“Satan is the god of this world. God created all things good; but when man fell, an evil spirit possessed them, and they are evil till God touches them again with His Divine Light. In Abraham, He made a new beginning and sanctified a holy household, and that spread into a nation, and that nation became holy to the Lord. And then the mass fell away, and He preserved a remnant; and from it He has spread and diffused abroad a spiritual and regenerate kingdom far and wide, and this has encroached in a blessed way upon the world. But it is only in proportion as things that be are brought into this kingdom, and made subservient to it; it is only as kings and princes, nobles and rulers, men of business and men of letters, the craftsman, and the trader, and the labourer, humble themselves to Christ’s Church, and (in the language of the prophet Isaiah) ‘bow down to her with their faces toward the earth, and lick up the dust of her feet,’ (Isaiah 49:23). that the world becomes living and spiritual, and a fit object of love and a resting-place to the Christian.”
– Blessed John Henry Newman
I always used to advise people that if they found themselves faced with an argument about the Inquisition to say “opposition to the Inquisition is almost as preposterous as opposition to the Crusades which are almost the epitome of a just war”. Hopefully one’s adversary would then get distracted into an argument about the Crusades which is much easier to win than an argument about the Inquisition. I have recently come the conclusion that this advice, while tactically sound, is strategically mistaken. Bashfulness about either the Crusades or the Inquisition, but particularly the Inquisition, is fatal to the position of the Church in a hostile world.
Man is a social and political animal. He can only be converted socially and politically. Not to seek the conversion of the entire polis is not to seek the conversion of the individual. If we are unable to give an account of the order of Christendom we cannot preach the Gospel. Between the flood and the final conflagration human society entails coercion. If we cannot set forth and defend the nature of that coercion which would exist in a wayfaring temporal society conformed to the Gospel then we cannot preach the Gospel.
Every temporal society requires the capacity to preserve order within itself and to defend its borders. If Christendom cannot do this then it cannot exist. If Christendom cannot exist man cannot be Christian.
And he said to them: ‘When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything?’ But they said: ‘Nothing’. Then said he unto them: ‘But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end.’ But they said: ‘Lord, behold here are two swords’. And he said to them, ‘It is enough’.
– Luke 22:35-38
The purpose of revelation is to inform man of his end and the means necessary for its accomplishment. This is the foundational knowledge necessary for any human society. As the end of all men is the vision of God attained through faith in Christ and in membership of the Catholic Church His kingdom on earth, the Christian revelation is the basis of the only legitimate human society. like any society this society has to have the ability to defend itself. Consequently when Christians obtain the direction of the temporal power they are under an obligation to make use of it to defend the frontiers of the temporal Christian commonwealth. To give one’s life in its temporal defence is a virtuous act and the Supreme Pontiff is entirely free at his discretion to enrich our enrollment in that task with indulgences.
Likewise, the Christian Commonwealth must be able to defend itself against treason and sedition. The life of the Commonwealth is the revealed knowledge of the end. And how else is man to know his end except by revelation? He can know by reason that God exists and so he is aware of the fact that he could be given an end beyond his nature. He cannot prove an existential negative, so even if his end turns out to be that proportionate to his nature, the Creator will still have to tell him so. The believer more firms assents to the things that are of faith than to the first principles of reason. The formal heretic falsifies the articles of faith out of the purest malice because he knows he is wrong with more certainty than any other sinner. It is angelic sin. He is a murderer from the beginning .
Step away from these truths and the entire structure of the faith begins to unravel. If the faith is not certain then it is absurd and untrue. If man is not a social animal then there is no need for the church. Our Lord personally endows the Apostles with the temporal sword. The execution of apostates and idolaters is central to the Old Testament. The nature of the Church in the New testament is different, but the Hebrew polity cannot have been unholy or immoral else the entire doctrine of inspiration is lost.
Our intention is to convert everyone from the sovereign to the least of her subjects . We intend to regain the direction of the civil power. The Church is, as Newman said, “a natural enemy to governments external to itself”. Democracy and mixed polity is a perfectly legitimate form of government, the English constitution as originally conceived is close to the ideal form of government, and revolution is immoral. The restoration of a Catholic polity fittingly comes through persuasion, but when it happens, abortion, contraception, divorce, sodomy, usury and idolatry will be proscribed. Citizenship will come from baptism and communion with the Roman Pontiff. Conventicles will be called by their proper name, not ‘churches’. Forcible conversion of the non-baptized is blasphemy but apostates are traitors and the frontiers of Christendom must be defended. It is time that we faced up to the fact that this is the doctrine of the Popes and Councils of the Fathers and Doctors. It is the Catholic Faith and we should be proud to profess it in Christ Jesus Our Lord.