Essay / Culture

That Great "Moderate" (see CNN) Benedict XV Speaks

This is the writing on peace by Benedict XV that has caused CNN and our mainstream media to see signs of moderation in Benedict XVI. They find pull quotes from academics that tell them what they want to hear. . . but most “journalists” cannot bother to read the source material themselves though it can be seen in a few clicks. Compare this piece by Benedict XV to the sermon by Benedict XVI referenced in the posts below. You will see a shocking similarity.Benedict XVI may be about to declare war on corrosive secularism! Meanwhile CNN natters on about Benedict XV and “peace.”What CNN is too lazy to do, I did.Read it and you will never trust CNN again.Here it is (edited, bold mine):Benedict XV – Ad beatissimi apostolorum (01/11/1914): “5. But it is not the present sanguinary strife alone that distresses the nations and fills Us with anxiety and care. There is another evil raging in the very inmost heart of human society, a source of dread to all who really think, inasmuch as it has already brought, and will bring, many misfortunes upon nations, and may rightly be considered to be the root cause of the present awful war. For ever since the precepts and practices of Christian wisdom ceased to be observed in the ruling of states, it followed that, as they contained the peace and stability of institutions, the very foundations of states necessarily began to be shaken. Such, moreover, has been the change in the ideas and the morals of men, that unless God comes soon to our help, the end of civilization would seem to be at hand. Thus we see the absence from the relation of men of mutual love with their fellow men; the authority of rulers is held in contempt; injustice reigns in relations between the classes of society; the striving for transient and perishable things is so keen, that men have lost sight of the other and more worthy goods they have to obtain. It is under these four headings that may be grouped, We consider, the causes of the serious unrest pervading the whole of human society. All then must combine to get rid of them by again bringing Christian principles into honour, if We have any real desire for the peace and harmony of human society.”9. The second cause of the general unrest we declare to be the absence of respect for the authority of those who exercise ruling powers. Ever since the source of human powers has been sought apart from God the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, in the free will of men, the bonds of duty, which should exist between superior and inferior, have been so weakened as almost to have ceased to exist. The unrestrained striving after independence, together with over-weening pride, has little by little found its way everywhere; it has not even spared the home, although the natural origin of the ruling power in the family is as clear as the noonday sun; nay, more deplorable still, it has not stopped at the steps of the sanctuary. Hence come contempt for laws, insubordination of the masses, wanton criticism of orders issued, hence innumerable ways of undermining authority; hence, too, the terrible crimes of men who, claiming to be bound by no laws, do not hesitate to attack the property or the lives of their fellow men.10. In presence of such perversity of thought and of action, subversive of the very constitution of human society, it would not be right for Us, to whom is divinely committed the teaching of the truth, to keep silence: and We remind the peoples of the earth of that doctrine, which no human opinions can change: “There is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God” (Rom. xiii 1). Whatever power then is exercised amongst men, whether that of the King or that of an inferior authority, it has its origin from God. Hence St. Paul lays down the obligation of obeying the commands of those in authority, not in any kind of way, but religiously, that is conscientiously – unless their commands are against the laws of God: “Wherefore be not subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake” (Rom. xiii. 5). In harmony with the words of St. Paul are the words of the Prince of the Apostles himself: “Be ye subject of every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be the King as excelling, or to governors as sent by him” (I Peter ii. 13-14). From which principle the Apostle of the Gentiles infers that he who contumaciously resists the legitimate exercise of human authority, resists God and is preparing for himself eternal punishment: “Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation” (Rom. xiii. 2).11. Let the Princes and Rulers of peoples remember this truth, and let them consider whether it is a prudent and safe idea for governments or for states to separate themselves from the holy religion of Jesus Christ, from which their authority receives such strength and support. Let them consider again and again, whether it is a measure of political wisdom to seek to divorce the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church from the ruling of a country and from the public education of the young. Sad experience proves that human authority fails where religion is set aside. The fate of our first parent after the Fall is wont to come also upon nations. As in his case, no sooner had his will turned from God than his unchained passions rejected the sway of the will; so, too, when the rulers of nations despise divine authority, in their turn the people are wont to despise their human authority. There remains, of course, the expedient of using force to repress popular risings; but what is the result? Force can repress the body, but it cannot repress the souls of men.12. When the twofold principle of cohesion of the whole body of society has been weakened, that is to say, the union of the members with one another by mutual charity and their union with their head by their dutiful recognition of authority, is it to be wondered at, Venerable Brethren, that human society should be seen to be divided as it were into two hostile armies bitterly and ceaselessly at strife? Drawn up against those who possess property, whether by inheritance or by industry, stand the proletariate and the workers, inflamed with hatred and envy, because, although they are by nature the same, they do not occupy the same position as the others. Once they have been imbued with the fallacies of the agitators, to whose behests they are most docile, who will ever make them see that it does not follow that because men are equal by their nature, they must all occupy an equal place in the community? And further, who will ever make them see that the position of each one is that which each by use of his natural gifts – unless prevented by force of circumstances – is able to make for himself? And so the poor who strive against the rich as though they had taken part of the goods of others, not merely act contrary to justice and charity, but also act irrationally, particularly as they themselves by honest industry can improve their fortunes if they choose. It is not necessary to enumerate the many consequences, not less disastrous for the individual than for the community, which follow from this class hatred. We all see and deplore the frequency of strikes, which suddenly interrupt the course of city and of national life in their most necessary functions, we see hostile gatherings and tumultous crowds, and it not unfrequently happens that weapons are used and human blood is spilled.13. It is not our intention here to repeat th
e arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines.
Our predecessor, Leo XIII, most wisely did so in truly memorable Encyclicals; and you, Venerable Brethren, will take the greatest care that those grave precepts are never forgotten, but that whenever circumstances call for it, they should be clearly expounded and inculcated in Catholic associations and congresses, in sermons and in the Catholic press. But more especially – and We do not hesitate to repeat it – by the help of every argument, supplied by the Gospels or by the nature of man himself, or by the consideration of the interests of the individual and of the community, let us strive to exhort all men, that in virtue of the divine law of charity they should love one another with brotherly love. Brotherly love is not calculated to get rid of the differences of conditions and therefore of classes – a result which is just as impossible as that in the living body all the members should have the same functions and dignity – but it will bring it to pass that those who occupy higher positions will in some way bring themselves down to those in a lower position, and treat them not only justly, for it is only right that they should, but kindly and in a friendly and patient spirit, and the poor on their side will rejoice in their prosperity and rely confidently on their help – even as the younger son of a family relies on the help and protection of his elder brother.14. But there is still, Venerable Brethren, a deeper root of the evils we have hitherto been deploring, and unless the efforts of good men concentrate on its extirpation, that tranquil stability and peacefulness of human relations we so much desire, can never be attained. The apostle himself tells us what it is: “The desire of money is the root of all evils” (I. Tim vi. 10). If any one considers the evils under which human society is at present labouring, they will all be seen to spring from this root.15. Once the plastic minds of children have been moulded by godless schools, and the ideas of the inexperienced masses have been formed by a bad daily or periodical press, and when by means of all the other influences which direct public opinion, there has been instilled into the minds of men that most pernicious error that man must not hope for a state of eternal happiness; but that it is here, here below, that he is to be happy in the enjoyment of wealth and honour and pleasure: what wonder that those men whose very nature was made for happiness should with all the energy which impels them to seek that very good, break down whatever delays or impedes their obtaining it. And as these goods are not equally divided amongst men, and as it is the duty of authority in the State to prevent the freedom enjoyed by the individual from going beyond its due limits and invading what belongs to another, it comes to pass that public authority is hated, and the envy of the unfortunate is inflamed against the more fortunate. Thus the struggle of one class of citizen against another bursts forth, the one trying by every means to obtain and to take what they want to have, the other endeavouring to hold and to increase what they possess.God grant us a Pope this moderate.

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