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Seeking the Peaceable Kingdom: All of Catholic social teaching in one sentence


by Helen Allingham, 1848-1926

Today is the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, and the collect – the little prayer that summarizes the intentions for the day and the week to come – is probably one of the best summations I’ve seen of the Catholic teaching on how our civilization is supposed to be ordered:

Harvest Moon, ‘globed in mellow splendour’, 1879 by Helen Allingham,

Da nobis, quaesumus, Dómine: ut et mundi cursus pacífice nobis tuo órdine dirigátur; et Ecclésia tua tranquílla devotióne lætétur.
Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds, John Constable – 1825

Let us pray.
Grant us, we beseech You, O Lord, that the course of the world may be so peaceably ordered by Thee [or, “according to Your rule in peace”] and that Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in quiet devotion.

Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.



The purpose of the state is to create a society in which people are free to pursue holiness. That’s it. All the rest is details.

Which can be found in the excellent book, “Framework of a Christian State” by the estimable Irish Jesuit, E. Cahill. I have just learned that this compendium of Catholic moral and social sanity can now be found in its entirety as a PDF here. All 700+ pages of it.

Have fun.


10 thoughts on “Seeking the Peaceable Kingdom: All of Catholic social teaching in one sentence”

  1. Hilary White says:

    Yes, a response is forthcoming. I’ve talked to Ann about her conclusions and we are all moving forward. I think there are still some things to be worked out, and some lines that I can’t step over myself. I’ll explain later. At the moment, my internet stick has almost run dry, so blogging will be paused for a bit. Not too long.

  2. Barbara Jensen says:

    Your art choices in this article are lovely. I am writing to draw your attention to Ann Barnhardt’s latest article on her site. She states bluntly that Bergoglio is an antipope and that Pope Benedict XV1 is still the pope. I agree with her one hundred percent. Ann is saying what I know in my heart is true. it feels so good to hear her say it. If you have not read it, please do. Her reasoning is sound. Will you be sharing this article on your site? It seems to me that she has cut to the chase and the whining over Bergoglio’s words need to stop. No real pope could be saying and doing what he is saying and doing. She is right in her assessment.

  3. Hilary White says:

    Yes, I tend to treat it like an encyclopaedia, but it is also a gripping historical read. I wish someone would novelize it.

  4. Jim says:

    Thanks for the reminder of Fr Cahill’s book. I have had it for years but, until your mentioning of it, did not delve into its pages. Now I am reading and enjoying it. He lays out so clearly the history of how we went from the beginnings of Christianity, through Medieval times, the Protestant revolt, and up to today. I look forward to the second part where he lays out the Catholic Social Principles.

  5. John Cahill says:

    Oh, yes: McCaffrey. You’re absolutely right. His father was Neil who founded Arlington House press and back in the ’50s was responsible for most if not all of the good stuff Doubleday’s Image subsidiary put out.

    There is a Roger McGrath, though. An historian, among other things, and a sometime columnist for Chronicles. E.g.:
    But nothing to do with Fr Cahill’s tome.

  6. louiseyvette says:

    I lerv this book. It’s my Bible of the Church’s social teaching. I think it’s by my bed right now.

  7. Hilary White says:

    Roger McCaffrey, and that’s the edition I got ten years ago. I use it like a dictionary of Catholic teaching. No need to torture yourself with the whole 746 pages. Thin books are good books.

  8. John Cahill says:

    Thanks for the citation. The author’s cognomen does rather grab my attention, as you can imagine. Roger McGrath and Roman Catholic Books republished it a few years ago but it was rather more than my check book could handle at the time. It would still be nice to have in my hands the feel of the book and the smell of the paper. But this will do nicely for now.

    (And there at the top of the title page: do cum gloire De agus honora na h-Eireann! That used to be the motto at the top of page one of the old Irish Press before the late 20th century hit it real hard and the Glory of God and honour of Ireland ceased to concern the powers that be.)

  9. WendyinVA says:

    Oooh, thank you! I’ve had that in my Amazon cart *forever* — never thought to look for a PDF. Off to read.

  10. Calby says:

    Agreed about the apposite quote; but the translation misses a detail –

    Da nobis, quaesumus, Dómine: ut et mundi cursus pacífice nobis tuo órdine dirigátur; et Ecclésia tua tranquílla devotióne lætétur.

    Grant us, we beseech [thee] Lord, that the course of *our*[nobis = belonging to us] world be peaceably steer´d in your order; and your tranquil church praise [you] with tranquil devotion.

    The nobis is missing in the translation; seems to go best as dat. poss. with mundi or (stretching it) with cursus. But there are other possibilities.

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