Just before Christmas 2021, a baby-Satan was installed next to the Nativity Set in the Illinois State Capitol found in Springfield, IL. Tradition, Family and Property prayed against this event in the Capitol building the very day it happened. Raymond Arroyo on Fox News covered this horrible event with Franklin Graham.
What does the Catholic Church think about this? At the gut-level, everyone is disgusted. But let’s consider this at a doctrinal level. The “pastoral” (non-dogmatic) Second Vatican Council had a “Declaration on Religious Freedom” called Dignitatis Humanæ. In this document, we read that “the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.”—Dignitatis Humanæ #2, emphasis mine.
Notice above that “the right to religious freedom” is allegedly “in his very nature.” However, for centuries before this document, the Catholic Church taught that all rights came from God, not from man. It might seem like a very small shift, but it has enormous consequences. The Blessed Trinity could never give a “right” to man to follow a false religion. Of course, this does not mean that the Catholic Church believed in forced-conversions. In fact, not even the Spanish Inquisition tried Muslims who remained Muslim or Jews who remained Jews (only ones who faked a conversion, even if such conversions were due to social pressures.) But officially, the Catholic Church has always permitted false-religions around it while never recognizing that such errors were linked to a “right” from God. God permits sin, of course, but He can never give a positive “right” to offend Him.
Yes, the Church has always allowed “religious tolerance,” but when this is supplanted by a so-called “religious freedom” found “in his very nature” to follow a false-religion, then a follower of a false-religion has a natural right “to show the special value of their doctrine” as Dignitatis Humanæ #4 directly states. Those eight words are very important for the recent even in the Illinois State Capitol, so we’ll come back to that.
Archbishop Lefebvre saw that the Church recognizing human-given rights in adhering to a false-religion like Islam would have practical consequences. For example, now the Church would have to turn a blind eye to the enslavement of girls as found in such a false-religion. According to Vatican II, Muslims must have the right “to show the special value of their doctrine” (Dignitatis Humanæ #4) by doing whatever is in their doctrine. And enslaving girls is part of Mohammed’s doctrine. Archbishop Lefebvre saw this and wrote in his famous Open Letter to Confused Catholics against “Religious Liberty:”
“The benefits that the Catholic religion brings with it show how deluded is the attitude of the post-conciliar clergy who renounce any pressure, or even influence, on non-believers. In Africa, where I spent the major part of my life, the missions fought against the scourges of polygamy, homosexuality, and the contempt in which women are held. The degraded position of women in Islamic society is well known: she becomes a slave or chattel as soon as Christian civilization disappears. There can be no doubt of the right of the truth to prevail and to replace false religions. And yet in practice the Church does not prescribe blindly and intransigently regarding the expression of false religions in public. She has always said that they could be tolerated by the authorities in order to avoid a greater evil. That is why Cardinal Ottaviani preferred the term ‘religious tolerance.'”
Fifty years ago, Archbishop Lefebvre predicted that overturning the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church that man has exclusively a God-given right to worship at the altar of Catholicism for the new notion that man has man-given right to worship in freedom at the altar of any religion would have dire practical consequences. Probably most clergy today still think Archbishop Lefebvre was antiquated if not bigoted for insisting false-religions have no rights. “What does he want,” they might ask, “forced conversions?” (The answer is: No, that’s why he used charity alone to convert hundreds or thousands in Africa to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.)
But now, with the events in Illinois, even middle-of-the-road Catholic clergy who mocked Archbishop Lefebvre as “excommunicated” or “bigoted” or “antiquated” would have to do a gut-check as they watch the “Satanic Temple” enthrone a “baby-Satan” next to the baby Jesus in an American State Capitol. But they must remember that they have the Declaration on Religious Liberty to thank for this outrage. Now, of course, we must ask: Were the Satanists of the Satanic Temple thinking of Dignitatis Humanæ when they put onto holiday display a “baby-Baphomet”? Of course not. But they do have its full support. Why? Because Satanism is now a state-recognized religion and according to Dignitatis Humanæ #4, every adherent to a false-religion has a right “to show the special value of their doctrine.”