Smart Catholics, Please the Syllabus of Errors


#1

Hello all, I was just reading the book “Thy Kingdom Come” by Randall Balmer. I was reading about the danger of the wedding of the Church and the state. I then began reading the Syllabus of Errors, and was shocked to find that Catholics believe that the Church and the State should be one entity.

  1. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church. – Allocution “Acerbissimum,” Sept. 27, 1852.

Also, it seems Catholics seem to think all other religions have no right to be practiced! :eek:

  1. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. – Allocution “Nemo vestrum,” July 26, 1855.

Are these true? Do Catholics honestly believe a state run Catholic church is the only acceptable church?

EDIT: i also found this gem in exsurge domine.

An error of Martil Luther.
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.


#2

The “state” which is headed by the Church is the ideal state because that means it is governed according to Catholic teaching. That doesnt mean there should be persecution or forced conversion.

You have got to realize that the idea of “freedom of religion” never meant what we see it as today. The men who wrote the constitution came from a Euorpean background which was was founded on Catholicism (whether they recognized or admitted that is a different story).


#3

Two quick points:

  1. Was Jesus in error when He prayed: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven?”

  2. The two bulwarks of the society are the Church and the State. They always have been. Hence a Catholic Monarchy is the ideal form of government and was throughout the gratest advance of civilation in the Western world. As the author says “The Catholic Church built Western Civilization”.

CDL


#4
  1. The two bulwarks of the society are the Church and the State. They always have been. Hence a Catholic Monarchy is the ideal form of government and was throughout the gratest advance of civilation in the Western world. As the author says “The Catholic Church built Western Civilization”.

Are you serious??? History has proven again and again that monarchy is NOT the way to go.

The “state” which is headed by the Church is the ideal state because that means it is governed according to Catholic teaching. That doesnt mean there should be persecution or forced conversion.

Our idea of freedom of religion entails NO government establishment of a church. That is exactly what the pope proposed here! Modern Catholic teaching likewise advocates democracy over dictatorship or a monarchy. This is clearly a changed teaching.

I see these as serious weaknesses in the Catholic church, if not complete reasons it has contradicted itself.

Also, nobody mentioned the wonderful part about burning heretics! :smiley:


#5

You have to read the actual documents cited by the syllabus, not just the blurbs in it. That’s why it is a syllabus.

That one was regarding a specific situation in Spain.

Now, Catholic Tradition has always upheld the authentic meaning of Separation of Church and state–that the Church handles spiritual affairs and the state temporal. Ideally they work together in harmony. However, we do not believe in the separation that we have here in America–ie separation of truth and state–or a government based on irreligion. Pope Benedict has spoken out on this many times recently. That kind of separation, which was really becoming en vogue in Bl. Pius IX’s time, is what is being condemned and is what is still condemned.


#6

:rolleyes:


#7

No it’s not. The Catholic Church doesn’t say one form must be chosen over the other. St. Thomas argued that a just Catholic monarch was the best, but an unjust monarch was the absolute worst. Democracy is either mediocher good or mediocher bad. But, given the godlessness of societies nowadays, democracy is best at assuring basic rights in our time. The popes of past and present apply the same principles to different situations, and that’s why the results are different. It’s the same teaching however.

As for the line about heretics. The death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. This is Catholic teaching. Heretics in that day were not just folks who practiced another religion down the street, but rather violent treasonous revolutionaries who caused massive social and civil disorder and violence. The death penalty was appropriate for many of them to protect peace and the common good.

Just ask St. Peter Martyr why he has an axe in his head and sword in his back.


#8

I don’t know Meat Spin, but you also might want to check out Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est - if I remember right some things in it didn’t sound particularly impressed by too much church-state unity.


#9

Do you wish to learn or do you have a diatribe you wish to run and that without evidence?

CDL


#10

The inauthentic kind–where the Church runs the state’s legitimate sphere. Modern and past popes (like Pius XI and Leo XIII) all affirmed that there were separate spheres, but they must work in harmony. Godless government has always been condemned and Pope Benedict both condemned it in that encyclical and in many ad limine visits by bishops.

All of Catholic Social teaching is aimed at teaching states in fact. Just read those encyclicals be even recent popes, and they all have directives for the states on how to order a just society.


#11

Godless government has always been condemned and Pope Benedict both condemned it in that encyclical and in many ad limine visits by bishops.

Do you feel our current government is godless? Do you honestly believe that a Catholic dictator will make the situation better? If we look at history, despotic rulers have caused untold misery. Just look to rulers during the Middle ages. All Catholic!

Also, a “state run” church has only harmed the church. If we look at the “state” churches in England and Sweeden, we see attendance at an all time low. Similarly, the Church in Africa and China is growing at a huge rate because it operates at the margin of society. Jesus wasnt a political ruler on earth. Nor should his church lust after earthly power.

Also, nobody seems to want to mention that the pope believed that the Catholic church should be the ONLY state religion to the exclusion of all others!


#12

Yeah, the Syllabus of Errors is a pretty amazing document. You might want to plumb this thread for some thoughts on both sides of this issue.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=131575


#13

And in fairness, you might want to read the Church’s statements in DIGNITATIS HUMANAE as well:

"The protection and promotion of the inviolable rights of man ranks among the essential duties of government. Therefore government is to assume the safeguard of the religious freedom of all its citizens, in an effective manner, by just laws and by other appropriate means….

It is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man’s response to God in faith must be free: no one therefore is to be forced to embrace the Christian faith against his own will. This doctrine is contained in the word of God and it was constantly proclaimed by the Fathers of the Church. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act. Man, redeemed by Christ the Savior and through Christ Jesus called to be God’s adopted son, cannot give his adherence to God revealing Himself unless, under the drawing of the Father, he offers to God the reasonable and free submission of faith. It is therefore completely in accord with the nature of faith that in matters religious every manner of coercion on the part of men should be excluded."

vatican.va/archive/hist_c…umanae_en.html


#14

Perhaps the Latin Church has evolved in understanding on this point? At the present time, it is forbidden for clergy to hold political office, which seems entirely appropriate in terms of separating Church and State.


#15

Meat spin man,

Where in the syllabus of errors does it promote the burning of heretics? I read it roughly four days ago, and have an edition of it on hand and I certainly didn’t see anything to that effect. The thirty third error listed is as follows:

It does not appertain exclusively to the power of ecclesiastical jurisdiction by right, proper and innate, to direct the teachings of theological questions. - Letter to the Archbishop of Munich. Tuas Libenter, Dec. 21, 1863

Catholig


#16

Blessed Pius IX was denouncing secularism in his famous Syllabus of Errors. He is not saying that the institutions of Church and State must be one and the same, but that the State should govern by the morals and faith of the Church- that the state has a duty to it’s people and to God to uphold Catholic morality.

Democracy by it’s very nature cannot do this. Liberal Democracy has been a tragedy for the modern world. Rather then morals and faith, a democratic nation is governed by greed and lust for power.


#17

I don’t see why this is too shocking really. It certainly doesn’t mean, as you think, that other religions don’t have any right to practice their beliefs. It just means that if a country is officially Catholic the church and state shouldn’t be seperated. Also you might want to take into account that the Church had been fighting too kept her land [the Papal States] since the french revolution so a bit of historical context might be necessary to examine this issue.

Again why so shocking? It isn’t saying that others can’t practice their religions simply (from what I can garner) that Catholic nations shouldn’t be secularized. A Jew can still go to a synogague (sp?) in a Catholic country it is just that the moral code of that country would be based on the catholic faith. In fact the church had decided a long time ago against forced baptisms, and had declared that Jews didn’t have to keep Christian holidays.


#18

I use various primary texts throughout my history classes. The Syllabus of Errors is one of my favorites.

CDL


#19

Re: “Deus Caritas Est” on church and state

The idea there was that the layfolk should do their job – ie, working in the world and bringing Christ along with them. If all Catholics were to do that, and all Christians were to do that, then the secular government could be a separate entity from the Church and yet permeated by grace-filled people. (The same could be said of companies, ordinary daily life, etc.)

Re: burning heretics

Burning people was never a power of the Church as such. It was a civil penalty, imposed for many high crimes: murder of one’s husband, for instance. (Granted, in some places church officials were also the state government, as in the prince-bishops’ tiny kingdoms in the area today called Germany.) Heresy, or rather, deliberately teaching and spreading heresy, was seen by civil governments as a destabilizing thing, and therefore as a form of treason.

Re: the Syllabus of Errors

It’s very easy to pull a quote from something like this and marvel at how weird it is. But unless you understand the reasoning behind what’s said, and its context, you are never going to understand this kind of terse listing. It was written up for people who did know what was going on, and not for us clueless folks walking in on the middle of a long discussion.

For example, I might quote something quite reasonable-sounding from Bishop Spong (the Episcopal bishop who doesn’t believe in much of anything Jesus-related), and you would wonder why I was upset about it. But if you looked at it in context, you would probably see why it had me yelling anathemas.


#20

Go ahead…I dare you. Quote something reasonable by Bishop Spong. :wink:


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