Page 12, 30th April 1937

30th April 1937
Page 12
Page 12, 30th April 1937 — " Divini Redemptoris "

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" Divini Redemptoris "

Summary of sections 25-35 in the Cathotic Herafal for April 23.

That part of the Encyclical which was presented last week, after affirming the dependence of things human on an "

and just " Creator Who is the Source of social right and duties, goes on to define the relation between man and society. Repudiating the lawless individuedism whieh disregards the discipline imposed by the civil society, the Pope asserts that " society is for man and not vice versa." Ti) achieve " a social prosperity " he declares it necessary to establish " a sane corporative system " under winch men would be organised aeenrding to their occupations, each group ciincerniug itself with the proper discharge of the I Inties belonging to its special vocation and at the same time safeguarding its members' rights. In such a system each oeeupational group would find its due place in the social hierarchy and be related in a co-operative whole with the other groups. This is offered as the Christian alternative to the laissez-faire system of economic Liberalism according to which pries and wages were regulated by unrestricted competition. By these counsels the Popo shows that, though the Chureh puts first " the Kingdom of God and Hie juei hp," in so doing it is so far flaum shewing itself indifferent to temporal concerns that it is establishing the only sound basis for the building up of a just and materially prosperous social order.

36. But the enemies of the Church, though forced to acknowledge the wisdom of her doctrine, accuse her of having failed to act in conformity with her principles, and from this conclude to the necessity of seeking other solutions. The utter falseness and injustice of this accusation is shown by the whole history of Christianity. To refer only to a single typical trait, it was Christianity that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine she proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude and conviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she potently contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of her teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave a sistcr in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the son of God, made Man for love of man, and become not only the "Son of a Carpenter " but Himself a " Carpenter," was Christianity that raised manual labour to its true dignity, whereas it had hitherto been so despised that even the moderate Cicero did not hesitate to sum up the general opinion of his time in words which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: " All artisans are engaged in sordid trades, for there can be nothing ennobling about a workshop."

37. Faithful to these principles, the Church has given new life to human society, Under her influence arose prodigious charitable organisations, great guilds of artisans and working-men of every type. These guilds, ridiculed as " medieval " by the liberalism of the last century, are today claiming the admiration of our conternporaries in many countries who are endeavouring to revive them in some modern form. And when other systems hindered her work and raised obstacles to the salutary influence of the Church, she was never done warning them of their error. We need but recall with what constant firmness and energy Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, vindicated for the working-man the right to organise. which the dominant liberalism of the more powerful States relentlessly denied him. Even today the authority of this Church doctrine is greater than it seems; for the influence of ideas in the realm of facts, though invisible and not easily measured, is surely of predominant importance.

38. It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all. There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church. On the bases of liberalism and laicism they wished to build other social edifices which, powerful and imposing as they seemed at first, all too soon revealed the weakness of their foundations, and today arc crumbling one after another before our eyes, as everything must crumble that is not grounded on the one corner stone which is Christ Jesus.

Defensive and Constructive Programme URGENT NEED FOR ACTION

39. This, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine of the Church, which alone in the social as in all other fields can offer real light and assure salvation in the face of Communistic ideology. But this doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice in everyday life, according to the admonition of St. James the Apostle: " Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." The most urgent need of the present day is therefore the energetic and timely application of remedies which will effectively ward off the catastrophe that daily grows more threatening. We cherish the firm hope that fanaticism with which the sons of darkness work day and night at their materialistic and atheistic propaganda will at least serve the holy purpose of stimulating the sons of light to a like and even greater zeal for the honour of the Divine Majesty.

" This doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice."

Connuttnisnt is not an academie theory. It has assumed concrete form and. for reasons set forth in sections 15-15 of the Encyclical. has achieved a measure of siniee-s. Miaing implicit reference to our Lord's saying: " The children of this world ore wiser in their generation than the children of light " (St. Luke xvi. 141, His Iinlin(ss declares that the faithful 11111St IR' no less earnest in realising the Christian ideal. There devolves therefore upon those itcpired by this ideal the

task of giving it tainerete expression. But how is this stupendons litidertahing to be accomplished!'

40. What then must he done, what remedies must be employed to defend Christ and Christian civilisation. from this pernicious enemy? As a father in the midst of his family, We should like to speak quite intimately of those duties which the great struggle of our day imposes on all the children of the Church; and We would address Our paternal admonition even to those sons who have strayed far from her.


41. As in all the stormy periods of the history of the Church, the fundamental remedy today lies in a sincere renewal of private and public life according to the principles of the Gospel by all those who belong to the Fold of Christ, that they may be in truth the salt of the earth to preserve human society from total corruption.

42. With heart deeply grateful to the Father of Light, from Whom descends "every best gift and every perfect gift." We see on all sides consoling signs of this spiritual renewal. We sec it not only in so many singularly chosen souls who in these last years have been elevated to the sublime heights of sanctity, and in so many others who with generous hearts are making their way towards the same luminous goal, but also in the new flowering of a

deep and practical piety in all classes of society even the most cultured, as We pointed out in Our recent Motu proprio In muftis .solaciis of October 28 last, on the occasion of the reorganisation of the

Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

43. Nevertheless We cannot deny that there is still much 4o be done in the way of spiritual renovation. Even in Catholic countries there are still too many who are Catholics hardly more than in name. There are too many who fulfil more or less faithfully the more essential obligations of the religion they boast of professing, but have no desire of knowing it better, of deepening their inward conviction, and still less of bringing into conformity with the ex ternal gloss the inner splendour of a right and unsullied conscience, that recognises and performs all its duties under the eye of God. We know how much Our Divine Saviour detested this empty Pharisaic show, He who wished that all should adore the Father " in spirit and in truth." The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely. but will be swept away defenceless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian.

" Spiriting renovation."

Communism in accordance with it materialistic philosophy depends chiefly for the achievement of its ends on physical force.

It is its enemies who have to suffer. The exact opposite of this is the method of Christ's fellowers. They depend on spiritual power aud the self-abnegation of those labouring for the establishment of the Kingdom of (lied. It is the builders of that Kingdom who pay the sacrificial price. The reliance on spiritual renewal is particularly appropriate -at the present time. Compelled to oppose the false spirituality of the Reformers, the Church in the past has stressed the importance of its external, visible structure and juridic functions. In face of the materialietic attack how ever the position is reversed. It is the spiritual, invisible nature of the Kingdom and of the forces it employs which must he now emphasised. There must be, the lioly Father declares, a rebirth of spiritual life commensurate with the difficulty of the task which faces us. Formalism is the curse of instktutional religion and we have suffered from it. The Catholicism of many is only perfunctory ; it must become a reality. He then goes on to declare the need for greater detachment from worldly goods, greater charily on the part of the more fortunate and greater liatience on the part of the poor,. But it should be observed that these aro treated as fruits of that spiritual revival .for which he calls. lletaelimemt from worldly goods has been exhibited by those whose motive was a stoical pride. Aseetism has often failed to .show a fitting humility. It can he seen even in the fanatical Communist who puts the demands of the community and the suceess of his creed before personal prosperity. Charity, again, in the sense of almsgiving is sonwtimes so far removed from the 'spirit of true charity that St. Paul even contrasted them-" If 1 should distributo all my goods to feed the poor. . . and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." Almsgiving -accompanied by an air of condescending patronage or performed without sympathy by official almoners has come to be so distasteftil to the 'recipients that the word " charity " has been degraded. Likewise, patience may be simulated by an apathetic fatalism or a servile acceptance of wrongs. Therefore it is well to hear in mind that, when Pius XI speaks of detachment, charity and patience, it. is in a context coneerned with the revival of a truly spiritual Christianity.

Detachment from Worldly Goods

44. And here We wish, Venerable Brethren to insist more particularly on two teachings of Our Lord which have a special bearing on the present condition of the human race: detachment from earthly goods and the precept of charity. "Blessed are the poor in spirit were the first words that fell from the lips of the Divine Master in His sermon on the mount. This lesson is more than ever necessary in these days of materialism athirst for the goods and pleasures of this earth. All Christians, rich or poor. must keep their eye fixed on heaven, remembering that " we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come." The rich should not place their happiness in things of earth nor spend their best efforts in the acquisition of them. Rather, considering themselves only as stewards of their earthly goods, let them be mindful of the account they must render of them to their Lord and Master, and value them as precious means that God has put into their hands for doing good; let them not fail, besides, to distribute of their abundance to the poor, according to the evangelical precept. Otherwise there shall be verified of them and their riches the harsh condemnation of St. James the Apostle: " Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl in your miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be for a testimony against you and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. . . ."

45. But the poor too, in their turn, while engaged, according to the laws of charity and justice, in acquiring the necessities of life and also in bettering their condition, should always remain " poor in spirit," and hold spiritual goods in higher esteem than earthly property and pleasures. Let them remember that the world will never be able to rid itself of misery, sorrow and tribulation, which are the portion even of those who seem most prosperous. Patience, therefore, is the need of all, that Christian patience which comforts the heart with the divine assurance of eternal happiness.

Be patient, therefore, brethren,we repeat with St. James, until the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently bearing until he receive the early and the later rain. Be you therefore also patient and strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." Only thus will be fulfilled the consoling promise of the Lord: " Blessed are the poor! " These words are no vain consolajion. a promise as empty as those of the communists. They are the words of life, pregnant with a sovereign reality. They are fully verified here on earth, as well as in eternity. Indeed, how many of the poor, in anticipa

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