Responses to Questions on Monarchism from Traditional Catholics, Part IV

from Dr. John C. Rao: Founding Fathers vs. Church Fathers: 666-0 (FishEaters, January 24-February 11, 2006)

Since America was overwhelmingly Prots, thats who made the laws, estb the Govt, etc.

The problem with the Founding Fathers is not that they were Protestants. There are Protestant historical figures I admire, and would continue to admire as a Catholic. One of them is King George III. The problem with the "Founding Fathers" is that they were (in many cases) Freemasons and Deists who hated the Catholic Church and revolted without just cause against their lawful sovereign to establish a government based on Enlightenment concepts of "liberty" whose constitution does not even mention God.


there have been allegations over the years that Washington quit Masons.

Even if this is true, that doesn't make the American founding compatible with Catholicism. Consider these comments from some of the other founders:

The affair of Canada is still worse. The Romish Faith is made the established religion of the land... The free exercise of the Protestant faith depended upon the pleasure of the Governor and the Council... They may as well establish Popery in New York and the other colonies as they did in Canada. Your lives, your property, your religion, are at stake. (Alexander Hamilton)

May it be to the world what I think it will be, the arousing of men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition have persuaded them to bind themselves, when the human mind was held in vassalage by kings, by priests, and by nobles. (Thomas Jefferson)

I wish Christianity were more productive of good works and not holy day keeping, and long prayers that are despised by wise men. (Benjamin Franklin)

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away {with} all this artificial scaffolding…(Thomas Jefferson)

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure....To attain all this (universal republicanism), however, rivers of blood must yet flow, and years of desolation pass over; yet the object is worth rivers of blood, and years of desolation. (Thomas Jefferson, defending the diabolical French Revolution)

How can you have any admiration at all for men who talked like this?

I have said it before, get involved in Govt and social life as CATHOLICS or leave, go find the mythical land ruled by Catholic Principles.

Even in 2006, Malta, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Ireland all come closer than the United States. But that doesn't really matter; my family, friends, and job are in the United States, it is convenient for me to stay here, and I don't see that disagreement with this country's founding principles constitutes a reason to emigrate. There is more to a country than its constitution and government. I suspect the same is true for the other monarchists here.

The anti-Catholic laws of the British monarchy were a sad perversion of what was originally (before 1534) a thoroughly Catholic institution. Whereas the American Constitution has been intrinsically anti-Catholic from the beginning. The anti-Catholic aspects of the British constitution are incidental; the anti-Catholic aspects of the American constitution are fundamental.

Read the Declaration of Indepandance

I've read it. I'm not impressed. It's simply war propaganda, typical in its distortions and unfair accusations, atypical in the way it has been enshrined by Americanists as something virtually akin to Sacred Scripture. The way Jefferson lays the blame for a situation that also involved Parliament and the colonists entirely at the feet of King George III is absurd.

Look at the EU

I hate the EU. The socialist, secularist, egalitarian, anti-royalist, anti-particularist European Union is the antithesis of everything Europe once was and ought to be. The real Europe was virtually destroyed by the French Revolution and World War I--with the destruction being cheered on by Americans in both cases.

I DO NOT hold the Founders above anything Catholic, yet I am grateful for their sacrifices.

Sacrifice for an unjust cause is no virtue. I am grateful for the sacrifices of the Loyalists (estimated at up to one third of the colonial population) who lost everything in order to remain loyal to their legitimate sovereign, King George III.

IF this nation is as evil as The Dr and apprently you think it is, why is not Dr. Thomas Woods speaking out against the Founders, instead of citing them and talking about them in his books and speeches????

Thomas Woods is a gentleman and a brilliant writer & scholar whose articles against neo-Catholicism and the Iraq war are excellent. I own his Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and fully agree with his eloquent opposition to the wars of Lincoln and Wilson. However, I believe he is mistaken in his favorable view of the American founding, as well as his obstinate devotion to "Austro-Libertarian" economics in defiance of Catholic social teaching.

You are not actually Catholic??

No, being from a secular background I have difficulties with supernatural faith, but I identify strongly with traditionalist Catholics (especially monarchist ones), attend an SSPX chapel every Sunday, greatly admire traditional Catholic music, architecture, and art, and believe that if Christianity is true, the Catholic Church is the true church.

I am DAMN tired of the slur-americanism!!!

It's not a slur; it's simply a term generally intended to refer to the idea that the American republican constitution, including religious liberty, is the best sort of constitution, or the contention that the principles behind the American founding are entirely compatible with Catholic teaching. If that is your position, then you are an "Americanist"; no slur intended.

The Pope DID NOT condemn being a law-abiding citizen nor did he condem participating in one's nation life.

No one said that he did. I am a law-abiding citizen, and I participate in the nation's life. There are other ways to participate besides voting. Again, there is more to a country than its government and constitution!

Monarchist??? how does that square with Christ the King???

Please read the thread Monarchism and Other Marginal Political Philosophies, on which I and other monarchists (who are Catholic) have addressed this extensively. Also see my own page, Responses to Questions on Monarchism from Traditional Catholics.

"no King but Jesus".

An incredibly stupid slogan. Have you ever heard of 1 Peter 2:17?

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

SO, you want to have a King, who then?

I have no idea. But just about any king would be better than George W. Bush.

If you are not Catholic, why then do you post here and why just I care??

You don't have to care. But even non-Catholics can have something worthwhile to say occasionally.

I am not a "self-professed 'secularist.'" I said I was "from a secular background." A "secularist" is someone who is opposed to religion and its influence in society, which I obviously am not. And some nominal "Christians" act as de facto secularists. Since in a Catholic context "secularism" is identical to "anti-clericalism," consider this excerpt from the Wikipedia article on "anti-clericalism":
Note that the division between "clericalists" and "anti-clericalists" does not exactly fit the boundaries of "believers" and "nonbelievers": on the one hand, some Christians felt the Church should not intervene in political life, on the other hand, some, like Charles Maurras, while they did not believe in God, supported the power of the Catholic Church, for they felt it was essential to national cohesion and their political goals.

I agree that Buchanan's endorsement of Bush was disappointing. Obviously, if he had been running again himself, he would not have endorsed Bush. I might have considered voting for Michael Peroutka, but North Carolina would not allow him on the ballot. I even wrote a letter to The Charlotte Observer protesting this and defending the Constitution Party. However, the problem with the Constitution Party is that it is built on a lie: the myth that the US was founded as a "Christian nation," which is simply not true. (In 1801 Congress unanimously approved the Treaty of Tripoli, which included a clause stipulating that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.") And a political party built on false foundations cannot be a solution in the long run.

It's nice that you appreciate Bl. Emperor Karl and denounce the evil Wilson. We can agree on that much. But Wilson would not have been able to do what he did without the political and philosophical foundations laid by the American Revolution.

Why do I care about what Catholics believe about Americanism, monarchism, music, architecture, or anything else? Because whether or not one accepts her supernatural teachings, there can be no doubt that the Catholic Church is the foundation of Western culture and civilization, which I certainly do believe in. It is also clear that Catholicism was linked with monarchy and monarchism for most of its history. I believe that Americanism is a critical issue in understanding the post-Vatican II crisis, because the fact that the Catholic Church in America had never (in almost 200 years!) confronted the fact that the US was founded on anti-Catholic principles meant that there was no intellectual infrastructure in place to oppose Americanist ideals such as religious liberty when they spread to the whole church in the 1960s. As a pro-Western monarchist who loves the Latin mass and the culture associated with it, I have a stake in the future of the Catholic Church, and in debates among Catholics, even if I haven't converted yet (which I might eventually).
Various political governments have succeeded one another in France during the last century, each having its own distinctive form: the Empire, the Monarch, and the Republic. By giving one's self up to abstractions one could at length conclude which is the best of these forms, considered in themselves; and in all truth it may be affirmed that each of them is good...

Well, I disagree. Like Solange Hertz, I hold that Leo XIII, while otherwise a great pope, made a catastrophic error in prudential judgment when he urged French Catholics to accept the republic. Papal infallibility does not extend to politics, and Leo XIII was quite simply wrong on this issue. He believed that if Catholics worked within the republican system, they would be able to enact Catholic laws and maybe even eventually restore the monarchy. More than a hundred years later, we can see how well that worked. If Leo XIII were alive today to see the reality of modern democracy, perhaps he would revise his opinion.

Neither I nor any monarchist that I know of claim that every single country in the world must become a monarchy, or that no republic can ever be compatible with Catholicism. I do however make the following two claims:

(1) In the abstract, monarchy is preferable to republicanism or democracy. (In this I have Pope Pius VI on my side. Why should Leo XIII's political opinions carry more weight than Pius VI's political opinions?)

(2) In the case of a country such as France which began and evolved for centuries as a monarchy, whose Catholicism has been linked to the monarchy from the beginning, and where monarchy is an integral part of its traditional culture, no government other than monarchy can ever be acceptable. I would oppose any republic in France even if it conformed its laws to Catholic morality. In fact, an attempt at a "Catholic republic" in France would be worse than the current status quo, as it would seduce many who might otherwise be royalists. The French Republic is an abomination built on the blood of Their Most Christian Majesties King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette and the other martyrs of the French Revolution. Only a full restoration of the pre-1789 ancien regime can remove the foul stain of regicide from that nation once known as the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

These words of Leo XIII could actually be interpreted to support my position on this second point: may be added that from the relative point of view, such and such a form of government may be preferable because of being better adapted to the character and customs of such or such a nation.

What relevance does this debate have in 2006?

A position is either right or wrong. This is unaffected by what year it is. If monarchists were right in the 1790s, they are right today. Unless one advocates anarchism, which I don't think you do, there must be some sort of government, so I would say that the question of what sort of government is best, both in theory and for any particular country, is always quite relevant.

Don't you think that at this time there are far more important and relevant issues that the traditional Catholic movement should be putting its very limited resources towards?

I never said that monarchism is the only issue. It happens to be one in which I am particularly interested. But I believe that the theoretical question of monarchism versus Americanism/republicanism really is crucial to understanding the post-Vatican II situation. One of the key components of Vatican II that traditionalists reject is Religious Liberty, which American Catholics had been trying to reconcile with Catholicism since long before the Council. Precisely because the Catholic Church in the US had never (in almost 200 years!) honestly confronted the fact that the US was founded on anti-Catholic principles, there was no intellectual infrastructure in place to combat Americanism when it was poised to spread to the entire Church.

The same goes for the gradual acceptance in the Church in Europe of the ideas of the French Revolution. For what is Vatican II if not the application of 18th century revolutionary ideas to Catholicism? The present pope confirmed this when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, stating that Vatican II represented the Church's attempt to reconcile itself to "the new era inaugurated in 1789." A fundamental aspect of that new era has been the abolition or emasculation of monarchies. If one would oppose Vatican II, does it not follow that one would also oppose the political ideas and developments that paved the way for the Council and to which the Council attempted to cater?

To accept the French Republic implies acceptance of the French Revolution. If the Church can reconcile herself to the abolition of the monarchy, then why not reconcile herself to the Jacobins' other ideas?

I think it is significant that Vatican II occurred in the aftermath of the twin victories in 1945 of Americanism in the West and Communism in the East. With the US and the USSR victorious, the old European order had no voice at all. Communism was so obviously evil that most Catholics, perhaps understandably, hitched their wagons to Americanism. But now that the Cold War has been over for more than a decade, isn't it time to abandon "lesser-evil-ism" and promote something good, no matter how "unrealistic" it seems at the present?

Does it occur to you that as corrupt as the world is today that a monarchy which reflects the world's corruption would be even more tyrannical and difficult to bring into conformity with Christian beliefs than a Republic?

Between contemporary European royals, who at least often seem to be well-meaning and likeable people, and contemporary European politicians, I'll take my chances with the former.

Where is the benevolent, legitimate, traditional Catholic monarch that this monarchist movement is assumedly directed towards going to come from?

Otto von Habsburg, eldest son and heir of Bl. Emperor Karl, would be a good start. He may be 93 but he is still alert and brilliant, as well as a supporter of the FSSP. (The FSSP's problems I think are beside the point here.)

The Duke of Anjou (Legitimist claimant to the French throne) and the Duke of Braganza (undisputed claimant to the Portuguese throne) have also reportedly shown interest in the Traditional Latin Mass, and the latter is, as far as I know, an exemplary family man with three beautiful young children.

Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium reportedly opposes the legalization of abortion, same-sex "marriage," and euthanasia, which is why Belgian politicians are trying to further reduce the monarchy's powers as reported in this thread. (See HMiS's second post for a photo of an exemplary Catholic royal family.)

I'm not claiming that any of these men are perfect or that any of them is the "Great Monarch" foretold in Catholic prophecy, but I don't see how they could be any worse than the current crop of ruling European politicians, and there's a good chance they'd be better.

You're conflating Republican governance with religious liberty, "Americanism," the French Revolution and Vatican II in support of a thesis that Republican government is the source of all our problems when the Republican form of government exists apart from all of those things.

I never denied that republicanism in theory can exist apart from Enlightenment liberalism. I do maintain that it has been difficult in practice to separate the two since the 18th century. However, I have no objections to the republican constitutions of Switzerland, San Marino, Malta, or any other republic which does not owe its existence to revolution.

Well, I prefer that power not be consolidated even more than it is already, possibly into even more corrupt hands.

Monarchism is not about consolidating power. Monarchism is about preferring heredity to elections as a method of determining who holds executive power. More fundamentally, monarchism is about restoring that which has been destroyed by the revolutions spawned by the Enlightenment and thoroughly repudiating the disastrous legacies of 1776 and 1789. I cannot figure out why any traditionalist would not support that.

For most of the Church's history, there would indeed have been no need for Catholics to define themselves as monarchists because everyone simply accepted that monarchy was part of the natural order. Only once this natural order has been disrupted does a monarchist consciousness become necessary.

I hope that [my friend] will elaborate himself, but perhaps his comment that monarchism is as much a Catholic issue as the mass has something to do with the fact that the mass is about the King of Kings, not the King of Presidents. Notice how often the parables in the Gospels refer to earthly kingship as something with which it is understood the audience is familiar. While this might not constitute a monarchist argument in the modern ideological sense, it does suggest that monarchies are meant to be a part of a Christian's reality, not just a legend for storybooks.

I have been accused of dishonesty, so I'll lay all my cards on the table. My accuser seems to me to be a cold and unsentimental man; I am not. While I believe that I have presented rational arguments in favor of monarchism here and elsewhere, ultimately I am a monarchist because I am a romantic, and monarchy speaks to me (and to all human beings who have not been successfully indocrinated by republicanism and egalitarianism) emotionally as republicanism never could.

Any ideology which goes firmly against the zeitgeist, I believe, must include a romantic and positive element in order to avoid being simply cranky. That is why traditional Catholics who "get" monarchy seem so fundamentally different to me from traditional Catholics who don't. Neo-Catholics are rightly castigated for sometimes appearing to reduce Catholicism to opposition to abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, but [my opponent] is no better in that he would merely add Judaism and the Novus Ordo to the list. But that's not Catholicism, that's not a religion, that's just a laundry list of grumpy complaints.

I make no apologies for the fact that the Catholicism I have been drawn to since my first Latin mass in 2002 is not the Catholicism of the American 1950s, but rather the medievalist Catholicism of chivalrous knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, medieval legends of valor and heroism, agricultural and hierarchical societies, Gothic cathedrals, the haunting sounds of Latin and Gregorian chant, the intoxicating smells of incense, the colorful beauty of great art, grand processions with golden vessels and splendid vestments, and the sacramental Coronations of Kings. And I feel no shame in stating that I would gladly take a life-loving king with a mistress or two, who might mount his white horse and ride into battle, over a chaste president in a suit and tie who bleats inanities about "freedom" and "democracy."

Responses to Questions on Monarchism from Traditional Catholics