There's been quite a buzz in the Catholic blogosphere concerning the "Restoring America" rally in DC last Saturday, organized by Glenn Beck of Fox News Channel. Recently he was caught getting in touch with his inner Rockefeller-Republican, when he
Uh, Glenn, they actually called it "sodomy" in Jefferson's day. It's safe to assume he would have had an opinion typical of the gentile classes of the time, you big dummy!
It is here that we come to the part of "the conservative movement" that is the Achilles heel of many faithful Catholics. We know that the Founding Fathers established a system of laws and governance, which could only be effective for a civil and moral people, and would be unsuited for any less. (There's a quote to that effect, but darned if I can find it. Anybody?) Yet even those Catholics who identify themselves as "orthodox" fail to reach a consensus over the application of the social encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII and his successors. This disagreement is most visibly manifest in the lively exchange between Mr Thomas Storck and Dr Thomas Woods (two scholarly writers, both of whose work I respect and admire), but is not limited to them.
Über-traditionalists in our midsts will often refer to "The Social Reign of Christ the King," or simply "The Social Kingship of Christ." This is the mandate, as best expressed by Pope Pius XI in his 1925 encyclical Quas primas, to spread the Gospel to all corners of the Earth, that the teachings of Christ, as taught by His Church, may rule in men's hearts, thus in their conduct of daily affairs, and eventually, in their civic affairs. (That's the short version, not a complete one. Remain calm.) Some would contend that author George Weigel, as heard in the second clip, scoffs at the very idea, in submitting that such a declaration at an institutional level is "outside the competence of the state."
Would such a "separation of church and state" (for desperate want of a better term) necessarily frustrate efforts toward the Social Kingship in America?
What if the answer is NO?
I am not convinced that it would be necessary to establish a Catholic monarchy in North America, or even an essentially Catholic republic at the offset, in order to bring this "Social Kingship" about. Every time the discussion is broached about inculcating Catholic values in the public arena, it is invariably along conservative/liberal or Republican/Democratic lines. Why does that twenty-one percent of the USA population which identifies itself as Catholic, assume they must be hemmed in by these confines, when genuine Catholic moral and social teaching does not fit particularly well into either? There is certainly enough inspiration for such a paradigm shift, in such fora as The American Catholic, Caelum et Terra, The Distributist Review, and (depending on who you ask) Vox Nova.
IMAGE: Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordier, in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.
But why has this not taken to the streets? Why, during the last Presidential election, did we witness Catholics having to choose between abortion as the most significant versus the least significant issue among Catholics? Why was that even a choice?
Given the great body of literary work in the past century alone -- Belloc, Chesterton, McNabb, not to mention several Popes -- such an omission by greater minds than yours and (even) yours truly is inexcusable. And frankly, we have only ourselves to blame, if we think we have to choose between the lesser of two evils. His Kingdom is not of this world. Isn't it time to stop thinking on the terms of the world?
We can worry about proclaiming me as the first Catholic monarch in North America at a later date.
(H/T to Kristin B.)