American Catholics and the Roman Question

American Catholics and the Roman Question


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When this was written, the Roman Quesiton had not yet been settled by the Lateran Treaty. However, the points set forth apply also to the idea of the United States both as a republic and as a democracy.
Let us consider this on the foundaiton of the United States government: "Popular sovereignty can be understood to mean that the ultimate ground and original source of all authority is the common consent of all; the will of the people, and not God, of whom all paternity, all authority, is named in heaven and earth. This principle is totally false, or rather no principle at all. Precisely in this sense did Hobbes and Rousseau, the founders of this modern theory, put forth their doctrine; each one adding a shade of coloring of his own. Their set purpose, in asserting the sovereignty of the people, was to separate and estrange society from any and every relation to a personal God-to establish the State without God. Though it does not always openly avow it, Liberalism employs this principle in the sense of the contrat social, and for a like purpose. This theory of popular sovereignty renders it an immense service; for it is a fruitful source whence are derived the means of furthering its plans, and legalizing State absolutism. We are not to regard the sovereign power of the people in this atheistico-materialistio sense.
"Anarchists and socialists openly declare that the sovereignty of the people is to be so understood, and that they intend to carry out their plans on that principle as soon as they have a majority in the legislative bodies. The cynical saying of Bebel, "If there were a God, we would be trapped" -leaves no room for conjecture on that head.
"In Rousseau's system the source of all right is the people, i.e., the majority of those who call themselves the people's representatives, or the State, the government of which is determined by the people. In its political enactments, this sovereign people recognizes no divine or natural law-no inborn or acquired rigllt. Whatever is legal is, according to this theory, allowable and good. Every change of government, every revolution, is ipso facto justifiable when it is accomplished by the people, or in their name. The will of the people has the force of law under all circumstances.
"Shall we, can we, as Christians and as citizens, defend our position on any political question with this notion of popular sovereignty? No; never. That would mean, in other words: To be a good American citizen, one must tread under foot, at least theoretically, the rights of God and man; or, the American citizen as such is a· revolutionist against any and every authority above his own I In the name of all that we hold sacred in our religion, in the name of our patriotism, we decline to defend our position on the Roman question, or on any other political or politico-religious question, against the representatives of that principle, whether they call themselves socialists or not. We can come to no understanding with materialism, or make any concessions to it. We are a Christian people. We despise a Robespierre who, in the name of the people, wished to do away with the existence of God by an enactment of the State; we have just as little in common with modern political deists, who are striving to place Almighty God on the retired list with a pension.
"On political events, then, such as the overthrow of an existing government, we pass judgment accord to the divine and natural law; according to the eternal principles of justice which worldly power may thrust aside and despise, but which it can never subvert or destroy. Our only question, therefore, can be the following: Is it not a principle of natural law that God, the fountain-head of all authority, has placed political authority in the hands of the people, and that all government, whether monarchical or democratic, derives its authority directly from them?"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781484159644
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 04/19/2013
Pages: 110
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.23(d)

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