Protests and rioting have since broken out all around the country. Unfortunately, most were not peaceful, constitutionally protected protests. Most were violent riots resulting in looting and deaths of innocents. As this wave of rioting continues, a few preliminary remarks are in order. By all indications, Chauvin was wrong, yet he did not have his day in court. The presumption of innocence (introduced as a legal concept by my Patron Saint, King St. Louis IX), applies to Chauvin just as much as it did to O.J. Simpson. We have no legal right to call him a "murderer" until he either (a) pleads guilty, or (b) is found guilty by a jury of his peers. All the facts are not before us and the jury is still out (literally) on whether or not he committed murder. Floyd was not detained "just because"---he was accused of passing counterfeit money. Second, all of those "protesters" committing illegal, immoral acts such as looting, arson, and assault/murder, are just thugs. A totally peaceful protest is fine, whether or not you agree with the cause, but acts that are illegal/immoral are not protests, but an excuse for lawlessness and to intimidate. They hurt a cause, and never help it.
While watching one such act of senseless rioting, there was a sign one person held with the motto, "No Justice, No Peace." It then occurred to me that these thugs have no idea (or choose to willfully ignore) what the law, justice, and peace really mean. In the wake of the Great Apostasy, the true meaning of those words have been either obscured or given new and false meanings. All the Vatican II sect clergy talk about the need for "social justice," which almost always means pandering to sodomites and illegal aliens who take away much needed resources from U.S. citizens while they commit crime. "Peace," to them, means pacifism in the midst of dangers we must fight. In this post, I will lay out the teaching of the Church on what law, justice, and peace really mean.
(I credit the work of theologian Cahill, The Framework of a Christian State , and theologian Civardi, Christianity and Social Justice  from which I composed the rest of this post; except where attribution is specifically given to another theologian.---Introibo).
Church Teaching on the Law and Civil AuthorityMoral Law
The moral law may be defined as the norm of human conduct promulgated by a legitimate authority for the common good. It is then subdivided into:
- The Natural Law. This receives its name because it is impressed by nature and made known by the very nature of humanity; that is to say, by the use of reason.The Author of the Natural Law is the Author of human nature---Almighty God Himself. It is the voice of reason, of conscience, that tells us the basic principle, "Do good and avoid evil." All people feel that it is wrong to lie and murder, and it is good to keep your promises and help others. St. Paul affirms this in his letter to the Romans that the pagans, who had no written law (as had the Jews), "...are a law unto themselves. They show the work of the law written in their hearts." (Romans 2:14-15). They will be judged by God, St Paul affirms, based on the Natural Law which is known by all humanity.
- Positive Law. This is not made known by natural reason, but by an act of the legislator who promulgates it. Therefore, positive law is further divided into Divine Positive Law and Human Positive Law, based on whether the promulgating authority is God or humans.
- Divine Positive Law can only be known through Divine Revelation. It consists of the Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition and is correctly interpreted by the Magisterium.
- Human Positive Law is either civil (if made by the government) or ecclesiastical (if made by the One True Church).
Church Teaching on Justice
Justice is the cardinal virtue that prompts us to give everyone his due. There are three kinds of justice, each named after its objective.
- Commutative Justice. This regulates the relations between one individual and another; for example, seller and buyer. The seller is bound by justice to give sound, wholesome goods. The buyer is bound by justice to pay the agreed upon price.
- Legal justice. This regulates the relations between the government and its subjects. The government has an obligation to pass just laws for the benefit of the people, and the people are bound to obey those laws. In penal law, the punishment must fit the crime. Hence, it would be unjust to give the death penalty to someone who stole a small amount of money, or to give a fine to a murderer.
- Social justice. This governs the relations between different social classes, and between employers and employees.
Church Teaching on PeaceThere is an inward peace that reigns among the faculties of people, whereby the lower are subject to the higher; and there is an outward peace that reflects the relations between humans as individuals, between classes, and between different nations. There are three principles that guide Church teaching regarding outward peace:
- It is founded upon true peace as defined above.
- It is not any peace at any cost. When justice is seriously violated and there is no other means of redressing it, it is lawful to have recourse to force, which is entirely distinct from violence. Force, unlike violence, is not summoned to the service of caprice or of passions, but of law and order. Hence, there are times a country may wage a just war. Force is not a gang of hoodlums rioting, killing, burning and destroying property, and stealing because they are "outraged" over a wrongdoing to someone.
- It must also have a firm foundation in charity. If men loved others for the love of God, peace will be assured.
The Duties to (and limits of) Governmental Authority
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught by His Divine example:
- Christ proved the binding effect of law by submitting Himself to it. As a Child, He submitted to the Circumcision. He submitted to the Presentation in the Temple. At 12 years old, He went with His mother and foster father to Jerusalem for the Passover, to fill another requirement of Jewish Law.
- At the beginning of His public ministry, He assured His listeners, "Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill." (St. Matthew 5:17). When He cured the ten lepers, He required them to show themselves to the priests, keeping in line with the law of Leviticus 14. When asked if it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar, He replied, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's." (St. Matthew 22:21).
- He preached obedience even to wicked lawgivers, like the scribes and Pharisees, by saying, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." (St. Matthew 23:2-3).
- Christ refused obedience to wicked laws, unjust rules, and arbitrary requirements which the Pharisees added to the Mosaic law (like the requirements concerning certain ablutions, and the Sabbath rest which had become unbearable and unreasonable). He publicly complained that the Pharisees ";;; tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders..." (St. Matthew 23:4). He further rebuked them severely saying, "...Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition." (St. Mark 7:9).
- Only in one case is a Catholic exempt from obedience to the State: when the law is clearly unjust and contrary to the Will of God. It then does not bind in conscience. As Pope Leo XIII beautifully summarized: The one only reason which men have for not obeying is when anything is demanded of them which is openly repugnant to the natural or the divine law, for it is equally unlawful to command to do anything in which the law of nature or the will of God is violated. If, therefore, it should happen to any one to be compelled to prefer one or the other, viz., to disregard either the commands of God or those of rulers, he must obey Jesus Christ, who commands us to "give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's," and must reply courageously after the example of the Apostles: "We ought to obey God rather than men." And yet there is no reason why those who so behave themselves should be accused of refusing obedience; for, if the will of rulers is opposed to the will and the laws of God, they themselves exceed the bounds of their own power and pervert justice; nor can their authority then be valid, which, when there is no justice, is null. (See Diuturnum, para. #15)
The Conditions When Revolt Can Be Permitted
People have a right to defend themselves against a tyrannical government that goes against God's law. However, to resist the government is always an extreme measure, and therefore it can only be resorted to in extreme cases and under certain well-defined conditions of Natural Law. The most terse and eloquent exposition of the four (4) requirements when open opposition to the government is permitted was penned by theologian Rickaby in the Dublin Review, April 1865 on resisting tyrannical government; De Regimine Principium..
- The First Condition. The government must become substantially and habitually tyrannical. It must lose sight of the common good, and pursues its own selfish objectives to the manifest detriment of the people, most especially when their religious interests are concerned. The people cannot resort to physical resistance for the redress of any and every grievance. If they could, civil war would be the common condition and peaceful progress would wholly cease. In every nation there are innumerable conflicting interests to be considered and some people are bound to suffer injustice. These ordinary injustices should be remedied through the lawmaking authority available to them, whether by voting, or by appealing to those in power. Resistance to the government can only be tolerated in the case of a government that is substantially and habitually tyrannical and therefore opposed to the common good.
- The Second Condition. All legal and peaceful means have been tried in vain to recall the ruler/government to a sense of duty. The conditions of lawful self-defense are substantially the same in the case of resistance to private, individual aggression and that of aggression by the government. Now, in the former case, a man cannot kill another in self-defense if he can escape the aggression in any other way. [In secular law, this is also applied in many states. Here, in New York, if someone tries to start a fight with you, there is what the law calls "The Duty to Retreat," whereby you must try to get away from the aggressor. This duty extends to all situations except if you are in your home or in your place of business. Then you may immediately fight back---Introibo] So also, if a tyrannical government can be brought back to reason by legal means it has the right to be brought back by legal means. In a republic, such as the United States, rebellion is very difficult to justify because the government can be rejected at the polls.
- The Third Condition. There must be a reasonable probability that resistance will be successful, and not entail greater evils than it seeks to remove. Therefore, the reasonable hope must exist that the tyranny will be overthrown and end, or at least the beginnings of improvement will be effectuated.If the uprising would result in greater misery and suffering for the people, resistance cannot be undertaken.
- The Fourth Condition. When the judgement is formed as to the evil of the government, and the resistance necessary, it is not the opinion of a few, or some instigating group, but it is the manifested sentiment of the majority of the people, so that it may be morally considered as the judgement of the nation as a whole. In countries, there is often a group trying to incite revolution "for the good of the people" when it is actually for the group's own good. They have no right to incite the masses through fear-mongering and acts of violence.
The Facts and The Teachings of the Church as Applied to the Instant Case
- The death of George Floyd was tragic. Whether or not it is murder has yet to be determined, and I wonder if it's even possible for Chauvin to receive a fair trial with all the publicity.
- To say the actions of Chauvin (in his abuse of force) are indicative of all (or most) police officers is false. To say that it is indicative of white people hating black people is racist. It is no less racist than suggesting all black people hate white people. One of the cops charged is Tou Thao, who is Vietnamese. Does that make all Asians racist against black people too?
- While one may peacefully protest against real or perceived injustice, thugs who riot while looting, killing, and burning down buildings are criminals who need to be arrested and detract from anything worthwhile that may be said during a peaceful protest.
- These are Communist tactics to incite racial hatred and violence. Police are having their hands tied when they are needed to protect the people. As I wrote in my post of 2/10/2020 against racism, The liberals are making non-whites "victims" and want job quotas (think Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ), while conservatives are claiming racial superiority in the form of "White Nationalism." Both are causing a new and real hatred based on skin color. Both are evil.
- You have no need to apologize for being white, yellow, red, brown, or black. God made one race, the human race. All lives matter, not just black lives. There is no obligation to promote black owned businesses, as if we "inherited" a sin for which we must make reparations.
- Heather MacDonald, author of The War on Cops  relates that "The irony is The Washington Post's own database collects the statistics, but The Washington Post doesn't write that. Here's another interesting fact, a police officer is 18 and a half times more likely to be murdered by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be murdered by a cop, or killed by a cop." (Emphasis mine). There is no systemic racism among cops at large.
- The problem is not having the right ideas about social justice and related matters due to the Great Apostasy having eclipsed humanity's teacher and source of holiness; the One True Church of Jesus Christ. I do not now, nor have I ever endorsed racism of any kind. This post is not intended to approve whites hating blacks, forcing the the races to separate, or white supremacy movements. The condemnation of what "Black Lives Matter" is instigating (racism), is not an excuse to become racist against black people.
- As you can see from the above, there is no tyrannical government oppression that would warrant rebellion against the government. Moreover, these rioters clearly fall under the "small group instigators" condemned in the writing of theologian Rickaby. They are a disgrace. You can fix any real or perceived injustice by peaceful protests and voting.
- As an aside, please take note that political correctness supersedes public safety. While people are demonized if they don't agree or take part in the peaceful protests, have you noticed that in nearly all of them, people are not social distancing with COVID-19 still a pandemic? People were given tickets for gathering too closely in parks because they were being foolish and endangering public safety; now if they do the exact same thing for a protest, they're being called "courageous." The only police we need to fear are the "PC police."
The sign "No Justice, No Peace" was clearly a threat held up by the rioter I saw. It translates as, "If you don't do what we want ("justice") you will have rioting that you can't control (no "peace"). The truth is that these rioters don't know justice, so they will never know true peace. That peace can only be had by true justice. You need to follow Him Who is rightfully called the Prince of Peace, and His One True Church. As the Bible tells us, "Opus justitiae pax"---"The work of justice shall be peace." (Isaiah 32:17).