Sonntag, 5. Juni 2011

"Libertas" by Pope Leo XIII

But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, "I will not serve"; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.

The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth. Hence, these followers of liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. The end of all this it is not difficult to foresee, especially when society is in question. For, when once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought in any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man's individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority.

Samstag, 28. Mai 2011

Monarchy - the best form of Government

After finding out the reasons as to why I am not a democrat, I have been asked a couple of questions regarding governance which I think may best be answered by simply outlining what I deem to be the best form of government.

In my view, the best form of government is a mixed one:
Democracy on the lowest level, aristocracy on the regional and finally: monarchy on the national level.

One may of course raise the question as to why I even include democracy after having published a treatise against such form of government.

It must be clear that I am not against any type of participation in government or a certain level of autonomy by the people. The problem with democracy is the underlying principle that law derives its legitimacy from the arbitrary will of the majority. It is that principle which I reject.

Further, the mixed form of government prevents democracy on the local level from being absolute and thus harmful:
Local democracy is limited by the supervision of an elected aristocracy.

The power of aristocrats on the other hand is limited by the Monarch who rules by divine right.

Such a monarch may not be an absolute ruler – because he too is a subject and his power thus limited.

But by whom or by what is the Monarch’s power limited and why can he not be an absolute ruler?

A Monarch may not be an absolute ruler, because regalism – or monarchical absolutism – is like democracy just another form of human absolutism which perverts the rule of law by factually rejecting the existence of immutable principles that serve as the basis for proper governance and the legitimacy of law.

After explaining why regalism is fundamentally wrong, it is time to discuss how the Monarch’s power is limited.

The first thing to consider is the fact that the Monarch rules by divine right.
The principle of rule by divine right already shows that the Monarch is not Sovereign in and of himself, but derives all his power and authority from another source:
namely from God.

The contingent nature of monarchical authority automatically puts certain limitations on it:

Monarchical authority is only legitimate when realized in accordance to Divine Law;
acts contrary to Divine Law are per principle illegitimate since they are not warranted by God.

And in Divine Law are anchored certain immutable principles upon which proper governance and legitimate law are based.

Since these principles are transcendental and immutable, the rights derived from them too cannot be altered by any man: not by any collective of persons, nor by any individual Monarch.

Therefore, rule by divine right protects all humans against arbitrary tyranny and thus guarantees the rule of law.

It must also be noted that Divine Law is not revealed explicitly through the State, but through the Church.

The preservation and definitive and infallible teaching of divinely revealed truth – regarding faith and morals – are missions delegated by divine command unto the Church and not the State.

Thus there is necessarily a relation of dependence of the Crown on the Church, due to which a strict separation of Church and State ought to be rejected.

Such dependence becomes clear when one considers that it is the Church alone that can speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals.

She is the infallible mouthpiece of natural or Divine Law and thus the guardian of the knowledge regarding those immutable principles from which the Monarch’s authority is derived.

Without this infallible Church, definitive knowledge of the aforementioned immutable principles would not be given and thus are opened the gates of relativism preparing the way for any type of human absolutism and thereby of arbitrary tyranny destroying the rule of law.

It therefore follows, that for the Monarch’s governance to be the expression of the rule of law, he himself must cooperate with and subject himself to the Church.

For the temporal order to meet its proper end, it must act in accordance to and subject itself to the spiritual.

Only if such relationship between the temporal and the spiritual order is maintained, can the rule of law and thereby true liberty be guaranteed.

For as God rules His Church as her Head preserving her from destruction, so too shall the Monarch – in analogy – govern as the temporal head of the nation.

The Monarch’s rule by divine right shows that the source and end of his authority is to be found in the spiritual sphere.
Therefore, it is the State’s duty to organize society in such a manner that would enable the populace to reach its spiritual end: namely life eternal.
This is done by supporting the Church in her mission wherever necessary and possible.

In conclusion, there are two spheres that are analogous to each other: the temporal and the spiritual.
And only in their cooperation can proper governance, that is the rule of law, be guaranteed.

*** Deus - Ecclesia ; Rex – Patria***

A treatise against Democracy

Watching a video on democracy some days ago, I stumbled across a statement made by a youtuber which really made me think.

It said: "Democracy is the unquestionable belief that the majority is ALWAYS right.”

Though the word itself – being a composite from the Greek words Demos and Kratos – actually means the “rule of the people”, the reality of democracy is the rule of the majority.

Thus, the underlying principle of democracy is that law receives its legitimacy from the will of the majority.

It is because of that principle that I am not a democrat.

I believe in the rule of law based on true and immutable principles – not in the arbitrary conventions of a certain portion of a country’s population.

In order to clarify what I mean, let me give an example.

Take for instance the constitution of a hypothetical country saying that man has an intrinsic dignity upon which certain inalienable rights are based –
for example the right to life.

It is well-known that many Western democracies have similar statements in their constitutions that are seen to guarantee these so-called inalienable rights.

One may now ask where the problem is?
After all, the existence of inalienable rights shows that all legislation must be made in accordance to these rights:
Thus we have the rule of law based on objective truth.

The problem arises when one goes beyond the façade of false immutability that constitutions put up.

In democracies, the legitimacy of any constitution ultimately rests upon human convention.
These constitutions may be modified or abolished and replaced.
Therefore, whatever claims they make regarding “rights” have to be seen in light of the underlying principle of democracy:
Namely, that it is the majority’s will which gives legitimacy to law.

That said, there is nothing objective about democratic legislation:
Law and rights are not based on objective truth transcending the arbitrary nature of mere human conventions.

What is claimed to be an inalienable right today, may be taken away by majority vote tomorrow.
Such an act would not be contrary to democracy.

Since law itself then is based on the will of the majority – and man’s will is not immutable -, then one can say that:
Democracy is the expression of the dictatorship of relativism.

Law is essentially normative: it does not merely describe the state of things, but tells us how things ought to be.

The idea that there is a way things ought to be suggests that there is a truth about the things subject to law and about their proper ends.
It is for this reason that we can claim certain acts to be unlawful.

Law – understood in the proper sense – thus is intrinsically tied to truth.
And it is the truth which ultimately grants any law its legitimacy.
If any law violates truth, then it is illegitimate and an abuse of the power of governance.

Democracy – which subjects the legitimacy of law to the will of the majority – destroys the essence of proper governance.

Instead of binding human society to what is true through the rule of law, the will of the majority is turned to the supreme and absolute principle by which human society must live.

Thus I conclude that Democracy – as any type of human absolutism – is a perversion of the rule of law – and as such ought to be rejected.

Sonntag, 23. Januar 2011

from God to man

Let me discuss an observation I have been making whilst contemplating on the decay of faith not only outside the boundaries of the Church, but moreso within her very own walls.
We all know that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of Christ: the holy Catholic Church. And so, the enemies from outside the Church have all failed in all centuries past. But what happens when the enemy is no longer outside, but within? What if there is a group within the Church - akin to the Trojan Horse - that has opened the doors of the Church from within to allow the forces of darkness to enter into her - to allow the smoke of hell to enter the sanctuary?

The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation and as such has the mission to lead people to God. That is her purpose on this earth. What happens when the Church reverses this principle? What happens when the Church stops teaching man to adjust to God and instead allows for a thinking in which God factually has to adapt to man's whims?

The crisis of faith does not seem to *only* be a problem of disastrously false implementation, but also one of principle. The "nouvelle theologie" which has shifted the focus from primarily being on God to man.

Where can we see this happening?

1) Liturgy:
the Traditional Latin Mass (the Gregorian Mass of the Roman Rite) "had" to be "dumbed" down for the sake of man. The most common argument for the Liturgical Reform I have heard is that it was to make easier the entrance of protestants into the Catholic Church. To that I say: Protestants who had come to sanity returned to the Holy Mother Church even before the Liturgical Reform. And the Liturgical Reform made the return of Eastern Schismatics to the Church much more difficult. And what is to think of someone who would only convert when the Liturgy - which has organically developed over the centuries - is dumbed down in order not to be "all too Catholic"???
And some say that "people could not understand" the Latin. So factually abolishing the Latin is the answer? Why can the studying of Latin not be considered as yet another practice of humility and obedience? What is the attitude behind that? One of convenience! But the Christian is never about convenience: he knows he is fallen and that he must allow Himself to be formed by God through His Church unto eternal life.
If anyone has read the book "Why Jews Become Catholics", one will not be able to hold back one's tears reading the marvellous and touching conversion testimonies of Our Lord's own people! And there was one thing that seemed to magically attract converts to the holy religion: the splendour of the Gregorian Mass! Holiness, Beauty, Reverence: these are the ingredients to true conversion.

2) Architecture:
We also see a change in terms of architecture. In the past the church was easily recognizable as one: it was different from profane architecture. The way it was built was especially for the Holy Mass: it was indeed a house of worship. One would get the impression that every single stone was itself a prayer. The form was shaped by liturgical piety!
And what do we have now? UGLY bunker-like or market-hall-like buildings! "Abstracts". I've seen churches that are far uglier than the bunkers built during World War I. And why did this happen? Since the Liturgy has been adapted to man, the traditional church architecture especially made for the Gregorian Mass no longer made sense: so too, architecture has been adapted to the modern man: it became a field of experimentation and expression of one's "abilities in the abstract". Church architecture no longer is a visible testimony to faith, it has turned to something bunker-like; but even a bunker would look better than many modern churches. Instead of leading man to God, portraying the splendour of truth, modern churches are hideously ugly: cold, empty. Why? Because it is no longer focused on God.

3) Music:
In the past we had a very distinct type of music: chant along with the organ - both being set aside primarily for the worship of God according to the principle of holiness. Music was sung worship, sung prayer, sung communication with God: with God being the one to be pleased.
What now? Now we have new songs: profane in their sound, wishy washy in their lyrics. Profane instruments like guitars, tambourines, drums and the like somehow found their way into the churches. The effect is not the "sanctification" of what is profane, the effect is quite different: the sanctuary is becoming more and more profane. The aspect of holiness is being banished by a purely human and immanent element. Music is now there to "please the people of God" instead of God. How often do we hear people complain that "young people do not like chants. That's so out-dated!". But it is holy! And that's what liturgical music is supposed to be: clearly set apart from all profane music. But then again, this is the effect of another adjustment towards man instead of God.

4) Clothing:
Yes this too expresses the change in principle: in the past all priests and religious were meant to wear either a cassock or the respective religious habit: it was not only a symbol of mortification, but also a silent means of evangelization and giving testimony to the truth - akin to the church being a symbol of the faith despite the building not talking to anyone. Religious/clerical clothing directly points anyone confronted with it to God: everyone knows automatically that the person wearing it is a servant of God's - thus, such specific clothing leads man's mind straight up to God!
And what about today? Apart from some few exceptions, we see many clerics and religious no longer wearing the cassock or their religious habits. They have abandoned a means to evangelization and testimony-giving when in the world. And anyone seeing them would not be lead to think about God: no, they would simply see the person in his/her fancy modern clothing! Instead of being lead to God, you arrive at a dead-end with the person you behold with your eyes! Instead of the cleric or religious being "transparent" to man, he/she is now having man behold himself/herself. Is this the attitude of true humility? Is this the attitude of mortification? Is this not rather the attitude of pride and vanity?

These are just a couple of aspects that seem to show a certain connection with each other in terms of principles: the connecting dot between these various expressions of the decay of truly Catholic piety is the shift of focus from God to man. Man seems to have put himself up high on a pedestal which in reality is the place of God alone. Man cannot serve two masters at the same time, we cannot have two primary focuses at the same time. The more we focus on our sinfull selves, the more we move away from God.

The solution is to be found in a re-ordering of principles. God above all else: this must be the case not only in theory, but also in all fields of practice.