Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “It’s a great piece of red meat. Let me just say that the misconception that most people have — and as I learn this the misconception becomes more clear — you’re not turning to the papacy. You’re not turning to the pope. The pope has a boss. Many of you people drive around with a bumper sticker that says “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” Fantastic. Okay. That’s the hierarchy. The pope is under Christ. Christ is the boss. All the pope — if you know the proper terminology, Vicar of Christ. All the pope is supposed to be doing is speaking the truth as it has been handed down to him, as it was handed from Christ to twelve men to go out and speak. Now, Chris, you’re far more of a knowledgeable authority on this than I. That’s my simpleton point of view, but you can run with it from there…”
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Even the Anglican John Adams knew what Pope Leo spoke of. Adams is famously quoted as saying: Freedom is not the liberty to do as you wish but the freedom to do as you ought.
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Christopher Ferrara: That’s it in a nutshell.
Mike: Pretty much what Leo said and Adams was, I believe, an Anglican. His denomination shouldn’t matter, but I think that Adams had it right. Adams had founder’s remorse. To the day that he went to his grave he had founder’s remorse. He was cursing, basically, the actions that had taken place in 1776. As a matter of fact, one of the scenes from the John Adams miniseries is Paul Giamatti going through boxes of his papers looking for certain things he can’t find. What was he looking for? He was looking for his protestations. He wanted to make sure that people, after he died, could go back and read: I warned you guys about this. I told you you couldn’t set us on this course and go this way with it. That’s what he was looking for to put in his autobiography. If you read his take on his life, it’s clear. David McCullough, of course, absolves Adams. He plays Pope McCullough and absolves Adams, and instead exalts the arc of liberty, which is not what Adams was trying to do writing about his own life. Just think about that for a moment. McCullough wins a Pulitzer for this. He wins a prize for this. So McCullough writes a bio of Adams that basically flies in the face of Adams’ own biography.
Ferrara: He knew what he had unleashed. He had unleashed a mechanism by which the will of the majority would become the highest authority on the face of the earth. Essentially the Constitution, as a technical document, is a masterpiece of draftsmanship. But paper cannot protect us from the outcome of the central government, which is driven at its foundation by majority will. As elaborate a construction as the Constitution is, it’s ultimately a mass democracy.
Now, there’s nothing intrinsically evil about democracy. Pope Leo makes that clear in the same encyclical. The problem is not so much majority will, it’s just another means of determining the outcome of the political process. The problem is: What are the guidelines to the exercise of that will? Is there a way to check the majority when it abuses true liberty? That’s supposed to be the purpose of judicial review in a system of checks and balances. The dissenting judge had it right.
Let’s take a concrete example. If the majority enacts a law which violates the principle that Adams says, that liberty is doing what we ought to do, so if the majority enacts a law that says two men can marry each other and adopt children, this abomination is not what we ought to do; it’s contrary to what we ought to do. A reviewing court, exercising the correct principle of judicial review, correctly applied, would strike down that law. It would say: No, this is abominable. True marriage is between a man and a woman. This is what the Hungarian Constitution, adopted only a couple years ago, now says, as a matter of constitutional law.
We don’t have that express provision in our Constitution. We have the word liberty. It’s the duty of the court exercising moral restraint on the will of the majority to strike down any legislation adopted by a majority that destroys true liberty, whether it’s legalization of murder in the womb or the attempt to create a marriage that consists of two men performing acts we can’t even describe calling themselves a husband and a wife. This is preposterous. What the majority ought to be doing is not simply validating — what these judges ought to be doing, rather, is not simply validating what the majority has decided no matter what it is; that’s not liberty, but rather upholding the true principles of liberty, which reduced to the proposition that liberty is doing what we ought to do.
Mike: Let’s go to the phones and say hello to Nancy in Louisville, Kentucky. How you doing?
Caller Nancy: Very good. Thank you very much. I want to make a point. I would like to touch on what he just said. I have a question on that. If we do away with abortion, and I’m for that, we’re going to have a hell of a lot, end up with a hell of a lot of orphans. In the absence of a husband and wife adopting one of them, I would have thought rather than not have two people caring about them, it might be better to have two men caring for them or two women caring for them. That’s supposed to be just a quick point on that note there, something to contemplate.
The reason I did call is, Mr. Ferrara referenced — and you guys also brought up the pope — the court having to define, in order to talk about it and for whatever else, the court needs to define liberty. You referenced going to the church to do that. In this age of Hindus and Baha’i and every other faith on the land, in this day and age, why would we necessarily have to go to the church to define liberty? Also you mentioned the pope. I don’t think — now, if I’ve got this out of context, correct me, but I don’t think we necessarily run to the pope to do that. I’m not totally against some of these ideas and talking about it, but in this day and age, why do we need to go to the church to define liberty?
Mike: Thanks for the call.
Ferrara: That’s a terrific question.
Mike: It is a great question. Before you jump in, though, with saber-tooth fangs, which I know you —
Ferrara: No, I’m not going to.
Mike: It’s a great piece of red meat. Let me just say that the misconception that most people have — and as I learn this the misconception becomes more clear — you’re not turning to the papacy. You’re not turning to the pope. The pope has a boss. Many of you people drive around with a bumper sticker that says “My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” Fantastic. Okay. That’s the hierarchy. The pope is under Christ. Christ is the boss. All the pope — if you know the proper terminology, Vicar of Christ. All the pope is supposed to be doing is speaking the truth as it has been handed down to him, as it was handed from Christ to twelve men to go out and speak. Now, Chris, you’re far more of a knowledgeable authority on this than I. That’s my simpleton point of view, but you can run with it from there.
Ferrara: That’s exactly what I would have said. All Leo is doing here is proclaiming truths of the natural order and truths of the divine order that apply to all men and that all men recognized. From my perspective, it would be a wonderful thing if everybody woke up tomorrow and found that he was a practicing Catholic. The face of our nation would change overnight for the better. That’s not what I’m here to do today, as desirable an outcome as that might be. That’s a matter for spiritual conversion on the part of the individual.[/private]
When we quote the pope, we’re not saying that every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth must become a Catholic overnight, but we must recognize that the pope is telling us about the natural law that is written in our hearts and basic moral principles, which make up this thing that we call liberty. When we conform to the right order of human behavior, when we conform to the moral order, we are exercising true liberty. When the majority tries to destroy the moral order, it’s the duty of judges, in reviewing the enactments of a majority, to uphold the moral order.
The simple case is killing. Surely we can all agree that there is no liberty to murder children in the womb, if liberty means anything at all. When the reviewing court is confronted with an attempt to legalize the slaughter of unborn children, there’s a moral duty on the part of the court to strike down that legislation. Moving onto the question of gay marriage, the court has a moral duty to defend true marriage in its traditional sense. If your boss is the Jewish carpenter, it was he who said that God joins the two together, man and woman, and let no one separate what God has joined together. He did not talk about two men marrying each other. That’s such an abomination it doesn’t even come up in the gospel because it’s so contrary to nature. What the majority should be doing is upholding the moral order in the case of judicial review.
End Mike Church Show Transcript