The True Religion

 

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII

“Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfilment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate.”

(Pope Leo XIII Immortale Dei – 7)

 

 

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29 Responses to The True Religion

  1. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    I don’t know why we need to keep rehashing this, I mean Pope Francis has already apologized enough times, I think, for his predecessors narrow thinking not only word but also in deed by letting a lay man dressed up as an archbishop give him a blessing not only that but by allowing the recitation of the Koran in the Vatican gardens.

    To drag out poor old Leo XIII and mock him simply for his ignorance about the wonders of religious freedom.

    Shame on you.

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  2. johnhenrycn says:

    ¿Que?

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  3. johnhenrycn says:

    “…drag out poor old Leo XIII and mock him simply for his ignorance about the wonders of religious freedom.”

    Was Pope Leo XIII an opponent of religious freedom? Was he in favour of abolishing the distinction between Church and State?

    “As the Catholic Church declares in the strongest terms the simplicity, spirituality, and immortality of the soul, so with unequalled constancy and publicity she ever also asserts its freedom. These truths she has always taught, and has sustained them as a dogma of faith, and whensoever heretics or innovators have attacked the liberty of man, the Church has defended it and protected this noble possession from destruction.”
    Pope Leo XIII Libertas Encyclical 20 June 1888

    I was born in a place where and at a time when oppressive Catholic clericalsim and triumphalism destroyed the Catholic faith of the majority of the population. Thanks be to God, I was not affected by it, having come to the One True Faith sometime later under a more benign regime where and when religious liberty was seen as a public good. Religious freedom is probably the highest good there is. The only good convert is a free convert.

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  4. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    John Henry: Can you give examples of oppressive clericalism and this triumphalism you speak of? It seems to me it has more to do with a an excuse than a reason.

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  5. johnhenrycn says:

    “Until the middle of the 20th century, the Catholic church dominated Quebec society in a way that the province’s famously liberal population would now find unimaginable.”

    That’s a line from an article by Bradley Miller published on page A23 of the National Post on Thursday 21 April 2005. I would have thought I could find the whole piece online for your delectation, but alas, no. Suffice it to say, if you can find it in your heart to trust me, that Quebec, once a senior daughter of the Church, is now a secular wasteland for the most part. If you insist, I will type the entire article, but only if you promise to make a $1000 donation to Aid to the Church in Need. It will take me a couple of hours, after all.

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  6. johnhenrycn says:

    Religious freedom – lack thereof – consequences: Let’s consider the massacres of Catholics in France (1790s), Mexico (1920s), Spain (1930s), and then ask: when all of these countiries were overwhelmingly Catholic in those decades and when the Catholic Church in those countries wielded enormous political influence in those decades, why were Catholics targeted for genocide?

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  7. toadspittle says:

    The Irish Republic and Spain, in the last century, Geoff.

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  8. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad: “Irony, JH”

    If by that you mean the irony sarcasm in Giovanni’s comment at 21:04, yes, I got it, but I don’t agree with its underlying premise that a politically Confessional State is a good state, which is why I (yet again) broke my vow of silence ツ

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  9. johnhenrycn says:

    But Toad, being an amateur aficionado of irony, you might like to read the obituary of Robert Panara, poet and pioneer of deaf education, in this week’s The Economist:

    “Signing for Mr Panara became a pas de deux between the fingers and the face, a way of shading in meaning with the lightest of movements.”

    Likewise, irony requires the lightest of touches. Sarcasm, à la Giovanni A. Cattananeo
    is more like a chainsaw than a scalpel. Without looking up its etymology, I think the word ‘sarcasm’ is derived from something to do with the tearing of flesh.

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  10. Frere Rabit says:

    I would like to comment on the point about “oppressive Catholic clericalism and triumphalism” raised above by JH, and later supported by Toad with the example of Spain. I wrestle with the whole question frequently enough, living here in Spain and observing the present dire state of the Catholic Church. Many young Spaniards today reject the Church for its three decades of integration with the despised right wing regime of Franco.

    One of the main factors leading to the Spanish army’s revolt against the elected government in 1936 was the total lawlessness of everyday life under the Popular Front government of Azana. Monasteries and convents were being sacked and burnt, the religious put to death in the kind of horrific religious butchery we now see taking place in Iraq. All of this is well documented, and it surprises me when a Catholic blog – with Catholic commenters – contains simply one side of a story and talks about “oppressive Catholic clericalism and triumphalism”, when the entire reactionary mechanism of the Church and military was a response to left wing butchery. The failed anarcho-syndicalist/Trotskyist revolution against the democratic Republic singled out the Catholic Church for its worst atrocities, and Catholic Spain responded. Don’t talk glibly about “oppressive Catholic clericalism” over the piled up bodies of nuns and priests of the years and months leading to the July 1936 nationalist uprising.

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  11. toadspittle says:

    It’s all got a bit ironic here, hasn’t it?
    Although, I cannot personally discern a scintilla of irony in JH’s quote, re Mr. Panara.

    Possibly, Pope Leo himself was being ironic when he said, “… it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion … ….for proofs are abundant and striking.” …when such “proofs” are, as we all agree, non-existent. But, somehow, it seems unlikely Leo went in for irony all that much.
    It often backfires. As we have seen.

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  12. johnhenrycn says:

    “Don’t talk glibly…”
    Well, FR, I mentioned France, Mexico and Spain specifically because of the “horrific religious butchery” inflicted on Catholics in those places – particulary priests and religious – during the decades in question, even though all three were overwhelmingly Catholic, at least nominally so. One (er, me) asks why the Catholic Church and its leaders were targeted for violent attacks, and I submit that part of the answer has to do with, yes: oppressive clericalism and triumphalism. You say that “[m]any young Spaniards today reject the Church for its three decades of integration with the despised right wing regime of Franco”, which sort of proves my point. Likewise, and closer to home for me, the ecclesial and political cronyism of the Duplessis years (1944-1959) in Quebec is a major reason why the Catholic Church there today is a mere shadow of its former self. Most people resent clergy wielding political power as well as spiritual influence over their lives. Most people believe that civil liberties, including freedom of religion, are best protected by a separation of the two. Please don’t glibly wrap the mantle of righteous indignation around your furry little shoulders – suggesting I’ve ignored “the piled up bodies of nuns and priests” by only telling “one side of the story”. My point in responding to Giovanni A. Cattaneo’s opening gambit at 21:04 was to explain to him why religious freedom is a ‘good thing’ on the whole and not to be despised.

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  13. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    Well then it seems we had it coming then. Point taken, thank you for being clear and may I say honest in your response.

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  14. johnhenrycn says:

    Thanks, Giovanni, for the sarcasm. Except for the weather and the language barriers, I’d be happy living in a semi-Confessional (Catholic) State like Malta or the Philippines. As far as I know, Vatican City – where I’d also be happy to live – is the only truly Confessional (Catholic) State left on Planet Earth. Why is that? Could it be because the wisdom (such as it is) and historical experiences of the human race teaches that theocracies, Vatican City excepted, are dangerous places in which to live, unless one is a true believer? Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. The two are antithetical, and attempts to meld them always end in grief, as we can see from the historical record and from what is happening today.

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  15. toadspittle says:

    Malta is fearfully boring and claustrophobic – but that’s because it’s a small island, not because it’s Catholic. And not nearly enough snow and blizzards for JH.
    Nobody could, I suspect, “live” in the Vatican without ever leaving it: You would go mad.
    Spain might be godless (in parts, anyway) these days – but it’s a pleasant place to live. Very tolerant. The States is a madhouse, and the UK a dreary mess. But anywhere on earth – Siberia, The People’s Republic of the Congo, say, even Marbella – is surely preferable to “The Holy Land”?

    Incidentally – if we asked a Spaniard why he/she doesn’t go to church any more, they might point to the picture used here on “The TLM and the New Evangelisation,” and say, “What has that got to do with me, or real life?” They may be wrong, of course, but…

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  16. toadspittle says:

    (Nor do I think Giovanni was being sarcastic – at 19.42. …Or even ironic.)

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  17. GEOFF KIERNAN says:

    John Henry: In any reasonable debate it is necessary that we have a clear understanding of the subject of the debate.
    How do you define clericalism and triumphalism ?

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  18. GC says:

    … when all of these countiries were overwhelmingly Catholic in those decades and when the Catholic Church in those countries wielded enormous political influence in those decades, why were Catholics targeted for genocide?

    I think when it comes to God and Caesar, the problem for the Church has instead been the power and control various Caesars have wielded over the Church at times down the ages.

    You don’t even have to think of the Borgias. Pope Alexander VI Borgia is said to have done much for the liberties of the Church. Where we got unworthy popes and prelates in the Church at a serious level was around the 10th and 11th centuries, when the papacy was the prize of noble Roman families. There’s some very “interesting” reading about many figures in that period. try Benedict IX for example.

    I genuinely do think it has usually been a case of the reverse situation; princes getting their grubby hands on the religious power of the Church. Henry VIII, for instance, virtually appointed all the bishops of the English Church in his day, which sort of explains why there was only one bishop in the end who opposed his complete take-over of the Church in England.

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  19. toadspittle says:

    The trouble is, totalitarianism is deeply unpleasant and undesirable – regardless of whether we are in the thrall of Communists, Catholics, Calvinists, Creationists, or Chauvinists.
    It “means” (if you will pardon the expression) that everything that is not forbidden – is compulsory.

    Except, as JH sagely points out – in the case of being one of the vast, ruling majority – in which case everything is, as C.S.Lewis would often bucolically burble after a few Bushmills, “Simply, Tickety-Boo.” So, let’s kill all the Catholics/Muslims/Jews, etc.

    “..princes getting their grubby hands on the religious power of the Church. Henry VIII, for instance..”
    …I’d suggest Henry didn’t give a rat’s patootie for the “religious power” of the Church.
    What he wanted was the power of the lands and the money… And he got them.

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  20. johnhenrycn says:

    Au contraire, Toad: When Giovanni, our uber-Ultramontane champion thanked me for being “clear and honest”, he was being sarcastic. While he wouldn’t be so rude as to say it out loud, what he really meant, sotto voce, was: ‘thank you for admitting that you’re the spawn of Satan’. You’ve got to learn how to read sub-texts.

    Geoff: Clericalism n. Improper pretensions by clergy seeking to extend ecclesiastical authority and influence beyond its proper sphere, especially in matters that belong to the jurisdiction of the state.

    My use of the term ‘triumphalism’ was perhaps a bit of a redundancy.

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  21. toadspittle says:

    Toad stands corrected by JH. (Or should it be, “kneels”?)
    And will go to work on sub-texts. Ahora mismo.

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  22. GC says:

    Henry didn’t give a rat’s patootie for the “religious power” of the Church.
    What he wanted was the power of the lands and the money… And he got them.

    The Church has only really ever had moral and spiritual power, It was quite easily bossed around or even squashed by those with the weapons and the scaffolds, Toad, as your Spanish friends and JH’s French friends showed.

    It’s a mystery whence JH gets his idea of the Church really having political power, except perhaps in the Papal States and the German prince-bishoprics.

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  23. johnhenrycn says:

    GC: Regarding political power and the Church, the names Richelieu, Mazarin, Tallyrand, de Maistre and others from the early modern era come to mind; but you might well object to such cherry-picking, or you might well argue: ‘that was then, this is now’. Without getting too deeply mired in this interesting debate on a Sunday afternooon, all I will say is that, if I had the time, I could make a persuasive case for the high degree of political influence exercised – albeit mostly behind the scenes – by the Catholic hierarchy in Spain, Mexico and Quebec during the early 20th century. In Quebec, the Conservative (Union Nationale) Party and the Church were joined at the hip. The Conservative Party colour was blue. The Liberal Party colour was red. Priests, during election campaigns, were encouraged to preach sermons urging the election of Union Nationale with slogans such as: “Le ciel est bleu; l’enfer est rouge,” (Heaven is blue; hell is red) originally coined by Louis-François Laflèche, Bishop of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, in the late 1800s.

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  24. toadspittle says:

    Well, GC, I’d have to re-assert that the power the Catholic Church had in both Franco’s Spain, and post-1930’s Ireland until quite recently, was immense, and very frequently employed to ensure their agenda was unquestionably adhered to*.
    I can personally attest to this from the witness of several people who endured, then often fled, both regimes when they were able. And can name names.
    If you disagree, or just don’t believe me – well, that’s horse racing, really.
    Nothing I can say will convince you.

    * I know, prepostion. Well, what the heck, it’s nearly Christmas.

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  25. toadspittle says:

    Do you really think the monasteries grabbed so greedily by Henry Vlll only had “moral and spiritual power,” then GC? Is that the reason why Henry’s aristocratic cronies were so eager to be able to get their hands on them?
    …For the “moral and spiritual” power they had?
    Not for the vast, wealthy, estates and abbeys which old-school “Trad,” English Catholics still bemoan the loss of*?
    *D’oh! Another one!

    http://www.cyberfaith.com/examining/roots04.html
    This is simplistic, of course, but largely accurate, I think.
    Particular attention to the penultimate sentence in the first paragraph might be a good idea.

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  26. Geoff Kiernan says:

    John Henry:Now you have given me a definition, now give me an example

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  27. GC says:

    JH, Richelieu and Mazarin were royal appointments to ecclesiastical office. How else to explain Richelieu becoming a bishop at the ripe old age of 22 (not that long after emerging from rather painful treatment, I fully suspect, at the equivalent then of a VD clinic) and a Neapolitan foreigner like Mazarin rising to the highest office in the royal government of France?) I’m not really getting a clear idea of the Church dominating politics here to any great degree. Somehow the reverse looks like the case.

    Clever old King Hal, Toad, thinking that if he could only get his puffy hands on all those silly old monasteries and priories he would become suitably well off. One can only wonder how a similar course of action never occurred to his Welsh dad or to their Plantagenet predecessors. Still, it’s nice to see toads finally so certain of something at least – English history apparently. Previously toads submitted that one can only be reasonably certain of the properties of triangles and suchlike.. Certainty in most other fields is extremely iffy to say the least, according to toads. But, who knows, I could be wrong.

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  28. toadspittle says:

    ” it’s nice to see toads finally so certain of something at least – English history apparently. Previously toads submitted that one can only be reasonably certain of the properties of triangles and suchlike..”
    Sorry to disabuse you, if only for once, GC – But Toad is, by no means certain of this any of this hoary old medieval stuff, which seems to so entrance Catholics.
    All he suggested was that the link might be more or less accurate..
    For all he knows, the categorical statement – that 16th Century English Monasteries were richer than Henry Vlll – might be utter nonsense.
    …But without considerable research which, sadly, he is incapable of performing personally – being (A:) far too idle, and (B:) otherwise preoccupied with far graver matters, involving one mile handicaps at Ascot – he must just be content himself with speculatation.

    …As we all do – all the time – about almost everything. At Ascot, particularly.

    “One can only wonder how a similar course of action never occurred to his Welsh dad or to their Plantagenet predecessors…”
    …Or to William the Conqueror, or to Ethelred the Unready, or to Filbert the Unlikely (made him up) ? Maybe they were simply more devout Catholics? Or maybe just not such naughty, wilful, little rascals?
    Maybe more loyal to the Pope, whoever he was?
    …What an extraordinarily wonderful thing to wonder about, GC!
    Fie! Foe! (and Fum!)

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