Start The Revolution Without Me
Revolutionary change- many people look at the later part of the 19th century as the turning point for revolutionary change. However, are they right when it comes to the Church? Let us take a much closer look at Pope Leo XIII and his revolutionary thoughts about the future as we take a much closer look at his first encyclical Inscrutabili (1878). Many critics of Catholic Social Justice point to Pope Leo XIII as the father of this modern concept. Today we are going, to begin with, looking at exactly that then turning our attention to what exactly Pope Leo XIII said and saw.
But before we do, there is another document of Pope Leo we need to point out. This one is Rerum Novarum, dated May 15, 1891. Responding to what he calls “socialism” — understood broadly to include any social movement or school of thought advocating the abolition of private property — Pope Leo here vigorously defended the right of private ownership as a natural right and necessary basis for the exercise of other rights. But in doing so, he positioned himself on the side of the working class, affirming such things as the right of workers to decent working conditions, a just wage, labor unions, and the right to strike.
This made the Church side with some odd people who were violently anti- Church and anti-religion. The Pope and Karl Marx appeared to be on the same side. The man who called religion to be the opiate of the masses and that purveyor of truth himself. In Marx’s view, religion was created by men to keep the masses of laborers down and to control them. On the surface, Marx was advocating better conditions for the workers under his plan but taking God out of the equation. What Pope Leo XIII was doing was trying to put God not government as the centerpiece of the society and to help the workers gain their rights and dignity.
In an interesting turn of events over 130 years later, who was correct? Did communism deliver on the rights for their workers? Did they bring heaven on earth for their workers or did the workers' conditions actually never really materialize? What happened to the Church in Russia? Were Marxist-Leninist policies able to cripple the Church? In what has to be one of the oddest occurrences of fate look at the leaders in the western and eastern work at Christmas 2015. Who was the only major President to attend Church for Christmas Services? The answer would be President Putin of Russia. The country that in 1917 became communist and outlawed the Church. When the USSR fell in 1991, the Church rose up. Today the Church is a central part in the life of its people, its leaders, and its future. In the Cold War, in a time when we put “In God We Trust” on money and put God in Pledge so that we would be separate from those godless communists- what has happened? Who is godless now? When Texas passed one of the strongest anti-abortion rights bills of any state in Sept. 2021- the current Catholic President attacked the bill as denying a woman the right of choice. Was Pope Leo XIII right when he wrote about this attack on the Church and attack on the family itself? Did Pope Leo XIII see that when you take Jesus Christ out of your life and replace your reason to live with government policies you are shortchanging the people on this earth and the next?
In his encyclical Inscrutabili (1878) Pope Leo XIII spoke a great deal about the evils of society and what happens to a society that takes God out of the equation and replaces God with the government. This could be very clearly seen when he discussed in detail what society was doing with marriage and divorce. For many years- centuries in fact. Marriage was a sacrament of the Church. Something that you did in Church by the Church. However, with the liberalization of ideas and the need for men to push the government into every aspect of our private life, laws were changing this concept of marriage from being something that was done in the Church, to something that was done by the government. With this change, divorce then followed not to be part of the Church or the Church Court, but to become part of the government. The government was willing and ready to collect money for this. They were also very willing and able to try to push the Church out of this business entirely. These are Pope Leo XIII’s comments on that subject:
When impious laws, setting at naught the sanctity of this great sacrament, put it on the same footing with mere civil contracts, the lamentable result followed, that, outraging the dignity of Christian matrimony, citizens made use of legalized concubinage in place of marriage; husband and wife neglected their bounden duty to each other; children refused obedience and reverence to their parents; the bonds of domestic love were loosened; and, alas! the worst scandal and of all the most ruinous to public morality, very frequently an unholy passion opened the door to disastrous and fatal separations.
My question to you is who was right? Was Pope Leo XIII's thoughts correct on this subject or were the liberal humanists who wanted a larger and larger government right? Not only did these revolutionary changes bring problems in this world, but it has also led to many generations of people now being led to eternal punishment instead of heavenly reward because they were not able to follow the Sacraments of the Church.
In the second paragraph of this encyclical Inscrutabili (1878)- Pope Leo XIII addressed the evils of the society. The interesting thing is that even though it was written almost 150 years ago this could be describing our society today. Could it be because Pope Leo XIII saw this coming? Civil strife, endless wars, reckless mismanagement-these are problems that plague every aspect of our life today:
For, from the very beginning of Our pontificate, the sad sight has presented itself to Us of the evils by which the human race is oppressed on every side: the widespread subversion of the primary truths on which, as on its foundations, human society is based; the obstinacy of mind that will not brook any authority however lawful; the endless sources of disagreement, whence arrive civil strife, and ruthless war and bloodshed; the contempt of law which molds characters and is the shield of righteousness; the insatiable craving for things perishable, with complete forgetfulness of things eternal, leading up to the desperate madness whereby so many wretched beings, in all directions, scruple not to lay violent hands upon themselves; the reckless mismanagement, waste, and misappropriation of the public funds; the shamelessness of those who, full of treachery, make semblance of being champions of country, of freedom, and every kind of right; in fine, the deadly kind of plague which infects in its inmost recesses, allowing it no respite and foreboding ever fresh disturbances and final disaster
Here is where Pope Leo XIII excerpts have some very important knowledge of what is going to take place in the future. He explained that the Church would be attacked simply because it was the Church, and it was the defender of the people. If the Church would not be attacked, then the devil could never have his way. The only way for the devil to gain control or a greater foothold on this earth at this time is to weaken the Church. In 1878, Pope Leo XIII wrote this:
Now, the source of these evils lies chiefly, We are convinced, in this, that the holy and venerable authority of the Church, which in God's name rules mankind, upholding and defending all lawful authority, has been despised and set aside. The enemies of public order, being fully aware of this, have thought nothing better suited to destroy the foundations of society than to make an unflagging attack upon the Church of God, to bring her into discredit and odium by spreading infamous calumnies and accusing her of being opposed to genuine progress.
They labor to weaken her influence and power by wounds daily inflicted and to overthrow the authority of the Bishop of Rome, in whom the abiding and unchangeable principles of right and good find their earthly guardian and champion. From these causes have originated laws that shake the structure of the Catholic Church, the enacting whereof we have to deplore in so many lands; hence, too, have floured forth contempt of episcopal authority; the obstacles thrown in the way of the discharge of ecclesiastical duties; the dissolution of religious bodies; and the confiscation of property that was once the support of the Church's ministers and of the poor. Thereby, public institutions vowed to charity and benevolence, have been withdrawn from the wholesome control of the Church; thence, also, has arisen that unchecked freedom to teach and spread abroad all mischievous principles, while the Church's claim to train and educate youth is in every way outraged and baffled. Such, too, is the purpose of the seizing of the temporal power, conferred many centuries ago by Divine Providence on the Bishop of Rome, that he might without let or hindrance use the authority conferred by Christ for the eternal welfare of the nations.
Pope Leo XIII, a man who spoke six different languages fluently, and the man who could see into the future. He was truly a revolutionary man. Truly ahead of his times, and more importantly just the type of man we need to look more closely at when stating that Jesus did not create a Church he created a way of life. The Church is a building where we conduct our Liturgies (Masses) it is not where we are only supposed to be Christians. We are Catholic Christians 24/7 365- virtual or in person. Now, this was not just me who said or believes this, it was also Pope Leo XIII. Amen