Sunday, July 22, 2012

State Power is Mortal Sin

Quote from: Varokhâr
I was doing some before bed online reading, and I found this quote from Quadragesimo Anno:

"Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do." [Emphasis in original.]

I've bolded the most relevant excerpt. Prior to the bolded bit, we read how forced charity is gravely sinful (the force, ostensibly, is being used by the government). Next we read how centralizing power (by way of usurping authority from subordinate entities or lesser and ostensibly more local levels of government) is also a grave sin. Now, since we know as Catholics that "grave sin" indicates mortal sin (the sin which brings about damnation if the guilty party dies unrepentant of it), it ought to follow that centralizing power unnecessarily is just as mortally sinful as homosexual acts or murder or apostasy.

Consensus? Am I somehow reading Pius XI's words incorrectly, or is this yet another example of the modern Church failing to properly instruct Catholics about serious sin, especially those relevant ot the current times (given how modern governments are, like most of their predecessors, obsessed with consolidating power for themselves)?


As a natural-order anarchist, i.e., as one who embraces a fully privatized social order, I regard all government intrusions in society as "assign[ing] to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do." Thus, in objective terms, all government power represents an undue "concentration of government power," thereby placing the witting perpetrator in a state of mortal sin. Nevertheless, I believe most--if not all--perpetrators act unwittingly, which is to say, out of invincible ignorance.


Blogger traumerei said...

It's not like we have Catholic leaders anyway. Even if we did, they'd probably ignore that particular admonition the same way they ignored In Coena Domini for hundreds of years.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

I think there's an unappreciated libertarian streak in Catholicism. But you're right: for the most part, the Church made its peace with the State's right to steal (tax) and kidnap (incarcerate) centuries ago.

7:37 PM  
Blogger traumerei said...

I do wonder why the Church abandoned its very strong stance against taxation. Not being familiar with the circumstances of Apostolicae Sedis, I do have some theories:

1) The nation-state (and the practice of taxation) by 1770 had grown so influential that such a stance had become pointless

2) Rulers had been antagonistic to the Church and now that they were getting more powerful, it might harm the efforts of the Church

3) the theory of the State as promoter of the Faith prevailed over the theory of the State as an antagonist

4) in many cases the state and the Church were united e.g. prince-bishoprics in the HRE so acting against the state would be detrimental to ecclesiastical interests

5) geopolitical realities seemed to require a concession to Catholic "powers" against non-Catholic ones.

No idea. But if people like Woods, Rockwell, and Tucker are any indication (RIP Sobran), the libertarian Catholic streak seems to be flourishing.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The libertarian streak is very much flourishing. Too bad Joe Sobran left us so early. "The Reluctant Anarchist" may be the finest Christian apologetic for anarchy every written.

6:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home