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To the Civil Society of mankind supreme authority is given immediately by God; for a society does not signify mere number, but number organised by the laws and principles which its Divine Founder implanted in the human family. Sovereignty, there- page 44 fore, is given by God immediately to human society; and mediately , or mediante societate , to the person or persons to whom society may commit its custody and its exercise. When once the supreme power or sovereignty has been committed by any society to a king, or to consuls, or to a council, as the case may be—for God has given no special form of Civil Government—though it be not held by those who receive it by any Divine right, as against the society which gave it, nevertheless it has both a Divine sanction and a Divine authority.
For instance, it has the power of life and death. God alone could give to man this power over man. God gave it to man for self-defence. It passes to society at large, which likewise has the right of self-defence. It is committed by society to its chief executive. But, inasmuch as the supreme power is still given by God to the Civil Ruler, even though it be mediately , it has a Divine sanction; and so long as the Civil Ruler does not deviate from the end of his existence, the society has no power to revoke its act. For example: the Civil Ruler is for the defence of the people; but if he should make war upon the people, the right of self-defence would justify resistance.
I am not now engaged in saying when or how; but the right is undeniable. Manslaughter is not murder, if it be in self-defence; wars of defence are lawful; and just resistance to an unjust prince is not rebellion. All this is founded upon the Divine sanctions of the civil and political society of man, even in the order of page 45 nature. The laws of such society are the laws of nature.
It is bound by the natural morality written on the conscience and on the heart. The ethics which govern men become politics in the government of states. Politics are but the collective morals of society. The Civil Ruler or Sovereign is bound by the laws: the subject within the sphere of these laws owes to him a civil allegiance. The Civil Ruler may bind all subjects by an oath of allegiance. He may call on all to bear arms for the safety of the State.
Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For he is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear, for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath but also for con-science sake. The State, then, is a perfect society, supreme within its own sphere, and in order to its own end: but as that end is not the highest end of man, so the State is not the highest society among men; nor is it, beyond its own sphere and end, supreme.
I have drawn this out in greater fulness to show that the Church is in the highest degree conservative of all the natural authority of rulers, and of the natural allegiance of subjects. It is mere shallowness to say that between the Civil authority, as Divinely founded in nature, and the spiritual authority of the Church there can be opposition.
Now, as to the Divine institution of the Civil Society of the world and of its independence in all things of the natural order, what I have already said is enough. The laws of the order of nature are from God. So long as a father exercises his domestic authority according to the law of God, no other authority can intervene to control or to hinder his government.
So likewise of the Prince or Sovereign power, be it lodged in one or in many. There is no authority upon earth which can depose a just sovereign or release such subjects from their obedience. Augustine, De Natura Boni contra Manich. The natural society of man aims directly at the temporal happiness of its subjects, but indirectly it aims also at their eternal happiness: the supernatural society aims directly at their eternal happiness, and indirectly at their temporal happiness, but always in so far only as their temporal happiness is conducive to their eternal end.
To put this briefly. The State has for its end the temporal happiness of its subjects; the Church has for its end their eternal happiness. In aiming directly at temporal happiness, the State aims also indirectly at the eternal; for these things are promoted by the same laws. In aiming at eternal happiness, the Church also indirectly aims at the temporal happiness of men.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven. Going therefore, teach all nations,'. That authority and that office are directive and preceptive, so long as Princes and their laws are in conformity with the Christian law; and judicial, ratione peccati , by reason of sin, whensoever they deviate from it. But no man will say that Princes have no superior. It is unmeaning to say that they have no superior but the law of God: for that is to play with words. A law is no superior without an authority to judge and to apply it.
To say that God is the sole Lawgiver of Princes is a doctrine unknown, not only to the Catholic Church, but to the Constitution of England. When we say, as our old Jurists do, Non Rex facit legem , but Lex facit Begem , we mean that there is a will above the King; and that will is the Civil Society, which judges if and when the King deviates from the law. But this doctrine, unless it be tempered by vigorous restraint, is chronic revolution. What adequate restraint is there but in a Divine authority higher than the natural society of man?
But the Divine right, which comes by grace, does not destroy the human right, which is in the order of nature. Let us suppose that the Sovereign Power of a heathen people were to make laws contrary to the law of God, would the Church intervene to depose such a sovereign? Certainly not, on the principle laid down by the Apostle, 'What have I to do to judge those that are without?
Such a people is both individually and socially outside the Divine jurisdiction of the Church. The Church has therefore, in this respect, no commission to discharge towards it except to convert it to Christianity. If Christian Princes and their laws deviate from the law of God, the Church has authority from God to judge of that deviation, and by all its powers to enforce the correction of that departure from justice. I do not see how any man who believes in the Revelation of Christianity can dispute this assertion: and to such alone I am at present speaking.
But the Church of Jesus Christ, within the sphere of revelation—of faith and morals—is all this, or is nothing or worse than nothing, an imposture and an usurpation; that is, it is Christ or Antichrist. But who can define what is or is not within the jurisdiction of the Church in faith and morals, except a judge who knows what the sphere of faith and morals contains, and how far it extends? And surely it is not enough that such a judge should guess or opine, or pronounce upon doubtful evidence, or with an uncertain knowledge.
Such a sentence would be, not an end of contention, but a beginning and a renewal of strife. If it could, it would be invested with one of the supernatural endowments of the Church. To do this it must know the whole deposit of explicit and implicit faith; or, in other words, it must be the guardian of the Christian revelation. Now, no Christian, nor any man of sound mind, claims this for the Civil Power.
If, then, the Civil Power be not competent to decide the limits of the Spiritual Power, and if the Spiritual Power can define with a Divine certainty its own limits, it is evidently supreme. Or, in other words, the Spiritual Power knows with Divine certainty the limits of its own jurisdiction; and it knows therefore the limits and the competence of the Civil Power. It is thereby in matters of religion and conscience supreme. But the Church being the highest society, and independent of all others, is supreme over them, in so far as the eternal happiness of men is involved. Such propositions are no sooner enunciated than we are met by a tumult of voices, such as those of Janus, Quirinus —and I lament to detect the tones of a voice, hitherto heard in behalf of the authority of Christianity and of the Christian Church,—affirming that the Church of Rome and its Pontiffs claim page 54 supreme temporal 1 power, and that direct, over all Temporal Princes and things; to be used at their discretion even to the deposing of Kings, to the absolution of subjects from allegiance, to the employment of force, imprisonment, torture, and death.
I have affirmed that the relations of the Catholic Church to the Civil Powers are fixed primarily by the Divine constitution of the Church and of the Civil Society of men. But it is also true that these relations have been declared by the Church in acts and decrees which are of infallible authority.
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As this has become the text and centre of the whole controversy at this moment, we will fully treat of it. This Bull, then, was beyond all doubt an act ex cathedra. It was also confirmed by Leo X. Whatever definition, therefore, is to be found in this Bull is to page 56 be received as of faith. Let it be noted that the Unam Sanctam does not depend upon the Vatican Council for its infallible authority.
It was from the date of its publication an infallible act, obliging all Catholics to receive it with interior assent. We will now examine, 1 the complete text of the Unam Sanctam; 2 the interpretations of its assailants and its defenders; 3 the interpretation which is of obligation on all Catholics.
De Potest. As the Bridegroom declares in the Canticles, "One is my dove, my perfect one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her:" 3 who represents the one mystical Body, the Head of which is Christ; and the Head of Christ is God. In which the one Church there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. This also we venerate as one, as the Lord says in the Prophet, "Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog. Gerson, De Potest.
When the Unam Sanctam was published, Egidius Romanus, the Archbishop of Bourges, wrote against it, being deceived into a belief that Boniface claimed a direct temporal power over the King of France, over and above that power which had always been admitted in France according to the Bull Novit of Innocent III. Boniface had already declared in a Consistory in that he had never assumed any jurisdiction which belonged to the King; but that he had declared the King to be, like any other Christian, subject to him only in regard to sin.
The history of the Four Gallican Articles, and of the writers who defended them, is too well known to need repetition. I will, therefore, now give what may be affirmed to be the true and legitimate interpretation of the Unam Sanctam. The interpretation given here by Dr. All Catholics are bound to assent to the doctrines here declared; for though they are not here defined, yet they are certainly true. The only definition, properly so called, in the Bull is contained in the last sentence.
Now, on the principles already laid down, there page 66 ought to be no difficulty in rightly and clearly understanding this doctrine. Nothing but want of care or thought could have led men to forget this, which is a truth and fact of the natural order. As Divine and eternal, its head is the Pope, to whom all souls have been entrusted; as human and temporal, the Emperor, commissioned to rule men's bodies and acts. Now here are two things to be noted. First, that the Emperor holds an office of human creation; the Pontiff an office of Divine creation.
Secondly, that the office of Divine creation is for a higher end than the office which is of human origin. The former is for the eternal, the latter for the earthly happiness of man. But, as I have said before, the office of Divine creation, ordained to guide men to an eternal end, is higher than the office of human origin, directed to an earthly and temporal end; and in this the perfect unity and subordination of the whole is constituted and preserved. Macmillan, Nevertheless, both Mr. Bryce and Mr.
Such, then, is the true notion of the Civil Society of Catholics. It is a society of men who so pursue the happiness of this life as thereby to show that it ought to be subordinate to the attainment of eternal happiness, which they believe can be attained alone under the direction of the Catholic Church.
Publici Institutiones , p. Rome, It is a general rule that no society has power in those things which are out of its own proper end. I will now give a summary of this matter in the words of Suarez, and also his comment on the terminology used by Canonists and theologians on this subject. He says that the opinion which gives to the Pontiff direct temporal power over all the world is false. One chief cause of the confusion of Regalists and our non-Catholic adversaries has been the uncertain use of language, and the want of a fixed terminology until a certain date.
The word Temporal was used in two senses. It was used to signify the power of Civil Rulers in the order of nature. And in this sense the Church has never claimed it for its head. It was used also to signify the spiritual power of the Pontiff when incident indirectly upon temporal things. The spiritual power, then, had a temporal effect, and took, so to speak, its colour and name from that use, remaining always spiritual as before. For instance, we speak of 'the Colonial power' of the Crown, meaning the Imperial power applied to the government of the Colonies; in like manner the Spiritual power of the Pope, applied indirectly to temporal things, was improprie improperly called Temporal, and this usus loquendi gave rise to much misinterpretation.
But if the Pope had temporal power properly so called, he could do all things directly. This negative proves that the power of which they spoke was only Spiritual. Paris, With these authorities before us, there can be little difficulty in explaining the texts usually quoted by adversaries, who desire to fasten on the Unam Sanctam and upon the Catholic Church a claim to temporal power, that is, temporal in its root and in itself. This passage implicitly affirms what I hope explicitly to prove.
How can laws become obsolete , but by the cessation of the moral conditions which require or justify their exercise? How can laws, the exercise of which is required by the permanent presence of the same moral conditions which called them into existence, become obsolete? I pass over the 'no faith with heretics,' which is an example of the injustice which pervades the Pamphlet. I should have thought it impossible for Mr.
Gladstone not to know the true meaning of this controversial distortion: but I am willing to believe that he did not know it; for if he had, it would have been impossible for such as he is to write it. The faithful receive them with conventional respect, and then hasten to assure their Protestant friends that Papal edicts can make no possible difference in the conduct of any human being. Nothing can be less true. The first principles of morals forbid the exercise of the supreme judicial power of the Church on such a civil order as that of England.
When it was de facto subject to the Church, England had by its own free will accepted the laws of Christendom. It can never be again subject to such laws except on the same condition—namely, by its own free will. Till then the highest laws of morality render the exercises of such Pontifical acts in England impossible. The command of our Lord to the Apostles: 'Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature: he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned' 1 —clearly invests the Church with authority to baptise every creature.
But the exercise of this right was suspended upon a moral condition. It conveyed no right to baptise any man against his will; nor without an act of faith on his part. But an act of faith is a spontaneous and voluntary act of submission, both of intellect and will, to the truth, and to the teacher who delivers it. The absolute and universal authority therefore of the Church to baptise depends upon the free and voluntary act of those who believe, and, through their own spontaneous submission, are willing to be baptised.
The Church so regards the moral conditions on which its acts depend, that as a rule it will not even suffer an infant to be baptised unless at least one of the parents consents. This principle will solve many questions in respect to the Spiritual authority of the Church over the Civil State. First, it shows that, until a Christian world and Christian Rulers existed, there was no subject for the exercise of this spiritual authority of judgment and correction.
Those who amuse themselves by asking why St. Peter did not depose Nero, will do well to find out whether people are laughing with them or at them. Such questions are useful. They compendiously show that the questioner does not understand the first principles of his subject. If he will find out why St.
Peter neither baptised nor absolved Nero, he will have found out why he did not depose him. Until a Christian world existed there was no apta materia for the supreme judicial power of the Church in temporal things. Therefore St. Paul laid down as a rule of law that he had nothing to do in judging those that were without the unity of the Church. But when a Christian world came into existence, the Civil society of man became subject to the Spiritual direction of the Church. So long, however, as individuals only subjected themselves, one by one, to its page 83 authority, the conditions necessary for the exercise of its office were not fully present.
The Church guided men, one by one, to their eternal end; but as yet the collective society of nations was not subject to its guidance. It is only when nations and kingdoms become socially subject to the supreme doctrinal and judicial authority of the Church that the conditions of its exercise are verified.
When the senate and people of the Roman Empire were only half Christian, the Church still refrained from acts which would have affected the whole body of the State. When the whole had become Christian, the whole became subject to the Divine Law, of which the Roman Pontiff was the supreme expositor and executive. It would be endless to state examples in detail.
I will take, therefore, only one in which the indirect spiritual power of the Church over the temporal State is abundantly shown. Take, for instance, the whole subject of Christian Matrimony: the introduction of the Christian law of the unity and indissolubility and sacramental character of marriage; the tables of consanguinity and of affinity; the jurisdiction of the Church over matrimonial cases. This action of the Pontifical law upon the Imperial law, and the gradual conformity of the Empire to the Church, exhibits in a clear and complete way what is the power claimed by the Church over the temporal laws of Princes.
The Council of Trent reserves matrimonial causes page 84 to the Ecclesiastical Tribunals; and in the Syllabus the proposition is condemned that they belong to the Civil jurisdiction. In like manner, in prohibiting duels, the Council declares temporal penalties against not only the principals, but those also who are guilty of permitting them. De Ref. And here I shall be met with the answer: 'You justify, then, the deposition of princes, and therefore you hold that the Pope may depose Queen Victoria. I altogether deny the argument, or inference, or call it what you will.
I affirm that the deposition of Henry IV. The See of Rome never taught that faith is, not to be kept with the heterodox—that an oath to kings separated from Catholic communion can be violated—that it is lawful for the Bishops of Rome to invade their temporal rights and dominions. We, too, consider an attempt or design against the life of kings and princes, even under the pretext of religion, as a horrid and detestable crime. I may add that this passage was not unknown to Dr. Among all other errors, that is malicious above all which would attribute to the Infallibility of the Pope the right of deposing sovereigns, and of absolving people from the obligation of allegiance.
They know better than we, and everybody can discern the reason why such an absurd confusion of ideas is stirred up at this time, and why hypothetical cases are paraded of which no man thinks. It is because every pretext, even the most frivolous and furthest from the truth, is eagerly caught at, provided it be of a kind to give us annoyance, and to excite civil rulers against the Church.
It is clear in itself, and has no need of other comments and explanations. Whosoever reads that Decree with a dispassionate mind has its time sense easily and obviously before him.