SSPX news & events

Limits of freedom

May 08, 2017

 Although Ireland is becoming more and more secularised, there are still many laws and regulations in place that officially protect Catholicism. In a 2015 interview, Stephen Fry described God as "stupid", "capricious", "selfish", and "a maniac". Under the Defamation Act 2009 a person who publishes or utters blasphemous material "shall be guilty of an offence". They are be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000. A viewer who saw the interview has reported the blasphemy to the Gardai, and the case is currently under investigation. Source

It's a good opportunity to reflect on freedom of speech. The article below is taken from sspx.ca and was published following the 2015 murder of Charlie Hebdo in Paris --

For the common man, it is a given fact that all opinions have a right to be expressed publicly, and that the press has a native right to publish whatever they want, within the limits of the rights of man.  But for us, Catholics, what should we say about these freedoms that appear to be at the very foundations of the fundamental values of Western democracies on either side of the Atlantic Ocean? At first, let us find out what the Magisterium of the Popes before Vatican II says about it, and then let us consider how these freedoms are now practiced in our countries.

1. Church Magisterium

The claim of unlimited freedom of speech and of the press is one of the key ideas that were promoted by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, and as a tool to fight against the dogmatic control of the Church.  This was done under the pretense of the rights of man for free access to knowledge and ideas.  The French Revolution enshrined the following statement in its Declaration of the Rights of Man:

The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.” (Article 11). 

The Popes of the 19th century have constantly condemned such freedoms, denouncing their fundamental disorder and the dangers arising.

On April 29, 1834, in a letter to a French bishop, Pope Pius VII stated:

But We ought no less to wonder at and grieve over the freedom of printing guaranteed and permitted by Article 23 of the constitution encouraged. For it is quite clear that it is principally by this means that; by which indeed the experience of past times itself teaches, if anyone could doubt it, what great perils and what certain poisoning of faith and morals are first, the morals of people were depraved, then their faith corrupted and overthrown, and finally seditions, riots and rebellions stirred up among them.”

Pope Gregory XVI thus said:

Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice. We are in tears at the abuse which proceeds from them over the face of the earth. Some are so carried away that they contentiously assert that the flock of errors arising from them is sufficiently compensated by the publication of some book which defends religion and truth.” (Encyclical Letter Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832)

The Pope condemns the argument of liberals who pretend that the full freedom granted to publish will give a chance to good books to overcome the bad ones.  Because of original sin, man is more easily drawn to evil than to good.  If the same the same freedom is granted to good and to evil; truth and virtue will be lowered at the same level as error and vice.  Publications that flatter the most shameful vices and the most pernicious errors will thus get easy success.

Pope Leo XIII reminds us also that only truth has the full right to be freely spread, while error has no right to be broadcasted.

We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power which -- as We have before said and must again and again repeat -- it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but Lying opinions, of which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life, should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State. The excesses of an unbridled intellect, which unfailingly end in the oppression of the untutored multitude, are no less rightly controlled by the authority of the law than are the injuries inflicted by violence upon the weak.” (Encyclical letter Libertas June 2, 1888)

Thus, according to the constant teaching of the Church, unlimited freedom of speech and of the press is contrary not only to the duty of the State to favour the spreading of the truths of Catholic Faith and to forbid the spreading of false religions, but moreover to the simple natural law and the safeguarding of common good, that could not survive when error is given full rights to be spread to the minds and a license to corrupt the hearts.

2. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, a Big Hoax

As a matter of fact, in spite of the outspoken statements of our leaders, true freedom of speech and of the press does not really exist in our country.

Section 1 of the Constitution Act 1982 gives Canadians the right to free speech, but with "reasonable limits." This ensures that almost anything one says can be considered unconstitutional and subject to legal prosecution. You have a right to speak your mind, but be careful of what you say.

Then there's section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This prohibits the communication of hate messages.  Human Rights courts all over the country are littered with cases that are best characterized by an insane hypersensitivity to what other people have to say. Section 319.2 of the Criminal Code outlaws the willful promotion of hatred "against an identifiable group," and section 319.1 bans any incitements that "lead to a breach of peace."

All these terms -- reasonable limits, hate messages, breach of peace -- are subjective terms that are utilized by those who feel it is their duty to enforce political correctness and prosecute anyone who offends them. Source

Like Orwell says, as all animals will become “free and equal”, some will be given more freedom than others.  Likewise all opinions and religions are now “equal and free”, but some are getting more freedom than others.  Our Western society recognises some untouchable people, but only because they are among the higher ups.  You could easily make fun of the Catholic religion, throw in the mud its most sacred mysteries, caricature its ministers by picturing them with the most shameful sinful acts, represent Our Lord bathed in urine, throw stones to the head of Our Lord in theaters: everything will be authorised and subsidized by public funding, and eventually secured by anti-riot police against protesters.  The anti-Christian hate is spreading without shame, and seems to have no limit.  Now, keep in mind that the weekly paper Charlie-Hebdo, which was recently targeted by a terrorist attack, was well known for its frequent obscene attacks against the Church.

On the other hand, it would be very imprudent to caricature Jews, Muslims and other “visible minorities”.  Authorised caricatures are allowed only to make fun of terrorists acting in the name of Islam, but not of the Muslim religion.  Now, strangely, some writers have to practice self-inflicted censure in order to keep their recognition by the establishment!  But those who want to keep their true freedom are going to be excluded from TV shows by the defenders or this new patented “freedom of speech”!

Archbishop Lefebvre himself was sued by the LICRA (league against racism and anti-Semitism) for an answer he gave to journalists on the occasion of a conference he gave in 1989, in which he was warning against the Islamization of France.  His Grace said that Muslims will take advantage of their numbers to impose their laws to the country.  Archbishop Lefebvre was thus taken to court, and found guilty of hate discrimination on March 21, 1991.  But, as he died four days later, on March 25, 1991, the Good Lord spared him the fine!

Like other revolutionary liberties, freedom of speech is only made to push men to do error and to commit sin, to fight against the Catholic Church and all the sane institutions defending the Natural Law!

As for us, we are only fighting for Truth and for the Reign of Christ the King!