Post by caecilia on Jul 10, 2018 2:38:17 GMT
By Fr. Francois-Marie Chautard
A Bishop Faced with Liberalism
This is an article that was published in the Chardonnet in 2016. Cardinal Pie gives us some excellent arguments against the Liberals.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Bishop Faced with Liberalism
"I read everything Cardinal Pie wrote. He is my master." - Saint Pius X
Born 200 years ago on September 26th, 1815, Cardinal Pie belongs to this race of intrepid bishops, true rocks of the Faith beaten by the storms without ever bending or breaking, models of the flock on which they impress the fervor of their souls.
It is not possible, in these columns of the Chardonnet, to retrace in detail the course of the pontiff's life, or even to go back over all the aspects of his rich teaching, or to go through all the battlefields in which he distinguished himself. But, for the occasion of the bicentennial of his birth, it is useful to highlight some of his most notable positions and to let him have his word.
We will limit ourselves to emphasizing his teaching when confronted with Catholic liberalism.
This Catholic liberalism is characterized by all sorts of compromises with error under multiple pretexts, what Tartuffe was already calling in his time, finding "compromises with Heaven". "A wide furrow now divided Catholics into two groups,” wrote Dom Delatte, “those who had as their first concern the liberty of the Church and the upholding of her rights in a society still Christian and those who first endeavored to determine the measure of Christianity that modern society could support so as to invite the Church to reduce to that. "1
Throughout his episcopate, the cardinal did not fail to respond to the arguments used by those whom Pius IX called "the worst enemies of the Church." Here are, in particular, eight replies given by Cardinal Pie to as many liberal quibbles. These replies have the interest of not only replying to the error by pointing out the vice, but of bringing to light the higher truth that these Liberals had not known how to distinguish.
The argument of repentance
What would later be called repentance, self-criticism, or the Stockholm syndrome was one of the first errors of the liberal Catholics. This error consists in denigrating one's own camp by lack of conviction and by contamination of the opposing discourse. The liberal Catholics thus tried in a thousand ways to excuse the enemies of the Church, while at the same time striving to find a thousand tricks to overwhelm the best defenders.
Cardinal Pie brought to this subject the teachings of a priest to whom he owed much, Fr. Lecomte.
“It was from him again that he learned to guard himself from the illusion of those who imagine themselves serving the Truth by sparing error, and who, for respect of the wolf, put the lamb on trial. - "What do you want?" they say, wrote Fr. Pie with his fine irony, "this wolf had some good in him! His fellow wolves say good things about him, he deserves to be spared. A certain fox even, to whom he confides all his thoughts, assures us that deep down he is good. Why, also, was this lamb provoking him? He only got what he was looking for, and he still deserves to be taught lessons. - Thus, it remains proven that the lamb-eater is the sweetest of wolves, and that the lamb that was eaten is the most imprudent of lambs... That is how history is written, the priest often tells me. Do not serious authors earnestly say that Saint Thomas of Canterbury was rather haughty; that Luther was misunderstood, and that it is the fault of the popes if he ended up throwing away the mask? That a thousand lambs are eaten is at most unfortunate; but when only one poor wolf is scratched, you will see how interesting he will immediately become, even for honest people.””2
The argument of charity
The second argument, so frequently brandished by the Liberals, is that of charity: how could one have charity in his heart if his mouth is so impetuous? From this old argument regularly re-used, Cardinal Pie did justice by recalling that charity consists precisely in love and the transmission of the Truth.
"People? But as God is our witness, we ask heaven every day for their amendment. We would give our lives to bring them to the Truth and to grace, to give them the gift of faith and to open the door of Heaven to them. If there is any warmth of vivacity in our language, it is undoubtedly because lukewarmness on doctrine would be a crime, and any surrender would be treason; but also, because it would be cruelty towards so many lost souls, some of whom sin more by ignorance than by impiety: ignorant and wandering. So, let us not be reproached for an act of intolerance, which is only the cry of our faith and charity towards God and our brothers. Philosophy denies to Jesus Christ his empire and, in front of this negation, they ask for our silence! No, no: Væ mihi si non evangelizavero ! Woe to me if I do not evangelize! »3
The argument of humility
Thirdly, the liberal wraps himself in humility to justify his moderation. Faced with what is nothing but false modesty and real fear of losing his gains, the cardinal noted finely: "To enjoy all these goods, one simply had to calm one's conscience, by claiming to oneself the obscurities of the question; excusing by purity of intention the views and acts which occurred; finally giving to one's abstention an appearance of reason and integrity based on the difficulty of forming public opinion in such matters... But this would have been suffocated under a calculated ambitious silence, the conscience of a criminal dissimulation towards God, and of an insulting tolerance to the truth. I couldn't bring myself to do it: nec potui perferre..."4
The argument of prudence
Just as classic, the argument of prudence is one of the liberal’s favorite weapons. They like to describe as temerity the boldness of the good and as foolhardy imprudence their intrepidity. From this cowardice, Cardinal Pie would take away the mask: "Prudence is everywhere and soon courage will no longer be anywhere. We will perish from wisdom, you will see. Our predecessors were not so pacifist. »5
The argument of political realism
A fifth argument, similar to the previous one, is that of the sense of realities. How many times do the Liberals insist on the meaning of circumstances, realism, the meaning of the possible, in one word, pragmatism? To hear them, the power of God's enemies would be so great that it would be wiser, more realistic, more subtle, to come to an agreement, to compromise, to concede with the risk of conserving nothing.
Behind this objection, the son of Saint Hilaire discerned a lack of faith and hope in the power of God.
"Let us not object anymore that we must not come up against impossibilities, but let us know how to come to terms with a fait accompli and with the social defeat of the principles of the Faith. Impossibilities! But are they really impossibilities for the Almighty? Ah! What could create them for the benefit of evil is the weakness of the good more than the strength of the wicked; and the main strength of Satan's reign is the weakening of Christianity in Christians. The battle against the impossible! But isn't it the necessary battle of the faithful? Is it not the impossible that he asks for every day when he says to God: "”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"? And yet, we will have to say it until the end of the world and hold up against hope itself, contra spem in spem.”6
The argument of the apostolate
If one wants to be an apostle, what is gained by being virulent? the Liberals object, in a sixth assault. Is it not more apostolic to remain reserved in front of error?
"Monsieur le Comte," replied the Bishop of Poitiers to Montalembert who defended this thesis, "one is an apostle only if one works to be holy; and the first condition of holiness is orthodoxy. The most generous ardour could not replace it. We can do nothing without grace, and grace shall not be brought separated from doctrine. In the servant of God and of the divine cause, error, even unconscious and which does not constitute formal sin, is still a very grave obstacle to the fruitfulness of speech and action. One is powerful for good when, after having discarded this first cause of sterility, today too general, one gives oneself entirely to the work of one's personal sanctification, in order to contribute then to that of others, according to the rule that Our Lord has given us: Pro eis ego sanctifico meipsum, ut sint et ipsi sanctificati in veritate. »7
The argument of diplomacy
Instead of coming up against the opponent, wouldn't it be better to avoid offending him in order to soften him up? This is the seventh instance. The results are there to open your eyes. "You have sowed a lot," he told the Liberals in another situation, "and you have received little. Never before has such a vast movement resulted in such a small and dubious result. The reason is that two or three false glimmers have misled men and disturbed even the sight of the wise. With two or three defined principles, your children will be more powerful for good than you have been. Our century is tired of expediency, tired of deals and compromises. It has the merit of going willingly to the end and to the last limit of things. Too much diplomacy in the handling of the Truth does not honor and make our character grow, in its eyes. Sincerity serves us better in its mind than skill.”8
And all this clerical diplomacy proved to be quite useless: "Liberalism is a beast that one does not tame; the elephant trainer is eaten by the elephant. »9
The argument of the spiritual mission of the Church
"The Church does not do politics" the liberals have a custom of saying in an eighth justification. The Church is too spiritual for that. With the ample and majestic rhetoric that characterizes him, the cardinal replied to this objection that had once been illustrated by Lamennais and later by Maritain: "Isn’t it our opponents who refuse us at all times the rights of citizenship, who forbid us fire and water, and want to strike us with ostracism? To hear them, Heaven is ours and the earth is theirs; time belongs to them, and we must think only of eternity. The Christian, the priest, the bishop who leave the temple, who set foot in the affairs of their country and of their time, violate the entrance of a forbidden ground. That is what we are told all the time. And we answer that, the Church having been placed by God on earth, and not on another planet, we cannot give our complete detachment from the things of the earth; we answer that, the temporal destinies of religion being linked to those of this world, nothing will ever make us accept the cessation of banishment and the sentence of emigration that is notified to us; Finally, we answer that, as long as we will not have been excluded from our Father, we will retain the right and duty to appreciate the things of our country and our time in their relations of agreement or opposition with the glorification of God's name on earth, with the advancement of His reign, with the triumph of His law.”10
"Those who say religion has nothing in common with politics say the least sensible thing in the world. Religion can exercise its social action only for the benefit of an established and organized society.”11
With a sharp sense of men, Cardinal Pie understood that the meaning of events, the errors of the liberals, the very catastrophes that shake the surface of the earth would only enlighten the minds of those who have eyes to see. And he liked to quote this aphorism of Bonald: "One must have sound principles in politics to draw some benefit from the experience of events, for the same reason that one must know one's way to get back on track.”12
1 - Dom Delatte, The Life of Dom Guéranger, Abbott of Solesmes. Edition of Solesmes, II, p. 11 or edition in 1 vol, p. 455.
2 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, pp. 76-77.
3 - Ibidem, pp. 539-540.
4 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, tome II, p. 143.
5 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, p. 339-340.
6 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, tome II, pp. 30-31.
7 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, tome II, p. 574. « I sanctify myself for them so that in turn they may be sanctified in the truth. ».
8 - Cardinal Pie, quoted by Dom Besse in Cardinal Pie, Éditions de Chiré, 2014, pp. 87-88.
9 - Mgr Baunard, The Life of Cardinal Pie, Oudin, 1886, p. 196.
10 –Selected pages of Cardinal Pie, Librairie H. Oudin, tome II, 1916, pp. 219-220.
11 - Dom Besse, Cardinal Pie, Éditions de Chiré, 2014, p. 121.
12 - Bonald, Pensées, t. I, p. 35; quoted in Selected Pages of Cardinal Pie, Librairie H. Oudin, tome II, 1916, p. 287.
Here is the link to the French document. laportelatine.org/district/prieure/stnicol/Chardonnet/Chardonnet314_1601.pdf