The Founding Fathers and religious liberty

February 4,1993

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The enclosed Verbum is hardly controversial, but its predecessor, headlined "Discovering America's Roots," presented a picture of the Founding Fathers of the United States which did not gain everyone's approval. In particular, a long-standing friend of the Society here in the USA — who has rendered the Society great service — made a series of reasonable objections which deserve a reply. Let me attempt the "Catechism of a Patriot"...

Patriot: By concerning themselves with questions like the founding of the USA, don't priests risk being diverted or distracted from the saving of souls?

Reply: If any man had two heads, he might keep his religion in one and his politics in the other, but inside any one head at any one time, the two things necessarily interact on one another. A man cannot be liberal in politics without more or less contaminating his Catholic Faith and so endangering his soul.

Patriot: But Archbishop Lefebvre wisely left such worldly matters alone, and kept to the Doctrine of the Faith.

Reply: Archbishop Lefebvre may not have explicitly questioned the founding of the American Republic, perhaps because he was never permanently stationed in the USA, but the ideas of American churchmen he had to fight hard against at Vatican II, in particular, religious liberty. Michael Davies' latest book, The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty, shows clearly the part played by the compatriots of the Founding Fathers in the fatal establishing of the principle of religious liberty within the Catholic Church at that Council. Its "Declaration on Religious Liberty" is Americanism infecting the Universal Church. The result is that to defend the Faith anywhere in the world today, a priest must fight the ideas of the Founding Fathers.

Patriot: But Pope Leo XIII about 100 years ago, with reservations, commended the USA political system. Why should Society of St Pius X priests be more demanding more than the Pope?

Reply: Pope Leo XIII came before Vatican II; Society priests all come after. The full devastating effect of Americanism (as the Pope called it) upon Catholicism that he then feared, we now know. In Leo's time, the American churchmen could pretend that the Americanism he condemned did not even exist, but by the time of Vatican II, they were positively proud of having "converted" the Catholic Church to the American way - see Michael Davies' book.

Patriot: But the Founding Fathers were decent, God-fearing men.

Reply: By no means all of them believed Jesus Christ is God, but let us suppose they were all, as the world goes, honourable men. That does not change the principles on which they built their Republic, which are Freemasonic principles, profoundly harmful to Religion.

Patriot: But not all the Founding Fathers were Masons, and those that were, were Masons-only in name, not in wickedness like the French Masons who caused the blood-drenched French Revolution.

Reply: Firstly, the Catholic Popes have never distinguished a benevolent Anglo-Saxon Masonry from a malevolent Masonry of the countries of Latin origin. They have always condemned Masonry without distinction, as a whole, and many times. Secondly, Benjamin Franklin, an American Mason, was a close friend and colleague of the French Masons when they were preparing the French Revolution. Thirdly, however many or few American Revolutionaries were Masons, the founding principle of their new Republic — religious liberty — is a key Masonic principle.

Patriot: But the Founding Fathers' idea of liberty was the Catholic idea of liberty, only they left out the authority of the Catholic Church. How can you blame Protestants for that.?

Reply: Firstly, their subjective innocence or ignorance God alone can ultimately judge. Here we are questioning their objective achievement. Secondly the opposition between true liberty, centred on God, and Masonic liberty, centred on man, is radical. 'The difference is not "only" the omission of the Catholic Church (quite an omission!) but two wholly different concepts of God, man, life and law, as Leo XIII makes clear in his Encyclical "Libertas, "freely quoted in Michael Davies' book.

Patriot: Well, the religious liberty established in the First Amendment has given a marvellous freedom for the Catholic Church to thrive in the USA, ever since the founding of the Republic.

Reply: Freedom, yes, as Leo XIII acknowledges, but a marvellous freedom, no. The problem, in a few words, is that when men found a republic (as they do today all over the world) not just on the practice but on a principle of religious freedom, they are obviously putting the interests of their republic above the interests of any one religion, otherwise that religion would have primacy in their republic, as today Islam has primacy in Mohammedan republics. Now men are social as well as individual animals. Hence in a republic of religious liberty, a man may be a pious Catholic individually, but all the social institutions of his inter-religious State are preaching to him that his Catholicism is of secondary importance. At this point he may try to split his politics from his religion, but that is no more possible than to split man from God. So one of two things must happen: either his liberal politics contaminate his Catholic religion, which is how the American bishops at Vatican II ended up “converting” the Catholic Church to the American way, and which is why USA freedom is after all not so good for the Faith: or by the light of his one true Faith he condemns his country’s religious liberty and sets out seriously to convert his fellow countrymen.

Patriot: But given the mixed religions of the inhabitants of the thirteen Colonies, how could the Founding Fathers have founded their republic on any other principle than religious liberty? Impossible!

Reply: No intelligent engineer builds a bridge on sand, but if, for whatever reason, he is forced to do so, at least he does not glorify his bridge. On the contrary, he puts up a notice: “DANGER: YOU CROSS THIS BRIDGE AT YOUR PERIL.” No intelligent Catholic glorifies a republic built on religious liberty, even if it is his own country. Otherwise politics are going to become his real religion, ie., what he first believes in for the welfare of mankind.

Patriot: But the Founding Fathers had no intention of excluding God, or of making liberty into their religion.

Reply: The way to hell is paved with good intentions." You cannot, however good your intentions, lay down certain principles and not expect their consequences. You cannot establish religious liberty in politics and not expect to undermine all religion wherever those politics apply, at which point religious liberty becomes your real religion.

Patriot: Well, the Founding Fathers may have wanted no State Church, but they did want a country based on Christian principles. The country was Christian, and they assumed it would remain so.

Reply: In that case their right hand did not know what their left hand was doing, which is typical of decent liberals: their decency is at war with their liberalism and their liberalism with their decency. Poor pro-lifers! Many of them seem still to believe in democracy, petitions, letters to editors, etc., etc., but in fact President Clinton's sweeping away the Reagan-Bush roadblocks to abortion within two days of becoming President was not in defiance of, but in radical compliance with, democracy, petitions, etc., etc. Where religious liberty takes social precedence over the Catholic Faith or any faith, then implicitly my country's way takes precedence over any law of God, then my countrymen's votes entitle the President that they elect to do as he wishes, and any minority that still objects to abortion, for instance, should graciously admit defeat and stop raising the issue, because the people have spoken. And if such a minority insists, the State must be turned loose on it!

Patriot: But the Founding Fathers would be aghast at the present-day development of their Republic.

Reply: No doubt the large majority of them, but that merely shows that, like the Council Fathers of Vatican II who voted for the documents that would serve to destroy the Church, they did not know what they were doing. Liberals are blinded by their illusions. When it comes to building bridges, or republics, no amount of good intentions will make up for ignorance of the laws of engineering.

Patriot: But the situation is no worse in the USA than in many European countries, so the problem is not the Founding Fathers of the USA

Reply: It is most true that the situation is in significant ways worse in Europe than in the USA The problem everywhere is liberalism, or the shaking off of God's truth and God's law. So, true, the problem in the United States is not the Founding Fathers as founding fathers, a task to which they brought many good qualities, but the Founding Fathers as liberals. In establishing religious liberty, they laid the cornerstone of their Republic in liberalism.

Patriot: But what else could they do?

Reply: You may appeal to historical circumstances, but if these forced the engineers to build on sand, sand is still sand.

Patriot: Are you claiming all Americans are Americanists?

Reply: By no means. Michael Davies’ book (available at $14 fromTheAngelus Press, 2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109) is dedicated to the American churchman, Msgr. J.C. Fenton, editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review from 1944 to 1963, "whose clear, consistent and courageous defence of Papal Teaching on Church and State must once again be vindicated as the authentic Catholic position."

Patriot: Then the only reason why President Clinton has prevailed over the Catholics is because time ran out for the Catholics before they could convert the Republic.

Reply: No. The reason is because too many American Catholics aligned themselves with the Masonic principles of the Republic instead of condemning them, which is why their bishops "converted" Vatican II. God bless American pro-lifers — the movement is stronger in the USA than in any other country - but let them throw the best of their talents and energies into purely supernatural action because it is only by the purity of their Catholic Faith, not by any human means, that they can prevail.

Patriot: Do you love America?

Reply: Whoever loves Americans will tell them the truth. Whoever would flatter them with pleasing lies, scorns them.

Patriot: I still think Society priests would do better to leave all such questions alone.

Reply: Any Catholic priest must ask St Paul's question: "Do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1,10). May God bless the America needing and waiting to be converted to the fullness of the Catholic Faith!

Good news from the Seminary: between January 11 and 16 there was a most successful annual meeting of some 40 Society priests and associates from the USA and Canada Districts, presided over by the Society's Superior General, Fr. Franz Schmidberger. Enclosed is the statement he issued from Headquarters in Switzerland concerning the latest inter-religious meeting at Assisi. Inter-religion is an insult to the one true God who, logically, has only one true religion.

Next month we will issue a Retreat flyer with the details of all courses this summer: June 22-27 – Gregorian Chant: June 28 - July 3 – Women’s Retreat: July 12-17 – Men’s Retreat: July 21-25 (am) – Men’s Doctrinal Session on Modern Errors: July 26-31 – Women’s Retreat: August 31-Sept. 5 (am) – Men’s Doctrinal Session on Modern Errors.

With all good wishes for Septuagesima and Lent,

Most sincerely yours in Christ,