Today is the feast of King Saint Louis of France. As the formerly Christian West is sliding further into the tyranny of liberalism, it is balm to the soul to consider that the people in Louis’ France were freer than we are today. They were free from big government meddling in their lives and their wallets. And they were free in the most important way, for Saint Louis believed in a Christian order wherein the State was neither inimical nor neutral to the Church, but was the Church’s helper in securing the happiness, temporal and eternal, of her subjects.
Our modern “freedom,” by contrast, is servitude.
Sad to say, Saint Louis’ own grandson, Philip IV (“the Fair” — called so on account of his outward looks, not his inward dispositions!) was greedy to rob the Church of her influence in civil society. It has long struck me as ironic that this same Philip, who was so ill disposed to the traditional role of the Church in statecraft, was also the one who persecuted the Knights Templar, robbing them of their possessions and murdering their leaders. One of his victims was Jacques de Molay, the twenty-third and last Grand Master of the Templars. The reason I find all this ironic, is that the Freemasons, who are much closer to Philip than to de Molay in their ideology, falsely take the murdered Templar as one of their own heroes — among other ways, by naming their young men’s fraternal organization, “DeMolay International.” Philip IV, who murdered Jacques de Molay, also persecuted Pope Boniface VIII, a great pope who defended — as I’ve pointed out elsewhere — the same traditional alliance of throne and altar that Philip’s saintly grandfather believed in. That tradition, known as “the doctrine of the two swords,” was eloquently put forth in Unam Sanctam, a bull written in direct opposition to Philip the Fair.
It was Boniface VIII, by the way, who canonized Saint Louis IX.
Would that Philip IV had followed the parting instructions that our saint gave to Philip III, Louis’ son and heir, and Philip IV’s father:
Dear son, the first thing I admonish thee is that thou set thy heart to love God, for without that nothing else is of any worth. Beware of doing what displeases God, that is to say mortal sin; yea rather oughtest thou to suffer all manner of torments. If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience, and give thanks for it to our Lord, and think that thou hast done Him ill service. If He give thee prosperity, thank Him humbly for the same and be not the worse, either by pride or in any other manner, for that very thing that ought to make thee better; for we must not use God’s gifts against Himself. Have a kind and pitiful heart towards the poor and the unfortunate, and comfort and assist them as much as thou canst. Keep up the good customs of thy kingdom, and put down all bad ones. Love all that is good and hate all that is evil of any sort. Suffer no ill word about God or our Lady or the saints to be spoken in thy presence, that thou dost not straightway punish. In the administering of justice be loyal to thy subjects, without turning aside to the right hand or to the left; but help the right, and take the part of the poor until the whole truth be cleared up. Honour and love all ecclesiastical persons, and take care that they be not deprived of the gifts and alms that thy predecessors may have given them. Dear son, I admonish thee that thou be ever devoted to the Church of Rome, and to the sovereign Bishop our father, that is the Pope, as thou oughtest to do to thy spiritual father. Exert thyself that every vile sin be abolished from thy land; especially to the best of thy power put down all wicked oaths and heresy. Fair son, I give thee all the blessings that a good father can give to a son; may the blessed Trinity and all the saints guard thee and protect thee from all evils; may God give thee grace to do His will always, and may He be honoured by thee, and may thou and I after this mortal life be together in His company and praise Him without end.