Bringing back the “Holy Alliance of Throne and Altar” is deadly

The background

The Congress of Vienna was convened in 1815 by the European nations that defeated Napoleon Bonaparte to establish a new balance of power in Europe and prevent a resurgence of Napoleonic imperialism. The secondary reason was to prevent political revolutions such as the French revolution and the preservation of the status quo.1 Shortly after this meeting, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, formed the so-called “Holy Alliance of Throne and Altar”.

This alliance is a “Gallican” absolutist formula characterized by sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state vested in the hands of a king who claimed to rule by divine right. It is the belief that civil authority represented by monarchs and other state rulers have similar powers as the Pope and the Church.2 This makes their power absolute in spiritual and temporal matters.

Pope Leo XIII spent a lot of energy to disengage the Church from sectarian liberalism by confining the Church’s work to the sacristy, as had been done earlier by Pope Pius IX. Until the 20th century, the Gallican absolutist’s formula likewise haunted St. Pope Pius X, who had to disengage attempts of socio-political movements such as the Francaise and Le Sillon in France who were demanding to politicize the Church, using it for their temporal goals and other selfish interests.3

Happening in our time

We also witnessed St. Pope John Paul II’s resolute efforts to disengage the Church from repeated attempts of “liberation theologies” to commit the Church to socialism, an endeavor that communist totalitarian dictators have been doing with their “patriotic churches”. The Church is a supernatural institution that should be free from entanglement with secular or worldly institutions or movements.3

According Fr. Joseph M. de Torre (author, political philosopher and Roman Catholic priest), “The Church is not ‘of this world’ and therefore cannot be politicized or nationalized”. He further underscored that “The Church cannot therefore be the ‘middle way’ between any ideologies or economic or political systems, simply because she operates on a different level, namely the strictly moral and religious level, which is not temporal as such, or subject to change and pluralism.” Clearly, the Church and its leaders cannot interfere in the domestic politics of a nation; they should stick to matters of faith and morals, which is their real vocation.

It bothers me no end every time I see members of the clergy, religious congregations, and bishops, priest and nuns, engaging themselves in partisan politics by supporting one particular view, implicitly curtailing the right to plurality of opinions on temporal and worldly matters. It continues to bother me, even more, when I observe that Catholic teachings are no longer given emphasis by some Church leaders. They appear to downplay the importance of the Catechism and Christian Doctrine, in favor of political advocacies of particular groups that, they argue, are more important than teachings in relation to the practice of the faith. At the very least, while they are convinced they are doing a good job, one can observe that most Catholics continue to have a shallow understanding of their faith—a sad and urgent reality that needs to be addressed.

In the Philippines

There are very few Roman Catholics in the Philippines who seriously practice their faith. I know many, who happen to be educated in Catholic schools, who don’t even know the basic teachings of their faith. But the same ignorant Catholics take action, when scores of them make judgments based on pronouncements of the CBCP, dwelling on temporal matters such as the death penalty, and the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) pointing to President Duterte’s war against drugs and criminality.

It is my belief that the CBCP, whose mission is apostolate of public opinion, should concentrate in evangelizing the faithful, bringing them closer to God and the Church by focusing on Church teaching, instead of alienating them. Surely, with their experts in social communication, they can enlighten the faithful to make intelligent decisions based on Church doctrine. Otherwise, countless Catholics turn their backs against the Church every time they perceive the CBCP as meddling in politics—a huge turn off to many who want to express their inalienable right to freedom of political belief.

The CBCP should bring the faithful closer to the Church, primarily by setting an example through prayer, pastoral work, and the pursuit of better Christian education of their flock. It is my view that a well-formed Christian will automatically do the right thing without external intervention from the Church leaders. The true believers in the faith with a supernatural outlook in life, without a doubt, will entrust their future to God. This is done through prayer, sacrifice, and mortification for a specific intention, instead of politicking in media and social media. As Pope Francis says, “’A good Catholic doesn’t meddle in politics.’ That’s not true. That is not a good path. A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself — so that those who govern can govern. But what is the best that we can offer to those who govern? Prayer.” 4

It is clear to me that Pope Francis encourages Catholics to meddle in politics by offering the best of themselves, so that those who govern can govern, perhaps by being a good citizen, obeying the laws and being less of a troublemaker. Or, for those who have the vocation to be in politics, to use their position to enlighten our lawmakers and politicians who may, out of ignorance, engage in legislation and political activities that are contrary to Christian teachings. But, nevertheless, prayer is still the best we can offer for those who govern and who are in government.

St. Pope John Paul II earlier supported this in his speech addressing the clergy in the Philippines in 1981 —“You are priests, not social or political leaders. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.”6

Relentless efforts to destabilize the present government of President Duterte have persisted. The detractors, led by the Liberal Party (LP) whose minions like Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Trillanes, together with some Church leaders, act contrary to the teachings of the Universal Church, headed by Pope Francis. The Philippine Church should examine themselves more in the light of this sensitive and divisive subject. At least, they should learn to communicate the Church’s position more clearly, without further alienating its followers, many of whom are supportive of the government.

History’s lessons

Lessons from history teach us that whenever the Church gets secularized or politicized, events prove disastrous for both the Church and the State. The Byzantine Empire, starting in the 16th century and culminating in the Russian Czarism3, we know what happened when Gregori Rasputin took control of civil authority through Czar Nicolas II that led to the downfall of the Russian Empire months after his death.5

A series of similar events also occurred, a review of history reveals, proving that secular rulers who tried to nationalize the Church, subjecting her to their temporal power and ambition, ended disastrously.3

1. Roman-Germanic Empire characterized by a variant of Ceasaropapism culminated in 19th century Austrian Josephism and Prussian Kulturkampf.
2. Anglicanism, whose seeds were sown in the 12th century, burst forth in the 16th century with disastrous consequences.
3. Gallicanism in the early 13th century led to the French revolution in the 18th century.

Quo Vadis? Philippine Church

As history repeats itself, the CBCP and particular leaders of the Philippine Church who continue to pursue an interest in partisan politics (if they succeed) will end up taking us back to the middle ages when civil authority and ecclesiastical authorities were one. This will foster dissent, more hatred for the Catholic Church in the Philippines, and increase the spiraling reduction in the number of the faithful who were practicing Catholics.

It is ironic that some Church leaders themselves are the culprits in the progress of the decline of the faith. Unknowingly, they fuel the fires of doubt and suspicion against their own sincerity and integrity. This further reinforces the accusations that they are as corrupt as the politicians they vehemently despise. Little do they know that fulfilling the demands of their vocation would engender more interest in the faith, and attract more people to the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

Church meddling in politics must be stopped, unless we want to live the rest of our lives in the “dark ages” of the new millennium, a socio-political quagmire threatening the landscape of our nation’s future.

Citations:

1. Congress of Vienna.
2. Spielvogel, J.J. (1991).Western Civilization. West St. Paul, Minnesota.
3. de Torre, J.M. (1988). The Church and Temporal Realities. Manila, Philippines. SEASFI.
4. Pope calls faithful to pray, participate actively in politics. (2013, Sept. 16).
5. Rasputin Biography.com. (2015, Oct. 29).
6. John Paul II in his own words. (2003, Oct. 14).

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About Carlo de Leon

I am a marketing consultant, entrepreneur and executive director of an NGO. I have extensive experience in advertising, product management, media, and general management. I love art, graphic design, philosophy, theology, and history. I continue to study these subjects to enjoy my intellectual and artistic pursuits.

10 Comments on “Bringing back the “Holy Alliance of Throne and Altar” is deadly”

  1. The Web Blog article is scholarly and informative. Thank you, Mr. Carlo de Leon , for enlightening most of us; especially those pedophile Priests and sex starved Nuns.

    I do not subscribe to any Organized Religion. I am a Christian. I practice my faith in private; and I am not tied to any Church dogma.

    I now understand, why my friend in this GRP website, named : Robert Haighton, who is from Netherland, became an avowed Atheist.

    The Church , any church, must not intervene in any governmental function or decisions. Priests are there to preach Jesus Christ gospel and teachings. Not, preach, to promote, the political agendas of any politician, or political party. Islamic imams are there to teach, the teachings of Allah, from the Koran. And so for, and so on…

    It was the late , Cory Aquino and her Aquino Cojuangco political axis, together with the late Cardinal Sin; who used the Roman Catholic Church to grab political power. The U.S./C.I.A. and the U.S. Department of State, under George Shultz, used the Roman Catholic Church, to promote U.S. interests in the Philippines.

    It is very clear in Jesus Christ teaching, when a Jewish Pharishee , asked: ” Is it right to pay tribute , to Caesar ?” Jesus Christ asked to be shown a Roman Coin, with Caesar’s image.

    Jesus replied: “Whose inscription is this ?” The crowd answered : “Caesar!”…so Jesus continued: ” Render unto Caesar, things that are of Caesar. And unto your God, things, that are of your God”!

    It was as clear as a summer sky, the role of the Church, or any religion, in this temporal world. Religious leaders, must not overstep their work to preach their religious gospels !

    1. Hyden,
      the following information is only for you bec it is private so pls dont share it elsewhere bec then its gone public.

      I did not become an atheist. I was born irreligious (tabula rasa). Though my parents always encouraged and stimulated me to get myself informed about every religion, we (my sisters and me) were not raised with a religion. We always had the free choice to register (for lack of a better word) with any religion without any consequences.

      So after reading many articles and asking critical questions it was already obvious that not many religions could and can satisfy my ‘needs’.

      Is it possible to start/invent a whole new religion (from scratch) without the neccissity to worship a ‘person’? Then maybe I can and will become a member.

      PS: are you gonna tell me, I am the only atheist hanging around at this website?

  2. @545Hyden007Toro12009876,8767

    Hahaha! Sobra ka naman! Sex-starved nuns. Anyway.

    I really do not fault the Catholic for their belief. Since the time of its inception, Catholicism has been deemed to be the most superior religion in such a way that following any another belief is blasphemous and heretical. And it persists up to now. I would fault it, though, for its intolerance, meddling and hypocrisy.

    One does not need to have a religion, like you do. But definitely he has to have Divine Guidance by believing in the existence of a Supreme Being. Being an atheist does not excuse anyone from following certain rules as atheism warrants the commission of just about any form of immorality (I recall Robert Haighton write once that he was fortunate that adultery is not prohibited in his country.) Just be guided accordingly, be not just yourself but be the other, too. This way we all tread the same path to righteousness.

  3. @Robert Haighton:

    Thank you for enlightening people about , Atheism. Filipinos, like me are not well informed on Atheism.

    We think, it is some sort of “Devil Worship”…whatever your belief in religion, or some other beliefs, I cannot define is your
    own business. If you believe in ghosts, dwendes, tikbalan, aswang, white lady, santilmo, etc…it is your own business !

    1. @Hyden,
      “Thank you for enlightening people about, atheism.”
      Well, I am not preaching about atheism. As long as people dont think, atheists worship satan or the devil then I am alright. And, I dont consider atheism a religion for the mere facts that atheists dont worship anybody/anything (a supreme being), we dont pray, we dont have a building (church, mosque or whatever).

      @Aphetsky,
      Why do you think, its better that adultery must be forbidden by law?

  4. the LP’s and CBCP with its attack dogs are the Templars of the yellow dynasty. it’s a treachery to a Motherland and its people. resurrection has come.

    1. @Robert Haighton:

      Filipinos are not familiar with , Atheism and Agnosticism…we were brainwashed by the Spanish Colonialist, to adhere fully to the Roman Catholic Religion, for almost 300 years…

      This is the reason, most of us are ignorant of any other beliefs…Islam was the first foreign religion introduced in the Philippines. Before that: we were Animists…

      It is only now, that some Filipinos, who are working in the Middle Eastern countries; that we understand the Islamic religion.

      What I don’t like to some Organized Religion , is they try to impose their religious dogmas, in the government. They help politicians win elections; or grab political power. And, these politicians are more corrupt, than the ones, they replaced…

      The Aquino Cojuangco EDSA I, was a good example. Cory Aquino was a U.S./C.I.A. puppet. The Cojuangco family is a thieving and scamming family. This was the reason they become filthy rich, and powerful…

      The Roman Catholic Church, helped this family grab political power. Feudal Oligarchy is still the ruling political force in our country. We have the Maoist Communists…We have the Islamic Al Queda…We have the Maute ISIS…we have everything…leftist, rightist, centrist, political opportunists, fence sitters, “don’t knowist”, etc…

      I believe that if we ban all Organized Religions; we will have a more peaceful world !

      1. Hyden,
        I dont think there is a/are un-organized religions. Most or all religions do have a book (bible, quran etc), do have a building (church, mosque) and do have a ‘leader’ (pope).

        We can only have global peace when its impossible to explain/interpret bible (and quran) texts in different ways other than we shall not kill and not hate. But for as long as texts can be interpreted in a way that its okay to kill infidels then there will be no peace.

        Finally, its about time that foreign countries stay away from countries like Syria, Afghanistan. Let them solve their own mess.

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