The Massive Secular State (MSS) looms like a forbidding shadow over the future of the Catholic Church. This form of government is aggressively secular, and aggressively growing. It is also anti-Catholic—designed, whether explicitly or implicitly, to work against the desires of the Church. And although the Church has long battled various governments, the MSS is a uniquely modern threat.
The very idea of a separation of Church and State (i.e., a “Secular” State) is a modern conceit, since for millennia people assumed that politics and religion not only mixed, but were often the same thing. Likewise, although massive empires have existed in the past, the ability for a small elite bureaucracy to exert complete control over the lives of a far-flung populace only truly became possible in the 20th century. The 2nd century peasant in a small British village cared little about what was going on in Rome, but the farmer in remote Idaho today is dramatically impacted by the actions of leaders in Washington.
So how is the Catholic to respond to the threat of the MSS? (For my purposes here, I’m only referring to conservative Catholics, since most liberal Catholics do not see the MSS as a threat, but a friend.) Interestingly, the two most prominently proposed solutions appear to be diametrically opposed: integralism and libertarianism.