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"Tear away the mask from Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII
Notre Charge Apostolique

"Our Apostolic Mandate"

Given by Pope Pius X to the French Bishops August
15, 1910

Our Apostolic Mandate requires from  Us  that  We
watch  over  the  purity  of  the  Faith  and the
integrity of  Catholic  discipline.  It  requires
from  Us  that  We protect the faithful from evil
and error; especially so when evil and error  are
presented  in  dynamic language which, concealing
vague  notions  and  ambiguous  expressions  with
emotional  and  high-sounding words, is likely to
set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals
which,   whilst   attractive,   are   nonetheless
nefarious.  Such  were  not  so  long   ago   the
doctrines  of  the  so-called philosophers of the
18th century, the doctrines of the Revolution and
Liberalism  which  have  been so often condemned;
such are even today the theories  of  the  Sillon
which,    under   the   glowing   appearance   of
generosity, are all too often wanting in clarity,
logic  and truth. These theories do not belong to
the Catholic or, for that matter, to  the  French

We  have long debated, Venerable Brethren, before
We decided to solemnly  and  publicly  speak  Our
mind  on  the  Sillon.  Only  when  your  concern
augmented Our own did We decide to do so. For  We
love,  indeed, the valiant young people who fight
under the  Sillon's  banner,  and  We  deem  them
worthy of praise and admiration in many respects.
We love their leaders, whom  We  are  pleased  to
acknowledge  as  noble  souls  on  a  level above
vulgar passions, and inspired  with  the  noblest
form  of  enthusiasm in their quest for goodness.
You have seen, Venerable  Brethren,  how,  imbued
with  a  living realization of the brotherhood of
men, and supported in their selfless  efforts  by
their   love   of   Jesus  Christ  and  a  strict
observance of their religious duties, they sought
out  those  who  labor and suffer in order to set
them on their feet again.

This was shortly after Our Predecessor  Leo  XIII
of   happy   memory  had  issued  his  remarkable
Encyclical on the condition of the working class.
Speaking  through  her supreme leader, the Church
had just poured out  of  the  tenderness  of  her
motherly  love over the humble and the lowly, and
it looked as though she was calling  out  for  an
ever  growing  number  of people to labor for the
restoration of order and justice  in  our  uneasy
society.  Was  it  not  opportune,  then, for the
leaders of the Sillon to come forward  and  place
at  the  service  of  the  Church their troops of
young believers who could fulfill her wishes  and
her  hopes?  And,  in  fact, the Sillon did raise
among the workers the standard of  Jesus  Christ,
the  symbol of salvation for peoples and nations.
Nourishing its social action at the  fountain  of
divine   grace,  it  did  impose  a  respect  for
religion   upon   the   least   willing   groups,
accustoming  the  ignorant  and  the  impious  to
hearing the Word of God. And, not seldom,  during
public  debates, stung by a question, or sarcasm,
you saw them jumping to their  feet  and  proudly
proclaiming  their faith in the face of a hostile
audience. This was the heyday of the Sillon;  its
brighter side accounts for the encouragement, and
tokens of approval, which  the  bishops  and  the
Holy  See  gave  liberally  when  this  religious
fervor was still obscuring the true nature of the
Sillonist movement.

For it must be said, Venerable Brethren, that our
expectations  have  been  frustrated   in   large
measure.  The  day came when perceptive observers
could discern alarming trends within the  Sillon;
the Sillon was losing its way. Could it have been
otherwise?  Its  leaders  were  young,  full   of
enthusiasm and self-confidence. But they were not
adequately equipped  with  historical  knowledge,
sound  philosophy,  and  solid theology to tackle
without danger the difficult social  problems  in
which  their  work  and  their  inclinations were
involving  them.  They  were   not   sufficiently
equipped   to  be  on  their  guard  against  the
penetration of liberal and Protestant concepts on
doctrine and obedience.

They  were  given  no  small  measure  of advice.
Admonition came after  the  advice  but,  to  Our
sorrow,  both  advice  and reproaches ran off the
sheath of their elusive souls,  and  were  of  no
avail.  Things came to such a pass that We should
be failing  in  Our  duty  if  kept  silence  any
longer.  We owe the truth to Our dear sons of the
Sillon who are carried  away  by  their  generous
ardor  along  the  path  strewn  with  errors and
dangers. We owe the truth to a  large  number  of
seminarists  and priests who have been drawn away
by the Sillon, if  not  from  the  authority,  at
least  from  the  guidance  and  influence of the
bishops. We owe it also to the  Church  in  which
the  Sillon is sowing discord and whose interests
it endangers.

In the first place We must take  up  sharply  the
pretension   of   the   Sillon   to   escape  the
jurisdiction of ecclesiastical authority. Indeed,
the  leaders  of  the  Sillon claim that they are
working in a field  which  is  not  that  of  the
Church; they claim that they are pursuing aims in
the temporal order only  and  not  those  of  the
spiritual  order;  that the Sillonist is simply a
Catholic devoted to the betterment of the working
class and to democratic endeavors by drawing from
the practice of his  faith  the  energy  for  his
selfless  efforts.  They claim that, neither more
nor  less  than  a  Catholic  craftsman,  farmer,
economist or politician, the Sillonist is subject
to common  standards  of  behavior,  yet  without
being  bound in a special manner by the authority
of the Church.

To reply to these fallacies is only to easy;  for
whom  will  they  make  believe that the Catholic
Sillonists, the priests and seminarists  enrolled
in  their  ranks  have  in  sight in their social
work, only the temporal interests of the  working
class?  To  maintain  this, We think, would be an
insult to them. The truth is that  the  Sillonist
leaders   are  self-confessed  and  irrepressible
idealists; they claim to regenerate  the  working
class  by  first elevating the conscience of Man;
they  have  a  social  doctrine,  and  they  have
religious  and  philosophical  principles for the
reconstruction of society upon  new  foundations;
they   have  a  particular  conception  of  human
dignity, freedom, justice and  brotherhood;  and,
in  an  attempt  to  justify their social dreams,
they put forward the Gospel, but  interpreted  in
their  own  way;  and  what is even more serious,
they call to witness Christ, but a diminished and
distorted Christ. Further, they teach these ideas
in their study groups, and  inculcate  them  upon
their  friends, and they also introduce them into
their  working  procedures.  Therefore  they  are
really professors of social, civic, and religious
morals;  and  whatever  modifications  they   may
introduce  in  the  organization of the Sillonist
movement, we have the right to say that the  aims
of  the  Sillon,  its  character  and  its action
belong to the field of morals which is the proper
domain  of  the  Church. In view of all this, the
Sillonist  are  deceiving  themselves  when  they
believe  that  they  are  working in a field that
lies outside the limits of Church  authority  and
of its doctrinal and directive power.

Even if their doctrines were free from errors, it
would still be a very serious breach of  Catholic
discipline  to  decline obstinately the direction
of  those  who  have  received  from  heaven  the
mission  to  guide  individuals  and  communities
along the straight path of  truth  and  goodness.
But,  as  We have already said, the evil lies far
deeper;  the   Sillon,   carried   away   by   an
ill-conceived  love for the weak, has fallen into

Indeed, the  Sillon  proposes  to  raise  up  and
re-educate the working class. But in this respect
the principles of  Catholic  doctrine  have  been
defined,    and    the   history   of   Christian
civilization bears witness  to  their  beneficent
fruitfulness.  Our  Predecessor  of  happy memory
re-affirmed them in masterly documents,  and  all
Catholics  dealing with social questions have the
duty to study them and to keep them in  mind.  He
taught,   among  other  things,  that  “Christian
Democracy must preserve the diversity of  classes
which  is  assuredly  the  attribute of a soundly
constituted State, and it must seek to give human
society  the  form  and  character which God, its
Author, has  imparted  to  it.”  Our  Predecessor
denounced  “A certain Democracy which goes so far
in wickedness as  to  place  sovereignty  in  the
people and aims at the suppression of classes and
their leveling down.” At the same time, Leo  XIII
laid  down for Catholics a program of action, the
only program capable of putting society back onto
its  centuries old Christian basis. But what have
the leaders of the Sillon  done?  Not  only  have
they  adopted  a  program  and teaching different
from that of Leo XIII (which would be of itself a
singularly  audacious  decision  on  the  part of
laymen  thus  taking  up,  concurrent  with   the
Sovereign Pontiff, the role of director of social
action in  the  Church);  but  they  have  openly
rejected  the  program  laid out by Leo XIII, and
have  adopted  another  which  is   diametrically
opposed  to it. Further, they reject the doctrine
recalled by Leo XIII on the essential  principles
of  society;  they place authority in the people,
or gradually suppress it  and  strive,  as  their
ideal,   to  effect  the  leveling  down  of  the
classes.  In  opposition  to  Catholic  doctrine,
therefore,   they   are   proceeding   towards  a
condemned ideal.

We know well that they  flatter  themselves  with
the   idea  of  raising  human  dignity  and  the
discredited condition of the  working  class.  We
know  that  they  wish to render just and perfect
the  labor  laws  and   the   relations   between
employers  and  employees,  thus  causing  a more
complete justice and a greater measure of charity
to   prevail  upon  earth,  and  causing  also  a
profound and fruitful transformation  in  society
by  which  mankind  would  make  an  undreamed-of
progress.  Certainly,  We  do  not  blame   these
efforts; they would be excellent in every respect
if the Sillonist did not forget that  a  person’s
progress   consists  in  developing  his  natural
abilities by fresh motivations; that it  consists
also  in  permitting these motivations to operate
within the frame of, and in conformity with,  the
laws  of  human  nature. But, on the contrary, by
ignoring the laws governing human nature  and  by
breaking  the  bounds  within which they operate,
the human person is lead,  not  toward  progress,
but  towards  death.  This, nevertheless, is what
they want to do with human society; they dream of
changing its natural and traditional foundations;
they dream of a Future City  built  on  different
principles,  and they dare to proclaim these more
fruitful and more beneficial than the  principles
upon which the present Christian City rests.

No,  Venerable  Brethren, We must repeat with the
utmost  energy  in  these  times  of  social  and
intellectual  anarchy when everyone takes it upon
himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker -  the
City  cannot  be  built otherwise than as God has
built it; society  cannot  be  setup  unless  the
Church  lays  the  foundations and supervises the
work; no, civilization is not something yet to be
found,  nor  is  the New City to be built on hazy
notions; it has been in existence and  still  is:
it  is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic
City. It has only  to  be  set  up  and  restored
continually  against  the  unremitting attacks of
insane dreamers,  rebels  and  miscreants.  OMNIA

Now,  lest  We  be accused of judging too hastily
and with unjustified rigor the  social  doctrines
of the Sillon, We wish to examine their essential

The Sillon has a praise-worthy concern for  human
dignity,  but it understands human dignity in the
manner of some philosophers, of whom  the  Church
does  not  at all feel proud. The first condition
of that dignity is liberty,  but  viewed  in  the
sense that, except in religious matters, each man
is autonomous. This is the basis  principle  from
which the Sillon draws further conclusions: today
the people are in  tutelage  under  an  authority
distinct  from  themselves;  they  must  liberate
themselves: political emancipation. They are also
dependent  upon  employers  who  own the means of
production,  exploit,  oppress  and  degrade  the
workers;  they  must shake off the yoke: economic
emancipation. Finally, they are ruled by a  caste
preponderance  in  the  direction of affairs. The
people  must  break  away  from  this   dominion:
intellectual  emancipation.  The leveling-down of
differences from this three-fold  point  of  view
will  bring  about  equality  among men, and such
equality is  viewed  as  true  human  justice.  A
socio-political   set-up  resting  on  these  two
pillars  of  Liberty  and  Equality   (to   which
Fraternity will presently be added), is what they
call Democracy.

However, liberty and equality are, so  to  speak,
no more than a negative side. The distinctive and
positive aspect of Democracy is to  be  found  in
the largest possible participation of everyone in
the government of public affairs.  And  this,  in
turn,   comprises  a  three-fold  aspect,  namely
political, economical, and moral.

At first, the Sillon does  not  wish  to  abolish
political   authority;   on   the   contrary,  it
considers it necessary; but it wishes  to  divide
it,  or  rather to multiply it in such a way that
each  citizen  will  become  a  kind   of   king.
Authority,  so  they concede, comes from God, but
it resides primarily in the people and  expresses
itself by means of elections or, better still, by
selection. However, it still remains in the hands
of  the people; it does not escape their control.
It will be an external  authority,  yet  only  in
appearance;  in fact, it will be internal because
it will be an authority assented to.

All other things being equal, the same  principle
will  apply  to  economics.  Taken  away  from  a
specific  group,  management  will  be  so   well
multiplied that each worker will himself become a
kind of employer. The system by which the  Sillon
intends  to  actualize this economic ideal is not
Sillonism, they say; it is a system of guilds  in
a   number  large  enough  to  induce  a  healthy
competition   and   to   protect   the   workers’
independence;  in  this  manner, they will not be
bound to any guild in particular.

We come now to the principal  aspect,  the  moral
aspect. Since, as we have seen, authority is much
reduced, another force is necessary to supplement
it  and  to  provide  a  permanent  counterweight
against   individual   selfishness.   This    new
principle,   this   force,   is   the   love   of
professional interest  and  of  public  interest,
that  is  to say, the love of the very end of the
profession and of society. Visualize a society in
which,  in  the  soul of everyone, along with the
innate  love  of  personal  interest  and  family
welfare,  prevails  love for one’s occupation and
for the welfare of the  community.  Imagine  this
society  in which, in the conscience of everyone,
personal and family interests are so  subordinate
that  a superior interest always takes precedence
over them. Could not such  a  society  almost  do
without  any  authority?  And would it not be the
embodiment of the ideal of  human  dignity,  with
each  citizen having the soul of a king, and each
worker the soul of a master? Snatched  away  from
the pettiness of private interests, and raised up
to the interests  of  the  profession  and,  even
higher,  to those of the whole nation and, higher
still, to those of the whole human race (for  the
Sillon's  field  of  vision  is  not bound by the
national borders, it encompasses all men even  to
the ends of the earth), the human heart, enlarged
by the love of the common-wealth,  would  embrace
all   comrades   of   the  same  profession,  all
compatriots, all men. Such is the ideal of  human
greatness and nobility to be attained through the
famous  popular   trilogy:   LIBERTY,   EQUALITY,

These three elements, namely political, economic,
and moral, are inter-dependent and,  as  We  have
said,  the  moral element is dominant. Indeed, no
political Democracy can  survive  if  it  is  not
anchored  to  an  economic Democracy. But neither
one nor the other is possible if it is not rooted
in  awareness  by  the  human conscience of being
invested with moral responsibilities and energies
mutually  commensurate. But granted the existence
of  that  awareness,  so  created  by   conscious
responsibilities  and  moral  forces, the kind of
Democracy arising from it will naturally  reflect
in  deeds the consciousness and moral forces from
which it flows. In  the  same  manner,  political
Democracy  will  also  issue from the trade-guild
system.  Thus,  both   political   and   economic
Democracies,  the latter bearing the former, will
be fastened in  the  very  consciousness  of  the
people to unshakable bases.

To  sum up, such is the theory, one could say the
dream  of  the  Sillon;  and  that  is  what  its
teaching  aims  at,  what it calls the democratic
education of the people, that is, raising to  its
maximum  the  conscience and civic responsibility
of every one, from which will result economic and
political  Democracy  and  the  reign of JUSTICE,

This brief explanation, Venerable Brethren,  will
show  you  clearly how much reason We have to say
that the Sillon  opposes  doctrine  to  doctrine,
that  it  seeks  to  build  its  City on a theory
contrary to Catholic truth,  and  that  falsifies
the  basis  and  essential notions which regulate
social  relations  in  any  human  society.   The
following    considerations    will   make   this
opposition even more evident.

The Sillon places public authority  primarily  in
the  people,  from  whom  it  then flows into the
government in such a  manner,  however,  that  it
continues  to  reside in the people. But Leo XIII
absolutely  condemned  this   doctrine   in   his
Encyclical   “Diuturnum   Illud”   on   political
government in which he said:

“Modern writers in great  numbers,  following  in
the  footsteps  of  those  who  called themselves
philosophers in the last  century,  declare  that
all  power  comes  from  the people; consequently
those  who  exercise  power  in  society  do  not
exercise it from their own authority, but from an
authority delegated to them by the people and  on
the  condition that it can be revoked by the will
of the people  from  whom  they  hold  it.  Quite
contrary  is  the sentiment of Catholics who hold
that the right of government derives from God  as
its natural and necessary principle.”

Admittedly,  the  Sillon  holds  that authority -
which first places in the people - descends  from
God,  but in such a way: “as to return from below
upwards, whilst in the organization of the Church
power descends from above downwards.”

But besides its being abnormal for the delegation
of power to ascend, since it is in its nature  to
descend, Leo XIII refuted in advance this attempt
to reconcile Catholic Doctrine with the error  of
philosophism. For, he continues: “It is necessary
to remark here that those who  preside  over  the
government  of  public  affairs  may  indeed,  in
certain cases, be chosen by the will and judgment
of the multitude without repugnance or opposition
to Catholic  doctrine.  But  whilst  this  choice
marks  out the ruler, it does not confer upon him
the authority to govern; it does not delegate the
power,  it  designates  the  person  who  will be
invested with it.”

For the rest, if the people remain the holders of
power,  what  becomes  of  authority? A shadow, a
myth; there is no more law properly so-called, no
more  obedience.  The  Sillon  acknowledges this:
indeed,   since   it   demands   that   threefold
political,     economic,     and     intellectual
emancipation in the name of  human  dignity,  the
Future  City  in  the  formation  of  which it is
engaged will have no masters and no servants. All
citizens will be free; all comrades, all kings. A
command, a precept would be viewed as  an  attack
upon  their freedom; subordination to any form of
superiority would be a diminishment of the  human
person,  and  obedience a disgrace. Is it in this
manner, Venerable Brethren, that the  traditional
doctrine   of   the   Church   represents  social
relations, even in the most perfect society?  Has
not  every  community  of  people,  dependent and
unequal by nature, need of an authority to direct
their  activity  towards  the  common good and to
enforce its laws? And if perverse individuals are
to  be  found  in  a  community (and there always
are), should not authority be all the stronger as
the   selfishness   of   the   wicked   is   more
threatening?  Further,  -  unless   one   greatly
deceives  oneself  in the conception of liberty -
can it be  said  with  an  atom  of  reason  that
authority  and  liberty are incompatible? Can one
teach that obedience is contrary to human dignity
and  that  the  ideal  would  be to replace it by
“accepted  authority”?  Did  not  St.  Paul   the
Apostle foresee human society in all its possible
stages of development when he bade  the  faithful
to  be subject to every authority? Does obedience
to men as the legitimate representatives of  God,
that  is  to say in the final analysis, obedience
to God, degrade Man and reduce  him  to  a  level
unworthy  of himself? Is the religious life which
is based on obedience, contrary to the  ideal  of
human nature? Were the Saints - the most obedient
men, just slaves and  degenerates?  Finally,  can
you  imagine  social  conditions  in  which Jesus
Christ, if He returned to earth, would  not  give
an  example  of  obedience and, further, would no
longer say: “Render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” ?

Teaching such doctrines, and applying them to its
internal  organization,  the  Sillon,  therefore,
sows  erroneous  and  fatal notions on authority,
liberty and obedience, among your Catholic youth.
The  same  is  true  of justice and equality; the
Sillon says that it is striving to  establish  an
era  of  equality which, by that very fact, would
be also an era of greater justice. Thus,  to  the
Sillon,  every  inequality  of  condition  is  an
injustice, or at least, a diminution of  justice?
Here  we  have a principle that conflicts sharply
with the nature of things, a principle  conducive
to  jealously,  injustice,  and subversive to any
social order. Thus, Democracy  alone  will  bring
about  the  reign of perfect justice! Is this not
an insult to other forms of government which  are
thereby   debased   to   the   level  of  sterile
makeshifts? Besides, the  Sillonists  once  again
clash  on  this  point  with  the teaching of Leo
XIII. In the Encyclical on  political  government
which  We  have  already  quoted, they could have
read this: “Justice being preserved,  it  is  not
forbidden  to the people to choose for themselves
the form of  government  which  best  corresponds
with their character or with the institutions and
customs handed down by their forefathers.”

And  the  Encyclical   alludes   to   the   three
well-known  forms  of  government,  thus implying
that justice is compatible with any of them.  And
does  not  the Encyclical on the condition of the
working class state clearly that justice  can  be
restored  within  the  existing  social  set-up -
since  it  indicates  the  means  of  doing   so?
Undoubtedly,  Leo  XIII  did not mean to speak of
some form of justice,  but  of  perfect  justice.
Therefore,  when  he  said  that justice could be
found in any of  the  three  aforesaid  forms  of
government,  he was teaching that in this respect
Democracy does not enjoy a special privilege. The
Sillonists who maintain the opposite view, either
turn a deaf ear to the teaching of the Church  or
form  for  themselves  an  idea  of  justice  and
equality which is not Catholic.

The same applies  to  the  notion  of  Fraternity
which  they  found on the love of common interest
or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the
mere  notion  of humanity, thus embracing with an
equal love and tolerance  all  human  beings  and
their  miseries,  whether these are intellectual,
moral, or physical  and  temporal.  But  Catholic
doctrine  tells  us  that  the  primary  duty  of
charity does not lie in the toleration  of  false
ideas,  however  sincere  they may be, nor in the
theoretical or practical indifference towards the
errors  and  vices  in  which we see our brethren
plunged, but in the zeal for  their  intellectual
and  moral  improvement  as  well  as  for  their
material well-being.  Catholic  doctrine  further
tells  us  that  love for our neighbor flows from
our love for God, Who is Father to all, and  goal
of  the  whole  human family; and in Jesus Christ
whose members we are, to the point that in  doing
good  to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ
Himself.  Any  other  kind  of  love   is   sheer
illusion, sterile and fleeting.

Indeed, we have the human experience of pagan and
secular societies  of  ages  past  to  show  that
concern  for  common  interests  or affinities of
nature weigh very little against the passions and
wild   desires   of   the  heart.  No,  Venerable
Brethren, there is no genuine fraternity  outside
Christian  charity.  Through  the love of God and
His  Son  Jesus  Christ  Our  Saviour,  Christian
charity embraces all men, comforts all, and leads
all  to  the  same  faith   and   same   heavenly

By  separating  fraternity from Christian charity
thus understood,  Democracy,  far  from  being  a
progress,  would mean a disastrous step backwards
for civilization. If, as We desire with  all  Our
heart,  the  highest  possible peak of well being
for society and its members  is  to  be  attained
through  fraternity  or,  as  it  is also called,
universal solidarity, all minds must be united in
the  knowledge  of  Truth,  all  wills  united in
morality, and all hearts in the love of  God  and
His   Son   Jesus   Christ.  But  this  union  is
attainable only by Catholic charity, and that  is
why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in
the  march  of   progress   towards   the   ideal

Finally,  at  the  root of all their fallacies on
social  questions,  lie  the   false   hopes   of
Sillonists  on  human dignity. According to them,
Man will be a man truly worthy of the  name  only
when  he  has acquired a strong, enlightened, and
independent consciousness, able to do  without  a
master,  obeying only himself, and able to assume
the  most  demanding   responsibilities   without
faltering.  Such are the big words by which human
pride is exalted, like a dream carrying Man  away
without light, without guidance, and without help
into the realm of illusion in which  he  will  be
destroyed  by  his  errors  and  passions  whilst
awaiting   the   glorious   day   of   his   full
consciousness.  And  that great day, when will it
come? Unless human nature can be  changed,  which
is  not  within the power of the Sillonists, will
that day ever come? Did the  Saints  who  brought
human  dignity to its highest point, possess that
kind of dignity? And what of the  lowly  of  this
earth  who  are  unable  to raise so high but are
content to plow  their  furrow  modestly  at  the
level  where Providence placed them? They who are
diligently   discharging   their   duties    with
Christian  humility, obedience, and patience, are
they not also worthy of being  called  men?  Will
not  Our  Lord  take  them  one  day out of their
obscurity and place them in  heaven  amongst  the
princes of His people?

We  close  here Our observations on the errors of
the Sillon. We do not claim to have exhausted the
subject, for We should yet draw your attention to
other  points  that   are   equally   false   and
dangerous, for example on the manner to interpret
the concept of the coercive power of the  Church.
But  We  must  now examine the influence of these
errors upon the practical conduct  and  upon  the
social action of the Sillon.

The  Sillonist  doctrines are not kept within the
domain of abstract philosophy; they are taught to
Catholic  youth and, even worse, efforts are made
to apply them in everyday  life.  The  Sillon  is
regarded  as  the nucleus of the Future City and,
accordingly, it is being made  to  its  image  as
much  as  possible.  Indeed,  the  Sillon  has no
hierarchy. The governing elite has  emerged  from
the  rank  and  file  by  selection,  that is, by
imposing itself through its moral  authority  and
its  virtues.  People  join it freely, and freely
they  may  leave  it.  Studies  are  carried  out
without  a  master,  at  the  very  most, with an
adviser. The study groups are really intellectual
pools in which each member is at once both master
and  student.  The   most   complete   fellowship
prevails  amongst  its  members,  and draws their
souls into close communion: hence the common soul
of the Sillon. It has been called a "friendship".
Even the priest, on entering, lowers the  eminent
dignity  of  his  priesthood  and,  by  a strange
reversal of roles,  becomes  a  student,  placing
himself on a level with his young friends, and is
no more than a comrade.

In these democratic practices and in the theories
of  the Ideal City from which they flow, you will
recognize, Venerable Brethren, the  hidden  cause
of  the lack of discipline with which you have so
often had to  reproach  the  Sillon.  It  is  not
surprising that you do not find among the leaders
and  their  comrades  trained  on  these   lines,
whether  seminarists or priests, the respect, the
docility, and the obedience which are due to your
authority and to yourselves; not is it surprising
that you should be  conscious  of  an  underlying
opposition  on  their  part,  and  that,  to your
sorrow, you should see them  withdraw  altogether
from  works which are not those of the Sillon or,
if compelled under obedience,  that  they  should
comply  with distaste. You are the past; they are
the pioneers of the civilization of  the  future.
You represent the hierarchy, social inequalities,
authority, and obedience - worn out  institutions
to which their hearts, captured by another ideal,
can no longer submit to. Occurrences so sad as to
bring  tears  to  Our  eyes  bear witness to this
frame of  mind.  And  we  cannot,  with  all  Our
patience, overcome a just feeling of indignation.
Now then! Distrust of the Church,  their  Mother,
is  being  instilled  into  the minds of Catholic
youth; they are being taught that after  nineteen
centuries  She  has not yet been able to build up
in this world a society on true foundations;  She
has   not   understood   the  social  notions  of
authority,  liberty,  equality,  fraternity   and
human  dignity;  they  are  told  that  the great
Bishops and Kings, who have made France  what  it
is  and  governed it so gloriously, have not been
able to give their people true justice  and  true
happiness   because  they  did  not  possess  the
Sillonist Ideal!

The breath of the Revolution has passed this way,
and  We  can  conclude  that,  whilst  the social
doctrines of the Sillon are erroneous, its spirit
is dangerous and its education disastrous.

But  then,  what are we to think of its action in
the Church? What are we to think of a movement so
punctilious  in  its  brand  of Catholicism that,
unless you embrace its cause, you would almost be
regarded  as an internal enemy of the Church, and
you would understand nothing of the Gospel and of
Jesus  Christ!  We deem it necessary to insist on
that point because it is precisely  its  Catholic
ardor  which  has  secured  for  the Sillon until
quite recently, valuable encouragements  and  the
support   of  distinguished  persons.  Well  now!
judging  the  words  and  the  deeds,   We   feel
compelled  to  say that in its actions as well as
in  its  doctrine,  the  Sillon  does  not   give
satisfaction to the Church.

In  the  first  place,  its  brand of Catholicism
accepts only the democratic  form  of  government
which  it  considers  the  most  favorable to the
Church and, so to speak, identifies it with  her.
The  Sillon , therefore, subjects its religion to
a political party. We do not have to  demonstrate
here that the advent of universal Democracy is of
no concern to the action of  the  Church  in  the
world;  we  have already recalled that the Church
has always left to the nations the care of giving
themselves  the  form  of  government  which they
think most suited to their needs. What We wish to
affirm once again, after Our Predecessor, is that
it  is  an  error  and  a  danger  to  bind  down
Catholicism  by principle to a particular form of
government. This error and this  danger  are  all
the  greater  when  Religion is associated with a
kind of Democracy whose doctrines are false.  But
this is what the Sillon is doing. For the sake of
a particular political form, it  compromises  the
Church,   it   sows   division  among  Catholics,
snatches away young people and even  priests  and
seminarists  from  purely Catholic action, and is
wasting away as a dead loss part  of  the  living
forces of the nation.

And,  behold,  Venerable  Brethren, an astounding
contradiction: It is precisely  because  religion
ought  to  transcend  all  parties,  and it is in
appealing to  this  principle,  that  the  Sillon
abstains  from  defending the beleaguered Church.
Certainly, it is not the  Church  that  has  gone
into  the political arena: they have dragged here
there to mutilate and to despoil her. Is  it  not
the  duty  of  every  Catholic,  then, to use the
political weapons which he holds, to defend  her?
Is  it  not a duty to confine politics to its own
domain and to leave the Church  alone  except  in
order to give her that which is her due? Well, at
the sight of  the  violences  thus  done  to  the
Church,   we   are   often  grieved  to  see  the
Sillonists folding their arms except when  it  is
to  their  advantage  to  defend her; we see them
dictate or maintain a program which  nowhere  and
in  no  degree  can  be called Catholic. Yet this
does not prevent the same men, when fully engaged
in  political  strife and spurred by provocation,
from publicly proclaiming their faith.  What  are
we to say except that there are two different men
in  the  Sillonist;  the   individual,   who   is
Catholic,  and  the Sillonist, the man of action,
who is neutral!

There was a time when the Sillon,  as  such,  was
truly Catholic. It recognized but one moral force
- Catholicism; and the Sillonists  were  wont  to
proclaim that Democracy would have to be Catholic
or would not exist at all. A time came when  they
changed  their  minds.  They left to each one his
religion or his philosophy. They ceased  to  call
themselves   Catholics   and,   for  the  formula
"Democracy will  be  Catholic"  they  substituted
"Democracy  will  not be anti-Catholic", any more
than it will  be  anti-Jewish  or  anti-Buddhist.
This  was  the  time of "the Greater Sillon". For
the construction of the Future City they appealed
to  the  workers  of all religions and all sects.
These were asked but one thing: to share the same
social ideal, to respect all creeds, and to bring
with  them  a  certain  supply  of  moral  force.
Admittedly:  they  declared  that “The leaders of
the Sillon  place  their  religious  faith  above
everything. But can they deny others the right to
draw their moral energy from whence they can?  In
return, they expect others to respect their right
to draw their own moral energy from the  Catholic
Faith. Accordingly they ask all those who want to
change  today's  society  in  the  direction   of
Democracy, not to oppose each other on account of
the philosophical or religious convictions  which
may separate them, but to march hand in hand, not
renouncing  their  convictions,  but  trying   to
provide on the ground of practical realities, the
proof  of  the  excellence  of   their   personal
convictions.  Perhaps a union will be effected on
this ground of emulation  between  souls  holding
different      religious     or     philosophical
convictions.” And they added  at  the  same  time
(but  how  could this be accomplished?) that “the
Little Catholic Sillon will be the  soul  of  the
Greater Cosmopolitan Sillon.”

Recently, the term “Greater Sillon” was discarded
and  a  new   organization   was   born   without
modifying, quite the contrary, the spirit and the
substratum of things: “In order to organize in an
orderly  manner the different forces of activity,
the Sillon still remains as  a  Soul,  a  Spirit,
which  will  pervade the groups and inspire their
work.” Thus, a  host  of  new  groups,  Catholic,
Protestant,    Free-Thinking,    now   apparently
autonomous, are invited to set to work: “Catholic
comrades   will  work  between  themselves  in  a
special organization and will learn  and  educate
themselves.    Protestant    and    Free-Thinking
Democrats will do likewise on their own side. But
all    of    us,   Catholics,   Protestants   and
Free-Thinkers will have at  heart  to  arm  young
people,  not in view of the fratricidal struggle,
but in view of a disinterested emulation  in  the
field of social and civic virtues.”

These  declarations  and this new organization of
the  Sillonist  action  call  for  very   serious

Here   we   have,   founded   by   Catholics,  an
inter-denominational association that is to  work
for  the  reform  of civilization, an undertaking
which is above all religious  in  character;  for
there  is  no  true  civilization without a moral
civilization,  and  no  true  moral  civilization
without  the true religion: it is a proven truth,
a historical  fact.  The  new  Sillonists  cannot
pretend  that  they  are  merely  working on “the
ground of practical realities” where  differences
of  belief  do  not  matter.  Their  leader is so
conscious of the influence which the  convictions
of  the  mind have upon the result of the action,
that he invites them, whatever religion they  may
belong to, “to provide on the ground of practical
realities, the proof of the excellence  of  their
personal  convictions.”  And  with  good  reason:
indeed, all practical results reflect the  nature
of one’s religious convictions, just as the limbs
of a man down to his finger-tips, owe their  very
shape to the principle of life that dwells in his

This being said, what  must  be  thought  of  the
promiscuity  in  which  young  Catholics  will be
caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk  in
a  work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold
more  dangerous   for   them   than   a   neutral
association?  What are we to think of this appeal
to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers,
to  prove  the excellence of their convictions in
the  social  sphere  in  a  sort  of   apologetic
contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen
centuries in conditions less  dangerous  for  the
faith  of  Catholics?  And  was it not all to the
credit of the Catholic Church?  What  are  we  to
think of this respect for all errors, and of this
strange invitation made by a Catholic to all  the
dissidents   to   strengthen   their  convictions
through study so that they may have more and more
abundant  sources of fresh forces? What are we to
think of an association in  which  all  religions
and  even  Free-Thought  may  express  themselves
openly  and  in   complete   freedom?   For   the
Sillonists who, in public lectures and elsewhere,
proudly proclaim their personal faith,  certainly
do  not  intend  to  silence  others  nor do they
intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his
Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his
skepticism. Finally, what are we to  think  of  a
Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves
his Catholicism outside the door  so  as  not  to
alarm    his    comrades    who,   “dreaming   of
disinterested social action, are not inclined  to
make  it serve the triumph of interests, coteries
and even convictions whatever they may be”?  Such
is  the profession of faith of the New Democratic
Committee for Social Action which has taken  over
the  main  objective of the previous organization
and which, they say, “breaking the double meaning
which   surround   the  Greater  Sillon  both  in
reactionary and anti-clerical  circles”,  is  now
open  to all men “who respect moral and religious
forces and who  are  convinced  that  no  genuine
social   emancipation  is  possible  without  the
leaven of generous idealism.”

Alas! yes, the double meaning  has  been  broken:
the  social  action  of  the  Sillon is no longer
Catholic. The Sillonist, as such, does  not  work
for a coterie, and “the Church”, he says, “cannot
in any sense benefit from the sympathies that his
action   may  stimulate.”  A  strange  situation,
indeed! They fear lest the Church  should  profit
for  a  selfish  and interested end by the social
action of  the  Sillon,  as  if  everything  that
benefited  the  Church  did not benefit the whole
human race! A curious reversal  of  notions!  The
Church  might  benefit  from social action! As if
the greatest economists had  not  recognized  and
proved  that  it is social action alone which, if
serious and fruitful, must  benefit  the  Church!
But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the
same time, are the audacity and frivolity of  men
who   call  themselves  Catholics  and  dream  of
re-shaping society under such conditions, and  of
establishing  on  earth, over and beyond the pale
of the Catholic Church, "the reign  of  love  and
justice"  with workers coming from everywhere, of
all religions and of no religion, with or without
beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide
them  -   their   religious   and   philosophical
convictions,  and  so  long  as  they  share what
unites them -  a  "generous  idealism  and  moral
forces  drawn  from  whence  they  can"  When  we
consider the forces, knowledge, and  supernatural
virtues  which  are  necessary  to  establish the
Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of
martyrs,  and  the light given by the Fathers and
Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice  of
all   the  heroes  of  charity,  and  a  powerful
hierarchy ordained in heaven, and the streams  of
Divine  Grace  -  the whole having been built up,
bound together, and impregnated by the  life  and
spirit  of  Jesus  Christ, the Wisdom of God, the
Word made man - when we  think,  I  say,  of  all
this,  it  is  frightening to behold new apostles
eagerly attempting  to  do  better  by  a  common
interchange  of vague idealism and civic virtues.
What are they going to produce? What is  to  come
of   this   collaboration?   A  mere  verbal  and
chimerical construction in which  we  shall  see,
glowing  in a jumble, and in seductive confusion,
the words  Liberty,  Justice,  Fraternity,  Love,
Equality,  and human exultation, all resting upon
an ill-understood human dignity.  It  will  be  a
tumultuous   agitation,   sterile   for  the  end
proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian
exploiters  of  the people. Yes, we can truly say
that the Sillon, its eyes  fixed  on  a  chimera,
brings Socialism in its train.

We  fear that worse is to come: the end result of
this developing promiscuousness, the  beneficiary
of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a
Democracy which will  be  neither  Catholic,  nor
Protestant,  nor  Jewish.  It  will be a religion
(for Sillonism, so the leaders have  said,  is  a
religion)   more   universal  than  the  Catholic
Church,  uniting  all  men  become  brothers  and
comrades  at  last in the "Kingdom of God". - "We
do not work for the Church, we work for mankind."

And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We
ask   Ourselves,  Venerable  Brethren,  what  has
become of the Catholicism of  the  Sillon?  Alas!
this  organization  which  formerly afforded such
promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous
stream,  has  been harnessed in its course by the
modern enemies of the Church, and is now no  more
than  a  miserable affluent of the great movement
of apostasy being organized in every country  for
the  establishment  of  a  One-World Church which
shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither
discipline   for  the  mind,  nor  curb  for  the
passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom
and  human dignity, would bring back to the world
(if such a Church could overcome)  the  reign  of
legalized  cunning  and force, and the oppression
of the weak,  and  of  all  those  who  toil  and

We know only too well the dark workshops in which
are elaborated these mischievous doctrines  which
ought  not  to  seduce  clear-thinking minds. The
leaders of the Sillon have not been able to guard
against  these doctrines. The exaltation of their
sentiments,  the  undiscriminating  good-will  of
their   hearts,  their  philosophical  mysticism,
mixed with a measure of illuminism, have  carried
them  away  towards  another  Gospel  which  they
thought was the true Gospel  of  Our  Savior.  To
such  an extent that they speak of Our Lord Jesus
Christ    with    a     familiarity     supremely
disrespectful,  and that - their ideal being akin
to that of the Revolution - they fear not to draw
between the Gospel and the Revolution blasphemous
comparisons for which the excuse cannot  be  made
that they are due to some confused and over-hasty

We  wish  to  draw  your   attention,   Venerable
Brethren, to this distortion of the Gospel and to
the sacred character of Our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,
God  and  man,  prevailing  within the Sillon and
elsewhere. As soon  as  the  social  question  is
being  approached,  it  is  the  fashion  in some
quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus
Christ,  and  then  to mention only His unlimited
clemency, His compassion for all human  miseries,
and  His pressing exhortations to the love of our
neighbor and to the  brotherhood  of  men.  True,
Jesus  has  loved  us  with  an immense, infinite
love, and He came on earth to suffer and  die  so
that,  gathered  around  Him in justice and love,
motivated  by  the  same  sentiments  of   mutual
charity,   all   men  might  live  in  peace  and
happiness.  But  for  the  realization  of   this
temporal  and eternal happiness, He has laid down
with supreme authority the condition that we must
belong  to  His  Flock,  that  we must accept His
doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and  that
we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter
and his successors.  Further,  whilst  Jesus  was
kind  to sinners and to those who went astray, He
did  not  respect  their  false  ideas,   however
sincere  they  might have appeared. He loved them
all, but He instructed them in order  to  convert
them  and  save them. Whilst He called to Himself
in order to comfort them, those  who  toiled  and
suffered,  it  was  not  to  preach  to  them the
jealousy of  a  chimerical  equality.  Whilst  He
lifted  up  the  lowly,  it was not to instill in
them the sentiment of a dignity independent from,
and  rebellious  against,  the duty of obedience.
Whilst His heart overflowed with  gentleness  for
the souls of good-will, He could also arm Himself
with holy indignation against  the  profaners  of
the  House  of  God, against the wretched men who
scandalized  the   little   ones,   against   the
authorities  who crush the people with the weight
of heavy burdens without putting out  a  hand  to
lift  them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He
reproved,  threatened,  chastised,  knowing,  and
teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom,
and that it is sometimes proper for a man to  cut
off  an offending limb to save his body. Finally,
He did not announce for future society the  reign
of  an ideal happiness from which suffering would
be banished; but,  by  His  lessons  and  by  His
example,  He  traced  the  path  of the happiness
which is possible on earth  and  of  the  perfect
happiness  in heaven: the royal way of the Cross.
These are teachings that it  would  be  wrong  to
apply only to one's personal life in order to win
eternal salvation;  these  are  eminently  social
teachings, and they show in Our Lord Jesus Christ
something quite different  from  an  inconsistent
and impotent humanitarianism.

As   for   you,   Venerable  Brethren,  carry  on
diligently with the work of the Saviour of men by
emulating   His   gentleness  and  His  strength.
Minister to every misery; let  no  sorrow  escape
your  pastoral solicitude; let no lament find you
indifferent.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  preach
fearlessly  their  duties  to the powerful and to
the lowly;  it  is  your  function  to  form  the
conscience  of  the  people  and  of  the  public
authorities. The social  question  will  be  much
nearer  a solution when all those concerned, less
demanding as  regards  their  respective  rights,
shall fulfill their duties more exactingly.

Moreover,  since  in  the clash of interests, and
especially  in  the  struggle  against  dishonest
forces,  the virtue of man, and even his holiness
are not always sufficient to  guarantee  him  his
daily bread, and since social structures, through
their natural interplay, ought to be  devised  to
thwart the efforts of the unscrupulous and enable
all men of good will to attain  their  legitimate
share  of temporal happiness, We earnestly desire
that you  should  take  an  active  part  in  the
organization  of  society  with this objective in
mind. And, to this end, whilst your priests  will
zealously devote efforts to the sanctification of
souls, to the defense of the Church, and also  to
works  of  charity in the strict sense, you shall
select a few of them, level-headed and of  active
disposition,   holders  of  Doctors’  degrees  in
philosophy and  theology,  thoroughly  acquainted
with   the   history   of   ancient   and  modern
civilizations, and you  shall  set  them  to  the
not-so-lofty  but  more  practical  study  of the
social science so that you may place them at  the
opportune  time  at  the  helm  of  your works of
Catholic action. However, let not  these  priests
be  misled,  in  the maze of current opinions, by
the miracles of a false Democracy. Let  them  not
borrow  from the Rhetoric of the worst enemies of
the Church and  of  the  people,  the  high-flown
phrases,   full   of   promises;   which  are  as
high-sounding  as  unattainable.  Let   them   be
convinced  that  the  social  question and social
science did not arise only  yesterday;  that  the
Church  and  the State, at all times and in happy
concert, have raised up fruitful organizations to
this  end;  that  the  Church,  which  has  never
betrayed  the  happiness   of   the   people   by
consenting to dubious alliances, does not have to
free herself from the  past;  that  all  that  is
needed  is to take up again, with the help of the
true  workers  for  a  social  restoration,   the
organisms  which the Revolution shattered, and to
adapt them, in the  same  Christian  spirit  that
inspired  them,  to  the  new environment arising
from the material development of today’s society.
Indeed,  the  true  friends  of  the  people  are
neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are

We  desire  that  the Sillonist youth, freed from
their errors, far from impeding this  work  which
is eminently worthy of your pastoral care, should
bring   to   it   their   loyal   and   effective
contribution   in  an  orderly  manner  and  with
befitting submission.

We now turn towards the  leaders  of  the  Sillon
with the confidence of a father who speaks to his
children, and We ask them for their own good, and
for the good of the Church and of France, to turn
their leadership over to you.  We  are  certainly
aware  of  the  extent  of  the sacrifice that We
request from them, but We know them to  be  of  a
sufficiently  generous  disposition  to accept it
and, in advance, in the Name of  Our  Lord  Jesus
Christ  whose  unworthy representative We are, We
bless them for this. As to the rank and  file  of
the  Sillon,  We  wish that they group themselves
according to dioceses in order to work, under the
authority  of  their  respective bishops, for the
Christian  and  Catholic  regeneration   of   the
people,  as  well as for the improvement of their
lot. These diocesan groups  will  be  independent
from  one  another  for  the  time being. And, in
order to show clearly that they have broken  with
the  errors  of the past, they will take the name
of “Catholic Sillon”, and  each  of  the  members
will  add  to  his Sillonist title the “Catholic”
qualification. It goes without saying  that  each
Catholic Sillonist will remain free to retain his
political preferences, provided they are purified
of everything that is not entirely conformable to
the doctrine of the Church.  Should  some  groups
refuse,  Venerable  Brethren,  to submit to these
conditions, you should consider  that  very  fact
that   they   are  refusing  to  submit  to  your
authority. Then, you will have to examine whether
they  stay  within the limits of pure politics or
economics, or persist in their former errors.  In
the  former  case, it is clear that you will have
no more to do with them  than  with  the  general
body  of  the  faithful;  in the latter case, you
will have  to  take  appropriate  measures,  with
prudence  but  with  firmness  also. Priests will
have  to  keep  entirely  out  of  the  dissident
groups,  and  they shall be content to extend the
help of their  sacred  ministry  to  each  member
individually, applying to them in the tribunal of
penitence the common rules of morals  in  respect
to  doctrine  and  conduct.  As  for the catholic
groups, whilst the priests  and  the  seminarists
may  favor and help them, they shall abstain from
joining them as members; for it is  fitting  that
the  priestly  phalanx  should  remain  above lay
associations even when these are most useful  and
inspired   by  the  best  spirit.  Such  are  the
practical measures  with  which  We  have  deemed
necessary to confirm this letter on the Sillon an
the Sillonists. From the depths of  Our  soul  We
pray  that the Lord may cause these men and young
people to understand the grave reasons which have
prompted  it.  May  He  give them the docility of
heart and the courage to show to the  Church  the
sincerity  of  their Catholic fervor. As for you,
Venerable Brethren, may the Lord inspire in  your
hearts  towards  them  - since they will be yours
henceforth - the sentiments of  a  true  fatherly

In  expressing  this  hope,  and  to obtain these
results which are so desirable, We grant to  you,
to  your clergy and to your people, Our Apostolic
benediction with all Our heart.

Given at St. Peter’s, Rome, on  the  25th  August
1910, the eighth year of Our Pontificate.

Pius X, Pope

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

"Qabalah is the heart of the Western Hermetic tradition; it is the foundation upon which the art of Western magic rests." -- Sandra and Chic Cicero, the authors of "The Essencial Golden Dawn: An Introduction to High Magic", page 96. Llewlellyn Publications "For by thy sorceries were all nations decieved." Rev. 18:23
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-- Thomas Penn

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"Join me in battle, little children, against the black beast, Masonry..." Mother Mary [source: Father Gobbi, Evolution & Freemasonry]
"Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye make to worship them; and I will carry you away beyond Babylon."
Acts 7:43 KJV
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.." (II Corinthians 6:18 KJV)


Joan of Arc on the Bohemians

Seal of Solomon and Freemasonry graphical text link to homesite.