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port, her inexhaustible internal resources, her supernatural energy and divine persistence. The empire detached from her and abandoning her to herself, or turning its force against her, will cease to incumber her with its official help, will no longer stand as an opaque substance between her and the people, intercepting her light, and preventing them from beholding her in her spiritual beauty and splendor. The change will allay much political hostility, remove most of the political prejudices against her, and permit the hearts of the people to turn once more towards her as their true mother and best friend. It may in fact tend to revive faith, and
prepare the nations to reunite under her divine banner. Be this as it may, every Catholic knows that she is in herself independent of all the revolutions of states and empires, of all the changes of this world, and feels sure that she is imperishable, and that in some way the victories of her enemies will turn out to be their defeat, and the occasion of new triumphs for her.
THE CHURCH AND MONARCHY.
[From the Catholic World for February, 1867.]
MR. BANCROFT, the learned and philosophical historian of the United States, in one of his volumes devoted to the history of the American revolution, makes the remark that “ Catholics are in general inclined to monarchy, and Protestants to republicanism.” This is a very common opinion with non-Catholic American writers, and a large portion of the American people honestly fear that the rapid spread of Catholicity in this country is pregnant with danger to our republican institutions. Dr. England, late bishop of Charleston, one of the most illustrious Catholic prelates the country has ever had, maintained, on the contrary, with great earnestness and force, that the church does not favor monarchy, but does favor republicanism. What is the fact in the case. The question is not doctrinal, but historical, and relates to Catholics and Protestants, rather than to the church and Protestantism.
It should be observed, before entering into any investigation of the historical facts in the case, that in the Catholic mind theology is superior to politics; and no intelligent Catholic ever consents or can consent to have his religion tried by a political standard. The church, the Catholic holds, represents what is supreme, eternal, universal, and immutable in human affairs, and that political principle or system which conflicts with her, is by that fact alone condemmed as false; for it conflicts with the eternal, universal, and immutable principles of the divine government, or the truth and constitution of things. Religion is for every one who believes in any religion at all the supreme law, and in case of conflict between religion and politics, politics, not religion, must give way,
Well grounded in his faith, sure of his church, the Catholic has never any dread of historical facts, and can always, so far as his religion is concerned, enter upon historical investigations with perfect freedom and impartiality of mind. He has no fear of consequences. Let the historical fact turn out as it may, it can never warrant any conclusions unfavorable to his religion. If the fact should place his politics in conflict with his religion, he knows they are so far untenable, and that he must modify or change them. The historian of the United States is deeply penetrated with a sense of the independence and supremacy of moral or spiritual truth, and with a justice rare in non-Catholic writers, attributes much of the corruption of French society in the last century to the subjection of the church to the state. Most non-Catholic writers, however, consider what is called Gallicanisin as far more favorable to society than what they call ultramontanism; and in doing so, prove that they really, consciously or unconsciously, assume the supremacy of the political order, not of the religious. But in this they grossly err, and make the greater yield to the less ; for not only is religion in the nature of things superior to politics, but one is always more certain of the truth of his religion than he is or can be of the wisdom and soundness of his politics.
The church teaches the divine system of the universe, asserts and maintains the great catholic principles from which proceeds all life, whether religious or political, and without which there can be neither church nor state; but it is well known that she prescribes no particular coustitution of the state or form of civil government, for no particular constitution or form is or can be catholic, or adapted
alike to the wants and interests of all nations. Whatever is catholic in politics, that is, universally true and obligatory, is included in theology; what is particular, special, temporary, or variable, the church leaves to each political community to determine and manage for itself according to its own wisdom and prudence.
Every statesman worthy at all of the name knows that the same form of government is not fitted alike to the wants and interests of all nations, nor even of the same nation through all possible stages of its existence; and hence there is and can be no catholic form of government, and therefore the church, as catholic, can enjoin no particular form as universally obligatory upon Catholics. Were she to do so she would attempt to make the particular universal, and thus war against the truth and the real constitution of things, and belie her own catholicity. The principles of government, of all government, are catholic, and fie in the moral or spiritual order, as do all real principles. These the church teaches and insists on always and everywhere with all her divine authority and energy ; but their practical application, saving the principles themselves, she leaves to the wisdom and prudence of each political community. The principles being universal, eternal, and unalterable, are within the province of the Catholic theologian; the practical application of the principles, which varies, and must vary, according to time and place, according to the special wants and interests of each political community, are within the province of the statesman.
Such being the law in the case, it is evident that the church does and can prescribe no particular form of civil government, and Catholics are free to be monarchists, aristocrats, or democrats, according to their own judgment as statesmen. They are as free to differ among themselves as to forms of government as other men are, and do differ more or less among themselves, without thereby ceasing to be sound Catholics. Mr. Bancroft, however, does not even pretend that the church requires her children to be monarchists, and he more than once insinuates that her principles, as Bishop England maintains, tend to republicanism, the contrary of what is done by most non-Catholic writers.
To determine what is the fact we must define our terms. Monarchy and republic are terms often vaguely and loosely used. All governments that have at their head a king or emperor are usually called, by even respectable writers, monarchies, and those that have not are usually called republics, whether democratic like ancient Athens, aristocratic like Venice prior to her suppression by General Bonaparte, or representative like the United States. But this distinction is not philosophical or exact. All governments, properly speaking, in which the sovereignty is held to vest in the people or political community, and the king or emperor holds from the community and represents the majesty of the state, are republican, as was imperial Rome or is imperial France; all governments, on the other hand, in which the sovereignty vests not in the political community, but in the individual and is held as a personal right, or as a private estate, are in principle monarchical. This is, in reality, the radical distinction between republicanism and monarchy, and between civilization and barbarism, and it is so the terms should be understood.
The key to modern history is the struggle between these two political systems, or between Roman civilization and German barbarism, and subsequently to Charlemagne, more especially between feudalism and Roman imperialism. In this struggle the sympathies and influence of the church have been on the side against barbarism and feudalism, and in favor of the Roman system, and therefore on the side of republicanism. Rome, theoretically and in name, remained a republic under the emperors from Augustus to Augustulus. However arbitrary or despotic some of the Cæsars may have been and certainly were in practice, in principle they were elective, and held their power from the political community. The army had always the faculty of bestowing the military title of imperator or emperor, and all the powers aggregated to it, as the tribunitial, the
pontifical, the consular, &c., were expressly conferred on Augustus by the senate and people of Rome. The sovereignty vested in the political community, never in the person of the emperor. The emperor represented the state, but never was himself the state. In principle Roman imperialism was republican, not in the strict or absolute sense monarchical at all.
The barbarian system brought from the forests of Germany was in its principle wholly different. Under it power was a personal right, and not, as under Roman imperialism, a trust from the community. With the barbarians there were tribes, nations, confederacies, but no commonwealth, no republic, no civil community, no political people, no state. Republic, res publica, Scipio says in the De Republica of Cicero, cited by St. Augustine in his De Civitate Dei, means res populi ; and he adds, that by people is to be understood not every association of the multitude, but a legal association for the common weal. Non omnem cætum multitudinis, sed cotum juris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatum esse determinat.* In this sense there was no people, no res populi; or affairs of the people, under the barbarian system, nor even under the feudal system to which, with some Roman ideas, it gave birth after Charlemagné. Absolute monarchy, which alone is properly monarchy, according to Bishop England, did not exist among the barbarians in its full development; but it existed in germ, for its germ is in the barbarian chieftainship, in the fact that with the barbarians power is personal, not political, a right or privilege, not a trust, and every feudal noble developed is an absolute monarch.
These two systems after the conquest occupied the same soil. What remained of the old Roman population continued, except in politics, to be governed by the Roman law, lex Romanorum, and the barbarians by the lex barbarorum, or their own laws and usages. But as much as they despised the conquered race, the barbarians borrowed and assimilated many Roman ideas. The ministers of the barbarian kings or chiefs were for a long time either Romans or men trained in the Roman schools, for the barbarians had no schools of their own, and the old schools of the empire were at no time wholly broken up, and continued their old course of studies with greater or less success till superseded by modern universities. The story told us of finding a copy of the civil or Roman law at Amalfi, in the eleventh century, a fable in the sense commonly received, indicates that the distinction between barbarian and Roman in that century was beginning to be effaced, and that the Roman law, as digested or codified by the lawyers of Justinian, was beginning to become the common law in the West, as it long had been in the East, and still is in all the western nations formed within the limits of the old Roman empire, unless England be an exception. There was commenced, even before the downfall of Rome, a process of assimilation of Roman ideas and manners by the barbarians, which went on with greater force and rapidity in proportion as the barba
* De Civit. Dei, lib. ii, cap. xxi.