by Thomas A. Droleskey
There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart, June 8, 1978.)
Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn's cogent analysis of contemporary life in the West, offered in his commence address at Harvard University on June 8, 1978, included the passage quoted directly above. The late Soviet dissident and Russian nationalist Solzhenitsyn, whose Russian nationalism made him no friend of the true Faith, sad to say, was quite correct when stating that life in the United States of America must hang on very slender threads, that the surface film of "civilization" must be very thin indeed if all that is keeping crowds of American citizens from looting and creating havoc is the electricity generated by the Consolidated Edison public utility company. In other words, a nation has real trouble when a sudden loss of electrical power is used as the pretext to commit sins against the Seventh Commandment.
Well, as has been noted so frequently on this site, the entire system of American constitutionalism hangs on slender threads as the nation's governing document admits of no higher authority than the text of its own words, which are as easily susceptible to deconstructionism (that is, being emptied of their true meaning and filled with false meanings to suit various perceived utilitarian"needs) in the hands of judicial positivists (those who believe the law is what they say it is regardless of moral truth and/or the plain meaning of words) as Sacred Scripture is in the hands of Protestants of any variety and of Modernist Catholics, many of whom, such as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, make advertence to philosophically absurd and dogmatically condemned propositions claiming that dogmatic pronouncements are conditioned by the historical circumstances in which they were formulated. Nothing based upon these slender threads can hold up over the weight of time. Fabric sewn together with slender threads must come apart and disintegrate into bits of useless rags.
Nations need to be founded and governed according to right principles, starting with a due recognition of the Catholic Church as the one and only true religion and a due submission to her exercise of the Social Reign of Christ the King in all that pertains to the good of souls. Nations that are indifferent or hostile to this basic truth, which was reiterated by true pope after true pope in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, must degenerate over the course of time as they become subject to the arbitrary whims of those who serve in the civil government and/or whatever happens to constitute "majority" opinion amongst the populace at any given time. Among others, Pope Pius IX explained this in Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864:
For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of "naturalism," as they call it, dare to teach that "the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones." And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that "that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require." From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity," viz., that "liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition;" and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling."
And, since where religion has been removed from civil society, and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost, and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by material force, thence it appears why it is that some, utterly neglecting and disregarding the surest principles of sound reason, dare to proclaim that "the people's will, manifested by what is called public opinion or in some other way, constitutes a supreme law, free from all divine and human control; and that in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right." But who, does not see and clearly perceive that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of ministering to its own pleasure and interests? (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, December 8, 1864.)
Nations that are not governed by leaders who understand First and Last Things thus will be at the mercy of various fleeting currents. There will be times when executives and legislators and judges take actions that are consonant with the common temporal good and are founded in solid jurisprudence and pose, at least minimally, no threat to the sanctification and sanctification of the souls of their fellow citizens (a goal that the Catholic Church teaches us must define the proper and just exercise of the authority possessed by civil rulers). There will also be times when executives and legislators and judges take actions that are manifestly opposed to a true conception of the common temporal good and serve as impediments to the sanctification and salvation of the souls of their fellow citizens. Such is the uncertainty of the modern civil state, founded upon false, naturalistic, semi-Pelagian and religiously indifferentist principles, that even trained scholars in constitutional law, a subject that I taught for a long time during my own academic career, are never quite certain what outcome might result from litigation challenging the constitutionality of a given executive action or legislative enactment.
We see this uncertainty every day of our lives here in the United States of America.
To wit, two United States District Court judges have ruled in favor of the constitutionality of ObamaCare. Two have ruled against the constitutionality of ObamaCare. It does not take a genius to understand that those who framed the Constitution of the United States of America did not intend to make their document so fungible and ambiguously unclear that future generations of elected officials, appointed judges and non-elected political appointees and bureaucrats could impose a form of statism upon the citizenry that would make King George III appear to be an honorary member of the Libertarian Party.
Indeed, no one who understands the text of the Constitution of the United States of America and the plain intention of its framers concerning the necessity of limited government could take issue with the decision issued by United States District Court for Northern Florida, Pensacola Division, Judge Roger Vinson in the case of State of Florida, et al. v. the United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al. that was issued three days ago now, that is, on Monday, January 31, 2011, the Feast of Saint John Bosco. That ObamaCare was even passed by the Congress of the United States of America and then signed into law by a Marxist-trained statist, President Barack Hussein Obama, is something that the framers of the Constitution would not have thought possible given the lengths that they went to in order to make it difficult for a statist regime to arise. Alas, the framers did not realize that a nation whose citizens do no possess agreement and union of minds and wills on First and Last Things will never have agreement and union of minds of wills on the things of this passing world, including the words of their own constitution. Chaos must reign supreme when Christ the King is reject and ignored.
It is beyond comprehension that any serious student of the Constitution and The Federalist could take issue with the reasoning of Judge Vinson, especially in the section of his decision dealing with the "Affordable Health Care" act's mandate to require everyone in the nation to purchase health insurance on the penalty of being fined for refusing to do so:
It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress
can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel
an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party
merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual
transaction is itself “commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects
interstate commerce” [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that
Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation
which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving
the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in
America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people
to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing
to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have
been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power”
[Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. (State of Florida, et al. v. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al.)
Judge Vinson is indeed correct. What he does not realize, though, is that we have always had a Constitution in name only as men who are not in agreement about First and Last Things, will, as noted just above, have no firm foundation upon which to agree about such simple matters as a due respect to the Natural Law principle of subsidiarity that is directly violated by statist programs such as ObamaCare. Everything must be argued and reargued and argued and reargued, agitating souls as fund-raisers for naturalist lobbying groups of the false opposites of the "right" and "left" send out direct-mailing and internet appeals to help them "fight" the latest "threat" to national well-being or liberty or human rights and as talking heads who get paid handsomely for the mindless naturalistic blatherings bask in the publicity of their pontifications and as leaders of the two major organized crime families of naturalism in the United States of America, the Republicans and the Democrats, go at it hammer and thong to the delight of those who pay attention to their bread and circuses. This is not the foundation of a just civil order.
Judge Roger Vinson's decision was, of course, well-reasoned. It even included a footnoted recognition that then United States Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-Illinois), opposed the "individual mandate" provision that is in ObamaCare when he ran for President of the United States of America in 2008:
30 On this point, it should be emphasized that while the individual mandate
was clearly “necessary and essential” to the Act as drafted, it is not “necessary
and essential” to health care reform in general. It is undisputed that there are
various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do.
Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform
proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time
strongly opposed to the idea, stating that "if a mandate was the solution, we can
try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.” See
Interview on CNN’s American Morning, Feb. 5, 2008, transcript available at:
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0802/05/ltm.02.html. In fact, he pointed
to the similar individual mandate in Massachusetts --- which was imposed under the
state’s police power, a power the federal government does not have --- and opined
that the mandate there left some residents “worse off” than they had been before.
See Christopher Lee, Simple Question Defines Complex Health Debate, Washington
Post, Feb. 24, 2008, at A10 (quoting Senator Obama as saying: "In some cases,
there are people [in Massachusetts] who are paying fines and still can't afford
[health insurance], so now they're worse off than they were . . . They don't have
health insurance, and they're paying a fine . . .”). State of Florida, et al. v. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al.)
This is a devastating footnote, one that certainly will carry great weight with the judges who sit on the largely "conservative" United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia. There should not be a question in the world that this is a definitive death-blow to ObamaCare. Unfortunately, the slender threads of Americanism are such that two other judges have seen things differently, and it is entirely likely that judges who sit on the two other United States Circuit Courts of Appeal that will hear other cases dealing with ObamaCare. Ultimately, though, the single slender thread upon which the fate of ObamaCare rests with United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. That the fate of citizens against the current statist regime resides in the hands of a "moderate conservative" who supports baby-killing as a matter of principle under cover of the civil law is a sad, sad commentary on the state of nation not founded in the sure soil provided by the Catholic Faith.
Governmental systems should not be based upon a set of complex and contradictory laws that has given risen to a legal industry that thrives on the confusion engendered by these laws and by the massive number of bureaucratic regulations issued by political appointees and/or by non-elected bureaucrats, a point that was made by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1978:
Western society has given itself the organization best suited to its purposes based, I would say, one the letter of the law. The limits of human rights and righteousness are determined by a system of laws; such limits are very broad. People in the West have acquired considerable skill in interpreting and manipulating law. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required. Nobody will mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice and selfless risk. It would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames.
I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale than the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses. And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart, June 8, 1978.)
A pretty good description of life under the misconception of law that exists in the United States of America, where justice hangs by the slender thread of a single vote on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Obviously, we must pray that the slender thread in this instance, Anthony Kennedy, decides correctly about ObamaCare when the litigation engendered by it makes its way to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Our own surface film, though is so thin, so superficial that the death of one justice can result in making "constitutional" what another judge determined was unconstitutional. This is no way to run a railroad, less yet a nation.
Similarly, of course, there are loads of well-meaning Catholics, both "conservative" and "traditionally-minded" in the counterfeit church of conciliarism who think that the Holy Faith itself hangs together on the whims of whoever is the "pope" and/or whoever happens to be their local conciliar "ordinary." Endless petitions are sent to Rome and to chancery offices in a thorough display of Americanism to try convince apostates that they have to be Catholic even though the truth of the matter is that the conciliar officials expelled themselves from the bosom of the Catholic Church long before by defecting openly from numerous points of Catholic doctrine, including the immutable teaching that the civil state has an obligation to recognize the Catholic Church as the true religion and to accord her the favor and protection of the laws.
The Catholic Faith is not meant to hang by the slender threads of this pope or that pope, of this bishop or that bishop.
Each true pope of the Catholic Church, while having his own distinctive personality and temperaments and gifts and styles of governance and administration, taught what the Church has always taught, never deviating from her defined teaching in any way (and, as I have noted before, Pope John XXII, taught an opinion concerning the necessity of those in Heaven having bodies in order to see the Beatific Vision that had not been defined by the Church at the time he preached and the matter and which he recanted before he died).
This is why that attitude of so many Italians for centuries when they heard that the reigning pope had died was, "One pope dies. They make another." That is, the Holy Faith and its proper teaching depends upon the infallible guidance of God the Holy Ghost, not upon the individual who serves in the Chair of Saint Peter, a man who is merely the mouthpiece of what Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has entrusted to Holy Mother Church in the Sacred Deposit of Faith. Truth does not depend upon the slender thread of mere men. Truth, both natural an supernatural, exists independently upon human acceptance of it. The Catholic Church is always at the service of truth unvarnished by even the slightest taint of error:
As for the rest, We greatly deplore the fact that, where the ravings of human reason extend, there is somebody who studies new things and strives to know more than is necessary, against the advice of the apostle. There you will find someone who is overconfident in seeking the truth outside the Catholic Church, in which it can be found without even a light tarnish of error. Therefore, the Church is called, and is indeed, a pillar and foundation of truth. You correctly understand, venerable brothers, that We speak here also of that erroneous philosophical system which was recently brought in and is clearly to be condemned. This system, which comes from the contemptible and unrestrained desire for innovation, does not seek truth where it stands in the received and holy apostolic inheritance. Rather, other empty doctrines, futile and uncertain doctrines not approved by the Church, are adopted. Only the most conceited men wrongly think that these teachings can sustain and support that truth. (Pope Gregory XVI, Singulari Nos, May 25, 1834.)
Just as Christianity cannot penetrate into the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter into public life without establishing order. With the idea of a God Who governs all, Who is infinitely wise, good, and just, the idea of duty seizes upon the consciences of men. It assuages sorrow, it calms hatred, it engenders heroes. If it has transformed pagan society--and that transformation was a veritable resurrection--for barbarism disappeared in proportion as Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the states and peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a sincere love of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the Catholic Church Christianity is Incarnate. It identifies itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and which has for Its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Savior, the daughter and the heiress of His Redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of its blood, and strong in the Divine assistance and of that immortality which has been promised it, it makes no terms with error but remains faithful to the commands which It has received, to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time, and to protect it in its inviolable integrity. Legitimate dispenser of the teachings of the Gospel It does not reveal itself only as the consoler and Redeemer of souls, but It is still more the internal source of justice and charity, and the propagator as well as the guardian of true liberty, and of that equality which alone is possible here below. In applying the doctrine of its Divine Founder, It maintains a wise equilibrium and marks the true limits between the rights and privileges of society. The equality which it proclaims does not destroy the distinction between the different social classes It keeps them intact, as nature itself demands, in order to oppose the anarchy of reason emancipated from Faith, and abandoned to its own devices. The liberty which it gives in no wise conflicts with the rights of truth, because those rights are superior to the demands of liberty. Not does it infringe upon the rights of justice, because those rights are superior to the claims of mere numbers or power. Nor does it assail the rights of God because they are superior to the rights of humanity. (Pope Leo XIII, A Review of His Pontificate, March 19, 1902.)
For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928.)
Anyone who thinks that this has been done by the lords of conciliarism is not thinking too clearly. And no amount of petitions to Rome to stop the latest outrage is going to bring men back to the Faith who lost It years ago. We must pray and sacrifice and fast as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary for the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and of Christendom in the world.
The Rosary, the Rosary, the Rosary. Use it well. The enemies of Christ the King within in our souls and in the world-at-large will be defeated by Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and the fulfillment of her Fatima Message.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.