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The Catholic Tradition Podcast: 90 – Leo XIII on the State’s Duties Towards the Church

Oct 30, 2020

Vatican II’s Declaration on Spiritual Freedom, Humanis
, begins by noting that its dialogue of non secular
liberty “has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society”
and so “leaves untouched conventional Catholic doctrine on the ethical
obligation of males and societies towards the true faith and towards the
one Church of Christ.” This episode is about discovering what that
conventional doctrine was and is.

Our important supply will probably be Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Immortale
, which is offered in audiobook kind on Thomas Pink guides us by means of a detailed studying
of this doc (with supplementary materials from
Libertas and Longuinqua). Right here, and within the
magisterium of different Nineteenth-century Popes, we discover quite a lot of
teachings on Church and State which have gone largely unmentioned
for the reason that Council, and that are sadly forgotten and even rejected
by nearly all of self-described conservative Catholics.

The core level is that the State, just like the Church, receives its
authority from God. Subsequently the State has an obligation of obedience to
God, obedience which can’t be arbitrarily restricted to what might be
identified by cause, excluding revelation. So, Leo says, the State has
duties to profess, defend and foster faith, and never simply any
faith, however the true Religion:

“The Church, certainly, deems it illegal to position the varied
types of divine worship on the identical footing because the true faith,
however doesn’t, on that account, condemn these rulers who, for the
sake of securing some nice good or of hindering some nice evil,
enable patiently customized or utilization to be a sort of sanction for every
sort of faith having its place within the State.”

Different factors mentioned are these: Leo’s analogy evaluating the
relationship between Church and State to the concord between soul
and physique. The evil penalties of the State’s indifference towards
God and true faith. The authority of the Church to coerce the
baptized in fulfilling their spiritual duties, and to have the
State act as its agent (all of the whereas remembering that the State
has no authority of its personal to control the supernatural good of
faith). Leo’s condemnation of freedom of speech and opinion as
generally understood.

It’s clear {that a} docile and orthodox studying of Vatican II
can not lead us to dismiss prior teachings on Church and State. But
this works each methods: Church educating is is a unity, so when
discussing these older teachings, we should additionally ask what’s the
nature Vatican II’s educating on spiritual liberty and the way all of
these teachings might be understood in mild of each other. The important thing
lies within the restricted scope of Dignitatis Humanae, which
from the outset intends solely to handle spiritual coercion by the
State, and leaves the duties of the State in the direction of faith
untouched in each senses of the phrase.

Although the Church’s educating on spiritual liberty is way
farther from the beliefs of the American Founding than many careless
readers of Dignitatis Humanae have assumed, American
Catholics can and should love their nation. Subsequently we shut with
Pope Leo’s pleasant and inspiring phrases to the Church in


[3:09] The historic and theological context of Immortale

[7:52] True and false liberty

[10:38] The 2 powers of Church and State; their directive and
coercive features

[18:40] The State’s obligation to profess, defend and foster the one
true faith

[24:06] Causes for toleration of different religions; coercion of
the baptized

[34:15] Leo’s analogy of Church and State with soul and physique

[43:36] Separate sovereignties of Church and State work together;
State can act because the “secular arm”

[49:41] Obligations twd. faith of the State correctly
talking, not simply rulers as people

[55:23] Penalties of the State neglecting God and

[1:03:00] Dignitatis Humanae: drafting, supposed scope,
legacy, compatibility with custom

[1:20:50] Papal condemnations of freedom of speech and

[1:31:30] The Church’s transfer away from coercing baptized

[1:36:33] The significance of docility in accepting troublesome

[1:41:49] Want for a synthesis of the entire magisterium on
Church, State and non secular liberty


Audiobook of Immortale Dei

Textual content of Immortale Dei (On the Christian Structure of

Libertas (On the Nature of Human Liberty)

Longuinqua (On Catholicism in the USA)

Thomas Pink on Twitter

Thomas Pink, “Conscience and Coercion”

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