BM: On the call Wednesday at 6:30 PM, I would like to continue with where we left off two weeks ago -- specifically with goals and targeting for the growth of this movement related to forming and training Catholics for action -- a Catholic action that is not reactionary but a witness of truth with faith, charity and reason. I have pasted a section of my email from last week below that discusses targets of our opponents and demographics of the state. Catholic leadership will play a critical role in rebuilding institutions that support marriage and opposing efforts to redefine it.
The call in number is 877 298 1612
Last Friday our board had a planning meeting, the results of which we will be sharing shortly. We are working to become more specific in our goal setting so that we can be most effective in supporting you and accomplishing the goals that we all agree on regarding marriage and family. One thing that came out of the meeting is a clearer statement of what we are doing related to marriage and family.
"promoting the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society"
this was inspired by some of Pope Benedict's own words in Caritas in Veritate. Each word is key and we can discuss further on tomorrow's call. -- For the Common Good,
CKLC: Hey BM, Wondering what you mean by not being "reactionary"?
BM: Raise the question tonight and I will answer it. Thanks
CKLC : Sorry. Couldn't make it tonight. Don't have time. I am studying for the bar. This is the only way to communicate.
BM: Good luck with your studying.
To answer your question, we are not approaching marriage advocacy as a matter of ideology, but a matter of truth which we witness by the way we live as well as what we say. If we were just doing political tactics based on an ideology, we would be no different from our opponents. We are on a journey of formation as well. It is very exciting and the people who have been through the training or retreat are equally excited.
Hope this helps.
We are putting this out on CDs.
CKLC: Done studying. I understand what you're saying and I don't disagree with it. I would just express it differently. Rather than say that we don't want want to be "reactionary" I would just say we don't want to be ideological or partisan. The reason I say this is because as Catholics WE MUST BE REACTIONARY. It's not me saying this. The Church herself teaches this:
Catholics are obliged "to bring back all civil society to the pattern and form of Christianity which We have described." (Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Immortale Dei, ).
"[C]ivilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions. It has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. Omnia Instaurare in Christo ["To organize all things in Christ" or "To re-establish all things in Christ"]." (Pope St. Pius X's Encyclical On the "Sillon")
Our goal of protecting marriage is part of the larger struggle to set up and restore our Christian civilization which has always regarded marriage as only between a man and a woman.
BM: Have you taken the bar already? Hope all went well. What a relief to have that behind you.
Here is more recent stuff on the responsibility of the laity [deleted by CKLC] that says essentially the same thing in a slightly different way. Defining this responsibility for the modern world was one of the key outcomes of Vatican II which John Paul II and Benedict have continued to elaborate on. As you point out, it is critical for us to accept this responsibility in the mission of the Church -- but is a secular role.
From the dictionary definition, reactionary has the connotation of ideological and a response -- a reaction or radical opposition.
We are called to restore civilization to its original value -- according to God's plan for creation. Because of the effect of original sin this will always be a work in progress -- not a reaction to a specific event or condition. It is a work that is not achievable in time and space but we are called by Christ to work toward this and we do so with Christian hope in fulfillment of our batismal promises. It is part of treating the other as another self and restoring that order is the work of justice.
If we are reactionary, become like our opponents. Our reaction must not be to them, but to the injustice that they cause. We must not focus on them, but work in solidarity with the victims and the common good.
This may sound very confusing right now, but please hang in there with us. It took me a long time to get this. All of this is not to say that we will not wage a good fight, but it will be a Christian fight with love. Our weapon will be the truth which we must live as well as speak. We are going to build an army -- a truth squad that will fight on our terms rather than reacting to our opponents.
CKLC: Great meeting yesterday.
Anyway I've looked at the website link you gave below and neither Pope John Paul nor Benedict ever state that we should not be reactionary. With that said we can't ignore or dismiss what other Popes have said about the role of the Church and laity in the world especially when there is such a wealth of teaching about this topic from such great Popes as St. Pius X and Leo XIII.
The definition I use for reactionary comes from Merriam Webster's pocket dictionary which states that reactionary is "relating to or favoring return to an earlier political order or policy." This is precisely what the Church teaches us when it comes to restoring a Christian civilization:
"[H]uman society in its civil aspects was renewed fundamentally by Christian institutions; that, by virtue of this renewal, mankind was raised to a higher level, nay, was called back from death to life, and enriched with such a degree of perfection as has never existed before and was not destined to be greater in any succeeding age; and that, finally, the same Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of these benefits; for as all things have proceeded from Him, so they must be referred back to Him. When, with the acceptance of the light of the Gospel, the world had learned the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Word and the redemption of man, the life Jesus Christ, God and man, spread through the nations and imbued them wholly with His doctrine, with His precepts and with His laws. Wherefore, if human society is to be healed, only a return to Christian life and institutions will heal it. In the case of decaying societies it is most correctly prescribed that, if they wish to be regenerated, they must be recalled to their origins. For the perfection of all societies is this, namely, to work for and to attain the purpose for which they were formed, so that all social actions should be inspired by the same principle which brought the society itself into being. Wherefore, turning away from the original purpose is corruption, while going back to this purpose is recovery." (Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Rerum Novarum.)
Thus as Christians and Catholics we are duty bound to return to the Christian principles upon which our society was founded. Gay marriage is a radical break from that past for in the beginning God created man and woman. Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Immortale Dei writes about a time when human society gave the One True Faith the treatment that it deserved:
"There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. The State, constituted in this wise, bore fruits important beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, witnessed to as they are by countless proofs which can never be blotted out or ever obscured by any craft of any enemies. Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; stood forth in the front rank as the leader and teacher of all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is--beyond all question, in large measure, through religion, under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion."
Such words are those of a true reactionary. Thus to say that we shouldn't be reactionary is to condemn the sacred teachings of the Popes.
I am not saying that by being reactionary we have to be partisan. The Church is not attached or supports any one political party above another. CCG and the defenderes of Prop 8 can come from all political backgrounds whether it be democrats, republicans, green party, libertarion, etc. However when it comes to political philosophy we are essentially reactionary.
I think that you agree with me on these principles and thus it shouldn't be dificult for us to come to an agreement on bringing civilization back to the principles upon which God has desired. Being reactionary has nothing to do with being like our opponents. Our opponents are radicals and revolutionaries. They want to rip society from its roots and destroy it. They want to built a new civilization based on principles fundamentally opposed to the law of Christ and His Holy Church.
I do agree with you that we must not simply respond to what our opponents are doing and must help others realize the truth. If this is what you mean by reactionary, as a simple response to the tactics of our opponents, then I don't disagree with you. But if you're condemation of reactionaries refers to a condemnation of reactionary (i.e. Catholic) ideology and philosophy then I don't agree with you.
This might seem like an insignificant matter but being in a position of authority in a Catholic organization charged with teaching others about Catholic morals we must be careful not to be too ambiguous in teaching about the Faith. We must be clear that we are not against returning to a Christian civilization. Yet at the same time we must be clear that we are not just waiting for our opponents to do something before we take action. We can continue to teach and do good works. But our spirit must always be the same.
Being reactionary has nothing to do with not loving others. I think that Pope St. Pius X said it well: "Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators, they are promoters of tradition." (Encyclical On the "Sillon".)
BM: See below modern definitions. We must not be reactionary.
At times I don't think we differ much on intent, but at other times I am not sure. I am sure, with the help of our scholarly advisers, that we are in complete sync with the Church.
We are to restore creation to it original value. You need to be careful how you present that lest it sound like imposing Christian faith -- something counter to Church doctrine and to the dignity of the human person.
I think the period you are talking about below was a theocracy plague with terrible human rights abuses. We are not about returning to the past, but about the future. Christianity flourished because it was new. We are bringing reasoning purified by faith to the culture that is new.
[CKLC] -- at some point you need to let this one go. There are much more important things that need to be done. As time passes, if you continue to work with us, you will come to understand what we are saying.
From WikipediaReactionary (also reactionist) refers to any political or social movement or ideology that seeks a return to a previous state (the status quo ante) and opposes changes in society it deems harmful. The term originated in the French Revolution, to denote the counter-revolutionaries who wanted to restore the real or imagined conditions of the monarchical Ancien Régime. In the nineteenth century, the term reactionism denoted those who wished to preserve feudalism and aristocratic privilege against industrialism, republicanism, liberalism, and socialism. Today the term is largely used pejoratively to refer to ideas that are considered backwards, outdated and opposed to progress.
From Merriam Webster online dictionary
- Main Entry: re·ac·tion·ary
- Pronunciation: \rē-ˈak-shə-ˌner-ē\
- Function: adjective
- Date: 1840
CKLC: Your definition is no different then the one I quoted. We must be reactionary.
I am simply trying to help our cause by showing that using terminology that runs counter to that used by the Church and being ambiguous in our teachings is not helpful.
The Church does not teach that we should impose our faith and I hold onto nothing other than what the Church teaches. However, we must be careful not to fall into the modern error of seeking a vague utopia that has never existed in human history and which was explicitly condemned by Pope St. Pius X as I have showed you below.
I also ask that you please not disparage a Papal Encyclical. The period that you describe as "plagued with terrible human rights abuses" was one that gave Our Holy Church its proper respect and honor according to the teaching of Pope Leo XIII. The words describing that period of civilization are not mine but were taken out of Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Immortale Dei.
Christianity only seemed new because the world had fallen so far from God that it was no longer the world that Christ wanted it to be. Your last email is ambiguous in the sense that on one hand you state that we must restore creation to its original value (which is true) yet on the other hand you state we must not be reactionary and not return to the past (which is wrong).
As I have stated below this issue is important. We don't want to confuse people and help lead them astray from the right path.
With that said I'd like to say that I still desire to work for the protection of Prop 8. However this is conditioned on my not being required to renounce my conscience. I am and will continue to be a proud reactionary.
I encourage you to read some of these documents from the Popes which illustrate much of what I am saying:
Syllabus of Errors - Pope Pius IX, March 18, 1861, http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9syll.htm
Quanta Cura - Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1861, http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quanta.htm Did you know that the Catholic Church has condemned the very principles on which modern pluralistic societies are founded?
Diuturnum Pope Leo XIII, June 29, 1881, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_29061881_diuturnum_en.html
Where does political authority come from? This encyclical shows that if political authority came from the people, there actually would be no authority at all, and that the only real basis for political authority is God. Without God as the basis for political authority, we end with the tyranny of the majority, unbound by any moral law, and the loss of true liberty. That is why we must fight against abortion and other social evils by appealing to the law of God, not the will of the majority.
Immortale Dei - Pope Leo XIII, November 1, 1885, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_01111885_immortale-dei_en.html Why simple logic demands that every state be Catholic
Libertas - Pope Leo XIII, June 20, 1888, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_20061888_libertas_en.html
Why the modern notion of liberty is social suicide, and is actually a form of slavery.
Vehementer Nos - Pope Pius X, February 11, 1906, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_11021906_vehementer-nos_en.html
On the divinely ordained role of the state in helping souls get to heaven.
Notre Charge Apostolique - Pope Pius X, August 15, 1910, http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10notre.htm
Why a "brotherhood" of different religions in a pluralistic society will never work.
Quas Primas - Pope Pius XI, December 11, 1925, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_11121925_quas-primas_en.html Why a state that rejects the authority of the Catholic Church can only end in self-destruction.