This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The rights of God

Finally, it would not be appropriate to pass over a discussion of rights without acknowledging an unwelcome truth about the tradition of the Church—one that will not sit well with those who have learned to accept without question the separation of church and state, along with the humanistic notions of popular sovereignty and secularism. This unwelcome truth is that society itself, if its notions of freedom are to remain legitimate, must never deny its duty to God, for the rights of God precede the rights of man, and the rights of man cannot persist without this foundation. As Leo XIII stated it: “The world has heard enough of the so-called ‘rights of man.’ Let it hear something of the rights of God.”[1]

And in his encyclical on human liberty, the same pontiff expounded further on the traditional idea of the State and its relationship with religion:

God it is who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others. Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engravers upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide – as they should do – with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community. For public authority exists for the welfare of those whom it governs; and, although its proximate end is to lead men to the prosperity found in this life, yet, in so doing, it ought not to diminish, but rather to increase, man’s capability of attaining to the supreme good in which his everlasting happiness consists: which never can be attained if religion be disregarded.[2]

Here we feel it appropriate to remember the response of the apostles, who, in the face of Christ’s words, exclaimed: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”[3] We may experience this same discomfort at the mention of an acknowledged relationship between the State and the Church. And yet there it remains, comfortable or not.

[1] TFP, 13.

[2] LP, 21.

[3] Jn 6:60.

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