BISHOP WILLIAMSON CONFERENCES – conference n°10
I mentioned that we might look at Quanta Cura and the Syllabus. The Archbishop frequently raised those two. They were published together in 1864. Pius IX was the longest-reigning pope in all Church history, or the second longest after Peter, but I think he’s the longest. He reigned from 1846 to 1878 - 32 years. He began his reign with a measure of sympathy for the liberals, who were causing all kinds of liberal nonsense in his Pontifical States, because the Pope was still king of a geographical belt reaching across the middle of Italy, and including the whole of Rome and the Vatican, and that belt guaranteed his political independence and therefore his ability to speak for the Church. He didn’t have to be afraid of the local police breaking into the Vatican and shutting him up, so to speak. The Pontifical States is a point that Pius IX very much defended.
He tried to be nice to the liberals, but all that they did was to exploit him as though he was being weak, and they pushed and pushed and pushed, and finally in 1848 there was a Freemasonic revolution. It was another Masonic revolution, all over Europe, including in Rome, and there it reached the point that he had to flee the Vatican, and he had to disguise himself as an ordinary priest and get into a carriage provided by a French count, or something like that, at the back door of the Vatican, and he fled down to Gaeta in the kingdom of Naples, which was further south. He had to stay down south away from Rome until things calmed down. He stayed for a year and a half until he could come back to Rome, but by the time he came back to Rome he understood liberals. He understood who they were - they pretend to nice, they say they’re nice, they say they will do this, and they are bar stewards. He had understood. From then on he was solidly conservative in a good sense. That was 1851 that he got back to Rome, and from then on he defended the Church against this modern world, of which he had had such a taste. In 1848 his prime minister who was administering the Papal States, Count Rossi, was killed by the crowd under his eyes. Somebody stabbed Count Rossi, one of these anarchists, these crazy characters, and then when the blood flows then you realise the liberals have their hands covered with blood. They pretend not to, but they do. Look at all the girls who visit abortuaries on Saturday morning. They look sweet things. They’re pretty and so on, but they’re killing the children in their womb. That’s liberalism.
Pius IX then directed the Church in a very conservative and anti-liberal direction, and the Church flourished accordingly. It was a great missionary epoch and so on. But the liberal errors were all around, and it was a layman, Donoso Cortés, who first had the idea of publishing a list of the errors, and the idea got into the Vatican, and the idea was kicked around by the cardinals and the prelates and the high-ups, and they decided it was a good idea. So the list expanded and contracted. There weren’t originally 80 errors. I think it expanded as time went on, and finally the theologians in the Vatican offices they fixed on these 80 errors, and they published it to the world, and there was a tremendous stink. To this day it divides liberal Catholics from Catholics. If you read many a modern English Catholic book and if it’s got anything to do with the Syllabus, you look up the Syllabus in the index and you will see some slighting reference, some patronising reference – “The Syllabus, oh, of course, that was old Pius IX” or “Well, of course, he was a conservative and you wouldn’t expect anything better than him” - some slighting reference or other, and then you can be sure you’ve not got a truly Catholic book in your hands. On the other hand, if the book is entirely in favour of the Syllabus then you know you’ve got a Catholic book in your hands. These liberals, they are all over the place, even Catholic liberals are all over the place, and they don’t let up, and they are so self-righteous. It’s terrible. They think they know it all. They think they’re perfect. It’s frightening.
The Syllabus was published as an annex to an encyclical called Quanta Cura. You will have at least an acquaintance with this document that Archbishop Lefebvre obviously knew and which he kept referring to as a pillar of the Church against the modern world. You will have at least an idea of what they contain. You will have an idea of how the Church stood against the modern world. It’s not very long in itself. There are only 15 sections, but it’s quite heavy and quite dense.
Some people say that this condemnation fulfils the conditions of an infallible definition, and therefore the Pope on that basis would be infallibly condemning the essential liberal errors. The liberals argue - “Oh, no, it’s not infallible. Oh, no, it’s not fulfilling the conditions.” The fight goes on. It goes on and on and on. We’ve got to play our part.
So quanta cura is “with how much anxiety”.
“With how much anxiety previous popes have resisted and condemned wicked heresies, O bishops, you know well. And then now we, too, have, from the beginning of Our pontificate” - which was now 18 years before - “we have from the beginning of Our pontificate condemned today’s monstrous errors.” Notice the word “monstrous”. Then you’ve got the errors. The errors divide into two main sections - “Against Religion In General” and then “Against The Church In Particular.”
This is the 19th century. The Freemasons are waging a tremendous war against the Church. Freemasonry was soaking through the upper classes, the aristocracy, of especially the Latin countries, but it started in England. Masonry is soaking throughout the 18th century, and it bursts out in the French Revolution. The French Revolution is a child of Freemasonry, like the American Revolution in 1776. The Masons produce revolutions in order to undermine and undercut Catholicism. The English pretend that English Masonry is not as nasty as continental Masonry. The only difference is that the Catholic Church in England is very much weaker than it is in especially the Latin countries on the Continent, and so Masonry doesn’t need to be so aggressive, but if the Catholic Church was strong in England it would be aggressive. Many people think that there’s some Mason or other behind the present infiltration and destruction of the SSPX. It’s very likely that the Masons have entered it.
“Once again we must condemn errors banishing the Catholic Church from the lives and nations of men. Human society is best constituted and governed without religion.” Of course that is obviously the modern world – “We don’t want religion. We don’t need religion. Religion is just a relic of the past. Let’s get rid of it.”
“Governments should not protect the Catholic religion” – monstrous error, says Pius IX. Governments should protect the Catholic religion.
“Liberty of conscience and worship is a right to be protected by civil law.” That’s exactly what Vatican II says. Quanta Cura and Vatican II are absolutely head-on. A country must protect by civil law any religion, or they must protect liberty of conscience and worship - in other words, liberty of the citizens to follow their conscience and to practise what worship they like. That must be defended by civil law – monstrous error.
“Neither Church nor State should limit freedom of speech or the press.” That’s totally Freemasonry, and that, of course, is what gives rise to our media - this freedom of press and of speech. In Libertas, Leo XII says there are accidental benefits of freedom of press and speech, but essentially they are freedom for error, and that’s terrible. Accidentally in modern times, freedom of speech does protect to a little extent freedom of truth against a whole world of error, like on the Internet. There is some freedom of truth still on the Internet, whereas there’s very little freedom for truth in the media of today. So freedom can work for good but in itself it doesn’t work for good. In itself it works equally for good and for bad. In fact, given Original Sin, it works more for bad than for good. Liberalism denies Original Sin.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Just throw out the truth in the marketplace and there it will thrive.” If men didn’t have Original Sin that would be true, but if they have Original Sin it’s not true that the truth thrown out in the marketplace thrives. Because of Original Sin, truth thrown out in the marketplace perishes. It gets trampled on. So freedom and speech or press are, as St Augustine called them, freedom of perdition.
A sane government has got to control. There’s got to be some censorship. Today the very word “censorship” makes our hackles rise, and we think, “Censorship, oh!” but actually we have got a very strict censorship on our media today, only it’s in the favour of the enemies of the Church. I don’t need to tell you who they are, but they control the papers, they control the governments, and they exercise a strict censorship. If you want to sell a certain kind of book it’s not going to appear in the bookstores. You’re going to have to sell it on a private network of some kind, whatever you can put together. If you want to say that six million Jews were not gassed by Hitler, you’re never going to be able to say that in the media. You’re never going to be able to say it on television, unless, of course, they want to do you down for saying it. Freedom of speech and press is, St Augustine said, a freedom of perdition because it was habitually, normally and in itself play for freedom of bad rather than freedom of good.
The Americans really believe in freedom of speech, and therefore if the enemies of God want to shut down, as they do, any speech in favour of God, any conservative speech, any speech with common sense, the enemies of God are shutting that down in the United States with all kinds of excuses. It’s incredible the excuses they come up with. It’s so plausible. But the Americans still have an instinct of freedom of speech, and by accident of circumstances, that is actually doing good, but in itself that it doesn’t do good because of Original Sin, and therefore all sane countries have some kind of censorship on speech and on the press. It all depends who’s doing the censoring. If it’s Catholics doing the censoring, you’re very lucky. If it’s enemies of the Church doing the censoring, forget it. So in any case there’s going to be censorship. People today think that our media are not censored. Our media today are heavily censored, only in the opposite direction from the Catholic direction, so don’t let anybody today be proud of our free media. A lot of people have the common sense to realise that our media today are not free at all. There’s a mass of things that you just can’t say on our media. There is the pretence that our media are free but it’s not the reality at all, and it’s the opposite censorship from Church censorship. Church censorship would ban pornography. It would shut down pornography overnight if it could, the true Church, because of the damage that pornography does to men especially, and to boys, in particular, adolescent boys. It does terrible harm.
We move on – “Banishing the Catholic Church from the lives and nations of men, and which promote materialism and attack Catholic congregations. The will of the people is the supreme law. In the political order might is right, which promote materialism and attack Catholic congregations.” What’s that about? Why is “the will of the people is the supreme law” materialism? Because it’s saying that the people are supreme and God is not supreme any longer, and the people are not, per se, spiritual. The people will concern themselves with bread and circuses, with food amusements, and that doesn’t fly very high. The people need to be raised by somebody who’s on a higher level than they are. The people by themselves fall back to a fairly low level, and, of course, the Catholic Church is a great raiser of the people - making them obey the Ten Commandments, making them get to Mass, making them believe in heaven and hell, raising their sights and making them think about things quite other than just amusements. Television and sports are the amusements of today, obviously.
“In the political order might is right.” That’s again eliminating any higher law than the people, and it’s eliminating in politics any sense of right - if you’re strong enough to get away with it, if you can just crush the opposition then that’s fine. Might is right is Stalin. It’s the abolition of any sense of justice, of right and wrong. It’s just who is the stronger and what can he get away with. So it promotes materialism because it does away with any authority or any idea of any truth or any justice higher than man, so man falls back into himself and he falls back into materialism. The Catholic congregations obviously are concerned with a right and wrong which are well above politics, and a law of God which is well above the people. That’s the occupation of Catholic congregations. So they’re going to catch it in the neck with those two propositions - that the will of the people is the supreme law, and in the political order might is right.
And now errors which are against religion in general in the family, which promote materialism, attack Catholic congregations and destroy the family. “Children’s education depends on the state” – monstrous error. “The family depends upon the State” – no. The State, in a sense, much more depends upon the family. The State is what’s called a perfect society. The family is called an imperfect society. The Church is a perfect society. You’ve got Church, State and family. Church and State are perfect. The family is imperfect. What does that mean? A perfect society is one which has in itself all it needs to fulfil its purpose, to fulfil what it’s there for. The State has all kinds of families, all kinds of people, and within itself it has amongst all its citizens all that it needs to maintain the life of the State. One State does not necessarily depend upon any other State. But very few families, if any, have within themselves all that they need to maintain family life. If I’m a baker I need shoes and I need a cobbler somewhere in the village. The cobbler makes shoes but he needs bread, he needs a baker in the village. Both of us need a tailor, and all of us need a farmer to make us food. So there’s a variety of occupations and variety of families making up the village. The village has not got enough in itself to satisfy all it needs. It can’t defend itself. The scale of human society which has within itself all it needs to fulfil its purpose is the State. Therefore the State is a perfect society. A township is most likely not. A family is certainly not. The Church is a perfect society, because the Church, equipped with the doctrine, with the sacraments and with a hierarchy, has all that it needs to maintain its existence and to fulfil its function of getting souls to heaven.
So the family is an imperfect society, so the family does depend upon the State because the baker does need a cobbler and the cobbler needs a farmer and the farmer needs a tailor and so on, so the family does depend on the State, but also obviously the State very much depends upon the family. The family is to the State like bricks are to a wall. You can’t build a wall without bricks. You can’t possibly build a State without a family. Therefore the family and the health of the family is crucial to the health of society. You can’t make a healthy State with unhealthy families. Today we’ve got very unhealthy families. The State is falling to pieces. Divorce, contraception, euthanasia, abortion - these horrors arise from a world which has disregarded what the Pope is saying.
The State tries to regulate family problems. Once again I’ve just had another example of the State not being able to regulate family problems. Yes, child abuse. The State organises compulsory courses for teachers like Fr Summers. Fr Summers was having to attend a course in London, led and taught by two ditzy women about child abuse. He said it was a horror, but the State is trying. To put the best interpretation on it, the Houses of Parliament are trying to help the problem of child abuse. Where does the problem of child abuse come from? Lack of religion and lack of any law. The children are vulnerable. “I can beat them up. I can exploit them. I can molest them. I can do what I like. They’re my children. They’re under my roof. I do what I like with my children. Nobody tells me what do with my children” - so you get these horrors in this godless world. Only religion can heal the family and put the family together again.
There’s a marriage problem, and the policeman can’t help much. He’s called in when they’re almost killing one another. She rings up the police and then the policeman knocks on the door, and she sees who it is and then she begins to attack the policeman because he’s interfering. She called him in because she was beaten up by the husband, but the moment the police appears she sides with her husband. The police don’t like getting into family problems. They don’t like being called, because you can’t get in between husband and wife. It’s too delicate. It’s too intimate. It’s much too personal. They’re one flesh. But the priest has a chance, because whereas the policeman is known as a man of force, who’s going to use force to settle the problem, he’s going to hit the husband over the head with a truncheon maybe, or maybe he’ll hit the wife over the head with a truncheon because she’s beating up her husband, whatever it is, but he’s going to use violence. The priest will not use violence. The priest is not a man of violence, and he’s got no interest in it, so he’s going to try to advise and to help as best he can in the most selfless way possible. So the State can’t get into these problems. The priest can. The Church can. The Church firstly teaches the Ten Commandments, to love God firstly, and then if husband and wife are both centred on God, husband and wife will be in synch, whereas without God they’re not necessarily in synch at all, they’re fighting one another, but if they’re parallel in pursuing God then they’re parallel to one another, and that’s the importance of the family Rosary. The family Rosary unites everybody on heaven. Religion can get into the heart of the family as in get into the very soul of the man and of his wife and children. Religion can solve these problems. The State can’t. So the State today is trying. It tries, but with ridiculous courses on child abuse by two ditzy women. The two ditzy women said to the class, “We were looking at all this material about which children are often selected for child abuse, and we read it’s often children of single parents, and both of us realise we’re single parents.” That’s it in a nutshell.
The poor, old State is trying to solve family problems which it isn’t designed to solve. The State tries to solve marriage problems with divorce courts. It tries to solve euthanasia with laws. Quite soon the State will be forced to undo the euthanasia laws. The State can’t solve these problems. They’re religious problems. So the monstrous error is that the family depends up on the State. The State can’t deal with the family. The State will force the parents to send their children to some rotten and corrupting school. The State will crash in. It will try to take over from the parents and so on. It will make rotten education obligatory. So it’s a monstrous error that the State has a right over the family, has a prior right over the children than the parents and that it has a right over children’s education. No, and, of course, that error is now raging today – the idea that the State can do what it likes with families and with children.
END OF CONFERENCE