1879-03-15, English, Article, Journal or magazine article edition: ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE LEO XIII. (15 March 1879)

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ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE LEO XIII. (15 March 1879)
 
Bookmark: https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/260248952
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  • 3830 words
  • article
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  • xna, National Library of Australia, 1879-03-15
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  • English

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Title
  • ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE LEO XIII. (15 March 1879)
Appears In
  • The Record., v.4, no.6, 1879-03-15, p.1 (ISSN: 2207-1148)
Other Contributors
  • LEO, P.P., XIII.
Published
  • xna, National Library of Australia, 1879-03-15
Physical Description
  • 3830 words
  • article
  • Journals
  • Magazines
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  • The Record.
  • Vol. 4 No. 6 (15 March 1879)
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Summary
  • ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE LEO XIII. TRANSLATED FOR THE “ RECORD,” TO THE PATRLiRCHS, PRIMATES, ARCHBISHOPS, AND BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC WORLD IN COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE. Venerable Brethren, liealth and Apostolic Benediction, —- In compliance with the duty of Our Apostolic Ofiice, We have not failed, Venerable Brethren, in the Encyclical Letter ter We sent you, to point out the deadly pest that pervades human society and leads it on to destruction ; and at the same time We showed the most efficacious means by which it could he saved from the terrible dangers that threaten it. But the evils We then deplored have since increased to such a degree that We feel obliged again to address you ; for We seem to hear resounding in Our ears the words of the Prophet: Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” (Isaias 58.1.) You easily understand, Venerable Brethren, that We speak of those men, who are called by different and almost barbarous names, Socialists, Communists, or Nihilists, and who, scattered throughout the world, and closely bound together by a wicked compact, no longer seek shelter in the darkness of secret meetings, but openly and confidently coming forth into the light, endeavour to accomplish plish the design they have long since conceived of destroying ing the foundation of all civil society. They are those who, as the Holy Scriptures testify, “ defile the flesh, and despise dominion and blaspheme Majesty.” (Jude 1. 8.) They respect spect nothing that has been wisely decreed by human and Divine laws for the safety and adornment of society. To the higher powers, to which, according to the Apostle, every soul ought to be subject, since they derive their authority from God, these men refuse obedience, and proclaim The Equality of all Men in rights and duties. They degrade the union of man and wife, a bond held sacred even among barbarous barous nations, and they sever that tie by which the family is held together, giving free scope to licentiousness. In fine, urged on by the desire for wealth, a desire “ which is the root of all evil, which some coveting have erred from the faith,” (1 Tim. vi. 10.) they attack and assail the right of property which has been sanctioned by the natural law, and in the height of their wickedness, under pretence of consulting for the necessities and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to plunder and hold in common whatever ever has been acquired either by the title of lawful inheritance, ance, or by mental and bodily labour, or frugality. They publish these absurdities in their meetings, they endeavour to make them plausible in their writings, and they spread them among the people in their countless journals. Whence it has come to pass that the Majesty of Kings and their rule have become the object of such hatred among the seditious, that the wicked traitors, impatient of restraint, have more than once, within a short interval, turned their arms with impious rashness against the supreme rulers themselves. selves. And this audacity of wicked men, which daily threatens ens society with more fearful destruction, and strikes the minds of all with anxious fear, derives its origin from those poisonous doctrines ■which, being for a long time sown as bad seed among the people, have brought forth in their time those deadly fruits. You wellknow, Venerable Brethren, that the hostile ■war which has been waged against the Catholic faith since the sixteenth century tury by the innovators, and -which has up to the present time grow still more fierce, tends to this end, that, by setting aside all revelation and overturning the Supernatural Order, a way might be opened up for the inventions, or rather, the ravings of unaided reason. This error ror which absurdly takes its name from reason, by whetting the desire for rule which is innate in human nature, gives free rein to passions of every kind, has widely pervaded, not only the minds of men, but even society itself. Hence it has come to pass, that by wickedness of anew kind, unknown even to Pagans, governments are constituted without any regard for God, and the order es- Wished by Him ; proclaiming that public authority, its origin, its greatness, its coercive power come not from God, but from the will of the multitude; and the people in consequence, quence, thinking themselves free from all Divine Control, suffer themselves to be governed only by those laws which they themselves have made of their own accord. Supernatural truths of faith are rejected as hostile to human reason, and the very Author and Redeemer of the human race has by little and little been banished ished from the universities, colleges, and grammarschools, schools, and from the customs of public life. The reward and punishment of eternal life are forgotten, and the ardent desire of happiness is confined within the limits of our present sent existence. With these doctrines spread far and wide, and with such a license in thought and action, it is no marvel that the lowest class of people, weary of the humble homes and workshops, aspire to possess the houses and fortunes of the more wealthy ; it is no marvel there is no longer peace in public or private, and that the human race has well nigh reached hopeless ruin. But the Supreme Pastors of the Church, on whom devolves the duty of protecting the flock of the Lord from the snares of the enemy, have studied to remove at once the danger, and provide for the safety of the faithful. No sooner had secret societies commenced to be formed, in which the germs of these errors We have just mentioned were matured, than the Roman Pontiffs, Clement XII,, Benedict XIY., did not hesitate to unmask the impious design of the sects, and to warn the faithful throughout the world of the evils which were being secretly concocted. But since bv those, who gloried in the name of philosophers, a certain unbridled liberty was ascribed to man, and a new right , as they called it, commenced to be fashioned and sanctioned against the Natural and Divine Law. Pope Pius YL, of happy memory, immediately pointed out in his public documents the wicked tendency and falsehood of these doctrines, and at the same time b} r his Apostolic foresight sight foretold the disasters to which the people, in their sad delusion, would be hurried along. But, as nevertheless, no caution of a sufficiently efficacious kind was taken to prevent those pernicious tenets from being daily more and more inculcated on the people, or from being incorporated with the public enactments of states, Pius YII. and Leo XII. anathematized Secret Societies, and again warned society of the impending danger. In fine, it is well known to all, with what emphatic words, firmness and constancy of mind Our glorious predecessor, Pius IX., of happy memory, both in his Allocutions and Encyclical Letters, addressed to the Bishops of The Entire Church, contended against the v holy efforts of these Sectaries, taries, and particularly die pest of Socialism already springing from them. But it is to be lamented that those to whom is entrusted the care of the common good, Received by the schemes and terrified by the threat; of the ini] ions, have ever shown themselves suspicious ana hostile towards the Church, not understanding that these efforts of the sectaries would come to nought, if the doctrine of the Cathode Church and the authority of the Eoman Pontiffs were always held in due honor, both by rulers and peoples. For the Church of the Living God, which is “ the pillar and ground of truth,”. (1. Tim. in. 15) delivers those doctrines by which thorough provision is made for the Safety and Peace of Society and the destructive scion of socialism is torn up from the roots. For although the Socialists abusing the very Gospel itself, in order to deceive the unwary, are wont to distort it so as to confirm their opinions, nevertheless, so great is the discrepancy between their degraded doctrines and the most holy teaching ing of Christ that no greater can exist, “ for what participation hath justice with injustice, or what fellowship hath light with darkness,” (II Cor. vi. 14). These men, forsooth, are never done saying, as we have intimated, that all men are by nature equal, and accordingly maintain that neither honor nor reverence is due to majesty, nor obedience to laws, unless, perhaps, to those made to their own liking. Whereas, on the contrary, according to the The Doctrine of the Gospel, the equality of men comes to this, that having the same nature all are called to the most exalted dignity of the children of God, and that all having the one end, each is to be judged by the same law, and is to obtain punishment or reward according to their desert. However, the inequality of rights and power come from the same Author of Nature “ of whom all paternity in Heaven and earth is named,” (Epp. iii. 15). In this way the minds of princes and subjects are so bound together by mutual duties and rights, according to Catholic doctrine and principles, that the passion for power is checked and obedience becomes easy, lasting, and ennobling. In fact, the Church constantly stantly inculcates on her subjects the Apostolic injunction: “ there is no power but from God, and those that are, are ordained of God, therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation,” and afterwards he commands that they “ be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake,” and that they “ render to all men their due, tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (Rom, xii.) Since He that has created and governs all things has by His wise providence ordered that what is lowest by what is intermediate, and what is intermediate by what is highest, should respectively arrive at their end. For as iu the Kingdom of Heaven itself He wished that the choirs of angels should be distinct, and subject one to another ; and as also He has instituted in the Church various degrees of ranks and diversity of orders, so that all should not be apostles, nor all doctors, nor all pastors, so also he has appointed that in civil society there should be many ranks differing in dignity, rights, and power, in order that the State and the Church should be one body, embracing many members, some more noble than others, but all necessary to one another, and equally solicitous for the common good. But that, furthermore, the rulers of the people may use the power given to them unto edification, and not unto destruction, the Church of Christ most opportunely puts princes also in mind of the severity of the Supreme J udge, and, using the words of Divine wisdom, dom, cries out to all iu the name of God : “ Give ear you that rule people and that please yourselves in multitudes of nations, for power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the Most High, who will examine your words and search your thoughts ”* * * for a moi e Severe Judgment shall be for them that baer rule * ** * for God will not accept any man’s person, neither will he stand in awe of any man’s greatness, for He made the little and the great, and he hath equally care of all, but a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.” (Wisdom vi.) If, however, it sometimes happens that the public authority is exercised without order or discretion, tion, the doctrine of the Church does not allow insurrection against it by private action, lest order and peace should be more and more disturbed, and society should suffer a greater injury therefrom ; and when things have come to such a pass that no hope of safety beams, she teaches that a lemedy must be sought through the merit j of Christian patience and by urgent prayers to God, But if the decrees of Legislators or princes sanction anything repugnant to the Divine or natural law, the dignity and duty of the Christian name, no less than the words of the Apostle, tell us that we ought rather obey God than men (Acts v. 29.) The Family also which is the foundation of every state and kingdom, necessarily sarily feels and experiences the saving power of the Church, which redounds to the more orderly government and preservation vation of civil society. For you are aware, Venerable Brethren, that according to the obligation of the natural law, the right state of the family depends altogether on the indissoluble union of man and wife, and is completed by the reciprocal rights and duties of parents and children, and masters and servants. You are also aware that it is almost entirely broken up by the teachings of socialism, since having lost that firmness which it derives from the sacrament of marriage, the power of the father over his children, and the duties of children towards their parents are in a very great measure relaxed ; whereas on the contrary, marriage honorable in all resoeats(Heb. (Heb. xili.), which, in the very beginning of the world, God Himself self instituted for the propagation and conservation of the human race, and declared indissoluble, has in the Church become more firm and holy through Christ, who conferred on it the dignity of a sacrament, and wished to represent His union with the Church. Accordingly in the words of the Apostle, as Christ is head of the Church, so is the man the head of the woman, and as the Church is subject to Christ, who embraces it with the most holy and lasting love, so too women should be subject to their husbands, deserving from them in turn faithful and constant affection. In like manner The Church regulates the power of father and master in such a manner as to keep children and servants within the path of duty, while nevertheless it slnn’l not grow to excess, for, according to Catholic teaching, it is the authority of our Heavenly Father and Lord that comes to, and resides iu parents and masters, and this authority, accordingly, derives from Him not only its,origin and force, but also its nature and character. Hence the Apostle exhorts all children to obey their parents in the Lord, and to “ honor their father and their mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise ; and to parents he commands : “ And you, fathers, provoke not your children to auger, but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord and again to servants and masters by the same Apostle, a Divine Precept is proposed that they “be obedient to them that are their lords according to the flesh as to Christ * * * with a good will serving as the Lord * * * whereas let masters forbear threats, knowing that the Lord of all is in Heaven, ven, and that there is no respect of persons with him.” (Ephes vi.) And if all these things be diligently observed according to the Divine will by those to whom it appertains, every family would certainly tainly represent the image of the heavenly home, and the precious benefits following therefrom would not be confined within the domestic tic walls, but would most abundantly diffuse themselves through States as well. Catholic wisdom, supported by the precepts of the natural law, admirably provides for public and Domestic Tranquility, by those things also which she feels and teaches regarding the right of property and the division of good which have been provided for the necessities and conveniences of life. For whereas the Socialists traduce the right of property as a human invention and repugnant to the natural equality of men, and by desiring a community of goods, suppose that poverty should not be peacefully borne, and that the possessions and just rights of the wealthy can be violated with impunity ; much more wisely and usefully does the Church, taking into account the natural diversity of men as regards their abilities of mind and body, recognise amongst men an inequality in the possession session of goods al .o ; and commands that the right of property am? dominion, which have their foundation iu nature itself, should be left intact and inviolate ; for she knows that Robbery and rapine are so forbidden by God, the and Avenger ger of every right, as to make it unlawful even to covet what belongs to another, and that robbers and plunderers, no less than adulterers and idolaters, are excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. Nor does she on this account neglect taking care of the poor, nor, affectionate mother as she is, does she omit providing for their necessities. On the contrary, embracing them with maternal affection, and well know they represent the person son Christ Himself, Who accounts as done to Himself whatever benefit is conferred on the least of the poor, she greatly honors them and relieves them in every possible way ; she procures the erection of asylums and hospitals everywhere to shelter them, to feed and care them, and takes these institutions under her own patronage. By the most binding precept, she urges the rich to give their superfluities fluities to the poor, and threatens them with the Divine judgment by which they shall be condemned to eternal torments if they do not succor the distress of the poor. In fine she greatly consoles and comforts the poor, both by pointing out to them the example ample of Christ, “ who, when he was rich became poor for our sakes,” (Cor. viii. 9), and by recalling to their minds His words by which He pronouuced the poor blessed, and ordered them to hope for the rewards of eternal happiness. Now, who is it that does not see that this is the best way of settling this most Inveterate Strife between rich and poor ? for as the evidence itself of facts and things demonstrates, when this way is either rejected or made light of, one or other of two things must necessarily happen : either the greatest part will fall into abject slavery, which for a long time prevailed among pagan nations ; or human society must be agitated with constant stant commotions, and be made a prey to rapine and robberies as unhappily, has happened too often within our own times. Such being the case, Venerable Brethren, We, to Avhom is entrusted the government of the Church, as from the beginning we have pointed out to peoples and rulers, tossed about by • The Fury of the Storm, the haven in which they might find security, so now, moved by the extreme danger that threatens, we again lift up to them Our Apostolic voice, and earnestly implore them, both for their own and the people’s safety, to receive as their teacher, and to hear that Church which has merited so well of the nations for the prosperiiy periiy thev enjoy, so that they may clearly understand that the principles of government and religion are bound together in such a way as that whatever is taken from religion is subtracted alsq from the loyalty of subjects and from the majesty of rule. And as they should be aware that the Church of Christ has such power to remove The Plague of Socialism as is not to be found either in human laws, nor in the restraints of magistrates, nor in the arms of soldiers, let the Church at length enjoy such a status and liberty as may enable her to exercise her allsaving saving power for the well-being of the .entire human race. But do you, Venerable Brethren, knowing the origin and nature of the evils which are falling upon us, strive for this with all the power of mind and all the energy you command that the Catholic doctrine be planted and deeply rooted in the minds of all. Make it your anxious care that even from their tender years all may be accustomed customed to love God, and venerate His holy name, to do homage to the majesty of princes, and their laws, to restrain their desires and diligently observe the order established by God, both in civil and domestic society. Furthermore, you should labour that the children of the Catholie Church do not dare, in any way, either to enrol themselves or to favour in any way this Abominable Sect. Still further, let them shorv by their worthy actions and good lives how well and happily human society would be established if all its members signalized themselves by virtue and good works. Finally, as the followers of Socialism are chiefly found ami ng labourers and tradesmen, and those who, perchance, beingjjtired. < ; f work are easily led by the hope of riches, and the promise of goods ; it seems opportune to encourage societies among mechanics and labourers which, established under the protection of religion, may make all their associates contented with their lot and patient of labor, and may induce them to lead quite and peaceful lives. May He, to whom wo should refer The Beginning and End of all good, be propitious to our undertakings. For the rest, the very recurrence of those days in which We celebrate the annual solemnity of the birth of Our Lord gives us hope of most prompt assistance ; for Jesus Christ commands us to hope for that new salvation which He at His birth brought to the earth already grown old, and fallen into an abyss of evils ; and He has promised to give us also that peace which He then, through His angels, announced unto men : “ For the hand of the Lord is not that it cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear.” (Isia L. ix. 1). Wherefore, in these joyful days wishing you, Venerable Brethren, and the faithful of your dioceses every blessing, We earnestly beseech the Giver of every good and perfect gift “ that the goodness and kindness of God Oui Saviour might again appear,” (Tit. iii. 4) which, freeing us from the slavery of Our Deadly Enemy. may confer on us this noble dignity of sons, and that our desires may the more readily and the more fully be satisfied, fied, unite with Us, Venerable Brethren, in addressing fervent prayers to God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin and her holy spouse St. Joseph, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose assistance (We place unbounded confidence. Meanwhile with the deepest affection of our heart, Wu grant to you, Venerable Brethren, to your clergy, and the entire faithful committed to your care, the Apostolic Benediction in the Lord as a pledge of Divine favour. Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, 28th Dec., 1878, In the first year of Our Pontificate, LEO, P.P., XIII.
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