Forgotten Truths: “For sin maketh nations miserable”


Sapientiae Christianae, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII (January 10th 1890):

(…) Let us call to mind what holy Scripture records concerning the Jewish nation: “As long as they sinned not in the sight of their God, it was well with them: for their God hateth iniquity. And even . . . when they had revolted from the way that God had given them to walk therein, they were destroyed in battles by many nations.” (Judith 5:21-22) Now, the nation of the Jews bore an inchoate semblance to the Christian people, and the vicissitudes of their history in olden times have often foreshadowed the truth that was to come, saving that God in His goodness has enriched and loaded us with far greater benefits, and on this account the sins of Christians are much greater, and bearthe stamp of more shameful and criminal ingratitude.

  1. The Church, it is certain, at no time andin no particular is deserted by God; hence, there is no reason why she should be alarmed at the wickedness of men; butin the case of nations falling away from Christian virtue there is not a like ground of assurance, “for sin maketh nations miserable.” (Prov. 14:34) If every by gone age has experienced the force of this truth, where fore should not our own? There are, in truth, very many signs which proclaim that just punishments are already menacingand the condition of modern States tends to confirm this belief, since we perceive many of them in sad plight from intestine disorders, and not one entirely exempt. But, should those leagued together in wickedness hurry on ward in the road they have boldly chosen, should they increase in influence and power in proportion as they make head way in their evil purposes and crafty schemes, there will be ground to fearlest the very foundations nature has laid for States to rest upon be utterly destroyed. Nor can such misgivings be removed by any mere human effort, especially as a vast number of men, having rejected the Christian faith, are on that account justly incurring the penalty of their pride, since blinded by their passions they search in vain for truth, laying hold on the false for the true, and thinking themselves wise when they call “evil good, and goodevil,” and “put darkness in the place of light, and light in the placeof darkness.” (Isa. 5:20) It is therefore necessary that God come to the rescue, and that, mindful of His mercy, He turn an eye of compassion on human society.