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Note: what I have written in each Appendix is my own opinion, and not an attempt to represent Church dogma or doctrine.

Catholic Apologetics


Liberalism


 

Preface

A priest by the name of Don Felix Sarda y Salvany lived in Barcelona, Spain in the nineteenth century. In 1886, he published a book titled "Liberalism Is a Sin". The book was quite blunt and disparaging in its condemnation of liberal philosophy. There was little tolerance for anyone, the widow, the poor, the downtrodden, if they espoused liberalism.

A bishop in Spain was quick to denounce the book as lacking compassion for the plight of the common man. He coaxed another priest to write a work contradicting Don Felix's book, and sent them both off to Rome for an official position of the Church. The Sacred Congregation of the Index responded thus:

"The Sacred Congregation of the Index has received the denunciation of the little work bearing the title 'Liberalism Is a Sin' by Don Felix Sarda y Salvany, a priest of your diocese; the denunciation was accompanied at the same time by another little work, entitled 'A Refutation of the Errors Contained in the Little Work 'Liberalism Is a Sin'. The author of the second work is D. de Pazos, a canon of the Diocese of Vich."
"Whereupon, the Sacred Congregation has carefully examined both works and decided as follows: In the first, not only is nothing found contrary to sound doctrine, but its author, D. Felix Sarda, merits great praise for his exposition and defense of the sound doctrine therein set forth with solidity, order and lucidity, and without personal offense to anyone."
"The same judgment, however, cannot be passed on the other work, that by D. de Pazos, for in matter it needs corrections. Moreover, his injurious manner of speaking cannot be approved, for he inveighs rather against the person of D. Sarda than against the latter's supposed errors."
"Therefore, the Sacred Congregation has commanded D. de Pazos, admonished by his own Bishop, to withdraw his book, as far as he can, from circulation, and in the future, if any discussion of the subject should arise, to abstain from all expressions personaly injurious, according to the precept of true Christian charity; ..."

Thus, the Sacred Congregation of the Index took a hard stance against Liberalism. But what did Liberalism mean in 1886? Is it similar to our concept today? What is Liberalism, and why is it so prevelant?

What is Liberalism?

By definition, Liberalism is broad-mindedness, progressive thinking, forward-looking, enlightened. A Liberal thinker does not accept the status quo. Frank Sinatra's hit "I Did It My Way" is the Liberal theme song. At the other end of the spectrum is Traditionalism, which is conventional, long-established, time-honored, doctrinal. A Traditional thinker trusts and accepts what history and experience have proven true.

In its essence, Liberalism is the preference for sufficiency of self over Divine guidance. The individual does not want history, or tradition, or Vicar of Christ, or any human being, to tell him God's will. The individual wants to decide that for himself.

God is part of his private life, not to be confused with the reality of his public life. He lives here on Earth as if God was not in control. He thinks, acts, governs without God's input, and often intentionally contrary to it.

From this mentality stems things like Separation of Church and State. It is axiomatic that the authors of the First Amendment meant only to prevent the State from dictating what Christian religion you must follow, not prevent an individual from publicly practicing. "In God We Trust", and "One nation under God", and other evidence suggests as such. The Liberal mind, ever seeking to justify independent thinking, requires God to be absent (which is itself a religion--Atheism).

Since Liberalism requires the absence of God in his daily life, ungodly actions necessarily follow--divorce for convenience, abortion, materialism, lack of ethics, immorality and so on. The Liberal mind mistakes the supernatural for the superstitious, faith for fanaticism, uncompromising for intolerant, traditional for narrowness.

Spiritual Liberalism

In a spiritual sense, Liberalism is the notion that "One religion is as good as another". Liberalism proposes there is no one, true, divinely revealed religion that is true in all its doctrines and moral teachings. People are free to worship and believe as the "Spirit" leads them. If you truly seek God, you will mature in your understanding of Him, and all of us can follow our own path to find Him.

Don Felix Sarda wrote in his book:

"... Therefore does it finally arrive, by force of its own premises, at the conclusion that one creed is as good as another; it then seeks to shelter its inconsistency under the false plea of liberty of conscience. Belief is not imposed by a legitimately and divinely constituted authority, but springs directly and freely from the unrestricted exercise of the individual's reason or caprice upon the subject matter of Revelation. ..."

Spiritual Liberalism, then, says in effect there is no objective truth; the Catholic Church has no better idea of what is divine truth than any self-proclaimed street corner evangelist. Since there is no source for absolute truth, all one can do is try his best to find the truth himself. What is claimed to be Divine Revelation might not be so--he has to decide without God-given guidance.

Each religion holds certain truths; and those truths are contradicted by the other religions. It is simply not possible for opposite positions to be true at the same time. The Liberal mindset tries to make it so by arguing we each have different truths--what is true for me might not be true for you and visa versa. This flies in the face of logic since truths are absolute. A rock that looks like a horse to another person is still a rock.

With each passing religious fad, more and more falsehoods are asserted as truths, and the unwary become confused as to what they should believe. Lacking any clear path, they are drawn to whoever tells them what they want to hear and adopt those "truths" for the time being. As time wears on, they may change their minds and seek another, and another, and another in an endless search for a lasting truth. The "Spirit" leads them here, then there, then yet another place, and all the while the hapless follower refuses to recognize the obvious--that any faith that pronounces a dogma as true that is later proven false was not led by the "Spirit", and the "Spirit" did not lead the follower there.

God cannot contradict Himself. He cannot promote two opposites as both true. Either committing murder is wrong, or it isn't; it can't be both. Only the Liberal mind, struggling to hold onto the liberties he bestowed upon himself, can convince himself otherwise.

Spiritual Liberalism is a direct result of the acceptance of Protestantism. If any truth declared by the Catholic Church is challenged and declared either false or inconsequential, then all truths can be challenged and declared either false of inconsequential. The first Protestant had to pick which truth would be made null. To do so, he had to promote the belief that the Church was not to be trusted as the final arbiter of truth. Once that concept was accepted, then all dogma was subject to scrutiny. Since the Church could not be trusted, then no human being could be trusted. The logical result is that each man must be his own authority on what is truth.

This leads to practiced atheism. Although we profess to believe in God, we must nonetheless conduct ourselves in society as if God did not exist. We must, in effect, deny that God has a right to tell us what to believe. We just have to be "good" people, doing our best to seek God in our own way, rather than to seek Him in His way, keeping our faith private and respecting others' right to do the same.

"Protestantism naturally begets toleration of error. Rejecting the principle of authority in religion, it has neither criterion nor definition of faith. On the principle that every individual or sect may interpret the deposit of Revelation according to the dictates of private judgment, it gives birth to endless differences and contradictions. Impelled by the law of its own impotence, through lack of any decisive voice of authority in matters of faith, it is forced to recognize as valid and orthodox any belief that springs from the exercise of private judgment. ..."

Protestant theology must accept the differences between Protestant dogmas; to do otherwise is to cut to the heart of what must be accepted--that each has a right to choose what to believe. Thus, there is a real tolerance of other Protestant faiths. The only intolerance is with the Catholic faith, because it promotes the concept that we cannot choose, we must obey what has been divinely revealed. Truth is absolute, it is not subject to indivudual interpretation. If that is so, the only possible conclusion one can draw is to accept Catholicism as the only valid religion.

It is said that pride is at the root of all sin. If an individual decides what is right and wrong by his own rationalization, he is telling God that the individual knows best. If each individual thinks he has the God-given direction to believe whatever he wishes to believe, then he believes only in himself. In contrast, the man who sincerely seeks the divinely revealed truth has no choice in the matter. He must believe what is revealed as true, even if he doesn't understand it, and especially if he doesn't like it.

Practical Liberalism

Practical Liberalism is slightly different from Spiritual Liberalism. There are few incontravertible Earthly truths. Even the Laws of Physics continue to be discovered and seem to change frequently. Practical Liberalism centers around a belief that if you can convince enough people that something is true, then it is true. Facts become irrelevant, and history tends to be ignored. If you can make an argument that it "seems" right, then it is presumed right.

An example of this might be that a fetus is not yet a human being. Another example might be that man is responsible for global warming. Liberals want something, so they make arguments that other Liberals can support, and voila! ... a perception becomes the truth. The Liberal wants to permit abortion, so they adopt the fiction the fetus is not yet human, so it is not murder. Adopting truths that are based on perceptions and not fact leads to an unnatural order, which results in chaos, which results in anarchy. To believe otherwise is to ignore history.

Practical Liberalism leads to radical immorality. Morality is established by a set of rules--restrictions on what the individual can do or think, both privately and publicly. All morality is based on divine revelation and its sister understanding--natural law.

All morality leads to good; all immorality leads to no good. Hedonism, which follows the concept "if it feels good, do it", attacks morals with expectations of pleasure. Individualism, which follows the concept "what's in it for me?" attacks morals with expectations of reward. Minimalism, which follows the concept "what is the least I can do and still get by?", attacks morals with expectations of leisure. Rationalism, which follows the concept "one's own reason trumps collective experience", attacks morals with expectations of justification. Expectations of pleasure, reward, leisure lure the individual to immorality, and justification makes it alright. Pleasure, reward and leisure are fulfilling and long-lasting within the restrictions of morality; when experienced through immorality, they are short-lived and empty, causing craving for more, which leads to more emptiness.

Hedonism, Individualism, Minimalism and Rationalism are at the heart of Liberalism. The liberal mind demands abortion, birth control, homosexuality, trans-gender, entitlements, and the like. It tolerates no moral stand, but rather insists on public acceptance of the immoral. Under the guise of Separation of Church and State, it demands no reference to God in any public place, which is a direct contradiction of the concept of Separation since Atheism is a religion, yet the liberal State bows to its every wish at the expense of other religions.

Thus, Liberalism leads to an unnatural order. There are no morals--what is moral today is challenged tomorrow. Nothing is sacred.

Liberalism is a Sin

"Liberalism, whether in the doctrinal or practical order, is a sin. In the doctrinal order, it is heresy, and consequently a mortal sin against faith. In the practical order, it is a sin against the commandments of God and of the Church, for it virtually transgresses all commandments. To be more precise: in the doctrinal order, Liberalism strikes at the very foundations of faith; it is heresy radical and universal, because within it are comprehended all heresies. In the practical order it is a radical and universal infraction of the divine law, since it sanctions and authorizes all infractions of that law."

Sin separates us from God; the greater the sin, the greater the separation. The least venial sin causes separation. The worst venial sin causes less separation than the least mortal sin. True hatred of God causes the greatest separation, thus is the worst mortal sin. I propose true hatred of God is experienced only by those in Hell. Sin against faith separates man from God as far as possible, since it deprives him of the true knowledge of God, thus it is the worst mortal sin experienced on Earth. Liberalism, then, which is heresy, and all the works of Liberalism are the gravest sins known in the Christian world.

Liberalism is a greater sin than blasphemy, idolatry, theft, adultery, homicide or receiving communion in an unworthy state.

Note that all sin requires a mens rea, or certain state of mind. If you are truly acting in good faith, or in ignorance, or without thought, you are not sufficiently disposed to sin. If, however, you knew or should have known the truth, yet you acted against God's will nonetheless, it is a sin. Specific rejection of divine revelation is not excused if in your heart of hearts you simply wanted it to be otherwise. Thus, if you teach liberal principles in a Catholic institution in the guise of freedom of expression, you sin. Vain, self-focused belief that God (perhaps through the Spirit) is guiding you to salvation through drugs, alcohol or sex, or any other immoral behavior might not be excused on Judgment Day. Likewise, when God makes plain what you must do, and you rationalize to do something else, you are at serious risk.

Liberalism, which is worse than idolatry, is itself idolatrous. Making God out to be something He is not is a form of idolatry--you are creating other gods. Claiming God did not reveal something when He did, or claiming God meant something other than what He stated is making God out to be some other god.

Parting Comment

"Liberalism is the dogmatic affirmation of the absolute independence of the individual and of the social reason. Catholicity is the dogma of the absolute subjection of the individual and of social order to the revealed law of God."

The two could not be further apart. You cannot be a Spiritual Liberal and a Catholic. Either you believe you must submit to divine revelation, or you believe you have the right, or even the duty, to honor only your own revelation. You cannot be part Spiritual Liberal and part Catholic.

Likewise, you cannot be a Practical Liberal and a Catholic. Either you believe you must live your life pretending God's will does not govern, or you submit to God's will in your public as well as private life. A politician who honors and even promotes unrighteous laws and behaviors contrary to Catholic teaching is not Catholic, regardless of the excuse given for their alternate stance.

The Liberal who pretends to be Catholic or the Catholic who pretends to be Liberal:

"... is thus both a traitor and a fool. Seeking to please the enemies of the Faith, he has betrayed his trust, the Faith itself; imagining he is upholding the rights of reason, he surrenders it in the most abject way to the spirit of denial, the spirit of untruth."

Fearing being labeled "intolerant", you sacrifice your soul.


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