulfilling their religious obligations, to assume a second conscience when it is a matter of labour, industry, professional life, trade, or public duties, and in this sphere to behave in a manner which is unhappily far from conformable with the obvious principles of justice and Christian charity. Such conduct not only gives grave scandal to the weak but also provides the malicious with a pretext for attacking the Church.
Function of the Catholic Press
77. The Catholic Press can play an important part in this renewal of the Christian life. Its object should be, first, to use attractive devices for advertising the social doctrine of the Church; then to expose thoroughly and accurately the tactics of the enemy, and at the same time indicate the weapons which experience has elsewhere shown to be most effective in countering them; and finally, to advise on the best methods of forestalling the intrigues and snares which the communists have been using, often successfully, to gain the support of men of good faith.
§ 6 Precautions against Communist tactics
78. Although We spoke at some length on this subject, Venerable Brethren, in Our discourse of the 12th of May last year, We feel bound to call your attention to it again. At the beginning communism showed itself in its own true and hideous colours; but finding that this had the effect of turning people against it, it has now changed its tactics and tries to ingratiate itself with the masses by fraudulent devices, disguising its real intentions under the appearance of ideas in themselves true and alluring.
79. So, for example, seeing that the whole world is anxious for peace, the leaders of communism now pose as the most ardent supporters of every movement for the establishment of international concord; at the same time, however, they continue to foment in each nation a class warfare which causes rivers of blood to flow, and at home pile up huge armaments on the plea of safeguarding internal security.
80. Again, they form associations and publish periodicals whose assumed names have no apparent connection with communism, but which are in fact intended for the sole purpose of introducing their false doctrines into circles that would otherwise be closed to them; indeed they use every effort to make their treacherous entry into Catholic religious societies. In some places, again, without in any way abandoning their own opinions, they succeed in inducing Catholics to co-operate with them in various charitable and humanitarian activities, sometimes proposing schemes to this end which are quite in accordance with Christian sentiments and the teaching of the Church.
81. Elsewhere their hypocrisy goes to the length of persuading certain nations that communism will behave with much greater
moderation in countries where the Christian religion and civilization are deep-rooted, and will allow complete religious freedom and liberty of conscience. Some of them, arguing from a trifling change recently made in bolshevist legislation, even try to prove that communism will shortly desist from its anti-God campaign.
Communists not to be trusted or helped
82. Venerable Brethren, see that the faithful are put on their guard against these deceitful methods. Communism is intrinsically evil, and therefore no one who desires to save Christian civilization from extinction should render it assistance in any enterprise whatever. Those who allow themselves to be duped and who connive at the establishment of communism in their own countries will be the first to pay the penalty of their blunder; and the more ancient, the more flourishing the Christian civilization happens to be in any country which communism succeeds in penetrating, the more devasting will be their atheistic fury therein.
§ 7 Prayer and Mortification
83. But "unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepth it." 1 Most earnestly, therefore, Venerable Brethren, do We exhort you to stir up and foster in the faithful of your dioceses the spirit of prayer and mortification.
84. One day the Apostles asked Jesus Christ why they had not been able to cast the devil out of a man possessed, and He answered: "There is no way of casting out such spirits as this except by prayer and fasting." 2 It is Our conviction that the only way to cure the evils which torment humanity in our age is by a strenuous and holy campaign of prayer and penance in which all must join against the common foe. We therefore beseech everyone most earnestly, and especially contemplative orders of men and women, to multiply prayers and works of mortification, imploring God's almighty aid for the Church in these difficult times, and begging the intercession of His Immaculate Mother, who long ago crushed the old serpent's head and is for ever to-day our most sure Protectress and the unfailing "Help of Christians."
MINISTERS AND HELPERS IN THE SOCIAL ACTION OF THE CHURCH
§ 1 Priests
The function of the priest
85. For the fulfilment this work of salvation throughout the world and for the task of applying the remedies of which We have
1 Ps. cxxvi, 1.
2 Matth. xvii, 20.
spoken, Jesus Christ has chosen and appointed instruments and ministers, chief among them His priests. It is their special and Godgiven vocation, under the leadership of their bishops and in docile obedience to the Vicar of Christ on earth, at all times to bear aloft the flaming torch of faith in the sight of all men, and to instil constantly into the hearts of Catholics that supernatural confidence which has always supported the Church and given her as many victories as she has fought battles for the cause of Christ. "Our faith, that is the triumphant principle which triumphs over the world." 1
The mission of priests to workers and the poor
86. Leo XIII exhorted priests to go to the workers. We repeat his exhortation, adding a counsel of Our own: "Go especially to the poor among the workers: go to all the poor, wherever you find them;" for this is the bidding of Christ and His Church. Agitators always select the poor as the first victims for their insidious attacks; they exploit the wretched conditions under which they live to make them envy the rich, and so inflame their passions that they become ready to seize by force what fortune appears to have unjustly denied them. Unless the priest goes among the workers and the poor to put them on their guard against prejudice and false doctrine and correct their wrong impressions, they will fall an easy prey to the preachers of communism.
The paramount need of to-day
87. Much has been done already in this respect, We acknowledge, especially since the publication of the Encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno; and We commend with fatherly approval the vigorous efforts made by bishops and priests who, with due caution, are exploring new ways and trying modern methods of approach. But what has been accomplished is quite inadequate for the needs of to-day. In times of national peril all activities not absolutely necessary for the maintenance of life, or not directly concerned with national defence, must take second place. So also here: every other undertaking, however splendid and beneficial, must yield to the paramount need for reinforcing the very foundations of the Christian faith and civilization.
Workers must be won back to Christ
88. The priest in his parish, therefore, when he has met the first and imperative needs of the cure of souls and parochial administration, must then devote the best of his energies to the task of winning the masses of the workers back to Christ and the Church, and of
1 I John v, 4.
restoring a Christian spirit to those classes and sections of his people where it is most conspicuously lacking. If the clergy do this they may rest assured that their efforts will be rewarded with results far exceeding their expectations, and richly compensating them for the hard work which will be necessary to bring about such a complete change of heart. We have seen proofs of it in Rome and other populous cities, where churches recently erected in the suburbs are now filled with crowded and devout congregations, and an extraordinary moral revival is taking place among people whose former hostility to religion had been due only to the fact that they had known nothing whatever about it.
The example of the self-sacrificing priest
89. But more powerful than any other influence in the Christian regeneration of the poor and unfortunate will be the example of the priest, the priest adorned with those virtues which We described in Our Encyclical Ad catholici sacerdotii. 1 Above all, the task we are now considering calls for ministers of God who will be so pre-eminent in modesty, humility, and unselfishness, that the faithful will see in them the very image of the divine Master who could say quite truly of Himself: "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air their restingplaces; the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 2
90. Daily experience offers proof of the benefits conferred upon the Christian people by the priest of frugal life who, obeying the command of the Gospel, takes no thought for himself: St. Vincent de Paul, St. John Vianney, St. Joseph Cottolengo, St. John Bosco, are among the many who might be cited as examples. The avaricious priest, on the contrary, the priest whose only standard of conduct is his own profit and advantage, may indeed avoid the atrocious iniquity of betraying his Master as Judas betrayed Him; but he will never be more than "echoing bronze" or an idle "clash of cymbals," 3 and often, instead of being a channel of grace to the faithful, will become an obstacle to its flow. Let the priest, secular or regular, whose office imposes on him the administration of funds, not only be mindful to observe scrupulously the laws of charity and justice, but also make it his special object to behave as a real father of the poor.
§ 2 Catholic Action and its auxiliaries
Catholic Action to be trained in social principles
91. After the clergy, We appeal paternally to Our dear children among the laity who are fighting in the ranks of Our beloved
1 20 Dec., 1935. A.A.S. XXVIII, 1936, pp. 5-53.
2 Matth. viii, 20.
3 I Cor. xiii, 1.
Catholic Action, described by Us on another occasion as "an ally granted by a special divine Providence" to the Church in these most difficult times. The ultimate aim of Catholic Action being to bring about the effective reign of Jesus Christ in family and civil society as well as in individuals, its work may be described truly as a social apostolate. Its chief and constant task must therefore be that of carefully training and preparing its members to fight God's battles. This training, especially urgent and necessary in these times, and an essential preliminary to any successful action, will be greatly assisted by study-circles, weekly schools on social subjects, series of conferences, and other schemes for making better known the Christian answers to economic questions and problems.
Apostles of their fellow-workers
92. Thus equipped, the soldiers of Catholic Action will certainly be the leading apostles of their fellow-workers, and so render most valuable aid to the clergy in spreading the light of truth and alleviating physical and spiritual distress among those who have been only too often cut off from the ministrations of the priest by anticlericalism or irreligion. Thus, under the guidance of trained and experienced priests, they will be lending their vigorous and courageous co-operation in the task of bringing the aids of religion to the working masses; and this is a task most dear to Our heart, for there is no better way of protecting the workers, Our beloved children, against the insidious activities of the communists.
Public activities of Catholic Action
93. Besides exercising this influence upon individuals, always valuable, always salutary, but often hidden, it is also the function of Catholic Action to advertise as much as possible, by spoken and written word, the fundamental principles of the Christian social order as set forth in Papal documents.
Auxiliaries of Catholic Action
94. Grouped, as it were in battle array, around Catholic Action are the organizations which We have called its auxiliaries. These too must claim and do their part in the great work of which We are speaking, a work to-day surpassing all others in vital importance.
§ 3 Class organizations
Influence on public affairs
95. We appeal also to class and professional organizations: associations of artisans, farmers, builders, doctors, employers, writers, and others, whose common interests and degree of culture have naturally led them to form their several groups. These can do much to introduce into public affairs the sort of social order which We had in mind in writing the Encyclical Quadragesimo anno, and so extend the kingdom of Christ into every department of industry and literature.
Diffusion of the Christian spirit
96. It may be that in some countries owing to economic and social changes, the State has considered it necessary, while having due regard to individual freedom and initiative, to exercise some measure of legislative control over such organizations. Even so, members of Catholic Action, while taking proper account of the realities of the situation, will continue prudently to help the cause both by their studies, applying Catholic principles to the solution of questions of the day, and also by their action, loyally and willingly joining the new associations in order to permeate them with that spirit of Christianity which is always the principle of public order and brotherly co-operation.
§ 4 Catholic workers
A vital and self-sacrificing mission
97. We have a special message for Our beloved Catholic workers, youths and adults alike, whose manful and steadfast adherence to the faith in these evil days has merited for them the honourable and difficult task which now falls to their lot. With bishops and priests to direct their action, they have to do all in their power to bring back to God and the Church those vast masses of their fellowworkers who, in their indignation at being misunderstood and improperly treated, have unhappily abandoned their religion. Let Catholic workers by word and example convince their misguided brethren that the Church is the tender Mother of all who are weary and afflicted, that she has never failed in her duty to protect her children, and never will. Their apostolate, in coal mine, in factory, on cattle farm, or wherever workers are to be found, will call for self-sacrifice; but let them remember that Jesus Christ has given them an example not only of work but also of suffering.
Appeal for unity among Catholics
98. But to all Our children, to all the children of the Church, to whatever nation, class, organization (religious or lay) they may belong, to all We appeal once more with renewed confidence and urgency to foster the closest possible harmony with one another. More than once We have had occasion to deplore dissensions among Catholics, trivial enough in their causes, but always leading to unfortunate quarrels among the children of the one Mother Church. Agitators, few in number, are quick to seize the opportunity thus presented to exacerbate these differences and so encompass their chief object, which is to set Catholics in conflict with one another. Recent events are eloquent enough to make Our warnings superfluous, which We repeat, however, for the sake of those who have been unable or unwilling to understand them. Those who promote discord among Catholics have a formidable indictment to answer before God and the Church.
Appeal to all believers in God
99. But We confidently hope that, in repulsing the violent attempts of the "powers of darkness" to uproot the idea of God from men's minds, those who glory in the name of Christian will have the vigorous co-operation of all who believe in God and adore Him, that is to say, by far the greater part of the human race. In appealing again to them for their sincere and whole-hearted support against this most serious danger which threatens humanity We repeat the warning which We gave five years ago in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi :
"Belief in God is the one firm foundation of any social order and upon that belief any human authority must necessarily rest. Therefore those who do not want to see the collapse of all law and order must use every effort to prevent the enemies of religion from carrying into effect the designs which they violently and openly proclaim." 1
§ 5 The Christian State 100. Hitherto, Venerable Brethren, We have been describing the definite mission, doctrinal and practical, which the Church has received by mandate of her divine Founder to permeate human society with the spirit of Christ, and in particular her present mission to repel the attacks of communism; and We have summoned every class of mankind to take its part therein.
The State must repel the enemies of social order 101. But the Christian State too has its contribution to make to this task, and must aid the Church by all its available means, which, though they are external, cannot but have a primary influence upon the welfare of souls.
1 3 May, 1932 ( A.A.S. XXIV, 1932, p. 184).
102. Governments must therefore direct all their efforts to saving their peoples from the infection of these blasphemous and atheistic theories, fatal to all social order. There can be no stable human authority if the authority of God is denied, nor can a man's oath have any value except in the name of the living God. As We wrote in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi:
"How can human commerce go on, what store can be set by agreements, if conscience offers no security, if there is no faith in God and no fear of Him? Remove this foundation, and the whole moral law collapses, and there is nothing to prevent the gradual but inevitable ruin of nations, family, State, and civilization itself." 1
The State must implement the principles of social justice
103. It should also be the government's primary care to provide for the people those living conditions the lack of which will certainly endanger the security of the State, however soundly constituted it may be; and also to ensure employment especially for married men and young people. With this end in view it should constrain owners of property to shoulder for the common good those responsibilities which they must necessarily accept if they themselves, as well as the State, are to survive. But the measures taken by the government for this purpose should be such as really to affect the extremely wealthy who are constantly increasing their riches to the grave detriment of their fellow citizens.
Frugality in public administration
104. The public administration, for which the government is responsible before God and the community, ought to be marked by such prudence and moderation as to serve as a model for every citizen in the management of his own affairs. To-day especially the serious economic crisis which involves the whole world demands that those who possess very large fortunes, amassed through the sweat and labour of so many of their countrymen, should have in mind only the common interest of all and use every effort to promote it.
The duty of public servants
105. Public officials and civil servants should discharge their duties conscientiously, faithfully, and unselfishly, following the example of so many famous men, both in ancient and in more recent times, who by their industry and labour have spent themselves entirely in the service of their country.
1 Ibid. , p. 190.
International economic barriers
106. In international trade artificial economic barriers ought to be removed as soon as possible. They owe their existence largely to mutual suspicion and hostility, and it should be remembered that all nations form one family whose Author is God.
The State must not hinder the social action of the Church
107. But governments must also leave the Church free to fulfil her divinely appointed mission for the salvation of souls; for in this way also they will be helping notably to deliver the world from the terrible scourge of these times.
108. There is a universal and insistent call in our age for spiritual re-armament; and rightly so. For if we consider the source of the evil which we have to repel, it is evident that it is primarily an evil of the spirit; it is from ideas, fundamentally corrupt ideas, that all the monstrous and hateful blasphemies of communism naturally take their rise. Now the greatest religious and moral force in the world, as all admit, is the Catholic Church. Is it not clear, then, that it is upon her unhampered and effective action that the very salvation of humanity depends?
109. The adoption of any other course, the attempt to secure the same objective by purely economic and social measures, will be a blunder fraught with the utmost peril. To banish religion from schools, education, and public life, to hold up to ridicule the ministers of the Catholic Church and her sacred rites--what else is this but to encourage the principles of materialism, the very source of the communist doctrine and methods? There is in fact no human power, however perfectly organized, there is no earthly ideal, however lofty and noble, that can hold in check the unbridled passions which spring from an excessive love of the things of this life.
110. We are confident that those who hold the fortunes of peoples in their hands, when once they have appreciated the seriousness of the danger which now threatens every nation, will become more and more convinced that it is their duty not to hinder the Church in the performance of her task; the more so as the Church, while seeking to secure the everlasting happiness of men, strives also to promote their true welfare in this world.
A message to Catholics misled by communism
111. Before concluding this Letter We would address a word also to those of Our own children who have either already succumbed to this plague of communism or else are in imminent danger of infection. While We earnestly implore them to heed the voice of their loving Father, We also beseech Almighty God to enlighten their minds and withdraw their steps from the perilous path which is leading them astray to disaster, that they may come to recognize Jesus Christ as the one Saviour of the human race: for "this alone of all the names under heaven has been appointed to men as the one by which we must needs be saved." 1
St. Joseph Model of Workers and Patron of the Church
112. Finally, to hasten the advent of that peace of Christ in the reign of Christ 2 which all men so earnestly desire, We place this campaign of the Church against the onset of atheistic communism under the guidance and protection of St. Joseph, the powerful Patron of the Catholic Church.
113. He was of the working people; together with the family entrusted to him at Nazareth he suffered the discomforts of poverty; over that family he watched with unremitting vigilance; and it was to his custody that the divine Child was committed when Herod sent his assassins to slay Him. He, too, scrupulous in the fulfilment of his daily task, is the model of all who earn their bread by the work of their hands; truly called "just man," he is the outstanding example of that Christian justice which should be the moulding influence in the social life of men.
114. And We, gazing aloft with eyes strengthened by the virtue of faith, seem to behold those "new heavens" and that "new earth" 3 of which St. Peter, Our first Predecessor, speaks. And while the earthly happiness promised by the lying preachers of error vanishes away, leaving nothing but its bitter fruits of sin and sorrow, there resounds from heaven the joyous prophecy of the divine Redeemer in the Apocalypse: "Behold, I make all things new." 4
115. It remains for Us in conclusion, Venerable Brethren, to grant paternally to you, to the clergy and people entrusted to each of you, and thus to the whole of the Catholic family, Our Apostolic Benediction.
116. Given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the nineteenth day of March, the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, in the year 1937, the sixteenth of Our Pontificate.
PIUS PP. XI
1 Acts iv, 12.
2 Cf. Encycl. Ubi arcano, 23 Dec., 1922 ( dA.A.S. XIV, p. 691).
3 II Peter iii, 13; cf. Is. lxvi, 22; Apoc. xxi, 1.
4 Apoc. xxi, 5.
8. Encyclical "Nos es muy" of Pope Pius XI on the Persecution of the Church in Mexico, March 28, 1937
Original Latin and Spanish texts in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1937, p. 189
In various forms anti-clericalism has been present in the politics of Mexico ever since the country's separation from the Spanish Empire in 1821. This may be explained by its governmental instability in which the attention of Governments, quickly succeeding one another and usually eager for enrichment, was constantly attracted by the wealth of the Mexican clergy. In 1857 a Constitution was enacted with stringent provisions directed particularly against the property rights and temporal possessions of the Church. A civil war ensued. When the leader of the Constitution's supporters, Benito Juarez, got the upper hand, the Conservative elements resorted to the unhappy attempt to establish a Mexican Empire with the help of a French military intervention. In 1867 the Emperor Maximilian, formerly an Austrian Archduke, was defeated and executed, and the country plunged into a long period of "progressist" and anti-clerical régimes. Among them the long administration of President Porfirio Diaz ( 1872-1911) was comparatively mild towards the Church. But once he had been overthrown, the accumulated radicalism burst out with an ever-growing violence.
In 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution, a new Constitution was promulgated at Queretaro (hence known as the Constitution of Queretaro); it enunciated most drastic provisions against religion and Church, similar to those which had been produced in Europe by Josephinism and the French Revolution more than a hundred years earlier (cf. Chap. VI, Doc. No. 7, and Chap. VII, Doc. No. 1 ). Besides eliminating the clergy from school teaching, the Constitution proclaimed, in its Art. 130, the following main provisions: the Mexican State has exclusive authority in matters of religious worship and does not recognize any corporate existence of religious associations known as Churches (thus the Church as a body was outlawed and deprived of any legal possibility of organization, ownership or defence); all real or personal property of clergy or of religious Orders is at the State's disposal; in every church there must be a caretaker responsible to the Government; no priest can inherit anything from anybody to whom he is not related by blood within the fourth degree; every Mexican becoming priest loses his civic rights to vote and to hold office; any Catholic political organizations are strictly forbidden; any criticism or comment on national life is prohibited in religious publications; and no trial by jury shall be granted for infractions of these provisions.
Apart from the formidable anti-religious programme embodied in this Article, there was another Article in the Constitution, equally far-reaching for the political future of the country. A detailed code of labour was contained in it, which became the charter of a rapidly growing movement of Marxist and later Communist inspired trade-unions of urban workers. They soon became a powerful factor in Mexican politics and their great influence on successive Governments has been marked, ever since, with the strongest antireligious colouring.
A vehement effort at total application of Art. 130 of the Constitution of Queretaro occurred under the régime of President Calles, a violent atheist, who dominated the Mexican political scene for more than ten years from 1924 onward. In 1926 a series of laws was published, according to which no priest was permitted to exercise his ministry without the State's licence; and the State authorities began to regulate the number of clergy in such a way that vast regions were left without any priests at all. An all-out persecution of unlawful ministering followed and derelict churches were promptly transformed into museums, fire-stations or garages. Thereupon the bishops, all in hiding or exiled from the country, decreed the suspension of church services altogether and called on the faithful to make efficacious protest against the unjust governmental measures. An armed revolt of "Cristeros" (Catholic peasants, so called after their rallying cry "Viva Cristo Rey!") broke out in several provinces; but it was suppressed with unparalleled brutality.
After three years of complete religious standstill a modus vivendi was concluded between the episcopate and the Government in 1929 through the mediation of Mr. Dwight Morrow, Ambassador of the United States. With Papal approval the bishops lifted the ban on public worship; but the Government failed to observe the agreement and persecution went on unabated. Many quarters advocated the re-suspension of church services and renewal of active resistance. But Pope Pius XI in the Encyclical Acerba animi of September 1932 rejected their views; while condemning emphatically Art. 130 of the Constitution of Queretaro and subsequent laws based on it, he enjoined a policy of physical non-resistance, although under energetic protest against the unjust legislation.
In 1936 the ascendancy of ex-President Calles in Mexican politics was finally broken by the administration of General Cardenas and a gradual appeasement between Church and State followed. At this stage, on March 28, 1937, Pope Pius XI issued the present Encyclical Firmissimam constantiam, better known under the initial words of its Spanish version "Nos es muy" (="We are very").
The Encyclical is devoted to three main problems with which Catholicism has been confronted in Mexico after the spiritual devastation of the country by the Calles régime. The first is the necessity to "win souls back to God," those souls which had lapsed from the Faith as a result of governmental oppression and of the long standstill in religious life. The Mexican clergy had been decimated, reduced to poverty and deprived of all training institutions; while acknowledging the help of the United States Catholics (a large seminary, destined for the education of fresh Mexican clergy, had been created in Texas), the Pope stresses particularly that in the great work of reconversion the priests must be assisted by lay apostolate in the form of "Catholic Action."
The second problem is social. For too long Mexican Catholicism had been accused by radical Governments and Communist tradeunions of social "reaction." Against their imputations Pius XI points out to the great reforming programme in this sphere, embodied in the Encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno (see Doc. No. 10 in Chap. VII and Doc. No. 2 in this chapter) and recommends its efficient promotion with special regard to Mexican agricultural and labour questions. This should be also a task of "Catholic Action," but without its meddling in practical politics.
The third question is that of resistance to oppression. The Pope had disapproved, in 1932, of the plea for a renewed armed opposition to the Government's religious persecution. He now makes it clear that this does not mean passive resignation to every sort of trampling on justice and truth. The means of resistance may be different, according to circumstances, and include even recourse to force in self-defence, if it appears lawful and appropriate. "Catholic Action," however, should abstain from any direct participation in carrying out such resistance politically, although it belongs to its province to prepare the faithful for the defence of their rights.
The Encyclical met in Mexico with a strong response. Although the Constitution of Queretaro and most of the other oppressive laws remain in force, their application has been perceptibly eased under the last administrations, particularly that of President Camacho ( 1940-1946). In this improved atmosphere the Pope's directives for the social sphere led to the formation, in 1937, of the movement of "Sinarquistas," grouping chiefly Catholic peasants and working for the ideals of the social Encyclicals; it has been in steady progress since its foundation, has become a mass movement, and competes energetically with the Marxist-dominated tradeunions all over the country.
(The following English copyright translation is reproduced by kind permission of the Catholic Truth Society, London.)
To our Venerable Brethren the Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries of the United States of Mexico who are in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See: On the Conditions of Catholicism in Mexico.
POPE PIUS XI
GREETING AND APOSTOLIC BENEDICTION
We well know, and it is for Our paternal heart a great consolation, the constancy with which you, your priests and the greater part of the faithful of Mexico, have fervently professed the Catholic Faith and resisted the oppression of those who, ignorant of the divine excellence of the religion of Jesus Christ and knowing it only through the calumnies of its enemies, delude themselves by believing that they cannot effect reforms favourable to the people unless they attack the religion of the great majority of the citizens.
Yet, unhappily, the enemies of God and of Jesus Christ, though very few, have succeeded in overcoming many lukewarm or timid souls who, although they adore God in the depths of their consciences, none the less co-operate at least materially, whether out of human respect or out of fear of social hardship, in the dechristianization of a nation which owes its greatest glories to religion.
Such examples of defection or weakness, which so deeply grieve Us, make all the more praiseworthy and meritorious the resistance to evil, the practice of the Christian life and the open profession of Faith on the part of the great body of the faithful whom you, Venerable Brethren, and your clergy, guide with your pastoral care and with the splendid example of your lives. This comforts Us in the midst of Our sorrows and gives Us the hope of better days for the Mexican Church, which, strengthened by such heroism and upheld by the prayers and sufferings of so many chosen souls, cannot perish but must flourish again with renewed life and strength.
In order to increase your confidence in divine help, and to encourage you to continue ever more steadfastly in the practice of a fervent Christian life, We send you this letter to remind you that, in the difficult circumstances of to-day, the most efficacious means for the restoration of Christianity are first of all the sanctity of the priests, and secondly the formation of the laity to fit them for fruitful co-operation in the Apostolate of the Hierarchy. This formation of the laity is made all the more necessary in Mexico by the size of its territory and by other conditions there prevailing which are well known to all.
Consequently Our thoughts first turn to those who must be a light which enlightens, a salt which preserves, a good yeast which penetrates the whole body of the faithful: to your priests.
We know, indeed, with what tenacity and at the cost of how many sacrifices you endeavour to select and foster vocation to the priesthood, fully aware that you are thus solving a vital problem, indeed the most vital of all the problems with which the Church in Mexico is faced.
Since it is impossible at the present time for the seminaries in your country to be well organized and to offer peaceful conditions for the training of priests, you have found in this city a generous and kindly hospitality for your clergy in the Latin American College, which has trained and continues to train in learning and virtue so many worthy priests, and which is especially dear to Us on account of its valuable work. But, as it is impossible in a great many cases for you to send your students to Rome, you have striven to find a hospitable refuge in the great nation which is your neighbour.
In congratulating you in such a praiseworthy effort which is now becoming a consoling reality, We express once more Our gratitude to all those who have so generously offered you hospitality and help. And in this connection We remind you of the wish We have already expressed that not only seminarists but also all priests should be made familiar with, and should have expounded to them, Our Encyclical Ad catholici sacerdotii, which reveals Our mind on this subject, the most important of all the important subjects We have dealt with.
The Mexican priests, thus trained in conformity with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, will realize that in the present condition of their country of which We have already spoken in our Apostolic Letter Paterna sane sollicitudo of February 2nd, 1926, and which is so similar to that of the early years of the Church, when the Apostles enlisted the collaboration of the laity--it would be very difficult to win so many lost souls back to God without the help of the laity in "Catholic Action"; all the more so since among them God at times raises up generous souls who are ready to engage in fruitful activity if they find a learned and holy clergy that knows how to understand and guide them.
So it is to the Mexican priests, who have dedicated their whole lives to the service of Jesus Christ, of the Church and of souls, that We address this first fervent call, in order that they may share Our solicitude and yours by devoting their greatest energy and care to the growth and spreading of "Catholic Action."
The effective collaboration of the laity in your apostolate will be successfully achieved if the priests assiduously train a Christian people by means of wise direction, and careful religious instruction that is not diluted by empty words but full of sound doctrine from Holy Scripture and a strong piety.
It is true that not everybody yet realizes to the full the need for this holy apostolate of the laity, despite the fact that ever since Our first Encyclical, Ubi Arcano Dei, We have declared that it undoubtedly belongs to the pastoral ministry and to the Christian life. But since, as We have said, We are writing to shepherds who must win back a flock so persecuted, and to a certain extent dispersed, now more than ever We recommend you to enlist the collaboration of the laity, to whom, as to living stones of the house of God, St. Peter attributed a hidden dignity which makes them in some measure participators in a holy and real priesthood. 1
For indeed, every Christian who is conscious of his dignity and responsibility as a son of the Church and a member of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ--"So we, being many, are one body in Christ; and every one members one of another" 2 --cannot but recognize that the members of this body must communicate life to each other and have all interests in common. This requires that each one must play his part in contributing to the life and growth of the whole "for the edifying of the body of Christ" and for the glorifying of its Head. 3
From these simple principles what a clear aim emerges and what strong encouragement can be drawn, so that many souls that have hitherto been hesitant and timid can find a sure and certain outlet for their piety by collaborating in the work of salvation of souls and by spreading the Kingdom of Christ!
Further, it is evident that the apostolate thus understood does not ensue from a purely natural tendency to action, but is the fruit of a solid inner formation, the necessary expansion of an intense love for Jesus Christ and for the souls redeemed by His precious
1 I Peter ii, 9.
2 Romans xii, 5.
3 Ephesians iv, 12-16.
Blood, a love that leads one to imitate His life of prayer, abnegation and zeal. This imitation of Christ will produce many different forms of apostolate according to the different circumstances and spheres in which souls are in danger or the rights of the Divine King attacked; it will embrace all those apostolic activities which in any way come under the Church's divine mission, and in consequence it will penetrate not only into the mind of each individual but also into the sanctuary of the family, into the school and even into public life.
But the magnitude of the work to be done should not make you more concerned for the number than for the quality of your collaborators. Just as the Divine Master willed that the few years of His apostolic labour should be preceded by a long preparation, and just as He founded the Apostolic College not out of many, but out of a few chosen men who were to conquer the world, so also you, Venerable Brethren, will first of all look to the spiritual formation of your directors and propagandists and will be neither concerned nor unduly troubled if at the beginning they are no more than a "little flock," 1 and since We know that you are already working in this direction, We congratulate you on having carefully chosen and assiduously trained good collaborators who both by word and example will carry the fervour of the Christian life and apostolate to all dioceses and parishes.
This work of yours will be solid and deep, unostentatious in its methods; it will grow in silence although its fruit be seemingly inconspicuous and long in coming, like the seed which, buried, brings forth in apparent rest the new and vigorous plant.
Further, the spiritual formation and the inner life which you develop in those who are to be your collaborators will guard them against possible dangers and errors. If they have always before them the ultimate aim of "Catholic Action" which is the sanctification of souls, in accordance with the principle of the Gospels: "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God," 2 they will be in no danger of sacrificing principles to immediate and secondary ends, and they will never forget that activities of a social, economic and charitable nature must be also subordinated to this ultimate end. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us this by His example, for even when in the infinite tenderness of His divine Heart--which made Him cry out: "I have compassion on the multitude . . . And if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the away--" 3 He cured diseases and ministered to temporal needs, He never lost sight of the ultimate end of His mission: of His Father's glory and the eternal salvation of souls.
1 St. Luke xii, 32.
2 St. Matthew vi, 33.
3 St. Mark viii, 2, 3.
In consequence, social activities do not fall outside the sphere of "Catholic Action" in so far as they are means of winning the multitudes to God, for often one cannot reach souls except through the alleviation of physical and economic distress, for which reasons We Ourselves, as also our Predecessor of holy memory, Leo XIII, have often exhorted the faithful to engage in such activities. But, although "Catholic Action" must prepare men fitted to direct such work, must teach the principles that are to guide it, and lay down rules for its organization in accordance with the teachings of Our Encyclicals, it must, nevertheless, not take over responsibility for the purely technical, financial or economic sides of this work, which lie outside its jurisdiction and aim.
In answer to the accusations that are frequently made against the Church of neglecting social problems or of being unable to solve them, do not cease to proclaim that only the teaching and work of the Church, through the presence of her Divine Founder, can offer the remedy for the very grave evils which afflict humanity.
It is for you, therefore, to apply these principles (as you are already striving to do) in order to solve the grave social problems which trouble your country, as, for example, the agrarian problem, the reduction of the large estates, the betterment of the conditions of living of the workers and their families.
You will remember that, without detriment to the essence of primary and fundamental rights such as that of property, the common good sometimes requires that these rights be limited and that recourse be had more frequently than in times past to the dictates of social justice. In some cases, the defence of the dignity of the human person will necessitate the frank denunciation of unjust and unworthy conditions of living; but at the same time great care must be taken lest violence be approved on the pretext of remedying the sufferings of the masses, and lest encouragement be given to sudden and turbulent changes in the age-old structure of society without regard to equity and moderation and with results more disastrous than the very evils they set out to remedy. This active concern for social problems will enable you to attend with special zeal to the lot of so many workers who easily fall prey to antiChristian propaganda, deluded by the promises of the economic advantages which will be theirs if they apostatize from God and His Holy Church.
If you truly love the worker--and you should love him, for his state of life approximates more closely than any other to that of the Divine Master--you must attend to both his material and spiritual needs. You must give him material help by striving to have fulfilled on his behalf the dictates not only of commutative but also of social justice, that is to say, by furthering all measures for the improvement of the condition of the proletariat; and you must satisfy his spiritual needs by giving him the help that religion offers, without which he will sink into a materialism that brutalizes and degrades.
Another duty no less serious and urgent is that of giving material and spiritual assistance to the agricultural labourers, and in particular to that numerous body of your Mexican sons who constitute the native population; they are millions of souls redeemed by Christ, entrusted by Him to your care and of whom He will one day ask you to render account; they are millions of human beings who often live in such sad and wretched conditions that they do not even enjoy that minimum of material well-being which is indispensable for human dignity. We earnestly entreat you, Venerable Brethren, for the love of Jesus Christ, to take special care of these your sons, to exhort your clergy to devote themselves to their service with an ever more ardent zeal, and to make the whole of Mexican "Catholic Action" engage in this work of moral and material redemption.
We cannot omit to remind you here of a task that in the last few years has become more and more important; the care of Mexican emigrants who, uprooted from their land and its traditions, are easily entangled in the insidious snares of those who attempt to make them apostatize from their Faith. An understanding with your Brethren of the United States would result in more diligent and better organized help on the part of the local clergy, and would ensure for Mexican emigrants a share in the advantages to be derived from those economic and social activities which are in such a flourishing condition among the Catholics of the United States.
"Catholic Action" must not fail to help and protect the classes of the humble and needy, the workers, agricultural labourers and emigrants; but in other fields it has no less imperative duties. Among others, it must show very special care for students who one day, on the completion of their studies, will have great influence in society and perhaps occupy important positions in the State. To the practice of the Christian religion, to the formation of character, which are fundamental for all the faithful, you must add for students a special and careful education and intellectual training based on Christian philosophy, the philosophy that is so rightly called "philosophia perennis." For nowadays, in view of the ever more widespread tendency of modern life towards all that is superficial, towards an ever increasing aversion from thought and concentration, and a propensity in the spiritual life itself to guidance by sentiment rather than by reason, a sound and careful religious instruction has become much more necessary than it used to be.
We earnestly desire that in this you should, as far as is possible and adapting the instruction to the special conditions, needs and potentialities of your country, follow the praiseworthy example of "Catholic Action" in other countries, and make similar provisions for cultural formation and for ensuring that religious instruction should have the first place in the intellectual training of Catholic students. The university students who are working in "Catholic Action" give Us great hope for a better future in Mexico, and We are sure that they will not disappoint Us. No matter what forms its organization might take--and, since these forms will be largely determined by local conditions and circumstances, they will vary from region to region--it is evident that the university students must form a very special and important part of this "Catholic Action" which is so dear to Our heart. They not only offer, as We have said, the strongest hope for a better future, but they can also render now valuable service to Church and country either through the apostolate that they can exercise among their companions, or by giving the different branches of "Catholic Action" capable and well trained leaders.
The special conditions of your country compel Us to call your attention to the urgent necessity of defending the children from the many dangers which threaten their innocence, in view of the fact that their Christian education is rendered more difficult. Because of this all Mexican Catholics have two imperative duties to perform: the one negative, to keep the children, as far as possible, away from the godless schools that would corrupt them; the other positive, to give them a careful religious instruction and the necessary help and guidance to maintain their spiritual life. On the first of these points, which is so grave and difficult a matter, We have already written to you. With regard to the second point, that of religious instruction, although We know with what insistence you yourselves have enjoined it on your priests and on the faithful, nevertheless We repeat that, since this is to-day one of the most important and vital problems facing the Mexican Church, what is so praiseworthily being put into practice in some dioceses should be extended to all the others, namely that the priests and members of "Catholic Action" should devote themselves ardently and without shrinking from any sacrifice to preserving for God and the Church these little ones for whom the Divine Saviour showed such predilection.
The future that lies before the young generations, We repeat with all the anguish of Our paternal heart, awakens in Us the greatest solicitude and anxiety. We know to what dangers children and young people are exposed to-day, more than ever before, in all countries, but especially in Mexico where an immoral and anti- religious press sows the seeds of apostasy in their hearts. In order to remedy so great an evil and in order to defend the young from these dangers it is necessary to avail yourselves of every legal means and to make full use of every form of organization, such as the leagues of fathers of families, the committees of morality, of supervision of literature, and of censorship of the cinema.
With regard to the individual protection of children and the young, We know from the testimony that reaches Us from all over the world that to work in the ranks of "Catholic Action" is the best protection against the attacks of evil, the finest school of virtue, purity and Christian fortitude. These young people, fired with enthusiasm for the beauty of the Christian ideal, strengthened by the divine help given them through prayer and the sacraments, will fervently and gladly devote themselves to the conquest of the souls of their companions, reaping an abundant and consoling harvest.
This clearly shows the impossibility of maintaining that in face of the grave problems of Mexico "Catholic Action" must occupy a place of secondary importance; and therefore, if this institution, whose function it is to educate consciences and to form moral qualities, should be in any way subordinated to any other activity whatsoever, even though it be a question of defending the liberty necessary for religion and civil life, a very serious error would be committed, because the salvation of Mexico, like that of every human society, lies above all in the eternal and immutable principles of the Gospels and in the sincere practice of Christian morality.
But, once this scale of values and activities is established, it must be admitted that the Christian life, in order to develop, needs external and tangible supports; that the Church, since it is a society of men, cannot exist or grow if it does not enjoy liberty of action, and that her children have the right to find in civil society the possibility of living in conformity with the dictates of their conscience.
In consequence, it is only natural that when even the most elementary religious and civil liberties are attacked Catholic citizens should not passively resign themselves to forgo them. Though the opportunity of vindicating these rights and liberties, and how vigorously this should be done, will vary according to circumstances, You have more than once reminded your flock that the Church promotes peace and order even at the cost of great sacrifices to herself, and that she condemns every unjust rebellion or act of violence against the properly constituted civil power. On the other hand, you have also affirmed that if the case arose where the civil power should so trample on justice and truth as to destroy even the very foundations of authority, there would appear no reason to condemn citizens for uniting to defend the nation and themselves by lawful and appropriate means against those who make use of the power of the state to drag the nation to ruin.Although it is true that the practical solution depends on concrete circumstances, it is nevertheless Our duty to remind you of some general principles which must always be kept in mind, namely:
1. That the methods used for vindicating these rights are means to an end, or constitute a relative end, not a final and absolute end.
2. That, as means to an end, they must be lawful and not intrinsically evil acts.
3. That since they should be means proportionate to the end, they must be used only in so far as they serve to attain that end, in whole or in part, and in such a way that they do not bring greater harm to the community than the harm they were intended to remedy.
4. That the use of such means and the exercise of civic and political rights in all their fulness, involving matters of a purely temporal and technical kind or of recourse to force in self-defence, do not fall directly within the province of "Catholic Action" as such; although, on the other hand, it is part of the function of "Catholic Action" to prepare Catholics for the proper use of their rights, and for the defence of those rights by all just means, as required by the common good.
5. Since the clergy and "Catholic Action" are, by reason of their mission of peace and love, consecrated to the purpose of uniting all men "in the bond of peace" they ought to contribute greatly to the prosperity of the Nation, by promoting the union of citizens and of social classes, and by collaborating in all those social measures that are not contrary to Christian doctrine and morality. Further, the civic activity of Mexican Catholics, carried out in a noble and generous spirit, will achieve more effective results the more intensely Catholics possess that supernatural view of life, that religious and moral education, that burning zeal for the spreading of the Kingdom of Christ with which "Catholic Action" strives to imbue its members.
If, then, the faithful are united in one mind and determined not to renounce the freedom wherewith Christ has made them free, 1 what human power or force can enslave them to sin? What dangers or what persecutions can separate such steadfast souls from the love of Christ? 2
The right formation of the perfect Christian and citizen, whose gifts and actions are all ennobled and made sublime by the supernatural life, will ensure, as it cannot fail to do, the right fulfilment of civic and social duties. St. Augustine answered the Church's enemies with these words: "Let those who say that the doctrine of Christ is subversive of the State . . . produce such citizens, such
1 Galatians iv, 31.
2 Romans viii, 35.
husbands, such wives, such fathers and mothers, such sons, such masters, such servants, such kings, such judges . . . as Christian doctrine requires, before they dare to affirm that such a doctrine is hostile to the State; before, indeed, they hesitate to grant that this doctrine, if it is obeyed, is the great salvation of the State." 1
This being so, a Catholic will be very careful, for example, not to neglect the exercise of his right to vote when the good of the Church or that of his country is at stake; nor will there be any danger of Catholics organizing themselves for civic and political life into various factions striving one against the other, or in opposition to the guidance of ecclesiastical authority. This would only serve to make confusion greater and to dissipate energy to the detriment of the growth of "Catholic Action" and of the very cause they ought to defend.
We have already pointed out some activities which, although not contrary to it, fall outside the sphere of "Catholic Action," such as the activities of political parties and those of a purely economic and social kind. But there are many other activities which can be grouped round the central organization of "Catholic Action," such as the associations of fathers of families whose aim it is to defend the freedom of education and of religious instruction, or the union of citizens for the defence of the family, the sanctity of marriage and public morals; for "Catholic Action" does not rigidly crystallize into fixed schemes but co-ordinates, as round a centre that radiates light and warmth, other activities and auxiliary institutions which, while keeping a fitting autonomy and liberty of action necessary for the attainment of their specific ends, should conform to the same general principles and common pattern. This applies particularly to the extensive territory of your country, where the variety of local requirements and conditions may necessitate diverse methods of organization, and may require that practical solutions be found which differ from each other, while all are equally the right ones for dealing with the same problem.
It will be incumbent on you, Venerable Brethren, to whom the Holy Spirit has entrusted the government of God's Church, to give the final practical decision in these cases, a decision to which the faithful will obediently conform. This We desire with all Our heart, because a right intention and obedience are always and everywhere indispensable conditions for obtaining God's blessing on the pastoral ministry and on "Catholic Action," and for acquiring that unity of purpose and that fusion of energies without which the apostolate cannot be fruitful. We therefore earnestly urge all good Mexican
1 Epistola 138 ad Marcellinum, C. 2, n. 15.
Catholics to love and reverence, obedience and discipline. "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls." And let this obedience be joyful and a stimulus to the highest virtues: "that they may do this with joy, and not with grief." 1 He who obeys only with reluctance, as if under compulsion, and who gives vent to his resentment in bitter criticism of his superiors and fellow-workers, of everything that is not in conformity with his own opinion and judgment, averts God's blessing, weakens discipline and is destructive where constructive labour is required.
Besides obedience and discipline, We would remind you of the other duties of universal charity which St. Paul enjoins on us in the same fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians from which We have already quoted, and which should be the fundamental rule for all those who work in "Catholic Action." "I, therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit." 2
We once more ardently exhort Our beloved sons of Mexico, who during Our Pontificate have been the special object of Our solicitude, to unity, charity and peace in the apostolic work of "Catholic Action" which has been called to restore Christ to Mexico and to bring you peace and even temporal prosperity.
We lay Our prayers at the feet of your heavenly patron, Our Lady of Guadalupe, who in her sanctuary calls forth the love and veneration of all Mexicans. To her, venerated also in this City where We have founded a parish in her honour, We fervently pray that she listen to Our supplications and yours and obtain from Almighty God prosperity for Mexico with the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ.
With this prayer and hope We grant you, Venerable Brethren, your priests, the members of Mexican "Catholic Action," all Our beloved sons and the whole noble nation of Mexico the Apostolic Benediction.
May this letter which We send you on the Feast of the Resurrection be an assurance of Our paternal hope for the spiritual resurrection of your country, so that as you have shared in the Passion of Christ you may likewise share in the glory of His Resurrection.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on Easter Sunday, March 28, 1937, in the sixteenth year of Our Pontificate.
PIUS PP. XI
1 Hebrews xiii, 7.
2 Ephesians iv, 1-4.
9. The Constitution of Eire, December 29, 1937
Original Irish and English texts as published by Government
Publication Office, Dublin ( 1945 edition)
The Treaty of December 9, 1921, between the British Government and the Irish Provisional Government had resulted in the creation of the Irish Free State, with its capital at Dublin, including twenty-six out of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, the other six north-eastern counties remaining within the United Kingdom but enjoying a measure of local autonomy. The Irish Free State was to possess Dominion status inside the British Empire. This settlement of the cleavage between the mainly Protestant North and the Catholic South has never been accepted as definitive by the Dublin Government; opposition to "Partition" was accordingly written into the 1937 Constitution itself (cf. Preamble, par. 5--"so that . . . the unity of our country (may) be restored. . . ."; or Arts. 2 and 3).
The constitutional position of the Irish Free State was originally defined by the "Saorstát Eireann" (Irish Free State) laws of 1922, but the advent to power of the Government of Mr. Eamon de Valera and his Fianna Fail Party in 1932 led to the demand for redefinition of the country's constitutional status, with a view to eliminating as many as possible of the remaining links with Britain. The present Constitution became law in 1937. Parallel legislation reduced the connection with the British Crown to a shadow; the King became merely the agent for the relations of the new State of Eire ( Ireland) with foreign countries; this position was defined in the External Relations Act, passed by the Irish "Oireachthas" (Parliament) in 1936. The Constitution nowhere explicitly designates Eire as a Republic, though it lays down that the Head of the State shall be known as the President. This alleged vagueness of constitutional status was to be sharply criticized by political opponents of the de Valera Government and on April 18, 1949, a final severance of connection with the British Commonwealth was made when the External Relations Act was repealed under the Coalition Government of Mr. J. A. Costello and Ireland became a fully independent Republic.
The Irish Constitution may stand as an example during this century of an attempted realization of a political structure which should be both Catholic and democratic; from this point of view it may be contrasted and compared with the authoritarian constitutions of Austria and Portugal (see Doc. No. 5 of this Chapter). The
Preamble to the Constitution is explicitly Christian in its choice of phrasing (cf. the 1st and 2nd Clauses), while its initial statement of the objectives of political action (1st Clause) is in conformity with the Catholic teaching on Man's origin and destiny (cf. Pope Leo XIII's treatment of this matter in the Encyclical Immortale Dei, Chap. VII, Doc. No. 9). The phrases "final end" (Clause 1), "common good" and "true social order" (Clause 5) may also be cited as influenced by the terminology of Catholic philosophical and political thinking.
Furthermore in Article 40, dealing with personal rights, a successful restoration can be found of a Liberal idea to its Catholic setting. The conception of individual freedom has been adequately balanced by a statement of moral and corporate obligation. The first clause of the Article qualifies a preliminary assertion of individual equality before the Law by adding that the State can, however, impose legislation based on qualitative distinctions within the community (". . . differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function"). Section 6 of the same Article includes clauses aimed at placing limits on the unrestricted expression of opinion, but it explicitly states that such legislation "shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination."
Modern Catholic social teaching is clearly in the theoretical background of Articles 41, 42 and 43 (on the family, education and private property respectively). The preoccupation of Popes such as Leo XIII and Pius XI with the safeguarding of the family as the primary social unit (see Encyclicals Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno, Doc. No. 10 of Chap. VII and Doc. No 2 of this chapter) finds an echo in Art. 41 with its grounding of family rights on Natural Law (Section 1, i), its desire to free mothers from the necessity of deserting the home for industrial work (Section 2) and its prohibition of legal machinery for civil divorce (Section 3). Article 42 is equally assertive of parental rights, this time in the field of education; State monopoly or pressure in educational matters is forbidden (Section 3, i), though the State has, "as guardian of the common good" (Section 3, ii), a certain responsibility for ensuring the efficiency and universality of the education given.
Articles 43 and 45 are concerned with economic matters in a broad sense. Section 1, i, of Art. 43 enunciates the right of the individual to possess private property in language reminiscent of both St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope Leo XIII (e.g. the phrases: "rational being," "natural right, antecedent to positive law"); equally reminiscent of Thomism and Rerum novarum are the qualifying clauses laid down in Section 2, which state that the exercise of the right to private property may be limited if demanded by "the principles of social justice" (2, i), or "the exigencies of the common good"
Article 45 lays down the principles on which a social order based on "justice and charity" (the two great keywords of Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno ) may be built. These principles include the provision of a just wage, the restriction of capitalist monopolies in trade and commerce (2, ii and iii), increase of small holdings in agricultural property (2, v), and the intervention of the State for the purposes of supplementing and checking abuses in private enterprise (3, i and ii), as also to carry out necessary measures of social security and legislation for the protection of workers, including the juvenile population (4, i and ii).
Article 44 (on religion) is a consistent Catholic-liberal synthesis, in which section 1 (i) rejects the ideal of a "lay" State acknowledging no religious influences, while 1 (ii) makes special mention of the position of the Catholic Church; it is, however, noteworthy that the recognition of the Church's privileged status is based on the fact that it is "the guardian of Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens," a formula deriving ultimately, not from Catholic theory, but from the wording of Napoleon's Concordat with the Papacy in 1801 (see Chap. VII, Doc. No. 2 )--wording only accepted with reluctance by Pope Pius VII. The recognition of non-Catholic Christian bodies (1, iii), of freedom of conscience and public profession of religions (2, i), the ban on State endowment (2, ii) and the implicit disavowal of State preference for the Catholic religion in civil life and education (2, iii and iv), laying down the principle of State aid for all religious denominations, while not being in accordance with Ultramontane conceptions of a Catholic State, may be reconcilable with Pope Leo XIII's moderately qualifying statements in the Encyclical Immortale Dei (cf. Chap. XII, Doc. No. 9). Section 2, v, provides for complete autonomy of each religious body in administering its own affairs. On the whole, this Article 44 has operated successfully and the majority of Irish Catholics would undoubtedly subscribe to its ideal of religious toleration; only a small, though vocal, minority of Irish Catholics has campaigned for some years in favour of revision of Art. 44 on the ground that its attitude is a compromise with Liberal principles which are not compatible with Catholic orthodoxy.
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Eire, humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial, gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation, and seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored and concord established with other nations, do hereby adopt, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
Article 1. The Irish Nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.
Article 2. The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial sea.
Article 3. Pending the re-integration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the Parliament and Government established by this Constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole of that territory, the laws enacted by that Parliament shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws of "Saorstát Eireann" and the like extra-territorial effect.--
Article 6. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.--
1. All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.
This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.--
6. (i) The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:
The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions. The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State.
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with the law.
(ii) Laws regulating the manner in which the right of forming associations and unions and the right of free assembly may be exercised, shall contain no political, religious or class discrimination.
1. (i) The State recognizes the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
(ii) The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
2. (i) In particular, the State recognizes that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
(ii) The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.
3. (i) The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.
(ii) No law shall be enacted providing for the grant of a dissolution of marriage.
(iii) No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any other State but is a subsisting valid marriage, under the law for the time being in force within the jurisdiction of the Government and Parliament established by this Constitution, shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage within that jurisdiction during the lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved.
1. The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.
2. Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognized or established by the State.
3. (i) The State shall not oblige parents in violation of their conscience and lawful preference to send their children to schools established by the State, or to any particular type of school designated by the State.
(ii) The State shall, however, as guardian of the common good, require in view of actual conditions that the children receive a certain minimum education, moral, intellectual and social.
4. The State shall provide for free primary education and shall endeavour to supplement and give reasonable aid to private and corporate educational initiative and, when the public good requires it, provide other educational facilities or institutions with due regard, however, for the rights of parents, especially in the matter of religious and moral formation.
5. In exceptional cases, where the parents for physical or moral reasons fail in their duty towards their children, the State as guardian of the common good, by appropriate means, shall endeavour to supply the place of the parents but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.
1. (i) The State acknowledges that man, in virtue of his rational being, has the natural right, antecedent to positive law, to the private ownership of external goods.
(ii) The State, accordingly, guarantees to pass no law attempting to abolish the right of private ownership or the general right to transfer, bequeath, and inherit property.
2. (i) The State recognizes, however, that the exercise of the rights mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this Article ought, in civil society, to be regulated by the principles of social justice.
(ii) The State, accordingly, may, as occasion requires, delimit by law the exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise with the exigencies of the common good.
1. (i) The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.
(ii) The State recognizes the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens.
(iii) The State also recognizes the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.
2. (i) Freedom of conscience, and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.
(ii) The State guarantees not to endow any religion.
(iii) The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.
(iv) Legislation providing State aid for schools shall not discriminate between schools under the management of different religious denominations, nor be such as to affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school receiving public money without attending religious instruction at that school.
(v) Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its own affairs, own, acquire, and administer property, movable and immovable, and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes.
(vi) The property of any religious denomination or any educational institution shall not be diverted save for necessary works of public utility and on payment of compensation.
DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL POLICY
1. The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the whole people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice and charity shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
2. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:
(i) That the citizens (all of whom, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood) may through their occupations find the means of making reasonable provision for their domestic needs.
(ii) That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community may be so distributed amongst private individuals and the various classes as best to subserve the common good.
(iii) That, especially, the operation of free competition shall not be allowed so to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment.
(iv) That in what pertains to the control of credit, the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.
(v) That there may be established on the land in economic security as many families as in the circumstances shall be practicable.
3. (i) The State shall favour and, where necessary, supplement private initiative in industry and commerce.
(ii) The State shall endeavour to secure that private enterprise shall be so conducted as to ensure reasonable efficiency in the production and distribution of goods and to protect the public against unjust exploitation.
4. (i) The State pledges itself to safeguard, with especial care, the economic interests of the weaker sections of the community and, where necessary, to contribute to the support of the infirm, the widow, the orphan, and the aged.
(ii) The State shall endeavour to ensure that the strength and health of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children shall not be abused and that citizens shall not be forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their sex, age or strength.
10. Pope Pius XII: View on the Spiritual Power of the Church and Modern Concepts of State Power,
October 2, 1945
Original Italian text in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1945, p. 256
The Second World War was followed by a great deal of ideological chaos in Europe. Two totalitarian régimes, those of Germany and Italy, which had filled up the preceding decades with the tumult of their "dynamism" and of their propaganda, were overthrown. In a number of other European States authoritarian systems had been established and were bitterly criticised both by the democrats and the remaining totalitarians, the Communists. In some of them, such as Croatia or Rumania, their authoritarian Governments collapsed with the defeat of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy.
In the middle of the convulsions resulting from the war, the disappearance of these régimes and the simultaneous expansion of Communism, Pope Pius XII spoke up to define the attitude of the Church faced with the contemporary political happenings and their underlying ideological causes. He did so on several occasions (such as the Christmas radio-message of 1944, devoted mainly to the problems of democracy) and he formulated his views with particular conciseness in the annual Papal allocution to the members of the Church tribunal Rota Romana. His allocution of October 2, 1945, reproduced below, opened a new juridical year of the tribunal. It deals mainly with the comparison between the judicial power of the Church and that of the State; from this aspect, however, which is only a part of the spiritual power of the Church over the faithful and--in the case of the State--of the temporal power of the State over its subjects, the Pope passes to general considerations on the origin, purpose and methods of both authorities. Two main conclusions emerge from his discourse:
1. The principal purpose of the State's power should be the achievement of the common good by securing unity with due respect for the diversity of the members of the State. This purpose cannot be satisfactorily met under totalitarian régimes as Pope Pius XI had already shown in his Encyclicals on Fascism, Nazism and Communism (see Doc. Nos. 3, 6, 7 of this chapter). Nor can it be met in authoritarian systems of government which, although lacking the all-embracing ideology of totalitarianism, reserve the exercise of State power in a monopolistic and tyrannical way to a minority of rulers, very limited in number and depending on force or on the "biological" factor of their particular dictator's life. On the other hand, in a true democracy the purpose mentioned above may be fulfilled, and representative thinkers of the Church have taught that "the original subject of civil power derived from God is the people" (e.g. the post-medieval Scholastic school of thinking-Suarez, Bellarmine and others).
2. The Church power, unlike that of the State, is not based on Natural Law but on Divine precepts which have entrusted it to the hierarchy of bishops, as successors of the Apostles, and not to the people, to the community of the faithful. Consequently, the origin and structure of the Church are basically different from the origin and structure of the State and none of the modern governmental ideologies, either democratic or dictatorial, may claim any analogy with the Church in this regard.
In two subsequent allocutions, delivered before the members of the Roman Rota in October 1946 and in October 1947, Pius XII elaborated on the objects of Church jurisdiction (particularly on the protection of the Faith in connection with the true principle of freedom of conscience); and on the judicial power of the Church compared with that of the State with regard to the purposes of the two societies. They may be found in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1946, p. 391, and year 1947, p. 493.
For the first time since the moment when it pleased the Lord, Who is Supreme Judge of all justice among men, to constitute us His Representative and Vicar, have we to-day, beloved sons, the opportunity--after hearing the exhaustive and learned report on the activity of this Sacred Tribunal, delivered by your worthy Dean --to express our gratitude and our thoughts without our voice being drowned by the tumult of weapons and their sinister rumblings. Shall we venture to say that we have peace? Not yet, alas! With the Lord's help it may be, at least, its dawn. However, as soon as the violence of the fighting has stopped, there returns the rule of justice, the task of which consists in the restoration, by means of its judgments, of the order which has been shattered and disturbed. For enormous is that judicial dignity and power which has to be elevated above all passions and prejudices and, at the same time, has to reflect the justice of God Himself in both deciding controversies and repressing offences.
Such is, indeed, the purpose of all jurisdiction, the mission of all judicial power, ecclesiastical or secular. A rapid and superficial look at the law and the practice of the Courts of Law might lead to the impression that there are only secondary differences between the ecclesiastical and civil rules of procedure, differences similar to those which may exist between the administration of justice in two States belonging to the same juridical family. They both seem to have the same immediate purpose, namely to secure the operation of law and to safeguard the rights which are based upon law and contested or broken in particular cases, by means of juridical sentences or, speaking more precisely, through jurisdiction exercised by competent authorities established under law. In both systems, too, we find Law Courts of various degrees; in both, the procedure follows the same main principles: it requires the case to be placed before the tribunal, a summons, the examination of witnesses, the communication of documents, the questioning of the parties, the termination of the proceedings, the judgment, the right of appeal.
And yet, this great similarity, both external and internal, must not obscure the profound difference which exists between the two systems with regard (1) to their origin and nature; (2) to their object; (3) to their purpose. To-day, we shall limit ourselves to speaking of the first of these three points, reserving the treatment of the other two to future years, if it so please the Lord.
I The judicial power is an essential part and a necessary function of the two perfect societies, the Church and the State. Therefore the question of the origin of the judicial power inside each of them is identical with the question of the origin of power and authority in general. This is why it is sometimes believed that other similitudes, besides those already noted, and even more profound, can be found between the two powers. It is interesting to see how the adherents of various modern conceptions regarding the State power have adduced--in order to confirm and support their own views-the supposed analogies between the civil and the ecclesiastical powers. This applies not only to the so-called "totalitarianism" and "authoritarianism" but also to their opposite pole, the modern democracy. But, in reality, such deeper similarities do not exist in any of the three cases as a brief survey will easily demonstrate.
It is undeniable that one of the vital exigencies of any human community, consequently also of the Church and the State, consists in the permanent assurance of unity in the diversity of their members.
"Totalitarianism," however, can certainly not satisfy this exigency because it allows the State power to assume an undue extension, and to determinate, and to fix, both in substance and in form, every field of activity, so that it compresses all legitimate manifestation of life--personal, local and professional--into a mechanical unity or collectivity under the stamp of nation, race or class.
We have already pointed out, in our Christmas Radio Message of 1942, the particularly deplorable consequences of this theory and practice with regard to the judicial power, due to their suppressing the equality of all before the law, and to their leaving judicial decisions to the whim of changeable collective instinct.
Besides, who could ever think that such erroneous interpretations which violate human rights so flagrantly could have determined the origin or influence the action of ecclesiastical tribunals? This is not the case and can never be, for it is contrary to the very nature of the social authority of the Church, as we are going to see subsequently.
However, the above mentioned fundamental exigency is also far from being satisfied by that other concept of civil authority, which may be called "authoritarianism," for the latter excludes the citizens from all effective participation in, or influence upon the formation of the will of the society. Consequently, it splits the nation into two categories, the rulers and the ruled, and the mutual relationship between the two either becomes purely mechanical, being governed by force, or has no more than a biological basis.
Who, therefore, would not realize that in this manner the very nature of State power is completely perverted? The truth is that State power should tend, both in itself and through the exercise of its functions, to make of the State a true community, intimately united in a final purpose which is the common good. In the said system, however, the notion of the common good becomes so unstable and appears so obviously as a misleading mask for the unilateral interests of the rulers that a frantic legislative "dynamism" excludes all juridical security and so destroys a basic element of every true judicial order.
Such a false dynamism can never submerge and suppress the essential rights recognized in the Church to the individual persons, both physical and juridical. The nature of ecclesiastical authority has nothing in common with this "authoritarianism"; the latter can, therefore, claim no point of resemblance to the hierarchical constitution of the Church.
It remains to examine the democratic form of government, in which some would like to find a closer similitude to the power of the Church. Undoubtedly, wherever true democracy exists in theory and practice, it satisfies that vital requirement of every sound community to which we have referred above. However, the same applies, or could apply, under the same conditions, also to the other legitimate forms of government.
Certainly the Christian Middle Ages, which were particularly imbued with the spirit of the Church, proved by the abundance of their flourishing democratic communities not only that the Christian faith is able to produce a genuine and true democracy but also that it is the only durable foundation for democracy. A democracy without an accord of spirits, at least as to the fundamental maxims of life--and, above all, as to the rights of God, the dignity of the human person and the respect due to the honest activity and liberty of the person--would be defective and unsound even in its political aspect. If, therefore, the people depart from the Christian faith or do not hold it resolutely as the principle of civil life, even democracy is easily altered and deformed, and in the course of time is liable to fall into a one-party "totalitarianism" or "authoritarianism."
On the other hand, if we keep in mind the favourite thesis of democracy--which has been expounded in all ages by outstanding Christian thinkers--namely, that the original subject of civil power derived from God is the people (not the "masses"), then the distinction between the Church and even the democratic State becomes increasingly clear.
II The ecclesiastical power is, indeed, essentially different from the civil power, and hence its judicial power is also different from that of the State.
The origin of the Church, unlike the origin of the State, is not to be found in Natural Law. The most complete and accurate analysis of the human person offers no ground for the conclusion that the Church, like civil society, was naturally bound to come into existence and to develop. Its existence is derived from a positive act of God beyond and above the social nature of man, though in perfect accord with it; therefore, the ecclesiastical power--and consequently also the corresponding judicial power of the Church--is born of the will and act by which Christ founded His Church. It remains true, however, that once the Church was constituted, as a perfect society, by the act of the Redeemer, not a few elements of resemblance to the structure of the civil society sprang from her very nature.
In one point, however, the fundamental difference between the two is particularly manifest. The establishment of the Church as a society was not effected from below, as was the case in the origin of the State, but from above; that is to say that Christ Who in His Church set up on earth the Kingdom of God which He had announced and destined for all men and all times, did not vest in the community of the faithful the mission of Master, Priest and Pastor which He had obtained from His Father for the salvation of mankind, but He transmitted and communicated it to a college of Apostles or messengers, selected by Himself, in order that they, by their preaching, by their priestly ministry, and by the social authority of their office, bring into the Church the multitude of the faithful to be sanctified, enlightened and led to the full maturity of followers of Christ.
Examine the words by which He communicated to them their powers: the power to offer sacrifice in remembrance of Him ( Luke xxii, 19), the power to forgive sins ( John xx, 21-23), the promise and the bestowal of the supreme power of the keys upon the person of Peter and the persons of his successors ( Matt. xvi, 19; John xxi, 15-17), the communication to all Apostles of the power to bind and to loose ( Matt. xviii, 18). Finally, meditate over the words with which Christ, before His Ascension, transmitted to the same Apostles the universal commission which He had received from the Father ( Matt. xxviii, 18-20; John xx, 21). Is there anything in all this which can leave room for doubt or equivocation? The whole history of the Church, from her beginning to our own day, does not cease to echo those words and give the same testimony with a clearness and precision that no prevarication can disturb or obscure. And all these words, all these testimonies proclaim as if with one voice that in the ecclesiastical power the essence, the central point according to the express will of Christ, and hence according to Divine law, is the commission which He gave to the ministers of the work of salvation in the community of the faithful and in the whole human race.
Canon 109 of the Code of Canon Law has put this marvellous edifice in a clear light and in monumental relief: "Those who are admitted to the ecclesiastical hierarchy are chosen, not by the consent or at the call of the people or of the secular power; but they are established in the various grades of the power of order by sacred ordination; in the supreme pontificate, by the Divine law itself upon fulfilment of the condition of legitimate election and the acceptance thereof; in the other grades of jurisdiction, by canonical mission." "Not by the consent or at the call of the people or of the secular power": the faithful or the secular power may, during the course of the centuries, have participated often in the designation of those upon whom ecclesiastical offices were to be conferred; and to all of them, including the supreme pontificate, the son of the humblest workingman's family is eligible equally with the descendent of a noble stock. However, in reality the members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy have always received and do receive their authority from above and are responsible for the exercise of their mandate immediately to God only, to whom alone the Roman Pontiff is subject, or, as far as the other grades are concerned, to their hierarchical superiors. But they have no account to render either to the people or to the civil power except, of course, for the opportunity, given to any of the faithful, of presenting in due form to the competent ecclesiastical authority, or even directly to the supreme power in the Church, their petitions and recourses, especially if the petitioner or the institutor of the recourse is prompted by motives which are connected with his personal responsibility for his own or other persons' spiritual welfare.
Two principal conclusions are to be deduced from the statements which we have made:
1. In the Church--unlike the State--the primordial subject of power, the supreme judge, the highest court of appeal, is never the community of the faithful. Therefore, in the Church, as founded by Christ, there does not exist and can not exist any popular tribunal or judicial power deriving from the people.
2. The question of the extent and scope of ecclesiastical power also presents itself in a manner entirely different from that of State power. What is decisive for the Church in the first place is the will of Christ, Who could give her, according to His wisdom and goodness, means or powers of greater or lesser extent but always the minimum which is necessarily required by her nature and purpose.
The power of the Church embraces man entirely, both his internal and external life, in order to lead him to the attainment of his supernatural destiny, so that he is completely subject to the law of Christ, which the Church has been constituted by her Divine founder to guard and to execute both in the external forum and in that of conscience, the internal forum. Consequently this power is a full and perfect one, though far removed from that "totalitarianism" which neither admits nor recognizes due regard for the clear and inalienable dictates of a sound conscience and which does violence to the laws of individual and social life written in the hearts of men ( Rom. ii, 15). In fact the Church, wielding her power, does not aim to enslave the human person, but to assure its liberty and perfection, redeeming it from the deficiencies, errors, aberrations in spirit and in heart, which sooner or later always end in dishonour and servitude.
The sacred character of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction which comes from its Divine origin and from its being part of the hierarchical power of the Church should inspire you, beloved sons, with a high esteem of your office and spur you on to fulfil your austere duties with a lively faith, unwavering rectitude and ever vigilant zeal. But, behind the veil of this austerity, what splendour reveals itself to the eyes of one who is able to see in the judicial power the majesty of justice whose every activity tends to make the Church, the Spouse of Christ, appear "wholly and without blemish" ( Eph. v, 27) before her Divine Spouse and before mankind!
To-day, when your new juridical year opens, we invoke upon you, beloved sons, the favour and the aid of the Father of Light, of Christ, to Whom He hath given all judgment ( John v, 22), of the Spirit of wisdom, counsel, and fortitude, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mirror of justice and seat of wisdom, and with cordial affection we impart to all present, to your families and to all persons who are dear to you, our paternal Apostolic blessing.
11. Excommunication of Communists, formulated by Pope Pius XII, July 1, 1949 Original Latin text in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1949, p. 334
Commentary The first Papal condemnation of Communism goes back to 1846, However, the "execrable doctrine named Communism" condemned by the Encyclical Qui pluribus of Pope Pius IX in 1846, was a pre-Marxian version of it, still lacking the ideological framework of historical and dialectical materialism, subsequently supplied by Karl Marx and his disciples. This later type of Communism, even more dangerous to religion than the preceding ones, was covered by the repeated condemnations of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII (particularly in the Encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris of 1878) and also of the Council of the Vatican in 1870. When, in the period between the First and the Second World Wars, Communism assumed the form of an international revolutionary organization (cf. Commentary to Doc. No. 7 of this chapter), Pope Pius XI elaborated the condemnation in his Encyclical Divini Redemptoris (Doc. No. 7 in this chapter).
Owing to these Pontifical pronouncements and to the fact that whoever professes Communism definitely espouses the cause of atheism, there could not be any doubt, from the juridical point of view, that such persons, if Catholic, fall within the scope of Can. 2314 of the Codex Iuris Canonici by virtue of which apostates are excommunicated from the Church community ipso facto, by the mere fact of their apostasy.
After the Second World War the great increase of Communism in spread and power led to its acute and large-scale clash with Catholicism in three distinct aspects. In the first, territories with a Catholic population were incorporated into the Soviet Union ( Lithuania, former parts of Poland, of Rumania and of Czechoslovakia); in these regions a policy of ruthless suppression has been pursued towards Catholics, both Latin and Uniat. The fate of the Uniats has been particularly afflicting, for the brunt of Communist persecution, carried out in collaboration with the Russian Orthodox Church, has been directed against them with special vehemence; Pope Pius XII voiced his great sorrow and protest against their threatened extermination in the Encyclical Orientales omnes Ecclesias of December 23, 1945. The second aspect is that of the "satellite" countries where the Communists have established their totalitarianism and where they pursue a variable strategy of both brutal persecution and of attempts to gain control of the Church from inside (see the following Doc. No. 12 in this chapter). Finally, in other States, like France or Italy, they influence political developments through large local Communist Parties in a sharply anti-Catholic sense, but they try, at the same time, to make use of various Catholic "fellow-travellers" as bait for attracting Catholic supporters to their ranks.
These diverse tactics, as applied in the two latter categories of States, aim obviously at creating confusion among Catholics. In the face of such systematic attempts, the need was felt for a uniform and comprehensive formulation of the Catholic standpoint. This was supplied by the present decree of the Roman Congregation of the Holy Office, issued with the full authority of Pope Pius XII. The ruling has been published in the form usual in cases which do not imply any innovation, but only restate and clarify the existing legal state of affairs. The persons affected by this decree may be divided into three groups: A. those who profess Communism (Question 4); B. those who contribute to the spread of Communism (Question 2); C. those who are members or supporters of Communist Parties (Question 1).
A. Communism is more than a mere economic or political tendency; it is a "philosophy of life" which denies the existence of God, of an immortal soul, of an absolute moral law, etc.; therefore any one who professes its doctrine rejects Christianity and, consequently, incurs excommunication ipso facto as an apostate by virtue of Can. 2314 of the Codex Iuris Canonici. A person who professes Communism is one from whose overt words or conduct a reasonable man can infer that this person believes in its teaching. From this it follows that the excommunication is independent from the organization of the Communist political Party; any Catholic who professes the fundamental articles of Communist theory contracts excommunication irrespective of whether he is a member of the Communist Party or not (thus including the "fellow-travellers" and all those who believe in the basic principles of Communism but may have some objections as to the methods of putting them into political practice).
B. To contribute to the spread of printed Communist propaganda means to help Communism. Contribution includes writing, publishing, printing, selling or distributing such publications and also reading them. It is noteworthy that Question 2 speaks of publications which "support" the teaching or actions of Communists, so that it covers any crypto-Communist literature as well. Offenders are to be excluded from the Sacraments if their contribution is performed knowingly and freely (answer to Question 3). Canon 1399 of the Codex Iuris Canonici, mentioned in this connection (answer to Question 2), enumerates the categories of books which are prohibited ipso iure ; they include literature tending to destroy the foundations of religion or attacking religion and good morals.
C. The same sanction of exclusion from the Sacraments applies to those who join Communist Parties or favour them (i.e. vote for Communists in any elections or assist them to acquire any influential positions). The decree speaks, in Question 1, of Communist "Parties" and obviously means not only regular Communist Parties, but also "schismatical" ones such as that existing in Yugoslavia, or Parties, which although being Communist, do not use, for some particular reason, this appellation (for instance the "Workers' Party" in Poland). In addition, this is to be interpreted as including also organizations directly controlled by a Communist Party, such as Communist syndicates or trade-unions. As regards the Communist organizations for youth, a special decree was issued by the Congregation of the Holy Office on July 28, 1950 (see in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1950, p. 553 ); according to it neither the parents who send their children to such Communist-sponsored organizations nor the children concerned are to be admitted to the Sacraments. Instructors in such organizations, who give to the children a tuition contrary to the Faith and Christian morals, are excommunicated. However, the provisions regarding refusal of Sacraments may assume different aspects in two cases. In some countries, particularly behind the "Iron Curtain," many faithful join the Communist Parties or their affiliated organizations under duress, to preserve their lives or livelihood; it will be for the local Ordinary to decide in particular cases how far such persons can be said to act "freely" within the terms of the present decree. On the other hand, in countries where Communist Parties are not legal or exist only secretly, their members, if Catholic, are not only excluded from the Sacraments, but excommunicated ipso facto, by the mere fact of their membership; this follows from Can. 2335 of the Codex Iuris Canonici inflicting excommunication on all persons who belong to clandestine societies which plot against lawful authority in Church or State.
With regard to those who are excommunicated because of their professing Communism (see above under A), a special problem arises in connection with marriage. They must be considered as apostates; consequently marriages between such people and Catholics are "mixed marriages" and, as such, gravely forbidden by ecclesiastical law. They may be celebrated only if a dispensation has been obtained. On the other hand, those to whom the Sacraments have to be refused (Question 3) are in a somewhat different position; they are not "non-Catholics"; yet if they refuse to go to confession or to be reconciled to the Church, the parish priest may not assist at their marriages unless there are grave reasons, approved by the local Ordinary, for doing so (Can. 1066 of the Codex Iuris Canonici ). These points concerning marriages of Communists have been clarified in a special decree, issued by the Congregation of the Holy Office on August 11, 1949 ( Acta Apostolicae Sedis, year 1949, p. 427 ).
DECREE This Sacred Supreme Congregation has been asked:
1. whether it is lawful to join Communist Parties or to favour them; 2. whether it is lawful to publish, disseminate, or read books, periodicals, newspapers or leaflets which support the teaching or action of Communists, or to write in them; 3. whether the faithful who knowingly and freely perform the acts specified in questions 1 and 2 may be admitted to the Sacraments; 4. whether the faithful who profess the materialistic and antiChristian doctrine of the Communists, and particularly those who defend or propagate this doctrine, contract ipso facto excommunication specially reserved to the Apostolic See as apostates from the Catholic faith.
The Most Eminent and Most Reverend Fathers entrusted with the supervision of matters concerning the safeguarding of Faith and morals, having previously heard the opinion of the Reverend Lords Consultors, decreed in the plenary session held on Tuesday (instead of Wednesday), June 28, 1949, that the answers should be as follows:
To 1. in the negative : because Communism is materialistic and anti-Christian; and the leaders of the Communists, although they sometimes profess in words that they do not oppose religion, do in fact show themselves, both in their teaching and in their actions, to be the enemies of God, of the true religion and of the Church of Christ;
to 2. in the negative : they are prohibited ipso iure (cf. Can. 1399 of the Codex Iuris Canonici );
to 3. in the negative, in accordance with the ordinary principles concerning the refusal of the Sacraments to those who are not disposed;
to 4. in the affirmative.
And the following Thursday, on the 30th day of the same month and year, Our Most Holy Lord Pius XII, Pope by the Divine Providence, in the ordinary audience, granted to the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Assessor of the Sacred Office, approved of the decision of the Most Eminent Fathers which had been reported to Him, and ordered the same to be promulgated officially in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Given at Rome, on July 1st, 1949. (Signed) Petrus Vigorita, Notary of the Sacred Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office.
12. Czechoslovak Communist Law on Church Affairs, October 14, 1949 Original Czech text in Sbírka zákonu a narízení, year 1949, No. 218 Commentary
The establishment of Communist totalitarianism in Central Europe, after the Second World War, was gradual and effected by tactical manuvres in consecutive stages. Such was also the evolution of Communist policy towards the Catholic Church, the strategy here being adapted in each case to the particular conditions of the respective Central European countries.
It has amounted to an undisguised and ruthless drive to its extermination in the States with only small Catholic minorities, like Rumania or Bulgaria. But it has been carefully calculated and planned in other States where the Communists are facing, for the first time in their governmental experience, large majorities of Catholic population. However, in the latter countries, three features are always present in Communist tactics. They are: a violent animosity against the central Church authority, the Papacy (the Vatican being represented as a hostile "foreign power" whose influence is incompatible with the totalitarian concept of State sovereignty); secondly, a tendency to discredit and discard the local hierarchy by accusing them of various political crimes or subservience to the Vatican (hence the processes against Cardinal Mindszenty in Hungary, Archbishop--later Cardinal--Stepinac in Yugoslavia, and the confinement of all Czechoslovak and some Polish bishops); and, thirdly, an effort to create pro-Communist currents among the clergy and the faithful, willing to co-operate with the régime. As all this is associated with a steady atheist propaganda, enforced by the Party and its branch organisms, and with the introduction of a strict State control over the life of the Church, the broad lines of the directives concerning religion, as embodied in the Russian Communist Party's programme of 1919 (cf. Commentary to Doc. No. 7 in this chapter), are discernible in these tactics.
An illustrative example of them is furnished by Czechoslovakia, where the Communists, having seized power by the coup d'état of February 1948, became at a stroke absolute rulers in the State and had no further need to take into consideration, or manuvre against, any other political Party. Enjoying such freedom of action, they proceeded against the Catholic majority of seventy per cent. among the Czechoslovak population on the three simultaneous lines mentioned above. In the first place they have endeavoured to stir up animosity against the Vatican as much as possible. There exist anti-Roman elements in the historical background of Bohemia, emanating from the Hussite Reformation at the end of the Middle Ages (see Doc. No. 3 in Chap. IV). These were often used by some Liberal Czech politicians of the nineteenth century (including Thomas Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia) to strengthen Czech opposition against the Catholic Habsburg Emperors prior to the disintegration of Austria-Hungary. Now the revival of such feelings by modern means of propaganda has become a constant and paramount part of Communist anti-Catholic strategy.
The two other lines were combined into an ingenious policy of "Divide et impera." At first the Communist Government engaged in negotiations with the episcopate, allegedly in order to adapt the position of the Church to the "people's democracy," with particular regard to the conditions created by the decrees of nationalization and by the radical land reform which had deprived the Church of the majority of her revenues. But owing to the lack of the Government's good will no progress could be made. This was taken as a pretext for a campaign of press and wireless against the bishops, who were accused of obeying the orders of the Vatican and sabotaging the negotiation. At the same time, a movement of dissident and pro-governmental "Catholic Action" was staged; it was to represent a spontaneous upheaval of the faithful, assisted by a handful of collaborationist priests, against the hierarchy. To this the Church replied by a prompt excommunication expressis verbis of all participants, pronounced in a special decree of the Roman Congregation of the Holy Office on June 20, 1949. Subsequently, the Czechoslovak bishops severely condemned the dissident movement by a collective Pastoral Letter which was read out, in spite of police vigilance, in the churches all over the country in July 1949. These censures, together with the general excommunication of Communists, formulated at Rome on July 1, 1949 (see the preceding Doc. No. 11 ), made a deep impression on the faithful; as a result, the schismatic "Catholic Action" was ostracised and boycotted.
Thereupon the Government took resolute measures. They did not arrest the bishops, but confined them in their palaces, investing special State commissioners, largely police officers, with the management of the episcopal Consistories. Among the lower clergy many of those who firmly opposed the dissident movement were imprisoned. But apart from this open persecution the main step to subdue the Church as a whole was reserved to the weapon of the law. Among the stringent legislation, introduced in October 1949, the principal piece is the law on the State control over the material position of the Churches; its text is given below.The law is to be applied to all Churches; however, as the Protestants have not made any noteworthy attempt to resist Communism, it is, for all practical purposes, against the Catholic Church that the law has been conceived and directed. Its purpose is a complete étatisation of the Church, which is to be achieved by four means:
1. The clergy are placed on the same footing as State officials. No one can be appointed to a Church office without previous approval of the State authorities. He must fulfil all conditions required for State officials, among which the "political reliability"-i.e. the proved adherence, at least passive, to the régime--is allimportant; and he has to take an oath of fidelity to the "people's democracy" (Arts. 2, 7). The episcopal Sees fall under the scope of these provisions like any other Church offices, and the Government was quick to demonstrate this on the first episcopal vacancy which presented itself. In January 1950 the bishop of Banská Bystrica died and the Chapter elected a Capitular Vicar to administer the diocese. As this happened without State approval and the Vicar elect refused to ask for confirmation of his election by the State authorities, he was prevented from taking over his office. Subsequently the Government, using Art. 7, par. 3, of the present law, succeeded in finding a priest who accepted his nomination as Capitular Vicar by the State; for this he was excommunicated "vitandus" by the Holy See.
2. The Church having been deprived of its revenues by the land reform and a wholesale nationalization, the State has taken over its financial upkeep (Arts. 8, 9, 11, 12). Detailed catalogues of the remaining Church property, including purely liturgical objects, have been drawn up and no alienation nor the least change in it is permitted without sanction of the State authorities (Art. 10).
3. The clergy approved by the Government will receive salaries from the State, analogous to those of State officials (Arts. 3, 4, 6).
4. A State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs, enjoying the status of a Ministry, has been created by a special enactment, issued simultaneously with the present law. It has been entrusted with the whole control and supervision of the Churches.
As it appears from this law, the underlying policy of the Czechoslovak Communists does not aim at the direct destruction of the religion at this stage; religious tuition is to be continued in schools and the present law makes it even a duty for the clergy to teach religion (Art. 5). For the time being, the Communists are concentrating on an effort to transform the Church into a malleable organism, separated from the Holy See and the local hierarchy faithful to Rome. But, at the same time, the material temptations, destined to lure schismatics, have been accompanied by a brutal persecution of the staunchly anti-Communist elements among the Catholics, in the course of which all religious Orders have been totally suppressed, many spectacular trials of Church dignitaries and laymen held, and hundreds of priests sent to Labour Camps without any trial; from this persecution the methods of the stages to come in the Communist anti-religious tactics can be ominously predicted.The National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic has adopted the following law:
Salary of the Clergy
Art. 1. The State shall provide--in conformity with the further provisions of the present law--for salaries of such ministers of the Churches and religious bodies who work, with State approval, in pastoral service, ecclesiastical administration or in the training institutions for clergy. As an exception, the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs can, in agreement with the Ministry of Finance, grant a salary to ministers who are active otherwise.
Art. 2. The State approval can be given only to ministers who are Czechoslovak citizens, politically reliable and (morally) irreproachable, and who fulfil in all other respects the general conditions required for candidates to State offices. In cases worthy of special consideration the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs can pass over the condition of Czechoslovak citizenship.
Art. 3. The salary is composed of
A. the basic salary,
B. the functional allowance [i.e. special allowance according to various Church dignities], and
C. a remuneration for higher efficiency.
The amount of the basic salary, the manner and extent of its raising, the conditions for awarding the functional allowance and its amount, as well as the conditions for awarding the remuneration for higher efficiency and the details thereon will be fixed by governmental decree.
Art. 4. Defraying of travelling, moving and other expenses. Ministers who are entitled to a salary are also entitled to have their travelling, moving and other expenses refunded according to general regulations.
Art. 5. Obligation to teach religion. Ministers active in the pastoral service are bound to teach religion in schools without remuneration, in so far as such tuition is not otherwise provided for. The scope of this obligation and the details thereof shall be fixed by the Minister in charge of the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs, after consultation with the Minister of Education, Sciences and Arts.
Art. 6. Social allowances. Social allowances, particularly those granted on account of children in family care, and pensions of the ministers and members of their families, shall be granted by analogy with regulations in force for civil servants. The Government shall settle the details by decree.
Art. 7. Activity and appointments of ministers. Only persons who have obtained the State approval and taken an oath can exercise the activity of minister (preacher, etc.) in Churches and religious bodies. The Government shall fix the wording of the oath. Any appointment (election, nomination) of these persons requires a previous State consent. Vacancies have to be filled up within thirty days. Failing this, the State may take the measures necessary to assure the proper functioning of the pastoral service, ecclesiastical administration or education of the clergy.
Art. 8. Outlay. The State defrays regular outlay of the Churches and religious bodies--according to their approved budgets--which are connected with the Divine services and other acts of worship, and with the ecclesiastical administration. In justified cases the State shall furnish financial help to defray extraordinary outlay.
Art. 9. The budgets. Representatives of the Churches and religious bodies as well as the administrators of ecclesiastical property are bound to prepare annual budgets and final balances of accounts and to submit them to the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs for approval.
As for the outlay, the budgets are to be prepared in accordance with the actual needs and according to the principles observed for drawing up the State budget. Detailed instructions shall be issued by the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs in agreement with the Ministry of Finance.
Art. 10. The property. The State supervises the property of the Churches and religious bodies.
Representatives of the Churches and religious bodies shall draw up a list of all movable and immovable goods and property rights of the Churches and religious bodies and of their component parts, communities, institutions, endowments, churches, benefices and funds; they shall submit it to the State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs within three months from the date when this law has entered into force. The State Office for Ecclesiastical Affairs shall issue detailed instructions thereon.
Any act of alienation or any act subjecting the property of the Churches and religious bodies to any legal encumbrance whatsoever requires previous consent of the State administration.
Art. 11. The termination of obligations. All private and public rights of patronage over churches, benefices and other ecclesiastical institutions are transferred to the State.
All obligations resulting in financial contributions for the purposes of Churches and religious bodies and of their component parts, communities, institutions, endowments, places of worship, benefices and funds, derived from the patronage or from other legal titles, including long-established customs, cease to be valid with the exception of such obligations of the members of the Churches and religious bodies as result from their statutes approved by the State.
Art. 12. Training institutions for clergy. The State provides for the upkeep of institutions and schools for the instruction of the clergy.
Art. 13. Penal provisions. Any act or omission contrary to the provisions of the present law or to the regulations made hereunder, shall be punished by the District National Council as an administrative infraction--unless it constitutes an offence to be dealt with before the Courts of Law--by a fine not to exceed the sum of 100,000 crowns. For failure to pay the said fine a corresponding penalty of imprisonment, not to exceed six months, shall be pronounced at the same time.
Art. 14. Cancellation of previous regulations. All previous provisions regulating the legal conditions of the Churches and religious bodies are hereby cancelled.
Art. 15. Entry into force and execution of the law. The present law shall enter into force on November 1, 1949. It shall be executed by all members of the Government.
Klement Gottwald (President of the Republic)
Dr. J. John (Chairman of the National Assembly)
Antonín Zápotocký (Prime Minister)
and all members of the Government.
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