After Church and Empire: Temporal Prelates and Spiritual Rulers

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In an interview with Andrew Willard Jones, author of Before Church and State, in the most recent episode of The Josias Podcastthe subject of Spiritual Rulers wielding temporal authority and Temporal Rulers with spiritual authority was briefly discussed.  Now while the scope of the book itself is mainly focused on reign of St. Louis IX in 13th century France, exploring across the Vosges, looking at the relations of the Church and Empire broadly from the establishment of the Church’s involvement in the Imperium of Charlemagne to the continued position of the Princely-[Arch]Bishops in the Austrian Empire, will help resolve some of the issues brought up by the podcast’s discussion.

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The Unity of Christendom

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For after the flood certain proud men, as if endeavoring to fortify themselves against God, as if anything were high for God, or anything could give security to pride, raised a tower, apparently that they might not be destroyed by a flood, should there come one thereafter. For they had heard and considered that all iniquity was swept away by a flood; to abstain from iniquity they would not; they sought the height of a tower as a defense against a flood; they built a lofty tower. “God saw their pride, and frustrated their purpose by causing that they should not understand one another’s speech, and thus tongues became diverse through pride.” If pride caused diversities of tongues, Christ’s humility has united these diversities in one. The Church is now bringing together what that tower had sundered. Of one tongue there were made many; marvel not: this was the doing of pride. Of many tongues there is made one; marvel not: this was the doing of charity. For although the sounds of tongues are various, in the heart one God is invoked, one peace preserved.

-Saint Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John

Integralism Resurgent

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Theology without praxis is the theology of demons

—Attributed to St. Maximos the Confessor

This short yet poignant sentence has been adopted as the motto of the new and growing movement, the Tradistae. Taking their inspiration from Integralists of the old guard, Pater Edmund von Waldstein of Sancrucensis and the writers of The Josias, their goal is the same: to bring about a civilization ordered to the Common Good and cooperation of the Spiritual and the Temporal. And their means of bringing it about is very simple and yet profound: to practice the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.

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Jesus Christ is Risen Alleluia, Alleluia!

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Regard also our most devout Emperor and since Thou knowest, O God, the desires of his heart, grant by the ineffable grace of Thy goodness and mercy, that he may enjoy with all his people the tranquility of perpetual peace and heavenly victory.

Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, who with Thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reigneth forever and ever. Amen.

(From the Prayers after the Exsultet or Praeconium Paschale)

Is the De Facto Power Always Legitimate Authority?

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To despise legitimate authority, in whomsoever vested, is unlawful, as a rebellion against the divine will, and whoever resists that, rushes willfully to destruction.

-Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei

As I was listening to the latest episode of the excellent Josias Podcast, two sentences stood out to me, one referring to revolutions as “intrinsically immoral”, the other stating that “we are obliged to accept the De Facto Power by Catholic Doctrine.” To take the second statement first as it naturally leads to the other, are Catholics always obliged to accept the De Facto Power as legitimate? Is this really the doctrine that was established by Pope Leo XIII?

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The Paradox of Metternich: A Dialogue

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Or let us take the Metternich regime in Central Europe. Basically it had a rightist character, but having been born in conscious opposition to the French Revolution it had-as so often tragically happens-learned too much from the enemy. True, it never became totalitarian, but it assumed authoritarian features and aspects which must be called leftist, as for instance the elaborate police system based on espionage, informers, censorship, and controls in every direction.

-Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism 

Metternichian Theory

The Hapsburg Restorationist: I see what you are trying to do here, and appreciate it. However, if I may offer this criticism, the Neo-Metternichian movement neither reaches far back enough into the past, nor looks far ahead enough into the future. The “First-and-a-Half Reich” of Metternich only superficially resembles the original, and kept few of the eternal principles which served as the foundation of the first. And its flaws are not only that the Holy Alliance was a poor substitute for the Holy Empire. Its main weakness is mainly in the fact that it is a “reaction” and not a response. It is defined not only by its opposition to 19th century “liberalism”, but by its adherence to 19th century “anti-liberalism”, and thus bound to the circumstances of the 19th century.

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Unreceptive to Liberalism — Sancrucensis

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The Empire thus fostered a deep-rooted, conservative ideal of freedom as local and particular, shared by members of corporate groups and incorporated communities. These were local and particular liberties, not abstract Liberty shared equally by all inhabitants… This [explains] why central Europeans remained so unreceptive to nineteenth-century liberalism… liberals discovered that ordinary people often did… continue reading on Sancrucensis

via Unreceptive to Liberalism — Sancrucensis

The Greatest Title in Christendom

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The empire of the Middle Ages had never been a territorial entity in the sense of being a sovereign state, as the term was understood in the eighteenth and even the nineteenth centuries. Naturally for practical purposes the emperor had to have his own estates but his authority was not derived from such personal property, but from the transcendental, almost religious respect in which the crown was held, which endowed him with the temporal imperium of all Christendom. It was only at the close of the Middle Ages, when the empire was shaken by internal strife, that the emperor felt the need for more tangible support, for without a territorial base, that is without family domains, he ran the risk of becoming merely a puppet in the hands of the ambitious Prince-Electors.

Already by Maximilian I’s time the true import of the crown of Charlemagne was gradually being forgotten as two new concepts infected Europe – the idea of a territorial sovereign state and a growing sense of nationalism. Nevertheless, the title and dignity of emperor were still regarded as preeminent. Even during the time of its decline, when the empire was divested of almost all authority, powerful European monarchs such as Louis XIV still tried to secure for themselves what they considered to be the greatest title in Christendom.

-Archduke Otto von Habsburg, Charles V Empire, State, and Nation