01 July 2018

Imperial Catholicism & Duties of Citizenship

Sub Tuum.

The notion of citizenship and duty of citizenship is one with which men and women of faith often struggle. We are taught to be faithful citizens of the state, yet we are taught to be faithful to Christ. Both the Church and the State today command and demand supremacy. We are all pulled in two directions. To some extent, it has always been that way. Yet, as people of faith, we are first and foremost citizens of the Church, both in a broad sense and as citizens of the particular jurisdiction to which we belong. Only in that context may we consider any citizenship we may have in a temporal state. Indeed, we are dual citizens, and our loyalty is and must remain first and above all to the Church. As society has secularised, this is becoming more and more challenging. Yet, we must neither be afraid nor worry, but instead go forward in faith, trusting always in the love of God and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, St. Michael the Archangel, and all the Saints. 

Secular society today, particularly in secular republics and democracies, is unsurprisingly at odds with the traditional Catholic faith. Imperial Catholicism in its modern context refers to traditional Old Roman Catholicism, descended from the ancient Diocese of Utrecht, affiliated with the Holy Roman Empire. In its broader sense, Imperial Catholicism simply is the true and authentic Catholicism of the ages. So, it is no surprise that the church and state are at odds today, for they have been always at odds to one degree or another. There was even conflict between the Church and the various Catholic monarchies, and indeed at times even with the Holy Roman Empire, the temporal wing of the Church. Today, though, there are no longer any truly Catholic states. Italy, Spain, and Ireland have all fallen to secularism, as has France. Those states may be historically Catholic or even have a Catholic majority, but it is essentially Catholic in name only. Secularism reigns at present. 

In other countries, such as the United States of America, there is an infestation of concepts contrary to the faith in general, coupled with a Protestant influence that has worked against Catholicism for centuries. Indeed, the U.S. was founded on principles of Deism and the Enlightenment, both of which stress relativism and the supremacy of man's logic. It is no surprise in the U.S. that not only has the Protestant majority sought constantly to persecute and eliminate Catholics, but the State has always attempted to exert supremacy over the Church. Granted, the U.S. religious freedom laws do thankfully provide a good deal of recognised autonomy to religious organisations. However, when Church Law and State Law come into conflict, the American State asserts its perceived supremacy, sadly ignoring the supremacy of Christ and His Holy Church. The American State considers Catholics to be citizens of the U.S. first and above all, Catholics second. Laws, tilted wholly in the favour of the Protestants and others, have been used as weapons to eradicate Catholics. New laws were passed, such as anti-garb laws, sponsored by such unsavoury organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan, which were aimed at removing any real or perceived Catholic influence. Physical violence has occurred as well throughout the years. It is difficult to view all of that and still take the assertions of religious freedom seriously. Similar conditions exist in various other secular republics as well. 

What, then, is a Catholic to do? It is all too tempting to cave in to the peer pressure and the pressure of the state, hide one's light under the proverbial bushel, and keep one's faith as something only for the home or church, or for clergy to hide the outward symbols of their state in life. Yet, this must never be allowed. Catholicism calls for men and women of courage. The faith demands warriors.

It is easier to cave in, to knuckle under and crawl, sacrificing all that is most sacred and most dear in the hopes of material gain or approval from a government, business, or organisation. Although that is wrong in totality, there is more to it than that. First, it starts small. Once you demonstrate that you will capitulate, you have set a life pattern, both for yourself and others. You will continue to capitulate. They will continue to expect you to comply. Only a dramatic event of self-change will result in anything different, and it will be met with the strictest of opposition to try to prevent you breaking free.

Another issue is that once one person capitulates, it becomes all the more difficult for others to stand firm. The so-called "domino effect" can eventually be set in motion until the faith has been driven underground or eliminated. Peer pressure and the herd-like behaviour so common among humans makes that easier to manipulate by those in positions of power or influence.

The idea of not doing something or not wearing something or not saying something to do with the faith because a secular authority says not to do so is, again, wrong in its totality. But again, it starts small. It is easy to say, "Ok, I will not wear this cross lapel pin, and they will leave me alone." That becomes all the more likely when under duress, i.e., under some form of threat. Like physical torture, such duress today against the Christian people is often just as effective. People capitulate to make the uncomfortable situation stop or to alleviate fear of negative outcome. However, the reality is that it does not change what is in one's heart, and so allowing it to be driven underground will eat a person up inside. It simply is not healthy. And, in reality it will not make the perpetrator of the persecution like you any more. Consider that fact. If a person asks you to cease something pertaining to religion, the most fundamental aspect of identity a human being can have, they do not like you. Conforming will not make them like you.

Therefore, whether in reference to a civil state or a private organisation, remember always that one's loyalty must be first to Christ and His Holy Church. We, the Christian Faithful, are first and foremost citizens of the Church. All else is second. The faith is the rock that provides stability to life and the compass that provides direction.

The legacy of Imperial Catholicism that we in our Patriarchate maintain, and indeed the legacy of the whole of Christ's Church is one of Church above State, as the Holy Faith of Christ mandates. It is the State that must yield to the will of the Church, not the other way around. Submission to earthly authority can be legitimate only insofar as that authority is consistent with the doctrine of the faith. Otherwise it is wholly and completely illegitimate. 

We must resist suppression at all costs. We must refuse to be driven into the shadows. We must refuse to yield to the tyranny that opposes our faith today. 

24 June 2018

Patriarchal Letter on Immigration Issues

Sub Tuum.

On the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Venerable Brethren, Dearest Sons and Daughters,

On this vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, as the vigil bonfires burn brightly around the world reminding us that St. John came into the world before Christ to bear witness to the light of Christ, the world attempts to impose yet another veil of darkness. The immigration debate rages especially in Europe and the United States. It is an extremely serious issue, touching on humanitarian matters, charity, economic stability, and national security. Of great sadness, however, is that people are throwing vitriol at each other rather than listening, finding common ground, and solving the matter in a rational manner. Most troubling is that people are squaring off against each other along political party lines rather than seeking to consider first and foremost what the traditional Christian doctrine says about the matter. Indeed, it is no surprise that vitriol is thrown in epic proportions.  

It is also no surprise that this situation has arisen. We speak in this case not so much of the immigration issues themselves, but the nonproductive manner in which humanity is trying to solve them. We are not surprised for the simple fact that modern society has abandoned God, relegating the Almighty to the position of "optional when convenient" such that He is believed to serve humanity rather than the other way around. The seeds for that were sewn first, of course, with the downfall of mankind. In modernity, it can be traced to the ideas of the Enlightenment. In that philosophy, mankind needs only reason. Egalitarianism results, for without God, the source of hierarchy in nature, mankind is no longer subservient. That egalitarianism of individuals spawns a parity of ideas. From then on, man rejects the simple fact that there are absolute truths, for to acknowledge such absolute truths would be to acknowledge a nature hierarchy. Rather than seeking those truths, he seeks only his own preferences, which, naturally, exist simultaneously with those of his fellow man. Since they are not working together as brothers and sisters to find the truth and apply it, they instead seek to promote their own ideas in competition with those of others. The abandonment of Christian hierarchy has led to the sort of relativism seen in the world today that pits man against man in a struggle for philosophical dominance. That is what we see now in the issue of immigration 

On one extreme, we have the open-border proponents and those who wish to have at least relatively easy immigration. Some such persons are very well meaning, but that does not negate the potential harm their suggestions would have and do have when put into practice. That should be of grave concern to the Christian faithful. 

On the other extreme, we have government leaders and their supporters hurling highly troubling, ultra-nationalistic vitriol towards immigrants, failing to respect people from the other side of a border as fellow human beings in the image of God. In brief, that extreme we have the potential for great humanitarian crises. That should likewise be of grave concern to the Christian faithful. 

In the middle, there are those who are trying to find a reasonable solution. Yet, there are also those who remain silent, not wanting, quite understandably, to get involved, lest the anger of the extremes be turned on them. That should also be of grave concern to the Christian faithful. 

The Christian doctrine on immigration is ultimately quite simple. First, nations exist to secure the common good of the people placed in their care. Authority comes from God, though the nations that claim the power of the government comes from the consent of the governed rather than from God can hardly make such a claim of divine authority. Nevertheless, insofar as they have various physical powers, they still possess the responsibility to care for their people. That includes physical security, which includes border security. 

Second, we must be kind as Christian people to the strangers in our midst. That means the utmost care should be taken and must be taken by governments to provide clean, sanitary, healthy and even hospitable conditions for immigrants and asylum seekers entering illegally. That does not mean that such persons should not be subject to possible criminal proceedings and deportment, but it does mean that while they are in the care of the state, they must be properly cared for. To no subset of the population should that apply more than children, the elderly, and the infirmed who are all the most vulnerable. 

That outlines the basic background of Christian doctrine that must underlie a proper immigration policy. On that there can be no dispute without rejecting the Christian faith. It is from this core foundation that people with differing viewpoints can and must begin in order to find a common-ground solution that is effective and rational. Thus far we have seen no such movement on the part of most states. Therefore, we call upon the Christian faithful to pray for a conversion of heart of those who cannot or will not see the ultimate truth of our Lord. From that truth derives the basic principles from which an authentic Christian immigration policy can derive. Anything else whatsoever is either ineffective on one hand or against humanity on the other. 

In peace,
+Rutherford Card. V.R.P. I


04 May 2018

Patriarchal Allocution on Easter 2018


Sub Tuum.

RVTHERFORDVS CARD. V.R.P. I

Patriarchal Allocution on the Sunday of the Resurrection of OLJC

1 April A.D. 2018

DALLA Casa Fiorentina a tutti i cristifideli nel mondo, ed alla Corte di S. Maria di Walsingham, grazia e pace, e la mia Benedizione Apostolica in questa occasione gioiosa, la Domenica della Resurrezione del Nostro Signore, anno Domini 2018. Christus resurgens! Christus resurgens est! Lo festiggiamo di buon cuore perche’ oggi celebriamo la vittoria di Cristo sul sepolcro. Celebriamo la gloriosa resurrezione di nostro Signore Jesu Christo. Il Sanctum Triduum comincia con l’istituzione della santa messa e continua con un gran tradimento. Veramente e’ un tempo di morte, ma finisce come tempo della vita. Comincia nelle tenebre, ma termina nella luce. Carissimi, per vivere, dobbiamo morire al mondo e vivere solo in Cristo. Cristo fu l’agnello perfetto per pagare il grandissimo debito del mondo. Ma, vi dico ancora quest’anno che non possiamo credere solamente, senza opera, senza sofferenza. Cristo ci ha detto che dobbiamo prendere la nostra croce e seguirlo, e quindi, per essere cristiano, e’ necessario appenderci alla croce come Cristo. In medio della festivita’, pensate di queste cose.

Il mondo d’oggi si allontana da Cristo e sceglie le tenebre. Si’, e’ vero che il mondo sempre e’ contro Cristo e contro la Santa Chiesa, ma in questo periodo, esiste una gran sforza contro Jesu Christo. Il popolo d’oggi non udite e non crede le parole di Nostro Signore, e dunque c’e’ un cancro di secolarismo. Noi, i cristifideli, continuiamo combattere contro le tenebre, e portiamo la luce di Cristo, e la sua unica chiesa, l’unica, santa, cattolica, ed apostolica Chiesa di Cristo. In Cristo abbiamo la speranza della vita aeterna per tutti chi credono veramente in Lui.

Nella Santa Chiesa d’oggi, c’e’ una gran crisi. Noi abbiamo il dovere sostenere la dottrina verissima. In nostro Patriarcato, continuiamo le tradizioni della vera Santa Chiesa e l’eredita’ del Sacro Romano Impero, l’ala temporale della Chiesa. Non possiamo fermare nostro lavoro molto importante – non mai. Voi, i membri della curia e della casa patriarcale, ed il clero del patriarcato, voi avete una responsibilita’ tremenda. Siete soldati della Santa Chiesa aeterna, soldati in una grandissima guerra.

Anche sono contento dire che il nostro Patriarcato continua crescere, come un vigneto del Signore. Siamo tutti lavoratori in quello vigneto. In questo tempo Pascale in cui accogiliamo i nuovi cristifideli alla Santa Chiesa, e’ anche un tempo di rinuovare il nostro ministero di servicio a Dio, alla Chiesa di Cristo, ed all’umanita’. Festiggiamo, ma pensiamo. Non siamo niente senza Cristo. Tutto che facciamo comincia all’altare di Dio e proviene dalla Santa Messa. In verita’, il nostro ministero e’ un ministero sacrificiale, come un servo, seguiendo l’esempio di Cristo dato agli Apostoli prima della sua Passione.

Allora, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Dio.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris +, et Filii+, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

FROM the Florentine Household to all the faithful in Christ through the world, and to the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, grace and peace, and my Apostolic Blessing on this joyous occasion, on the Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord, 2018. Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! We celebrate it with a good heart because today we celebrate the victory of Christ over the sepulchre. We celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Sanctum Triduum begins with the establishment of the Holy Mass and continues with a great betrayal. It truly is a time of death, but one that ends as a time of life. It begins in darkness, but ends in the light. Carissimi, to live, we must die in the world and live only in Christ. Christ was the perfect lamb to pay for the world's great debt. But, I tell you again this year that we cannot merely believe, without good work, without suffering. Christ told us that we must take up our own cross and follow Him, and therefore, to be a Christian, we must hang on the cross just as Christ. In the middle of this time of celebration, think of these things.

The world of today have moved away from Christ and chosen darkness. Yes, it is true that the world always is against Christ and against the Holy Church, but in this period, there is a great force against Jesus Christ. The people of today do not hear and do not believe the words of our Lord, and so there is a cancer of secularism. We, the faithful in Christ continue to fight against the darkness and bring the light of Christ and His only church, the Only, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. In Christ we have the hope of eternal life for all who truly believe in Him.

In the holy Church of today, there is a great crisis. We have a duty to support the true doctrine. In Our Patriarchate, we continue the traditions of the true Holy Church and the legacy of the Holy Roman Empire, the temporal wing of the Church. We cannot cease our very important work – not ever. You, the members of the Curia and the Patriarchal Household, and the clergy of the Patriarchate, you have a tremendous responsibility. You are soldiers of the holy and eternal Church, soldiers in a great war.

I am also glad to say that our patriarchate continues to grow as a vineyard of the Lord. We are all workers in that vineyard. In this Paschal time in which we welcome new Christian to the Holy Church, it is also a time to renew our ministry of service to God, to the Church of Christ, and to humanity. We rejoice, but we also ponder. We are nothing without Christ. All we do begins at the altar of God and flows from Holy Mass. Truly, our ministry is a sacrificial ministry, as a servant, following the example of Christ given to the Apostles before His Passion.

Now, therefore, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super + + vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.