+St. Longinus, Martyr, and St. Louisa de Marillac, Widow+
It may seem strange to some that there have been articles this Lent on the culmination of the end times, but actually, it is something in perfect “sync” with our present situation. We are reliving Christ’s Passion as members of His Mystical Body, and in approaching the end of this long and painful Passion we must anticipate what it will mean for us, what to expect and how we will keep our faith in these times. The changes ahead of us will come gradually but could descend into absolute deprivation and general chaos at any time. One individual who lived in a Communist country for many years describes the rationing of everything — food, fuel, electricity, water, clothing and other necessities. Medical care was poor at best, if it could be obtained at all. Few could afford personal vehicles. None were allowed to openly practice their religion.
Most of us know the possibilities and have taken steps to prepare to a certain degree. But few of us could anticipate everything, and no one can actually prepare emotionally for what is coming. We have been shamelessly spoiled for many years and it will be very difficult for some to return to an era only their grandparents or great-grandparents knew — the Great Depression and World War II. And our ancestors did not have the added burden of recovering from device reliance or addiction — cell phones, computers, television, smart appliances, gadgets etc… They also were able to resort to a functioning Church, something none of us have had access to in our lifetime. Our ancestors also were healthier, had greater stamina and endurance, and were stronger mentally. And they did not have to worry about microwaves, mind control devices, AI, identity verification processes and surveillance techniques then unknown.
Is all of this just fear mongering? It is hard for me to wrap my arms around the concept that anyone thinks that the visible Church could be absent in their lives for nearly 65 years and that this would not eventually result in disastrous consequences for the entire world. People are naturally optimistic, but as things stand today such optimism is misplaced. Realistic optimists hope for a good, or at least a not so bad, outcome but prepare for the worst-case scenario. We must never lose hope in our salvation, but we have seen where placing hope in Church leaders, government, politicians, and the education system has led us. Fortunately we have already prepared ourselves for the worst-case spiritual scenario by learning to pray at home and leading relatively quiet, peaceful lives. This spiritual preparation will make us more conformable to God’s will and ready to accept any trials or deprivations He may send our way.
As noted previously, knowledge in our case is peace and power. We can pray for the strength to accept our future and resign ourselves to whatever befalls us in advance. But one thing we can never do is compromise in matters of faith. And it is sometimes difficult to determine how far we are allowed to go in order to defend ourselves, and when we should simply allow ourselves to be led away to prison, an internment camp, or some other unknown fate. I know, these are very depressing subjects. But they need to be examined and they seem to be nowhere discussed from a spiritual point of view. There are many training opportunities regarding weapons and self-defense but they are not usually considering the outcome from a moral standpoint. In his On Kingship: to the King of Cyrus, St. Thomas Aquinas argues that God permits tyrants to rule in punishment for the sins of the subjects, and such punishment is commonly called the “anger of God” in the scriptures (Ch. 10). The Lord says through Hosea: “I will give thee a king in my wrath” (Hosea xiii:11). And he addresses how such a tyrant should be opposed. All of the following is taken from this same work, On Kingship.
St. Thomas Aquinas on opposing tyrants
Although God gives permission for the punishment of His people, St. Thomas Aquinas believes that the king who inflicted God’s wrath upon the people will be unhappy and his dominion cannot be lasting. Aquinas argues that God, as a loving God, will not fail to pardon and to show mercy, despite His anger: “He is gracious and merciful and ready to repent of the evil” (Joel ii:13). According to Thomas Aquinas, God does not allow tyrants to reign overlong, but makes use of them to let loose a storm upon His people. He sweeps them away and restores calm. We read in Ecclesiasticus: “God hath overturned the thrones of proud princess, and hath set up the meek in their stead” (Ecclesiasticus x:17; Ibid., Ch. 6). ‘It is a saying worthy of the majesty of a ruler, if the prince professes himself bound by the laws: for even our authority depends upon that of the law. And, in fact, the most important thing in government is that power should be subject to laws.” (Summa Theologica 1-2, q. 96, a. 5 ad 3um.). “The purpose of the rule of law is to protect basic individual rights by requiring the (prince) ruler to act in accordance with the law. The prince is therefore subject to the laws of the state. St. Thomas states: “Whoever enacts a law for another should apply the same law to himself. And we have it on the authority of the wise man that you should subject yourself to the same law which you promulgate.’ (Summa Theologica 1-2, q. 96, a. 5 ad 3um. Extra, de Constitutionibus, cap. Cum Omnes).
“A tyrant robs, murders and enslaves his subjects. He despoils everyone, tramples on the liberties of all, and takes life at a mere whim. This is done perpetually under his rule. This is what Thomas Aquinas meant by tyranny (Ibid., Ch. 6). “The tyrant does not merely oppress his subjects in corporeal things but he also hinders their spiritual good. Those who seek more to use than to be abuse their subjects prevent all progress, suspecting all excellence in their subjects to be prejudicial to their own evil domination. For tyrants hold the good in greater suspicion than the wicked and to them the valor of others is always fraught with danger. So the above-mentioned tyrants strive to prevent those of their subjects who have become virtuous from acquiring valor and high spirit in order that they may not want to cast off their iniquitous domination.
“They also see to it that there be no friendly relations among these so that they may not enjoy the benefits resulting from being on good terms with one another. They sew discords among the people, foster any that have arisen and forbid anything which further society and cooperation among men such as marriage, company at table and anything of light character through which familiarity and confidence are engendered among men… They moreover strive to prevent their subjects from becoming powerful and rich since suspecting these to be as wicked as themselves, they fear their power and wealth. For the subjects might become harmful to them even as they are accustomed to use power and wealth to harm others… Few virtuous men are found under the rule of tyrants.
“If the excess of tyranny is unbearable, some have been of the opinion that it would be an act of virtue for strong men to slay the tyrant and to expose themselves to the danger of death in order to set the multitude free. An example of this occurs even in the Old Testament… But this opinion is not in accord with Apostolic teaching, for Peter admonishes us to be reverently subject to our masters not only to the good and gentle but also the froward. Wherefore when many emperors of the Romans tyrannically persecuted the faith of Christ, a great number both of the nobility and the common people, were converted to the faith and were praised for patiently bearing death for Christ. They did not resist although they were armed and this is plainly manifested in the case of the holy Theban legion. Should private persons attempt on their own private presumption to kill the rulers, even though tyrants, this would be dangerous for the multitude as well as for the rulers.
“This is because the wicked usually expose themselves to dangers of this kind more than the good. For the rule of a king, no less than that of a tyrant, it is burdensome to them since according to the words of Solomon, ‘A wise king scattereth the wicked.’ Consequently, by presumption of this kind of danger to the people from the loss of a good king would be more probable than relief through the removal of a tyrant. Furthermore it seems that to proceed against the cruelty of tyrants is an action to be undertaken not through the private presumption of a few but rather by public authority. Should no human aid whatsoever against a tyrant be forthcoming, recourse must be had to God the King of all who is a helper in due time in tribulation. For it lies in His power to turn the cruel heart of the tyrant to mildness according to Solomon: ‘The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, whithersoever He will He shall turn it.” He it was who turned into mildness the cruelty of King Assuerus who was preparing death for the Jews… But to deserve to secure this benefit from God the people must desist from sin, for it is by divine permission that wicked men receive power to rule as a punishment for sin, as the Lord says by the prophet Osee: ‘I will give the a king in my wrath;’ and it is said in Job that: ‘He maketh a man that is a hypocrite to reign for the sins of the people.’ SIN MUST THEREFORE BE DONE AWAY WITH IN ORDER THAT THE SCOURGE OF TYRANTS MAY CEASE.”(End of St. Thomas Aquinas quotes).
Just war theory
Unless one is contemplating war with Mexico to fight the drug cartels, which in my opinion would be a just war, another world war may be unavoidable but could never be just or winnable. This because of the international nature of the enemy we are fighting and the almost certainty of deception, chaos and defeat. Given the circumstances today in our own country, however, what was said by Pope Pius XI in 1937 to the Mexican bishops, during the ongoing political persecution following the Cristero rebellion, certainly applies to us.
“27. You have more than once recalled to your Faithful that the Church protects peace and order, even at the cost of grave sacrifices, and that it condemns every unjust insurrection or violence against constituted powers. On the other hand, among you it has also been said that, whenever these powers arise against justice and truth even to destroying the very foundations of authority, it is not to be seen how those citizens are to be condemned who unite to defend themselves and the nation, by licit and appropriate means, against those who make use of public power to bring it to ruin.
“28. If the practical solution depends on concrete circumstances, We must, however, on Our part recall to you some general principles, always to be kept in mind, and they are:
- “That these revindications have reason [the ratio] of means, or of relative end, not of ultimate and absolute end” [there must be reasonable hope of a victory and the necessary means to win the battle].
- “That, in reason [ratio] of means, they must be licit actions and not intrinsically evil;
- “That, if they are to be means proportionate to the end, they must be used only in the measure in which they serve to obtain or render possible, in whole or in part, the end, and in such manner that they do not cause to the community greater damages than those they seek to repair…” [No excessive use of force or unnecessary endangerment of the citizenry] https://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_28031937_nos-es-muy-conocida.html
Pope Pius XI’s teaching embodies what is cited from St. Thomas, above but allows for the just defense of one’s country in the event of religious persecution strictly so-called, which has already begun in this country. As Gerald Vann, O.P. wrote in 1939, in his Morality and War: “a Christian community can accept Pagan domination and yet remain Christian, for matter cannot defeat spirit if the spirit is strong. But the paganism of today is likely, as Pope Pius XI pointed out, to achieve the success of Julian the Apostate. For it attacks Christianity through education; it takes control of the child. The Christian community’s act of self-sacrifice might turn out to be an act of the sacrifice of its children to Moloch… There are millions today who are as convinced as we can ever be of the futility of war, of the barbarism to which it will lead, of the evil it will do. And they are ready to sacrifice almost anything to avoid war. But they are not ready to sacrifice one thing: …That liberty which, in Christian eyes, is ultimately the liberty to worship God and to ensure that one’s children shall worship God” (pgs. 68-70).
In this war Christians, especially Catholics, are the target. And to maintain our religious freedoms guaranteed in this country’s Constitution, we are justified in defending our rights and obligated to defend our faith.
When self-defense is justified
Rev. Bernard Wuellner, in his Summary of Scholastic Principles, outlines the defense of rights and its particulars, explaining what Pope Pius XI teaches above. He states:
- # 497: Force may be used only in the defense of a genuine right.
- An unalienable right prevails over an alienable right.
- A right for more necessary, higher and more general goods prevails over less urgent, less important and private goods.
- A right based on a higher duty prevails over rights based on less serious duty or opportunity (#495; C, E and F).
- Persons and societies have the natural right to defend perfect rights against unjust assailants in proportion to both a) the necessity of the measures necessary for effective defense and b) the comparative importance of the right or good under attack.
- The law does not concede the right to intend evil, to use intrinsically evil means against the assailant or to do more harm than good by exaggerated or useless defense.
- Defense of one’s rights is blameless when:
- a) they are unjustly attacked;
- b) the attack is actual or imminent;
- c) the right is one capable of effective defense;
- d) the defense is the last resort to secure justice, that is the use of force is necessary and
- e) the defense does not employ more force nor inflict a greater injury than necessary for successful protection of rights. (#498)
- The right of self-defense is conceded to the person or society attacked to oneself, peers and to public authorities as defenders of their subjects or of international justice. But while the primary holder of the right of self-defense is the party enduring the injustice, the primary exercise of the right belongs to public authority and organized society.
So, suppose someone comes to your front door and tells you that they are taking you forcibly under order of the federal government to receive the COVID vaccine, or arresting you for domestic terrorism, or some such other pretext. In such a case, a Christian has every right to fear, in these circumstances, that the intent of those apprehending them is ultimately to deprive them of their mental capabilities, either through medical means (psychoactive drugs, DNA alteration), physical and mental torture, or all of these, thus endangering their mental ability to practice the faith. They may therefore prevent this by any necessary means even though it results in their death or the death of others, because it is an immediate threat to their salvation. If they have good reason to think that the arrest for something less serious would result in their eventual release without any danger to the faith, they could allow themselves to be arrested. All of this is a matter of conscience, however and is up to the individual. But it is solidly based on the professed teachings of the Church above.
NO ONE IS SUGGESTING HERE THAT CATHOLICS INITIATE ANY SORT OF REBELLION. This did not work well for those executing the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and it would scarcely work any better today. Wuellner’s (c) above advises that the only time one can engage in defense of a right is when it is capable of effective defense. Should an effort made by others be sufficiently established with a likelihood of success, that would be one thing; depending on the moral fiber, the necessary means and the objectives of those involved, one might be allowed to join in. But Christians are so hopelessly divided that it seems impossible they themselves could be the ones to first propagate such a cause, and Satan has worked long and hard to make sure of this. There can be no unity in this type of diversity, for in order for any such venture to be successful, sin must be entirely done away with as St. Thomas teaches above. The situation leaves Catholics with hardly any prospects of successfully defending themselves, meaning that, as we have known all along, all must be left In God’s hands. “Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Apoc. 14: 12).
New articles available
Two new articles are available on the website. The first is a belated article detailing the Lenten fast laws here, since there seems to be much confusion about what fasting laws apply today. The second article located here is a supplement to the article linked in the previous post, The Final Chapter: Apocalyptic Prophecy Fulfilled. There we discussed the topic of when and how the Jews will be converted in the latter days and surprisingly, new information is available that will show they probably were converted several hundred years ago. The sources cited in the article entirely disprove the Protestant British Israel theory of what happened to the 10 lost tribes, addressed in The Final Chapter…. The article will help date the Jewish conversion to the beginning, not the end, of the Great Apostasy.
May all those praying at home enjoy a peaceful and prayerful Lent.