the church’s political actions

original book cover
original book cover

In a letter to “A.” on November 8, 1958, Flannery O’Connor wrote:

God never promised her political infallibility or wisdom and sometimes she doesn’t appear to have even elementary good sense. [The church] seems always to be either on the wrong side politically or simply a couple of hundred years behind the world in her political thinking. She tries to get along with any form of government that does not set itself up as a religion.

Communism is a religion of the state, committed to the extinction of the Church. Mussolini was only a gangster. The Church has been consorting with gangsters since the time of Constantine or before, sometimes wisely, sometimes not. She condemns Communism because it is a false religion, not because of the form of gvt. it is.

The Spanish clergy seems to be shortsighted in much the same way that the French clergy was shortsighted in the 19th cen­tury, but you may be sure that the Pope is not going to issue a bull condemning the Spanish Churches support of Franco and destroy the Churches right to exist in Spain. The Spanish clergy has good and bad in it like any other. If Catholics in Hungary fight for freedom and Catholics in Spain don’t, all I can tell you is that Catholics in Hungary have more sense or are more courageous or perhaps have their backs to the wall more than those in Spain.

A Protestant habit is to condemn the Church for being authoritarian and then blame her for not being authoritarian enough. They object that politically all Catholics do not think alike but that religiously they all hold the same beliefs.

You are good to ask these questions and in such a charita­ble spirit & I hope I can answer them in the same spirit.

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