Respecting Social Hierarchy for the Greater Good of Individuals and Society

April 14, 2011

Painting by Carl Ludwig Becker

From Benedict XV’s letter Soliti nos, of March 11, 1920, to the Most Reverend Luigi Marelli, Bishop of Bergamo:

“Let those who are of a lower station and fortune properly understand this: variety of rank in civil society originates from nature, and is finally to be traced back to the will of God, ‘for He made the little and the great’ (Wis. 6:8), and indeed most fittingly for the advantage of both individuals and the community. Let these same people persuade themselves that however much they may progress toward better things, by means of their own industry and with good people helping them, there will always remain for them, as for other human beings, no small occasion for grief. Wherefore, if they are wise, they will not struggle vainly for what is above their reach, and they will quietly and steadfastly bear those evils that they cannot escape, in the hope of immortal advantages.”


American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. 39 (October 1914), p. 674 in Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Documents V, p. 483.



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