Domingo de Soto on the two powers

Domingo de Soto (1494—1560) was a prominent Dominican of the 16th century in Spain. One of the foremost Thomist philosophers and theologians of his time, he occupied a chair of theology at the famous University of Salamanca from 1532 to 1545, and then held the principal chair of theology there from 1552 to 1556. In 1545 he was selected by Emperor Charles V as imperial theologian to the Council of Trent, where he labored much in the drawing up of decrees and in answering the principal heresies of that age. He is perhaps best known for his treatise De natura et gratia in three books, which he composed during the Council of Trent and in which he expounded the Thomist doctrine regarding original sin and grace; but he left a great many other able works, including the large and worthy treatise De iustitia et iure in ten books, commentaries upon several of the works of Aristotle, a commentary upon St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, and two volumes of commentary upon the fourth book of Peter Lombard’s Liber Sententiarum. The translation presented here is from this latter work.

Translated by Timothy Wilson

Domingo de Soto, In IV Sent., dist. 25, q. 2, a. 1


On the Ecclesiastical power, and the exemption of clerics.


Whether the ecclesiastical power is supreme in such wise, that the civil power depends upon it, as its delegate.

We have considered it worthwhile to treat, at the end of this matter of orders, the question of the Ecclesiastical power in respect of the civil, divided into two articles.

The first of which is, whether the Ecclesiastical power is supreme, in such a way, that the civil power depends upon it as its delegate. It is argued from the affirmative part.

Christ instituted the Church as the best commonwealth: but the best commonwealth is that which, after the manner of a kingdom, is governed by one supreme head, as the Philosopher says in the Politics, lib. II: but there cannot be a supreme head in the Church, unless the civil power be wholly subject to the Ecclesiastical, so that the pope is the lord of all, as much temporal as spiritual. Otherwise there would be two heads, which the Philosopher condemns in the Metaphysics, lib. XII. And it is confirmed from Rom 12 and 1 Cor 12, where Paul says, that Christians are all one body consisting of diverse members: and there must be a single head of one body, lest it be monstrous. Jerome declares this with the example of bees, can. In apibus. 7. q. 1.

It is argued secondly. Christ left to his vicar that power which he himself had: but he, even insofar as he is man, not only was Lord of the kingdom of heaven in spiritual things, but also king of temporal things: for he says, in the final chapter of Matthew, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth: for which reason in Apoc 19 he is called the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Thirdly, it is gathered from Canon law, for in any cause whatsoever, one may appeal from any secular judge to the apostolic see, 11. q. 1. can. Quicumque litem, and the Pope can depose kings: for Pope Zachary deposed the king of the Franks as harmful to the kingdom, 15. q. 6. can. Alius, and Innocent deposed Frederick, dist. 96. can. Duo sunt.[1]

But to the contrary, there is the authority of Pope Pelagius[2] in the same cited can. Duo sunt, where he says: Two there are, emperor Augustus, by which this world is ruled, the sacred authority of the Pontiffs, and the royal power.

Concerning this dispute, as Turrecremata says in lib. 2. cap. 113, there are two diametrically opposed opinions, between which there is a middle opinion, which shall be established as the catholic. For there are those who, out of an enthusiasm and (as they think) a zeal for religion, attempt to extol the apostolic dignity, so that they think the Roman Pontiff to be the supreme judge as much in spiritual as in temporal matters, and thus it pertains to him to institute kings and secular princes, who thus are as his vicars delegate. Augustinus de Ancona partakes of this opinion in his Tractatus de potestate ecclesiastica, whom Sylvester followed, at Papa §2. Panormitanus is also a patron of this opinion, as well as many other jurists. Others, having sunken to the other extreme, withdraw from the Supreme Pontiff absolutely any temporal power; no indeed, in temporal matters they subject him entirely to the civil power, and permit no exemption of clerics to be of divine law. Concerning this latter heresy, we shall speak at greater length in the following article.

To the present question, therefore, a response is made in five conclusions. The first is: the ecclesiastical power and the civil are two and distinct. This assertion is from Pelagius in the cited can. Duo sunt. But because this matter touches upon divine law, it is to be gathered from the testimonies of sacred scripture. For, because (I plead your good indulgence) it has not been granted to the interpreters of the sacred Canons to treat of the divine and natural law with precision, it is no wonder that they prate idly in this present matter. For the sacred Canons which speak of this matter shall have to be elucidated through sacred scripture, from which they are collected. Thus the conclusion is proved: as the Philosopher says in Ethics, lib. II, potencies and arts differ through actions, and actions through the objects and ends whither the actions are directed: but in the mystical Christian body there are two ends, the one natural, whither civil administration tends, namely, the peace and tranquility of the republic: and the other supernatural, which is occupied in the divine consideration, which, as Paul says, neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard: therefore there are diverse powers for pursuing those ends. The reason is that of Hugo, part. 2 de sacramen., where he says, that since there are two lives, the one terrestrial and the other spiritual, in order that both be preserved in justice, and that utility prosper, there is necessary a twofold power for the conservation of justice: one, which presides over terrestrial things to govern the civil life, and the other, which presides over spiritual things to order the spiritual life. Now the same truth is proved, secondly. The ecclesiastical power is the faculty of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, as is clear from Matt 16 and 18, and likewise of the remission of sins, as is had in John 20, and moreover, the power of consecrating the true body and blood of Christ: but this faculty has not been conceded to the civil power: therefore there are two powers. Thirdly, because in order to move men to ends of this sort, there are diverse laws, namely, in respect of the temporal end there are laws entirely human and civil, but in respect of the supernatural end, the supernatural mandates of the sacraments are also used: likewise there are also diverse swords: namely, diverse punishments: for civil punishments are consummated in the death of the body, nor are they extended further: while the ecclesiastical power uses a sword moreover spiritual: namely, excommunication, and other censures. Fourthly, and finally: the spiritual power is referred proximately to souls, and it is incumbent upon it to examine and consider the divine laws, and is concerned with divine worship, and thus it institutes pontiffs and priests, which functions do not belong to kings, but the rights of emperors are to treat, to create praetors, and other magistrates: there are diverse hierarchies, therefore, and thus diverse powers; and moreover, not only in the Mosaic law but also in the law of nature, the priests were different than the other magistrates, and to them was entrusted the summit of religion and divine worship. For as we have demonstrated in dist. 1 q. 2, in every law there was always some supernatural and necessary revelation of faith, which pointed out the necessary worship of God. No indeed, even in the state of nature these two powers would have flourished, although in that case no sacraments would have been necessary. But it is not proper to this place to discuss this further.

But perhaps one might argue to the contrary. The end of the civil commonwealth is, as Aristotle says in the same place, to make the citizens good, and well-instructed: now none is good but he who would be a friend of God, which friendship suffices for eternal life: whence it is gathered, that civil laws suffice for the obtaining of eternal life. And it is confirmed from Matt 22, If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments, where he was speaking of the commandments of nature, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, etc., which if it be true, the end of the civil and ecclesiastical power is one, and not many, and thus there is but one power. But the heretics of this age gather, that the spiritual power, along with the civil, lies with Kings and the civil republic. This heresy, though it is the most recent of all, never heard of before our age, yet is the most pestilential.

It is responded, therefore, that although the commands of the natural and civil law be referred to the order of eternal felicity, still they are not sufficient for obtaining it: for where Aristotle says that it is the purpose of the ruler to make the citizens good, he spoke only of moral goodness, but the moral duties do not suffice for the friendship of God without infused charity, without which no man is either called or is good, nor any work good. For this reason, beyond the natural and civil law, there is required, in the first place, the special help of God, and the laws of the sacraments, which are supernatural: for unless a man be reborn of water and the holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God: and except you eat the flesh of the son of man, it is said, you shall not have life in you. This power, therefore, which Christ committed in the first place to his vicar and through him to the Church, is more exalted than the civil.

But if you should ask again, surely God could have comprehended both through a single power and a single head: namely, that the king (just as has been imagined recently amongst the English) would administer all things pertaining as much to divine worship as to the civil commonwealth, or that the Pope would do both alone? It is responded, that it is not our concern to dispute on the absolute power of God; yet because, as it says in Wis 7, [wisdom] ordereth all things sweetly, and it is the task of wisdom, as Aristotle says in the Metaphysics, to order and govern all things in an orderly and apposite manner according to their ends, it was not seemly to commit such diverse offices to one power alone, for the ecclesiastical and civil administrations are very much different: indeed, the one is administered by secular magistrates, who have wives and children: while the other is appropriate to none but men free from the burden of a wife: for as the Apostle says in 1 Cor 7, he who has a wife seeks how he may please her, and they who are without a wife, seek how they may please God. If, therefore, the same power were to lie with the same supreme governor, it would be impossible for everything not to be jumbled, and thus subject to many perils. For this reason it was necessary that diverse heads be determined for matters so diverse, and that the Church would be as a queen seated at the right hand of the ruler, clothed round about with variety, and that the mystical body of Christ be compacted from various members, as Paul says in 1 Cor 10.

The second conclusion. The spiritual power is more excellent than the civil. Their very names declare this conclusion, as Innocent says in the capit. Solitæ de maior. et obedien. The Pontiff in that place reprehends the Emperor of Constantinople, who, on account of the testimony in 1 Pet 2: Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, etc., opined that the royal power was more excellent than all others. He reprehends him, I say, objecting that in that place the Apostle only signifies the excellence of Kings in temporal matters, in respect of dukes and others, who receive those offices from him. But nevertheless, the pontiff prevails in spiritual matters, which are as much worthier than temporal matters, as the soul surpasses the body. And so, just as the soul is that which vivifies the body, and the spirit is the commander of the body: so also the spiritual power ought to be preeminent over temporal things. To this he also joins another and most apt similitude, that God instituted the pontifical and regal authorities as two great lights, namely the Sun and the Moon, for just as the Sun presides over the day, so also the Pontiff over spiritual things: and just as the Moon presides over the night, so also the King over temporal things, which take the likeness of the night. Moreover, just as the Moon receives light from the Sun, so also does the civil power receive light from the spiritual: for the king ought so to rule and govern temporal matters, that they serve spiritual religion.

This is proved secondly from the end of both powers: for as the Philosopher says in the Ethics, lib. I, the order between ends is such as that between faculties and arts, which have them as their set ends. On account of this, the equestrian art is more excellent than the bridle-making art, and the nautical art more excellent than the art of making ships, because the ends of the former are superior to the ends of the latter: and thus the equestrian art commands to the bridle-making art how it ought to fabricate the bridle, and the nautical art to the ship-making art how it ought to make a ship: since therefore the end of the spiritual power is, as we have said, eternal beatitude, and the end of the secular power is the tranquil state of the republic, which is referred to that supernal beatitude, it happens that the ecclesiastical power is higher.

Furthermore, this is proved by the example of Paul in Heb 7, where he proves, that the priest Melchisedech was superior to the secular Abraham, because, as it is read in Gen 14, Melchisedech blessed Abraham, and (says Paul) without doubt he who blesses, is greater than he who is blessed.

The third conclusion. The excellence of the ecclesiastical power, in respect of the civil, is not of this sort, that the pope is the lord of the whole earth in temporal things. We do not speak of a particular kingdom, whether the Supreme Pontiff is truly the temporal King of those cities and provinces of which he holds supreme dominion in temporals, since in these he knows no superior on earth. So much do we not deny this, that we think it pertains to his defense and splendor. But we speak of the universal kingdom of the world, whether the whole world, or the Christian world. This conclusion follows from the first: for if the Pope were supreme lord of all things, there would not be two powers, but one: for then, just as all prelates are subject to the supreme pontiff, and dukes to the king, by the same reason and in the same manner, kings would be subject to the supreme Pontiff, and would depend upon him entirely in the same way: for this reason, just as the ecclesiastical power is one, and the whole civil power one, in like manner then the two would be simultaneously one.

So that this conclusion and those subsequent might be known through their first foundation, it should be noted, that Christ left no other power to his vicar, than that which he himself received insofar as he was man, and redeemer of the world: yet he took up no temporal kingdom, but that precise dominion of temporal things, which was necessary for the end of  redemption. I have said, insofar as he was man: for inasmuch as he was God, it is entirely acknowledged and accepted by all mortals, and not merely Christians, that he is by right of creation the absolute Lord and king of the world. For, as the Psalm has it, the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: and as it is read in Prov 8, by him kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things. For this reason, John Faber, who in his commentary upon c. de summa Trinitate attempts to show that Christ was a king because he was God, produces nothing of relevance. For we dispute of him insomuch as he was man. But insofar as he was man, he could indeed, if he had wished, have taken up even universal secular dominion of the world. And yet it is the case, as we have asserted, that he did not accept a dominion and kingdom of this sort, but only spiritual, and accepted of temporals only so much as was necessary for that spiritual dominion. For the spiritual kingdom is that which, as we have said above, has eternal life for its proximate end: and the temporal kingdom is that which is concerned with the peaceful status of the Republic. The conclusion is therefore proved, firstly. In the whole of the gospel, there occurs no mention of the temporal kingdom of Christ: it is therefore vain, lest I say temerarious, to assert it: for if a thing of such importance were true, the Evangelists never would have been silent upon it: but they pay heed only to the spiritual kingdom, which is called the kingdom of heaven. For this reason, the protheme of the preaching of John the precursor, and then of Christ, was, as in Matt 3, Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and Matt 5, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, and many other things of that sort.

Secondly, it is confirmed by plain reason. Christ, who, since he was God, as David says, had no need of our goods, put on our humanity for that reason and end only, that he might bring about our redemption: for this reason, he preached the faith to us, and instituted laws, and created Apostles and Pontiffs, who would be our shepherds, that they might lead us to that beatitude: therefore, since Christ took up nothing superfluous, and the temporal power of a kingdom, so broadly and absolutely patent in secular kings, was not necessary to him for that end, the consequence is, that he by no means took it up.

But the patrons of the contrary opinion say, that Christ seized royal power of the whole world on account of his outstanding excellence and dignity. Yet reason stands to the contrary, because this pertained not at all to that same excellence of his. For, I ask, what increase of honor would accrue to Christ, since he was God per se, and, insofar as he was man, king also of the kingdom of heaven, if he had taken up temporal dominion and kingdoms, that is, their power? None, certainly. No indeed, how much more loftily is his majesty then commended, that, aside from that which was necessary for his office, he scorned the whole world: for he lived in poverty, and chose for Apostles men abject and humble, and ever preached against the glory and pomp of the world: poverty, and humility, and repudiation of the world he both taught and extolled with praise. Life of this sort, after the fall of Adam, is best, and suffers fewer perils. Whence Paul says, Phil 3, that he considers all these things as dung.

It is argued thirdly. Christ never discharged this office of royal power, no indeed, he always removed himself from the use of the same, which the partisans of the contrary opinion are unable to deny: for as he himself says, John 3: God sent not his son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. And when the adulterous woman was brought before him [in John 8], whose cause he would judge, he passed no sentence as judge, by which he would either condemn or absolve her, but he only explicated the natural and divine law, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And when the coin of the census was offered to him, he refused to judge whether or not the tax was due to Caesar, but left that to their judgment: only commending the natural and divine law, that if something be owed to Caesar, it be rendered to him, just as to God that which is his. And when others came to him, that he would sit as judge between them, he disparaged it as something lesser, saying, Who hath appointed me judge over you? Therefore, if he never discharged the office of King, it happens that he never took up such power: for that power is redundant and vain, which is never reduced to act. Sight or hearing accrue no dignity to man, except on account of their use. For this reason, if Christ was never to use that power, no dignity accrued to him from thence. Moreover, since power is made known through its acts, if the Gospel teaches us that he had neither the use nor the splendor of royal power, it is asserted without foundation that he took it up. For if he had taken it up on account of his dignity, he would have had to make it visible to men through its use. This was so far from his intent, that when the crowds set off to make him King, he withdrew himself from their attempt. A futile device, then, is that charming opinion of some, who say that in Christ there was royal power, but not its use.

Fourthly, it is also argued more evidently. Christ, as we are taught by the evangelical testimony, was naught but king of the Jews: but the king of the Jews was not to be a king of temporal goods, but of a spiritual and sempiternal inheritance: therefore he was not a king in temporals, as are secular kings. This is plainly confirmed from John 18, where, when Christ, who had been accused by them before Pilate of making himself a king, was asked by the governor whether he was a king, he asked him in turn whether he had said so from himself, or whether others had told it of him: as if to ask, of what kingdom he meant it: of that secular kingdom, by which the Romans and other nations rule, or another and higher? And when Pilate responded that he had said it not from himself, but from the relation of the Jewish nation: Christ, conceding that he is the king whom they awaited, adds, that his kingdom is not of this world, that is, of that sort which are temporal and perishable kingdoms. Hence the governor, not understanding that mystery, absolved him of the crime presented. And afterward, as if by a prophetic spirit, he affixed that epitaph to the Cross, Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.

And if we consult the ancient testimonies of the prophets, they plainly manifest this. For he himself says through the prophet, Psalm 2: But I am appointed king by him (namely, God) over Sion his holy mountain (namely, the Church), preaching his commandments. Behold, he established his kingdom in the preaching only of the faith of the celestial kingdom. This is consonant with Matt 28, where he says: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them, etc., where he affirms, that no other power was given him, than that which pertains to the celestial kingdom. And Jer 23: Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will raise up to David a just branch: and a king shall reign, and shall be wise…In those days shall Juda be saved, that is, there will only be a king in order to save Juda. And Isaias 9: He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it…from henceforth and forever. Thus David speaks of his offspring, Psalm 144: Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages: because it is not brought to an end, as the secular kingdom is, through the elapsing of mortal life, but without interruption endures forever. But the Angel expounded this to Mary, saying: The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Some have imagined that he was a king by paternal right: for Joseph descended from David through Solomon, and the blessed Virgin through Mathan; but this is not pertinent. Firstly, because that kingdom was peculiar only to that province: but we speak of a universal kingdom of the whole world. Moreover, that temporal kingdom of David was entirely extinguished in Sedecias, as is written in 4 Kings 24, according to the prophecy of Jer 22. Wherefore Ambrose, in lib. 3 super Lucam says, that although Christ the king descended from Jechonias, to whom it was threatened by the prophet, that none of his offspring was to be king, yet (he says) there is no contradiction: because he did not rule with secular honor, nor sit in the seat of Jechonias, but in the seat of David. No indeed, although Jechonias had sat in the seat of David, yet not in the same seat as Christ: the latter had an eternal kingdom, which sort David himself did not have.

Finally, the same truth is confirmed by the testimony of all the holy fathers, for whom the thing was ever undoubted, that Christ took up no other kingdom, than the spiritual kingdom of heaven. Whence Augustine, lib. 83, q. 61, and wherever else he discusses this matter, says nothing but that Christ was our king, for that he gave to us an example of battling and conquering, by whose leadership we are liberated from Egypt, and brought into the heavenly Jerusalem, as into the land of promise.

But if someone should object to us blessed Thomas, in opusculum 20, lib. 3, cap. 13, where it appears to some that he taught the contrary opinion, it is responded, that it shall be clear to no one reading him attentively that he was of such an opinion. For there he establishes only that Christ was monarch of the whole universe, which he deduces from Psalm 8, Thou hast subjected all things under his feet, and from Malachi, From the rising of the sun to its setting, great is his name. Now these testimonies are understood only of his heavenly kingdom, in respect of which all things are subject to him. Which St. Thomas himself acknowledges, adding, that that dominion and kingdom of Christ is ordered to the salvation of the soul, and to spiritual goods, although it is not excluded from temporals insofar as they are ordered to spiritual things. He does not, therefore, affirm that he was a king in temporals except precisely in the order to spiritual things. And thus to be understood are his final words in II Sent.

But Burgensis, addit. 2 super Matt 1, contrives the contrary opinion, namely, that he was king in temporals, although he admits that it cannot at all be gathered from the testimonies of the prophets, who ascribe only an eternal kingdom to him. But he says, that because the Jews were anticipating him to be a temporal king also, God ordained, that Christ would have the same dignity. Now this conjecture is so tenuous, that it rather confirms our opinion. For that opinion of the Jews was false and erroneous: for aside from the testimonies cited, they had the clear witness of Zacharias, Behold thy king will come to thee, the just and savior: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, by whom they were taught that he would come without royal pomp. It was not fitting, therefore, that Christ take up a temporal kingdom on account of that error.

Let the good reader consult whether I have confirmed this foundation of truth with so many things. We now turn to the confirmation of the third conclusion. And indeed, should Christ have taken up a temporal kingdom: yet it would not immediately follow thence, that he committed an equal power to his vicar, for we could say that such pertained to his power of excellence, just as does his power to institute sacraments, and to confer grace without these, which function he did not commit to the Pope. But since neither did he take up royal power, it is most plain, that neither did he commit it to his vicar.

But furthermore, the same truth shines forth from what Christ says, Matt 20 and Luke 22, You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be the greater among you (namely, Peter, who was to be the head of the Church), let him be your minister. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many. Which place Bernard introduces, De consideratione lib. 2, and says: “For what else has the Apostle given to you? What I have, he says, I give thee. What is that? One thing I know, it is not gold or silver. Albeit you claim these things to yourself for any other reason: but not by Apostolical right; for he could not give to you that which he had not: that which he had, he gave, as I have said, the solicitude over the church[es].[3] Can it be that he says domination? Hear him. Neither as lording it over the clergy, he says, but being made a pattern of the flock. And lest you think this said in mere humility, and not truth also, it is the words of the Lord in the Gospel, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them, are called beneficent: and he continues, But you not so. It is plain: mastery [dominatus] is forbidden to the Apostles. Go you therefore, venture to seize for yourself, being one who either lords it over the Apostolate, or an Apostle over the mastery. Plainly you are prohibited from one or the other. If you should wish to have both at once, you shall lose both. Do not think yourself excepted from the number of those of whom God speaks thus: They have reigned, but not by me; they have been princes, and I knew not. This is the apostolical pattern: mastery is forbidden, ministry is enjoined.” And below: “Go out into the field (the field is the world): go out not as a master, but as a servant.” Thus Bernard. With Bernard as interpreter, Christ could not have removed this temporal dominion from the apostles in a more splendid manner. Hence it is a fiction to say that the Pope has the power of this dominion without its use. For that a power is vain which cannot be reduced to act, is proven much more efficaciously of this, than of Christ.

Likewise. If he had such a power, the Pope would also be able to usurp the jurisdiction of Princes without injury, and to remove and institute Kings even outside of causes of faith: which the most holy pontiffs, whatever their flatterers should say, certainly have never dared to attempt. Indeed Innocent,[4] in the cited can. Duo sunt, recognized that the two powers of the emperor and the Pope are distinct. Nor does he attribute any power of the Pope over Kings other than that of a pastor, such that he can excommunicate them, and remove them by reason of the faith.[5] And the can. Si imperator says, that the Emperor has the privileges of his power, which he has obtained divinely for the sake of administering the public laws. And in the cap. Per venerabilem. qui filii sunt legitimi, he frankly says, that he does not have power in temporals over the King of France. And whatever others might dream up, he understood that of all Kings. And in can. Cum ad verum, Nicholas expressly says, that neither has the Emperor seized the rights of the pontificate, nor the pontiff the Imperial name: since the mediator of God and man Christ Jesus has divided the offices of both powers with their own proper acts and distinct dignities.

Moreover, these things are more clearly confirmed. The administrations of the ecclesiastical and the civil republic are so different, that the ecclesiastical is impeded most of all by secular business: for this reason all the canon laws admonish the clerical order, not to mix themselves up in secular affairs. Because of this, it was most just, that they be most removed from marriage: for as Paul says, they who have wives, seek how they may please the wife. Certainly for this reason, in the same can., Nicholas says that just as the Emperor ought not to mix himself up in divine affairs, so also the Pope, soldiering for God, ought not to entangle himself in secular business, lest he seem to preside, not over divine things, but secular.

But in order that these things might become even clearer, it is argued, again. Power, as much civil as ecclesiastical, is divinely instituted: for there is no power but from God, as the Apostle says in Rom 13: and those that are, are ordained of God: and therefore, he that resisteth the power whether civil or ecclesiastical, resisteth the ordinance of God. Yet God wisely has appointed these in different ways: for he has granted to each and every republic the civil power through the law of nature, of which he is the author, as we have demonstrated copiously in De iustitia et iure, lib. IV, q. 4. a. 1: for to each and every republic there pertains the governance of itself, as it belongs to all things to preserve themselves: namely, that they rule themselves either by the power of optimates, or of the people, or of a king: for which reason the people voluntarily transfer to the ruler all their authority and power, as is read in l. Quod principi de constitu. principum. ff. But Christ by himself conferred the ecclesiastical power to his vicar. The royal power, therefore, is derived from God through the republic: in which sense the text of Prov 8 is understood, Through me kings reign, and lawgivers decree just things: but the ecclesiastical and evangelical power was committed by Christ to Peter: therefore, the secular dominions of kingdoms were not simply committed either to Peter, or to his successors.

According to these it is then plainly argued. The law of faith does not destroy the law of nature, but perfects it: but kings ruled prior to the coming of Christ by the law of nature and the law of nations, which derive from the eternal law of God: whence it is read in Daniel 2, that the God of heaven gave to Nabuchodonosor power and a kingdom: and Christ responded to Pilate, Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were it were given thee from above: therefore Christ did not change the kingdoms, whence the Apostle says in Romans 13, speaking universally of the potentates even of the infidels, Let every soul be subject to higher powers: to which he urges that tribute be paid. And in 1 Peter 2, Peter commands all Christians to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake, whether to the king, he says, as excelling. And after: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward: whence it is gathered, that Christians ought to obey even infidel Kings, so long as they rule without peril to the faith and injury to the savior: much more freely, therefore, do the Kings of Christians enjoy their power by themselves independently from the Pope, so long as they inflict no injury upon the faith.

It is therefore an unvarnished invention, to constitute the Pope thus as the ordinary judge of temporal kingdoms, and of kings, just as he is the supreme judge of the things of the church, and its prelates, or as the secular king is the judge of his dukes, and counts, and other vassals. Hence not all jurists hold to that opinion. For Ioannes Andreæ, Hugo, and others think with us. Nor should have Sylvester adhered to the contrary opinion, since blessed Thomas (whose disciple he was), although he was a most studious defender of the Apostolic see, nowhere left such an opinion.

On that account, the aforementioned patrons of this opinion provide even less reason for its probability, saying that the donation made to Sylvester by Constantine (if such existed) or by king Philip, was not a donation, but a restitution. And vice versa, that Sylvester, for the good of peace, gave to Constantine the eastern empire. Likewise that the Pope, if he does not use the administration of temporal goods in the whole Christian world, does so not from a lack of power which he truly has, but for the sake of confirming tranquility and peace with his sons. No wonder, therefore, if others, being more sensible, reject these as trifling nonsense. For if he had simply and absolutely the right of all temporals, he could have the use thereof without injury, which none of them dares to assert.

The fourth conclusion. Not only is the Pope not the lord of temporal kingdoms, no indeed neither is he their superior such that he can institute kings: indeed, someone could perhaps say, that although he is not the lord simply speaking of temporal kingdoms, yet he can in an ordinary way institute kings everywhere, just as he institutes Bishops, although he is not the lord simply speaking of Episcopates, or just as a king institutes dukes and magnates, although he is not simply speaking the lord of their patrimonies: but this conclusion of ours asserts the contrary. Hence he cannot act as judge between kings in an ordinary way absent causes of faith, just as between ecclesiastical prelates, or between dukes. Unless perchance their quarrels incline to the detriment of the faith or of religion: for then he can very rightly do so, not only by way of fraternal correction, as Innocent says, cap. Novit. de iudic., but also with coercive judgement. This is gathered from what was said above: for either power is sufficient of itself, and divinely instituted in a different way, such that any king is, in temporals, made by his commonwealth the supreme judge in his own kingdom. Hence in the same cap. the same Pontiff protests that he does not involve himself in order to usurp the judgment of kings. And Alexander III, cap. Causam. in 2. qui filii sunt legitimi, declares that judgment regarding possessions pertains, not to the church, but to the king.

From these, finally, the consequence is, that though the king were to break out into tyranny: absent injury to the faith, it is incumbent upon, not the Pontiff, but the republic to expel him from the kingdom.

In sum, in the Pope there is no merely temporal power, as there is in kings, except in the lands secularly subjected to him. This is what Cajetan, that loyal defender of the apostolic See, asserted in his Apologia de potestate papæ, cap. 6. And the reason is, that temporal power of this sort is not merely necessary for the government of the church.

Yet for greater clarity and firmness regarding these things, a fifth and likewise catholic conclusion is given against the heresy of those who deny all temporal power to the Pontiff. Any civil power whatsoever, is so subject to the ecclesiastical in the order to spiritual things, that the Pope can, through his own spiritual power, as many times as regard for the faith and religion should require, not only act against kings by means of the buffets of ecclesiastical censures, and coerce them, but also deprive Christian Princes of their temporal goods, and even proceed to their deposition. I have said, through his own spiritual power: because the power of the Pontiff, insofar as he is Pontiff, is not merely temporal, but he uses the temporal as minister of the spiritual. But this conclusion is not the same as the second: the latter only asserted, that the ecclesiastical power is superior. Wherefore perhaps someone would merely conclude, that the secular Prince is bound to measure his laws and acts according to the spiritual end, and to obey the pontiff in spiritual censures. But this [fifth] conclusion asserts moreover, that the Pope can use temporal goods for his end and spiritual purposes, and can coerce Princes by temporal punishments. To elucidate this, it should be noted, that the ecclesiastical power is not only more excellent than the civil, for that its end, which is eternal beatitude, is more perfect and more exalted than civil felicity: but also for the reason that civil felicity is not sufficiently perfect in itself, and thus it is per se ordered and related to celestial beatitude. I wish to say, that there are not two commonwealths, entirely distinct and diverse, neither of which depends upon the other, of which sort are those of the French and the Spanish, or of which sort were the Roman and Athenian, for of these, although one were more excellent and more perfect than another, yet neither was bound to serve the other. I say that the spiritual and civil powers are not to be compared thus: but the civil, whatsoever it be, is referred to the spiritual, which is unique to all Christians, because human felicity is of itself ordered to the divine. They are not as two arts wholly different, namely, as ironworking and woodworking, but as armor-making is ordered to the military art, and ship-making is ordered to the art of navigating: the inferior of which is bound to make arms and ships in such a way, that they not deviate from the end of the superior art, and thus, as the Philosopher says in I Ethic., the superior artisan commands the inferior artisans how they ought to work, because he is the judge of the inferior arts. In like manner, the civil commonwealth is referred to the spiritual: for both are simultaneously bound together into one mystical body, which is composed of both, as Paul luculently declares in Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12; but now in one body, all the members ought to be referred to one head, but spiritual things are not ordered to temporal things, which latter are less perfect, therefore on the contrary, temporals ought to be subject to the judgment of spirituals. Whence the same Apostle, in 1 Cor 2, comparing the temporal faculty to the spiritual, says that the animal man perceiveth not these things which are of the Spirit of God, but the spiritual man judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. Nor is this opposed by what we have said above: namely, that the king has supreme power in temporals, because it lies with [the temporal power] to be subordinate to the spiritual in such a way, that it must not deviate from it.

This foundation having been laid down, it is argued thus. For the due government and administration of the spiritual commonwealth, it is necessary that all secular power obey it: therefore, also necessary thereupon, in the spiritual ruler, is the faculty of using temporals, insofar as they are necessary for his end, and thus of coercing princes when it should be needed, even to the point of their deposition, as of members which are now putrid and pestiferous. Now Christ was not lacking in those things which were worthwhile to his church: therefore not only did he take up in himself this sort of temporal power related to the spiritual, but also thereafter committed it to his vicar.

It is argued secondly for the same truth. The chief Pontiff was constituted by Christ as the supreme and universal shepherd of the whole Christian flock: now it is the office of the shepherd to recall to the way errant sheep, of whatever order and dignity they be, and to compel them in any regard: therefore, through that pastoral power, he can use temporals when there is need for it. And Innocent equipped himself with this reason against the Emperor of Constantinople, in the cap. Solitæ de maior. & obedi. in order to coerce him. He says, “To Us in blessed Peter have the sheep of Christ been committed,” with no difference placed between these [sheep] and those: and excepting nothing, as Christ said to Peter, Whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc. And in the same sense must Pope Nicholas be understood, cap. Omnes. 22 distin. where he says, that Christ “committed to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of eternal life, at once the laws of earthly and celestial authority.” By the laws of earthly authority, he means the earthly power of temporal goods and princes, not absolutely, as the authors cited above falsely think, but in the order to spiritual things. And thus is the Gloss to be understood, so that it be in agreement with the truth which it thence collects, that the Pope has both swords: because he can depose kings, as in 15. q. 6. can. Alius, and 96 dist., can. Duo sunt.[6] And with the same moderation should the text of Boniface be taken, in Extravag. Unam sanctam, de maiorit. & obedien. where he says, that the two swords, namely, the spiritual and the temporal, are in the power of the Roman Pontiff. Although, when he ascribes this sense to that word of the apostles in Luke 22, Behold, here are two swords, he does not mean to make such a sense an article of faith: for perhaps there Christ, when he said, He that hath not, let him buy a sword, meant nothing other than the calamity which threatened them. Hence Peter, who, taking it to be about the material sword, cut off the ear of Malchus, was reprehended. Nevertheless, it is still rightly adapted to our proposal. For this reason, kingdoms have never been changed by the pontiff except by reason of the faith: for this reason Pope Stephen transferred the empire from the Greeks to the Germans, as is clear in cap. Venerabilem. de electione, and cap. Licet, de foro competenti. And Innocent IV prohibited to the King of Portugal the administration of the kingdom, as in cap. Grandi. de supplenda negligentia prælatorum libro sexto.

But it is necessary to explain the difference between this conclusion and the two prior ones by way of examples. For however much the king administers the government of the kingdom in other kinds of offenses outside of peril to the faith, nothing falls to the Pope, except by way of fraternal correction. But if, for example, the Christian King were to make laws to the detriment of the faith: namely, laws adverse to the sacraments, or to the Christian religion in any way, or if the Pope were to call a Council, which the King impeded wrongly and contrary to right, or if he were to furnish aid to heretics, and infidels opposing our faith, or to schismatics, or move any other sort of mischief against the Apostolic see or the Church, then the Pope would be able to act against him, not only with the spiritual sword, but with the temporal also.

But you might argue the contrary, firstly. Would it not be enough to hurl at them the fulminations of the spiritual sword, namely, of anathema and other censures? For [the Church] seems to have no other arms: for as Paul says in 1 Cor 10, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are spiritual. It is responded, that the church would not have been sufficiently provided for unless, when she is afflicted in her affairs by secular potentates, and spiritual arms do not suffice, she be able to compel them with the temporal sword also: because otherwise she would not have wholly coercive force, of the sort which is necessary for her.

But again, someone might ask, whether in events of this sort the Pope, omitting the spiritual sword, would be able to employ the temporal? For it seems that he could, because he has both equally. It is responded, that it neither befits him, nor is it licit, unless there were imminent peril, since the ordinary way of the Pontiff is the pastoral rod: while the secular sword is extraordinary. Now the ordinary way ought to precede, nor ought he to use the temporal sword, unless there be urgent need that requires it: namely, when, having attempted spiritual force, he recognizes that these are not sufficient for the matter at hand. No indeed, unless it were in his own lands, of which he is the temporal lord, in order to defend them, but in others it does not befit the Pope to wage war by himself, but when there is a prince of the Church rebellious and injurious to the faith, he ought to present the business of arms to another Prince. For so far is what Paul says true, that the arms of Christian warfare are not carnal. Although the legitimate sense is of the combat which each man sustains against the demons and his own flesh.

But because we have said, that the Pope can abrogate laws which would be harmful to the faith, it should be understood to mean, when they would cause manifest destruction. For that law of Princes, that a testament is not valid unless confirmed by five witnesses, contradicts absolutely no word of sacred scripture in Matthew 18 and John 8, That in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand: for that is understood where the sincerity of the human race flourishes: since, where human trust is so corrupted, it is not repugnant to those words to require more witnesses: because that Evangelical law does not forbid it. Likewise, the law which, in matters of cheating within a half of the just price, does not permit action, as in l. 2. C. de rescinden. venditio. and cap. Cum dilecti and cap. Cum causa de emptione et venditione, is not contrary to justice: because it does not absolve the one cheated in the forum of conscience, but it only intends to put quarrels to rest. But if the King were to make a law, so that a possessor malæ fidei prescribes, that would be both contrary to conscience and the nurse of many frauds and deceits: which would thus have to be abrogated by the pontiff: just as one reads it was abrogated in cap. Vigilanti and cap. ult. de præscriptionibus.

The solution to the first argument, therefore, is gathered from the foregoing. The civil and ecclesiastical power are two and distinct, as has been said: but Christ established only the ecclesiastical under one head of the whole earth: while he left the civil derived from the divine and natural law, so that each kingdom would have its own head: but he willed the civil to subordinated to the ecclesiastical such that its laws would not be opposed to the faith and the law which he himself preached: and in this manner is the Pontiff the unique head of all Christian kings. And that is the sense of Paul when he says, that all Christians are the one mystical body of Christ. For nothing concerns the pope in regard to the infidels, other than to send preachers to them, who convince them of the faith in a legitimate manner and order. But this does not concern the present discussion, nor does the question of whether there is one emperor of the whole world: which we have discussed at length in De iustitia et iure, lib. IV.

To the second, a sufficient response is, that Christ assumed naught but a spiritual kingdom, and of temporals, only so much as was necessary for the former. And this is what the cited sacred testimonies teach.

To the third, finally, it is responded, that that canon, Quicumque litem, 11. q. 1, has been abrogated, as the Gloss says, which it proves with many decrees, such as cap. Si duobus, de appellationibus, and 2 quæstione sexta, can. Non ita, and many others. Indeed, that text is not a sacred determination of the church, but of the emperor Theodosius, who wished to show his great affection toward the Apostolic see. At present there is no need of appealing from civil causes to the church.

But if you should argue: the pope is the judge of all sins: it is responded, that this is true in the spiritual forum, but in the exterior forum he is only the judge of ecclesiastical causes, while civil causes are to be judged by the civil laws; unless no agreement could be reached between kings after all civil laws had been consulted: for then, the Pope could interpose himself by way of fraternal correction, according to the tenor of cap. Novit. extra de iudiciis.

[1] An obvious error; evidently Soto refers here to Innocent IV’s Ad apostolicæ, de sent. et re iud. in 6. — Trans.

[2] Another obvious error; but this error seems to have been somewhat common around that time. One finds a similar attribution of the can. Duo sunt to Pelagius in Turrecremata, Guarnieri, and Marchese, to name a few. Tom. I of the 1578 Venetian edition of Turrecremata’s commentaries on the Decretum of Gratian, in a marginal note, observes that “a more modern codex ascribes this capitulum to Gelasius.” — Trans.

[3] The 1560 edition of de Soto’s commentary, from which we translate, here reads super ecclesiam in his quotation of Bernard; the 1538 Lyon edition, and the 1701 Paris edition, read super Ecclesias. — Trans.

[4] Here de Soto seems once again to misattribute the can. Duo sunt to Pope Innocent IV; cf. supra, note 1. — Trans.

[5] This is the conclusion that may be drawn, not from the can. Duo sunt of Gelasius, but from the cap. Ad apostolicæ of Innocent IV; cf. supra, note 1. — Trans.

[6] Cf. note 5 above. — Trans.

St. Thomas on the Two Powers

Translated by Timothy Wilson

Dubbed the “Common Doctor” of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas has constantly been upheld by the Church as a model and exemplar for theologians, both in his method and doctrine. The great work for which he is principally known, the Summa theologiæ, became in the centuries after him a standard textbook for theologians and was the subject of a great many Scholastic commentaries (including that of Cardinal Cajetan, a relevant excerpt of which has been translated on The Josias). The insuperable excellence of the Summa, however, has unfortunately obscured for many the excellence of his early Scriptum super Sententiis, his commentary upon the Liber sententiarum of Peter Lombard, which St. Thomas composed as part of the requirement for obtaining his masters in theology. Lombard’s text was the standard textbook used by theology students in high medieval universities, and hence a large portion of the great medieval works of theology are commentaries upon the Sentences. The Summa of St. Thomas, left unfinished at his death, was soon supplemented, through the labors of his disciples, with material from his Sentences commentary.

The text translated here today is taken from St. Thomas’s commentary on the forty-fourth and final distinction of Book II of the Sentences. Here the Lombard discusses the question of whether the power to sin (potentia peccandi) in man is from God, or rather from ourselves, or the devil; he answers that it is from God, and adduces many authorities to prove such. Then he considers the objection that, since it has just been proved that the devil’s power for evil (potestas mali) comes from God, it would seem that we ought not to resist the devil’s power, since according to the Apostle in Romans 13, he who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. But he responds by clarifying that the Apostle speaks there of the secular power, and that it is the command of God that we obey no power in things that are evil.

St. Thomas’s commentary on the text of distinction 44 begins first with a divisio textus, in which he briefly divides into parts the text of the Lombard, followed by the main bulk of his own composition, in which he proposes questions and articles based upon the material in the text before him. Thus his first quæstio, on the potentia peccandi, divided into three articles; then comes his second quæstio, on obedience, which is divided into three articles as well. Finally there is the expositio textus, in which he comments directly upon the words of the Lombard in dist. 44, and which is the very last portion of his commentary on Book II. It is this expositio textus which we offer today.

St. Thomas, In II Sent., dist. 44, q. 2, a. 3, exp. text.

Exposition of the text.

After what has been said, there occurs a question worthy of consideration, etc. The reason for this order is, that a power is known through its act; wherefore it was necessary first to determine regarding the act of sin, before discussing the powerof sinning; although a power is naturally prior to act.

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Molina on Civil and Ecclesiastical Power

The term “integralist” was originally applied to Catholic anti-liberal and anti-modernist movements in the 19th and early 20th centuries— such as Ramón Nocedal’s party in Spain, and the Sodalitium Pianum, based in Rome. One of the main goals of such movements was to defend traditional Catholic political teaching against liberalism. Liberals have ever pretended (even to themselves) to separate politics with concern for the end of human life, hence their demand for the so-called “separation of Church and state.” In practice, however, they have ever ordered politics to the false and individualistic conception of the human good implicit in liberalism itself. Hence integralists were always particularly opposed to the liberal demand for the separation of Church and state. Integralist movements took various contingent positions on indifferent matters, on which Catholics are free to disagree with them. But on the central points of Catholic political teaching they were merely defending the perennial and infallible teaching of the Church.

It is this essence of the integralist programs that we defend at The Josias. What we mean by integralism is merely this: Political action is naturally and inevitably directed towards what we take to be good for human beings, and ought therefore to be directed towards the true human good, which is a common good. But the common good of human life is twofold: a temporal common good proportioned to human nature, and the eternal common good proportioned to the divine nature in which human beings participate by grace. Hence there are two authorities directing human beings towards these two common goods: a temporal authority and a spiritual authority. The former is subordinate to the later, just as the temporal common good is subordinate to the spiritual common good. On account of the danger of human pride, it is necessary that these two kinds of authority be placed in the hands of different persons—temporal authority in lay hands, and spiritual authority in the hands of bishops.

Integralism in this basic sense has always been taught by the greatest theologians of the Church— from St. Augustine to St. Bernard to St. Thomas. Apart from a few regalist special pleaders it was universally held by the scholastic theologians. In later scholasticism it was held not only by Thomists such as Cajetan, but also by opponents of Thomism. This is shown by the following translation of a passage from the De iustitia et iure of Luis de Molina, S.J. (1535-1600). Molina was the great opponent of Thomists in the controversies on grace and predestination. “I am convinced,” wrote Charles De Koninck, “that in philosophy the most extreme limits of opposition have been reached by Thomism and Molinism.” And yet, so basic to Catholic tradition is the integralist thesis that on this even Thomists and Molinists agree. — The Editors

Translated by Timothy Wilson

Luis de Molina, S.J.
De iustitia et iure, tract. II, disp. xxi
What power is, and regarding the civil and ecclesiastical power

Having explained dominion in general, in order that we might descend to the parts subject to it, it is necessary that we begin from the dominion of jurisdiction—as much because it is more noble, as because knowledge of it conduces to a better understanding of the titles of the dominion of property. It is also the case, that explicating it is a less involved task than that of explaining the dominion of property. But because the dominion of jurisdiction is a certain kind of power, we shall have to begin from the explication of power.

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Cajetan on the soul-body model of the relation of spiritual and temporal authority

Thomas de Vio, O.P., Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534) was one of the most important commentators on the Summa theologiæ of St. Thomas, whose teachings he defended against Scotists, Renaissance Humanists, and Protestant Reformers. In the following passage he explicates St. Thomas’s use of the traditional likeness of the subjection of temporal to spiritual power to the subjection of the body to the soul. Translated by Timothy Wilson.

St. Thomas, ST IIaIIæ, q. 60, a. 6, obj. 3 and ad 3:

Obj. 3: Moreover, spiritual power is distinguished from temporal power. But sometimes prelates having spiritual power involve themselves in those matters which pertain to the secular power. Therefore usurped judgment is not unlawful.


Ad 3: To the third, it should be said that the secular power is subject to the spiritual power as the body to the soul. And thus judgment is not usurped if a spiritual prelate involves himself in temporal matters so far as concerns those matters in which the secular power is subject to the spiritual, or which are granted to the spiritual power by the secular power.

Commentary of Cardinal Cajetan, in IIamIIæ, q. 60, a. 6

Having omitted the fifth article, the matter of which (as regards subjects) has been discussed in the preceding Book; in the sixth article, in the response to the third objection, note that the Author, assuming from the decretal Solitæ benignitatis, de Maiorit. et Obed. that the temporal power is subject to the spiritual as the body to the soul, assigns two modes in which the spiritual power involves itself in temporal things: the first of which belongs to the spiritual power from its nature; while the second belongs to it from another, namely, from the secular power itself.

Now, for evidence of this assumption, know, from the De anima bk. II [415b8-12; St. Th., In libros de anima, lib. II, lect. vii], that the soul acts upon the body according to three kinds of cause: namely, effectively, because it effects the corporeal motions of the animal; formally, because it is its form; and finally, because the body is for the sake of the soul. And it is similar, proportionally speaking, regarding the spiritual power in respect of the secular power: indeed, it is as its form and mover and end. For it is manifest, that the spiritual is formal in respect of the corporeal: and by this, the power administering of spiritual things is formal in respect of the power administering of secular things, which are corporeal. It is also indubitably clear, that corporeal and temporal things are for the sake of spiritual and eternal things, and are ordered to these as an end. And since a higher end corresponds to a higher agent, moving and directing; the consequence is, that the spiritual power, which is concerned with spiritual things as its first object, moves, acts, and directs the secular power and those things which belong to it to the spiritual end. And from this it is clear that the spiritual power, of its very nature, commands the secular power to the spiritual end: for these are the things in which the secular power is subject to the spiritual. The text intends this specification with the words: so far as concerns those matters in which the secular power is subject to the spiritual. The Author observes by this, that the secular power is not wholly subject to the spiritual power. On account of this, in civil matters one ought rather to obey the governor of the city, and in military matters the general of the army, than the bishop, who should not concern himself with these things except in their order to spiritual things, just as with other temporal matters. But if it should happen that something of these temporal things occurs to the detriment of spiritual salvation, the prelate, administering of these things through prohibitions or precepts for the sake of spiritual salvation, does not move the sickle unto another’s crop, but makes use of his own authority: for as regards these things, all secular powers are subject to the spiritual power. And thus, besides the thing assumed, the first mode by which the spiritual power judges of temporal things is clear.

And the second mode, namely, from the concession of the secular power, is quite sufficiently clear in prelates who have both jurisdictions in many places, as gifts from princes.

Francisco Suárez: The Ecclesiastical power for making laws is more excellent than the civil in its end, origin, and subject

In April we published a translation of Suárez, De legibus, lib. IV, c. ix, on the way in which the civil power is subject to the ecclesiastical. We now publish the preceding chapter of the same book (De legibus, lib. IV, c. viii), which gives the foundation for that teaching— the superior excellence and perfection of spiritual power. The translation is by Timothy Wilson.


Whether the Ecclesiastical power for making laws is more excellent than the civil in its end, origin, subject, and other properties.

1. Although this question has been determined in great part in the previous chapters; nevertheless, in order that the excellence of this power be illustrated better, and so that we might answer some difficulties, we have judged it to be opportune in this place. And so firstly we set down as certain, that this Ecclesiastical power in the Evangelical law is far more excellent than the civil power. This truth can readily be shown from the things which we have adduced in chapter 1 of this book, especially the third conclusion, where we have also brought forward the Doctors. It is also the common opinion of the Fathers: Ignatius, Epistola ad Smirnenses: Now I say, honor God as the author and Lord of all, and the Bishop as the Prince of priests, bearing the image of God, and the principality according to God, and the priesthood according to Christ, and after this, it is necessary also to honor the King.[1] Ambrose, De dignitate sacerdotali, cap. 2: The Episcopal honor and loftiness can be equaled by no comparisons. If you compare it with the splendor of kings, and the diadem of princes, they will be so far inferior, as if you compare leaden metal to the brilliance of gold, for indeed I see the necks of kings and of princes bowed to the knees of the priests. These words are referred and approved by Gelasius in the c. Duo sunt, dist. 96. And Innocent [III], in the c. Solitæ, de maiorit. et obedient., compares these two powers to the Sun and the Moon. And, Chrysostom, in De sacerdotio, lib. III, says: The priesthood is so much more excellent than the kingdom, in the same degree as the spirit and the flesh are distant from one another. This opinion he follows, and amplifies, in his Homilia 60 in Matthæum, saying: If the prince be crowned with the diadem, but accedes unworthily, forbid him; you have greater power than he. And he says many similar things in Homiliæ 4 and 5 on the words of Isaiah 6, I have seen the Lord, etc., and in Homilia 3 ad populum, a little ways from the beginning, where, speaking of Flavian, he prefers him to the Emperor, and says that he has a sword, not indeed of iron, but spiritual. And we shall refer many things from the Fathers in the following chapter. But in the aforementioned places, they almost always speak generally of the priestly power according to its entire amplitude, including the power of order, according to which it embraces the power of censuring, of remitting sins, of creating priests, etc., and simultaneously the power of jurisdiction, which also includes the dispensation of the spiritual treasure of the Church, and the power of binding and loosing through censures, and many other things. This power being considered in such universality, it is clearer than day, that it is far more excellent than the civil power. Now here we speak not only in this mode, but also precisely in discussing these powers under the aspect of legislative power. And thus we also say, that the Ecclesiastical power is preeminent, as Pope Boniface clearly says in Extra., Unam sanctam, de maiorit. et obedient. And the reason can be given from what has been said in chapter 1, that this power (even insofar as it is legislative) is of the supernatural order; while the civil power is natural, as has been shown above: therefore the former is more excellent in its being [esse] and substance. And this difference can be established between these two powers, which is sufficiently clear from the things said in chapter 1, and it shall be further explained forthwith. But in order that the excellence of this power be made clearer, there are some other differences which are to be assigned on the part of the causes, and principles, and actions of both powers.

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Francisco Suárez on the Relation of Ecclesiastical and Civil Power

Francisco Suárez, De legibus, lib. IV, c. ix, translated by Timothy Wilson


Whether the Ecclesiastical power is superior to the civil, such that the latter is subject to the former.

1. Although it has been shown, in the chapter above, that the Ecclesiastical power is more excellent in perfection, it is not immediately inferred, that it is superior in subordination and proper jurisdiction: for one faculty can be less perfect than another, and yet not subject or subordinate to it. And hence there can be a reason for doubt, because this subordination does not follow intrinsically from the greater perfection; nor also can it be shown from a special concession of Christ; therefore it is not granted. The major is clear from the reason given, and can be supported by the example of the old law, in which there was also a priestly and a royal power, and nevertheless the royal was not subject to the priestly; no indeed, that the contrary seems to have been the case, is drawn from III Kings 2, where Solomon deposed Abiathar from the Priesthood; and in his place he set Sadoc; therefore the priestly power then was under the royal power, rather than the contrary. Now the minor is proved, because in the new Testament we do not read that Christ instituted the priesthood and conceded to it this superiority, because Peter, notwithstanding his power, commanded all the faithful to be subject to Princes and Kings, 1 Pet 2, and Paul in Romans 13 pronounces the same regarding every soul. Nor also is it had from tradition: for it can be gathered from the histories, rather, that the Emperors sometimes passed judgment upon the Pontiffs, and deposed them.

Continue reading “Francisco Suárez on the Relation of Ecclesiastical and Civil Power”


by Pope St. Gelasius I



by Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist.

Pope St. Gelasius I’s letter to the Emperor Anastasius I Famuli vestrae pietatis, better known as Duo Sunt,[1] written in 494, is the classical statement of the Church’s teaching on the relation of the authority of pontiffs to the power of worldly rulers. It was to be quoted and paraphrased again and again by later popes. The key passage has been translated numerous times, but until now there have been only two complete translations into English, neither of which is in the public domain.[2] As the context of the letter is particularly important for understanding the meaning of the key passage correctly, we are pleased to offer the following collaborative translation of the whole letter on The Josias.[3]

St. Gelasius’s Life and Times

St. Gelasius reigned from 492-496, when the Roman Empire had collapsed in the West, and Italy was ruled by barbarians, who stood in an ambiguous relationship to the Byzantine emperor—at times recognizing his authority, at other times styling themselves “kings” of Italy. In 476 (conventionally seen as the end of the Empire) Odoacer, who was already in power, had forced Romulus Augustulus to abdicate. In 493, the year after St. Gelasius’s accession to the See of Peter, the Arian Ostrogoth Theodoric the Great killed Odoacer and established his rule in Italy.[4] In the unsettled situation of Italy, the pope was an important source of order for the city of Rome and beyond. Bronwen Neil and Pauline Allen have shown how St. Gelasius was a “micro-manager” of the ecclesiastical, social, and political affairs of Rome in a manner reminiscent of St. Gregory the Great a century later.[5]

Gelasius was “a Roman born,” as he himself testifies (§1 below), and the Liber pontificalis notes that he was “of African nationality.”[6] In “The African Gelasius,” writes Hugo Rahner, in the slightly histrionic tone of his book on the liberty of the Church, “the ideals of Augustine and the devotion of Leo for the Roman See were combined with a will of steel and eloquence of style.”[7] Not everyone has been so admiring of Gelasius’s style.[8] Nor has everyone credited him with a will of steel.[9] But it is certainly true that Gelasius was formed in the traditions of St. Augustine and of St. Leo the Great. Dionysius Exiguus, who probably did not know Gelasius personally, but knew many others who had known him, writes of him in glowing terms as an exemplary pastor and scholar.[10]

The Acacian Schism

Although Gelasius was pope for less than five years, a large number of documents from his pontificate have come down to us,[11] as well as several letters thought to have been drafted by him as a deacon under his predecessor Pope Felix II/III (reigned 483-492).[12] Famulae vestrae pietatis is by far the most famous of his letters. It was written in the context of the Acacian Schism, the first major schism between Rome and Constantinople.

The schism had originated in the Emperor Zeno’s attempt to reestablish ecclesial unity with the many Egyptian Christians who had rejected the Council of Chalcedon (451). Chalcedon had condemned the monophysite heresiarch Eutyches, and deposed the Alexandrian patriarch Dioscurus, appointing Proterius in his stead.[13] In 457 the Alexandrian mob elected Timothy the Cat patriarch, and murdered Proterius.[14] Timothy died in 477, and his followers elected his ardent disciple Peter the Hoarse to succeed him.[15]

In 482 Zeno sent out a formula of faith, the Henotikon, to the Egyptians.[16] The document was not heterodox in its Christological statements. But it was unacceptable to Rome from an ecclesiological point of view. Its underlying assumption was that the emperor could define the faith (“Caesaropapism”). Moreover, it was “political theology” in the derogatory sense, seeing the unity of faith as being ordered to the unity of the empire, “the origin and composition, the power and irresistible shield of our empire.”[17] But what was least acceptable to Rome was its cavalier dismissal of Chalcedon, the great triumph of the teaching of Pope Leo. After emphasizing that the only creed is the one defined at Nicea I and Constantinople I, Zeno writes, “But we anathematize anyone who has thought, or thinks, any other opinion, either now or at any time, whether at Chalcedon or at any Synod whatsoever.”[18]

Peter the Hoarse accepted the Henotikon, and Acacius, Patriarch of Constantinople accepted him into communion, and was therefore excommunicated by Pope Felix II/III in 484.[19] This was the beginning of the Acacian Schism, which was to last till 519. Acacius himself died in 489.[20] His successor, Fravitta tried to assure both Pope Felix and Peter the Hoarse that he was in communion with them.[21] In 491 the Emperor Zeno was succeeded by Emperor Anastasius I (491-518), who had monophysite sympathies and continued Zeno’s policy.[22]

Famuli vestræ pietatis

When Gelasius was elected to the See of Peter in 492 he did not write to the  Emperor Anastasius to announce his election, as was customary. But two Romans, Faustus and Irenaeus, having been in Constantinople as part of a legation from Theodoric the Great, brought word to him that the Emperor was offended by his failure to write. This was the occasion of Famuli vestræ pietatis.

Gelasius begins the letter by excusing himself for not having written before and addresses the Emperor patriotically as the Roman princeps. He hints that his desire to supply “something (however little) lacking from the fullness of the Catholic Faith” in Constantinople, by which he means that he wants to bring the schism to an end (§1). He then clarifies his right to do this by explaining the relation of his “sacred authority” to the “royal power” of the Emperor— this is the celebrated locus classicus for the relation of lay and clerical authority (§2). He further explicates this by laying out the primacy of the Apostolic See—the “firm foundation” laid by God (§3). He then tries to persuade the Emperor to end the schism, by having Acacius’s name deleted from the diptychs, the lists of names prayed for in the Divine Liturgy (a sign of ecclesial communion). Acacius was in Communion with heretics and should be condemned with them. (§§4-9). He rebuffs the objection that removing Acacius from the diptychs would cause a rebellion at Constantinople, and urges the emperor that he is even more bound to combat heresy than he would be bound to combat offenses against temporal laws (§§10-11). Finally, he defends himself against the charge of arrogance, by turning the accusation against those who, contrary to the tradition of the Fathers, refuse to submit to the Apostolic See (§12).

Auctoritas and Potestas

“For there are two, O emperor Augustus, by which the world is principally ruled: the sacred authority (auctoritas) of pontiffs and the royal power (potestas).” This famous line was to be cited in favor of rival medieval theories of the relation of the two: curialists cited it in favor of papal supremacy while their opponents cited it to prove imperial or royal autonomy.[23] More recently, it has been cited by Whig Thomists in favor of American-style “religious freedom.”[24] Its meaning continues to be debated among historians.

The modern debate has tended to focus on the meaning of the terms auctoritas and potestas. Erich Caspar argued that auctoritas meant something like moral influence, whereas potestas meant coercive power:

In Roman constitutional law there was a clear distinction between the conceptually and morally superior auctoritas, founded on tradition and social standing, which the senate, for example, enjoyed, and a potestas equipped with executive power, which in republican times belonged only to the people and was delegated to their officials only for a set period of office.[25]

Caspar approached things from a typically modern understanding of power dynamics, but a similar reading of the auctoritas and potestas distinction has been given by authors less in thrall to Realpolitik. Allan Cotrell notes that some see potestas as “the mere ability to use force without legitimate authority.’”[26] Michael Hanby has recently argued for such a view.[27] According to Hanby auctoritas “possesses no extrinsic force,” but compels “by its own self-evidence.”[28] To the extent that it is not bound and guided by auctoritas, potestas is “an indeterminate force, the brute strength to realize arbitrary possibilities.”[29]

Readings such as Hanby’s cannot, however, be sustained. As Walter Ullmann showed, the popes of the fifth century saw themselves as having the authority to enact laws backed up by sanctions.[30] That is, their auctoritas did possess an extrinsic as well as an intrinsic force. But it is clear also that Gelasius does not see the emperor’s potestas as mere brute force—he sees it also as a moral authority that binds the consciences of subjects: “inasmuch as it pertains to the order of public discipline, even the bishops themselves obey your laws, knowing that rule [imperium] has been bestowed to you from on high” (§2). Auctoritas and potestas are more similar than such authors think. Caspar himself seems to admit as much, when he goes on to argue that Gelasius’s letter was meant to bring the two concepts closer together:

What was new and important was that Gelasius I now defined the state’s potestas and papal auctoritas (which functioned as potestas ligandi et solvendi) as ‘the two things… through which this world is ruled,’ and thereby put them on the same level as commensurable magnitudes in the same conceptual category.[31]

Ullmann argued for a different interpretation of the auctoritas-potestas distinction. According to him, auctoritas meant sovereign authority, whereas potestas meant delegated authority:

Auctoritas is the faculty of shaping things creatively and in a binding manner, whilst potestas is the power to execute what the auctoritas has laid down. The Roman senate had auctoritas, the Roman magistrate had potestas. The antithesis between auctoritas and potestas stated already by Augustus himself, shows the ‘outstanding charismatic political authority’ which his auctoritas contained. It was sacred, since everything connected with Roman emperorship was sacred emanating as it did from his divinity. It was therefore all the easier to transfer these characteristically Roman ideas to the function of the Pope and to his auctoritas.[32]

While Ullmann is essentially right about how Gelasius saw his relation the emperor, he is wrong to put so much weight on the semantic distinction between auctoritas and potestas. Ernst Stein and Aloysius K. Ziegler showed convincingly that Gelasius did not mean to make any semantic distinction between auctoritas and potestas at all. For reasons of style he did not wish to use the same word twice in the same sentence, and therefore he used synonyms. In his damning review essay on Caspar, Stein points out that in Tractate IV, written only two years after Famuli vestræ pietatis, Gelasius writes of “both powers” (potestas utraque), showing that he was quite willing to use potestas to refer to the pontifical auctoritas.[33] Ziegler, for his part, looks at the letters of Felix II/III, drafted by Gelasius as a deacon, and finds conclusive evidence for Stein’s thesis in Felix’s Epistle XV:

These things, most reverent Emperor, I do not wrest from you as vicar of the blessed Peter, by the authority of the apostolic power as it were [auctoritate velut apostolicae potestatis], but I confidently implore you as an anxious father desiring that the welfare and prosperity of my most clement son endure long.[34]

Perhaps Epistle XV is using the two terms in slightly different senses, but it is clear that it sees both as belonging to the Apostolic See.[35]

Gelasius’s Integralism

George Demacopoulos has recently argued that the scholarly focus on the semantic distinction between auctoritas and potestas is regrettable, since with “that singular focus, scholars have failed to acknowledge many of the other significant moves that Gelasius makes in the letter.”[36] On that I think he is right. He is wrong, however, to fault Caspar and Ullmann (especially the later) for reading Gelasius too much in the light of the subsequent development of the papacy.[37] Demacopoulos argues on historical-critical grounds, but it is hard not to see his approach as being motivated by Greek Orthodox suspicion of Catholic teaching on the papacy. Even from a purely historical perspective, it is helpful to look at the developments to which a teaching gives rise to understand it better. As St. John Henry Newman put it, the principle that “the stream is clearest near the spring” does not apply to the development of a teaching or belief, “which on the contrary is more equable, and purer, and stronger, when its bed has become deep, and broad, and full.”[38] And, of course, this is all the more true if it is a question of interpreting the authoritative teachings of the Church. Since the bishops of Rome teach under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, their pronouncements can only be adequately understood in the light of later developments. Thus Gelasius ought to be read in the light of the authoritative teachings of St. Gregory VII, Innocent III, and Boniface VIII.

It is, therefore, all the more significant that, despite his methodological shortcomings, Demacopoulos ultimately comes to a reading of Gelasius very close to Ullmann’s. He argues, namely, that Gelasius is indeed teaching a certain subordination of the imperial under the pontifical power:

Among Gelasius’ impressive rhetorical demonstrations is his transformation of the argument for the divine derivation of imperial authority into an argument for the subordination of the emperor to the priesthood. […] Noting that imperial governance is a beneficium from God for which the emperor will be accountable, Gelasius quickly notes that he too will personally be required to render an account before God for whether or not Anastasius properly administers the imperial beneficium. In other words, Gelasius boldly inserts himself into the ruling/responsibility paradigm to imply that his own responsibility (and, therefore, his own authority) was superior to that of the emperor. The emperor, of course, retains a certain responsibility for the Roman population, but above that hierarchical paradigm exists another, more exalted layer, placing the pope between the emperor and God.[39]

The “hierarchical paradigm” to which Demacopoulos refers is founded on a teleological understanding of society and authority. No one grasped this more firmly than Walter Ullmann. That is why, despite his exaggeration of the auctoritas-potestas distinction, I still think Ullmann the best reader of Gelasius.

“Gelasius,” Ullman argues, “bequeathed to all Papal generations a set of ideas based upon an interpretation of history in the light of Christian teleology.”[40] This Christian teleology sees the Church as a body with many members who have distinct functions related to the single spiritual end of communion with God. The members of this body belong to it with all that they are: “Christianity seizes the whole of man and cannot, by its very nature, be confined to certain departmental limits.”[41] The Christian Body therefore “is not merely a pneumatic or sacramental or spiritual body, but also an organic, concrete and earthy society.”[42] In this visible society there are certain functions which are immediately directed to its end, what Gelasius calls “the distribution of the venerable mysteries,” (infra §2) and there are others which are mediately directed to its end—everything, for example, that serves the preservation of bodily life. It is essential that those “temporal” functions remain mediately ordered to the final end: “in the Christian corpus the administration of the temporal things should be undertaken, in order to bring about the realization of the purpose of the corpus.”[43] In other words, “in a Christian society all human actions have an essentially religious ingredient.”[44] What Gelasius is doing therefore, is not clarifying the relation of church and state (as Whig Thomists suppose), but rather the relation of clerical and lay power within the one Christian body. In the Henotikon Zeno had implicitly presented himself as the head of the whole Christian mundus, but Gelasius is teaching his successor that he is not qualified for headship:

[Since] in a Christian society, of which the emperor through baptism is a member, every human action has a definite purpose and in so far has an essential religious ingredient, the emperors should submit their governmental actions to the ecclesiastical superiors.[45]

Turning to Tractate IV, Ullmann shows that Gelasius saw the purpose of the royal power in the Christian world as the care of temporal matters, so that clerics “are not distracted by the pursuit of these carnal matters.”[46] Thus, Ullmann concludes,

The direction of [the] royal power by those who are, within the corporate union of Christians, qualified to do so, is as necessary as the direction of the whole body corporate. In this way this body will fulfil the purpose for which it was founded. The material or corporeal or temporal element in this body demands the guidance, that is orientation and government, by the spiritual or sacramental element of this self-same body.[47]

R.W. Dyson has shown in detail how this Gelasian teaching on the relation of the temporal to the spiritual was based on premises which he found in his North African tradition: in St. Augustine’s proportioning of spiritual and carnal needs onto the offices of bishops and Roman officials. Augustine had not followed those principles through to their ultimate conclusions, but it was an easy step for Gelasius to take, since it is obvious that spiritual goods exceed bodily ones.[48]

The same point was made earlier by Hugo Rahner:

What Augustine regarded as a lofty ideal, Gelasius made tangible: the ideal of the state as the Church’s helper, of two powers in peaceful collaboration “ruling the world”. Gelasius’ genius lay in the fact that he did not declare that the two powers deriving directly from God, Creator and Savior, should exist side by side, an impossible situation and one repugnant to God’s will, but rather that they should be hierarchically ordered, like soul and body, the spiritual superior to the material, because only in subordination is the material power’s true worth maintained.[49]

The functional division of the two powers is not a division into separate spheres that never overlap. While Gelasius sees the purpose of the emperor as being primarily the regulation of temporal affairs, he is also emphatic that the emperor must use imperial force to help the Church more directly in the preservation of the faith from charity. In Famuli vestræ pietatis he argues that, because Anastasius curbs popular tumults arising from secular causes, so much more should he restrain heretics and thereby “lead them back into the Catholic and Apostolic communion” (§10). He is essentially calling for the emperor to act as the bracchium sæculare of the Church:

If anyone perhaps were to attempt something against public laws (perish the thought!), for no reason would you have been able to suffer it. Do you not reckon it to concern your conscience that the people subject to you should be driven back from the pure and sincere devotion of Divinity? (§10)

Far from being a Whig avant la lettre, Gelasius was in fact what we would now call an integralist.


Translated by HHG et al.

Pope St. Gelasius I to the Emperor Anastasius.

§ 1 Your Piety’s servants, my sons, the master Faustus and Irenaeus, illustrious men, and their companions who exercise the public office of legate, when they returned to the City, said that Your Clemency asked why I did not send my greeting to you in written form. Not, I confess, by my design; but since those who had been dispatched a little while ago from the regions of the East had spread [word] throughout the whole City that they had been denied permission of seeing me by your commands, I thought that I ought to refrain from [writing] letters, lest I be judged burdensome rather than dutiful. You see, therefore, that it came not from my dissembling, but rather from proper caution, lest I inflict annoyance on one minded to reject me. But when I learned that the benevolence of Your Serenity had, as indicated above, expected a word from my humility, then I truly recognized that I would not unjustly be blamed if I remained silent. For, glorious son, I as a Roman born love, honor, and accept you as the Roman Prince. And as a Christian I desire to have knowledge according to the truth with one who has zeal for God. And as the Vicar of the Apostolic See (of whatever quality), whenever I see something (however little) lacking from the fullness of the Catholic Faith, I attempt to supply it by moderate and timely suggestions. For the dispensing of the divine word has been enjoined on me: «woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel» (1 Cor 9:16). Because, if the vessel of election, blessed Paul the Apostle, is afraid and cries out, how much more urgently must I fear if in my preaching I omit anything from the ministry of preaching which has been divinely inspired and handed down by the piety of the fathers.

§ 2 I pray your Piety not to judge [my] duty toward the divine plan as arrogance. Far be it from the Roman Prince, I beg, that he judge the truth that he senses in his heart to be an injury. For there are two, O emperor Augustus, by which the world is principally ruled: the sacred authority of pontiffs and the royal power. Among which how much heavier is the burden of priests, such that they will have to render an account to the Lord at the time of judgment even for those very kings. For you know, O most merciful son, that although by dignity you preside over the human race, nevertheless you devoutly bow your neck to the leaders of divine matters, and from them you await the causes of your salvation, and you recognize that, in partaking of the celestial sacraments, and being disposed to them (as is appropriate), you must be submitted to the order of religion rather than rule over it. Therefore you know that in these matters you depend on their judgement, not willing to force them to your will. For if, inasmuch as it pertains to the order of public discipline, even the bishops themselves obey your laws, knowing that rule [imperium] has been bestowed to you from on high, lest they seem in mundane things to oppose the eminent sentence; with what passion, I ask, does it become you to obey those, who have been assigned for the distribution of the venerable mysteries? Just as the danger does not fall upon pontiffs lightly, to have been silent on behalf of the cult of the Divinity, which is fitting; thus there is no slight peril to those who (perish the thought!) when they ought to obey, look askance. And if it is settled that the faithful submit their hearts to all the priests in general who pass on divine things rightly, how much more must they submit to the prelate of that See, whom the highest Divinity willed also to be preëminent above all priests, and which the piety of the universal Church subsequently celebrated.

§ 3 Clearly, wherever Your Piety turns, no one at all has been able to raise himself to the privilege or confession of that one, whom the voice of Christ has put over all, who has been always confessed and venerated by the Church, and has the first devotion. Those things which have been constituted by divine judgement can be attacked by human presumption, but they cannot be conquered by any power. And if only boldness would not be so pernicious against those struggling, as those things which have been fixed by the very founder of sacred religion cannot be dislodged by any force: the foundation of God stands firm (2 Tim 2:19). For is religion, when it is infested by some [persons], able to be overcome by novelties? Does it not rather remain unconquered by the thing supposed to be able to defeat it? And I ask you therefore, may they desist, who under your aegis run about headlong seeking the disruption of the church, which is not permitted: or at least that these should in no way achieve those things which they wickedly desire, and not keep their measure before God and men.

§ 4 For this reason, before God, I beg, adjure, and exhort your piety purely and earnestly that you not receive my request disdainfully: I say again: I ask that you hear me beseeching you now in this life rather than (later) accusing you—perish the thought!—before the divine tribunal. Nor is it hidden from me, O Emperor Augustus, what the devotion of Your Piety has been in private life. You always chose to be a participator of the eternal promise. Wherefore, I pray you, be not angry with me, if I love you so much that I want you to have that reign, which you have temporarily, forever, and that you who rule the age, might be able to rule with Christ. Certainly, by your laws, Emperor, you do not allow anything to perish, nor do you allow any damage to be done to the Roman name. Surely then it is not true, Excellent Prince, who desires not only the present benefits of Christ but also the future ones, that you would suffer anyone under your aegis to bring loss to religion, to truth, to the sincerity of the Catholic Communion, and to the Faith? By what faith (I ask you) will you ask reward of him there, whose loss you do not prohibit here?

§ 5 Be they not heavy, I pray thee, those things that are said for your eternal salvation. You have read it written: «the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy» (Prov. 27:8). I ask your piety to receive what I say into your mind in the same sentiment in which I say it. No one should deceive Your Piety. What the Scriptures witness figuratively through the prophet is true: «One is my dove, one is my perfect one» (Cant. 6:8), one is the Christian faith, which is Catholic. But that faith is truly Catholic, which is divided by a sincere, pure, and unspotted communion from all the perfidious and their successors and associates. Otherwise there would not be the divinely commanded distinction, but a deplorable muddle. Nor would there be any reason left, if we allow this contagion in anyone, not to open wide the gate to all the heresies. For who in one thing offends, is guilty of all (James 2:10); and: who despises little things shall little by little fall (Sirach 19:1)

§ 6 This is what the Apostolic See vigorously guards against, that since the pure root is the glorious confession of the Apostle, it might not be soiled by any fissure of perversity, nor by any direct contagion. For if something like that were to happen (which God forbid, and which we trust is impossible), how could we dare to resist any error, or from whence could we request the correction to those in error? Moreover, if Your Piety denies that the people of a single city can be brought together in peace, what would we do with the whole world, if (God forbid) it were to be deceived by our prevarication? If the whole world has been set right, despising the profane traditions of its fathers, how could the people of a single city not be converted if the preaching of the faith persevere. Therefore, glorious Emperor, do I not will the peace, I who would embrace it even if it came at the price of my blood? But, I prithee, let us hold in our mind of what sort the peace ought to be; not any kind, but a truly Christian peace. For how can there be a true peace where chaste charity is lacking? But how charity ought to be, the Apostle evidently preaches for us, who says, Charity is from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith (1 Tim. 1:5). How, I pray thee, shall it be from a pure heart, if it is poisoned by an external contagion? How shall it be from a good conscience, if it is commingled with depraved and evil things? How shall it be from an unfeigned faith if it remains united with the perfidious? While these things have often been said by us, it is nevertheless necessary to repeat them incessantly, and not to be silent as long as the name of “peace” continues to be put forward as an excuse; it is not for us (as the is enviously asserted) to make “peace”, but we nevertheless teach that we want that true peace, which is the only peace, apart from which none other can be shown.

§ 7 Certainly if the dogma of Eutyches, against which the caution of the Apostolic See vigilantly watches, is believed to be consistent with the saving Catholic faith, then it ought to be brought forward plainly and asserted and supported with as much force as possible, for then it will be possible to show not only how inimical it is to the Christian faith itself, but also how many and how deadly are the heresies it contains in its dregs. But if rather (as we are confident you will) you judge that this dogma should be excluded from Catholic minds, I ask you why you do not also suppress the contagion of those who have been shown to be contaminated by it? As the Apostle says: Are only those who do things that ought not to be done guilty, and not also they that consent to them that do them? (cf. Rom 1:32). Accordingly, just as one cannot accept a participant in perversity without equally approving of the perversity, so too, one cannot refute perversity while admitting an accomplice and partisan of perversity.

§ 8 Certainly, by your laws, accomplices of crimes and harbourers of thieves are judged to be bound equally by the same punishment; nor is he considered to have no part in a crime, who, though he did not do it himself, nevertheless accepts the familiarity and the alliance of the doer. Accordingly, when the Council of Chalcedon, celebrated for the Catholic and Apostolic faith and the true communion, condemned Eutyches, the progenitor of those detestable ravings, it did not leave it at that, but likewise also struck down his consort Dioscorus and the rest. In this way, therefore, just as in the case of every heresy there is no ambiguity about what has always been done or what is being done: their successors Timothy [the Cat], Peter [the Hoarse], and the other Peter, the Antiochian, have been cut out— not individually by councils called again to deal with them singly, but once and for all as a consequence of the regular acts of the synod. Therefore, as it has not been clear that even those who were their correspondents and accomplices are all bound with a similar strictness, and are by right wholly separated from the Catholic and Apostolic communion, We hereby declare that Acacius, too, is to be removed from communion with Us, since he preferred to cast in his lot with perfidy rather than to remain in the authentic Catholic and Apostolic communion (though for almost three years he has been authoritatively advised by letters of the Apostolic See, lest it should come to this). But after he went over to another communion, nothing was possible except that he should be at once cut off from association with the Apostolic See, lest on his account, if We delayed even a little, We also should seem to have come into contact with the perfidious. But when he was struck with such a blow, did he come to his senses, did he promise correction, did he emend his error? Would he have been coerced by more lenient treatment, when even harsh blows left no impression? While he tarries in his perfidy and damnation, it is both impossible to use his name in the liturgy of the church, and unnecessary to tolerate any external contact with him. Wherefore he will be led in good faith away from the heretical communion into which he has mixed himself, or there will be no choice but to drive him away with them.

§ 9 But if the bishops of the East murmur, that the Apostolic See did not apply such judgments to them, as if they had either convinced the Apostolic See that Peter [the Hoarse] was to be accepted as legitimate, or had not yet been fully complicit in this unheard-of acceptation: just as they cannot demonstrate that he was free of heretical depravity, neither can they in anyway excuse themselves, being in communion with heretics. If perhaps they should add that they all with one voice reported the reception of Peter [the Hoarse] by Acacius to the Apostolic See, then by the same token they know how he responded to them. But the authority of the Apostolic See— that in all Christian ages it has been set over the universal Church— is confirmed both by a series of canons of the Fathers, and by manifold tradition. But even hence, whether anyone should prevail to usurp anything for himself against the ordinances of the Synod of Nicaea, this can be shown to the college of the one communion, not to the opinion of external society. If anyone has confidence amongst them, let him go out into the midst, and disprove and instruct the Apostolic See concerning each part. Therefore let his name [Acacius] be removed from our midst, which works the separation of churches far from Catholic communion, in order that sincere peace of faith and of communion should be repaired, and unity: and then let it competently and legitimately be investigated which of us either has risen up or struggles to rise up against venerable antiquity. And then shall appear who by modest intention guards the form and tradition of the elders, and who irreverently leaping beyond these, reckons himself able to become equal by robbery.

§ 10 But if it is proposed to me that the character [persona] of the Constantinopolitan people makes it impossible (it is said) that the name of scandal, that is Acacius, be removed; I am silent, because with both the heretic Macedonius formerly having been driven out, and Nestorius recently having been thrown out, the Constantinopolitan people have elected to remain Catholic rather than be retained by affection for their condemned greater prelates. I am silent, because those who had been baptized by these very same condemned prelates, remaining in the Catholic faith, are disturbed by no agitation. I am silent, because for ludicrous things the authority of Your Piety now restrains popular tumults; and thus much more for the necessary salvation of their souls the multitude of the Constantinopolitan city obeys you, if you princes should lead them back unto the Catholic and Apostolic communion. For, Emperor Augustus, if anyone perhaps were to attempt something against public laws (perish the thought!), for no reason would you have been able to suffer it. Do you not reckon it to concern your conscience that the people subject to you should be driven back from the pure and sincere devotion of Divinity? Finally, if the mind of the people of one city is not reckoned to be offended if divine things (as the matter demands) are corrected— how much more does it hold that, lest divine things should be offended, we ought not (nor can we) strike the pious faith of all those of the Catholic name?

§ 11 And nevertheless these same ones demand that they should be healed by our will. Therefore they allow that they can be cured by competent remedies: otherwise (Heaven forfend!) by crossing over into their ruin, we can perish with them, whereas we cannot save them. Now here I leave to your conscience under divine judgement what must rather be done: whether, as We desire, we should return all at once unto certain life; or, as those demand, we should tend unto manifest death.

§ 12 But still they strain to call the Apostolic See proud and arrogant for furnishing them with medicines. The quality of the languishing often has this: that they should accuse rather the medics calling them back to healthful things by fitting observations, than that they themselves should consent to depose or reprove their noxious appetites. If we are proud, because we minister fitting remedies of souls, what are those to be called who resist? If we are proud who say that obedience must be given to paternal decrees, by what name should those be called who oppose them? If we are puffed up, who desire that the divine cult should be served with pure and unblemished tenor; let them say how those who think even against divinity should be named. Thus also do the rest, who are in error, reckon us, because we do not consent to their insanity. Nevertheless, truth herself indicates where the spirit of pride really stands and fights.

[1] Sometimes also as Ad Anastasium, Epistle XII (Thiel), or Epistle VIII (Migne).

[2] Matthew Briel, trans. in: George E. Demacopoulos, The Invention of Peter: Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), pp. 173-180; Bronwen Neil and Pauline Allen, trans., The Letters of Gelasius I (492-496) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), pp. 73-80.

[3] The translation was made by numerous online friends of The Josias in a shared google spreadsheet. The style is therefore uneven. For technical reasons we used Migne’s edition in PL 59, col. 41-47, but we have corrected it in some places with reference to Thiel’s critical edition: Andreas Thiel, ed., Epistolae Romanorum pontificum genuinae et quae ad eos scriptae sunt: a S. Hilaro usque ad Pelagium II., vol. 1 (Braunsberg: E. Peter, 1867), pp. 349-358. For the paragraph numbering we have followed Thiel.

[4] For an account of the period, see: Guy Halsall, Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376–568 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), chs. 9-10.

[5] Neil and Allen, trans., The Letters of Gelasius I, Introduction.

[6] Neil and Allen, trans., The Letters of Gelasius I, p. 71.

[7] Hugo Rahner, S.J., Church and State in Early Christianity, trans. Leo Donald Davis, S.J. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1961), p. 151. As Rahner notes, his book was originally written at a time “when the struggle between Church and state in Nazi Germany was at its height” (p. xi), which goes someway in explaining its tone.

[8] Bronwen Neil and Pauline Allen call it “sententious and pompous” and complain that it is repetitive and overburdens subordinate clauses: The Letters of Gelasius I, p. 67.

[9] George Demacopoulos portrays him as an ineffectual blusterer The Invention of Peter, ch. 3.

[10] See: Aloysius K. Ziegler, “Pope Gelasius I and His Teaching on the Relation of Church and State,” in: The Catholic Historical Review 27.4 (1942), pp. 412-437, at pp. 416-417.

[11] Thiel’s edition contains 43 letters, 49 fragments, and six tractates, filling over 300 pages: Thiel, Epistolae, vol. 1, pp. 285-618.

[12] See: Mario Spinelli, s.v. “Gelasius I,” in: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 3rd ed., vol. IV, eds. Walter Kasper, et al. (Freiburg: Herder, 1995), col. 401-402.

[13] Dioscurus had (verbally) agreed with Eutyches that there was only one nature in Christ. In Alexandria this was held to be the orthodox position, since St. Cyril of Alexandria had used the formula μία φύσις το θεο λόγου σεσαρκωμένη (“one incarnate nature of God the Logos”). Chalcedon, however, defined that Christ was in two natures (ν δύο φύσεσιν). It is now generally held that the disagreement is based on an equivocal use of the word φύσις (nature). See: Theresia Hainthaler, s.v. “Monophysitismus,” in: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, vol. VII, (1998), col. 418-421; W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement: Chapters in the History of the Church in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972).

[14] Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement, p. 155.

[15] Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement,, p. 174.

[16] For the story of the Henotikon see: Ibid., pp. 174-183.

[17] Zeno, Henotikon, in: The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus, trans. Michael Whitby (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), III,14; pp. 147-149, at p. 147.

[18] Zeno, Henotikon, p. 149.

[19] One of the orthodox “Sleepless Monks” was able to pin the pope’s excommunication to Acacius’s vestments during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy: Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement, pp. 182-183.

[20] Frend, The Rise of the Monophysite Movement,, p. 190.

[21] Neil and Allen, trans., The Letters of Gelasius I, pp. 37-38.

[22] Rahner, Church and State, pp. 154-155.

[23] See: Brian Tierney, The Crisis of Church and State (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), p. 10; Robert Louis Benson, “The Gelasian Doctrine: Uses And Transformations,” in: George Makdisi, et al., eds., La notion d’autorité au Moyen Age: Islam, Byzance, Occident: Colloques internationaux de La Napoule, session des 23-26 octobre 1978 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1982), pp. 13-44.

[24] See: John Courtney Murray, S.J., We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1960), especially pp. 202-203; George Weigel, “Catholicism and Democracy: Parsing the Other Twentieth-Century Revolution,” in: Michael Novak, William Brailsford, and Cornelis Heesters, eds. A Free Society Reader: Principles for the New Millennium (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2000), pp. 141-165, at pp. 150-151. Cf. my critique of the Whig Thomists: “Integralism and Gelasian Dyarchy,” in: The Josias, March 3, 2016: (accessed March 28, 2020), part 4.

[25] Erich Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums von den Anfängen bis zur Höhe der Weltherrschaft, vol. 2 (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1933), p. 67 (translation my own).

[26] Alan Cottrell, “Auctoritas and Potestas: A Reevaluation of the Correspondence of Gelasius I on Papal-Imperial Relations,” in: Medieval Studies 55 (1993), pp. 95-109, at p. 96. (This is not Cottrell’s own view).

[27] Michael Hanby, “For and Against Integralism,” in: First Things 301.4 (2020), pp. 43-50. Hanby does not explicitly mention Gelasius, but it is clear that the Gelasian teaching is in the background of his discussion of auctoritas and potestas, especially since he quotes Walter Ullmann’s interpretation of Gelasius (p. 45).

[28] Hanby, “For and Against Integralism,” p. 45.

[29] Hanby, “For and Against Integralism,” p. 45.

[30] Walter Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages: A Study in the Ideological Relation of Clerical to Lay Power, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1962), pp. 12-13, note 5.

[31] Caspar, Geschichte des Papsttums, p. 66.

[32] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 21.

[33] Ernst Stein, “La Période Byzantine de la Papauté,” in: The Catholic Historical Review 21.2 (1935), pp. 129-163, at p. 135. Hanby complains about me: “Waldstein does not think philosophically about the distinction between auctoritas and potestas, which he treats more or less synonymously” (Hanby, “For and Against Integralism,” p. 47). I wonder if he would make the same complaint about St. Gelasius in Tractate IV.

[34] Ziegler, “Pope Gelasius I and His Teaching,” p. 432, note 66; the quotation from Felix can be found in: Thiel, Epistolae, vol. 1, p. 272; translation in: Jeffrey Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages, 476-752 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 62.

[35] In the light of the subsequent development of Church teaching one could save something like Erich Caspar’s interpretation as follows: The relationship between the spiritual and temporal powers in temporal matters would be modeled on the relationship between the senate and the magistrates in the Republic. Auctoritas would mean moral authority. Potestas would be coercive force, prescinding from whether it is united to moral authority or not. So it would be wrong to see potestas as mere violence but violence would be included as well as rightly ordered force. The pope would have both auctoritas and potestas in the spiritual order. In the temporal order he would exercise auctorias, and his auctoritas would guarantee the right order of the potestas of temporal rulers. See: Thomas Crean and Alan Fimister, Integralism: A Manual of Political Philosophy (Neunkirchen-Seelscheid: Editiones Scholasticae, 2020), p. 72.

[36] Demacopoulos, The Invention of Peter, p. 90.

[37] Demacopoulos, The Invention of Peter, pp. 8-9.

[38] John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, 8th ed. (London: Longmans, Green, and co., 1891), p. 40.

[39] Demacopoulos, The Invention of Peter, pp. 90-91; cf. Ullmann’s similar argument in The Growth of Papal Government, pp. 23-26.

[40] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 28.

[41] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 11.

[42] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 3.

[43] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 12.

[44] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 20.

[45] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 22.

[46] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 24.

[47] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 28.

[48] Robert W. Dyson, St. Augustine of Hippo: The Christian Transformation of Political Philosophy (London: Continuum, 2005), ch. 5.

[49] Rahner, Church and State, p. 157.


L’amore come principio di comunicazione nel bene

Peter A. Kwasniewski

1. L’antinomia contemporanea

È un ben noto assioma dell’ etica tomistica che, qualunque bene si ami, lo si ama come bene proprio (bonum suum). Ma allora come può esservi una vera extasis, un vero andare fuori da se stessi per amore di un altro?[1] Come può esservi autentico amore dell’ altro per l’altro? L’amore non si riduce a egoismo? E l’unica alternativa pratica o teorica non sarebbe l’altruismo, cioè una sorta di spontaneo donare agli altri senza alcun riferimento a sestessi e al proprio bene?

Continue reading “L’amore come principio di comunicazione nel bene”

A Hymn to Christ the King by Erich Przywara

In 1915 the Jesuit priest and composer Josef Kreitmaier published a collection of hymns entitled Unsere Kirche. The music was by Kreitmaier himself, but the texts were by a young Jesuit seminarian, later to become one of the most influential of Catholic philosophers and theologians in the 20th century: Erich Przywara (1889-1972). One of the hymns in the collection was a hymn to Christ the King, entitled “Liebe bis ans Ende,” (love unto the end) but usually known by its first verse, “O Du mein Heiland hoch und hehr” (O Thou my Saviour glorious). This hymn received an unexpected boost in popularity ten years later, when Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King. Soon it was sung in Churches throughout the German speaking world on the Feast Day. Continue reading “A Hymn to Christ the King by Erich Przywara”

On Civil Authority, and on the Relations between Church and State

by Ireneo González Moral, S.J.

Translated by Timothy Wilson

Continuing our series of original translations of texts on Catholic political philosophy, we here offer an excerpt from a treatise on ethics by Fr. Ireneo González Moral, S.J. It is taken from vol. 3 of the manual Philosophiæ Scholasticæ Summa (BAC 1952), by the Jesuit Professors of the Philosophical Faculties in Spain, pp. 788-800. This particular selection deals very briefly with some matters concerning civil authority, and then proceeds to a lengthy and systematic examination of the question of what kinds of relations can and should exist between the civil power and the Church.



1052. Nexus. We have treated of the origin and the original subject of civil authority. Now we wish to examine in more detail its extension or objective comprehension, the diverse ways in which political power is able to be acquired through derivation, the diverse forms which it is able to put on, and finally its different functions.

§1. On the comprehension of civil authority as regards its object.

1053. 1. General principles for resolving the question.[1] In this part, we wish to see how far civil power is able to extend itself in different questions which occur in civil society, that is, in material or economic, in moral, in religious questions; it is necessary, therefore, to have at the outset some general and fundamental principles for giving the right solution in all things.

1. The civil power has all those rights, and only those, which may be necessary for the fitting achievement of its end; this is clear from the end of society.

2. The civil power is able to command nothing which may be contrary to certain divine will. For since every authority descends from God, He is not able to concede to the same the power of subverting the order established by Himself.

3. The civil power, in the distributing of goods and burdens which are common, is held to observe distributive justice; for the common good demands this.

4. The civil power ought to govern according to a legitimate mode of governing in each and every society; for in this way, the rights of the subjects, both natural and positive, will be preserved.

1054. In the aforementioned four principles, the civil authority has an infallible norm in the exercise of its own activity; subjects also will find in them the guardianship of their own liberty and independence, so far as they are able to correspond with social life.

Treating of the end of civil society, we have seen that things of this sort include the protection of the rights of the subjects and the positive promotion of public prosperity; hence, the civil authority ought to defend directly all the rights of the subjects, both the private rights of individuals, families, and particular associations; and the public rights or relations between the citizens and civil society, and between civil society and other societies, in the first place the Church. Pertaining directly also to the civil authority is the positive promotion of all goods which are required for public prosperity, as has been said.

Whatever might also be necessary for the securing of the things aforesaid pertains to the civil authority, as e.g. the election and institution of public officials, the exaction of taxes, the erection of tribunals, etc.; but these pertain to it in an indirect manner.

1055. 2. On public decency. From the things just now said, there can arise a difficulty. Since decency of morals confers most of all to the public good, will care for decency of morals also pertain directly to the public authority?

a) Private decency, which consists in the especially interior acts of each person, by which he may accommodate himself to the norm of natural or supernatural morality, does not at all pertain to the civil authority, since it is not able to judge of purely interior matters; furthermore, this private decency is not referred per se to the common good, which is to be achieved by common cooperation.

b) Public decency, which consists in such a conformation of society that not only removes incitements to vice, so far as is possible, but also positively promotes virtue and encourages all toward it, certainly pertains to the necessary conditions of the common prosperity, and the activity of the civil authority extends itself to it.

1056. What the care of public decency demands. 1) That it impede all those things which are able to obstruct the practice of virtue, e.g. public prostitution, obscene houses, books contrary to good morals; 2) that legislation be of such a kind, that it not only does not impede the practice of virtue, but even positively promotes it; 3) that it should commend public offices to those men who are able to be an example to others.

1057. 3. On the care of religion in the purely natural order. It is asked, whether care of religion would pertain to the civil authority, in the hypothetical case in which there did not exist some supernatural society—the Church—to whom the care of religion was committed.

It seems that it ought to be answered affirmatively. For society itself, as such, is held to render worship to God (because of benefits received, because of the necessity of religious worship for civil society itself, and finally, because of its necessity for the subjects);[2] but since in the purely natural order, there would not be another society, at least a public one, to which the care of religion would be given, it follows that care of religion would pertain to the civil authority, which would fulfill a duty of this sort in the name of society.

But if some private society were formed for this, this society necessarily would depend upon public authority, just as any other societies of the merely private order. But this power would be contained within limits far more restricted than is the supernatural power of the Church now.

§2. On the relations between civil society and the Church


Thesis 58. Separation of any sort between the Church and civil society is to be rejected.

Ottaviani, A., Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, 2nd ed. vol. 2, p. 75ff; R. Sotillo, Comp. Iuris publ. eccl. 2nd ed. (Santander 1951); Cappello, F., Summa iuris publici Eccles. 3rd ed. p. 266ff; Bendiscioli, La Política de la Santa Sede, span. vers. 1943, pp. 35-50; Chenon, El papel social de la Iglesia p. 146ff; G. Martínez, F., Credo Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam pp. 1-45; Maritain, J., Primacía de lo espiritual, span. vers. by Mariano Argüello (Buenos Aires 1947); Castañeda, E., El poder indirecto en el Dr. Navarro: Archivo Teológico Granadino 6 (1942) 63-93; Cathrein, Filos. morale vol. 2, pp. 604-624; Donat, Ethica vol. 2, p. 238ff.

1058. Nexus. We have the fact of the existence of this society which is called the Church, which declares itself to be a society perfect and supernatural, and which manifestly proves its constitution and aforementioned properties with such arguments as cannot be denied even in the merely philosophic order. This being posited, it is for us to inquire what sort of relations ought to be between these two perfect societies existing at the same time and in the same place, that is, between civil society and the Church.

1059. Notions. 1. The CHURCH: is a society that is supernatural, visible, perfect and independent, instituted by Christ our Lord, and governed by His Vicar, the Supreme Pontiff, for the direct care of religion and for the eternal salvation of souls.[3]

a) Society: or some multitude of men stably united unto a common end under some authority. b) Supernatural: on account of its origin and most of all on account of its means and end. c) Visible: for the following are visible: the material element of the Church (men), the formal element, and the means. d) Perfect: because it has all the elements and power which are required for acquiring its end, independent. e) Independent: for in no way does it depend upon any other society. f) Instituted by Christ our Lord, Who both established the Church, and gave to it His divine mission. g) Governed by His Vicar, or monarchically constituted. h) Religious, for the direct care of religion was committed to it. i) Supernatural: for it provides for the eternal salvation of souls.

1060. 2. SEPARATION: by this is understood that state of public affairs in which civil society regards the Church as something merely private and disjoined from public life.

1061. WHAT THIS IMPLIES: 1) Negatively: in a regime of separation, the Church is not had as a corporation of public right; its jurisdiction is not recognized, nor are its ordinances defended by the civil authority, nor are privileges of worship conceded to its ministers, such as exemption from military service, or from taxes, nor are subsidies given to them; the ministry of the Church in public organs, e.g. in schools and the armed forces, is not admitted. 2) Positively: Liberty, according to the right common to all, is granted to the Church so that it might establish itself after the manner of some private society, which in all things is subject to the laws of private societies, with the rights and obligations annexed to the same.

Therefore, so long as it is not opposed to civil laws, the Church will be free in internal things, in worship, in doctrine, in rule; any of its goods and rights are defended by the civil authority.

But the civil authority arrogates to itself the right to govern by its own authority all things, even religious, insofar as they touch civil life, as e.g. schools, matrimony, funerals, and ownership.

N.B. Separation properly speaking is not present if only liberty of worship is had, or if equality is granted to all religions; for, this notwithstanding, the Church is able to enjoy the rights and privileges of public corporations, most of all with respect to the ordering of schools and the regulation of marriages according to the doctrine of the Church.

In reality there is not found a perfect separation, since contact between either society is not able to be avoided; thus, at most it is able to be more or less perfect; sometimes it is established in order to avoid a regime of persecution and hostility (amicable separation); but sometimes—which more often happens—it is instituted in order to plague and oppress the Church, and restrict her liberty in preaching, in the administration of goods, in founding schools (hostile separation).

1062. State of the question. We suppose the fact of the institution of the Church, and that she is a society that is perfect, visible, spiritual, universal, and completely free.

Between it and civil society, existing mingled together, diverse relations can be found[4]:

a) Friendship or perfect concord, that is, if they are closely and perfectly united, and mutually respect and sincerely help one another.

b) Enmity and persecution (hostile separation), that is, if civil society harries and persecutes the Church, even as a private association.

c) Separation (amicable separation) of liberty and indifference, that is, if civil society neither positively assists the Church, nor persecutes her, but rather prescinds from her, considering her not as a perfect society, but as one merely private, just as any other society, e.g. literary, industrial, etc.

It is inquired in the thesis: is this regime of separation something to be admitted?

1063. Opinions. 1. The first opinion holds to the hegemony of civil society, and attributes supreme power to the civil authority, subjecting the Church entirely to civil society. After Marsilius Patavinus (14th cent.), who professed this system, many regalists of every age henceforth have defended it, as well as many modern positivist jurists.

2. The liberals in particular defend perfect separation, who prefer the Church to be free in the churches and in some activities of private life, but not in all; yet in the whole of her external activity they wish her to be subject to the civil authority, which is able to intervene directly in ecclesiastical affairs. Nor do they suffer the Church, as they say, to mix herself up in political matters; thus do they abusively call any external activity of the Church.[5]

Certain authors in our own times, led by Maritain, seem to defend something similar.

3. Our opinion. We defend as certain that a regime of separation of this sort is not at all per se to be wished for; yet we do not deny that sometimes it is able to be tolerated or even chosen per accidens as a lesser evil, in order to avoid open persecution of the Church even as a private society. But when there may be given sufficient cause for permitting a regime of this sort, is for the Church herself to determine.

1064. It is proved. 1°. From the divine wisdom. Christ, establishing the Church, was not able to will a regime disordered and liable to commotions. But such would be a regime of any kind of separation between the Church and civil society. Therefore the regime of separation between the Church and civil society is per se to be rejected.

Major: It is evident given the infinite wisdom and sanctity of the founder of the Church.

Minor: Often there are two jurisdictions to be exercised over the same subjects, in the same territory, about the same matter, at the same time, e.g. about feast days, about impediments of matrimony…Hence, if civil society should not recognize the Church as a perfect society, nor admit the juridical personality of the same, and her supreme power concerning those things which are proper to her, necessarily there will be conflicts; for one society is able to declare e.g. some day to be festive, but the other that it is not; one might say that some matrimony is valid, but the other might say it is invalid, etc.

1065. 2°. From the obligation which society has of rendering worship to God.

Civil society, in the order in which we find ourselves, is obliged to render to God Catholic worship. But this implies a necessary relation between the Church and civil society. Therefore any kind of regime of separation between the Church and civil society cannot be admitted.

Major: For to God is owed the worship which He Himself wishes; but He expressly has manifested Himself to desire that all render to Him Catholic worship.

Minor: The care of Catholic worship of this sort has been committed expressly to the Church by God; therefore civil society is not able to arrogate to itself the regulation of this kind of worship. It pertains therefore to the Church to command that magistrates and public officials be present at religious ceremonies, and to establish those things which are connected with social worship.

1066. The doctrine of the Church concerning this matter. It is best declared: by Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§6-8, 10-15, 18, 21-22, 34-35; Libertas præstantissimum §§14-22, where the doctrines of liberalism are exposed and refuted, and most of all at §§38-41; by Pius XI, Dilectissima nobis §6-7.

1067. Objections. 1. The end of civil society is the public prosperity to be obtained in this life; but the end of the Church is eternal felicity, which is to be obtained in another life. But each society is best able to achieve its own end, so that it ought not to have any relation with the other. Therefore separation between civil society and the Church ought not to be rejected.

I respond. I distinguish the major: such that it ought to be subordinated to the final end, that is, to perfect felicity in another life, I concede; otherwise, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor.

2. That the Church might be able to achieve her end, it suffices that she have liberty within her own sphere. But in a regime of separation between the Church and civil society, this liberty is conceded to the Church. Therefore the separation of the Church from the State is not to be rejected.

I respond. I distinguish the major: the liberty due to her, I concede; only tolerance and a portion of liberty, but not all which is due to her, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor.

3. A regime different from the regime of separation supposes that social authority knows the true religion. But generally this does not happen. Therefore at least then, the regime of separation is better.

I respond. I distinguish the major: the civil authority is able, if it wishes, to know it, I concede; otherwise, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor. For the true religion, by means of evident signs, reveals itself to any who should be willing to know it.

4. In a society in which different religions are professed by the citizens—as often happens—to recognize one, but not the others, as a perfect society, would beget hostility against the worshipers of that religion. But then this regime would harm the worshipers of the true religion. Therefore at least then, the regime of separation is to be preferred.

I respond. I distinguish the major: and this harm would spring forth from the malice of those men, I concede; from the nature of the regime itself, I deny. Thus, in practice the Church will consider what is more agreeable for avoiding greater evils. For at present we set forth the doctrine from is to be supported from the nature of civil society and the Church.

5. It seems that the regime of separation of civil society from the Church is to be preferred; for in this way other civil societies which do not recognize the Church, whether from fault or inculpably, in the same manner will be moved to tolerate the Catholic religion as a society merely private; otherwise, if this tolerance for other religions is not had in Catholic nations, tolerance for the Catholic religion will not be able to be urged in other nations.

I respond. I deny the assertion. The tolerance of error, such that truth also would be destroyed, of itself is to be rejected. For the truth alone has the right to rule in the intellects of men. The trouble which would follow from other quarters would arise, not from the nature of religion and from the reverence toward the true religion, but extrinsically and from the malice of men.

6. The practice of separation, e.g. in the United States of America, demonstrates that it is the best regime.[6]

I respond. I distinguish the assertion: Per accidens in some regions, I concede; per se, and as the ideal regime, I deny.


Thesis 59. In matters merely civil, the State is independent of the Church (I); in matters moral and religious, the Church is independent of the State (II); but in mixed matters, unless a mutual concord be obtained through convention, the supreme authority is with the Church (III).

1068. Nexus. We see that the Church and civil society are not able to be separated; now we wish to see what sorts of relations ought in fact to exist between them.

1069. Notions. MATTERS MERELY CIVIL. Here are understood those things which, because of their end or destination, tend toward merely temporal prosperity, e.g. exaction of taxes, the ordering of public servants, custody of order, public health, national defense, ways of communication, postal and telephone services, etc.

1070. MATTERS MERELY MORAL AND RELIGIOUS. These refer to all those things which singly look to morals or to the salvation of souls: e.g. faith, administration of the sacraments, preaching of the Gospel, etc.

1071. MIXED MATTERS. These are those things which at once have a twofold aspect, namely, temporal and religious.

a) Mixed per se are those things which by their nature have this twofold aspect, e.g. matrimony between Christians, and education.[7]

b) Mixed per accidens are those things which of their nature are merely temporal things, but per accidens take on a religious aspect, e.g. ordering of the military, which of its nature is a merely temporal action; yet to ordain it such that soldiers are not able to be present at religious rites on feast days, endues it with a religious aspect; possession of some building is a merely temporal affair, but if this building is intended for worship, or for the residence of sacred persons, it participates in a religious aspect.[8]

1072. MUTUAL CONVENTION. By mutual convention there is understood the mode of proceeding pacifically in these matters, by previously determining what, in any affair, should pertain in practice to each society, mediated by some mutual pact which is accustomed to be called a concordat or manner of living. But in this pact, each member cedes a little from its right, so that a perfect and mutual concord might be able to be had, limiting well what should pertain to either society in these mixed matters; e.g. in the military service of clergy, in youth associations, in education, in matrimony, etc.

We must note that concordats are neither the only nor the more perfect solution.[9]

1073. State of the question. There are matters and questions which, of their nature, are merely temporal, nor do they bespeak in any way a relation to spiritual things; we treat of these in the first part, so that we might see whether in them the Church may make intervention. On the other hand there are others which especially present a spiritual aspect. We treat of these latter in the second part, that we might see whether civil society is able to intervene in some way in these things. There are, finally, other matters which, of their nature, pertain to both societies; we treat of these in the third part, so that we might see whose is the ultimate and definitive decision in a case of conflict, and how these might be able to be forestalled.

1074. Opinions. 1. The first is of those who are opposed to the preceding thesis.

2. Some mediævals[10], perhaps many, asserted that all power, both spiritual and temporal, has been given by God to the Church, such that princes would not rule peoples except by power received from the Roman Pontiff, and thus they would be directly subject to the jurisdiction of the Church. They therefore conceive of the State as a counterpart of the diocese.[11]

3. Radical liberals and regalists. These make the Church entirely dependent upon the State. For them, the Church is as it were an instrument of the State; this is also the doctrine of modern statolatrists of every sort.[12]

4. All moderate liberals concede to the State supremacy over the Church in mixed matters.[13]

5. Our opinion: a) in the first part we assert the full independence of the State in merely temporal affairs; b) but in the second part, the full independence of the Church in merely moral and religious affairs, i.e. in those which look especially to the sanctification of souls; c) but in the third part we state the supremacy of the Church in mixed matters, that is, we defend that which by many is called the indirect power of the Church in temporal matters, by reason of the spiritual element conjoined with the temporal.

Hence in this third part we assert the indirect subordination of the State in all things which, although of their nature temporal, are either united with spiritual things or are referred to them; and thus they are subordinate by reason of the end or destination.[14]

The first part is proved: In merely civil affairs the State is entirely independent

1075. For this reason, that the Church does not think herself to have any power in these matters.

The State enjoys that independence which it had before the institution of the Church, unless it be proved that the limits to this independence were placed through the institution of the Church. But before the institution of the Church, the State had full independence in merely temporal affairs, nor can it be proved that limits were placed upon it through the institution of the Church. Therefore the State is independent from the Church in merely temporal matters.

Major: For the State is in possession of power.

Minor: a) In respect of the first part, from the nature of the State and from history.

b) In respect of the second part: 1) It is not proved indirectly, for this indirect limitation would not have a reason except on account of the end of the Church. But even now the end of the Church—the sanctification of souls—does not postulate these limits, since for this, it is not at all required that the Church be able to ordain merely civil affairs, e.g. to determine taxes to be required by the State, composing agrarian laws, etc.; no indeed, this would rather be harmful to the end of the Church, because it would excite innumerable offenses.

2) Nor is it proved directly from the positive will of Jesus Christ granting such power to the Church, for nowhere is such a will revealed.

3) The Church expressly acknowledges that power in merely civil affairs does not at all belong to her.[15]

The second part is proved: In moral and religious matters, the Church is independent from the State.

1076. 1. From the positive will of Christ.

The Church, as a society, must be believed to have that independence which Christ willed to confer upon it. But Christ conferred to the Church fully independent power in matters merely spiritual and religious. Therefore the Church has full independence in matters moral and spiritual.

Major: Since Christ, the founder of the Church, is God, He is able to confer to the Church the power which He freely wishes.

Minor: a) Jesus Christ communicated all regal power which He had to the Church represented in the Apostles: (John 18:37: I am a king; Matt 28:18: all power has been given to me in heaven and on earth; Matt 28:20: going therefore teach ye all nations). But now Christ is not a king without a kingdom, nor does he have a kingdom without supreme rights; but since His perduring kingdom is the Church, He granted to her the power which He Himself had, that is, supreme power, independent relative to the supernatural end committed to her.[16]

b) It had been understood thus from the beginning by the Apostles, who always conducted themselves as equipped with a supreme and independent power with regard to moral and spiritual matters, by preaching the Gospel even against supreme legislators and human kings, and administering the sacraments: which would not have been licit for them, if the Church were not independent of the State in spiritual affairs.[17]

1077. 2. From the necessity of the Church’s end.

Christ bestowed upon the Church an end, to be attained necessarily; all things therefore which might be necessary for this, He granted to her. But that the Church might be able to achieve her end, it is required that she have full independence from the State in matters moral and spiritual. Therefore the Church is independent from the State in matters moral and spiritual.

Major: Mark 16:16: He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.

Minor: The diversity of nations and the mutability of kingdoms being considered, since the Church is a spiritual kingdom, full independence is for her altogether necessary; otherwise, perpetual variations in her laws and in policy from States would be required, to the very great detriment of souls.

1078. 3. From the preeminence of the Church.

Christ could not have willed a higher power to depend upon another and inferior power. But the power of the Church is higher than the power of the State, as is clear from their origin and end. Therefore the Church does not depend upon the State in matters spiritual and moral.[18]

1079. Corollary. 1. Some applications of the independence of the Church. The Church is therefore independent in teaching; in administering the sacraments; in the ordering of divine worship; in drawing up laws and in communicating them with the faithful; in the election both of bishops and of parish priests; in the institution of clergy; in decreeing penalties, the effect of which ought to be recognized by the State; in founding and fostering religious orders, for the members of which there is the right that they might follow the evangelical counsels under the direction of the Church.

Similarly, she has the right of freely acquiring and administering material things, without which no human society is able to exist.

The State cannot in any way impede the communication of bishops or parish priests with their faithful, and a fortiori there is not required any placet regium or exequatur[19] of the civil government in order that ecclesiastical acts might have force; nor do many other similar things which modern States allot to themselves truly belong to them.

All civil laws also which are concerned with spiritual matters, if they are drawn up without the consent of the Church, and infringe upon her rights, are utterly invalid, since they lack the due competence.[20]

1080. 2. On the indirect power of the Church. It also is concluded, from the first and second part, that the Church has no direct power over the State, or vice versa, at least if the relation between the jurisdictions qua jurisdictions be considered.

A direct power of some society toward another is had when one society is subordinated to another by reason of its own end, that is, if the same end is also intended directly by another society, e.g. a province or district depends directly upon the State. An indirect power is had when one is subordinated to another by reason of an end intended by a superior power, or if both societies are referred to the same thing but under a different aspect; for order then demands that the superior right should prevail: thus the power of the head of the family is subordinated to the State. When there is had an indirect power of one society over another, then there is had an indirect independence of the inferior society from the superior society.

The third part is proved: In mixed matters, the supreme authority lies with the Church.

1081. As a corollary of the preceding thesis.

Between the powers of the Church and the State, there ought to be some relation. But no other proper relation is able to exist between them, except that the Church should have supreme authority in mixed matters. Therefore in mixed matters the supreme authority lies with the Church.

Major: From the preceding thesis.

Minor: Relations other than the aforementioned would not be proper:

1) In the first and second part of this thesis we excluded a direct power of the Church over matters merely temporal, and likewise of the State in matters moral and spiritual.

2) The supreme decision concerning a matter in which there is present something spiritual and something temporal is not able to lie indirectly with the State; for this would be a disorder, since it would subordinate a superior thing to an inferior. Therefore there remains no other option but that the supreme decision is with the spiritual power, because the temporal matter depends indirectly upon the spiritual, as is said in the second corollary of the preceding part.

1082. The doctrine of the Church concerning the relations between her and the State in mixed matters is admirably set forth by Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§13-15.

1083. Scholion. On Concordats. Concerning concordats, we should note that a regime founded upon a concordat is not the ideal regime; for in these, the Church always cedes something without any compensation; for those things which seem to be compensations are already due to her from other quarters. Yet the Church accepts and promotes concordats, seeing that she very much desires concord and peaceful relations with civil society.[21]

1084. Objections. 1. The care of public prosperity was committed to the State by natural right. But care of public prosperity requires also care of religion. Therefore the care of religion pertains also to the State.

I respond. I distinguish the major: dependently or independently, I concede; in respect of religion, I subdistinguish: in the purely natural order, I concede; in the supernatural order, I deny. I concede the minor. I equally distinguish the consequence.

2. If this thesis is admitted, the rights of the State are diminished through the institution of the Church, and its condition is made worse, which is not able to be admitted. Therefore the State in no way depends upon the Church.

I respond. I distinguish the antecedent: in respect of things other than religion, I deny; in respect of religion, I subdistinguish: in respect of private religion, which was never subjected to the State, I deny; in respect of public religion, I subdistinguish: in respect of the power of ordering and defining it, I concede; in respect of the power of protecting and promoting it, I deny; this rather is amplified, because now it extends itself even to the protection of the rights of the Church.

The condition of the State simply speaking is not made worse, for the condition of the Christian State simply speaking is better; only per accidens is it made worse, that is, insofar as its power is diminished in the sense explained.

3. If the Church were independent from the State, then we would have a State within a State. But this state of affairs cannot be admitted. Therefore the Church is not independent from the State.

I respond. I distinguish the major: the Church is in the State, as a society of the same end and power, I deny; as a society of a higher order, I concede. Rather, the State is within the Church, for the latter is more universal. I contradistinguish the minor (cf. García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, nos. 29-30).

4. The State has the right of impeding, lest it suffer some detriment from the Church. But if the decision in mixed matters were to pertain to the Church, the State would be able to suffer detriment at the hands of the Church. Therefore the supreme power in these matters is not with the Church.

I respond. I distinguish the major: with proportionate means, as e.g. monitions, information, postulations, etc., I concede; with disproportionate means, as by exercising jurisdiction in moral and spiritual matters without a concession of the Church, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor (cf. García, p. 37).

5. The Church is a spiritual society. But power over temporal things does not belong to a spiritual society. Therefore in mixed matters the supreme power lies with the State.

I respond. I distinguish the major: by reason of the end, I concede; by reason of persons and all means, I deny. I contradistinguish the minor: if it were spiritual in every aspect, I concede; otherwise, I subdistinguish: a direct power over temporal things, I concede; indirect, I deny.

6. The Church does not have coercive power. But in order that some society be perfect and independent, it is required that it have coercive power. Therefore the Church is not a perfect society, independent from the State.

I respond. I distinguish the major: through spiritual means, I deny; through physical means, I subdistinguish: she does not have the right to exert physical coercion either per se or through recourse to the civil power, in order to demand help of it, I deny; often she does not have the actual power of compelling through physical force directly, if the civil authority should deny cooperation to her, I concede. But this is not required for the essence of the right. I contradistinguish the minor.

7. For a perfect and independent society, it is required that it have territory. But the Church does not have territory. Therefore it is not a perfect and independent society.

I respond. I distinguish the major: in which it might be able to exercise true jurisdiction, I concede; in which it might also have civil power, that is, over temporal matters, I subdistinguish: generally it is required for civil society, I concede; for any society whatever, I deny. But the Church also has this territory, even though it be very small. I contradistinguish the minor.

8. If these things were true, then the indirect power would need to be granted to the Church in nearly all temporal matters, since all things are able to be conjoined with spiritual things. But this is an entirely inadmissible doctrine. Therefore the indirect power in mixed matters does not belong to the Church.

I respond. a) If the arguments are true, the doctrine ought not to be rejected because of the fact that it must needs be extended to more things than many believe. b) There are many things which produce no conflict with the spiritual end of the Church; and to these the indirect power of the Church does not extend itself.

9. This doctrine is agreeable neither to our times nor to the dignity of the State, and it is impossible that it be brought back into practice. Therefore it ought to be rejected.

I respond. I distinguish the antecedent: it is not agreeable in our times to the erroneous ideas which many have about the power of the State, and about its dignity, I concede; it is not agreeable to objective truth and a proper estimation of the dignity of the State, I deny. It is not able to be brought into practice in its whole purity, on account of the exaggerated statism existing nearly everywhere, I pass over; it is not able to be brought into practice at least in a determinate way through concordats between the Church and the State, in which the Church most benevolently is accustomed to cede something from her right, for the good of peace and harmony, I deny.

10. The Church has claimed for herself a direct power even over merely temporal matters. For Boniface VIII, in the Bull Ausculta fili, says: for God has set Us over kings and kingdoms; and in the Bull Unam sanctam, he says: Furthermore, We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

I respond: in these testimonies, as is clear from context as well as history, Boniface VIII only asserted the indirect power of the Church over temporal matters, or by reason of the spiritual element with which they are joined, as is shown by the classic phrase ratione peccati, “by reason of sin” (cf. Chenon, op. cit., p. 153ff; Pilati, op. cit. pp. 329-354).

[1] Cf. Cathrein, Filos. morale vol. 2, pp. 593-604; Phil. Moralis n. 623ff.

[2] Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §6.

[3] We take this definition from ecclesiastical documents; cf. e.g. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§8-12. The theologians and canonists prove this brilliantly; cf. e.g. Salaverri, J., De Ecclesia Christi: Sacræ Theologiæ Summa (BAC Madrid 1950) vol. 1, tract. 3, p. 785ff.

[4] Cf. Cappello, Summa Iuris publici Eccles., p.270ff; Chenon, El papel social de la Iglesia, p. 171 n. 50; Bendiscioli, La política de la Santa Sede, p. 45ff.

[5] Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas præstantissimum §14-16, 29-31, 38-41.

[6] Cf. Chenon, El papel social de la Iglesia, p. 172.

[7] Cf. Pius XI, Divini illius magistri §§26-27; Mérida, Carta pastoral sobre la restauración Cristiana de le enseñanza (Astorga 1947) pp. 40-41.

[8] Cf. Rodríguez Sotillo, Comp. publi. eccles., p. 210

[9] Cf. the best source concerning this matter, Fidel García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, n. 38; Benoist, Las leyes de la política, p. 205ff.

[10] Cf. Castañeda, El poder indirecto…: Archivo Teológico Granadino 5 (1942) 69ff.

[11] Cf. Chenon, El papel social de la Iglesia, p. 148.

[12] Cf. Syllabus errorum, props. 19, 20, 24.

[13] Cf. Syllabus errorum, props. 41-42, 54.

[14] Cf. Código social de Malinas no. 53-56; García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, no. 33-35, 38; Pilati, G., Bonifacio VIII e il potere indiretto: Antonianum 8 (1933) 329-354; Castañeda, El poder indirecto, p. 67-68 (here he sets forth well what are the elements of the indirect power); Yaben, El poder indirecto de la Iglesia y sus aplicaciones actuals: Revista Eclesiástica 5 (1933) 131-153; 6 (1934) 257-273.

[15] Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §14; Diuturnum illud §26.

[16] Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§10-12.

[17] Cf. García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, pp. 20-21; Salaverri, De Ecclesia Christi nos. 937-971.

[18] Cf. Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§10, 14.

[19] The regium placet, as the article concerning it in the Catholic Encyclopedia relates, is “a faculty which civil rulers impart to a Bull, papal brief, or other ecclesiastical enactment in order to give it binding force in their respective territories.” Cardinal Tarquini, in his celebrated Dissertatio de regio placet, writes with the mind of the Church when he characterizes it as an egregious usurpation of the Church’s rights and jurisdiction and an overturning of the order of things, setting the student as judge over the teacher and the son over the mother: “ne quid fari libere valeat, iudicem imponit filium matri, discipulum magistræ, interdicens perduellionis scelere populos ne huic magistræ ac matri morem gerant, nisi discipulus filiusque permiserit.” — Tr.

[20] Cf. García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, p. 23 scholion, and p. 38 scholion.

[21] Cf. García, Credo Sanctam Catholicam, n. 38 with the note.