Blessed James Alberione

Opera Omnia


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Politics, social sciences (sociology, law, economics) and philosophy are all valid subjects for the apostle writer when the defense and propagation of the faith and of natural and Christian moral principles demand it.
The following rules may be of help as and when required.

The Gospel has a precise directive in this respect: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."1
It is a precept that the apostle must follow with the prudence of the serpent without forgetting the simplicity of the dove.
In particular:
1. Let him always keep in mind the Church's relations with the State. Here we have two perfect and independent societies that have territory and subjects in common. There must not be opposition or parallelism between these two societies but harmony. In matters of religion, the State is subordinate to the Church, and its dependence on her is one that is indirect, negative and positive.
2. Let his policy be the Pope's. He is to give his opinion only when it is a question of faith and morals, and then he will do so in this way: a) he is to submit and to instill submission to laws that are not unjust. b) When it is a question of unjust laws, he is to exempt himself in the way that every faithful Christian is held to do. Where he enjoys freedom of speech and of the press, he is to energetically defend the rights of God, the Church and people. When it is not possible for him to employ direct defense he is to cling to prayer and sacrifice.

Social sciences
When we speak of social sciences we intend to focus here on three in particular: sociology, law and political economy.
There are two ways of writing about social sciences - in an absolute way and in a contingent way.
In an absolute and moral way these sciences deal with the actions of a person as a member of society. In this sense they form part of Christian morals and thus are a suitable, direct, and immediate area of the apostolate. The Catholic writer can deal with them as his own material, just as Saint Thomas and Saint Alphonsus deal with them.
Technically and in their quality of being contingent they concern the manner of conveying social realities into general laws (sociology), - the whole code of laws and their study (law), - the art of administering wealth, government, and social movements in accordance with justice (economy).
In this sense social sciences are an indirect object of the apostolate; the apostle is to deal with them insofar as it is necessary to warn that nothing must be done which is against faith and religion.
The social sciences must give to the Church and religion the support that material and temporal things give to spiritual and eternal things.
In any case the apostle is to follow the social teaching of the Gospel, extant in the teaching of the Popes.
The pontifical documents concerning the Church's teaching and social action in the world are to be the apostle's norm and guide.
Eminent among these are the documents that span the pontificates from Pius IX to
Pius XII: a period of 77 years which, up to the present, has seen the greatest political and social upheaval. Of these, the main ones express the basic ideas on which the Church desires society to be rebuilt, and they relate to the human person, the family, teaching, work, capital, social relations, the State, and the Church.2

Philosophy, ethics in a specific way, is also part of the social sciences.
The apostle can deal with it in a direct or indirect way.
In the former case he is to follow Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy as the one adopted by the
Church and which constitutes the basis and backbone of Catholic theology. He can also expound on opposing systems and highlight where they are at variance, and demonstrate their lack of rationality and logic, as well as their sad effects.
When he has to deal with it in an indirect way, while holding fast to his own position, he is to follow wholesome philosophy and rely on its corroboration and proofs3 to which no fair-minded person can object.
It is for the apostle then quite specifically to demonstrate to people and have them understand that Christian philosophy is the true philosophy.
In fact, that which merits the name of true philosophy is one that is free from error about the questions concerning the universe, nature and human life.4
But only Christian philosophy can claim such a prerogative because it has the light of revelation that frees it from all these errors. History is there to show that only with the coming of Christianity was philosophy able to avoid the errors concerning life's main problems, and that only in the light of Christian faith was it able to make the extraordinary advances that we find in Saint Thomas Aquinas and in the followers of perennial philosophy.
To deal with politics, the social sciences and philosophy in their legitimate sense can be means
for guiding the masses towards the two great duties that each person has, that is, to love God and to love one's neighbor.
The particular rules set out here may also be used as a guide in dealing with other sciences, especially those dealing with the professions.

1 Mt 22:21.

2 They are the following:
PIUS IX: Quanta cura (1864), Syllabus.
LEO XIII: Inscrutabili Dei consilio (1878). Quod Apostolici muneris (1878). Arcanum divinæ Sapientiæ (1880). Diuturnum (1881). Immortale Dei (1885). Libertas (1888). Sapientiæ Christianæ (1890). Rerum novarum (1891). Inimica vis (1892). Graves de communi (1901).
PIUS X: Il fermo proposito (1905).
BENEDICT XV: Pacem, Dei munus pulcherrimum (1920).
PIUS XI: Ubi arcano (1922). Divini illius Magistri (1929). Casti connubii (1930), Quadragesimo anno (1931). Nova impendet (1931). Caritate Christi compulsi (1932). Vigilanti cura (1936). Divini Redemptoris promissio (1937).
PIUS XII: Summi Pontificatus (1939). Radio message for the 50

th anniversary of the Rerum novarum (1941). Radio message for Christmas (1941).
Cf. GIORDANI, Le Encicliche sociali, Studium, Rome.

3 * The Italian text has: La parola originale era probatico.

4 Cf. La Civiltà Cattolica, January 1935, No. 2029.