Interesting article of the Catholic Herald about the Pope’s message to Brasilian bishops, who are now visiting him for their ad limina.
The Pope’s message is very interesting for a number of reasons:
1) It comes in the immediate vigil of an important election day in Brasil. It doesn’t happen very often that a Pope has the not very diplomatic, but welcome courage to remind Catholics of their duties as voters just before an election. This will probably cause criticism by the anti-Catholic faction but hey, this can only be a good sign. By the way, next week is the US’s turn. I can easily imagine that the Holy Father was – as they say in Italy – “talking to the wife so that the mother-in-law may understand”.
2) Once again, the Pope profits to remind the Bishops and priests of their duties. In a world where all too often the clergy merely panders to the prejudices of the secular mob (see our ineffable Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, explaining that no, the Church in England doesn’t oppose so-called “civil partnerships”; may he repent before Satan takes him) it is good to see that the Pope continues to send a clear a message that not only they can, but they must fight the good fight. One merely notices that if the Holy Father were as clear-cut in his bishops’ appointments as he is in talking to them, we would be far more advanced on this worthy road.
3) The third message is very important, and must not be undervalued. Un-Christian values are a betrayal of democracy. When a democracy is used to de-christianise a Country, its scope has been perverted and its legitimacy starts to vanish.
Too often, democracy is considered an absolute value, a received truth, a golden calf. For a Christian, this must simply not be the case. Democracy is fine (is, actually, very fine as a political system and I do not know of any other which brings peace and prosperity in the same measure) when it is informed by Christian values and meant to respect and protect them. But for a Christian democracy is not the ultimate end, salvation is. Our civil and political institutions derive their values from the fact that they are not in contrast with the Christian message, or positively help to further it. This is – for a Christian – always the case irrespective of what his constitution says, as it is inconceivable that a Christian may put anything at all before his duties to God.
Democracies are there not only so that Christian countries may progress in peace and prosperity, but may do so in a Christian way. This has been so everywhere until the Sixties and all Western democracies used to be very much pervaded by Christian values in the way their societies were organised. When, though, a democracy starts to de-Christianise itself (eg embracing values typical of Nazism and Communism like abortion, or widely approved during Nazism like euthanasia), this democracy progressively loses its legitimacy before God and as such, in front of every Christian.
Democracies are not eternal, nor are they an absolute good. They can perish out of their people’s cowardice and indifference, or can deserve to be dissolved because they have turned against God. General Franco’s decision was not the delirious outburst of a Christian nutcase, but a lucid setting of the right priorities. What many lukewarm Christians do not understand (not because of rebellion to God, I think; rather because they don’t think this matter to its end) is that for a Christian every Nation is under God, whether it says so or not. There is no way one who calls himself a Christian can, once he reflects on this, reach any other conclusion.
Democracies are betraying their own scope and reason of existence. The separation of church and state is more and more interpreted as the elimination of the religious phenomenon from every aspect of public life and the creation of a society which is completely disconnected from Christian values. How absurd this is, how an utter perversion of what our ancestors would have thought the most elementary common sense, is showed by the fact that the first great nation who sanctioned the separation between church and state found it natural to write its allegiance to God even on its banknotes!
We are now rapidly reaching the point where Christian values can’t be even written in elementary school books, let alone banknotes. We are reaching the point where sacraments are seen as pure human conventions and agreements. We are reaching the point where even the sanctity of life is seen merely as a mean to an end and is seen as disposable whenever a society more or less democratically (through election or referendum or even judicial activism) decides that it is fitting so to do.
These behaviours hollow democracy from the inside; they eat it like a cancer; and like a cancer they will lead, unless stopped, to its own demise.
God is not fooled by secular slogans. The price for rebellion is corruption, the consequence of corruption is decline and the end result of decline is the death of political systems. It is the duty of every Christian to start thinking more like Thomas More and to say to himself: “my democracy’s good servant, but God’s first”.