Monday, November 24, 2008

Liberalism: Sin, Iniquity, Abomination

Liberalism: Sin, Iniquity, Abomination

By Rev. Fr. Horacio Bojorge, S. J.

This essay by Rev. Fr. Horacio Bojorge has been published in Spanish by Ediciones del Alcázar, Buenos Aires, under the title El Liberalismo es la Iniquidad—La Rebelión Contra el Padre (Liberalism is 'the' Iniquity-The Rebellion Against the Father.)

Many authors have exposed the failures and flaws of Liberalism, its historical and philosophical precedents, and consequences. In this exposition we shall analyze the concept of liberalism as sin. This is what liberalism really represents: a systematic rebellion against Divine Paternity. In the classic sense of the word, Liberalism is an abomination.

Liberalism is not simply a sin but 'the' sin. Therefore, when we call it "a sin", we could misunderstand it as just another sin among many. In reality, liberalism is the sin par excellence, root, base and pinnacle of all sin.

By introducing this brief precision I believe I have interpreted correctly the ultimate intention of Fr. Felix Sardá i Salvany, who titled his work Liberalism is Sin [1]

The thesis

When I say that Liberalism is 'the' sin, the quintessential sin; I intent to advance one step closer to the comprehension of the type of sin we are dealing with, and the reason why Liberalism must be defined in that unique way.

My thesis could be summarized as follows: Liberalism is 'the' sin, because Liberalism is intrinsically evil. It is the sin against the Holy Spirit, the rejection of the Son, and the rebellion against the Father.

We need to understand the importance and depth of this affirmation. Liberalism is the direct sin against Christ and the Father. Consequently, it is a sin against the Holy Spirit. We shall see later that this is the sin that is called "the iniquity" in the New Testament, the sin of the Devil. The book of wisdom says that by envy—by ακηδία [1] of the Devil—death entered the world and those who belong to them, experience that death when they rebel against God, [2] and just like the Devil they aspire to place themselves in the place of God. They are also in accordance with the Devil in his negative to serve God. This is the sum of all evil, the supreme iniquity. Its complete manifestation is reserved for the Time of the End. This is what Saint Paul calls "The Mystery of Iniquity" (Mysterium Iniquitatis.) [3]

Liberalism is exposed as a manifestation of the mystery of iniquity, denounced by Saint Paul as a force acting incipiently in a covert manner already in apostolic times.

We will return to this topic and examine it in more detail. However, it is convenient to define in advance the concept of iniquity. According to the New Testament, iniquity consists in rejecting Jesus Christ and the revelation of God the Father, as agents of man's life and salvation. Iniquity is the opposition to the Holy Spirit by an impure spirit. It is therefore a direct sin against the Holy Spirit.

This rejection can be explicit or implicit. Explicit like that of the Jews and others who deny the validity of the Christian revelation in history. Implicit, like that of the practical atheists, or those who are indifferent, or those who do not oppose the truth but simply consider truth implicit, and relegate it to the bin of unnecessary, or inconvenient things that are hard to explain.

A recent example

Let me propose an example to show which types of silence, omission, or forgetfulness I am referring to.

His Holiness Benedict XVI introduced a small modification in the text of the Theme of the Fifth Conference of the Episcopate in Latin America and the Caribbean. The title of the theme that was presented to him was: "Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life".

The Pope added two words: 'in Him', changing it to "Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our peoples may have life 'in Him'".

With this smallest addition of two words ('in Him') the Pope called our attention to something fundamentally essential. If that something would have remained implicit, it could have covered a dire ambiguity in the comprehension of the expression "may have life".

To have life 'in Him' means to have the fullness of life as sons. The life announced by Jesus Christ. The goal of the disciple's mission remains defined explicitly by its objective: "so that they may have life 'in Him'".

This inspired addition, introduced by the Vicar of Christ, prevented the whole theme of the Conference, (and even the Conference itself) from being infected by that kind of Gramscian reductionism, that limits the life of man to a purely material existence. That immanentist reduction that has its roots in Rationalism, Naturalism, and Liberalism, finding its final form in Marxist Materialism.

I would be satisfied if, at the end of my exposition, I had been able to explain the nature of the sin of Liberalism, helping to comprehend better the nature of the danger avoided by the Pope, when he reminded us that the goal of our missionary work is to aid the peoples to have life in Christ through the message of God the Father. That life is the fullness of life that we can only have 'in Him'. Such life consists of entering in communion with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, by means of the Holy Spirit.

Notice how, at the bottom of that vague imprecision in the original phrase—at the root of that casual omission—lay something that could have been wrongly construed as an essential part of the Gospel. That ambiguity left just enough room for a surreptitious infection of the message with the Liberal concept that separates human life from its life in God. In that Naturalist vision, the ultimate horizon in the life of man is merely the quality of life.

That silence could have been particularly damaging if its origin would have been a forgetting of the essential. It would have been demonic if its origin would have been a conscious aversion towards the essential.

Félix Sardá i Salvany: Liberalism is sin

Before going any further it is necessary to define, as a fundamental point of reference, the diagnostic given to us by Fr. Félix Sardá i Salvany in his work "Liberalism is Sin". There Fr. Sardá writes:

Liberalism, whether in the doctrinal or practical order, is a sin. In the doctrinal order, it is heresy, and consequently a mortal sin against faith. In the practical order, it is a sin against the commandments of God and of the Church, for it virtually transgresses all commandments. To be more precise: in the doctrinal order, Liberalism strikes at the very foundations of faith; it is heresy radical and universal, because within it all heresies are comprehended. In the practical order it is a radical and universal infraction of the divine law, since it sanctions and authorizes all infractions of that law.

Liberalism is a heresy in the doctrinal order because heresy is the formal and obstinate denial of all Christian dogmas in general. It repudiates dogma altogether and substitutes opinion, whether that opinion be doctrinal or the negation of doctrine. Consequently, it denies every doctrine in particular. If we were to examine in detail all the doctrines or dogmas which, within the range of Liberalism, have been denied, we would find every Christian dogma in one way or another rejected—from the dogma of the Incarnation to that of Infallibility.

Nonetheless Liberalism is in itself dogmatic; and it is in the declaration of its own fundamental dogma, the absolute independence of the individual and the social reason, that it denies all Christian dogmas in general. Catholic dogma is the authoritative declaration of revealed truth—or a truth consequent upon Revelation—by its infallibly constituted exponent [the Pope]. This logically implies the obedient acceptance of the dogma on the part of the individual and of society. Liberalism refuses to acknowledge this rational obedience and denies the authority. It asserts the sovereignty of the individual and social reason and enthrones Rationalism in the seat of authority. It knows no dogma except the dogma of self-assertion. Hence it is heresy, fundamental and radical, the rebellion of the human intellect against God.

It follows, therefore, that Liberalism denies the absolute jurisdiction of Jesus Christ, who is God, over individuals and over society, and by consequence, repudiates the jurisdiction which God has delegated to the visible head of the Church over each and all of the faithful, whatever their condition or rank in life. Moreover, it denies the necessity of divine Revelation and the obligation of everyone to accept that Revelation under pain of eternal perdition. It denies the formal motive of faith, viz., the authority of God revealing, and admits only as much of revealed doctrine as it chooses or comprehends within its own narrow capacity. It denies the infallible magistracy of the Church and of the Pope, and consequently all the doctrines defined and taught by this divine authority. In short, it sets itself up as the measure and rule of faith and thus really shuts out Revelation altogether. It denies everything which it itself does not proclaim. It negates everything which it itself does not affirm. But not being able to affirm any truth beyond its own reach, it denies the possibility of any truth which it does not comprehend. The revelation of truth above human reason it therefore debars at the outset. The divinity of Jesus Christ is beyond its horoscope. The Church is outside its comprehension. The submission of human reason to the Word of Christ or its divinely constituted exponent [the Catholic Church, especially the Pope] is to it intolerable. It is, therefore, the radical and universal denial of all divine truth and Christian dogma, the primal type of all heresy, and the supreme rebellion against the authority of God and His Church. As with Lucifer, its maxim is, "I will not serve." Such is the general negation uttered by Liberalism. From this radical denial of revealed truth in general naturally follows the denial of particular dogmas, in whole or in part (as circumstances present them in opposition to its rationalistic judgment). Thus, for instance, it denies the validity of faith by Baptism, when it admits or supposes the equality of any or all religious cults; it denies the sanctity of marriage when it sanctions so-called civil marriages; it denies the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, when it refuses to accept as laws his official commands and teachings and subjects them to the scrutiny of its own intellect—not to assure itself of their authenticity, as is legitimate, but to sit in defiant judgment upon their contents.

When we come to the practical order, Liberalism is radical immorality. Morality requires a standard and a guide for rational action; it postulates a hierarchy of ends, and therefore of order, within whose series there is a subordination of means to the attainment of an ultimate purpose. It therefore requires a principle or fundamental rule of all action, by which the subject of moral acts, the rational creature, determines his course and guides himself to the attainment of his end. In the moral order, the Eternal Reason alone can be that principle or fundamental rule of action, and this Eternal Reason is God. In the moral order, the created reason, with power to determine its course, must guide itself by the light of the Uncreated Reason, Who is the beginning and end of all things. The law, therefore, imposed by the Eternal Reason upon the creature must be the principle or rule of morality. Hence, obedience and submission in the moral order is an absolute requisite of morality. But Liberalism has proclaimed the absurd principle of the absolute sovereignty of human reason; it denies any reason beyond itself and asserts its independence in the order of knowledge, and hence in the order of action or morality. Here we have morality without law, without order, freedom to do what one pleases, or what comes to the same thing, morality which is not morality, for morality implies the idea not only of direction, but also essentially demands that of restraint and limitation under the control of law. Liberalism in the order of action is license, recognizing no principle or rule beyond itself.

We may then say of Liberalism: in the order of ideas it is absolute error; in the order of facts it is absolute disorder. It is, therefore, in both cases a very grievous and deadly sin, for sin is rebellion against God in thought or in deed, the enthronement of the creature in the place of the Creator. [4]

The road to follow

Fr. Sardá i Salvany tells the truth. There is more, though a lot is implicit in the precise diagnostic of the Spanish apologist. The first consequence we that Liberalism is 'the sin' in a specific sense: it is 'the iniquity' identified in the New Testament as the setting in place of the supreme anti-Christian, anti-God evil. The seed of that iniquity lies hidden in history waiting to sprout a virulent manifestation. This is also an eschatological sign, because it is the cause of the final dissolution of mankind an the preamble to the reign of the Antichrist.

As we shall see, Saint John defines 'that sin' as η ανομία (ē anomía 'the iniquity'). This sin is particular and unique, this η ανομία (indifferent negligence that makes no difference between good and evil) always appears in the New Testament as a characteristic of the Antichrist and the End of Times, the Final Judgment, or the παρουσία (parousia) of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning of the Church it is applied to the rejection of Jesus Christ and God the Father, whom the Son comes to reveal. Saint John affirms that in his First Letter:

"... many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour [...] This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." [5]

That denial or rejection was experienced by Jesus Christ Himself during his life. He defined it as a "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit". [6] The same rejection was experienced by all the apostolic ecclesial communities, because it is present and operates within them. Saint John and also Saint Paul interpreted its nature in the light of the words of Jesus. They announced its recrudescence in the End of Times.

One example of evil language

As a sample of the language of the modern iniquity, please read what was said by David Friedrich Strauss, Pastor and Theologian, self-appointed arbiter of what we should consider an acceptable Christ:

As long as Christianity is considered like something given to Mankind from outside itself; Christ as something who came from Heaven; His Church like an institution for the forgiveness of sins by means of His blood; Christianity will be understood in a Jewish way and the Religion of the Spirit will continue to be fleshly. Christianity will only be understood when we recognize in it a Mankind made more aware of itself than it has ever been aware so far: that Jesus is only that Man in Whom that profound conscience was manifested for the first time like a force determinant of His whole life and His whole being; and that sin can be erased only by access to this new conscience. [7]

The rebellion against the Father

The aforementioned words of Saint John, teach us that lastly, 'the sin', the worse evil, is the rejection of God the Father, the rebellion against a God-Father. That rejection and rebellion are manifested in the rejection of the Son (sent by the Father,) and of those disciples sent by the Son. The Son is rejected because the Father is also rejected. The Father is rejected by those seeking to avoid being subject to Him by filial obedience.

We must remember that the rejection of both obedience and subjection to God's government of human affairs has long established biblical roots. Remember the people of Israel who wanted to be freed from the lead of Moses [8]. Later, the Israelites asked Samuel to give them a King, like the kings of the neighboring nations.
God interpreted that request as an intent of secularization of political life, a form of early liberalism: "They have not rejected you, they have rejected Me, so that I don't rule over them." [9] Certainly, the Israelite monarchy would come to be the history of the infidelities of the chosen people to their Covenant with God, with the kings they have asked for, acting as leaders of the apostasy.
In the New Testament we find the Parable of the Murderous Vineyard Workers. They kill the son to take possession of their master's vineyard for themselves.
Let us recall the words of Jesus: "He who receives you, receives me, and he who receives me, receives the One who sent me." [10] Also, inversely: "He who rejects you, rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the Father who sent me." [11]
The rejection of God found in the Old Testament continues manifesting itself, as reported in the New Testament, in the form of a rejection of God the Father.

Heresies of Liberal origin

Within the Christian world—including the Catholic world—there were produced certain forms of religious liberalism. This religious Liberalism, criticized by John Henry Cardinal Newman, produced deviations and heretic theologies containing the rejection of God the Father that we observe and suffer even today.

One of them was the so-called Deism. Deism accepts God as a Creator, a Supreme Architect. But, once the house has been constructed, God leaves it in the hands of its inhabitants. He does not keep any relation with them, leaving them without the possibility of communion or closeness. Deism was a Naturalist, Rationalist rejection of the Christian revelation. It believed in a Creator God with whom there is no possible communion or communication.

Cardinal Pie cleverly diagnosed that, rejecting the communion with a God that invites us to commune, "it is nothing but the fear of vertigo produced by the wondrous heights that God calls us to climb." [12] That fear to the sublime union, will later invade all dimensions of human life, giving origin to Liberal individualism, the master-slave dialectic substituting Christian brotherhood, class warfare, and finally, the dictatorship of the envious that will impose the hatred of the best [13] and the tyranny of Equalitarianism in the name of Democracy.

From Jesus 'without Father' to Jesus 'against the Father'

A further consequence of religious Liberalism has been the Reductionist vision of Christ, in the style of the one proposed by David Friedrich Strauss we read earlier. This Jesuanism presents a historical Jesus separated from the Christ of the faith, with no reference ever being made to the Father as the final goal of the Gospel's message.

In the theological-pastoral discourse emerging from that proposition, the Father is relegated to a silent, implicit role. The Father is only explained when someone demands an explanation.

The Dominican Father Le Guillou has said about that contemporary Jesuanism:

"This places [...] Christ, not with the Father, but in lieu of the Father. In that way we see the vague design of a kind of Christicism, or Jesuanism (generally leaving the name of the Father silent) that tries to pass for real Christianity." [14]

Saint Paul teaches us: "But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?" [15] That which is not preached is not believed. That is the horrific consequence of leaving the Father in an implicit role, falling outside the conscience of both preacher and faithful.
This fact has been pointed out by Monsignor Josef Cordes in his work: The Eclipse of the Father, in these words:

"When one asks the great contemporary theologians of both confessions (Protestant and Catholic) about the Father of Jesus Christ, one acquires a surprising perspective: the researchers think more frequently and more markedly about 'God' that in the "Eternal Father'. If one calculates the statistical average of how many times the word 'Father' is used in the Father-Son relationship, the word is sadly relegated." [16]

This is the result of the liberal contagion that has affected the common sense of culture and overflows to the faithful, affecting them and the preachers as well. Once could say, extending the words of Saint Paul: How will they preach if they don't believe?

The Jesuanism, or pastoral criticism, is frequently proposed by the Protestant sects and ecclesial communities. Protestants preachers heard in tents and radio programs come to mind. Their message is the announcement of Christ as the personal savior, without a reference to the Father, nor the entering in communion with Him as the point of completion of the salvation they announce.

That same illness has been extended among, and penetrates into the common sense of Catholics, priests and theologians included. I refer you to your own experience in hearing the preachers in our own temples.

Something caught my attention in the final message of the Conference of Aparecida—please note that I am not referring to the magnificent Final Document of the Conference, but to the Final Message, a sort of draft of the Final Document written by the Ad Hoc Commission—In this Final Message, different from the later, final document, the Father ends up relegated to an implicit role in the whole opening part, the doctrinal-kerygmatic speaking of Jesus (10 times,) or Lord Jesus (1 time,) or Jesus Christ (4 times.) In the message the Father is mentioned three times. He is never mentioned in the first part, where Jesus Christ is presented, but later after passing over the doctrinal-kerygmatic moment, in the parenthetical context of the fourth and fifth sections. In this manner Jesus Christ is presented predominantly as Jesus, without an explicit reference to His Father.

The contrast with the original discourse of Benedict XVI is remarkable. There, Benedict XVI reiterates explicitly, that the Father is the goal of the evangelizing process to which the Conference of Aparecida is calling. [17] That is reflected in the Final Document.

This phenomenon I have been describing so far—the growing detachment of Jesus from the Father in pastoral preaching—is emphasized until it reaches a form of paroxysm in the diffusion of Freudian psychoanalysis.

Father Ignatius Anderggen has written:

Freudian psychoanalysis, as a method and technique, is intrinsically in solidarity with its fundamental intent of reaching a full awareness of the rebellion of man against God the Father, the rebellion rooted in the unconscious structure of those vices and passions of man that have not been restored by grace. This intention of Freud, and also of Nietzsche, consists in their conscious opposition against God and their pretension of taking God's place." [18]

Will continue soon...


[1] ακηδία, pron. ah-ceh-dee-ah; meaning negligence, indifference, for the wicked are indifferent, make no distinction between good and evil. Latin acidĭa, derived from the same Greek word.

[2] Wisdom 2, 24.

[3] 2 Thessalonians 2,7.

[4] Félix Sardá i Salvany, El liberalismo es pecado, (Liberalism is Sin), Ediciones Cruz y Fierro, Buenos Aires, 1977. Colección Clásicos Contrarrevolucionarios 2. Cited from the Spanish edition in c. III pp. 32-34.

[5] 1 John 2, 18-23.

[6] Mark 3, 29.

[7] David Friedrich Strauss, Das Leben Jesu, für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet (The Life of Jesus for German Working People), Leipzig 1864, p. 18.

[8] Exodus 32, 1: When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."

[9] 1 Samuel 8, 7; Cfr. Luke 19, 14 `We do not want this man to reign over us.'

[10] Matthew 10, 40.

[11] Luke 10, 16.

[12] Alfredo Sáenz, El Cardenal Pie. Lucidez y Coraje al Servicio de la Verdad. (Cardenal Pie. Lucidity and Courage in the Service of Truth). Editorial Gladius, Buenos Aires. 2nd. Ed. 2007, p. 276.

[13] See the study by Helmut Schoeck, La Envidia. Una Teoría de la Sociedad (Envy. A Theory of Society). Ed. Club de Lectores, Buenos Aires 1969.

[14] M. J. Le Guillou, O.P. El Misterio del Padre. Fe de los Apóstoles (The Mystery of the Father. Faith of the Apostles). Gnosis Actuales. Editorial Encuentro, Madrid 1998, p. 196.

[15] Romans 10, 14.

[16] Mons. Paul Josef Cordes, El Eclipse del Padre (The Eclipse of the Father), Editorial Palabra, Madrid 2003, 1967, cited in p. 167.

[17] In the discourse of Benedict XVI the reference of Jesus Christ to the Father is very clear. Jesus has come to reveal the Father. The discourse expresses clearly this relation of Jesus to the Father in three main passages.

1-By pointing at what must be done by the Conference of Aparecida with the situation faced by the Latin American Continent at this point. "A new situation is being analyzed here in Aparecida. Facing these crossroads, the, the faithful expect of this new Conference, a renewal and revitalization of their faith in Christ, our only Teacher and Savior, who has revealed to us the unique experience of the Father's infinite love for mankind."

2-By pointing at Jesus as the one who reveals God: "For the Christian the nucleus of the response is simple" Only God knows God, only His Son, Who is God, is from God, true God can know Him. "He who is 'in the bossom of the Father', has revealed Him."

3-By pointing at the charism and the mission of those religious and consecrated people: "remind your brothers and sisters that the Kingdom of God has arrived already; that justice and truth are possible if we are open to the loving presence of God our Father, of Christ our Brother and Lord, and the Holy Spirit our Consoler."

[18] Fr. Ignatius Andereggen: Santo Tomás de Aquino- Psicólogo (St. Thomas Aquinas-Psychologist). Sapientia, 205 (1999) 59-68. R. Fr. Andereggen refers these affirmations by Sigmund Freud to: Totem y Tabú (Totem and Taboo), Buenos Aires 1993, 155-156.

[19] Mons. Paul Josef Cordes, El Eclipse del Padre (The Eclipse of the Father), Editorial Palabra, Madrid 2003, 1967, p. 179.

Thank you Carlos. However, I have to remind you that if liberialism is a sin, then an elected government is sinful. It places the state in the supreme authority over the lives of the people (subjects). Is it not as if the children give the parents authority to raise them?

A tip of the beret to you...

de Brantigny

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