Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The International Community, Organization

THE CHURCH IN GENERAL views the role of international intergovernmental organizations (such as the United Nations) in a positive manner, since these seek to apply law or reason to the resolution of international conflicts or problems relating to the common good of all nations and peoples. But to a certain extent, the Church is the "loyal opposition" of those intergovernmental organizations. She has deep-seated "reservations," expressions of which she does not withhold, when these intergovernmental organizations "address problems incorrectly" by contradicting the natural moral law, infringing upon authentic human rights and human dignity, or infringing upon the rights of the Church and its propagation of the Gospel. She hammers the following truths:

[T]he Holy See seeks to focus attention on certain basic truths: that each and every person - regardless of age, sex, religion or national background - has a dignity and worth that is unconditional and inalienable; that human life itself from conception to natural death is sacred; that human rights are innate and transcend any constitutional order; and that the fundamental unity of the human race demands that everyone be committed to building a community which is free from injustice and which strives to promote and protect the common good. . . . . It is in the light of authentic human values - recognized by peoples of diverse cultures, religious and national backgrounds across the globe - that all policy choices must be evaluated. No goal or policy will bring positive results for people if it does not respect the unique dignity and objective needs of those same people.

JP II, Letter to Mafis Sadik, March 18, 1994 (re. 1994 International Conference on Population and Development)

United Nations Headquarters, N.Y., N.Y.

It is not might, but right that ought to govern relations between peoples and nations, and this is the underlying reason behind the Church's general if conditional support for continued development of intergovernmental organizations and international agencies.
Concern for an ordered and peaceful coexistence within the human family prompts the Magisterium to insist on the need to establish "some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights."
(Compendium, No. 441)(quoting VII, GS No. 82)

International relations will either operate under the rule of reason, i.e, the rule of law, or some rule outside of reason, i.e., exlex. There is no exercise of power or authority or influence, however, that may be said to be outside law, in particular the natural moral law. Natural law does not come from heaven ready-made, and man is obliged to implement its basic principles in determinations in the here-and-now. For this reason:

Political authority exercised at the level of international community must be regulated by law, ordered to the common good, and respectful of the principle of subsidiarity.

(Compendium, No.441)

It is important that this rule of law grow naturally from the relations between nations and peoples; that it be endogenous and not be exogenous.
[I]t is essential that such an authority arise from mutual agreement and that it not be imposed, nor must it be understood as a kind of "global super-State."
(Compendium, No. 441)

Whatever develops in the future (if it develops)* must respect the sovereignty of the nation states and of peoples, respecting further, the principle of subsidiarity: Quoting John XXIII's encyclical Pacem in terris, the Compendium observes:
"The public authority of the world community is not intended to limit the sphere of action of the public authority of the individual political community, much less to take its place. On the contrary, its purpose is to create, on a world basis, an environment in which the public authorities of each political community, their citizens and intermediate associations can carry out their tasks, fulfill their duties and exercise their rights with greater security."
(Compendium, No. 441)

To a certain extent, the international organizations and institutions have been captured or manipulated so that they work against their very purpose, which is not the benefit of one group over another, but the common good. To a certain degree, the international organizations and agencies have shrugged off the moral limits under which they ought to operated:

The Magisterium recognizes that the interdependence among men and nations takes on a moral dimension and is the determining factor for relations in the modern world in the economic, cultural, political and religious sense. In this context it is hoped that there will be a revision of international organizations, a process that "presupposes the overcoming of political rivalries and the renouncing of all desire to manipulate these organizations, which exist solely for the common good," for the purpose of achieving "a greater degree of international ordering."

(Compendium, No. 442) (quoting JP II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, No. 43)

This "revision" is particularly important in the economic sphere. Political power tends to follow economic power. Moreover, the economic sphere clearly extends beyond the political spheres of the nation states. It is, in fact, inter-national in scope. For this reason:
[I]ntergovernmental structures must effectively perform their functions of control and guidance in the economic field because the attainment of the common good has become a goal that is beyond the reach of individual States, even if they are dominant in terms of power, wealth, and political strength. International agencies must moreover guarantee the attainment of that equality which is the basis of the right of all to participate in the process of full development, duly respecting legitimate differences.
(Compendium, No. 442) (citations omitted)

Some of the more significant players in the international scene are the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). Properly ordered, the NGOs can enjoy an independence from national or economic chauvinism, and so they tend to be a counterweight to political or economic self-regard.

The Magisterium positively evaluates the associations that have formed in civil society in order to shape public opinion in its awareness of the various aspects of international life, with particular attention paid to the respect of human rights, as seen in "the number of recently established private associations, some worldwide in membership, almost all of them devoted to monitoring with great care and commendable objectivity what is happening internationally in this sensitive field."

Governments should feel encouraged by such commitments, which seek to put into practice the ideals underlying the international community, "particularly through the practical gestures of solidarity and peace made by the many individuals also involved in Non-Governmental Organizations and in Movements for human rights."

(Compendium, No. 443) (quoting JP II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, 26 and 2004 World Day of Peace Message, 7)

*There are some real impediments to the development of an international political authority. Perhaps most patent (representing the elephant in the global room) is Islam. Islam's divine positivism rejects the notion of human rights built upon natural law, since it views these as limited by, or defined by, Shari'a. Islam's dual ethic does not mesh well, if at all, with the universal ethic of Christianity which provides the basis of the Church's vision. Its unjustified chauvinism is not conducive to dialogue. Finally, its advocacy of violence and end-justifies-the-means morality is a severe impediment to world peace. Perhaps Islam more than materialistic secularism presents the greatest threat to international peace.


  1. and that the fundamental unity of the human race demands that everyone be committed to building a community which is free from injustice and which strives to promote and protect the common good...

    There is NO fundamental unity of the human race. That is a Jewish teaching.

    The Christian teaching is that Believers in Christ form a Nation that will be constituted in Heaven, after the Second Coming.

    You can not "free" the world from injustice! What meaning of injustice do you mean? Is this Marxist paradigms that define 'injustice'?

    The Church's mission is the salvation of souls NOT setting up a world wide bureaucracy. Does bureaucracy work? There is NO political authority outside of a nation!

    What the heck is the United Nations? Is that not your world-wide political authority now?

    I totally absolutely reject Pope John Paul's assesment and this Compendium. This is all pretty much ludicrous. Like individuals, Nations operate on Self-interest. The World operates on self-interest. That politicians are suddenly going to "be objective" and loyal to this "Natural Moral Law". This is just more pie-in-the-sky utopianism. We already have the Marxist United Nations. What another Universal body? Just more idiocy. Despite your renunciations, this is a 'socio-political' and has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with religion or with the salvation of souls. The Church's mission is the Salvation of souls. That and nothing else. And it can't even do that well and now it wants a world-wide bureaucracy? If reality and history shows, all institutions sooner or later are captured by Marxists, Leftists. This bureaucracy will be run by politically correct leftists.

    This is just more gobbleydegook. All people and nations act on self-interest. This idea goes against the grain and thinks it is going to succeed? Then, leftist grab control of institutions. Your bureaucracy is going to be headed and led by leftists. And this bureaucracy will be politically correct and your "Natural Moral Law" is nothing but politically correct! Pox on this all!

  2. The Church's mission is the salvation of souls. But any man who, living in the world, is unjust, who contradicts the natural moral law, who supports a tribe, regime, nation in acting against the natural law or natural justice is guilty of actual sin and risks hell. So the secular order is part of her province. What! Is the Church to leave the world to itself and not be its leaven?

    There is no fundamental unity of the human race? Really? There is not one law that binds them all? There is not one God who is their creator. There is not one mediator between God and men? Aren't all these things things that unite us? These are both Jewish and Christian ideas.

    To be sure, there are many problems with the current world ordering, things that are abhorrent and present the danger of tyranny. Among them the danger of "leftists" seizing the apparatus (or Islamists). But it is an error to suppose that any effort to rationalize international relations is evil? And if effort is not made to Christianize, to encourage an objective morality based upon natural law, then the world order will certainly be formed against any Christian or human interests.

    And true, it is not likely the world will ever be freed from injustice until the eschaton, but are we then to forego the effort? Are we to do the opposite? To do injustice until the Second Coming?
    There is a role for legitimate self-interest; but I tremble at the day where I justify injustice upon another man on the grounds that it improves my situation, or my country's situation, or my people's situation, or even my religion's situation.

    I think your Christ is Greek, one made for Greeks, but for no other. I think Christ's vision was broader, and include all men, all races, all peoples, all nations.

  3. Here is Scripture:

    "And all men are from the ground, and Adam was created of earth. In much knowledge the Lord hath divided them, and made their ways diverse. Some of them hath he blessed and exalted, and some of them hath he sanctified, and set near himself: but some of them hath he cursed and brought low, and turned out of their places. As the clay is in the potter's hand, to fashion it at his pleasure: so man is in the hand of him that made him, to render to them as liketh him best." (LXX, Ecclesiasticus 36.10-13)

    It says The Lord Divided them. The Lord divided mankind. Is this a mistake that needs to be rectified by us? Or is the unity of man, sophistry?

    How many in the Church hierarchy preach and teach this? NONE. So is the Church doing its job?