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.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adauge Nobis Fidem! Pope Leo XIII's Battle Call in Sapientiae Christianae

UNITY IN FAITH DOES NOT of course mean that there will be no differences of opinion on the balancing of interests that relate to the common good and to the implementation of "the single reserve . . . of the rights of justice and truth." In the "sphere of politics ample matter may exist for legitimate differences of opinion." SC, 29. Understanding this, there are, however, two temptations that must be resisted. The first is to make the Church politically partisan by equating her with one political side. The second is to allow the interests of partisanship to overcome the interests of the Church. When the interests of the Catholic Church are threatened, all Catholics ought to set aside partisan bickering and close ranks to protect the Church. Internal dissensions should be cast aside. Additionally, members of the Church must not be inert, passive, but must be more militant in their duties and in demanding their rights.

Adauge nobis fidem! "[I]t is certain," Leo XIII states, that the "perverse-minded," whose ideas have led to the spiritual malaise of the West, could have been stopped if "the faith 'which worketh by charity' had been generally more energetic and lively in the souls of men, and had there not been so universal a drifting away from the divinely established rule of morality throughout Christianity." SC, 32. Our faith, then, must be coupled with unity and with courageous action. "May at least the lessons afforded by the memory of the past have the good result of leading to a wiser mode of acting in the future."

Though State and Church have their areas of sovereignty in public life, as institutions they ought to not have an antagonistic relationship. Rather, their relationship should be complementary. Man has more than physical existence: man does not live by bread alone. Man also has a moral life, a moral life which "which consists exclusively in the knowledge and practice of virtue," and which includes striving for religious perfection, "in the knowledge and practice of the true religion," of "that religion which is the queen of virtues, because in binding these to God it completes them all and perfects them." SC, 30. The State cannot ignore this moral and religious dimension in man: it cannot simply think and act as if man were one dimensional and blithely ignore what is most important in man, thereby trampling on the rights of the Church as well as her faithful:
Therefore, they who are engaged in framing constitutions and in enacting laws should bear in mind the moral and religious nature of man, and take care to help him, but in a right and orderly way, to gain perfection, neither enjoining nor forbidding anything save what is reasonably consistent with civil as well as with religious requirements. On this very account, the Church cannot stand by, indifferent as to the import and significance of laws enacted by the State; not insofar, indeed, as they refer to the State, but in so far as, passing beyond their due limits, they trench upon the rights of the Church.
SC, 30.

Adauge nobis fidem! Here is the radicalism of Leo XIII's message: the Church has rights the modern State never dreamed of.
From God has the duty been assigned to the Church not only to interpose resistance, if at any time the State rule should run counter to religion, but, further, to make a strong endeavor that the power of the Gospel may pervade the law and institutions of the nations.

Quin imo resistere, si quando officiat religioni disciplina reipublicae, studioseque conari, ut in leges et instituta populorum virtus pervadat Evangelii, munus est Ecclesiae assignatum a Deo.
SC, 31. We have the duty "to make a strong endeavor that the power of the Gospel may pervade the law and institutions of the nations," a duty given to the Church by God, which carries with it, of course, the inalienable right to do so without constraint or interference by the State. The Muslims act as if they had this divine imperative, though it was not given them. Christians act as if they had no such divine imperative, though it was given them. The Liberals don't care about divine or natural imperatives: they just want to cut through or dissolve all joints of the body politic in their rabid and irrational thirst to justify their relativism and intrinsic disorder.

Santiago Matamoros . . . Santiago Mataliberales?

The Christian then "will triumph over the craft of their adversaries by wisdom, and over their violence by courage." SC, 32. This appears to imply the opposite: that we will not engage in "craft" and will not dabble in "violence." It is to craft and violence that Christians will be opposed, and will be opposed using different tools than the world gives: wisdom and courage. But wisdom and courage must be distinguished from "two criminal excesses: so-called prudence and false courage." This so-called prudence, "prudence of the flesh," prudentia carnis, which is nothing less than an indication of a dead soul, advises against boldly attacking evil when it is the ascendancy, arguing it will only cause evil to become more hostile. Those motivated by this false prudence may talk the talk, but do not walk the walk: "They moan over the loss of faith and the perversion of morals, yet trouble themselves not to bring any remedy; nay, not seldom, even add to the intensity of the mischief through too much forbearance or harmful dissembling." SC, 33. This "prudence of the flesh" is highly unseemly in the Christian, as "every Christian ought to be a valiant soldier of Christ." SC, 34. Christianum quemque debere bonum militem Christi esse! We are, moreover, soldiers that are loved, soldiers that are bound to conquer: "But in all these things we more than conquer through him that has loved us," says St. Paul to the Romans (Rom. 8:37). Why act as if it were a rout? Why be a coward? Why, when we are conquerors by divine right? Deus lo vult!

While we are conquerors, we, especially the laity, are not to go about our battle rashly, and we are not to go about it without guidance of, or in opposition to, the hierarchical, teaching Church. "Whence it is clear that, in addition to the complete accordance of thought and deed, the faithful should follow the practical political wisdom of the ecclesiastical authority." SC, 37. Nor, in our zeal for the social justice, are we to forget our own life: our own life must be regulated by the regime of Christian virtue or nothing we do will avail much.

Adauge nobis fidem! Unlike the Church which will never be deserted by God, nations may be deserted by God. There is no nation, and this includes the United States, that enjoys indefectability, some sort of divine exceptionalism. The United States is not exceptional by nature. If it is exceptional, it will be only insofar as it cleaves to God. If it falls away from God, it will be miserable, like all nations, for "'sin maketh nations miserable.'" Miseros enim facit populos peccatum. SC, 39 (quoting Proverbs 14:34). "There are, in truth, very many signs which proclaim that just punishments are already menacing, and the condition of modern States tends to confirm this belief, since we perceive many of them in sad plight from intestine disorders, and not one entirely exempt." SC, 39. There is, indeed, grounds to think that "the very foundations nature has laid for States to rest upon" will be "utterly destroyed." If there were grounds for worry in 1890 when Leo XIII issued his encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, there are certainly grounds now. With the vast numbers that have rejected the Christian faith, or have compartmentalized it, hiding it, as it were, under a bushel basket, we are suffering from our lack of faith or lack of courage. We have come to the point, predicted by Leo XIII, "where blinded by their passions," we "search in vain for truth," and we lay hold "on on the false for the true," and think ourselves wise when we call "evil good, and good evil," and "put darkness in the place of light, and light in the place of darkness." SC, 39 (quoting Isaiah 5:20). Abortion is a natural right; preventing it is evil. Homosexuality is a right; opposing it is homophobia and a violation of natural rights. Safe sex is virtuous; pregnancy, not unchastity, is the great evil. Homosexual couples have rights to raise children: children have no rights to an ordinary, natural family. This is calling evil good and good evil. From whence commeth our help? "It is therefore necessary that God come to the rescue, and that, mindful of His mercy, He turn an eye of compassion on human society." Then do so God!

Adauge nobis fidem, spem, et caritatem! Quicken in us, God, love, not as the world gives, but as you give. Quicken in us the charity which will bind us intimately to you, and which will causes us to draw our life from God, to act with God, to refer all to God. SC, 40.* Quicken in us anew the virtue of piety, and of charity. Inspire us with lofty deeds and imbue us with new life. SC, 41. And from a quickened love of God shall flow a quickened love of neighbor. And it is in the commandment of loving God and of neighbor that we find a new law; nay, not really a new law, but rather an old law pronounced in a manner new:
And this commandment concerning charity its divine proclaimer styled new, not in the sense that a previous law, or even nature itself, had not enjoined that men should love one another, but because the Christian precept of loving each other in that manner was truly new, and quite unheard of in the memory of man. For, that love with which Jesus Christ is beloved by His Father and with which He Himself loves men, He obtained for His disciples and followers that they might be of one heart and of one mind in Him by charity, as He Himself and His Father are one by their nature.

Atque hoc de caritate mandatum divinus ejus lator novum nominavit, non quod diligere homines inter se non aliqua jam lex, aut ipsa natura jussisset, sed quia christianum hoc diligenti plane novum erat atque in omni memoria inauditum genus. Qua enim caritate Jesus Christus et diligitur a Patre suo et homines ipse diligit, eamdem impetravit alumnis ac sectatoribus suis, ut cor unum et anima una esse in ipso possent, sicut ipse et Pater unum natura sunt.
SC, 40.

Adauge nobis fidem, spem, et caritatem! Why did we not heed Leo XIII's voice?
Let dissensions therefore, if there be any, wholly cease; let those strifes which waste the strength of those engaged in the fight, without any advantage resulting to religion, be scattered to the winds; let all minds be united in faith and all hearts in charity, so that, as it behooves, life may be spent in the practice of the love of God and the love of men.
SC, 41.

Let our family life revive! "The family may be regarded as the cradle of civil society, and it is in great measure within the circle of family life that the destiny of the States is fostered." SC, 42. From the corruptions imposed upon the family, from the outrage upon parents, let us shield ourselves. Parents, we must remember, and not the State, "hold from nature their right of training the children to whom they have given birth, with the obligation superadded of shaping and directing the education of their little ones to the end for which God vouchsafed the privilege of transmitting the gift of life." SC, 42.
It is, then, incumbent on parents to strain every nerve to ward off such an outrage, and to strive manfully to have and to hold exclusive authority to direct the education of their offspring, as is fitting, in a Christian manner, and first and foremost to keep them away from schools where there is risk of their drinking in the poison of impiety. Where the right education of youth is concerned, no amount of trouble or labor can be undertaken, how great soever, but that even greater still may not be called for.
SC, 42.

There is no more straddling the fence. Alioqui propugnare pro Christo nolle, oppugnare est. To refrain from doing battle for Jesus Christ amounts to fighting against Him. SC, 43. And if we do not hear Leo XIII's voice, perhaps we shall hear the voice of the Son of God whose vicar he was? Qui non est mecum contra me est et qui non congregat mecum spargit. He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. (Matt. 12:30; cf. Luke 11:23)

*"Yea, truly, charity is the bond of perfection, for it binds intimately to God those whom it has embraced and with loving tenderness, causes them to draw their life from God, to act with God, to refer all to God." Vere vinculum est perfectionis caritas, quia quos complexa est, cum Deo ipso intime conjungit, perficitque ut vitam animae hauriant a Deo, cum Deo agant, ad Deum referant. SC, 40.


  1. It is kind of hard to do this post in the Catholic world when so much of it is effeminized. The RC clergy like most other ministers have been effeminized. Our culture has been effeminized. Political Correctness runs rampant in schools and in Catholic schools. How can one engender a fighting spirit in boys, when Catholic school administrators preach softness, and attack violence of any sort, do not teach fighting skills to boys, and Catholic parents let boys listen to MTV?

    Leon Podles wrote an excellent book The Church Impotent, The Feminization of Christianity. The Church can not be militant if there is equality between the sexes. The Church can not be militant, when the church teaches pacificism and irenicism. The Church can not be militant if all the Catholic schools focus on is "college prepatory"; intellectual achievement and do nothing for the body.

    I grew up 12 years of Catholic schooling, having never to learn how to fight. Neither my parents, nor my school thought it important. This goes back to Socrates that Virtue is a type of knowledge. If I don't know how to "give and take a punch" can I exhibit manliness? Which is a Virtue? I was taught to back down from fights. I never was taught any skills. Nor was I physically fit to do so. It was all head learning.

    To be militant requires a Martial Spirit. When from the pulpit clergy attack martial excercises, warrior culture and ethics, what is a man supposed to do?

    When I attend Catholic mass, what do I see in young men there---Wimps. They wouldn't know what a man was if it ran them over. How can you have the Metaphysical Militancy if you don't have the physical militancy? If you don't have the Warrior spirit in the natural order, how can you have that in the Spiritual order?

    If "Telos" is a law of nature, how come Catholic schooling is not geared toward forming a boy into a man? How come it doesn't teach Virtue? Virtue for boys is different from Virtue for females. Yet, personal experience, political correctness is more important and Virtue is sh*tcanned because it goes against Political correctness. St. Paul says females are to be trained in submissiveness. Submissiveness is a Female Virtue. Do you think that could be taught in any Catholic School right now? or any Catholic University or College? How many Women are accepted into the Law departments against the natural law of Righteousness at Catholic Colleges and Universities?

    In order to have a "Church Militant" you have to have men. One has to learn to be a man first. That is not happening.

  2. I concede the problem, in both civil society and the Church, which, of course, will reflect somewhat the society in which she operates: after all her members come from civil society. We need to resurrect the manly virtues (which is not machismo or male chauvinism).

    St. Francis is depicted as some sort of foppish naturalist, a plaster saint, but he was a soldier, and he was man enough to envangelize the Sultan. He also had a rugged, manly notion of Christianity and the Church. You do not need to be effeminate to be holy. One can be a man and het be properly irenic and not belligerent. Peace through strength type of stuff.

    We need to take the Monks of War as models. Imagine the masculine expression of Christianity in the monastic military orders. I would love to know what these men did for their daily routine. Christianity and sweat sounds like a very good idea.