Can any rational Catholic deny the orthodoxy of such a statement? As it turns out, yes. Here is the quote from Quanta Cura in its expanded context:
“For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of ‘naturalism,’ as they call it, dare to teach that ‘the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.’ And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that ‘that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.’ From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an ‘insanity,’ viz, that ‘liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.’ But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching ‘liberty of perdition.’”
Pius IX and Gregory XVI were warning against these “totally false ideas” because (a) these ideas are errors opposed to true Catholicism, (b) the enemies of Catholicism were trying to introduce these ideas into the Church, and (c) the fact that these ideas sound reasonable to modern ears means they pose far greater danger than ideas that most rational Catholics would immediately reject as false. They argued that those who promoted these false ideas were preaching the “liberty of perdition.”
Francis (like the god of his imagination) is open to the world and its non-Catholic beliefs, and thus does not really care about theology. He accepts people as they are and does not ask them to change. All people are basically good, so long as they are not rigid.
As The Remnant has been detailing for several decades, much of the debate about Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, has revolved around the question of whether, and to what extent, the document contradicts Pius IX’s Quanta Cura. Two passages in particular appear to say something fundamentally different from the language from Quanta Cura above:
“This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.” (Section 2)
“On his part, man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious.” (Section 3)
Apologists for Vatican II offer various explanations for why they see no real contradiction between these passages from Dignitatis Humanae and Quanta Cura. Rather than replay those debates here, though, we can simply apply a common sense test. Which of those two documents would a reasonable person cite to support the idea that even though a Catholic state (if such still existed) might tolerate a Muslim procession through a Catholic city, the Muslims do not have a right to publicly practice their false religion? Conversely, which document would a reasonable person cite to make the opposite claim: that the Muslims have a right to practice their religion publicly?
Truth be told, Francis’s acceptance of all people other than rigid Traditional Catholics is the logical extension of the Dignitatis Humanae declaration that “the human person has a right to religious freedom” and all that follows from it.
In his They Have Uncrowned Him, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre explained the important distinction between tolerating the practice of false religions on the one hand and, on the other, claiming that followers of those religions have a right to practice their false religions:
“It is clear that there is from time to time a duty of prudence and of charity, on the part of the Church and of Catholic States, towards the followers of false cults; but such a duty does not of itself confer on others any right! By not distinguishing the virtue of justice (the one that assigns rights) from the virtue of prudence and from that of charity (which of themselves confer only duties), Vatican II sinks into errors. To make justice out of charity is to pervert the social and political order of the city.” (pp. 200-201)
These concepts might seem foreign to many Catholics today, but they were crucial to Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and those who waged war over religious liberty at Vatican II. Helpfully, John Paul II translated and simplified the issue for us in his 1995 “Address to the Participants in the Congress on Secularism and Religious Freedom Marking the Thirtieth Anniversary of “Dignitatis Humanae”:
“As I have often stated, the Second Vatican Council constituted an extraordinary grace for the Church, and a decisive moment of her recent history. ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ is undoubtedly one of the Council’s most innovative texts. It has the specific and important merit of having cleared the way for that remarkable and fruitful dialogue between the Church and the world, so ardently proposed and encouraged by that other great Council document, the Pastoral Constitution ‘Gaudium et Spes,’ issued on the very same day. Looking back over the last 30 years, it must be said that the Church’s commitment to religious freedom as an inviolable right of the human person (cf. Dignitatis Humanae, chap. I) has had an effect beyond anything the Fathers of the Council could have anticipated.” (John Paul II, December 7, 1995, Address)
John Paul II was of course correct in calling Dignitatis Humanae “one of the Council’s most innovative texts,” even though today’s expert defenders of Vatican II would surely have corrected him by letting him know that Vatican II did not “innovate,” but rather clearly defended what the Church has always taught! Aside from that, John Paul II highlighted the purpose of the entire push for religious liberty: Dignitatis Humanae “has the specific and important merit of having cleared the way for that remarkable and fruitful dialogue between the Church and the world.”
Because Traditional Catholics instead believe what Pius IX wrote in Quanta Cura, they are allegedly the rigid enemies of the rights of others. To preserve the rights of everyone else, we must therefore abolish the rights of Traditional Catholics. This is how it goes: once we grant rights to error, those who embrace error will eventually refuse to tolerate truth.
How has that “remarkable and fruitful dialogue between the Church and the world” worked out? Did Catholics put two and two together to realize that the Catholic Faith must not be all that vital if the Church was suddenly so emphatic about protecting the religious freedom of all people, including those who detested Christianity? And what did “the world” think of the fact that John Paul II and the new Catholics no longer felt it worthwhile to try to get non-Catholics to convert? Did any of this contribute to the vast apostasy among those who have followed the innovations (as John Paul II called them) of Vatican II?
As much as we might wish that Francis would either become truly Catholic or publicly renounce the Faith, we should appreciate the fact that he does not pretend to uphold what the Church has always taught. With him, we can see the true meaning of the “remarkable and fruitful dialogue between the Church and the world.” Consider for instance, his August 20, 2023 Angelus address, in which he shared his impressions of the meeting between Jesus and the Canaanite woman (cf. Mt 15:21-28):
“The change in Jesus. . . . On hearing the woman’s prayer, ‘he anticipates the plan’; faced with her concrete case, he becomes even more sympathetic and compassionate. This is what God is like: he is love, and the one who loves does not remain rigid. . . . Now let us look at the woman’s faith, which the Lord praises, saying that it is ‘great’ (v. 28). . . How many times we fall into the temptation to confuse faith with a label! This woman’s faith is not fraught with theological gallantry, but with insistence – she knocks at the door, knocks, knocks. . . . Brothers and sisters, in light of all this, we can ask ourselves a few questions beginning with the change in Jesus. For example: Am I capable of changing opinion? Do I know how to be understanding and do I know how to be compassionate, or do I remain rigid in my position? Is there some rigidity in my heart? Which is not firmness: rigidity is awful, firmness is good.”
Francis (like the god of his imagination) is open to the world and its non-Catholic beliefs, and thus does not really care about theology. He accepts people as they are and does not ask them to change. All people are basically good, so long as they are not rigid. And, as we have seen, Francis is condemning Traditional Catholics when he says “rigidity is awful.”
Truth be told, Francis’s acceptance of all people other than rigid Traditional Catholics is the logical extension of the Dignitatis Humanae declaration that “the human person has a right to religious freedom” and all that follows from it. Because Traditional Catholics instead believe what Pius IX wrote in Quanta Cura, they are allegedly the rigid enemies of the rights of others. To preserve the rights of everyone else, we must therefore abolish the rights of Traditional Catholics. This is how it goes: once we grant rights to error, those who embrace error will eventually refuse to tolerate truth.
We need to stop pretending that Francis, Cupich, the Synod, or any of the Vatican II-inspired innovations do anything other than offend God, advance Satan’s New World Order, and lead souls to hell. Real charity demands that we fight for the immutable and unadulterated Catholic Faith that God entrusted to His Church.
One of the greatest living embodiments of embracing error and eschewing truth, Cardinal Blase Cupich, recently hosted the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, for its session on “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights.” A faithful son of Francis and Vatican II, Cupich sounded like the spokesman of the New World Order (and thus Satan) with his wisdom on consciences:
“'We must recognize that our religious traditions and personal experiences may have led our consciences to be formed differently and so these differences always need to be respected. We must see one another, listen to one another, and learn from one another,’ he said. ‘It is only with patience and through recognizing and respecting our common humanity that we can come to see and join together to respond to those who are hurting and in need. Christians believe that the image of God resides in each and every human person.’”
The rich irony of Cupich’s suggestion that we must “listen to one another, and learn from one another” is that none of these false shepherds ever tell others what they really need to hear! Of course not — if you want to hear what God wants us to hear, you must listen to those who are “rigid,” like Archbishop Lefebvre, who had this to say about religious liberty and freedom of conscience:
“The good God has given us a religion by Jesus Christ Our Lord. He founded a Church; He founded THE religion. There are not thirty-six religions, but the one true religion founded by God. So the true Catholic demands the freedom of conscience to be able to obey the commandments of God.” (Against the Heresies, p. 131)
This is true, and everything opposed to it is a damnable lie. We need to stop pretending that Francis, Cupich, the Synod, or any of the Vatican II-inspired innovations do anything other than offend God, advance Satan’s New World Order, and lead souls to hell. Real charity demands that we fight for the immutable and unadulterated Catholic Faith that God entrusted to His Church. We have no right to promote Francis’s anti-Catholic religion, and it seems that we are fast approaching a time when God will no longer tolerate those who do. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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