Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1959

Washington Or The Vatican! Which??

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

The first volley has been fired in what will develop into a continuing fusillade, not literally, but verbally, in the selection, nomination, and attempted election of a Roman Catholic President and/or Vice-president over this Nation in 1960.

Look Magazine and Coronet, have both gone to bat on the subject of a Roman Catholic for either or both of the Nation's two top offices. It is interesting to note that Look informs its readers that Senator Kennedy holds the following positions, relative to politics and religion:

"Whatever one's religion in his private life may be, for the officeholder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution and all its parts — including the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state . . . . As a senator, I believe that the separation of church and state is fundamental to our American concept, and heritage and should remain so."

"I am flatly opposed to appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican."

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"There can be no question of Federal funds being used for support of parochial or private schools. It's unconstitutional under the First Amendment as interpreted by the Supreme Court. I'm opposed to the Federal Government's extending support to sustain any church or its schools."

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As soon as Look Magazine hit the newsstands, Roman Catholic publications began to howl. An Editorial in the St. Louis Review, the Official Publication of the Archdiocese of St. Louis (Mo.), was titled, "Political Panic Bar." In it (among other things) the Editor stated:

". . . . Nothing could be more acceptable to their crusade to cast a cloud of sinister doubt about the Catholic candidate than the inference that he is willing to keep his religious convictions in his back pocket while he is in public office — the further inference being that his Catholicism and the Constitution are at odds."

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". . . But when he infers that his religion which teaches him to know, love and serve God above all things and to love his neighbor as him self will be allowed to interfere with his oath to the Constitution, it is the Constitution that ought to be examined, not his religion."

The National Catholic Magazine published at Notre Dame University, in South Bend, Indiana, has taken issue with Senator Kennedy. Kennedy had been quoted as saying that an office holder's oath of office took precedence over his religious beliefs. The publication commented that such a view would relegate the conscience to "private life" — which it termed unrealistic and dangerous.

History Repeats Itself?

Senator Kennedy finds himself today in exactly the same unhappy set of circumstances that defeated a 1928 presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith. At that time, Mr. Smith took the politician's position on religion; i.e., that which would lamely permit him to nominally remain a Roman Catholic and yet retain as many votes as possible. The Catholic Press immediately set up its howl, complaining about Smith's watered-down brand of Catholicism.

Now, we will see if the episodes of 1928 will repeat themselves in 1959 and 1960.

Catholic Teaching On Church And State

"The relations of Church and state are based on the following principles: (A) Each is a perfect society, supreme in its own domain, the Church in spiritual things, the state in material and temporal things. (B) Each is juridicially independent of the other. But because of the nobler end of the Church — the glory of God and the salvation of souls — the state is bound to further that end by refraining from all interference with the Church's legitimate authority and by aiding her positively . . . (C) The Church has the absolute right, independently of the state, to those material and temporal things which are necessary to her spiritual ends, e.g., church buildings, funds. (D) The Church is a society of a higher order than the state, so that in a conflict of rights over mixed matters the church must prevail" (Emphasis added. LWM. Page 97, A Catholic Dictionary, by Attwater.)

Thus, Catholicism teaches that: (1) The state is "bound to further the purpose of the Catholic Church, by

"Aiding her positively". (2) The Church "must prevail" in any "conflict" between herself and the state over "mixed" matters. It is precisely this problem of "mixed matters", wherein Catholicism is not only a religion, but her subjects are also answerable to the Roman Pontiff, a temporal sovereign, who is not an American citizen!! This is the question!!