WHAT LIBERALISM ISProtestantism naturally begets toleration of error. Rejecting the principle of authority in religion, it has neither criterion nor definition of faith. On the principle that every individual or sect may interpret the deposit of revelation according to the dictates of private judgement, it gives birth to endless differences and contradictions. Impelled by the law of its own impotence, through lack of any decisive voice of authority in matters of faith, it is forced to recognize as valid and orthodox any belief that springs from the exercise of private judgement. Therefore does it finally arrive, by force of its own premises, at the conclusion that one creed is as good as another; it then seeks to (16) shelter its inconsistency under the false plea of liberty of conscience. Belief is not imposed by a legitimately and divinely constituted authority, but springs directly and freely from the unrestricted exercise of the individual's reason or caprice upon the subjectmatter of revelation. The individual or sect interprets as it pleases, rejecting or accepting what it chooses. This is popularly called liberty of conscience. Accepting this principle, Infidelity on the same plea rejects all revelation, and Protestantism, which handed over the premise, is powerless to protest against the conclusion; for it is clear that one, who under the plea of rational liberty has the right to repudiate any part of revelation that may displease him, can not logically quarrel with one, who on the same ground repudiates the whole. If one creed is as good as another on the plea of rational liberty, on the same plea no creed is as good as any. Taking the field with this fatal weapon of Rationalism, Infidelity has stormed and taken the very citadel of Protestantism helpless against the foe of its own making.
We find as a result amongst the people of this country (excepting Catholics of course) that authoritative and positive religion has met with utter disaster, and religious beliefs or unbelief's have come to be (17) mere matters of opinion, wherein there are always essential differences, each one free to make or unmake his own creed or no creed.
Such is the mainspring of the heresy constantly dinned into our ears, flooding our current literature and our press. It is against this that we have to be perpetually vigilant. The more so as it insidiously attacks us on the grounds of a false charity and in the name of a false liberty. Nor does it appeal only to us on the ground of religious toleration.
The principle ramifies in many directions, striking root into our domestic, civil, and political life, whose vigor and health depend upon the nourishing and sustaining power of religion. For religion is the bond which unites us to God, the source and end of all good, and Infidelity, whether virtual as in Protestantism or explicit as in Agnosticism, severs the bond which binds men to God, and seeks to build human society on foundations of man's absolute independence. Hence we find Liberalism laying down as the basis of its propaganda the following principles:
XXXIII. The absolute sovereignty of the individual in his entire independence of God and God's authority.
XXXIV. The absolute sovereignty of society in its entire independence of everything which does not proceed from itself. (18)
XXXV. Absolute civil sovereignty in the implied right of the people to make their own laws in entire independence and utter disregard of any other criterion than the popular will expressed at the polls and in parliamentary majorities.
XXXVI.Absolute freedom of thought in politics, morals, or in religion. The unrestrained liberty of the press. Such are the radical principles of Liberalism. In the assumption of the absolute sovereignty of the individual, that is, his entire independence of God, we find the common source of all the others. To express them all in one term in the order of ideas, they are RATIONALISM or the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of human reason. Here human reason is made the measure and sum of truth. Hence we have individual, social and political Rationalism, the corrupt fountain head of liberal principles: absolute freedom of worship, the supremacy of the State, secular education repudiating any connection with religion, marriage sanctioned and legitimatized by the State alone, etc.; in one word, which synthesizes all, SECULARIZATION, which denies religion any active intervention in the concerns of public and of private life (19) whether it orate or assassinate; whether it call itself Liberty or Government or the State or Humanity or Reason, or what not, its fundamental characteristic is an uncompromising opposition to the Church.
Liberalism is a world complete in itself; it has its maxims, its fashions, its art, its literature, its diplomacy, its laws, its conspiracies, its ambuscades. It is the world of Lucifer, disguised in our times under the name of Liberalism, in radical opposition and in perpetual warfare against that society composed of the Children of God, the Church of Jesus Christ.