When even Kings are persecuted by their States…

We have mentioned, in our discussion of the pros and cons of a “Catholic Confessional State”, the case of the Catholic King of Belgium Baudouin I who famously abdicated his throne for a day rather than sign a bill liberalising abortion laws for his country.

Well, like Uncle like Nephew, as Catholic Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg has thrown his little State into a state of constitutional confusion by vetoing a bill to legalise euthanasia. Rocco Palmo at Whispers has all the goss.

Here at SCE, we note that this is not the first time in history that a King has been persecuted by his State for his religious views…

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20 responses to “When even Kings are persecuted by their States…

  1. Paul

    It’s not really relevant to your debate about the State, but I happen to have lived in the Flemish part of Belgium for 4 years in the early 90’s and I was there when King Boudewijn. I remember that although many people supported the changes to abortion law, the King and his wife were given great respect for his expression of his firm views on this. Maybe this changed some people’s minds and hearts concerning abortion, and isn’t this more important than changing constitutional law?

  2. Schütz

    His action was not without its own value, Paul, I acknowledge that. However, ultimately, he was powerless before the “will of the people”. And that was sad. They want a king to serve his purpose, but they can just as easily do without him when he proves an inconvenience.

  3. Louise

    Here at SCM

    Don’t you mean SCE, David?

    Constitutional monarchs don’t really have any power. Not that I think we should be rid of them, mind you.

  4. Schütz

    Don’t know where “SCM” came from… Probably that’s the opposition (“Sentire Cum Mundo”?)I’ve corrected it.

  5. Athanasius

    SCM: Schutz Contra Mundi, perhaps?

  6. Anonymous

    Try Schutz Contra Mundum.

    At least the Catholics should get their Latin right…

  7. Schütz

    I admit I do a quick check of my declensions everytime I make up a new phrase.

  8. Cardinal Pole

    Mr. Schütz,

    This is slightly tangential to this particular post, but I really must ask you to show me how the condemnation of the errors in Quanta Cura was not an Act of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium. I think it is only fair that you demonstrate this, since you told me that

    “however you chose to read it, you must be reading it in a way contrary to the thinking of the Church.”

  9. eulogos

    Is your picture King Charles of England being executed by Cromwell?

    One Anglican friend of mine was taught in Sunday school that he was “Charles the white king who died to save the English church.”
    My later reading of historical fiction has not shown him to be such an upstanding character, but who knows how much truth is there.

    Or is this some other incident?
    Please elucidate.
    Susan Peterson

  10. Louise

    My later reading of historical fiction has not shown him to be such an upstanding character

    I doubt historical fiction is quite the place to be discovering the truth. However, if Charles were discovered to be the normal sort of man that kings are (not many were saints) then I will not be very surprised.

    He may well have died to save the English church, but I don’t know enough of this period to comment further.

    At least the Catholics should get their Latin right…

    Nonsense. Not everyone has the stomach for it. Anyone can see that David was just “having a go.” It’s called humour. You might like to try it, Anon.

  11. Anonymous

    Charles the First was far more honourable than his father or son of the same name . His crime was that he was executed for colluding with the french and the scots whilst being a prisoner of the Parliamentary forces. Cromwell-and here is a bit of irony especially for any irish readers or descendants of Fifth monarch men or levellers-called Charles ‘that man of blood”.

  12. Schütz

    Cardinal Pole: “I really must ask you to show me how the condemnation of the errors in Quanta Cura was not an Act of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium. I think it is only fair that you demonstrate this, since you told me that “however you chose to read it, you must be reading it in a way contrary to the thinking of the Church.””

    Okay. Fair enough. Here goes.

    1) I do not deny that Quanta Cura was “an Act of the Papal Magisterium” – although I would think “ordinary” rather than “extraodinary”. Like all Papal magisterium, ordinary or extraordinary, it was to be received by the Church as an authoritative teaching.

    2) I keep referring you back to the particular context of 1864, ie. the situation to which these condemnations were addressed. Something I read today put me in mind of this once again. Zenit reported on an interview with Marcello Pera, the Italian chappy who was lucky enough to score a foreward for his book from the Pope. Here is a snippet (from http://www.zenit.org/rssenglish-24450):

    In an interview Saturday on Vatican Radio, Pera explained the reasons why on occasions liberalism has become anti-Christian.

    “In so far as Europe is concerned, in particular, a historic explanation is given. Many have often found themselves in conflict with the Catholic Church, and it is a bitter fact of the history of Europe, which is not the case in the history of the United States,” he explained.

    “Some national States — Italy, France, etc. — have constituted themselves as nation-states with a struggle, with a dispute against the Catholic Church,” he noted.

    “This has generated what is known as the phenomenon of anti-clericalism, and anti-clericalism has generated another: what in the book I call ‘secular equation,’ namely, ‘liberal equals non-Christian.'”

    “This is an error,” he said, “as one can argue historically on the merits and demerits of the Catholic Church in Europe at the time of the foundation of the national states, but the importance of the Christian message cannot be disputed.”

    If one opts for anti-Christianity, what the Pope calls “the apostasy of Christianity,” added Pera, “we lose the very virtues, the very foundations of those liberties and rights on which are liberal States are founded.”

    I quoted that at length because he makes two explicit points:

    1) that liberal democracy developed in Europe (eg. in France and Italiy) in a way that was directly anti-Catholic, and

    2) that this was not the way that it developed in the United States.

    I contend that the condemnations of Pope Pius IX were not universal. I have pointed out that they did not apply at the time to the missions in the highlands of New Guinea. I could also point out that there is no sense in which they could have applied to the United States in 1864. Since the application of the condemnations was not universal then, they could hardly be universal now.

    Nevertheless, if those slogans are used in a way that is anti-clerical and anti-Catholic (as they were in France and Italy at the time), they are most definitely to be condemned.

  13. Schütz

    Louise, I am going to make a confession: often I have become interested in an historical subject because first I read a piece of historical fiction about it. Fiction should not be confused with fact, but as I have always contended, an important part of history is story, and often a good story teller can convey something that the “facts” can’t which was nevertheless true.

    The picture is, of course, of the execution of Charles I.

  14. William Tighe

    Charles I had certain weaknesses of character, and, in particular, he seems to have wavered all his adult life between self-doubt and obstinacy. His pronounced stammer (which seems to have been psychological rather than psysiological in origin, as it disappeared completely at his trial, where he was able to trip up his prosecutors and judges again and again by exposing the lack of any legal basis for his trial, conviction and sentence) made him appear curt to the point of rudeness in his public discourses and speeches to Parliament, and in his childhood he seems to have been treated as a “slow learner” and to have been in some awe of his older brother, Henry, Prince of Wales (d. 1612), for some England’s lost “Protestant champion,” and the Calvinist counterpart of the Lutheran Gustavis Adolphus.

    If Charles was a martyr for any one thing, it was for episcopacy, the episcopal ordering of the Church of England. Again and again in 1647 and 48, as his parliamentary opponents grew desperate to reach a settlement with the imprisoned king in order to be in a position to quell the rising political and religious radicalism of the victorious parliamentary army and its leadership (Oliver Cromwell and his lieutenants especially), Charles was willing to accept limitations on his political authority (so long as these limitations would end with his death and his son would inherit unimpared royal powers), but he was never willing to accept any sort of presbyterian church settlement, even one that would allow him the use of the Book of Common Prayer in his private chapel, and even one that would be only for an initial “experimental” period of three years. For Charles, without bishops in a demonstrable succession of consecrations, “a church” as he once wrote, was “no church;” and if the Church of England could not demonstrate such a succession, as he wrote on another occasion, “she should have one less son in me.”

    These views caused consternation among even his closest advisors and supporters (all Anglicans, but Protestants), who remonstrated in reply that such views had never been held by “upwards of five or ten” Protestant divines, in England or elsewhere (and his Catholic wife and his Catholic supporters denied that the Church of England had preserved any such succession), but to the end Charles insisted upon them. He might rightly be characterized, with little exaggeration, as “the first Anglo-Catholic,” and had he been willing to accept a Presbyterian settlement, he probably would have kept both his life and his crown — for in that case the parliamentary army would most likely have split, with the radicals following Cromwell and the others following Sir Thomas Fairfax (the conservative presbyterian commander of all the parliamentary forces, and Cromwell’s commander-in-chief).

  15. William Tighe

    Charles I was not a king totally incapable of ruling (like Henry VI); or one whose preceived defects of character and strange personality (like Edward II and Richard II — and maybe later Edward VIII) turned virtually the whole political nation against him; or whose Catholicism alienated all but a narrow cirle of supporters and allowed his enemies to portray him as a dupe of the Jesuits (James II) — but rather seems to have been a king like Henry III (d. 1272) whose lack of political skill and inability successfully to dissimulate whe he attempted to do so (which was frequently, in both king’s cases), combined with an attitude of “he who is not with me is against me,” alienated a large number of people, but at the same time his cultivated and winsome personality, as well as a nearly total trust in those whom he regarded as his “true friends,” enabled him to retain a circle of devoted supporters and thus, again like Henry III, to provoke his opponents to make more and more radical demands of him, and in turn to rally his supporters to fight on his behalf when it came (as in both cases it did come) to civil war (in the 1260s under Henry III, in the 1640s under Charles I).

  16. Louise

    Louise, I am going to make a confession: often I have become interested in an historical subject because first I read a piece of historical fiction about it.

    Oh yes certainly! Ditto. But it is important so sift between the well-known facts and the fiction – as you noted – and this was my only real point.

  17. Cardinal Pole

    Mr. Schütz,

    Thank you for your response.

    You said that you

    “do not deny that Quanta Cura was “an Act of the Papal Magisterium” – although I would think “ordinary” rather than “extraodinary”.”

    Now an Act of the Ordinary Papal Magisterium is something that is pronounced

    1) On a matter of faith or morals
    2) In the Pope’s capacity as Head of the Church Militant

    Acts of the Ordinary Papal Magisterium are infallible when they are universal (i.e. in common with the other Popes). But Acts of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium (E.P.A.) are infallible in and of themselves, and the criteria for judging whether any given Act belongs to the E.P.A. are that the teaching be pronounced

    1) On a matter of faith or morals
    2) In the Pope’s capacity as Head of the Church Militant
    3) As binding on all the Faithful
    4) In a definitive and irrevocable manner

    So I suppose I am really asking you to show that one or more of these criteria are not to be found in Quanta Cura. But Section 6. is quite clear:

    Amidst, therefore, such great perversity of depraved opinions, we, well remembering our Apostolic Office, and very greatly solicitous for our most holy Religion, for sound doctrine and the salvation of souls which is intrusted to us by God, and (solicitous also) for the welfare of human society itself, have thought it right again to raise up our Apostolic voice. Therefore, by our Apostolic authority[2], we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned[3].
    (my emphasis and numbering)
    (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quanta.htm)

    2) and 3) are clearly present in Section 6., and 1) and 4) are clear from the letter of the condemned errors, e.g.

    “the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones.”

    “that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require.”

    “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way.”

    I would summarise your other objections as follows:

    A) The circumstances that elicited the condemnation
    B) The circumstances in which the condemnation applies

    Now A) is clearly an invalid objection, since the errors are condemned in and of themselves; the circumstances that elicited them and the arguments on which the condemnations are built up do not matter. This is as true for Quanta Cura as it is for Ineffabilis Deus. (Speaking of which, compare the definition in that document to the condemnations in Quanta Cura:

    “by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own[2]: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin[4], is a doctrine revealed by God[1] and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful[3].””
    (my numbering)
    (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm)

    All the same criteria are there.) I am aware of His Holiness’s apparent endorsement of some opinions on the supposedly Christian foundations of liberalism (I blogged on this last week), but the origins of European or American liberalism are irrelevant to the question of the infallibility with which the errors were condemned in Quanta Cura.

    Objection B) is also invalid; you mention that you

    “have pointed out that they did not apply at the time to the missions in the highlands of New Guinea.”

    But this is irrelevant for two reasons: firstly, it would be like saying that Catholic teaching on the just wage does not apply to the Papuan highlands because there is not yet a market economy there. That might be true, but once a market economy does begin to operate, Catholic economic teaching will certainly begin to apply. And secondly, in any case, the three errors I quoted apply universally to the human race, since they pre-suppose only one key circumstance, namely, man’s social nature.

    Then you mention that you

    “could also point out that there is no sense in which they could have applied to the United States in 1864.”

    But you have asserted this, not demonstrated it; in fact, the American system of government and society was founded largely on those three errors that I have quoted. I would have thought that to be indisputable.

    So in fact, the errors condemned in Quanta Cura were condemned with the seal of Papal infallibility; they remain binding on the conscience of every Catholic.

  18. Schütz

    Sorry, your Em, old chap, not buying it. You will just have to accept this. My main reason is that the teaching is not universal, which by your own admission means that “in common with the other Popes”. QC does not match this requirement.

    Also I do not accept that QC was a definition of positive teaching of the Church. Compare “reprobate, proscribe, and condemn” (QC) to “declare, pronounce, and define” (ID) and you will see what I mean when I said before that QC was a “negative” statement rather than a “positive” statement of doctrine. It condemns slogans, but does not define the positive alternative to those slogans. ie. It does not set forth a Catholic model of civil government, as you seem to believe it does.

    Your example of the Catholic teaching on a just wage actually supports my contention. I would say that this teaching – precisely in its formulation – is also not a universal teaching of the Church, because it depends upon the existence of precisely that kind of market economy where labour is rewarded with wages. Outside this context, such a teaching has no relevance. What is relevant is the positive principle that all men are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labour. The exact expression of that might change from time to time. In fact, one might imagine that there could be a just system of communism (one could imagine it, could one not? – eg. on the model of a monastery) where no wages are paid, but everyone in the community benefits equally from the united communal labour of all. In such a situation, an individual assertion of the “right” to actually be paid individually for his work could be an act of unjust assertion of individuality over the rights of the community as a whole.

    A definition of the Immaculate Conception, on the other hand, has nothing at all which ties it to the changing nature of human authority. It has a context, certainly, but not one that would alter the truth of the doctrine in any way.

    Comparing QC to ID is like comparing stones to eggs.

  19. Schütz

    Sorry, I meant “of human society” not “of human authority”.

  20. Cardinal Pole

    Mr. Schütz,

    1) You said that your

    “main reason is that the teaching is not universal, which by your own admission means that “in common with the other Popes”. QC does not match this requirement.”

    My use of the word ‘universal’ was, as I stated, as in universal with respect to all or many of the occupants of the Throne of Peter, but your use of the word ‘universal’ was in the sense of universal with respect to all circumstances. I brought up universality in order to compare Acts of the Ordinary Papal Magisterium with Acts of the Extraordinary Papal Magisterium (E.P.M.), for which universality is irrelevant, since they are, as Vatican I taught, irreformable in and of themselves. And in any case, my key objection, which you did not refute, to your demand for universality was that in fact the three errors that I quoted do indeed apply universally (in the sense that you used) since they presuppose only one key circumstance, namely, man’s social nature.

    2)

    “Also I do not accept that QC was a definition of positive teaching of the Church.”

    I never said it was. But it certainly contains definitive condemnations of principles, not mere slogans. And when such condemnations are made in the manner in which Bl. Pius IX made them, they are binding not just till another teaching is proposed, but forever.

    3)

    “Compare “reprobate, proscribe, and condemn” (QC) to “declare, pronounce, and define” (ID)”

    They are two sides of the same coin. It is well-known that it is absurd to restrict infallibility only to anathemata and not the canons as well, but you seem to be going to the other extreme and saying that only the canons can be infallible and not the anathemata.

    4)

    “It does not set forth a Catholic model of civil government, as you seem to believe it does.”

    Again, I never said it did. It didn’t need to, because the Catholic model of civil government was a given; the basic principle is that the State is the juridical and moral person that exercises God-given civil authority over a given populace in a given territory, and the State’s end or purpose is the common good (not mere public peace, as Bl. Pius refuted).

    5)

    “Your example of the Catholic teaching on a just wage actually supports my contention. I would say that this teaching – precisely in its formulation – is also not a universal teaching of the Church, because it depends upon …”
    (my emphasis)

    But Catholic teaching on the just wage does not ‘depend on’ the operation of a market economy for its validity, it depends on the authority with which it was taught; it goes without saying, though, that it does not apply where there is no market economy. Similarly, the Church’s opposition to artificial contraception holds regardless of whether a certain society has the developed the means to effect it.

    6)

    “… has nothing at all which ties it to the changing nature of human authority.”

    The way in which civil authority is exercised can change, but never its principle and purpose.

    7) To sum up:

    A) E.P.M. teachings are irreformable in and of themselves; they do not require universality with respect to the other Popes. They require only that the four criteria that I have mentioned are present, and I have shown that they are.

    B) In any case, the three condemned errors that I quoted are indeed condemned universally (with respect to time and place of application) because their falsehood arises from man’s social nature.

    C) To assert that a moral error’s condemnation depends for its validity on the fact of certain circumstances existing universally amounts to restricting the scope for infallible Papal teachings from faith and morals to just faith, since new moral questions arise from new historical circumstances that cannot be expected to be present universally.