Vatican Cites Churches Role In Political Field

Arvid K. McGuire
Kirkwood, Ill.

On May 17, 1960, The Osservatore Romano, Vatican newspaper in Rome, cited the church's role in the political field. We are aware of her role in centuries past and this statement demonstrates that she "has not changed"! This statement was an unsigned editorial on the front page and was described by the Vatican press service as "authoritative." It was presented in a special make-up that the Osservatore reserves for semi-official statements emanating from its Vatican superiors, as distinct from its own opinion. The Osservatore made it clear that its pronouncement was "valid for Roman Catholic laymen everywhere." Note some of the "official statements" contained therein.

The Roman hierarchy had "the right and duty to intervene" in political field to guide its flock. Rejected as "the absurd split of conscience between the believer and the citizen." It deplored "the great confusion of ideas that is spreading, especially in some nations and also among Catholics, with regard to the relations between Catholic doctrine and social and political activities, and between the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the lay faithful in the civil field." Efforts were condemned "to detach the Catholic from the ecclesiastical hierarchy, restricting relations between the two to the mere sphere of the sacred ministry and proclaiming the believer's full autonomy in the civil sphere." The Catholic "may never disregard the teaching and directions of the Church but must inspire his conduct in every sphere of his activity by the laws, instructions and teachings of the hierarchy."

The Roman hierarchy claims for itself "the right to intervene" in the political field to guide it's flock. So she can tell all the Catholic people how to vote. She affirms that the Catholic cannot be detached from the hierarchv and that the Catholic hierarchy controls him even in the civil field! The hierarchy commits and guides the entire existence of man. This means she can control a Catholic officeholder, be he governor or president! A Catholic cannot disregard the teachings and direction of the Catholic Church, but he must submit to it in every way, in civil and religious fields! The idea of "a split of conscience between the believer and the citizen" was rejected. We challenge this statement! These quotations are all virtual admissions of the very issues between a Catholic president and the Constitution of the United States. We affirm that there would he a "split of conscience" between a Roman Catholic's loyalty to the Catholic hierarchy and certain principles of government on which this nation is founded. If the Roman hierarchy denies such, then let them give answer to the areas of conflict herein stated. These areas of conflict are not "mere policies" of the Catholic Church, but basic teachings promulgated in papal encyclicals or Canon Law and applicable to all Catholics in the United States and elsewhere.

( I ) Separation of Church and State: Pope Pius IX in his Syllabus of Errors (1864), Section 6, denounced as one of the "principle errors of our time" the statement, "The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church."

Pope Boniface VIII in the Bull Unam Sanctum (November 18, 1302) proclaimed the right of the Church to wield the temporal sword (representing the state) for it is in the power of Peter (representing the Roman Catholic Church). One is wielded for the Church, the other by the Church. The temporal sword is wielded at the will and sufferance of the priest. Temporal authority is subject to the authority of the Roman Church. The Unam Sanctum has been "incorporated into the Canon Law" and is, therefore, a part of the official body of Catholic law (Catholic Encyclopedia, XV, P. 126).

(2) Complete abolition of divorces: Canon 1118.

(3) Complete prohibition of contraceptives: Encyclical Christian Marriage by Pope Pius X1.

(4) The obligation of the state to support Catholic schools with public funds: Pius XII established official policy in an address to the "Teaching Sisters" on September 15, 1951, when he asked that legislators throughout the world should see that Catholic schools "be not placed in a worse condition than the state schools."

(5) Church censorship: Canon 1399, forbids all Catholics to read any books or periodicals which are critical of Roman Catholic teaching.

(6) Discrimination against Protestants, Jews and unbelievers in mixed marriage: Canons 1060-ff., and Canons 1070-71.

(7) Creedal segregation of Catholic children in a separate school system, with theological penalties for parents who refuse their bishops' orders to boycott public schools: Canon 1374, which states, "Catholic children must not attend non-Catholic, neutral, or mixed schools, this, such as are also open to non-Catholics. It is for the bishop of the place alone to decide, according to the instructions of the Apostolic See, in what circumstances and with what precautions attendance as such schools may be tolerated, without danger of perversion to the pupils."

In his Divini Illius Magistri (December 31, 1929), Pope Pius XI declared ". . . the so-called 'secular' or 'neutral' school from which all religion is excluded, is something 'contrary to the fundamental principles of education.' "

It is not difficult to see the dilemma in which a Catholic president would find himself on these issues if he is a "loyal son to the Catholic hierarchy." We are sure that these "areas of conflict" between official Catholic doctrine and the principles on which this nation is founded, moved the Southern Baptist Convention on May 20, 1960, to adopt a resolution "evidently opposing the election of a Catholic as president of the United States." The resolution, as it appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, reads as follows:

"When a public official is inescapably bound by the dogma and demands of his church, he cannot consistently separate himself from these."

"This is especially true when the church maintains a position in open conflict with our established and constituted American pattern of life as specifically related to religious liberty, separation of church and state, the freedom of conscience in matters related to marriage and the family, the perpetuation of free public schools, and the prohibition against use of public moneys for sectarian purposes."

"Therefore, the implications of a candidate's affiliation, including his church, are of concern to the voter in every election. In all cases, a public official should be free from sectarian pressures that he may make independent decisions consistent with the rights and privileges of all citizens."

In conclusion, recall the claim of the Catholic Church cited above. "She commits and guides the entire existence of man." A Roman Catholic "may never disregard the teaching and directions of the church but must inspire his activity by the laws, instructions and teachings of hierarchy." This statement admits the fact that no man can loyally and impartially serve the American people who maintains full and complete loyalty to the Roman hierarchy. Consider well! Pursue the course of action that will preserve this great nation and the principles on which it is founded!

Truth Magazine IV:9, pp. 10-11
June 1960