To claim that States need not profess or protect the Catholic religion is a classic liberal error, and one of the major errors of Vatican II. Liberalism said, so to speak, “Let us not attack Catholicism head on, but let us divide and rule. Let us divide the individual man from society by pretending that man is not a social animal, and then we can pretend that religion is purely an individual affair. This will enable us to take over society, and once we have made it liberal, we can turn it back on the individual as a mighty weapon to liberalize him too, because of course man is a social animal! If any individual then wants not to be liberal, he will have great difficulty in resisting his society that we have liberalized.” Not so? Look around! Then let us answer three more objections to the doctrine that, for the salvation of souls, every State should be Catholic.
Your Excellency, Our Lord himself said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. XXII, 21). Here Our Lord is clearly separating Church from State. Therefore no State should get involved in Catholicism or any other religion Answer, no, Our Lord is not here separating Church from State! He is making the common sense distinction between what the individual owes to the State (taxes, etc.) and what he owes to God (worship). Our Lord is absolutely not saying that the temporal State owes nothing to the eternal God. In fact the State, as being the collective temporal authority of a collection of human beings, owes to God in its acts of authority what they owe to him as social beings, namely the social observance of his natural law, and to that Church which natural reason on its own can see to be true, as much social recognition and promotion as will not get in the way of the salvation of souls.
But discerning which is the true religion is something for the individual to do. How then can the State as State be obliged in principle to be Catholic?Answer, the State is nothing but the moral (i.e. non-material) association in a political body of a greater or lesser number of physical (i.e. material) human beings. But every one of these human beings, merely by the upright use of his natural reason, whether or not he has the supernatural virtue of the Faith, is capable of discerning that God exists, that Jesus Christ is God, and that the Catholic Church is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ. If then any given State does not discern which is the true religion, that is not because its citizens cannot discern, but because for a variety of reasons they will not, or do not want to do so, by making an upright use of their God-given reason. In fact they can discern, and before God they will all bear a greater or lesser responsibility, perfectly measured by him according to their circumstances, for failing to do so.
But, your Excellency, if you insist on every State’s obligation to be Catholic, you are merely going to make a lot of martyrs for evil.It is for the glory of God and the eternal salvation of souls that every State should be Catholic. To men therefore too ignorant or corrupt for this truth to do anything but alienate them, one may, without minimising the principle, hesitate to proclaim it, but that does not make it any less true. True principles are no less true for sometimes requiring in practice a measure of prudence in the way they are to be told. Surely readers of this “Commentary” can be told the whole truth!