Thou shalt not do that which is unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the person of the poor, nor honour the countenance of the mighty. But judge thy neighbour according to justice.
Leviticus 19: 15
The Pact of the Catacombs, go here to read the text of the Pact, is a pact taken at the Catacombs of Rome on November 16, 1965 by about 40 Bishops participating in Vatican II. Although a quite obscure event ignored by most histories of Vatican II, the Pact, which went on to be signed by about 500 Bishops, most of them from Latin America, laid out a blue print for transforming the Church that has in some respects been carried out, to the detriment of the Church and her mission of bringing all men to Christ. The errors that have resulted from the approach to the world suggested by the Pact, are glaringly evident in the text of the Pact.
9) Conscious of the demands of justice and charity, and their mutual relationship, we will seek to transform assistential activites into social works based on justice and charity, which take into account all that this requires, as a humble service of the competent public organs. Cf. Mt 25,31-46; Lc 13,12-14 e 33s.
The traditional charitable actions of the Church are to be transformed into works of the State. This of course turns the Church into simply another pressure group soliciting largesse from Caesar on behalf of her clients, the poor. The problems with this approach are many, but the fundamental error is that it converts the command of Christ for Christians to personally help the poor into a command for Catholics to pressure government to take over this job.
10) We will do our utmost so that those responsible for our government and for our public services make, and put into practice, laws, structures and social institutions required by justice and charity, equality and the harmonic and holistic development of all men and women, and by this means bring about the advent of another social order, worthy of the sons and daughters of mankind and of God. Cf. At. 2,44s; 4,32-35; 5,4; 2Cor 8 e 9 ; 1Tim 5, 16.
A more explicit call for Caesar to set up welfare states. Here we discern the left wing utopianism within the Church that received much impetus after Vatican II, the advocates of this view completely forgetting that utopia means nowhere and the admonition of Christ that His Kingdom is not of this world.
11) Believing the collegiality of the bishops to be of the utmost evangelical importance in facing the burden of human masses, in a state of physical, cultural and moral misery – two thirds of humanity – we commit ourselves:
– to participate, according to our means, in the urgent investments of the episcopates of poor nations;
– to demand that the plans of international organizations, but witnessing to the Gospel, as Pope Paul VI did in the UNO, adopt economic and cultural structures which no longer manufacture proletarian nations in an ever richer world, but which will permit the poor masses to overcome their misery.
Here the Church is committed to a cause of political action. Instead of spreading the Gospel, the Church is transformed into a mere political party.
The spirit of the Pact would be played out under the theme of preferential option of the poor, a basic betrayal of the fact that Christ came to draw all men unto Himself, and that Christianity cannot draw distinctions between classes without undermining the essential mission of the Church. Like most concepts, it can be manipulated into an orthodox interpretation, but its true ramifications are perhaps best brought out by advocates of Liberation Theology, who envisage the Church helping the poor engage in violent uprisings and the creation of all powerful states to serve the poor. Few concepts could be further from the message of Christ.