About This Blog
Complete Christianity is the Catholic blog of Shane Schaetzel, author, apologist, catechist and Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism. You can also follow Shane on GAB and MEWE. Here in the pages of this blog, Shane will explain commonly misunderstood Catholic teachings, as well as comment on news items and current events, as they relate to the Catholic Church, Christianity and the world. If you would like what you read here, please buy Shane’s books.
I’m an orthodox Catholic layman. When I say layman, that means I’m not ordained as a priest or deacon. I’m just a regular Catholic. When I say “orthodox,” that means I actually believe what the Catholic Church teaches in the Catechism of Trent, the Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In other words, I believe what the Catholic Church has always taught historically. I’m a member of the US Catholic Church, in full communion with the Pope of Rome, and I’m a card-carrying member of the Knights of Columbus.
I’m a Catholic apologist. That means I vigorously defend the Catholic Faith against false claims and religious ignorance. I’m also a columnist and author. I’m an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism, and I was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. A catechist is one who teaches the Catholic Faith. My articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, Church Militant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online.
Religiously, as you can imagine, I’m pretty traditional in my faith. I usually attend traditional Catholic worship (English Patrimony or Latin Patrimony) as a preference. The English Patrimony is how I found my way into the Catholic Church. I was baptized as a Lutheran and raised as a Baptist. In my early adult years I was a Evangelical and regularly attended Calvary Chapel where I eventually studied to enter the ministry. However, after some time studying the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith, and reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers, I came to the conclusion the Early Church was a lot more “catholic” than I was comfortable with. So my wife and I left Evangelicalism and spent some time as Anglicans before joining the Catholic Church in AD 2000. It was the English Patrimony, within Anglicanism, that led us to become Catholic, and it is the only liturgical form of Catholicism that I truly feel “at home” with. This is why my family and I are members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a diocesan-like structure within the Catholic Church that was built to accommodate converts like myself. Therein we practice the Catholic Faith according to the liturgical and devotional form of the English Patrimony. If you would like to learn more about the English Patrimony within the Catholic Church, I suggest you get a copy of the St. Gregory’s Prayer Book, of which I was privileged to sit on the editorial board to help create.
Politically, I am an Integralist. That means my religion IS my politics. Every single political position I have is informed by my religious beliefs, because my politics are merely an extension of my religious beliefs. They cannot be separated. An Integralist is somebody who subjects all his political positions to his religion, and believes that government itself should be subjected to religion as well. Integralism is basically a Catholic thing, even though some other Christians have adopted it too. The Catholic Church has always held an Integralist position on religion and politics (Pope Leo the Great Letter 156 to Emperor Leo; Lateran Council IV Constitution 3 De haereticis; Council of Trent Session 25, chapter 22; Pope Pius IX’s Quanta Cura; Pope Leo XIII Immortale Dei, Tametsi Futura; 1917 Code of Canon Law Canon 2198), and the Second Vatican Council did not change this at all. It simply clarified it a little (Vatican II Dignitatis Humanae 2), assuring us that common citizens should be free to practice the religion of their conscience and should not be coerced by the state because of it. In other words, it’s the duty of Catholic governments to make sure everyone has freedom of religion, even though the state is officially Catholic, as is the case in Costa Rica, Malta, Monaco and Lichtenstein. The same applies to Protestant nations, where Protestantism is the state religion, as in England, Denmark and Greenland.
To understand Integralism as a middle-road position, it helps to understand the two extremes of Secularism and Theocracy. Secularism is a Deist idea, and it’s often understood as a “wall of separation” (Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802) between the church and the state. This can be benign when the government permits some expressions of religion in government institutions, but it can also get quite militant when it seeks to remove all Christian symbols and expressions from government institutions and schools. On the other extreme, theocracy sees no distinction between religion and the government at all. The church is the state and the state is the church. In contrast to both Secularism and Theocracy, the Catholic principle of Integralism is simply this. The church and the state are separate entities entirely, but the state is subject to the influence of the church, and the state recognizes the church as its established religion. That said, the state has full competency and jurisdiction over matters related to politics and civil discourse. While the church has competency and jurisdiction over matters of religious and spiritual discourse. Where the authority of the church primarily overlaps and overrides the authority of the state is the area of morality. The church gives the state moral direction, while the state (on its own) figures out how to apply that moral direction in practical ways.
Part of being an Integralist means I am a big believer in the Principle of Subsidiarity as governing all things in politics, economics and society (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1883-1885, 1894; Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church 77, 185-189, 214, 252, 351-357, 418-420, 441, 449). Subsidiarity is the idea that larger governments, businesses and networks, should always play a subsidiarity role to smaller governments, businesses and networks. In other words, the bigger things serve the smaller things, and the smaller things do as much as they can on their own, with as little help as possible from the bigger things. Subsidiarity is the exact polar-opposite of Marxism (Communism, Socialism & Fascism), which always has a top-down approach. As a result, I am not a member of any political party, nor am I involved in federal politics. To better understand my political beliefs, see my essay on CATHOLIC INTEGRALISM.
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