There was nothing farcical about the institution of the Empire, as Voltaire would have it when he remarked that it was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire.¹
Next time someone brings up Voltaire’s quote, “Neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire,” (originally “Ce corps qui s’appelait et qui s’appelle encore le saint empire romain n’était en aucune manière ni saint, ni romain, ni empire” from Essai sur les Moeurs et l’Espit des Nations) they can thus be shown the error of the quote:
HOLY- Made blessed by the Church, the one form of Government with its very foundation in Catholicity with the Emperor being crowned by the Pope.
Thus the Holy Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire are one and the same thing, in two aspects; and Catholicism, the principle of the universal Christian society, is also Romanism; that is, rests upon Rome as the origin and type of its universality; manifesting itself in a mystic dualism which corresponds to the two natures of its Founder. As divine and eternal, its head is the Pope, to whom souls have been entrusted; as human and temporal, the Emperor, commissioned to rule men’s bodies and acts.²
ROMAN- Descended from and preserving the Imperial Civilization of Rome.
There was a great diversity within the boundaries of the Empire, diversity of language, dialect, customs, dresses, and traditions. It was a world in itself; it was the heart of Europe and its most respected realm. The only fixed part of the Empire was Rome and the Urbs was also the metropolis of Christendom.¹
EMPIRE– Receiving the Imperium from the Church upon the Emperor’s coronation, encompassing all of Christendom under the leadership of the Emperor.
What could be finer, what more right and proper, than a Holy Empire conceived as a great federative league, based on trust rather than subjection, composed of friends from within and without (at their head the Pope, both as bishop of Rome and king’s friend), the whole under the leadership of the Emperor-king? ³
And then, if they’re Catholics parroting this quote, bring up Voltaire’s quote about the “Infamous Thing”.
¹Erik v. Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd
²James (Viscount) Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire
³Friedrich Heer, The Holy Roman Empire