Friday, December 01, 2006

Final Words Before the Storm

By January 1791, a storm was on the rise, King Louis XVI had approved the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and De Lomenie had taken the oath. Pius VI counseled De Lomenie to retract his oath. Hoping he would follow the example of Beckett.

The Pope reminded de Lomenie that to fail to resist evildoers is to encourage them. Thomas Beckett showed this well in letters he wrote to his fellow bishops. Gesturing to the example of Beckett, Pius VI hopes that De Lomenie will act and speak in a way that recognizes the freedom of the Church vis a vis the State. If the State is committing a crime, someone must call that crime a crime. There is a point at which a person must show himself to be an opponent of a crime, otherwise, one becomes complicit in the crime. In short, the Pope urged de Lomenie not to fall into the hands of those who “under the pretext of reforming religion,… are actually looking for ways to sap it of the foundation of the Catholic faith and of the religion of our Fathers” (103).


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