|QUOD MULTUM (On the Liberty of the Church)|
|Pope Leo XIII
|Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 22 August 1886.
To the Bishops of Hungary.
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.
1. We have long and ardently desired an opportunity to address you with an apostolic
letter. Just as We have addressed the bishops of many other nations, We desire to inform
you of Our plans, which concern the prosperity of the Christian cause and the salvation of
the Hungarian nation. These days present Us with an excellent opportunity, since Hungary
is celebrating the liberation, two centuries ago, of Budapest.
2. Hungary herself knows that no gift of God either to individuals or to nations is
greater then to receive by His grace the Catholic faith, and having received it, to keep
it with perseverance. This gift contains an abundance of other gifts by means of which
individual persons receive both eternal happiness in heaven and greatness and prosperity
for their state on earth. When Stephen first clearly grasped this truth, he asked God for
nothing more vehemently, indeed he labored for nothing more energetically and
consistently, than to obtain the Catholic faith for his whole kingdom and to establish it
on a firm foundation from the very beginning. Therefore very early he began a change of
studies and offices among the Roman bishops, the kings, and the people of Hungary which
future ages did not abolish. Stephen founded and built a kingdom, but received his crown
only from the Roman Pontiff, for he wanted to offer his kingdom to the Apostolic See. He
established many Episcopal Sees, endowing munificently, and founding piously. Accompanying
these many good works was the good pleasure and indulgence of the Apostolic See in many
matters altogether singular. From his faith and piety, this holy king drew the light of
counsel and the best norms for ruling his kingdom. He acquired his strength from diligence
in prayer, by which he put down the evil plots of public enemies and returned as victor
from the attacks of his foes.
3. When We recall these things, Our soul is filled with joy. To you and to the people
of Hungary, We gladly pay the tribute of praise for things well done.
4. Nevertheless to restrain the danger of socialism there is only one genuinely effective means, in the absence of which the fear of punishment has little weight to discourage offenders. It is that citizens should be thoroughly educated in religion, and restrained by respect for and love of the Church. For the Church as parent and teacher is the holy guardian of religion, moral integrity, and virtue. All who follow the precepts of the Gospel religiously and entirely are, by this very fact, far from the suspicion of socialism. For religion commands us to worship and fear God and to submit to and obey legitimate authority. It forbids anyone to act seditiously and demands for everyone the security of his possessions and rights. It furthermore commands those who have wealth to come graciously to the aid of the poor. Religion aids the needy with all the works of charity and consoles those who suffer loss, enkindling in them the hope of the greatest eternal blessings which will be in proportion to the labor endured and the length of that labor.-Therefore those who rule the states will do nothing wiser and more opportune than to recognize that religion influences the people despite all obstacles and recalls them to virtue and uprightness of character through her teachings. To distrust the Church or hold it suspect is, in the first place, unjust, and in the second, profits no one except the enemies of civil discipline and those bent on destruction.
5. By the blessing of God great civil unrest and the gathering of fearsome mobs, which
have occurred elsewhere, have been spared the people of Hungary. But threatening dangers
force all of us to strive by daily zeal to assure that the name of religion flourishes
there and that honor endures in its Christian institutions.
6. To embrace religion is a most serious duty, which is not to be restricted by age. No age is unfit for the kingdom of God. As everyone knows this, so he ought to act without delay, for from the will to act is born the right to act for everyone, which cannot be violated without the greatest injury. Therefore, if pastors of souls are forced to make a choice in the matter, they must choose to endure the penalties prescribed by civil law rather than provoke the wrath of an avenging God.
7. You must labor, venerable brothers, that Catholic teaching about the sanctity, oneness, and perpetuity of matrimony takes firm root in souls. Remind the faithful frequently that the marriage of Christians is subject solely to ecclesiastical authority. Remind them also what the Church thinks and teaches concerning so called civil marriage and with what mind and heart Catholic people should obey such laws. Further remind them that even for the gravest of reasons it is not permitted to enter into marriage with Christians who are not Catholics; those who do so without the authority and indulgence of the Church sin before God and the Church. Since these issues are so vital, all who have a concern in this matter should most diligently see to it, as far as they can, that no one sins here for any reason. For in this especially, obedience to the Church is necessarily bound to the public interest. This is the reason why the beginnings and best principles of civil life depend in great part on domestic society, so that the peace and prosperity of the state result in large part from marriage. Nor can marriage succeed except under the care of God and the Church. Deprived of such care and entered upon contrary to the will of God, matrimony is reduced to the service of various passions, is deprived of necessary heavenly aids, and is despoiled of that common life which is of greatest concern to man, i.e., religion. Of necessity it produces bitter fruit, to the great harm of the family and of the state. For this reason We must commend those Catholic men who, when the legislative assembly of Hungary was asked two years ago whether it would consider the marriage of Christians with Jews valid, rejected the proposal unanimously and freely and succeeded in having the old marriage law retained. Their vote received the approval of the vast majority of people from all parts of Hungary, proving with admirable testimony that the people thought and felt as they did. May there be like consent and similar constancy whenever the Catholic cause is in controversy, for then victory will be at hand. At least civil life will be more vigorous and fruitful when languor and sloth have been banished, for these are the means by which the enemies of the Christian name certainly wish to stupefy all Catholic virtue.
8. Nor will less profit accrue to the state if the education of youth is wisely and
rightly provided for from the beginning. Such are the times and customs that too many
people with too much effort strive to keep studious youth away from the vigilance of the
Church and the salutary virtue of religion. Schools called neuter, mixed, and lay are
popular and sought out here and there, doubtless with the intention that the students grow
up ignorant of all things holy and of all religious concerns. Since this evil is more
widespread and greater than its remedies, we see a progeny growing up uninterested in
spiritual goods, without religion and often impious. Keep so great a calamity out of
Hungary with all your energy! The education of youth from childhood in Christian habits
and Christian wisdom is today of the greatest possible concern not only to the Church, but
also to the state. All who are truly wise understand this. That is why We see many
Catholic men in many places who are deeply concerned about the proper upbringing of youth,
devoting special and constant effort to this matter, undismayed by the greatness of the
labor or by the cost. We also know of many in Hungary who are working toward the same goal
with similar proposals. Permit Us nevertheless to rouse your episcopal zeal even more.
9. With God-fearing generosity, and especially with the liberal contributions of your
kings and bishops, many noble institutions devoted to the study of letters have been
established. The memory of Cardinal Pazmany, Archbishop of Esztergom, is still alive among
you, not only as the founder of the Catholic University at Budapest, but also as its
generous patron. It is inspiring to recall that he undertook so great a work out of the
pure and sincere motive of advancing the Catholic religion. King Ferdinand II confirmed
this when he said of its purpose that the truth of the Catholic religion would remain
unshaken where it flourished; where weakened, it would be strengthened, and divine worship
would be propagated everywhere. We realize how diligently you have labored to ensure that
these excellent centers of study retain their original nature, the kind that their
founders intended, namely that they remain Catholic Institutions. Their household,
administration, and faculty are entirely under the control of the Church and the bishops.
Therefore We exhort you to continue to encourage this noble and excellent venture. And you
will succeed because of the goodness of the Apostolic King and the prudent men in charge
of the government; also, what has been given to non-Catholic communities will not be
denied to the Catholic Church.
10. If the education of all youth in general contributes a great deal to the true
welfare of the state, this is much more true of the education of those aiming at
ordination. To this matter you must give special attention; it should occupy the greater
portion of your vigils and labors, since the youths destined for orders are the hope and,
as it were, the incomplete form of future priests. You surely know how much the reputation
of the Church and the eternal salvation of her people depend on priests.
11. But it is necessary that your paternal care extend further, namely to the
assistance of priests in the exercise of their duties. Skillfully and sweetly, as becomes
your love, see to it that they are not exposed to worldly temptations and that they are
not led by selfish desires or concern for secular affairs. See to it that they excel in
virtue, providing an example of deeds well-done. Further, see to it that they never fail
in their devotion to prayer and that they approach the sacred mysteries spotlessly. When
supported and strengthened by these defenses, they will gladly fulfill their daily sacred
duties and fittingly turn to the studious cultivation of the spirits of their people,
especially by the ministry of word and sacraments.
12. When the clergy is distinguished by these virtues, the people will profit in no
small measure, since they love the Church, are very devoted to the ancestral religion, and
easily and willingly submit to the directives of their pastors.
13. Urged by Our love, this is what We have to prescribe for you, venerable brethren,
and which We trust will be accepted by the whole nation of Hungary with prompt obedience.
14. Relying on this hope, venerable brothers, We impart to you individually, to the clergy, and to all your people, as a sign of heavenly gifts and a proof of Our paternal good will, Our apostolic benediction.
Given at Rome at St. Peter's, 22 August 1886, in the ninth year of Our pontificate.