During a recent appearance at Harvard Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was asked by a student to comment on the extent to which public officials have a constitutional right to personally refuse the implementation of laws that conflict with their religious convictions; e.g., such as those concerning abortion and so-called “gay marriage.”
As reported by LifeSiteNews, Justice Kennedy, a self-described Roman Catholic who is widely credited with casting the “swing vote” in the Court’s recent same sex marriage ruling, responded by saying that while such persons face “difficult moral questions,” they do not have the right to refuse to comply with the law.
“The rule of law is that, as a public official, in performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law,” he said. As such, he concluded, those who have a moral objection to certain laws have a choice to make; to either follow the law or to quit public service.
As an example, he cited those judges who resigned under the Third Reich, saying, “Great respect, it seems to me, has to be given to people who resign rather than do something they view as morally wrong, in order to make a point.”
According to Fr. Mark Hodges (a priest of the schismatic Orthodox Church in America) writing for LifeSiteNews:
Responses from Christian leaders noted the irony of saying that for public employees, the moral thing to do is follow immorality. Kennedy made no mention of religious convictions as actual, universal truths.
There’s a reason Justice Kennedy, in answer to an American legal question, made no mention of “religious conviction as actual, universal truths;” the U.S. Constitution makes no such mention!
Look, I’m not here to defend Anthony Kennedy, but the hue and cry over his comments are a perfect example of shooting the messenger.
The fact of the matter is folks, the United States of America is not, and never was, a Christian nation.
So often ones hears Protestant patriots making claims to the contrary, but who exactly are they – a people who reject the one true Church established by Christ, the authority of His Vicar, the hyperdulia due to His Most Blessed Mother, His Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, and on and on the list could go – to tell anyone what “Christian” actually means?
More troubling still are those Catholic voices raised in pseudo-righteous anger about the opinions of Justice Kennedy while simultaneously expressing veneration for the U.S. Constitution; as if it was engraved in stone by the finger of Almighty God Himself.
What such persons fail to realize is that the United States of America was ever destined to become a moral cesspool thanks to the very principles upon which it was founded.
At this, a brief civics lesson is (once again) apparently in order.
Let us begin with a look at the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
When read by one with sensus Catholicus; that is to say, through the lens of immutable truth, a number of dangers become readily evident; specifically:
To assume among the powers of the earth … a decent respect to the opinions of mankind … deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
And all of this in an effort to secure such rights as:
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The problems should be evident. “Just powers” or “Governments” that wield power on earth do not derive their authority from “the consent of the governed,” but rather from God:
No society can hold together unless some one be over all, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good, every body politic must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its Author. Hence, it follows that all public power must proceed from God. For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world. Everything, without exception, must be subject to Him, and must serve him, so that whosoever holds the right to govern holds it from one sole and single source, namely, God, the sovereign Ruler of all. There is no power but from God. (cf Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei – 3)
When a majority of citizens, such as in Maryland where I live, can go to the polls and vote in favor of redefining marriage to include “spouses” of the same sex, the inherent danger posed by a State ordered upon the fallacy of just powers derived from the consent of the governed, should be entirely obvious.
Let’s be honest, an authentic American view of this regrettable situation (as opposed to a Catholic view) is that the one people have simply gone about asserting their collective right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as defined by the prevailing opinions of mankind.
Those who as yet remain poisoned with an Americanist (aka conciliarist) view, by contrast, will most certainly object:
But the Declaration clearly states that the people’s rights are ‘endowed by their Creator,’ and it even claims recourse to ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.’
An excellent point; one that invites an obvious question:
Which “Creator God” are we talking about here; is it the “God” of devout Muslims who carry out the command to make jihad in his name, is it the “God” of the Methodists who thank him for abortion providers, or is it perhaps the “God” of the Declaration’s Deist authors who reject Divine Revelation?
The answer, in a sense, is that it is either none, or all, of these; which brings me to the U.S. Constitution, beginning with the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
At first blush, this lofty goal of building a nation ordered upon justice and peace may appear quite laudable to the Catholic; that is, until such time as one comes to grip with what follows in the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Please allow me to translate:
In these United States, the legitimate civil authority is strictly forbidden by law to officially recognize Christ the King and His Sovereign authority over “all things in Heaven and on earth” (cf Matthew 28:18), which includes the singular authority to define what is just, and what is moral, and what is not.
The government of this nation is likewise forbidden to proclaim the immutable truth that the Holy Catholic Church was established by Christ the King to speak in His name in such way that “He who hears the Church hears Christ, and he who rejects the Church rejects Christ and likewise rejects the ‘Creator God’ who sent Him” (cf Luke 10:16).
The Constitution requires, by contrast, that the legitimate civil authority treat the aforementioned false gods and false religions (Islam, Methodism, Deism), as well as others far too numerous to number, as if all are mere equals; with no one religion, its tenets, and its “god,” to be held above any other.
In other words, the duty to govern according to that which comes from God through His Holy Catholic Church is rejected.
And yet, in spite of this constitutionally mandated rejection of the Just Judge and Prince of Peace, Christ the King, and the Holy Catholic Church that speaks in His name, the collective We the People think it is possible to form a Union of Justice and Tranquility?
The founding documents of the United States of America and the lofty goals articulated therein – again, when viewed by one who possesses even a modicum of sensus Catholicus – is enough to make the aims of those who built the Tower of Babel seem reasonable.
Here, by contrast, is the truth:
The Catholic Church is the kingdom of Christ on earth … she is destined to be spread among all men and all nations … her Author and Founder, Jesus Christ, is King and Lord, and King of Kings. It would be a grave error to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs … The empire of our Redeemer embraces all men, including not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ. There is no difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. (cf Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas)
If that’s not uncomfortable enough for the Protestant patriot (and the Americanist Catholic) to ponder, how about this directly related truth:
Any nation that is ordered upon the false notion that all religions have a right to be treated equally in the ordering of its civil affairs, without any distinction whatsoever between truth and error, and even goes so far as to forbid by force of law any official recognition of the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King and the one true religion that He established, is utterly destined to fail.
While it is well in vogue nowadays to argue that a “level playing field,” wherein the Catholic Church is supposedly free to compete in the marketplace of religious ideas for the hearts and minds of individual men, is all that is necessary since the truth will undoubtedly prevail; it simply isn’t true.
One of the reasons that immorality has become the law of the land in the U.S. is due to the fact that “it is easier to do evil than good, it is more in conformity with the disorder in human nature” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Against the Heresies).
As such, presuming to deny the Source of all authority – Christ who is King who reigns “as man in the strict and proper sense” (cf Quas Primas) – by asserting instead that the power to govern comes from the consent of the governed, the U.S. Constitution was always a recipe for precisely the sort of moral degradation that we are witnessing today.
As Justice Kennedy describes it, as reported by The Harvard Law Record:
“We are bound by the Constitution, with both a large C and a small c,” said Kennedy, explaining that the “Constitution” was the governing document of our country, while the “constitution”—in the sense used by Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, and others—was the mores, customs, behaviors, and values that define a people. Our “duty,” according to Kennedy, is “to make the big C mirror the small c.”
You see, the U.S. in our day looks depraved for the simple reason that it mirrors, not Almighty God in whom we supposedly trust, but the people and their deplorable mores, customs, behaviors, and values.
So why, one might ask, was the United States so much more virtuous, relatively speaking, in previous generations?
The answer, in part, has to do with the fact that up until the time of the Second Vatican Council, the popes and the bishops in union with him were not afraid to proclaim the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the duty of all men, societies and States to honor and reverence Him.
As it is, the Council effectively adopted the religious pluralism enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. In so doing, the voice of immutable truth that once rang out above the din of fallen men who espouse a false notion of liberty in service to their disordered desires was made to appear as but one opinion among many.
Under such conditions as this, the choice, as Archbishop Lefebvre so rightly pointed out, was easy for the people.
All of this being the case, go ahead and shoot the messenger, Anthony Kennedy, if you must, but for the love of God, don’t stop there; rather, take aim at those things that made the current state of affairs nothing short of inevitable.
Dear Louie: Yet another WELL DONE-!! Thank you…one more time.
Dear Louie, the REAL civics lesson 101 based on Truth. In short America was founded on the principle of Man first, God second aka sand rather than rock. Never lasts, never has, never will.
Great post, Louie. We in Canada have a slightly different beginning. For example, we were not born of revolution, but of compromise. Just as bad as it turns out because we are “we the people” too.
Poor Justice Kennedy. What will he say to Jesus at his particular judgement? “I was only doing my job?”
For more on how the seeds of decay were planted from the start, see:
Slouching Towards Gomorrah, by Robert Bork
The “Organic Society” section of the Tradition in Action website
“Nature’s God” should bring every Catholic to abrupt attention. That is the naturalistic. pagan god of the Freemasons, not the One True God of the Catholic Faith.
Brilliant post! Thank you once again.
Our country may be the only one with its own heresy named after it: “Americanism” —— named as such in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII.
Your writings explain well that the “heresies” were there from the beginning, written into the original documents.
Justice Kennedy’s opinion “to either follow the law or to quit public service” would apply if “the law” referred to were either/both the Eternal Law or/and the Natural Law. St. Thomas’ and the Scholastic approach to “law” brings clarity and that missing context. The law written in the hearts of men by God’s very act of creation — most especially in creating mankind in his image and likeness — is akin to the Eternal Law, or the Logos. (So often when one refers to the divine word as Verbum — at least speaking for myself —- one turns to the very much populist American meaning of it as ‘Story’ or some meaning or syntax of grammar. But Eternal Law must also be considered as an operating force [of the divine act of creation] of the Logos. [The Christian Logos as a Divine Person of the Holy Trinity belongs appropriately in the realm of theology and not philosophy].) Perhaps that is why St. Thomas says the Natural Law is man’s participation in the Eternal Law. So, again, if Justice Kennedy were referring to men in the state of grace, without the stain of original sin, and the ‘law’ he referred to were the Eternal Law, and added that ‘public service’ (i.e. love of neighbour) proceeds naturally from harmony with the Eternal Law, then he would be correct.
But we know Justice Kennedy is not referring to the Eternal Law, but to man-made laws, or civil laws, and in specific the American Constitution, which to Americans — and to all nation states that have adopted constitutional forms of government since the French Revolution — is the highest law in the land.
By neglecting the Eternal Law, the Divine Law (i.e. the 10 commandments), and the Natural Law, and by divinizing the civil law — and in his American case, the Constitution — J. Kennedy appears to operating as an atheist and may be committing idolatry. (Idolatry insofar as he is ‘absolutizing’ the relative and relativizing — or in his case altogether ignoring —- the absolute.)
Louie, what does one do with the kinship between the libertarian Jefferson and Cardinal Bellarmine, who wrote: “In terrena Republica nascuntur omnes naturaliter liberi ac proinde potestatem politicam immediate ipse populous habet, donec eam in regem aliquem non transtulerit.” De Clericis, Ch. VII?
Do not both these men sound the alarms against Monarchical Absolutism, and by extension modern statism?
(I don’t really expect an answer. I certainly don’t have one. But in this age of totalitarian oligarchies, Catholics in general ought to start seriously studying and concentrating on these issues and topics again.)
I could give you a long disquisition on the Declaration, the Articles, the Constitution, etc. But all that now is beside the point. We are back in the Catacombs. Discussing the Constitution is as relevant as the Catholics of Caligula’s day discoursing on the policies of Senator Incitatus.
Man has a beautiful office, that of praying and loving. You pray, you love–that is the happiness of man upon the earth.
St John Vianney
I have deleted some comments which appeared to me to be suggested by a sedevacantist mindset. Sedevacantism is the purest nonsense. Nor will I allow any comments on the Sovereign Pontiff our Holy Father Pope Francis which seem to me to go beyond the limits of Fair Comment.
Fr John Hunwicke
Would he be welcome on this combox?
Kudos. Well done Mr. V. This will prolly be shocking to many Catholics, not just Americans.
To flesh out your excellent post, those interested in our past could well profit from reading Charles A Coulombe’s, “Puritan’s Empire.”
And the number of Catholics who read the great encyclicals of Pope Leo XII is disappointingly low.
How can we expect secular governments to constitute their laws in conformity with the Social Reign of Christ the King, when the modernist Catholic Church currently sitting in Rome doesn’t believe in the Social Reign of Christ the King? The NO “catholic” church has lost its moral compass and, as a result, the world is floundering.
If public officials should resign because they cannot uphold immoral laws, others will take their place who are not very concerned with morality only doing their job regardless of the consequences. Sounds like we’re putting the foxes in charge of the hen house.
You might be right, FrankIII, but there are many who find it helpful to see where we have come from as they head down into the catacombs.
I for one find it helpful because the lies we hear from every public mouth now are easier to spot. The past is our future. We seem more than willing, as nations, to relive the mistakes of the past, and to relive the disasters that came from those mistakes.
I would hope so. His is a voice of sanity, faithfulness, and his delivery is razor sharp. Notice, EM, Father Hunwicke does not delete ALL criticisms of Francis – just those which seem to him to go beyond the limits of fair comment.
Lots of scope there. Anyway, he’s quite the guy!
But those who do resign will stand before Christ The King at the judgement and hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Worth any job, any time.
Agreed! Eternity in Heaven means a lot more than any pension!!!!
“…those who have a moral objection to certain laws have a choice to make; to either follow the law or to quit public service.”
How about an unjust law is no law at all.
“Human law is law only by virtue of its accordance with right reason; and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence.”
— Thomas Aquinas
Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
For All the Saints Who from Their Labours Rest
by William W. How, 1823-1897
1. For all the saints who from their labours rest, Who Thee by faith before the world confess, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest, Alleluia! Alleluia!
2. Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might; Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight; Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia! Alleluia!
3. Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old And win with them the victor’s crown of gold. Alleluia! Alleluia!
4. O blest communion, fellowship divine, We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia! Alleluia!
5. And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long, Steals on the ear the distant triumph song, And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia! Alleluia!
6. But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day; The saints triumphant rise in bright array; The King of Glory passes on His way. Alleluia! Alleluia!
7. From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia! Alleluia!
8. The golden evening brightens in the west; Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest. Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest. Alleluia! Alleluia!
I am thinking that the phrase “all men are created equal” is a perennial source of utopian social justice BS. I think the framers would have said: “hey, us colonial Englishmen are just as good as you Englishmen from the home isle, so we should have representation in parliment as well, and be accorded all rights as Englishmen.”
I don’t believe it even crossed their minds to think anyone else was “equal” particularly Native American Indians, slaves, women and, oh yes, Papists! Yet a lot of fuel has been spent spent trying to squeeze everybody into some mythical “equality.” There’s more failed utopian experiments in America than fleas on a dog. Its the same mistaken interpretation Lincoln made in the Gettysburg address :- i.e “lets make everybody equal!” Sorry, it just doesn’t work.
Michael F Poulin
I think it is very interesting that Kennedy would compare the present situation in America with the Third Reich. I can’t think of anything more frightening. Perhaps, a Nuremberg trial in America is in order. Like to see our judges in the hot seat.
Does anyone have any perspective on this? Was Kennedy giving a warning on things to come?
“All of this being the case, go ahead and shoot the messenger, Anthony Kennedy, if you must, but for the love of God, don’t stop there; rather, take aim at those things that made the current state of affairs nothing short of inevitable.” …….. We ‘shoot’ the faithless hearts of those who claim the name Catholic daily, with truth spilt in the Blood of Christ, rare as faith.
Roncalli – Judas the first of the Novus Ordo – father in father-of-lieness to, Montini. Monitini – Judas the second of the Novus Ordo, who, with treachery only matched by its finery, denied the Social Kingship of Christ:
The formerly Catholic Masses accepted this abdication and so followed hersiarch Monitini/Paul VI outside the Church.
Lord have mercy. When Christ knocks and we deny Him; then congratulate ourselves on that denial.
Truly, we live in times when we consider contemporaneity the bar by which we ‘know’ we are ‘not’ deceived; the Sacred Deposit of Faith does not count.
Without Faith, there can be no Apostolicity. Faith precedes it and maintains it. And without Apostolicity, authority is null and void.
Sede Vacante, keep the faith.
Off-topic, but worth watching, an excellent talk given by John Salza at one of the Fatima Center’s conferences given in Rome, “Freemasonry, Vatican II and 1960”
Very succinctly put.
That reads like a plan of action.
My children, if you saw a man prepare a great pile of wood, heaping up fagots one upon another, and when you asked him what he was doing, he were to answer you, “I am preparing the fire that is to burn me, ” what would you think? And if you saw this same man set fire to the pile, and when it was lighted throw himself upon it, what would you say? This is what we do when we commit sin. It is not God who casts us into Hell; we cast ourselves into it by our sins.
St John Vianney
Exactly. Kennedy is a terrible lawyer. Law only has authority insofar as it does not contradict the Natural Law, reason (or God’s Law). The purported law of marriage between two persons of the same sex is invalid, null and void for being so opposed. This brings the true law into disrepute.
What follows is a comment I sent to “Renew American.com.”
Evidently Louie Verrecchio’s article entitled: “Fine, “shoot” Anthony Kennedy, but don’t stop there” was just too over-the-top for the sensitive ears of your fundamentalist authours and readers. It was posted this morning 1/11/2015 and by the afternoon it was taken down. Your “positions and policies” statement rings hollow since it was Mr. Verrecchio’s opinion where it is understood from your “positions” that everyone should be given a fair hearing despite the fact that your editorial staff may not agree with what is written. So much for “free and open debate” in a society is not at all free and one in which a supposed stalwart of “conservatism” shows one of it’s writers the door. Pitiful, very pitiful. Shame on you!
Dear IHSV – thank you for the link, Mr Salza gives an excellent logical and succinct summary of the current crises. It is interesting that he mentioned the barely known apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success in Quito who accurately predicted the foolishness of our times.
In reality, since the Ratification of the US Constitution, it has been “The Inmates Running The Asylum.”
That happens when The Brotherhood Of Man overrides The Fatherhood Of God & The Social Kingship Of Christ The King.
A Catholic plan of action – in other words, keep the faith, abstain from belial, and if you are lucky enough geographically, assist at the True unadulterated Mass. Also support the much diminished but still visible One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that will not declare a falsehood in the canon of the Holy Sarifice of the Catholic Mass, nor pretend Catholicity where none exists.
Just read that on rorate via a link on Gloria.tv…
The “heretic-in-white” again flagrantly advertising his attack on (and lack of) catholic doctrine and morals for all the world to see…
Meanwhile some idiots are still waiting for the SPECIFIC phrase, “adulterers are allowed to receive Holy Communion” to appear on some Bergoglian document.
God help us…
Speaking of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave:
Did you see this from the NY Times by the “brave” (and at this point still “free”) Mr. Ross Douthat?
The heretics’s reponse to Mr. Douthat:
Mr. Douthat’s intrepid response to the heretics:
Thanks for the link mate!
Another blast from our heretical pope. “The holy father will have much to suffer,” Said Our Lady of Fatima. Yes, that would be my guess. As an SSPX priest once said to me: “I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.” Yeah, you know, the black ones.
Not only heretical but essentially a non-believer. As “In Hoc Signo Vinces” states: “God help us!”
Speaking of shoes…
Francis ridicules an (alleged) statement from a lay catholic that he might be an anti-pope because he doesn’t wear the traditional red papal shoes. LOL!!!
Right – I’m sure THAT’S the reason why his orthodoxy is highly suspect among faithful catholics!
Francis (from video below): “I am following the Church…”
Phew! That sure takes a load off my back… Now I can start ingesting all his heresies and dubious statements with a calm conscience! I mean, if Francis is saying it – it must be TRUE, right…? Never mind that for a modernist TRUTH CHANGES… 😉