Friday, December 08, 2006

Freedom to Speak the Truth

Sometimes, all we have is the freedom to speak the truth.

Notice what Pius VI wrote to the Bishops and Catholics in France in April of 1791. This is after the Civil Constitution of the Clergy came out. To remember, the Constiution required all Catholics to take an oath of loyalty to the new Democratic Church of France, which would be controlled by the National Assembly. The Constitution confirmed all of the property taken from the Church. It abolished all religious orders. It required priests to marry. We know, in retrospect, that it would eventually impose the death penalty on those who did not take the Oath. I am not saying this in a spirit of indignation. It is simply to state the facts of what the Constitution required.

Pius VI did not urge the people of France to take up military arms against the Revolutionaries. Instead, he urged that they take up reason. The truth, at this point, was their only defense. He urged the Bishops and all the faithful of France to oppose “this newborn evil with the mild and paternal remedy which is called truth… in revealing to the culpable the enormity of their error, and the gravity of the canonical punishments which they have brought upon themselves" (289-291). The Pope seemed to realize the only argument worthy of refuting the Constitution was the one based on the truth. The people of France’s weapons against the Constitution were their capacity to reason and use the truth to persuade the revolutionaries of the erroneous doctrines embodied in the Constitution.

This is an important lesson that we can never forget. Right now, we are faced with a democratic legislature that will not act on the anti-war/anti-revolutionary democracy sentiment expressed in the past election. Lee Hamilton, former D from Indiana, said a few days ago in the South Bend Tribune that the election was not about any single issue. It was about Congress coming together for a united policy. But, 60% of Americans and 60% of Iraquis would like the US to be out in a year. Bush, leading Republicans and leading Democrats have all rejected that option. If anything, it looks like there will be an increase in troops. In addition, we will expand our efforts at democratic regime change to Iran and Syria.

In short, we are starting to look more and more like the French Revolutionaries, set on spreading democracy throughout the world, by bloody means if necessary. The only means we have to oppose this is to speak the truth, in the hopes of fending off impending disaster in the Middle East, and perhaps beyond.

Sorry, I can't say more or get into more details, but I have to go meet some students.

Joe P.


Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

There was a very interesting exchange yesterday in the Senate when Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton (and the Committee) were presenting their Report. The Junior Senator representing New York (I will not say "from" New York because she is "from" Illinois) asked what, if anything Congress could do to help make the Report a reality. Jim Baker, the old smoothie, handled that like a softball and thanked the Congress for heaping praise on the Report and asked that they see it through etc. etc.
Then Lee Hamilton spoke, visibly upset, and he took Congress to the woodshed and said that Congress has done a most inadequate job in its Constitutional responsibilities related to war-making powers and that Congress must now begin to take its oversight responsibility most seriously.
One got the sense that he was the only one in the room willing to say that the Emperor was buck naked and wonder about the sanity or honesty of those who had praised his new clothes.

10:57 AM  

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