The social teaching in the writings of Pope LEO XIII. (Pontificate 1878-1903) had a significant impact on Catholic social teaching. In the encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, the pontiff defined the most important duties of Christian citizens. These duties also include resistance as soon as the laws of the state become diametrically opposed to divine law.
“But, if the laws of the State are manifestly at variance with the divine law, containing enactments hurtful to the Church, or conveying injunctions adverse to the duties imposed by religion, or if they violate in the person of the supreme Pontiff the authority of Jesus Christ, then, truly, to resist becomes a positive duty, to obey, a crime; […]“ (Pope Leo XIII., Sapientiae Christianae 10)
Holy Scripture also teaches us that conforming to the world’s errors out of fear or convenience is not an option for Christians. The apostle and first pope, St. Peter, states that “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Saint Paul writes: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom 12:2).
The errors of our time
There are numerous laws in the countries of the Western world that are clearly in conflict with divine law. Where the killing of unborn children, the destruction of marriage and family, and direct or indirect coercion to take an experimental medical treatment are encouraged by the state, we, as Catholics, are obliged to resist. In the same way, the introduction of so-called digital identity and similar measures within the framework of the globalist Great Reset Agenda is a serious threat that may well lead Western states towards an anti-Christian, communist system similar to that currently in force in China.
These developments are not accidental, but a direct result of people turning away from God and thus turning away from the truth. If the state and society on this earth are understood as the ultimate objectives of man, the decline of society is inevitable:
“If, then, a political government strives after external advantages only, and the achievement of a cultured and prosperous life; if, in administering public affairs, it is wont to put God aside, and show no solicitude for the upholding of moral law, it deflects woefully from its right course and from the injunctions of nature; nor should it be accounted as a society or a community of men, but only as the deceitful imitation or appearance of a society.“ (Pope Leo XIII., Sapientiae Christianae 2)
Catholic resistance in our time
It goes without saying that Catholics are obliged to face all kinds of different life situations, which means that not all are called upon to perform the same tasks in the resistance against anti-Catholic laws, systems and ideologies. Priests and lay people will have different roles to fill in the resistance, depending on professional commitments, time available and talents. Not everyone will be fighting in the front lines – but drawing back and ignoring the fight is not an option. Pope Leo XIII reminds families, especially the fathers of the family, of their responsibilities:
“This is a suitable moment for us to exhort especially heads of families to govern their households according to these precepts, and to be solicitous without failing for the right training of their children. The family may be regarded as the cradle of civil society, and it is in great measure within the circle of family life that the destiny of the States is fostered.“ (Pope Leo XIII., Sapientiae Christianae 42)
Loving one’s children, raising them according to the traditional Catholic faith and protecting them as much as possible from the influence of evil ideologies is also an act of resistance against the errors of the world.
Catholic bishops are expected to speak out loudly and clearly against all injustice, doing their best in their role as spiritual fathers to protect the faithful from state encroachment and false doctrines and ideologies. Unfortunately, many bishops have omitted to do so in recent decades, from a fear of making themselves unpopular, from indolence, or because they themselves adhere to false ideologies. During the Corona crisis, in particular, when governments were imposing draconian measures, many bishops acted more as tools of the state than as the tools of God’s will. Priests who openly oppose globalist governments and power cartels are often muzzled by their bishops. This is why we need more and more courageous lay people to jump into the breach and lead the resistance. Of course, lay people cannot and should not replace priest in the performance of their duties, but they can very well defend natural law and Catholic teaching in the world.
The most important element of Catholic resistance, however, is prayer, especially the Rosary. Without prayer and without the graces obtained through prayer, resistance cannot be successful. Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina called the rosary “the weapon against the evil of our time”. In the course of the apparitions of Fatima in 1917, Our Lady repeatedly asked the three shepherd children to pray the rosary daily. All Catholics who long for genuine peace in the world and in people’s souls should do the same.
Prayer, a truly Christian mindset and acting in accordance with God’s law – those are the essential elements of the solution to the problems of this world, for it is only with God’s help that can we overcome the world.
“The very times in which we live are warning us to seek remedies there where alone they are to be found – namely, by re-establishing in the family circle and throughout the whole range of society the doctrines and practices of the Christian religion. In this lies the sole means of freeing us from the ills now weighing us down, of forestalling the dangers now threatening the world.“ (Pope Leo XIII., Sapientiae Christianae 3)
Role models in Catholic resistance
There are numerous examples of great Catholic saints and heroes to serve as models for us today. Blessed Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen, also known as the “Lion of Munster”, was Bishop of Munster during the Nazi era. He resisted the National Socialist regime from the start – and risked being imprisoned as a result – by openly condemning its ideology. In a sermon on resistance to evil ideologies from within the state, he says the following:
“We cannot use arms against the enemy within who torments and batters us. We only have one weapon left: to stand up, strong and tough, and to endure!”
As a Tyrolean freedom fighter against the Bavarian and French occupation, Andreas Hofer was a shining example of Catholic resistance; he ultimately paid for his bravery with his life. There are some interesting parallels between the period of Hofer’s resistance in the Tyrol of the early 19th century and our own situation today. Andreas Hofer led the resistance, among other things, because of interference in the religious life of the people (ban on Christmas mass, processions and pilgrimages, rosary prayers, etc.). The Tyroleans were also, at the time, forced by the army of occupation to accept mandatory (smallpox) vaccination, something they were not willing to comply with. During the recent Corona crisis, churches were closed and attending mass was prohibited, pilgrimages to the Holy Land were prohibited and participants in public rosary processions were harassed by the police because of mask and distance rules. Furthermore, mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus, using experimental, gene-based “vaccines”, was imposed in many countries. Our own fight today shows interesting similarities with that conducted by Andreas Hofer. His heroism and willingness to make sacrifices should be a shining example in our time.
When Czechoslovakia was under the communist rule of the Soviet Union after World War II and the Church was persecuted and oppressed, the family of the writer Vaclav Benda was a beacon for all dissidents. At the Bendas’ house, Catholic resistance fighters were prepared, strengthened and encouraged. Numerous underground seminars, lectures and discussions took place in that house. Parents provided examples of bravery to their children. The children were taught from an early age not to be followers and were made aware that they would see and do certain things differently than, for example, their classmates. Their father, Vaclav Benda, also taught his children that there are worse things in life than losing one’s freedom or one’s life. During his imprisonment, the government offered to release him if he would agree to emigrate to the West with his entire family. He and his wife both concluded that if he could keep fighting for good in his own country, he would be better off in prison. In this way, their children were brought up to be conscious of a higher purpose.
Another important role model for Catholic resistance in our time is the Servant of God Father Petrus Pavlicek. In February 1947, the Franciscan priest founded the “Rosary Crusade for Peace in the World” (RSK). Between 1950 and 1955, Father Pavlicek organised annual Marian processions, which saw tens of thousands of the faithful praying the rosary in procession along the Ringstrasse in Vienna. The State Treaty of 1955 and the liberation of Austria from the occupying powers may be regarded as a visible success of this prayer movement.
Virtues needed for Catholic resistance
Resistance will not always require force of arms, as was the case with Andreas Hofer. In our time, most threats come from enemies within the church and the state, which means that spiritual warfare is all the more important. It is necessary to oppose the false ideologies of our time and to remain steadfast, like Blessed Cardinal Galen. The rosary should be used as a spiritual weapon against the dangers that beset us, as Father Petrus Pavlicek taught us to do. We must found families and raise our children as Catholics aware of a higher goal, like the Benda family did.
Justice, fortitude, sacrifice, and a love of truth are virtues that Catholics must possess and nurture in order to offer steadfast resistance to evil.
During a lecture on propaganda, Catholic author Gabriele Kuby provided a list of what we need to become and remain resistant to propaganda:
- Strong family ties and good friends
- Absolute principles by which we live and for which we are willing to make sacrifices. Religion imparts these principles and the power to hold fast to them.
- Meaningful work
- Strength of character to defy the mainstream and accept the position of an outsider.
- Mental skills to overcome fear.
The qualities and abilities that will allow you to resist propaganda and lies will also be essential tools for Catholic resistance.
Of course, without the help of God and his church, resistance can never be successful. The sacraments administered by the Church provide us with the spiritual nourishment that we need for resistance. The three divine virtues of faith, hope and charity are essential. Saint Paul calls charity the greatest of the virtues and says “if I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13:13) Our zeal and spirit of resistance must be motivated by love for the one true Triune God.
Pope Leo XIII. encourages us to fight the good fight with the conviction that, with God’s help, victory over evil must be certain:
“Honour, then, to those who shrink not from entering the arena as often as need calls, believing and being convinced that the violence of injustice will be brought to an end and finally give way to the sanctity of right and religion!“ (Pope Leo XIII., Sapientiae Christianae 36)