A collection of personal reflections. Copyright © 2005-2011 K. Gurries

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FAQ's On Church and State

1. How are the origins of the Church and the State distinct?
The Church has its origin by way of divine positive law. The State, on the other hand, has its origin by way of the natural law: “The origin of the Church, unlike that of the State, does not arise from natural law. . . The Church derives from a positive act of God which is beyond and above man's social character but in perfect harmony with it.” (Cf. Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the Auditors of the Rota, 2 October 1945; Acta Apost. Sedis, 1945, pp. 256-62)

2. How is authority transmitted differently to each power?
In the Church, authority is transmitted directly from above. In the State, however, authority is transmitted by way of the people – that is, indirectly from below: "If we consider the favourite thesis of democracy (a thesis constantly defended by great Christian thinkers)—that is, that the subject of the political power that derives from God is, first and foremost, the people (not, indeed, the "masses"), the distinction between Church and State, even a democratic State, becomes ever clearer. . . Ecclesiastical power is in fact essentially different from civil power. . . This fundamental difference is manifest at one point above all. Unlike the foundation of the State, the foundation of the Church, as a society, was carried out not from below but from above. (Cf. Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the Auditors of the Rota, 2 October 1945; Acta Apost. Sedis, 1945, pp. 256-62)

3. What is the distinct end or purpose of each society?
The Church and the State are a complement to each other in view of man’s supernatural and temporal welfare: “This last difference between the two societies, based upon their respective ends, undoubtedly excludes that violent subjection of the Church to the State…But it does not exclude every kind of union between the two societies…Such a view would…leave out of consideration the fact that the Church and the State both have their origin in God and that both are concerned with the same subject – human beings…All this could not and did not escape the attention of Pope Leo XIII when, in his encyclical Immortale Dei…he defined clearly the limits of the two societies in terms of their ends, observing that the proximate and special end of the State is to care for man’s earthly prosperity, while that of the Church is to procure their heavenly and eternal welfare.” (Pius XII, Allocution to the Roman Rota, October 29, 1947)

4. What is the respective scope of authority for each power?
The respective scope of authority for the spiritual and temporal powers was summed up by Pope Leo XIII as follows: "The Almighty, therefore, has given the charge of the human race to two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human, things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right.” (Leo XIII, Immortale Dei)

5. Why did Christ initiate the separation of powers?
Cardinal Ratzinger, in contrasting Eastern and Western traditions, quotes Pope Gelasius I who explains why Christ had not consolidated and delegated all authority, both spiritual and temporal, to a single human power: "In Byzantium, the empire and the Church were virtually identified with each other, and the emperor was also the head of the Church. He understood himself as the vicar of Christ and bore the official title "king and priest" from the sixth century onward, following the example of Melchizedek, who was both king and priest (Gen, 14:18). After Constantine left Rome and the emperors no longer resided in the earlier imperial capital, it was possible for the autonomous position of the bishop of Rome as successor of Peter and head of the Church to develop there, and the doctrine of the dual authority was taught in Rome from the beginning of the Constantinian epoch. The emperor and the pope each had an authority of his own, and neither of them possessed the totality of power. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) formulated the Western view in his famous letter to Emperor Anastasius, and even more clearly in his fourth treatise, in which he responds to the Byzantine use of the typology of Melchizedek by emphasizing that it is only in Christ that the two authorities are united: 'It is Christ himself, because of human weakness (superbia!), who separated the two offices for the subsequent ages, so that no one might exalt himself' (chap. 11). The Christian emperors require the priests (pontifices) for things pertaining to eternal life. In turn, the priests adhere to the ordinances promulgated by the emperor for the temporal course of affairs. In secular matters the priests must follow the laws of the emperor, who is installed in office by God's decree, but in divine matters the emperor must submit to the priests. This introduced a separation and distinction of powers that was to be immensely important for the subsequent development of Europe, laying the foundation of that which is typically Western. Since such demarcations did not suppress the desire on both sides to possess the totality of power or the yearning to subordinate the other side to its own authority, this principle of separation was also the source of unending suffering." (Cf. Cardinal Ratzinger, Address to the Italian Senate in Rome, May, 2004)

6. In what manner is the State indirectly subordinate to the Church?
The State is indirectly subordinate to the Church - not in the sense of "domination" or "hegemony" - but by virtue of the primacy of the spiritual over the temporal according to the hierarchy or scale of values (Cf. Maritain, Man and the State, CUA Press, p. 153). Yet the “supremacy” of the Church remains “indirect” insofar as each power retains direct supremacy within its own sphere of competence (i.e., temporal or supernatural). The “doctrine of the two swords”, therefore, signifies that the Church has a right of intervention in the temporal sphere insofar as higher spiritual ends are concerned. In this sense Suarez notes the following: “There are not two powers in the Supreme Pontiff, but one only relating directly to spiritual things and by way of consequence to temporal things” (Vivex ed., vol. v, p. 366, No. 3). What this means is that the State must recognize the superior value of spiritual and moral goods over merely temporal concerns. It also implies that civil rulers ought to take heed of the Church when she teaches on matters pertaining to the spiritual and moral welfare of individuals and society. For example, Church teaching on moral issues (e.g., just war doctrine, living wage, bioethics, etc.) ought to influence actions taken by civil authorities. It is not a direct superiority insofar as the moral principles must still be properly applied within the proper sphere by the competent authorities (e.g., political leaders, military leaders, economists, doctors, etc.). For example, political and military leaders have the duty to apply the just war principles to particular cases – just as political and economic advisors have the duty to apply just wage principles to particular cases. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the Church does not directly invade this space that rightly belongs to other spheres of authority – even if they are of a lower dignity.

7. What does the Church rightfully demand from the State?
While direct recourse to the State as "secular arm" of the Church is not essential to her divine constitution or mission, she does demand, however, that temporal rulers respect her essential freedom and rightful autonomy. Bishop Ketteler states: “Freedom of the Church means the right of the church to manage her own affairs according to her own principles and to be subject only to the general laws of the state. We distinguish between freedom of the Church and privileges. In earlier times, the Church enjoyed various privileges which developed spontaneously because unity of Faith prevailed. Those are virtually extinct in our time, but the Church is able to survive without them. Nevertheless, let us not confuse privileges with legitimate rights, as often happens nowadays. The Church is entitled to the protection of her legitimate rights, just as any other legal personality” (Cf. Ketteler, Freedom, Authority and the Church). In his 1953 “Ci Riesce” Address to Catholic Jurists, Pope Pius XII stated that Concordats are an "expression of collaboration between the Church and State...The Concordats, therefore, must assure to the Church a stable condition in right and in fact in the State with which they are concluded, and must guarantee to her full independence in the fulfillment of her divine mission." This implies a "right of intervention" even in temporal matters for the sake of higher spiritual concerns or as required in the pursuit of her divine and supernatural mission.

8. In what sense is the “separation" of Church and State erroneous?
There always ought to be a moral unity between the Church and State – a necessary mutual support and cooperation in view of the common good as well as the spiritual and temporal welfare of their common subjects. The “separation" of Church and State is condemned in the sense that would exclude such a necessary mutual cooperation by setting the two powers in opposition to one another. Pope Pius XII stated that Concordats are an "expression of collaboration between the Church and State” (Cf. Pius XII, Ci Riesce), however, mutual cooperation can also exist in the absence of formal concordats. One recent example is the Joint Declaration of the Holy See and the United States on the occasion of the Papal visit of Benedict XVI to the United States: “During their meeting, the Holy Father and the President discussed a number of topics of common interest to the Holy See and the United States of America, including moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed: the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defense and promotion of life, matrimony, and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics…” (Holy See – U.S. Joint Statement, April 16, 2008)

9. In what sense is the “separation" of Church and State properly understood?
The proper understanding of the “separation" of Church and State involves recognizing each as an individual and perfect society that is ontologically distinct – each with its own particular nature, origin, means and end. This proper distinction is opposed to the Protestant notion of the “divine right of kings” following the principle "cuius regio, eius religio" or any ideology that would effectively deny the "separation" of the two powers or offices according to the teaching of the Popes (Cf. Gelasius I, Leo XIII and Pius XII referenced above).

10. How is the rightful autonomy of the Papacy ensured?
In order to ensure that the office of the Papacy is completely free and uninhibited in the fulfillment of its universal mission the Pope is entitled to both spiritual and temporal sovereignty including the right to a civil principate. In former times this right was made manifest in the form of the Papal States. Pope Pius XI comments on the modern realization of this right that has taken the form of the current Vatican City State – a solution that he considers well adapted to the circumstances and needs of our time: "People do not sufficiently reflect perhaps on how troublesome and dangerous it would be—We speak of the situation today—to unite the civil administration of a population, no matter how small, to the universal government of the Church. The smallness of the territory guarantees Us against all inconvenience of this kind…So then, a minimum of territory, enough for the exercise of sovereignty; the needful territory without which it could not subsist because it would have nothing to stand on. We seem to see things as they were to be seen in the person of St. Francis; he had just enough body to keep his soul united with it. Thus it was with other saints: the body reduced to what is strictly necessary to serve the soul, to support human life, and, with life, beneficent action. It will be evident to all, We hope, that the Sovereign Pontiff will have just that material territory indispensable for the exercise of the spiritual power entrusted to men for the benefit of men. We do not hesitate to say that We rejoice in this state of things. We are glad to see the material domain reduced to such narrow limits that one can speak of it and consider it as spiritualized by the immeasurable and truly divine spirituality which it is destined to sustain and serve." (Pope Pius XI, A.A.S., 1929, pp. 108-109; Cf., Journet, op. cit., p. 466)


Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Governmental Forms

Before proceeding to discuss the matter, perhaps it would be well to consider some clarifications given by Pope Leo XIII who distinguishes between two senses of the "ideal" when evaluating various governmental forms.  On one hand there is an “ideal” considered purely in the abstract order of speculative ideas.  On the other hand there is the “relative view” or the “best” or optimal form considered relative to the contingent order of facts:


“In descending from the domain of abstractions to that of facts, we must beware of denying the principles just established: they remain fixed. However, becoming incarnated in facts, they are clothed with a contingent character, determined by the center in which their application is produced. Otherwise said, if every political form is good by itself and may be applied to the government of nations, the fact still remains that political power is not found in all nations under the same form; each has its own. This form springs from a combination of historical or national, though always human, circumstances which, in a nation, give rise to its traditional and even fundamental laws, and by these is determined the particular form of government, the basis of transmission of supreme power.” (Cf. Pope Leo XIII, AU MILIEU DES SOLLICITUDES, 1892)


Therefore, it would not be appropriate to elevate any particular governmental form to the level of “absolute ideal” in the contingent order. In other words, ideals in the order of “abstractions” must find a proper application in the order of “facts” by giving due consideration of concrete circumstances and the just requirements relative to hic et nunc.  In this sense, all governmental forms are good insofar as they lead to their natural end in view of the common good of civil society.  Furthermore, some governmental forms may be considered "best" from a relative point of view to the extent that they are better adapted to the particular needs of a people. 


“By giving one's self up to abstractions, one could at length conclude which is the best of these forms, considered in themselves; and in all truth it may be affirmed that each of them is good, provided it lead straight to its end -- that is to say, to the common good for which social authority is constituted; and finally, it may be added that, from a relative point of view, such and such a form of government may be preferable because of being better adapted to the character and customs of such or such a nation.” (Pope Leo XIII, op. cit.)


St. Thomas, therefore, has considered the question regarding the ideal form of civil government according to each sense.  On one hand, considered according to a purely abstract view, St. Thomas presents “monarchy” as superior to other governmental forms (Cf. De Regimine Principium).  On the other hand, considered from the relative point of view, St. Thomas asserts that the best form of government in view of the common good of civil society (hic et nunc) is the mixed regime or regimen commixtum generally patterned after the temporal regime established by God in the Old Testament (ST. i-ii. 105. 1; “Talis enim est optima politia, bene commixta”).  The mixed regime or regimen comixtum, according to St. Thomas, has three essential aspects or characteristics: monarchy, aristocracy and democracy.

The ideal is part "monarchy" insofar as there is a hierarchy (ST. i-i. 108. 2) with "one [man] head of all.1  Such a ruler need not possess the totality of power in order to be considered as "king" as St. Thomas states: "Hence from the very first the Lord did not set up the kingly authority with full power, but gave them judges and governors to rule them" (ST. i-ii 105. 1).  Again, considered purely in the abstract order of speculative ideas, this aspect of the regimen commixtum is considered by St. Thomas to hold first place among the other basic governmental forms insofar as rule of one, per se, is patterned after the perfection of the divine government as well as the constitution that Christ established for His Church.


The ideal is part "aristocracy" insofar as hierarchical power is shared by able rulers and distributed according to the diversity of orders or offices (ST. i-i. 108. 2). Here one can foresee a certain separation of offices in order to provide an effective check against tyranny (Cf. De Regimine Principium) and preserving above all the “rule of law" (ST. i-ii. 90. 1).2 What is implicit in the thought of St. Thomas has found explicit formulation in the Catechism (CCC #1904): “It is preferable that each power be balanced by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within proper bounds. This is the principle of the rule of law, in which the law is sovereign and not the arbitrary will of men.”


The ideal is part "democracy" insofar as all rightly take some share in the government either directly or by representation (i.e., vicariously insofar as civil rulers are the "vicar of the multitude" -- vicem gerens multitudinis; ST. i-ii. 90. 3).  This right is exercised by the people, for example, when they choose their rulers investing them with temporal authority or when they legitimately replace a tyrannical regime (ST. ii-ii. 42. 2).  In this sense, any legitimate governmental form is also intrinsically “democratic” insofar as the “original subject of civil power derived from God is the people” (Pius XII) possessing the inherent right to self-government by virtue of the natural law.  According to the abstract order of speculative ideas, however, St. Thomas considers that "democracy" has less perfection, per se, than the other two basic governmental forms.



The pagan state-absolutism that had eventually given way to the Christian concept of freedom that prevailed during the medieval era slowly began to reemerge during the Renaissance only to be fueled by Protestantism and given support by the Catholic House of Bourbon: “We can see how rapidly this pagan absolutism progressed when we recognize how suddenly the principle, ‘cuius regio, eius religio,’ gained widespread acceptance. This meant that subjects had to take on the same religion as their prince. Christianity had toppled pagan absolutism through the force of conscience. The martyrs had appeared before the Roman emperors and told them: ‘We cannot do what you command because our consciences, which are attuned to God’s will, do not permit it.’ With that kind of action, began the restoration of human dignity. The neo-pagan absolutism attacked this conscience, which had once been its downfall and declared, in effect, that subjects are not entitled to a conscience. They must believe what their prince believes. It happened, therefore, that the subjects in certain Protestant principalities were forced to change their religion several times in short order…Even the ancient Roman emperors, who insisted that the wish of the emperor was the law of the empire, did not attempt to dominate the consciences of their subjects in so crass a manner…As a Catholic, Louis XIV could not accept the “cuius regio, eius religio” principle of the Protestant princes. Instead, he said, “L’Etat c’est moi.” (I am the state.) And he applied the principle with such thoroughness that even in France no trace of the ancient Frankish-Germanic liberty remained. The absolutism of Louis XIV became the pattern for all who exercised state authority from that time on. The absolutism of state authority became incarnate throughout Europe – with England excepted, albeit only partially – and it thoroughly poisoned the entire political system.” (Cf. Ketteler, Freedom, Authority and the Church)


The response to this new absolutism has been a steady movement to promote and re-introduce those legitimate aspects of democracy especially to curb “authoritarianism [that] excludes the citizens from all effective participation in, or influence upon the formation of the will of the society.  Consequently, it [absolutism] splits the nation into two categories, the rulers and the ruled, and the mutual relationship between the two either becomes purely mechanical, being governed by force, or has no more than a biological basis…On the other hand, if we keep in mind the favourite thesis of democracy3 – which has been expounded in all ages by outstanding Christian thinkers – namely, that the original subject of civil power derived from God is the people (not the “masses”), then the distinction between the Church and even the democratic State becomes increasingly clear…The ecclesiastical power is, indeed essentially different from the civil power, and hence its judicial power is also different from the State.  The origin of the Church, unlike the origin of the State, is not to be found in the Natural Law…In one point, however, the fundamental difference between the two is particularly manifest.  The establishment of the Church as a society was not effected from below, as was the case in the origin of the State, but from above…” (Cf. Pope Pius XII, AAS, 1945, p. 256)



Therefore, the regimen commixtum contains aspects of each of the three basic governmental forms – and taken together these help to ensure an effective and just civil government.  While each government may exhibit these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree, each plays a role in preserving a just social order – according to the circumstances of a given people.  In modern times, the aspects of democracy have moved to the forefront particularly in response to the abuses of state absolutism.


1 In modern terminology this one head of all essentially equivalent to a king, president or prime minister.  It corresponds to the office of a chief executive.

2 Examples may include the roles of legislative and judicial branches of government.

3 The definition and usage of the term "democracy" has changed since ancient times.  In modern times the term "democracy" has taken on the equivalent meaning of the regimen comixtum.  In this sense, Pope Pius XII notes that the "favourite thesis of democracy...has been expounded in all ages by outstanding Christian thinkers..."


Friday, June 12, 2009

FAQ's On Religious Freedom

1. Doesn’t religious freedom apply only to those professing the true religion since error has no rights?

It is true that error, per se, has no rights (CCC #2108; Pius XII, Ci Riesce).  At the same time, however, persons retain natural rights in spite of their errors since error does not cancel a natural right.  In other words, a person following the dictates of an honestly erroneous conscience acts in true moral freedom – in spite of his error.  The reason is that the moral law commands us to obey a certain conscience under pain of sin – even when honestly erroneous.  Furthermore, the moral law confers the corresponding moral right (the means) to fulfill ones moral obligations.  Therefore, the moral law confers freedom of conscience in religious matters even when it is honestly erroneous.  For example, all men have the duty and corresponding natural right to educate their children according to their religious convictions (S.T., ii-ii, 10, 12).  Therefore, this duty and corresponding natural right is not cancelled merely by the fact that the parent adheres to objective religious error.  The right is not founded on error, per se, but can continue to exist in spite of error for the sake of a superior good.   


2. In what sense does religious freedom apply "even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it"?

It is important to distinguish between "moral freedom" and its foundation -- "natural freedom" or self-determination (Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas, 1-3; this is also called ontological freedom).  Ontological or natural freedom excludes interior necessity and exterior compulsion.  In other words, it includes interior psychological freedom as well as [due] freedom of action or freedom [immunity] from coercion in the external forum (DH, 2).  Therefore, one cannot deny natural freedom without undermining the foundation or necessary pre-condition required for moral freedom.  It is this foundational natural liberty of self-determination that continues to exist even when we turn away from God.  Bishop Ketteler puts it as follows: “Christianity accords to man his full right of self-determination and recognizes in this right his fullest dignity and nobility. In fact, Christianity by its doctrine of eternal damnation recognizes the ultimate consequence of this right, because this teaching implies that God will even permit men to eternally contradict Him rather than violate man's sacred right to self-determination." (Cf. Ketteler, Sermon on "The Christian Concept of Human Freedom", December 17, 1848)  


3. But don’t we tolerate error only in those cases where it is not practical to repress it?

It is true that we sometimes have to tolerate that which can’t practically be repressed in order to avoid greater evils.  On the other hand, sometimes we tolerate error or evil for the sake of a higher good or a superior right (e.g., toleration in order to respect the rightful domain of conscience or even to preserve the nature of man as man).  Therefore, there is no inherent contradiction between toleration and rights as these can co-exist.  For example, Suarez teaches that we have to tolerate the religious convictions of others insofar as they conform to the “objective moral order” (DH #7) as expressed by the natural moral law: “As regards the other religious practices of unbelievers which go contrary to Christian beliefs but not counter to natural reason, there is no doubt but that the unbelievers, even though they are subjects, may not be forced to abandon them. Rather the Church has to tolerate them…The reason is that such observances do not in themselves violate the natural law, and therefore, the temporal power of even a Christian ruler does not confer a right to forbid them. Such action would be based on the fact that what is being done goes contrary to the Christian Faith, but that is not enough to compel those who are not subject to the spiritual authority of the Church. This opinion is also supported by the fact that such a ban would involve, to some extent, forcing people to accept the Faith; and that is never permitted.” (Suarez, Tract. de Fide Disp. 18 Sect. III, n. 10) 


4. Where do we draw the “due limits” to religious freedom?

On one hand, nobody has an absolute right to an error-free or even a sin-free environment.  On the other hand, everyone has a right to a social and civil environment that enables him to tend towards his final end and transcendent goal.  Therefore, the natural right to religious freedom is not unlimited and unqualified -- it has natural limits within the confines of the objective moral order as expressed by the natural moral law.  Bishop Ketteler puts is as follows: “…religious freedom has its own natural limits as dictated by reason, by natural morality, and by the natural order of things. No reasonable moral freedom can go so far as to destroy moral order to which everyone has a right.  Therefore, Christian as well as non-Christian rulers and those who hold temporal authority are obliged to oppose religious teachings and practices which are in latent violation of the laws of reason and morality.” (Cf. Ketteler, Freedom, Authority and the Church)  The “due limits” inherent in religious freedom must also be applied analogically according to the requirements of a given context or social situation (CCC #2109).  What this means is that the “due limits” will be applied differently in the context of a confessional (sacral) state than in the context of a “secular” state that is lacking true religious unity among the body politic.  The sacral state, for example, will not permit the spread of heresy insofar as it militates against public order and the common good in a social context that is constituted on the very basis of unity in faith.  The secular state, on the other hand, being constituted on the basis of affinities of nature, will not permit those religious practices in latent violation of the natural moral law. 


5. Doesn’t religious freedom apply only in the privacy of the home and not in public?

Man is a social being according to his nature and therefore he has the duty and corresponding right to worship in private and in public.  Furthermore, to ban the public expression of all false worship is to apply another form of coercion as Suarez noted: “…such a ban would involve, to some extent, forcing people to accept the Faith, and that is never permitted.” (Suarez, op. cit.)  


6. How does religious freedom reconcile with the treatment of heresy as a civil crime during the Middle Ages?

It is important to distinguish punishable heresy from innocent error.  The former has to do with baptized Catholics obstinately rejecting the authoritative teaching of the Church in matters of dogma.  Therefore, the very notion of punishable heresy excludes those who are not visible members of the Catholic Church.  Additionally, the legitimacy of treating heresy as a civil crime presupposes religious unity.  If that essential religious unity is weakened or destroyed then treating heresy as a civil crime loses its basis and is no longer legitimate.   


7. Isn’t religious freedom condemned by the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX?

The Syllabus of 1864 did not condemn religious freedom in its true and proper sense.  Rather, it condemned the errors of religious indifferentism and moral license (Syllabus 15).  In addition, it condemned those propositions (Syllabus 77-79) that would deny in principle the very right of existence of the Catholic sacral regime constituted on the basis of unity in faith.  The prerequisite condition of unity in the faith must still exist, however, in order for a Catholic sacral regime to be a legitimate reality in law (de jure) and in fact (de facto).  The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912), however, notes some important dynamics -- effects of "globalization" -- that have impacted the requisite conditions for such states since the time of the Syllabus:     


“The mixture of races and peoples, the immigration into all lands, the adoption of international laws concerning colonization and choice of abode, the economic necessity of calling upon the workers of other lands, etc., have so largely changed the religious map of the world during the last fifty years that propositions 77-79 of the Syllabus published by Pius IX in 1864 (cf. Denzinger, op. cit., 1777-79), from which enemies of the Church are so fond of deducing her opposition to the granting of equal political rights to non-Catholics, do not now apply even to Spain or the South American republics to say nothing of countries which even then possessed a greatly mixed population (e.g. Germany).  Since the requisite conditions for the erection of new theocratic states [ed. consecrational regimes], whether Catholic or Protestant, are lacking today and will probably not be realized in the future, it is evident on the basis of hard facts that religious liberty is the only possible, and thus the only reasonable, state principle.”


8. Didn’t the Second Vatican Council deny in principle the idea of the Catholic consecrational regime constituted on the basis of unity in the faith?

While the principle is nowhere denied, the decree on Religious Freedom (DH) does not seem to contemplate as a norm the possibility of such consecrational Catholic states in light of circumstances in the modern era that presuppose mixed populations in every region of the world -- notwithstanding individual cases where circumstances call for the "special civil recognition" of the Church (DH 6; CCC 2107).  Charles Cardinal Journet illustrates this point by using the metaphor of the wheat and the tares that have providentially become increasingly co-mingled in our time:


"Consider the hypothesis of a civil society, a cultural world, whose aim it was to bind together politically a religiously disparate multitude, and in which the ruler, even were he Catholic, would represent only the political union of that multitude. None can doubt that such a union has become legitimate and necessary today. Since the days of the medieval Church, a field in which wheat alone was sown, but enclosed in the narrow limits of the West, Providence has prepared a new era in which tares are to be mixed with the wheat but the field is to cover all the earth. On this hypothesis, it is clear that heresy, no longer anti-constitutional simply as heresy, cannot be justly made the object of a constitutional repression, either on the initiative of the State or the injunction of the Church. This applies to any sort of repression whatever, and with all the more reason therefore to repression by the sword." (Cf. Journet,The Church of the Word Incarnate pp. 283-284)


9. Doesn’t religious freedom contradict the rights of the Church to a “privileged status” in society?

Let us distinguish here between rights and privileges.  Temporal rulers must always respect the essential freedom and rightful autonomy of the Church in pursuit of her divine mission.  Bishop Ketteler states: “Freedom of the Church means the right of the church to manage her own affairs according to her own principles and to be subject only to the general laws of the state.  We distinguish between freedom of the Church and privileges. In earlier times, the Church enjoyed various privileges which developed spontaneously because unity of Faith prevailed.  Those are virtually extinct in our time, but the Church is able to survive without them.  Nevertheless, let us not confuse privileges with legitimate rights, as often happens nowadays.  The Church is entitled to the protection of her legitimate rights, just as any other legal personality.”  In his 1953 “Ci Riesce” Address to Catholic Jurists, Pope Pius XII stated that Concordats are an "expression of collaboration between the Church and State...The Concordats, therefore, must assure to the Church a stable condition in right and in fact in the State with which they are concluded, and must guarantee to her full independence in the fulfillment of her divine mission."  In recent times, the Church in her concordats with states has even formally rejected certain “privileges” insofar as they no longer were considered helpful to her divine mission.  This process of adaptation to modern circumstances seems to have begun already in the pontificate of Pius XII and was made manifest, for example, in the concordat of 1940 between the Holy See and Portugal.  Cardinal Cerejeira, patriarch of Lisbon, commented on the new concordat as follows:


 “Another aspect of the agreement instituted by the Concordat is the reciprocal autonomy of the Church and the State. Each one is independent and free in its respective sphere of competence. Neither does the State keep the Church under its tutelage, nor does the Church interfere with matters pertaining to the State.  The advocates of the supremacy of the State would like to add: enslavement of the Church, and, by the same token, of Catholic conscience. But we say: according to the very doctrine of the Church, the State has full authority, but only in its own field.  It was Christianity which introduced into the world that separation between the temporal and the spiritual, upon which rests the foundation of all Christian civilization. Here is the fountainhead of liberty of conscience...The Portugese State recognizes the Church as she is, and ensures her freedom; but it does not support or protect her as a State established religion...What the Church loses in official protection, she regains in virginal freedom of action. Free from any liability toward the political power, her voice gains greater authority upon consciences. She leaves Caesar a completely clear field, in order for herself better to attend to the things that are God's. She is the pure crystal from which the treasure of the Christian revelation is streaming forth.” (Cardinal Cerejeira, patriarch of Lisbon, November 18, 1941) 


10. Doesn’t religious freedom violate the rights of Christ the King?

Religious freedom, properly understood, is a necessary prerequisite for the reign of Christ the King to be realized in society (CCC 2104-2109).  The reason for this is that Christ does not impose His will by force.  Rather, Christ chooses to reign by being freely accepted in individual hearts, families, social institutions, and civil society.  Therefore, any “Christendom” imposed by force is a false and counterfeit social reign of Christ the King.  Christendom will reemerge when Christian principles once again begin to inform all aspects of social life, however, it will reemerge in a form adapted to the requirements of our age.  The implication here is that “Christendom” in our time does not simply call for a return to the “social and political institutions of a bygone era…we cannot tell beforehand what civil and social institutions the spirit of Christianity may give rise to when it has again permeated all of humanity…All of those first principles and laws are in themselves unchangeable. Only their application is remarkably adaptable in many different ways”  (Cf. Ketteler, Freedom, Authority and the Church).  Christendom, therefore, can be manifested according to a variety of forms.  Journet distinguishes between two basic types of “Christendom” depending upon the existence of unity or plurality of religious belief among a people: 

“Under the influence of the kingdom of grace, that is to say, in a Christian climate, we can envisage the flowering of two general types of political regime.  Those of the first type—which are not to be dreamed of save in a region populated exclusively or mainly by Christians, indeed by visible members of the Church of Christ—seek to form a political unity of Christians alone, or visible members of the Church alone; granting civic rights to no others.  Those of the second type would try to weld into a political unity all the inhabitants of a region, granting citizenship to all no matter what their religion, but directing them to temporal and political ends which Christianity would regard as legitimate and would not disavow.  In the first case, Christian values permeate the whole political order; the notion of Christianity, of visible membership of the Church, enters into the very definition of the citizen. That is the Christian consecrational conception of the temporal regime. In the second case, Christian values affect the political order from without, to sustain, enlighten and sublimate it; the notion of Christianity, of visible membership of the Church, remains outside the definition of the citizen; it designates only a perfect way of being a citizen, distinguishing a spiritual family of citizens. That is the Christian secular conception of the temporal regime.  We may use the word "Christendom" in a limited and recent sense, not directly of the Church nor yet of her successive stages of development and internal organization, but directly of a certain temporal regime of peoples who welcome her, a certain cultural complex which she maintains and inspires, a Christian civilization, a Christian world.  In this sense there are two possible realizations—not univocal, but proportional and analogical—of the idea of Christendom, two specifically distinct types of Christendom: the consecrational and the secular.” (Cf. Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate, Sheed and Ward, 1955, pp. 214-215)

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