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The Buddhists Are Wrong  —  but for the Right Reason

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On January 28, 2004 Zenit.org reported that "In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Christians are forbidden to celebrate or pray in public and priests are denied visas to enter …" These measures were imposed because "Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan, and every other form of religion and mission is prohibited."

While there had been relative freedom of religion for Catholics in Bhutan until recently, a recent influx of Mongol immigrants, including Mongol priests, provoked official fears of proselytism, since the Mongols’ "physical resemblance to Bhutan's inhabitants allows them to integrate better into the community -- and potentially win converts to Christianity." Indeed, the strict measures against evangelization "came when Protestant pastors began to preach the Gospel to the people of Bhutan -- a kingdom about half the size of Indiana, bordered by China and India -- and managed to gain a few converts. The government sounded the alarm and clamped down on evangelization" by Catholics and Protestants alike.

The Hindu government of Bhutan is wrong, obviously, to persecute the Catholic Church, which is the one true Church established by God for the salvation of souls. For this reason, as Pope Leo XIII and many other popes have taught, it is only the Catholic Church that is truly entitled to religious liberty, since there can be no liberty for false religions which are, at best, a mixture of truth and damnable error.

And yet, Bhutan’s leaders are wrong for the right reason. That is, they wish to preserve the Buddhist ethos of Bhutan from Catholic influence  —  which is wrong  —  but they recognize that the state has the right and the duty to preserve religion in society by appropriate legal measures against public manifestations of alien religions  —  which is right. The only problem is, Buddhism is a false religion and thus cannot properly be the subject of such actions by the state.

But where the Catholic religion is concerned, the Catholic state (wherever it has existed or may again exist) has every right to do what the Bhutanese government has done: ban public manifestations of alien religions in order to avoid a loss of adherents to the official religion of the state. The common good and the welfare of souls require nothing less, since both men and societies are obliged to give God His due.

Indeed, this was precisely the constant teaching of the Catholic Church until  —  what else is new?  —  Vatican II utterly confused the whole subject with its decree on "religious liberty." As Pope Leo XIII taught in his encyclical Libertas: "Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engraved upon it. This religion, therefore, the rulers of the State must preserve and protect, if they would provide -- as they should do -- with prudence and usefulness for the good of the community."

In keeping with this obvious duty of the State to protect and defend the one true Church established by God, Pius IX, in his Syllabus of Errors, condemned the following proposition: "[Condemned Proposition 78]: Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship." In other words, the Church’s teaching before Vatican II is Bhutanese policy today  —  except, of course, that Bhutan’s policy is applied against the Church rather than in favor of it.

Today, thanks to the confusion wrought by Vatican II, Catholic Churchmen reject the teaching of Pius IX and Leo XIII and call for "religious liberty" for all cults, and open immigration into once-Catholic countries, without heed to the effect this "liberty" has on the one true Church and society as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Buddhist leaders of Bhutan have enough common sense to recognize that if a society wishes to preserve its religious identity, it must take due legal measures to do so. They fight to preserve a false religion as the official religion of the State, while the leaders of the one true Church reject any effort to defend Her rightful place as the State’s religion. The results of this diabolical inversion speak for themselves.

The Message of Fatima is a call to the human element of the Church to remember the Church’s own teaching on the duty of the State to protect and defend the Catholic religion. What else did the Mother of God mean when She declared: "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted"? The miraculous emergence of Russia as a Catholic State will herald the period of peace She promised  —  and with it, the restoration of the Catholic Church.