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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII




To  the  Patriarchs,  Primates,  Archbishops, and
Bishops  of  the  Catholic  World  in  Grace  and
Communion with the Apostolic See.

Liberty, the highest of natural endowments, being
the portion  only  of  intellectual  or  rational
natures,  confers  on man this dignity -- that he
is "in the hand of his counsel"[1] and has  power
over  his  actions.  But the manner in which such
dignity is exercised is of the  greatest  moment,
inasmuch  as  on  the use that is made of liberty
the highest good  and  the  greatest  evil  alike
depend.  Man, indeed, is free to obey his reason,
to seek moral good, and  to  strive  unswervingly
after  his  last end. Yet he is free also to turn
aside to all other things; and, in  pursuing  the
empty  semblance  of  good,  to  disturb rightful
order and to fall headlong into  the  destruction
which  he has voluntarily chosen. The Redeemer of
mankind,  Jesus  Christ,  having   restored   and
exalted   the   original   dignity   of   nature,
vouchsafed special assistance to the will of man;
and  by  the  gifts  of  His  grace here, and the
promise of heavenly bliss hereafter, He raised it
to  a  nobler  state.  In like manner, this great
gift of nature has ever been, and always will be,
deservingly cherished by the Catholic Church, for
to her alone has been  committed  the  charge  of
handing  down  to all ages the benefits purchased
for us by Jesus Christ. Yet there  are  many  who
imagine  that  the  Church  is  hostile  to human
liberty. Having a false and absurd notion  as  to
what  liberty  is,  either  they pervert the very
idea of freedom,  or  they  extend  it  at  their
pleasure  to  many things in respect of which man
cannot rightly be regarded as free.

2. We have on other occasions, and especially  in
Our   encyclical   letter  lmmortale  Dei,[2]  in
treating  of  the  so-called  modern   liberties,
distinguished   between   their   good  and  evil
elements; and We have shown  that  whatsoever  is
good  in  those  liberties is as ancient as truth
itself, and  that  the  Church  has  always  most
willingly  approved  and practiced that good: but
whatsoever has been added as new is, to tell  the
plain truth, of a vitiated kind, the fruit of the
disorders of the age, and of an insatiate longing
after novelties. Seeing, however, that many cling
so obstinately  to  their  own  opinion  in  this
matter  as  to  imagine  these  modern liberties,
cankered as they are, to be the greatest glory of
our  age,  and  the  very  basis  of  civil life,
without  which  no  perfect  government  can   be
conceived,  We  feel  it a pressing duty, for the
sake of the common good, to treat  separately  of
this subject.

3.   It   is   with  moral  liberty,  whether  in
individuals or in communities, that We proceed at
once  to deal. But, first of all, it will be well
to speak briefly of natural liberty; for,  though
it  is  distinct and separate from moral liberty,
natural freedom is the  fountainhead  from  which
liberty  of  whatsoever kind flows, sua vi suaque
sponte. The unanimous  consent  and  judgment  of
men,   which  is  the  trusty  voice  of  nature,
recognizes this natural liberty in those only who
are  endowed  with intelligence or reason; and it
is by  his  use  of  this  that  man  is  rightly
regarded  as  responsible  for  his actions. For,
while  other  animate  creatures   follow   their
senses,  seeking  good  and avoiding evil only by
instinct, man has reason to guide him in each and
every  act of his life. Reason sees that whatever
things that are held to be good  upon  earth  may
exist  or  may  not,  and discerning that none of
them are of necessity for us, it leaves the  will
free to choose what it pleases. But man can judge
of this contingency, as We say, only  because  he
has   a  soul  that  is  simple,  spiritual,  and
intellectual -- a soul, therefore, which  is  not
produced by matter, and does not depend on matter
for  its  existence;   but   which   is   created
immediately  by  God,  and,  far  surpassing  the
condition of things  material,  has  a  life  and
action  of  its  own  --  so  that,  knowing  the
unchangeable and necessary  reasons  of  what  is
true and good, it sees that no particular kind of
good is necessary to us. When, therefore,  it  is
established  that  man's  soul  is  immortal  and
endowed with reason and not bound up with  things
material, the foundation of natural liberty is at
once most firmly laid.

4.  As  the  Catholic  Church  declares  in   the
strongest terms the simplicity, spirituality, and
immortality  of  the  soul,  so  with   unequaled
constancy and publicity she ever also asserts its
freedom. These truths she has always taught,  and
has  sustained  them  as  a  dogma  of faith, and
whensoever heretics or innovators  have  attacked
the  liberty  of  man, the Church has defended it
and  protected   this   noble   possession   from
destruction.  History bears witness to the energy
with which she met the fury of the Manicheans and
others  like them; and the earnestness with which
in later years she defended human liberty at  the
Council  of  Trent,  and against the followers of
Jansenius, is known to all. At no time, and in no
place, has she held truce with fatalism.

5.  Liberty,  then, as We have said, belongs only
to  those  who  have  the  gift  of   reason   or
intelligence.  Considered as to its nature, it is
the faculty of choosing means fitted for the  end
proposed, for he is master of his actions who can
choose  one  thing  out  of  many.   Now,   since
everything chosen as a means is viewed as good or
useful, and since good, as such,  is  the  proper
object  of our desire, it follows that freedom of
choice is a property of the will, or, rather,  is
identical  with  the  will in so far as it has in
its action the faculty of choice.  But  the  will
cannot  proceed to act until it is enlightened by
the knowledge  possessed  by  the  intellect.  In
other  words,  the  good  wished  by  the will is
necessarily good in so far as it is known by  the
intellect;  and  this  the  more,  because in all
voluntary acts choice is subsequent to a judgment
upon  the  truth of the good presented, declaring
to which good  preference  should  be  given.  No
sensible man can doubt that judgment is an act of
reason, not of the will. The end, or object, both
of  the  rational will and of its liberty is that
good only which is in conformity with reason.

6.  Since,  however,  both  these  faculties  are
imperfect, it is possible, as is often seen, that
the reason should propose something which is  not
really  good,  but  which  has  the appearance of
good,   and   that   the   will   should   choose
accordingly.  For,  as  the possibility of error,
and actual error, are defects  of  the  mind  and
attest  its  imperfection, so the pursuit of what
has a false appearance of good, though a proof of
our  freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our
vitality, implies defect in  human  liberty.  The
will  also,  simply  because of its dependence on
the reason, no sooner desires  anything  contrary
thereto  than it abuses its freedom of choice and
corrupts its very essence. Thus it  is  that  the
infinitely  perfect God, although supremely free,
because of the supremacy of His intellect and  of
His   essential   goodness,  nevertheless  cannot
choose evil; neither can the angels  and  saints,
who  enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and
others urged most admirably against the Pelagians
that,  if the possibility of deflection from good
belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty,
then  God,  Jesus  Christ,  and  the  angels  and
saints, who have not this power,  would  have  no
liberty  at  all, or would have less liberty than
man  has  in  his   state   of   pilgrimage   and
imperfection.  This subject is often discussed by
the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that  the
possibility   of  sinning  is  not  freedom,  but
slavery. It will  suffice  to  quote  his  subtle
commentary  on  the words of our Lord: "Whosoever
committeth  sin  is   the   slave   of   sin."[3]
"Everything,"  he says, "is that which belongs to
it naturally. When, therefore, it acts through  a
power  outside itself, it does not act of itself,
but through another, that is, as a slave. But man
is  by  nature rational. When, therefore, he acts
according to  reason,  he  acts  of  himself  and
according  to his free will; and this is liberty.
Whereas, when he sins, he acts in  opposition  to
reason, is moved by another, and is the victim of
foreign misapprehensions.  Therefore,  'Whosoever
committeth sin is the slave of sin'."[4] Even the
heathen  philosophers  clearly  recognized   this
truth, especially they who held that the wise man
alone is free; and by the  term  "wise  man"  was
meant,  as is well known, the man trained to live
in  accordance  with  his  nature,  that  is,  in
justice and virtue.

7.  Such,  then,  being  the  condition  of human
liberty, it necessarily stands in need  of  light
and strength to direct its actions to good and to
restrain  them  from  evil.  Without  this,   the
freedom  of  our will would be our ruin. First of
all, there must be law; that is, a fixed rule  of
teaching  what  is  to  be done and what is to be
left undone. This rule cannot  affect  the  lower
animals  in  any  true  sense,  since they act of
necessity, following their natural instinct,  and
cannot of themselves act in any other way. On the
other hand, as was said above, he who is free can
either act or not act, can do this or do that, as
he pleases, because  his  judgment  precedes  his
choice. And his judgment not only decides what is
right or wrong of its own nature, but  also  what
is  practically  good and therefore to be chosen,
and what is practically evil and therefore to  be
avoided. In other words, the reason prescribes to
the will what it should seek after  or  shun,  in
order  to  the  eventual attainment of man's last
end, for the sake of which all his actions  ought
to  be  performed.  This  ordination of reason is
called law. In man's free will, therefore, or  in
the  moral  necessity of our voluntary acts being
in accordance with reason, lies the very root  of
the necessity of law. Nothing more foolish can be
uttered  or  conceived  than  the  notion   that,
because  man  is  free by nature, he is therefore
exempt from law. Were this  the  case,  it  would
follow that to become free we must be deprived of
reason; whereas the truth is that we are bound to
submit  to  law  precisely because we are free by
our very nature. For, law is the guide  of  man's
actions; it turns him toward good by its rewards,
and deters him from evil by its punishments.

8. Foremost in this office comes the natural law,
which  is  written  and  engraved  in the mind of
every man; and this is nothing  but  our  reason,
commanding  us  to  do  right and forbidding sin.
Nevertheless, all prescriptions of  human  reason
can  have  force of law only inasmuch as they are
the voice and the  interpreters  of  some  higher
power on which our reason and liberty necessarily
depend. For, since the force of law  consists  in
the  imposing  of obligations and the granting of
rights, authority is the one and only  foundation
of  all  law  --  the  power,  that is, of fixing
duties and defining rights, as also of  assigning
the    necessary    sanctions   of   reward   and
chastisement to each and all of its commands. But
all this, clearly, cannot be found in man, if, as
his own supreme legislator, he is to be the  rule
of  his  own actions. It follows, therefore, that
the law of  nature  is  the  same  thing  as  the
eternal law, implanted in rational creatures, and
inclining them to their right action and end; and
can  be  nothing  else  but the eternal reason of
God, the Creator and Ruler of all the  world.  To
this rule of action and restraint of evil God has
vouchsafed to give special and most suitable aids
for  strengthening  and  ordering the human will.
The first and most  excellent  of  these  is  the
power  of  His divine grace, whereby the mind can
be   enlightened   and   the   will   wholesomely
invigorated  and moved to the constant pursuit of
moral good, so that the use of our inborn liberty
becomes   at   once   less   difficult  and  less
dangerous. Not that the divine assistance hinders
in  any  way  the free movement of our will; just
the contrary, for grace works inwardly in man and
in  harmony  with his natural inclinations, since
it flows from the very Creator of  his  mind  and
will,  by whom all things are moved in conformity
with their nature. As the Angelic  Doctor  points
out,  it  is  because divine grace comes from the
Author of nature that it is so admirably  adapted
to  be  the  safeguard  of  all  natures,  and to
maintain   the   character,    efficiency,    and
operations of each.

9.   What   has  been  said  of  the  liberty  of
individuals is no less applicable  to  them  when
considered  as  bound  together in civil society.
For, what reason  and  the  natural  law  do  for
individuals. that human law promulgated for their
good, does for the citizens  of  States.  Of  the
laws enacted by men, some are concerned with what
is good or bad  by  its  very  nature;  and  they
command  men to follow after what is right and to
shun what is wrong, adding at  the  same  time  a
suitable  sanction.  But  such  laws  by no means
derive their origin from civil society,  because,
just  as  civil  society  did  not  create  human
nature, so neither can  it  be  said  to  be  the
author  of the good which befits human nature, or
of the evil which is contrary to  it.  Laws  come
before  men  live  together  in society, and have
their origin in the natural, and consequently  in
the eternal, law. The precepts, therefore, of the
natural law, contained bodily in the laws of men,
have  not merely the force of human law, but they
possess that  higher  and  more  august  sanction
which  belongs  to  the  law  of  nature  and the
eternal law. And within the sphere of  this  kind
of  laws  the  duty  of  the civil legislator is,
mainly, to keep the community in obedience by the
adoption  of  a  common discipline and by putting
restraint upon refractory and viciously  inclined
men,  so  that, deterred from evil, they may turn
to what is good, or at any rate may avoid causing
trouble  and disturbance to the State. Now, there
are other  enactments  of  the  civil  authority,
which   do  not  follow  directly,  but  somewhat
remotely, from the natural law, and  decide  many
points  which  the law of nature treats only in a
general and indefinite way. For instance,  though
nature  commands  all to contribute to the public
peace and prosperity,  whatever  belongs  to  the
manner,  and  circumstances, and conditions under
which such service is  to  be  rendered  must  be
determined by the wisdom of men and not by nature
herself. It  is  in  the  constitution  of  these
particular rules of life, suggested by reason and
prudence, and put forth by  competent  authority,
that  human  law,  properly  so called, consists,
binding all citizens to  work  together  for  the
attainment  of  the  common  end  proposed to the
community, and forbidding  them  to  depart  from
this  end,  and,  in  so  far  as human law is in
conformity with the dictates of  nature,  leading
to what is good, and deterring from evil.

10. From this it is manifest that the eternal law
of God is the sole standard  and  rule  of  human
liberty,  not  only  in  each individual man, but
also in the community and civil society which men
constitute   when  united.  Therefore,  the  true
liberty of human  society  does  not  consist  in
every  man  doing what he pleases, for this would
simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on
the  overthrow  of the State; but rather in this,
that through the injunctions of the civil law all
may  more  easily conform to the prescriptions of
the eternal law. Likewise, the liberty  of  those
who  are  in  authority  does  not consist in the
power to lay unreasonable and capricious commands
upon  their  subjects,  which  would  equally  be
criminal and  would  lead  to  the  ruin  of  the
commonwealth; but the binding force of human laws
is in this, that  they  are  to  be  regarded  as
applications of the eternal law, and incapable of
sanctioning anything which is  not  contained  in
the  eternal law, as in the principle of all law.
Thus, St. Augustine most wisely  says:  "I  think
that you can see, at the same time, that there is
nothing just and lawful  in  that  temporal  law,
unless  what  men have gathered from this eternal
law."[5]  If,  then,  by  anyone  in   authority,
something  be  sanctioned  out of conformity with
the principles of right reason, and  consequently
hurtful  to  the  commonwealth, such an enactment
can have no binding force of  law,  as  being  no
rule  of  justice,  but  certain to lead men away
from that good which is the  very  end  of  civil

11.  Therefore,  the  nature  of  human  liberty,
however it be considered, whether in  individuals
or in society, whether in those who command or in
those  who  obey,  supposes  the   necessity   of
obedience  to some supreme and eternal law, which
is no other than the authority of God, commanding
good  and  forbidding evil. And, so far from this
most just authority of God over men  diminishing,
or even destroying their liberty, it protects and
perfects it,  for  the  real  perfection  of  all
creatures   is   found  in  the  prosecution  and
attainment of  their  respective  ends;  but  the
supreme end to which human liberty must aspire is

12. These precepts  of  the  truest  and  highest
teaching, made known to us by the light of reason
itself, the Church, instructed by the example and
doctrine   of   her   divine   Author,  has  ever
propagated and asserted; for she  has  ever  made
them  the  measure  of  her  office  and  of  her
teaching to the Christian nations. As to  morals,
the  laws  of  the  Gospel  not only immeasurably
surpass the wisdom of the  heathen,  but  are  an
invitation  and  an  introduction  to  a state of
holiness unknown to the ancients;  and,  bringing
man  nearer  to  God,  they  make him at once the
possessor of a more perfect  liberty.  Thus,  the
powerful  influence  of  the Church has ever been
manifested in the custody and protection  of  the
civil  and  political  liberty of the people. The
enumeration of its merits in  this  respect  does
not   belong   to  our  present  purpose.  It  is
sufficient to recall the fact that slavery,  that
old  reproach  of the heathen nations, was mainly
abolished  by  the  beneficent  efforts  of   the
Church.  The  impartiality  of  law  and the true
brotherhood of man were first asserted  by  Jesus
Christ; and His apostles re-echoed His voice when
they declared that in  future  there  was  to  be
neither  Jew,  nor  Gentile,  nor  barbarian, nor
Scythian, but all were  brothers  in  Christ.  So
powerful,  so conspicuous, in this respect is the
influence   of   the   Church   that   experience
abundantly  testifies  how  savage customs are no
longer possible in any land where  she  has  once
set  her foot; but that gentleness speedily takes
the place of cruelty,  and  the  light  of  truth
quickly  dispels  the  darkness of barbarism. Nor
has the Church been less lavish in  the  benefits
she  has  conferred on civilized nations in every
age, either  by  resisting  the  tyranny  of  the
wicked,   or   by  protecting  the  innocent  and
helpless from injury, or, finally, by  using  her
influence   in   the   support  of  any  form  of
government which commended itself to the citizens
at home, because of its justice, or was feared by
their enemies without, because of its power.

13. Moreover, the  highest  duty  is  to  respect
authority,  and obediently to submit to just law;
and by  this  the  members  of  a  community  are
effectually  protected  from  the  wrong-doing of
evil  men.  Lawful  power  is  from   God,   "and
whosoever   resisteth   authority  resisteth  the
ordinance of  God";[6]  wherefore,  obedience  is
greatly  ennobled  when subjected to an authority
which is the most just and supreme  of  all.  But
where the power to command is wanting, or where a
law is enacted contrary  to  reason,  or  to  the
eternal   law,  or  to  some  ordinance  of  God,
obedience is unlawful, lest, while  obeying  man,
we  become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual
barrier being opposed to tyranny,  the  authority
in  the  State will not have all its own way, but
the  interests  and  rights  of   all   will   be
safeguarded  --  the  rights  of  individuals, of
domestic society, and of all the members  of  the
commonwealth; all being free to live according to
law and right reason; and in  this,  as  We  have
shown, true liberty really consists.

14.  If  when men discuss the question of liberty
they  were  careful  to  grasp   its   true   and
legitimate  meaning, such as reason and reasoning
have just explained, they would never venture  to
affix  such  a calumny on the Church as to assert
that she is the  foe  of  individual  and  public
liberty.  But  many  there  are who follow in the
footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own  his
rebellious   cry,   "I   will   not  serve";  and
consequently substitute for true liberty what  is
sheer   and   most  foolish  license.  Such,  for
instance, are the men belonging  to  that  widely
spread  and  powerful organization, who, usurping
the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.

15. What naturalists or rationalists  aim  at  in
philosophy,  that  the  supporters of liberalism,
carrying  out  the  principles   laid   down   by
naturalism,  are  attempting  in  the  domain  of
morality and politics. The  fundamental  doctrine
of  rationalism  is  the  supremacy  of the human
reason, which, refusing  due  submission  to  the
divine  and  eternal  reason,  proclaims  its own
independence, and constitutes itself the  supreme
principle  and  source and judge of truth. Hence,
these followers of liberalism deny the  existence
of  any  divine  authority  to which obedience is
due, and proclaim that every man is  the  law  to
himself;  from  which  arises that ethical system
which they style independent morality, and which,
under  the  guise of liberty, exonerates man from
any  obedience  to  the  commands  of  God,   and
substitutes  a  boundless license. The end of all
this it is not difficult to  foresee,  especially
when  society  is in question. For, when once man
is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one,
it  follows that the efficient cause of the unity
of civil society is  not  to  be  sought  in  any
principle  external  to  man, or superior to him,
but simply in the free will of individuals;  that
the  authority in the State comes from the people
only; and that, just as  every  man's  individual
reason   is   his  only  rule  of  life,  so  the
collective reason of the community should be  the
supreme  guide  in  the  management of all public
affairs. Hence the doctrine of the  supremacy  of
the  greater  number,  and that all right and all
duty reside in the majority. But, from  what  has
been  said,  it  is  clear  that  all  this is in
contradiction to reason. To refuse  any  bond  of
union  between  man and civil society, on the one
hand, and God the Creator  and  consequently  the
supreme  Law-giver,  on  the  other,  is  plainly
repugnant to the nature, not only of man, but  of
all   created  things;  for,  of  necessity,  all
effects must in some proper way be connected with
their  cause; and it belongs to the perfection of
every nature to contain itself within that sphere
and  grade which the order of nature has assigned
to it, namely, that the lower should  be  subject
and obedient to the higher.

16.  Moreover,  besides  this, a doctrine of such
character is most hurtful both to individuals and
to  the  State. For, once ascribe to human reason
the only authority to decide  what  is  true  and
what  is  good,  and the real distinction between
good and evil is destroyed;  honor  and  dishonor
differ  not  in  their nature, but in the opinion
and judgment of each one; pleasure is the measure
of  what is lawful; and, given a code of morality
which can have little or no power to restrain  or
quiet  the  unruly  propensities of man, a way is
naturally opened to  universal  corruption.  With
reference  also  to  public affairs: authority is
severed  from  the  true  and  natural  principle
whence it derives all its efficacy for the common
good; and the law determining what it is right to
do and avoid doing is at the mercy of a majority.
Now, this is simply a road  leading  straight  to
tyranny.  The  empire  of  God over man and civil
society  once   repudiated,   it   follows   that
religion,  as  a  public institution, can have no
claim to exist, and that everything that  belongs
to   religion   will  be  treated  with  complete
indifference. Furthermore, with ambitious designs
on  sovereignty,  tumult  and  sedition  will  be
common amongst the  people;  and  when  duty  and
conscience cease to appeal to them, there will be
nothing to hold them back  but  force,  which  of
itself   alone   is   powerless   to  keep  their
covetousness in check. Of  this  we  have  almost
daily  evidence  in  the conflict with socialists
and members of  other  seditious  societies,  who
labor  unceasingly  to bring about revolution. It
is for those, then, who are capable of forming  a
just  estimate  of  things to decide whether such
doctrines promote that true liberty  which  alone
is  worthy of man, or rather, pervert and destroy

17.  There  are,  indeed,   some   adherents   of
liberalism   who   do   not  subscribe  to  these
opinions, which we have seen  to  be  fearful  in
their  enormity, openly opposed to the truth, and
the cause of most terrible  evils.  Indeed,  very
many  amongst  them,  compelled  by  the force of
truth, do not hesitate to admit that such liberty
is  vicious,  nay,  is  simple  license, whenever
intemperate in its  claims,  to  the  neglect  of
truth  and justice; and therefore they would have
liberty ruled and directed by right  reason,  and
consequently  subject  to  the natural law and to
the divine eternal law. But here they think  they
may  stop,  holding  that  man as a free being is
bound by no law of God except such  as  He  makes
known  to  us through our natural reason. In this
they are plainly inconsistent. For if -- as  they
must  admit,  and  no one can rightly deny -- the
will of the Divine Law-giver  is  to  be  obeyed,
because  every man is under the power of God, and
tends toward Him as his end, it follows  that  no
one   can   assign   limits  to  His  legislative
authority without failing in the obedience  which
is   due.   Indeed,  if  the  human  mind  be  so
presumptuous as to define the nature  and  extent
of God's rights and its own duties, reverence for
the divine law will be apparent rather than real,
and  arbitrary  judgment  will  prevail  over the
authority  and  providence  of  God.  Man   must,
therefore,  take  his  standard  of  a  loyal and
religious life from the eternal law; and from all
and  every  one  of  those laws which God, in His
infinite wisdom and power, has  been  pleased  to
enact,  and to make known to us by such clear and
unmistakable signs as to leave no room for doubt.
And  the  more  so because laws of this kind have
the same origin, the same author, as the  eternal
law,  are  absolutely  in  accordance  with right
reason, and perfect the natural law.  These  laws
it  is  that  embody  the  government of God, who
graciously guides and directs the  intellect  and
the  will of man lest these fall into error. Let,
then, that continue  to  remain  in  a  holy  and
inviolable  union which neither can nor should be
separated; and in all things -- for this  is  the
dictate  of  right  reason  itself  -- let God be
dutifully and obediently served.

18. There  are  others,  somewhat  more  moderate
though  not  more consistent, who affirm that the
morality of individuals is to be  guided  by  the
divine  law,  but  not the morality of the State,
for that in public affairs the  commands  of  God
may   be   passed   over,  and  may  be  entirely
disregarded in the framing of laws. Hence follows
the  fatal  theory  of  the  need  of  separation
between Church and State. But  the  absurdity  of
such  a  position  is  manifest.  Nature  herself
proclaims the necessity of  the  State  providing
means and opportunities whereby the community may
be enabled to live  properly,  that  is  to  say,
according  to  the laws of God. For, since God is
the source of all goodness  and  justice,  it  is
absolutely  ridiculous  that the State should pay
no  attention  to  these  laws  or  render   them
abortive  by  contrary enactments. Besides, those
who are in authority owe it to  the  commonwealth
not  only  to provide for its external well-being
and the conveniences of life, but still  more  to
consult  the welfare of men's souls in the wisdom
of their legislation. But, for  the  increase  of
such  benefits,  nothing  more  suitable  can  be
conceived than the laws which have God for  their
author;   and,   therefore,  they  who  in  their
government of the State take no account of  these
laws  abuse  political  power  by  causing  it to
deviate from its proper end and from what  nature
itself   prescribes.  And,  what  is  still  more
important,  and  what  We  have  more  than  once
pointed out, although the civil authority has not
the same proximate  end  as  the  spiritual,  nor
proceeds  on  the same lines, nevertheless in the
exercise  of  their  separate  powers  they  must
occasionally  meet.  For  their  subjects are the
same, and not infrequently  they  deal  with  the
same  objects, though in different ways. Whenever
this occurs, since a state of conflict is  absurd
and   manifestly   repugnant  to  the  most  wise
ordinance of God, there  must  necessarily  exist
some  order  or  mode  of procedure to remove the
occasions of difference and  contention,  and  to
secure  harmony  in  all things. This harmony has
been not inaptly compared to  that  which  exists
between  the body and the soul for the well-being
of both one and  the  other,  the  separation  of
which brings irremediable harm to the body, since
it extinguishes its very life.

19. To make this  more  evident,  the  growth  of
liberty  ascribed  to  our age must be considered
apart in its various details. And, first, let  us
examine  that  liberty in individuals which is so
opposed to the virtue of  religion,  namely,  the
liberty  of  worship,  as  it  is called. This is
based on the principle that every man is free  to
profess as he may choose any religion or none.

20.  But,  assuredly, of all the duties which man
has to  fulfill,  that,  without  doubt,  is  the
chiefest   and  holiest  which  commands  him  to
worship God with devotion and piety. This follows
of  necessity  from the truth that we are ever in
the power of God, are ever guided by His will and
providence, and, having come forth from Him, must
return to Him. Add to which, no true  virtue  can
exist  without  religion,  for  moral  virtue  is
concerned with those things which lead to God  as
man's  supreme  and  ultimate good; and therefore
religion, which (as St.  Thomas  says)  "performs
those  actions which are directly and immediately
ordained for  the  divine  honor,"[7]  rules  and
tempers  all virtues. And if it be asked which of
the many conflicting religions it is necessary to
adopt,  reason and the natural law unhesitatingly
tell us to practice that one which  God  enjoins,
and  which  men  can  easily recognize by certain
exterior notes,  whereby  Divine  Providence  has
willed  that it should be distinguished, because,
in a matter of such  moment,  the  most  terrible
loss   would   be   the   consequence  of  error.
Wherefore,  when  a  liberty  such  as  We   have
described  is  offered to man, the power is given
him to pervert or abandon with impunity the  most
sacred   of   duties,   and   to   exchange   the
unchangeable good for evil;  which,  as  We  have
said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the
abject submission of the soul to sin.

21.  This  kind  of  liberty,  if  considered  in
relation to the State, clearly implies that there
is no reason  why  the  State  should  offer  any
homage  to  God,  or  should  desire  any  public
recognition of Him; that no one form  of  worship
is to be preferred to another, but that all stand
on an equal footing, no account  being  taken  of
the  religion of the people, even if they profess
the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must
needs  be  taken  as  true  that the State has no
duties toward God, or that such duties,  if  they
exist,  can  be  abandoned with impunity, both of
which assertions are  manifestly  false.  For  it
cannot  be  doubted but that, by the will of God,
men are united  in  civil  society;  whether  its
component parts be considered; or its form, which
implies  authority;  or   the   object   of   its
existence;  or the abundance of the vast services
which it renders to man. 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, engraven 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.

22.  All  this,  however,  We have explained more
fully elsewhere. We now  only  wish  to  add  the
remark  that  liberty  of  so  false  a nature is
greatly hurtful  to  the  true  liberty  of  both
rulers  and  their  subjects.  Religion,  of  its
essence, is wonderfully  helpful  to  the  State.
For,  since  it  derives  the prime origin of all
power  directly  from  God  Himself,  with  grave
authority  it  charges  rulers  to  be mindful of
their  duty,  to  govern  without  injustice   or
severity,  to  rule  their people kindly and with
almost paternal charity; it  admonishes  subjects
to  be  obedient  to  lawful authority, as to the
ministers of God; and  it  binds  them  to  their
rulers, not merely by obedience, but by reverence
and  affection,  forbidding  all  seditions   and
venturesome  enterprises  calculated  to  disturb
public order and tranquillity, and cause  greater
restrictions  to  be  put upon the liberty of the
people. We need not mention how greatly  religion
conduces  to  pure  morals,  and  pure  morals to
liberty. Reason shows, and history  confirms  the
fact, that the higher the morality of States, the
greater are the  liberty  and  wealth  and  power
which they enjoy.

23.  We  must  now  consider  briefly  liberty of
speech, and liberty of the press.  It  is  hardly
necessary  to say that there can be no such right
as this, if it be not used in moderation, and  if
it  pass  beyond  the  bounds and end of all true
liberty. For right is a moral power which  --  as
We  have  before  said  and  must again and again
repeat -- it is absurd to suppose that nature has
accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to
justice and injustice. Men have  a  right  freely
and  prudently  to propagate throughout the State
what things soever are  true  and  honorable,  so
that  as  many  as possible may possess them; but
Iying opinions, than which no  mental  plague  is
greater,  and  vices  which corrupt the heart and
moral life  should  be  diligently  repressed  by
public  authority, lest they insidiously work the
ruin of the State. The excesses of  an  unbridled
intellect,   which   unfailingly   end   in   the
oppression of the  untutored  multitude,  are  no
less  rightly  controlled by the authority of the
law than are the injuries inflicted  by  violence
upon  the  weak.  And  this  all the more surely,
because by far the greater part of the  community
is  either  absolutely  unable, or able only with
great difficulty, to escape  from  illusions  and
deceitful  subtleties, especially such as flatter
the passions. If unbridled license of speech  and
of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain
sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest
mandates of natures, justly held to be the common
and noblest heritage of the human race, will  not
be  spared.  Thus, truth being gradually obscured
by darkness, pernicious and  manifold  error,  as
too  often  happens,  will  easily prevail. Thus,
too, license will gain what  liberty  loses;  for
liberty  will  ever  be  more  free and secure in
proportion  as  license   is   kept   in   fuller
restraint.  In  regard, however, to all matter of
opinion  which   God   leaves   to   man's   free
discussion, full liberty of thought and of speech
is naturally within the right  of  everyone;  for
such  liberty  never  leads  men  to suppress the
truth, but often  to  discover  it  and  make  it

24.  A  like judgment must be passed upon what is
called liberty of teaching. There can be no doubt
that  truth  alone should imbue the minds of men,
for in it are found the well-being, the end,  and
the  perfection  of every intelligent nature; and
therefore nothing but truth should be taught both
to  the  ignorant  and  to the educated, so as to
bring knowledge to those who have it not, and  to
preserve  it  in  those  who possess it. For this
reason it is plainly the duty of all who teach to
banish   error   from   the  mind,  and  by  sure
safeguards  to  close  the  entry  to  all  false
convictions. From this it follows, as is evident,
that the liberty of which We have  been  speaking
is   greatly   opposed   to   reason,  and  tends
absolutely to pervert men's minds, in as much  as
it  claims  for  itself  the  right  of  teaching
whatever it pleases -- a liberty which the  State
cannot grant without failing in its duty. And the
more so because the  authority  of  teachers  has
great  weight  with their hearers, who can rarely
decide  for  themselves  as  to  the   truth   or
falsehood of the instruction given to them.

25.  Wherefore, this liberty, also, in order that
it may deserve the  name,  must  be  kept  within
certain  limits,  lest  the office of teaching be
turned  with  impunity  into  an  instrument   of
corruption.  Now, truth, which should be the only
subject matter of those  who  teach,  is  of  two
kinds:   natural  and  supernatural.  Of  natural
truths, such as  the  principles  of  nature  and
whatever  is derived from them immediately by our
reason, there is a kind of  common  patrimony  in
the  human  race.  On  this,  as on a firm basis,
morality, justice, religion, and the  very  bonds
of  human society rest: and to allow people to go
unharmed who violate or destroy it would be  most
impious, most foolish, and most inhuman.

26.  But  with  no  less  religious  care must we
preserve that great and sacred  treasure  of  the
truths  which  God Himself has taught us. By many
and convincing arguments, often used by defenders
of Christianity, certain leading truths have been
laid down: namely, that  some  things  have  been
revealed by God; that the Onlybegotten Son of God
was made flesh, to bear  witness  to  the  truth;
that  a perfect society was founded by Him -- the
Church, namely, of which He is the head, and with
which  He  has  promised to abide till the end of
the world. To this society He entrusted  all  the
truths  which  He  had  taught,  in order that it
might  keep  and  guard  them  and  with   lawful
authority  explain  them; and at the same time He
commanded all nations to hear the  voice  of  the
Church,  as if it were His own, threatening those
who would not hear it with everlasting perdition.
Thus,  it  is manifest that man's best and surest
teacher is God, the Source and Principle  of  all
truth;  and  the only-begotten Son, who is in the
bosom of the Father, the Way, the Truth, and  the
Life,  the true Light which enlightens every man,
and to whose teaching all must submit: "And  they
shall all be taught of God. "[8]

27. In faith and in the teaching of morality, God
Himself made the Church a partaker of His  divine
authority,  and  through  His  heavenly  gift she
cannot be deceived. She is therefore the greatest
and  most reliable teacher of mankind, and in her
swells  an  inviolable  right  to   teach   them.
Sustained  by  the truth received from her divine
Founder, the Church has ever  sought  to  fulfill
holily  the  mission  entrusted  to  her  by God;
unconquered by  the  difficulties  on  all  sides
surrounding  her,  she has never ceased to assert
her liberty of teaching,  and  in  this  way  the
wretched    superstition    of   paganism   being
dispelled,  the  wide  world  was  renewed   unto
Christian  wisdom.  Now,  reason  itself  clearly
teaches that the truths of divine revelation  and
those  of  nature cannot really be opposed to one
another, and that whatever is  at  variance  with
them  must  necessarily  be false. Therefore, the
divine teaching of the Church, so far from  being
an  obstacle  to  the pursuit of learning and the
progress of science, or in any way retarding  the
advance  of  civilization,  in  reality brings to
them the sure guidance of shining light. And  for
the  same  reason it is of no small advantage for
the perfecting of human liberty, since our Savior
Jesus  Christ  has said that by truth is man made
free: "You shall know the truth,  and  the  truth
shall  make  you free."[9] Therefore, there is no
reason why genuine liberty should grow indignant,
or true science feel aggrieved, at having to bear
the just  and  necessary  restraint  of  laws  by
which,  in  the  judgment  of  the  Church and of
reason  itself,  human   teaching   has   to   be

28.   The   Church,   indeed  --  as  facts  have
everywhere proved -- looks chiefly and above  all
to  the  defense  of  the  Christian faith, while
careful at the same time to  foster  and  promote
every  kind of human learning. For learning is in
itself good, and praiseworthy, and desirable; and
further,  all erudition which is the outgrowth of
sound reason, and in conformity with the truth of
things,  serves  not  a little to confirm what we
believe on the  authority  of  God.  The  Church,
truly,   to  our  great  benefit,  has  carefully
preserved the monuments of  ancient  wisdom;  has
opened everywhere homes of science, and has urged
on  intellectual  progress  by   fostering   most
diligently  the  arts by which the culture of our
age is so much  advanced.  Lastly,  we  must  not
forget  that  a  vast  field  lies freely open to
man's industry and genius, containing  all  those
things  which  have  no necessary connection with
Christian faith and morals, or as  to  which  the
Church,   exercising  no  authority,  leaves  the
judgment of the learned free and unconstrained.

29. From all this may be  understood  the  nature
and character of that liberty which the followers
of liberalism so eagerly advocate  and  proclaim.
On  the  one hand, they demand for themselves and
for the State a license which opens  the  way  to
every  perversity  of  opinion; and on the other,
they  hamper   the   Church   in   divers   ways,
restricting  her liberty within narrowest limits,
although from her  teaching  not  only  is  there
nothing  to  be feared, but in every respect very
much to be gained.

30. Another liberty is widely advocated,  namely,
liberty  of  conscience. If by this is meant that
everyone may, as he chooses, worship God or  not,
it  is  sufficiently  refuted  by  the  arguments
already adduced. But it may also be taken to mean
that  every  man in the State may follow the will
of God and, from a consciousness of duty and free
from  every  obstacle,  obey  His commands. This,
indeed, is true liberty, a liberty worthy of  the
sons of God, which nobly maintains the dignity of
man and is stronger than all violence or wrong --
a liberty which the Church has always desired and
held most dear. This is the kind of  liberty  the
Apostles  claimed  for  themselves  with intrepid
constancy, which the apologists  of  Christianity
confirmed   by  their  writings,  and  which  the
martyrs in  vast  numbers  consecrated  by  their
blood.  And  deservedly  so;  for  this Christian
liberty bears witness to the  absolute  and  most
just  dominion  of God over man, and to the chief
and supreme  duty  of  man  toward  God.  It  has
nothing in common with a seditious and rebellious
mind; and in no tittle derogates  from  obedience
to public authority; for the right to command and
to require obedience exists only so far as it  is
in  accordance  with the authority of God, and is
within the measure that He  has  laid  down.  But
when  anything  is  commanded which is plainly at
variance with the will of God, there  is  a  wide
departure  from  this divinely constituted order,
and at the  same  time  a  direct  conflict  with
divine  authority;  therefore, it is right not to

31. By the patrons of  liberalism,  however,  who
make  the  State  absolute  and  omnipotent,  and
proclaim  that   man   should   live   altogether
independently  of  God,  the  liberty of which We
speak, which goes hand in hand  with  virtue  and
religion,  is  not admitted; and whatever is done
for its preservation is accounted an  injury  and
an  offense  against  the  State. Indeed, if what
they say were really  true,  there  would  be  no
tyranny, no matter how monstrous, which we should
not be bound to endure and submit to.

32. The Church most earnestly  desires  that  the
Christian  teaching,  of  which  We have given an
outline, should penetrate every rank  of  society
in  reality  and  in practice; for it would be of
the greatest efficacy in healing the evils of our
day,  which  are  neither few nor slight, and are
the offspring in great part of the false  liberty
which is so much extolled, and in which the germs
of  safety  and  glory  were   supposed   to   be
contained.  The hope has been disappointed by the
result. The fruit, instead  of  being  sweet  and
wholesome,  has  proved  cankered and bitter. If,
then, a remedy is desired, let it be  sought  for
in  a  restoration  of sound doctrine, from which
alone  the  preservation  of  order  and,  as   a
consequence,  the  defense of true liberty can be
confidently expected.

33. Yet, with the discernment of a  true  mother,
the  Church  weighs  the  great  burden  of human
weakness, and well knows the  course  down  which
the  minds and actions of men are in this our age
being borne. For this reason, while not conceding
any  right  to  anything  save  what  is true and
honest, she does not forbid public  authority  to
tolerate  what  is  at  variance  with  truth and
justice, for the sake of  avoiding  some  greater
evil,  or of obtaining or preserving some greater
good.  God  Himself  in  His  providence,  though
infinitely  good  and  powerful,  permits evil to
exist in the world, partly that greater good  may
not  be impeded, and partly that greater evil may
not ensue. In the government of States it is  not
forbidden to imitate the Ruler of the world; and,
as the authority of man is powerless  to  prevent
every  evil,  it  has  (as St. Augustine says) to
overlook and leave unpunished many  things  which
are    punished,    and    rightly,   by   Divine
Providence.[10] But if,  in  such  circumstances,
for  the sake of the common good (and this is the
only legitimate reason), human law  may  or  even
should  tolerate  evil, it may not and should not
approve or desire evil for its own sake; for evil
of  itself, being a privation of good, is opposed
to the common welfare which every  legislator  is
bound  to  desire  and  defend to the best of his
ability. In this,  human  law  must  endeavor  to
imitate  God,  who,  as  St.  Thomas  teaches, in
allowing evil to exist  in  the  world,  "neither
wills  evil  to  be  done, nor wills it not to be
done, but wills only to permit it to be done; and
this  is  good.''[11]  This saying of the Angelic
Doctor contains briefly the whole doctrine of the
permission of evil.

34.  But,  to  judge  aright, we must acknowledge
that, the more a  State  is  driven  to  tolerate
evil, the further is it from perfection; and that
the  tolerance  of  evil  which  is  dictated  by
political prudence should be strictly confined to
the limits which its justifying cause, the public
welfare,  requires.  Wherefore, if such tolerance
would be injurious to  the  public  welfare,  and
entail  greater  evils on the State, it would not
be lawful; for in such case the motive of good is
wanting.   And   although  in  the  extraordinary
condition  of  these  times  the  Church  usually
acquiesces   in  certain  modern  liberties,  not
because  she  prefers  them  in  themselves,  but
because  she  judges it expedient to permit them,
she would  in  happier  times  exercise  her  own
liberty;  and,  by  persuasion,  exhortation, and
entreaty would endeavor,  as  she  is  bound,  to
fulfill  the  duty  assigned  to  her  by  God of
providing for the eternal salvation  of  mankind.
One  thing,  however, remains always true -- that
the liberty which is claimed for all  to  do  all
things  is  not, as We have often said, of itself
desirable, inasmuch as it is contrary  to  reason
that error and truth should have equal rights.

35. And as to tolerance, it is surprising how far
removed from  the  equity  and  prudence  of  the
Church  are  those  who  profess  what  is called
liberalism.  For,  in  allowing  that   boundless
license  of which We have spoken, they exceed all
limits, and end at last  by  making  no  apparent
distinction  between truth and error, honesty and
dishonesty. And because the  Church,  the  pillar
and  ground of truth, and the unerring teacher of
morals,  is  forced  utterly  to  reprobate   and
condemn   tolerance  of  such  an  abandoned  and
criminal character, they calumniate her as  being
wanting in patience and gentleness, and thus fail
to see that, in so doing, they impute to her as a
fault   what   is   in   reality   a  matter  for
commendation. But, in spite of all this  show  of
tolerance, it very often happens that, while they
profess themselves ready to lavish liberty on all
in  the  greatest  profusion,  they  are  utterly
intolerant  toward  the   Catholic   Church,   by
refusing  to  allow  her  the  liberty  of  being
herself free.

36. And now to reduce for clearness' sake to  its
principal  heads all that has been set forth with
its immediate conclusions, the summing up in this
briefly:  that man, by a necessity of his nature,
is wholly subject to the most faithful  and  ever
enduring   power   of   God;   and   that,  as  a
consequence,  any  liberty,  except  that   which
consists  in  submission to God and in subjection
to His  will,  is  unintelligible.  To  deny  the
existence  of this authority in God, or to refuse
to submit to it, means to act, not as a free man,
but  as  one  who treasonably abuses his liberty;
and in such a disposition of mind the  chief  and
deadly  vice  of liberalism essentially consists.
The form, however, of the sin is manifold; for in
more  ways  and  degrees  than  one  can the will
depart from the obedience which is due to God  or
to those who share the divine power.

37.  For, to reject the supreme authority to God,
and to cast off all obedience to  Him  in  public
matters, or even in private and domestic affairs,
is the greatest perversion  of  liberty  and  the
worst  kind  of liberalism; and what We have said
must be understood to apply to this alone in  its
fullest sense.

38.  Next  comes  the  system  of those who admit
indeed the duty of submitting to God, the Creator
and Ruler of the world, inasmuch as all nature is
dependent on His will, but who boldly reject  all
laws  of faith and morals which are above natural
reason, but are revealed by the authority of God;
or  who  at least impudently assert that there is
no reason why regard  should  be  paid  to  these
laws,  at  any  rate  publicly, by the State. How
mistaken   these   men   also   are,   and    how
inconsistent,  we  have  seen  above.  From  this
teaching, as from its source and principle, flows
that  fatal principle of the separation of Church
and State; whereas it is, on the contrary,  clear
that   the   two  powers,  though  dissimilar  in
functions   and   unequal   in   degree,    ought
nevertheless  to  live  in concord, by harmony in
their action and the faithful discharge of  their
respective duties.

39.  But this teaching is understood in two ways.
Many wish the State  to  be  separated  from  the
Church  wholly  and entirely, so that with regard
to every right of human society, in institutions,
customs,  and laws, the offices of State, and the
education of youth, they would pay no more regard
to  the Church than if she did not exist; and, at
most, would allow the  citizens  individually  to
attend to their religion in private if so minded.
Against such as these, all the arguments by which
We disprove the principle of separation of Church
and State are conclusive; with this  super-added,
that  it is absurd the citizen should respect the
Church, while the State may hold her in contempt.

40.  Others  oppose  not  the  existence  of  the
Church,  nor  indeed could they; yet they despoil
her  of  the  nature  and  rights  of  a  perfect
society,  and maintain that it does not belong to
her to legislate, to judge,  or  to  punish,  but
only  to  exhort,  to  advise,  and  to  rule her
subjects in accordance with their own consent and
will.  By such opinion they pervert the nature of
this divine society, and attenuate and narrow its
authority,  its  office of teacher, and its whole
efficiency; and at the same time they  aggrandize
the  power of the civil government to such extent
as to subject the Church of God to the empire and
sway of the State, like any voluntary association
of citizens. To refute completely such  teaching,
the  arguments  often  used  by  the defenders of
Christianity, and set forth by Us, especially  in
the  encyclical  letter Immortale Dei,[12] are of
great avail; for by those arguments it is  proved
that, by a divine provision, all the rights which
essentially  belong  to   a   society   that   is
legitimate, supreme, and perfect in all its parts
exist in the Church.

41. Lastly, there remain those who, while they do
not  approve  the separation of Church and State,
think nevertheless that the Church ought to adapt
herself  to  the  times  and  conform  to what is
required by the modern system of government. Such
an opinion is sound, if it is to be understood of
some equitable adjustment consistent  with  truth
and  justice; in so far, namely, that the Church,
in the hope of some great good, may show  herself
indulgent, and may conform to the times in so far
as her sacred office permits. But it is not so in
regard   to   practices  and  doctrines  which  a
perversion of morals and a warped  judgment  have
unlawfully   introduced.   Religion,  truth,  and
justice must ever be maintained; and, as God  has
intrusted  these  great and sacred matters to her
office as to dissemble in regard to what is false
or  unjust,  or  to connive at what is hurtful to

42. From what has been said it follows that it is
quite  unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant
unconditional freedom of thought, of  speech,  or
writing,  or of worship, as if these were so many
rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had
really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse
obedience to God, and there would be no restraint
on   human  liberty.  It  likewise  follows  that
freedom in these things may be tolerated wherever
there   is   just   cause,  but  only  with  such
moderation as will prevent its degenerating  into
license and excess. And, where such liberties are
in use, men should employ them in doing good, and
should  estimate  them  as  the  Church does; for
liberty is to be regarded as legitimate in so far
only  as  it  affords  greater facility for doing
good, but no farther.

43. Whenever there exists, or there is reason  to
fear,  an  unjust oppression of the people on the
one hand, or a deprivation of the liberty of  the
Church  on  the  other,  it is lawful to seek for
such a change of government as will  bring  about
due liberty of action. In such case, an excessive
and vicious liberty is not sought, but only  some
relief,  for  the  common welfare, in order that,
while license for evil is allowed by  the  State,
the power of doing good may not be hindered.

44.  Again, it is not of itself wrong to prefer a
democratic  form  of  government,  if  only   the
Catholic  doctrine be maintained as to the origin
and exercise of power. Of the  various  forms  of
government,  the  Church does not reject any that
are fitted to procure the welfare of the subject;
she   wishes  only  --  and  this  nature  itself
requires  --  that  they  should  be  constituted
without   involving   wrong   to   any  one,  and
especially without violating the  rights  of  the

45.  Unless it be otherwise determined, by reason
of some exceptional condition of  things,  it  is
expedient  to  take part in the administration of
public affairs. And the Church approves of  every
one devoting his services to the common good, and
doing  all  that  he   can   for   the   defense,
preservation, and prosperity of his country.

46. Neither does the Church condemn those who, if
it can be done without violation of justice, wish
to  make their country independent of any foreign
or despotic power. Nor does she blame  those  who
wish   to  assign  to  the  State  the  power  of
self-government, and to its citizens the greatest
possible  measure  of  prosperity. The Church has
always most faithfully  fostered  civil  liberty,
and  this  was  seen  especially in Italy, in the
municipal prosperity, and wealth, and glory which
were  obtained  at a time when the salutary power
of the Church has spread, without opposition,  to
all parts of the State.

47. These things, venerable brothers, which under
the  guidance  of  faith  and  reason,   in   the
discharge  of  Our  Apostolic office, We have now
delivered to you, We  hope,  especially  by  your
cooperation  with  Us,  will  be useful unto very
many. In lowliness of heart We raise Our eyes  in
supplication to God, and earnestly beseech Him to
shed mercifully the light of His  wisdom  and  of
His  counsel  upon  men, so that, strengthened by
these heavenly gifts, they may in matters of such
moment  discern what is true, and may afterwards,
in public and  private  at  all  times  and  with
unshaken  constancy,  live in accordance with the
truth. As a pledge of these heavenly  gifts,  and
in  witness  of  Our  good will to you, venerable
brothers, and to the clergy and people  committed
to  each  of  you,  We most lovingly grant in the
Lord the apostolic benediction.

Given at St. Peter's in Rome, the  twentieth  day
of June, 1888, the tenth year of Our Pontificate.


*  1.  Ecclus.15:14.  * 2. See no. 93:37-38. * 3.
John 8:34. * 4. Thomas Aquinas, On the Gospel  of
St.  John,  cap.  viii, lect. 4, n. 3 (ed. Vives,
Vol. 20,  p.  95).  *  5.  Augustine,  De  libero
arbitrio,  lib. 1, cap. 6, n. 15 (PL 32, 1229). *
6. Rom.13:2. * 7. Summa theologiae, lla-llae,  q.
Ixxxi,  a.  6.  Answer. * 8. John 6:45. * 9. John
8:32. * 10. Augustine, De libero  arbitrio,  lib.
1,  cap.  6,  n.  14  (PL  32, 1228). * 11. Summa
theologiae, la, q. xix, a. 9, ad 3m.  *  12.  See
no.  93:8-11.  var  site  3D"s20papal"  0A  0A 0A
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Freemasonry must die, or liberty must die." -- Charles G. Finney


"Those who sin are slaves, and slaves have no rights." -- Jesus Christ, John 8:34

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