So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Recusancy. History repeating itself? The Catechism, Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther King respond.

I die the King's good servant, and God's first.—St. Thomas More moments before the state cut off his head.
UPDATED: 20:39

June 26th—today in history:
  • 1870: Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States.
  • 1945: The birth of the UN. The United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) was held in San Francisco. Officials drafted a charter. 50 countries signed the Charter at the Fairmont Hotel (now Herbst Theater). Today is officially "UN Charter Day".
  • 1963: US President John F. Kennedy uttered those famous words "Ich bin ein Berliner", which may translate as "I am a doughnut" (Berliner = Berliner Pfannkuchen) Kennedy intended to say "I am a Berliner" in a speech in what was then West Berlin. Compare his speech to Ronald Reagan's speech (video) at the Brandenburg Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev... tear down this wall!"
  • 2015: The Supreme Court of the United States opens the door to nation wide same-sex "marriage".

The gay lobbyists deserve a polite handshake for their win at the Court. Their emotion-based arguments carried the SCOTUS justices to some place other than the defence of the Constitution. Reason has suffered another blow to the noggin. No one should expect faithful Catholics or other people of reason and goodwill to approve of certain kinds of behaviour.

As Archbishop Cordileone recently said (19/06/15):
The archbishop quoted Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to illustrate the point for his fellow bishops at their Spring Assembly earlier this month in St. Louis.
Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.”
“We may have to suffer this lie about marriage in the law,” he continued, “but we must not participate in it or keep silent about it.”LifeSiteNews, June 19, 2015.
Can the U.S. expect a rush to prosecute Catholic individuals and institutions which refuse to accept the state's position? Probably.

For those Catholics tempted to cave in, honour the memory of the martyrs! Honour the resistance of the martyrs who persevered in the face of state pressure. Empires come and empires go. The Catholic Church remains.

Wikipedia then and (fisked) now:
Original. In the history of England and Wales, recusancy was the state of those who refused to attend Anglican (the religion of the state) services; these individuals were known as recusants. The term, which derives ultimately from the Latin recusare (to refuse or make an objection) was first used to refer to those who remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church and did not attend Church of England services, with a 1593 statute determining the penalties against "Popish recusants".
2015 jff version. Recusancy is the state of those who refuse to follow unjust laws; these individuals are known as recusants. The term, which derives ultimately from the Latin recusare (to refuse or make an objection) is used to refer to those who remain loyal to the Roman Catholic Church, with a forthcoming statute determining the penalties against "Popish recusants".
Original. The "Recusancy Acts" began during the reign of Elizabeth I and were repealed in 1650. They imposed various types of punishment on those who did not participate in Anglican religious activity, such as fines, property confiscation, and imprisonment. Despite their repeal, restrictions against Roman Catholics were still in place until full Catholic Emancipation in 1829. In some cases those adhering to Catholicism faced capital punishment, and a number of English and Welsh Catholics executed in the 16th and 17th centuries have been canonized by the Catholic Church as Christian martyrs (see Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation).
2015 jff version (and looking ahead?). The "Recusancy Acts" began during the reign of Barack Hussein Obama. They imposed various types of punishment on those who did not participate in government approved activities, such as fines, property confiscation, loss of employment and imprisonment.
Catholics must differentiate between authentic marriage and attempts to redefine marriage. Matrimony is the word that should be used to distinguish between authentic marriage and other versions. The Catechism states:
CCC 1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."84
Additional points from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

1659 St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church... . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" (Eph 5:25, 32).

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).

1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).

1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child (GS 50 § 1).

1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

And, most timely, this...
The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." "We must obey God rather than men":
When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the law of the gospel.—CCC 2242.
and this... .
How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust... . One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire... . —from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. Catholic Answers.

Given today's significant development, isn't it time for an earthquake to accompany the Supreme Court's landmark decision? Watch for signs.

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