Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio
POPE PIUS XI ON THE PEACE OF CHRIST IN THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST DECEMBER 23, 1922
In the late seventeenth century, the secret societies of Europe began attributing human rights and responsibilities to the “brotherhood of man” rather than to the Fatherhood of God, and sought acceptance of their false doctrines by fomenting violent revolutions and repressive atheistic governments. Just after World War I, the saintly scholar Pope Pius XI wrote about the consequent deficiencies in the plans of the nations to forestall the war and to establish peace in its aftermath.
27. There is over and above the absence of peace and the evils attendant on this absence, another deeper and more profound cause for present-day conditions. This cause was even beginning to show its head before the War and the terrible calamities consequent on that cataclysm should have proven a remedy for them if mankind had only taken the trouble to understand the real meaning of those terrible events. In the Holy Scriptures we read: "They that have forsaken the Lord, shall be consumed."(Isai.i, 28) No less well known are the words of the Divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, Who said: "Without me you can do nothing" (Jn xv, 5) and again, "He that gathereth not with me, scattereth." (Lk xi, 23)
28. These words of the Holy Bible have been fulfilled and are now at this very moment being fulfilled before our very eyes. Because men have forsaken God and Jesus Christ, they have sunk to the depths of evil. They waste their energies and consume their time and efforts in vain sterile attempts to find a remedy for these ills, but without even being successful in saving what little remains from the existing ruin. It was a quite general desire that both our laws and our governments should exist without recognizing God or Jesus Christ, on the theory that all authority comes from men, not from God. Because of such an assumption, these theorists fell very short of being able to bestow upon law not only those sanctions which it must possess but also that secure basis for the supreme criterion of justice which even a pagan philosopher like Cicero saw clearly could not be derived except from the divine law.
Authority itself lost its hold upon mankind, for it had lost that sound and unquestionable justification for its right to command on the one hand and to be obeyed on the other. Society, quite logically and inevitably, was shaken to its very depths and even threatened with destruction, since there was left to it no longer a stable foundation, everything having been reduced to a series of conflicts, to the domination of the majority, or to the supremacy of special interests.
29. Again, legislation was passed which did not recognize that either God or Jesus Christ had any rights over marriage -- an erroneous view which debased matrimony to the level of a mere civil contract, despite the fact that Jesus Himself had called it a "great sacrament"(Eph. v, 32) and had made it the holy and sanctifying symbol of that indissoluble union which binds Him to His Church. The high ideals and pure sentiments with which the Church has always surrounded the idea of the family, the germ of all social life, these were lowered, were unappreciated, or became confused in the minds of many. As a consequence, the correct ideals of family government, and with them those of family peace, were destroyed; the stability and unity of the family itself were menaced and undermined, and, worst of all, the very sanctuary of the home was more and more frequently profaned by acts of sinful lust and soul-destroying egotism -- all of which could not but result in poisoning and drying up the very sources of domestic and social life.
30. Added to all this, God and Jesus Christ, as well as His doctrines, were banished from the school. As a sad but inevitable consequence, the school became not only secular and non-religious but openly atheistical and anti-religious. In such circumstances it was easy to persuade poor ignorant children that neither God nor religion are of any importance as far as their daily lives are concerned. God's name, moreover, was scarcely ever mentioned in such schools unless it were perchance to blaspheme Him or to ridicule His Church. Thus, the school forcibly deprived of the right to teach anything about God or His law could not but fail in its efforts to really educate, that is, to lead children to the practice of virtue, for the school lacked the fundamental principles which underlie the possession of a knowledge of God and the means necessary to strengthen the will in its efforts toward good and in its avoidance of sin. Gone, too, was all possibility of ever laying a solid groundwork for peace, order, and prosperity, either in the family or in social relations. Thus the principles based on the spiritualistic philosophy of Christianity having been obscured or destroyed in the minds of many, a triumphant materialism served to prepare mankind for the propaganda of anarchy and of social hatred which was let loose on such a great scale.
31. Is it to be wondered at then that, with the widespread refusal to accept the principles of true Christian wisdom, the seeds of discord sown everywhere should find a kindly soil in which to grow and should come to fruit in that most tremendous struggle, the Great War, which unfortunately did not serve to lessen but increased, by its acts of violence and of bloodshed, the international and social animosities which already existed?