Church or State?

Timothy J. Cullen

The siren song of the pied piper of the all-powerful State sounds increasingly flat of late, and for good reason: it is out of tune with the human reality of its followers.

“Man does not live by bread alone,” the Bible tells us, and truer words were never spoken, regardless of what the prophets of secular materialism may tell us. True, one can’t live without bread, but a microwave oven isn’t necessary for baking it, nor does one need a big screen television to learn how.

The modern State is the visible hand of a banking cartel that is busily picking our collective pockets with the invisible hand it uses to create apparent wealth from nothing. The creation of currency is constitutionally reserved to the State in the United States, but the reality is that this primordial power of government has been ceded to a private cartel that had its beginnings in Eighteenth Century Europe.

The contemporary Western State has clearly made itself the adversary of Christianity, Roman Catholicism in particular, and has come to enjoy an overweening influence in nearly every aspect of public and even private life. The State has become ever-more intrusive and this trend is unlikely to be reversed without a counterforce willing and able to oppose it. The issue is no longer the governmental construction of a “wall between church and state,” but rather the construction of a public consensus that society will accept the guidance of Church or State in determining its future direction, both private and public. The lines have been clearly drawn: on one side, the “religion” of secular materialism with its “moral code” of  multiculturalism and “political correctness” that flies in the face of nearly two thousand years of the beliefs, values and traditions of the West; on the other, those very same beliefs, values and traditions as expressed in the Christian religion, which as institutionalized in the Roman Catholic Church provided the foundation for Western Civilization, the civilization that slowly arose from the ruins of the decadent Roman Empire.

Church or State?

It is a question of where an individual’s primary loyalty lies, not of which of the two institutions shall run civil society; government is now managed by the State in all Western states save the Vatican, which is a theocracy and will remain so. But all who profess to be Christians must nevertheless resist the State’s assault on the God-centered civilization that was once the West.

The unholy alliance of State, finance and decadent materialism that led to the fall of Rome has reemerged in the West and is eroding its civilization, however many material benefits it possesses. This is not to say that society should do without government, without finance, without entertainment and without commerce, but that these must be subordinated to the tenets of one’s faith if that faith is to have any meaning whatsoever.

The time to put first things first is now, not when it is already too late.

First must come the transcendental, not the material. If we profess a faith, then we must ask ourselves to what extent we are willing to act upon that profession. If we are unwilling to act—and act decisively—, then we must avoid hypocrisy and recognize ourselves for what we truly are: Godless pagans.

The roots of the post-Roman Western civilization are Christian; that cannot be argued. The late philosopher Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973)—also a convert to Roman Catholicism—put it thus: “What is clear to me is that we cannot think as if centuries of Christianity had not preceded us [translated by writer]”. The exclusion of this fact from the preamble to the Constitution of the European Union is a shameful indicator of the extent to which secular materialism has succeeded in supplanting the faith of our forefathers—European and American alike—with its anthropocentric doctrine of worship of the State, the would-be creator of the earthly paradise.

The “earthly paradise” vanity has been with us since the serpent whispered to Eve “Ye shall be as gods,” but its evil flowering in the West is of more recent origin.

Jacques Maritain (writing in his more Catholic mode) places it in the third “moment” (the Twentieth Century) of what is called the “modern culture dialectic,” which in Maritain’s scheme is comprised of the “first moment” (the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries), in which Christianity still greatly influenced an emerging “naturalistic” human order, followed by the second “moment” (the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries) in which “rationalist optimism, the bourgeois moment of our culture” invites man to “free himself from the superstition of the revealed religions” and “open to his natural goodness the prospect of a perfect security…”. The third “moment” is the “revolutionary” moment, in which “man, decidedly placing his final end in himself…,” undertakes a desperate struggle to “cause to arise, from a radical atheism, a completely new humanity,” one in which humankind ever further subordinates itself not to human, but to technological requirements.”

Many in the West would like to fool themselves into believing that we live according to an advanced bourgeois-liberal humanism (a “white bread” humanism, wrote Maritain, prefiguring the Black Panther definition of modern Western culture). This is what the revolutionaries (Communist, Illuminati, Neo-Conservative, call them what you wish) wish the West to believe while they busily go about creating the “New World Order,” in which not individual man, but “collective man” in the form of the State takes the place of God.

Church or State. Not one version of secular materialism versus another.

It is incumbent upon the Roman Catholic Church to rally the faithful around. Churchmen must make it clear to their parishioners that an individual’s first duty is to God, not to a State masquerading as God, and that while loyalty is owed to the nation, it is not owed to a State that has imposed a pseudo-religion of secular materialism upon its citizenry.

The wheat must be separated from the chaff.

Unfettered free-market finance capitalism is not in keeping with religious teachings, particularly the Social Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter what is said and written by its apologists. Consumer convenience is not a hallowed principle to be found in the Bible. As to the right of property—private property—the late Fr. Vincent McNabb stated it best in The Church and the Land (IHS Press, 2003, first published in 1925): “The divine right of Property means not that some men shall have all property, but that all men shall have some property.” And by this he means real property—wholly owned property—unfettered by thirty-year mortgages.

State socialism often preaches much of what is taught in the great social encyclicals, but denies the fundamental societal principle of subsidiarity, the need to allow the smallest social unit—the family, not the individual—to do for itself all that it can, then so on up the societal ladder as complexity of tasks increases. It does not “take a village” to raise a child, nor does it take a federal planning board to plan domestic—as in household—economies. The socialist central State intrudes upon local functions to an unacceptable degree.

As good a summation as any I know of the Christian social order was penned by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: “The Christian social order respects private property, protects the family against all that would corrupt it, encourages the development of the large family and the presence of women in the home, allows for the legitimate autonomy of private initiative, encourages light and medium-sized industry, favors a return to the land with due value being placed upon agriculture, speaks out for craft guilds and professional unions and for freedom of schooling and protects citizens against all forms of subversion and revolution.”

He goes on to add what I believe addresses the issue we now have before us: “This Christian order is also clearly set apart from liberal regimens founded upon the separation of Church and State, whose impotence in overcoming crises is ever more obvious. How can they overcome them after having willfully deprived themselves of That which is ‘the light of men’? How can the energy of the citizens be harnessed, given that they are proposed no other ideal than that of their welfare and comfort?”

Those who believe in God must understand this and must work to make the State once more a servant of the people, not its master. This work, like charity, begins at home. It will almost certainly require a reordering of individual and family priorities, particularly if there are children at home. A slow but steady de-emphasis on consumerism—the “less is more” outlook—is indispensable. The infantile behavioral trait of instant gratification must be eradicated to the extent possible. Consumption on credit must be eliminated and savings implemented. The cornerstone of the secular materialist societal structure is credit generated by the State-tolerated creation of currency by a private cartel; cut off their source of profit and control by borrowing little or nothing. John Q. Public is at the end of the credit food chain and needs to starve the sharks. It bears remembering that the lending of money at interest—usury—was for more than a millennium contrary to Christian doctrine (and is only tolerated now because modern finance has made money a commodity for which it is licit to charge “rent” in the form of foregone investment income). Usury is forbidden by Islam as well. Those who are familiar with Shakespeare will remember that Shylock the money lender was not a sympathetic character.

This work must then move to the schools. Parents—however overworked and overtired—must recognize the need to band together to battle secular materialism in public education using the same tactics employed so effectively by its advocates: pressure groups, class action suits, political lobbying on local, state and national levels, discussion forums on public television and local radio, pamphleteering, etc. Make life a holy hell for the secular materialists in education, just as they have made an unholy hell of it for all those who rightly feel their nation and its traditional values have been stolen from them.

This work must be carried on in the workplace as well, by both employer and employee. If corporations are to be allowed to carry out production, they must allow the citizens of their own nation to be the engines of that production and to share in its profits. If employees are to insist upon this, they must take charge of their own welfare and do away with state-sponsored pension schemes and illusory “benefits” that benefit others, not themselves.

Politicians must not pander to political correctness but instead practice what they preach when they claim to be religious. They have a duty first and foremost to their nation, or state, or county, or municipality, not to the citizens of other nations, nor to the “human collective” of internationalism. Voters must make them pass the litmus test of adhering to the natural law as laid down in the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and the Law of Love of the New, the true “Foundation Acts” of the West.

The list goes on and on, far beyond the reach of this essay.

But it is the responsibility of the faithful to prepare it and ensure that it is put into effect.

It is time for a Holy War not against fellow human beings in far off places, but against the secular materialists everywhere who would destroy the beliefs, values, traditions and transcendental mission that is the divine right of all humankind and the common denominator of what once was Christendom.

Church or State? The answer to that question will decide the future of the West.