For the next uptick of CancelChurch, when many WOR readers will doubtless find themselves further deprived of Mass and the Sacraments and mired in Covid-conversations of various stripes, one might find oneself inclined to begin responding exclusively with quotes from Pope Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus Errorum.
For a bit of edifying fun, then…
“All this about public worship being chiefly about the order of justice, about the divine rights of Christ in his sanctuary, etc., is just pious nonsense. Or rather, it’s reckless endangerment, putting society at risk during public health crises!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “The teaching of the Catholic Church is hostile to the wellbeing and interests of society.” (Syllabus, n. 40)
“The State has authority to declare public worship ‘non-essential’ when it comes to regulating public health, and boo-hoo if it interferes with your devotional life!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “The civil government, even when in the hands of an infidel sovereign, has a right to an indirect negative power over religious affairs.” (n. 41)
“It’s a situation of ‘conflicting goods,’ and if the government says we need to take health protection measures, then as a good citizens every Catholic must obey. Even bishops must render unto Caesar!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “In the case of conflicting laws enacted by the two powers, the civil law prevails.” (n. 42)
“Unlike good ol’ Fr. Tommy, some priests have been instructing their flocks to resist unreasonable shutdown measures! They’re even keeping churches open, publicly inviting people to continued Masses in defiance of their bishops, not requiring occupancy limits or contact tracing… These men should be fined or jailed!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “The civil authority may interfere in matters relating to religion, morality and spiritual government: hence, it can pass judgment on the instructions issued for the guidance of consciences, conformably with their mission, by the pastors of the Church.” (n. 44)
“When it comes to health regulations during Mass, the State has every right to require mask-wearing, hand sanitizer, gloves and Communion baggies, distance for pew-sitting, occupancy limits in churches, the works! And those priests had better not come into nursing homes for Last Rites… they’re unclean!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “…[The civil authority] has the right to make enactments regarding the administration of the divine sacraments, and the dispositions necessary for receiving them.” (n. 44)
“Catholic schools should be taking more safety measures! None of this teaching the primacy of spiritual goods, and they’d better have masks and gloves and whatever else the health experts mandate. And they’d better teach their students to fear sickness and global warming!”
CONDEMNED ERROR: “The best theory of civil society requires that popular schools open to children of every class of the people, and, generally, all public institutes intended for instruction in letters and philosophical sciences and for carrying on the education of youth, should be freed from all ecclesiastical authority, control and interference, and should be fully subjected to the civil and political power at the pleasure of the rulers, and according to the standard of the prevalent opinions of the age.” (n. 47)
Golly, it’s almost as if Pope Bl. Pius IX regarded the rights of the Church as supreme, and this Church as a divine and indestructible society of whom he was the earthly monarch and his bishops princes, wielding divine power and before whom earthly authorities must bow, ever remaining in their proper sphere of action. Give me that old time religion.
More from the same document:
…[I]n America… for the last few years, a ferocious war on the Church, its institutions and the rights of the Apostolic See has been raging. …But anyone who knows the nature, desires, and intentions of the sects, whether they be called masonic or bear another name, and compares them with the nature, the systems, and the vastness of the obstacles by which the Church has been assailed almost everywhere, cannot doubt that the present misfortune must mainly be imputed to the frauds and machinations of these sects. It is from them that the synagogue of Satan, which gathers its troops against the Church of Christ, takes its strength.
…Since the throng of its propagandists has grown enormously, these wicked groups think that they have already become masters of the world and that they have almost reached their pre-established goal. Having sometimes obtained what they desired, and that is power, in several countries, they boldly turn the help of powers and authorities which they have secured to trying to submit the Church of God to the most cruel servitude, to undermine the foundations on which it rests, to contaminate its splendid qualities; and, moreover, to strike it with frequent blows, to shake it, to overthrow it, and, if possible, to make it disappear completely from the earth.
…[T]he scorn of episcopal dignity, the violation of the liberty and the rights of the Church… demand that We, owing to the Apostolic office with which God has entrusted us in spite of Our insufficient merit, protest against laws which have produced such great evils and make one fear even greater ones; and as far as we are able to do so with the sacred authority of divine law, We vindicate for the Church the freedom which has been trodden underfoot with sacrilegious violence. That is why by this letter we intend to do Our duty by announcing openly to all those whom this matter concerns and to the whole Catholic world, that these laws are null and void because they are absolutely contrary to the divine constitution of the Church.”
Read the full text here. Maybe send it to your pastor and your bishop.
And then ask the “traditional” Catholic priest nearest you: “Father, do you forswear the errors in the Syllabus? If so, then why did you cancel Mass?”
Virtuous non-compliance with unjust orders, civil or ecclesiastical, is a good thing. A necessary thing. A Catholic thing. And it’s the only righteous way forward.
Go read some Jägerstätter, or watch the film. Remember his bishop?
And bravo the restoration!