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Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Importance of the Vatican State

Scene from Becket, the Movie, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton, 1964
It is crucial for the entire world that the Papacy remains independent of any other country or nation. St. Thomas Becket knew this. St. Catherine of Siena knew this, which is why she begged Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon, and she succeeded, as the Holy Spirit was guiding her and him. Since I have set up this blog again, I have had the national anthem of the Vatican Papal State on the right-hand side to show my support for the physical nation which is the heart of the Catholic Church. As Catholics, we have always believed in the "visible Church", decrying the ultra-Protestant idea of the "invisible Church" as a heresy. Last week, David Quinn's article on Mirror of Justice, a site which I have on my blog list, eloquently reviews the importance of the Papal States. Here is a section of Quinn's argument, which is timely, most timely:

The reason the Papal States evolved was to try and preserve the independence of popes although even these couldn't always offer protection because rulers could still invade them if strong enough, as Napoleon did.

One reason the popes opposed the unification of Italy was because they feared that if the Papal States were destroyed so would their independence. They feared they would be dominated by the new Italian state.
After a standoff lasting several decades, Mussolini agreed to recognise the independence of the Holy See, the successor to the Papal States.
The reason the Holy See seeks diplomatic ties with as many countries as possible is to solidify the place of the Holy See in Italy -- something that couldn't be taken as a given for a long time -- and to solidify its place in the world.
The alternative to an independent Holy See is a pope who lives in the Italian state and is subject ultimately to the whim of the Italian state and to whatever laws it passes. The possibility of a strongly anti-clerical government being elected in Italy in the future can never be ruled out, nor can the passage of politically correct 'human rights' laws such as exist in places like Canada where the simple expression of church teaching on issues like homosexuality could end up being deemed a 'hate crime'.
Pope St. Pius IX: And, We are a Physical Church, as Well as a Spiritual One

There is more good stuff at Mirror of Justice, which, in these times of certain tyrants pushing the envelope against religious freedom, is a great site to check out daily. Remember that many of the martyrs died for the independence of the Papacy, and the list is long. St. Thomas Becket, pray for us.

I have suggested before here, all reading Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World, for another perspective on the importance of the independent Papacy, until the end of time.