Church and State

Church and State

This article presents in four parts a chronological survey of the relations between Church and State in Western civilization. The doctrinal aspects of these relations are related more fully in other articles, as are historical and legal aspects that have particular reference to the New World and especially to the United States.

The Church in The Roman Empire

In the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world religious and civil functions were inseparable. The state was supreme in the religious as well as in the civil sphere, and its subjects or citizens were normally required to participate in public worship. Nonconformance was regarded as a form of treason or sacrilege. When AKHNATON made his Aton cult the official religion of Egypt, the worship of Amon was proscribed and the nonconforming priesthood of Amon was persecuted. Even in the Greek city-states, acceptance of the gods of the state and participation in the official cults were likewise prescribed. The famous trials of ANAXAGORAS and SOCRATES at Athens on the charge of impiety indicated that the most enlightened Greek state could demand religious conformity—although in these two instances religion was used as a pretext for attack by political enemies. However, it should be noted that PLATO assigned a central role to religion in the ideal state he described in the Laws and that he advocated the death penalty for persistent atheism.

The policy of ancient imperial states toward the religions of conquered peoples was, in general, based on toleration. The great Persian kings CYRUS and DARIUS even aided the Jewish exiles to return from Babylonia and to reestablish the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem. There were important exceptions, however, to the policy of toleration. The Assyrians, as is evident from their own records and from the Bible, tended to impose the worship of their militant god Ashur on conquered peoples, and ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES, king of Syria, instituted formal persecution against those Jews who would not conform to his program of Hellenization. Some centuries later, the Sassanid kings of the New Persian Empire persecuted Christians, Manichaeans, and all others who would not accept or participate in the official Zoroastrian religion of the state. In practice, the acceptance of the religion of the conqueror or the toleration of the religions of conquered peoples presented no serious problems to adherents of polytheism, as the conquered could incorporate the worship of foreign divinities—or even the worship of a divine king himself—into their own cults. The Jews, on the other hand, as the chosen people of Yahweh, were committed to His worship alone. Owing in part to the historical circumstances of their association with Rome from the days of Judas Maccabee and in part to the general Roman policy toward subject ethnic groups, the Jews were granted special immunities out of respect for their religious beliefs and practices. Above all, under the early empire, they were freed from the obligation of participating in the imperial cult.

In summary, before the rise of Christianity, the official religion of a state was an essential and inseparable element in its structure and functioning. The problem of the relations of the religions of subject peoples and the ruling state had arisen, but in practice it was not a serious one except in the case of the Jews, whose uncompromising and exclusive monotheism constituted a unique phenomenon in a polytheistic world. The Romans never attempted to understand JUDAISM; they tolerated it, but with restrictions against proselytism.

Primitive Christianity and the Roman State. In the Jewish conception of the state, the religious and the civil were inseparably combined. The Jewish state was a kind of religious community, a THEOCRACY, in which institutions and law were religious in origin, being founded in Scripture and interpreted and applied according to the spirit of Scripture. Given this background, subjection to a foreign—and pagan—power was particularly difficult to endure. Hence the question put to Christ regarding the payment of tribute to Rome was motivated in part by a desire to impugn his Jewish patriotism and in part to expose him to a charge of disloyalty to Rome. His answer, "Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mk 12.17;), marked the beginning of a new epoch in the history of the relations between religion and the state. For the first time, a formal distinction was made between the obligations owed to God and those owed to the state, with a clear declaration that man has the duty to fulfill the obligations owed to both. St. Paul's teachings on civil AUTHORITY and civil obedience merely applied concretely the principle enunciated by Our Lord. Subsequent Christian teachings, and their elaboration, on the relations of Church and State have necessarily been based on this same principle as their ultimate foundation.

The conflict between Christianity and the Roman state was occasioned by the nonparticipation of Christians generally in public and private life, and, above all, by their refusal to worship the emperor. The imperial cult had been instituted by Augustus and was promoted, by his successors as a means, strengthened and sanctioned by religion, for developing loyalty and unity throughout the Roman Empire. When, about the middle of the 1st century A.D., the Roman authorities became aware that Christianity was not identical with Judaism and that increasing numbers of non-Jews were joining the new religion, Christians, like other non-Jewish citizens or subjects, were expected to participate in various aspects of Roman public and private life and, above all, in the imperial cult. The hope of an Imminent Second Coming, a strong spirit of pacifism among some, and the general deep religious fervor of the first two or three generations of Christians were all factors in developing and maintaining an attitude of aloofness toward the life around them, but the main cause of this aloofness was paganism itself. Every aspect of public and private life was permeated with pagan rites and customs. It was practically impossible for a Christian to serve even as a petty magistrate without having to take an active part in pagan ceremonies, and military service required an oath to the divine emperor and worship of the imperial standards and other rites. It is against this background that one should interpret the statement of St. Paul that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil 3.20), and should understand the consolation that it offered to those who first heard it.

Sometime between the principates of Nero (A.D. 54–68) and Trajan (A.D. 98–117), Christianity was condemned as a religion inimical to the state, and refusal to worship the emperor or to participate in official sacrifices was regarded as an act of treason against the state. From this period to the Edict of GALERIUS (311) and the agreement on religious policy reached by CONSTANTINE and Licinius (the so-called Edict of MILAN of 313), Christianity was proscribed by the Roman state. In practice, however, there were long intervals in which the law against the Christians was not enforced, at least on a universal basis. The rank and file of Christians, although often attacked or ridiculed, were not officially persecuted, and some Christians occupied important posts in the imperial service.

Meanwhile, the Church grew steadily in numbers, especially in the East, and developed a complicated and strong hierarchical organization. It became a great sacred corporation, although one not recognized by the state, that was regarded as a menace to imperial unity as symbolized in the imperial cult and in other official acts of pagan public worship. The elaborately organized persecutions of DECIUS and of DIOCLETIAN and Galerius were directed especially against the leaders of the Church and ecclesiastical organization, with the hope that Christianity might be eliminated by destroying its higher and lower clergy. Despite the severities of the age of persecutions, Christian martyrs and apologists constantly maintained that they were loyal citizens and that they were bound by the precepts of their religion to render obedience to civil authority. They could and did pray for the emperor, but they could not pray to the emperor, because they had to reserve their worship for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom the emperor himself belonged and from whom he derived his power (Martyr. Polycarpi 8.2; 9.2;10.1; Tertullian, Apol. 4).

From Constantine to the Death of Theodosius the Great (A.D. 313–395). Constantine's extension of freedom of worship to Christians, which signified that Christianity was recognized officially as a religio licita beside paganism, was a revolutionary act that marked a great turning point in the history of the early Church and in universal history as well. By his legislation, Constantine continued to strengthen the position of Christianity. This policy was continued by his successors with the exception of JULIAN, whose persecution of Christianity was brought to an abrupt end by his death. Finally, in the last quarter of the 4th century, THEODOSIUS THE GREAT made Christianity the official religion of the Empire and suppressed public pagan worship.

The Relation of the Church to the Christian Empire. The Church had emerged triumphant from its long struggle with the pagan Roman state and its pagan emperors, but its precise relations with the Christian Empire and Christian emperors remained to be worked out. By the age of Constantine, the Church had become a highly organized universal sacred society, conscious of its divine origin and divine mission. As is clear from the writings of the ante-Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers, it regarded itself as the new PEOPLE OF GOD and its leaders, the bishops, as the successors not only of the Apostles appointed by Christ to rule His Church, but also of their prototypes, the Prophets of the Old Testament, as spokesmen of God. The Church, accordingly, in keeping with its divine foundation and its concern with the things of God, considered itself supreme in the theological and spiritual sphere and as possessing its own rights and privileges within that sphere. On the other hand, and in keeping with the doctrine laid down by Christ Himself, it recognized fully the supremacy of the state and its rulers in political or civil affairs.

The Christian emperors inherited the lofty absolutism of their office from their pagan predecessors, who were supreme in religious affairs, as was symbolized by the title pontifex maximus. This title was relinquished by GRATIAN only in A.D. 382. Constantine considered that he was emperor by divine election and that he not only had the duty to promote the new religion that he had adopted but also the right to interfere directly in religious affairs in the interest of imperial order and unity. Thus he took for granted that he could summon ecclesiastical councils and even suggest the actions that should be taken. In any event, he considered that it was his duty to put into effect, by force if necessary, conciliar decrees. In their joy at deliverance from persecution, the Christian bishops did not perceive that Constantine's handling of the Donatist affair was to be ominous for the future. Their joy over the imperial support received at the Council of NICAEA I, however, was soon ended when Constantine exiled ATHANASIUS, the great champion of orthodoxy, and favored the Arians.

From this time forward, it became clear that the emperor would be a defender of the faith, but that in practice this would mean the faith to which he himself subscribed. It became evident also that an emperor could and would regard himself as superior to all bishops, including the pope, in matters ecclesiastical. Arianism, in fact, owed much of its success to the official support it received from The Emperors CONSTANTIUS and VALENS and the Empress Justina, regent of her son VALENTINIAN II. Athanasius (for the second and third time), HILARY OF POITIERS HOSIUS OF CÓRDOBA, LUCIFER OF CAGLIARI, EUSEBIUS OF VERCELLI, and Pope LIBERIUS were all exiled by Constantius, an ardent promoter of Arianism as the official religion of the state. Athanasius was exiled again by Julian the Apostate and by Valens.

Divergence between Eastern and Western Theories. Two main Christian attitudes or, rather, theories of the relations of Church and State began to take definite shape from the age of Constantine. In the West the idea of the two societies, the ecclesiastical and the civil, with their respective rights and privileges, was maintained and developed. In the East, EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA advanced the view that as the empire was becoming Christian the two societies were merging into a single Christian society with the emperor as its head. He thus laid the foundations for what has been called CAESAROPAPISM in practice, if not in theory. It was only natural, accordingly, that the Germanic kings who were converted to Arian Christianity should regard themselves as heads of the Church in their realms. At Constantinople and in the Arian kingdom, the Church thus became in many respects a department of government.

Despite the opposition of Athanasius and other Eastern Fathers to Eusebius's concept of the merging of the two societies and, above all, to the supremacy of the emperor in the field of religion, this concept received constant imperial support and elaboration until it culminated under JUSTINIAN THE GREAT, who regarded himself as "priest-emperor." In the West, St. AMBROSE was the first great and successful champion of the rights of the Church, and he defended these rights with the vehemence and courage of an Old Testament Prophet. He maintained that the Church has certain sacred and inviolable rights, that it possesses jurisdiction over all Christians, and that the state cannot exercise jurisdiction over strictly ecclesiastical affairs. In his Sermon against Auxentius (36), he declared that the emperor had no title more honorable than "son of the Church" and that "the emperor is within the Church and not over it" (imperator enim intra Ecclesiam, non supra Ecclesiam est). For the massacre of Thessalonica, he required the powerful Emperor Theodosius the Great to acknowledge his guilt publicly, thus demonstrating that the Church had the right and the duty to insist that even an emperor obey the Christian moral law.

From the Death of Theodosius to the Accession of Justinian (A.D. 395–527). Following the death of Theodosius, the two halves of the empire remained separated until Justinian made the recovery of the West one of the major policies of his reign (his conquests in the West were largely temporary only). Beginning with the sack of Rome by Alaric (410), Roman authority in the West disintegrated steadily. The deposition of Romulus Augustus (476) marked the formal end of a Roman rule that for decades had been nominal only. Meanwhile, the bishops of the West, and especially the popes, developed the theory of the relations of Church and State much further; and they gave it the definitive form that became the inheritance of the Middle Ages.

St. AUGUSTINE in his various writings, but above all in his De civitate Dei, dealt in a comprehensive manner with the idea of the two societies. Unlike Eusebius, he emphasized their different character and their continued separation. Despite his fear regarding the dangers of interference by the state in religious affairs, he felt obliged, because of the violence of the Donatists, to call upon the imperial government for help. This action set a fateful precedent for the future.

In the period after Augustine, the popes, as Roman civil authority crumbled in he West, were forced to assume an increasingly important political role as the protectors and defenders of the Christian communities against the evils resulting from the Germanic invasions. At the same time, they had to defend the rights and the freedom of the Church in the East as well as in the West against the State-Church theory of the Byzantine emperors and Germanic Arian kings—and the application of the theory in practice. Popes LEO THE GREAT (440–461), SIMPLICIUS (468–483), FELIX III (II) (483–492), GELASIUS I (492–496), and SYMMACHUS (498–514) were understandably deferential in the communications that they addressed to the Roman emperors at Constantinople, for in their civil capacity they were really subjects of these exalted rulers. However, they all showed an uncompromising firmness in maintaining the rights, freedom, and supremacy of the Church in the spiritual sphere.

The theory of the two powers was given its clearest and most definitive form by Gelasius in his letter to the Emperor Anastasius:

There are two [powers], August Emperor, by which this world is chiefly governed. The two powers are the auctoritas sacrata pontificum and the regalis potestas. Of the two the charge of the priests [sacerdotes] is heavier, in that they have to render an account in the Divine judgment for even the kings of men. For you know, most gracious son, that, though you preside over humankind by virtue of your office, you bow your neck piously to those who are in charge of things divine and from them you ask the things of your salvation; and hence you realize that, in receiving the heavenly mysteries and making proper arrangement for them, you must in the order of religion submit yourself rather than control, and in those matters you are dependent on their judgment and do not desire them to be subject to your will. For if, as far as the sphere of civil order is concerned, the bishops themselves, recognizing that the imperial office has been conferred upon you by Divine disposition, obey your laws … with what zeal, I ask you, should you not obey those who are deputed to dispense the sacred mysteries? [Epist. 12.2; tr. Ziegler;]

This exposition on the two powers served as the foundation for the medieval theological and political teaching on the two swords.

Bibliography: H. RAHNER, Kirche und Staat im frühen Christentum: Dokumente aus acht Jahrhunderten und ihre Deutung (Munich 1961); et al., "Kirche und Staat, "Staatslexikon, ed. G…RRES-GESSELSCHAFT (6th ed. Freiburg 1957–63) 4: 991–1050, esp. 991–997, 1005–16, and 1046–47, bibliog. DANIÉLOU-MARROU, Christian Century v.1, ch. 7, 11, 14–19, 25–26, 31, 33. R. W. and A. J. CARLYLE, A History of Mediaeval Political Theory in the West,v.1, The Second Century to the Ninth (London 1927), esp. 81–193. K. F. MORRISON, "Rome and the City of God: An Essay on the Constitutional Relationships of Empire and Church in the Fourth Century, "Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, NS 54.1 (1964) 3–55, with valuable bibliog., 53–54. E. CRANZ, "De civitate Dei XV, 2, and Augustine's Idea of Christian Society, "Speculum 25 (1950) 215–225; "The Development of Augustine's Ideas on Society before the Donatist Controversy, "Harvard Theological Review 47 (1954) 255–316. P. R. L. BROWN, "St. Augustine's Attitude to Religious Coercion, "Journal of Roman Studies 54 (1964) 106–116. A. K. ZIEGLER, "Pope Gelasius I and His Teaching on the Relation of Church and State, "Catholic Historical Review 27 (1942) 3–28, a study of basic importance.

[M. R. P. Mcguire]

The Middle Ages

Both in practice and in theory, the relationship between Church and State did not remain static over the 1,000 years of the Middle Ages but changed as social conditions, levels of learning, and traditions of thought also underwent change.

Early Middle Ages. It was the common assumption in the early Middle Ages that there was only one Christian society, one "congregation of the faithful," and the great problem was to balance the authority of the two chief offices, the princely office, or regnum, and the priestly office, or sacerdotium, which God had established to rule over it.

Developments in the East. In the medieval Eastern, or BYZANTINE, Empire, where strong imperial rule was unbroken by invasions and where ancient, especially Hellenistic, traditions were congenial with ideas of a sacred kingship, the emperors exercised the dominance over both Church and State that gave rise to the term CAESAROPAPISM. Emperor JUSTINIAN I (517–565) expressly counted among his responsibilities "the dignity and honor of the clergy" and "the true doctrines of the Godhead" (Corpis iuris civilis, Novellae 6). To maintain the clergy's dignity and honor, the emperors set the qualifications for ordinations, created bishoprics and changed their boundaries and status, appointed and even forced the resignation of patriarchs, supervised the monasteries and corrected abuses that recurred within them. Concern for true doctrine led them to summon councils, supervise their proceedings, and enforce their decisions. ZENO in his Henotikon (482), HERACLIUS in his Ekthesis (638), and other emperors attempted to settle dogmatic disputes even without conciliar support. The Patriarch Antonius, writing between 1394 and 1397 to Prince Vasili I of Russia, maintained that the Christian emperors "from the beginning established and confirmed true religion" and that it was unthinkable and impossible to have a Church without an emperor. Not only Byzantium but also the Eastern peoples that learned from Byzantium accepted a similar princely tutelage over the Church. The Russian Primary Chronicle, for example, describes how the Prince of Kiev, Iaroslav the Wise (1016–54), built and endowed churches, appointed and supported priests, looked to their education and "bade them teach the people … and to go often into the churches."

This submissiveness in the East of the sacerdotium to the regnum permitted the prince to make free use of the wealth, administrative skills, and immense moral power of the Church; and this close cooperation was of inestimable value for harrassed peoples on Europe's frontier, struggling to survive against a barbarian sea. The priesthood in turn, largely freed from profane distractions, could devote itself to the sumptuous liturgy and rich mystical life characteristic of the Eastern churches. But submissiveness to princes also weakened contacts with sister churches and the universal Church, promoted a certain isolationism, facilitated schism, and compromised somewhat the prophetic liberty of the Church, in that it hampered it in its duty to denounce evil when tolerated or perpetrated by princes. Czar Ivan the Terrible could murder a patriarch, and Peter the Great could abolish the office altogether, with impunity.

The Church in the West. In the Latin West, the relations between the princely and sacerdotal powers developed under very different conditions. Up to the 11th century the low cultural level of the West, not fully relieved even by the CAROLINGIAN RENAISSANCE in the 9th century, was not conducive to original speculation on the nature of Christian society. Those pre-Carolingian and Carolingian writers who touched on kingship— ISIDORE OF SEVILLE, the unknown Irish author of the De duodecim abusivis saeculi (written probably between 630 and 650), Kathvulf (author of an address to Charlemagne), SMARAGDUS OF SAINT-MIHIEL, JONAS OF ORLÉANS, Sedulius Scotus and HINCMAR OF REIMS—attempted no profound analysis of the nature of royal authority, and their assumptions may be described as vaguely Gelasian: the king had a right to rule, but priests must advise him for his own spiritual welfare. The coronation of CHARLEMAGNE (800) also brought a revival of royal pretensions to dominance over the Church. Charlemagne himself, in a letter to LEO III, limited the pope's duties to praying "like Moses" for the emperor's victories, while he took charge of all other functions in the government of the Church, including the task of fortifying it "with the knowledge of the faith."

In the same period, amid a long-lasting vacuum of effective lay power, popes and bishops were developing a spirit of self-reliance and independence, as they exercised leadership not only in religious matters but in many secular affairs as well. GREGORY I (590–604), for example, had to arrange for the economic support and military security of Rome. In the early 8th century, GREGORY II and GREGORY III vigorously rejected the iconoclastic policies of the Byzantine Emperor LEO III and denounced imperial interference in dogmatic questions. The DONATION OF CONSTANTINE, a crude but effective forgery redacted probably about 750, was tantamount to a papal declaration of independence from Byzantine authority (Constantine had supposedly given the whole Western Empire to the pope), and offered justification for the momentous papal decision to seek a new champion in the Frankish monarch. The donation of the Frankish king PEPIN III, promised in 754 and completed in 756, further established the popes' claim to the temporal sovereignty over central Italy, the "patrimony of St. Peter," although throughout the Carolingian age the Frankish kings remained the effective rulers of the area.

Another expression of clerical independence were the Pseudo-Isidorian decretals, a collection of largely forged papal letters redacted probably between 847 and 852 in France and primarily intended to defend French bishops against mounting lay oppression. Pseudo-Isidore emphasized clerical immunities and papal authority, but he does not seem to have envisioned a true priestly or papal theocracy. More forceful than Pseudo-Isidore in expressing the supremacy of the sacerdotium and papacy was the strong-willed Pope NICHOLAS I (858–867), whose letters contain, apparently for the first time, the unambigous assertion that the emperor derived his power not directly from God but from the Church and priesthood.

The early Middle Ages thus developed a broad spectrum of opinion concerning the proper distribution of power in Christian society, but a full confrontation of opposing views did not occur until the 11th century, until the great quarrel between the papacy and the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE known as the INVESTITURE STRUGGLE.

High Middle Ages. By the middle of the 11th century, a group of reformers, led by Cardinal HUMBERT OF SILVA CANDIDA, author of the highly influential Libri III adversus simoniacos (1054–58), by LEO IX, NICHOLAS II, and above all by the great Hildebrand, GREGORY VII, had concluded that lay domination over the Church, and in particular lay control of clerical appointments, was flooding the Church with unworthy prelates, undermining clerical morality, and placing in jeopardy the salvation of Christians. These reformers demanded a full "liberty of the Church," which implied not only freedom from lay interference in clerical elections but also the immunity of the clergy from the law, courts, discipline, and even taxes of lay rulers. Emperor HENRY IV (1056–1106) resisted this program, which would have emasculated his power, but he was excommunicated and deposed (1076) and was forced to do a humiliating penance at Canossa (1077). The Concordat of WORMS (1122) patched together a compromise with respect to clerical appointments, but left unresolved the fundamental issue as to who, pope or emperor, exercised supreme authority over the medieval Christian commonwealth, the Respublica Christiana.

The Papalists. The essence of Gregorian thought, which dominated papal policy for the rest of the Middle Ages, seems to have been this: the priesthood, responsible for guiding the individual Christian to personal reform, was also responsible for actively leading the Christian commonwealth to the reform of its public morals, customs, and even institutions. The papacy, through its universal authority, provided unity and direction in this work of regenerating Christian society. Kings had to follow the leadership of priests and to place their swords at their service; to oppose them was to merit reprimand, excommunication, and even deposition. Despite these exalted views of priestly leadership, it does not appear that Gregory VII was a true theocratic "monist," in the sense of maintaining that all authority derived from the priesthood. In his letters, Gregory expressed only an Augustinian disdain for the office and works of kings and no claim that the priesthood was the source of their power. MANEGOLD OF LAUTENBACH, one of the ablest of Gregorian publicists, justified Gregory's deposition of Henry not because the pope could make and unmake emperors at will, but because Henry had violated a kind of SOCIAL CONTRACT made with his subjects and had in fact deposed himself.

From the investiture controversy to the AVIGNON PAPACY (1305), the period of their maximum prestige and power, the popes continued to pursue, with some success, these Gregorian ideals. The theory of papal hegemony was also strengthened. St. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, in a famous analogy, likened the priestly and regal power to the two swords mentioned in Lk 22.38 and held that both belonged to the Church and were to be employed in its service. The great development in the study of Canon Law, which the investiture controversy itself had stimulated, added a new precision, rigor, and systematic spirit to the papalist argument. Canonists—decretists from the 12th century and, still more, decretalists in the 13th—contended that the pope, as vicar of God, must necessarily include royal authority within his plenitude of power and that a Christian society with two heads would be some sort of monster. To these ideas the papal publicists GILES OF ROME (d. 1316) and AUGUSTINE OF ANCONA (d. 1328) gave the most extreme expression, attributing to the pope dominion over all men, Christian and pagan, and ownership of all their possessions.

The popes of the epoch—notably INNOCENT III, INNOCENT IV, ALEXANDER IV, and BONIFACE VIII —remained in their public utterances distinctly more restrained than their enthusiastic theorists. Innocent III (1198–1216), for example, though often expressing exalted views on papal power, also, in the decretal Novit, written in 1204 to PHILIP II OF FRANCE, disclaimed all intent of diminishing royal jurisdiction or of judging concerning fiefs. Even the bull UNAM SANCTAM (1302) of Boniface VIII, the most famous papal pronouncement on Church-State relations in the Middle Ages, was essentially a summons to Christian unity through obedience to the pope, but the document, oddly anachronistic in the allegorical and imprecise arguments used, left vague the extent of the obedience demanded.

Historians still disagree as to whether these medieval popes really envisioned a kind of theocratic "world monarchy" under absolute papal power. Certainly the popes welcomed and echoed the sweeping claims of their supporters, but they were also realistic men. They seem to have used these grandiose speculations not to define the primary aims of papal policy, but as useful arguments in the achievement of the more limited and more practical goals of maintaining ecclesiastical liberty, Christian unity, and papal leadership in spiritually significant affairs.

Development of the Concept of the State. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the papacy faced an ever-stronger lay challenge to its hegemony from such powerful rulers as the Emperors FREDERICK I and FREDERICK II and the kings HENRY II and Edward I of England and PHILIP IV of France. Moreover, the renewed study of Roman law in the 12th century and the recovery of Aristotle's Politics in the 13th contributed strongly to what some historians call an emergent "lay spirit." Roman law attributed an unlimited SOVEREIGNTY to a prince who drew his power directly from the community, and Aristotle located the basis for political authority in the very nature of man. In this creative period, medieval political thinkers were in fact fashioning the modern idea of the state; establishing its autonomy; and, through their acute constitutional speculations, exploring the management of its power.

In the face of this naturalistic and lay challenge to the religious premises of all prior medieval political thought, THOMAS AQUINAS, with characteristic prudence, attempted to defend in new terms the traditional Gelasian notion of a balance of spiritual and secular power. For Thomas, nature and the natural law established the autonomy of, but also limited, the sovereignty of princes. Revealed or divine law established the autonomy of, but also limited, the sovereignty of popes. God alone was truly sovereign, and both the natural and divine laws, and the State and Church they established, drew their authority from His sovereign will, from what Thomas calls the eternal law of the universe.

Close to Thomas in his ideal of balance, but far more explicit in defending the autonomy of kings and rebuking papal pretensions to sovereignty over them, was JOHN OF PARIS, author of the Tractatus de potestate regia et papali (1302). The De monarchia of DANTE ALIGHIERI (written between 1310 and 1316) used Aristotelian naturalism to show the necessity of a universal empire and used Aristotelian logic to refute the allegorical use of scriptural figures (two swords, sun and moon, etc.) that papalists had enlisted to support their claims. Far more radical challenges to papal authority were presented by the Englishman WILLIAM OF OCKHAM (d. 1349) and especially by MARSILIUS OF PADUA, author of the Defensor pacis (1324). Marsilius, a true theoretical monist in that he conceded unlimited power to the community and to the prince who represented it, denied all substance to clerical authority and totally subjected priesthood and papacy to the prince's regulation, supervision, and discipline.

Late Middle Ages. The last two centuries of the Middle Ages were marked by the progressive disintegration of the medieval Christian commonwealth, brought about by the declining power and prestige of the papacy and the growing power of princes, who were able through their own enactments and through CONCORDATS with the papacy to gain ever-wider powers over their territorial churches. Political thought in this period was occupied more by the argument over CONCILIARISM —concerning the relation of popes and general councils—than by questions of Church and State. But such conciliarist thinkers as CONRAD OF GELNHAUSEN, HENRY HEINBUCHE OF LANGENSTEIN, Francesco ZABARELLA, Jean GERSON, and NICHOLAS OF CUSA, in attempting to make the pope subject to the corporate community of the Church, in conceding to the princes a position of prominence within that community, also contributed, if indirectly, to the growing lay power over territorial churches. More directly favoring state power was the great heretic John WYCLIF (d.1384), who denied to the unregenerate clergy all rights of dominion and ownership and looked to the lay magistrate for leadership in reform.

The great medieval effort to build a commonwealth of Christian peoples and princes bound together by obedience to the pope and under his supreme guidance thus ended in failure. The popes themselves were perhaps too slow in recognizing that active world leadership carried grave risks of demeaning secular involvements and a degrading fiscalism and that many of their own ideals of social order and welfare could be achieved and were better achieved by the lay states that they had hoped to tutor. But that effort was not without value for the achievement in medieval Europe of a higher level of political order and an intensified political consciousness, and it also remains a rich and instructive chapter within the larger history of the Church's continuing quest to bear effective Christian witness within a complex and changing world.

Bibliography: E. BARKER, Social and Political Thought in Byzantium (Oxford 1957). A. MICHEL, Die Kaisermacht in der Ostkirche, 843–1204 (Darmstadt 1959). M. PACAUT, La Théocratie: l'Église et le pouvoir au moyen âge (Paris 1957). W. ULLMAN, Medieval Papalism: The Political Theories of the Medieval Canonists (London 1949); The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages (2d ed. New York 1962). B. TIERNEY, The Crisis of Church and State, 1050–1300 (Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1964). G. TELLENBACH, Church, State and Christian Society at the Time of the Investiture Contest, tr. R. F. BENNETT (Oxford 1959). A. STICKLER, Sacerdotium et regnum nei decretalisti e primi decretalisti (Turin 1953). F. KEMPF, Papsttum und Kaisertum bei Innocenz III (Rome 1954). J. M. POWELL, Innocent III, Vicar of Christ or Lord of the World? (Boston 1963).

[D. J. Herlihy]

The Period of Confessional States

The monarchical consolidation of power in the nation-states of western Europe was achieved at the expense of the anachronistic claims of the papacy to temporal sovereignty. By the early 1500s, several princes, imbued with the secular philosophy of MARSILIUS OF PADUA and Niccoló MACHIAVELLI, warred with the STATES OF THE CHURCH. Popes of the RENAISSANCE, as much secular as spiritual princes, engaged actively in diplomacy, sometimes compromising claims to temporal sovereignty in order to win allies. The HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE was fraught with heresy, confederative tendencies, and nationalism. Germans, Czechs, and Swiss resented Spanish and Italian interference. There were strong anti-clerical traditions in England and France.

Momentous forces let loose by the CRUSADES, recurring epidemics of the plague, nascent capitalism, overseas exploration, and the rise of the merchant-professional middle class played havoc with traditional political, social, and economic institutions. Great ecclesiastics were humbled by greater kings. Laymen often replaced bishops and abbots in government when the temporal claims of the papacy were opposed by nationalistic monarchs in struggles over lay investiture, ecclesiastical courts, clerical taxation, and similar issues. The prestige of the papacy had suffered through serious religious controversies from the Babylonian captivity to the rise of CONCILIARISM. Effective leadership and spirituality were lacking in some Renaissance popes and bishops. Reform movements of the 15th century fell short of the achievements of those of earlier periods.

Theories of the Reformers. Into this maelstrom the Protestant REFORMATION injected disquieting ideas that attacked papal temporal and spiritual sovereignty. Certain secular princes supported the Reformers against the pope in order to realize private political aims. The effect of the Reformation, therefore, was to encourage nationalism and ABSOLUTISM through the removal of papal restraints and the emphasis on ERASTIANISM. Conversely, without help from antipapal princes, the Reformers probably could not have survived against the awesome papal weapons of EXCOMMUNICATION, interdict, INQUISITION, and the INDEX OF FORBIDDEN BOOKS.

Luther. Martin LUTHER was deeply concerned about the relation of Church and State, but he was inconsistent in his views. Strongly nationalistic, he resented Italian domination of the Church and Spanish interference in the Empire. Similar-minded German princes sustained him and promoted his doctrines. He originally advocated the separation of Church and State, holding that all authority originated with God and passed through Him to princes, whose power on earth was superior to ecclesiastical authority. Practical problems forced him to alter this theory, however. He condoned civil control over religion in connection with the Saxon visitation of 1527, arguing that the Elector's syndics should supervise preaching, suppress Catholicism, and punish schismatics such as the ANABAPTISTS. Luther also supported the Leagues of Torgau and Schmalkalden, which forcefully advanced his doctrines. He favored the aristocracy against the peasants in 1525, thereby supporting pragmatically the civil authorities and furthering LUTHERANISM and German nationalism. He often stated theoretically that neither bishops nor princes should impose decrees or laws against the convictions of conscience, but he argued practically for theocratic absolutism. He denied papal supremacy and rejected episcopal authority as unscriptural. His advocacy of passive obedience to lawful temporal jurisdiction encouraged the 17th-century doctrine of the DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS.

Calvin. John CALVIN of Geneva also taught the strict separation of civil and ecclesiastical power but later found it impractical to enforce it except at the cost of impairing the success of his tenets. Calvin's Institutes (1535) illustrate how well trained he was in theology and law and how easily he made the transition from Genevan minister to dictatorial head of the theocratic city-state. He considered the function of civil government to be simply the preservation of law and the enforcement of religion and personal piety according to his doctrines. All civil offices were divinely ordained so that it was unlawful and immoral to rebel against the state unless the state violated God's will (as Calvin interpreted it). Accordingly, civil obedience was a moral duty; and civil disobedience against immoral princes, a right. Calvin's doctrine of jusitifiable rebellion through magistrates was employed by his followers in Holland, Scotland, England, and France during the next century. His politicoecclesiastical system operated as an aristocratic theocracy headed by him and assisted by the consistory, composed of ministers and elders, which functioned as the coordinating body between magistrates and ministers. Although Calvin may have originally preached that Church and State were exclusive societies, the former admonishing citizens to moral and spiritual perfection and the latter enforcing uniformity by punishing sinners, in effect the temporal and ecclesiastical officers worked together to further CALVINISM.

Zwingli. Huldrych ZWINGLI of Zurich, who wished to expel foreign influence and suppress aristocratic oligarchy, was a modern-day prophet-avenger. He hoped to establish divine law as revealed in Scriptures through the forcible implementation of civil authority. Each community or state, he said, should determine its religion and enforce it strictly through civil officers. Denying altogether the authority of the pope and bishops, Zwingli advocated the fullest cooperation between civil and ecclesiastical officers in ruling a government operated according to Christian precepts.

English Developments. Whereas Lutheranism and Calvinism were as much social and economic as religious movements, ANGLICANISM was from the first almost entirely political. The long history of Anglo-papal controversy after the Conquest of 1066 culminated in HENRY VIII's Act of Supremacy (1534), severing the link between England and Rome by making him supreme head of the Church in England. Not until the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity (1559) under ELIZABETH I, however, did Anglicanism become doctrinally the Church of England. The English Church and Parliament established an episcopalian ecclesiastical polity under the primacy of the monarch. Erastianism became a cardinal policy of Anglicanism, the crown-in-convocation ruling the Church. Puritanism, rooted in Calvinism, sprang up quickly. Most PURITANS accepted Episcopalianism, hoping, however, to increase lay participation in ecclesiastical affairs. Some separatist Puritans in England and Scotland favored PRESBYTERIANISM with its kirk sessions, synods, and general assemblies; John KNOX and George Buchanan in Scotland and Thomas CARTWRIGHT in England were its chief theorists. Other separatists were CONGREGATIONALISTS, advocating the doctrinal and governmental autonomy of each parish.

Caesaropapism found its exponents and opponents in 17th-century England. The principal Anglican apologist was Richard HOOKER, who in The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594) defended episcopalianism against the incursions of Presbyterians. He favored monarchy that should be fully, albeit passively, obeyed. Divine-right monarchy, sanctioned directly by God (not by the pope, councils, or popular will) and invested with spiritual and temporal power flowered under the early Stuarts. Their struggles with Parliament were essentially constitutional (absolute versus mixed monarchy), but their quarrel was also vitally concerned with issues such as that of FUNDAMENTALISM versus ARMINIANISM. Many parliamentarians favored the governmental enforcement of "true religion"; others wanted a strict separation of Church and State. Thomas HOBBES argued that absolute monarchy, sovereign in civil and ecclesiastical affairs, was the best form of government. Revolution against it was therefore unthinkable, and religious uniformity was preferable to sectarianism. John LOCKE later maintained that separation of Church and State was essential and that religious toleration would develop from noninterference by the government, whose authority lay outside questions of conscience. Yet neither he nor Hobbes included Catholics among the tolerated because they were allegedly subject to external papal authority.

Catholic Response. The vehement attacks against hierocratic doctrine by the Reformers and their magisterial supporters demanded firm answers, but the Emperor CHARLES V and the popes from PAUL III to PIUS IV differed over what the answers should be. Rome considered doctrinal issues vital, whereas Charles wished to promote Catholic-Protestant talks aimed at resolving political disunity. Charles had already compromised the Church's position in the Peace of AUGSBURG (1529) and in concessions to Lutheran princes before Paul III convened the Council of TRENT (1545–63), which was in itself an admission that the pope alone could not solve the great issues. Charles disliked the choice of Trent as a site; and when the Council adjourned to Bologna in 1547, he prohibited Germans from going there. The Spaniards, remembering Spanish-papal disputes in Italy, were also unhappy. Meanwhile, Charles authorized unorthodox religious practices to placate the Reformers. Although the Council made no dogmatic pronouncement on papal infallibility, it did buttress papal authority by denying that princes could interfere with the Inquisition, excommunication, papal bulls, and ecclesiastical courts. Political problems involving the Holy See nevertheless arose soon afterward respecting England, Holland, and France. In addition, PHILIP II of Spain accepted papal help to suppress the Dutch Calvinists and the Anglicans; the pope lost prestige when both ventures failed.

Gallicanism. GALLICANISM in France posed a serious problem from the 15th century to the FRENCH REVOLUTION. The clergy had fallen increasingly under monarchical control since the reign of Philip IV (d. 1314), and caesaropapism became entrenched legally through the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438) and the Concordat of Bologna (1516), through which the king obtained the right to appoint hierarchs, subject only to pro forma papal approval. Naturally, FRANCIS I and his successors nominated hierarchs sympathetic to royal policy, whether or not it coincided with the interests of the Church. Gallicanism encouraged the evolution of a virtual French national Church dominated by the monarch, whose supervision of churchmen and Church property was coextensive with the degree of royal absolutism; this reached its apogee under LOUIS XIV (d. 1715).

Political theorists about the turn of the 17th century avidly supported Gallicanism. Pierre PITHOU (d. 1596), for instance, argued that papal decrees had no force in France without the placet of the French bishops meeting in council. Edmond RICHER (d. 1633) maintained that the authority of ecumenical councils was superior to papal authority.

Theoretical Developments. About the same time two illustrious Catholic authors, the Jesuits Robert BELLARMINE (d. 1621) and Francisco SUÁREZ (d. 1617), upheld papal spiritual supremacy but denied the pope's right to interfere in temporal affairs. Bellarmine advocated the separation of Church and State and rejected the temporal power of the pope except to prevent the implementation of laws threatening the Church's rights or to depose heretical monarchs, but he later rescinded this view of the potestas indirecta. Suárez likewise made a distinction between papal temporal and spiritual jurisdiction, but he held it lawful for the pope to interfere in a state's religious policy because princes were subject to divine law, which superseded civil law. He also urged freedom of conscience, even for pagans and heretics.

Decline of Papal Power. Secular authorities no longer took papal temporal power seriously after the middle of the 17th century, and religious persecution waned. Princes dismissed, for instance, the pope's objections to the Peace of WESTPHALIA in 1648. Persecution in the Holy Roman Empire and England became uncommon. Henry IV (d. 1610), converted from Calvinism to Catholicism, issued the Edict of NANTES (1598) in the hope of resolving the long struggle between Catholics and HUGUENOTS. RICHELIEU and MAZARIN tolerated the Huguenots because they were important to the French economy, although they were attacked occasionally for political reasons. Louis XIV continued the lenient policy until 1685, when he revoked the edict, saddening INNOCENT XI, who privately urged toleration by Louis and JAMES II of England. The persecution of Huguenots and Jansenists was a manifestation of divine-right absolutism aimed at regulating French life, though Louis also felt it his moral duty to suppress heresy. He frequently interfered in Church government even to the point of isolating French bishops from contact with Rome, espousing bizarre doctrines, and confiscating the revenues of vacant episcopal sees. In 1682, with Louis's approval, more than 70 French bishops rejected papal infallibility, reiterated Gallican liberties, and maintained that ecumenical councils had a higher order of authority than the pope.

The Age of Enlightenment. The ideas of the 18th-century ENLIGHTENMENT embodied a conception of a mechanistic universe regulated by immutable physical laws. RATIONALISM, DEISM, and the social contract theory of government gave a materialistic explanation of the origin of matter and of the political and social order that challenged the teachings of the Catholic Church and, indirectly, the authority of Christ's vicar. Since rationalist political theorists maintained that the stale evolved from practical necessity and was dependent on popular will, the pope was excluded from any association with civil power.

Febronianism and Josephinism. It is surprising, however, that the principal opposition to the authority of the Holy See came not from the rationalists but from the Catholic exponents of FEBRONIANISM and JOSEPHINISM, two closely related theories that developed in Germany and Austria. Bishop John Nikolaus von HONTHEIM of Trier (d. 1790), writing under the pseudonym Febronius, held that the popes had usurped primacy and were no more powerful than other bishops, a general Church council alone being authoritative. Moreover, neither papal nor conciliar decrees were binding in a country unless its ruler sanctioned them. Febronius recanted in 1778, but his ideas were widely adopted by German bishops, including the three ecclesiastical electors. At the Congress of EMS (1786) these bishops demanded privileges of episcopal independence that infringed upon papal primacy, in effect emulating Gallicanism in what amounted to the government of a separate German Catholic Church. Febronianism and its Austrian counterpart, Josephinism, thrived during Prussia's and Austria's supremacy under FREDERICK II (the Great) and MARIA THERESA. The Empress put the clergy and Church property under state control and rejected papal or episcopal decrees of which she disapproved. Her successor, JOSEPH II, appointed bishops without papal approbation, altered diocesan boundaries, changed the liturgy and Church calendar, suppressed women's religious orders, and closed hundreds of convents. Leopold II of Tuscany, his brother, made similar changes.

The First Secular States: the United States and France. Secularization in the Enlightenment led in part to the creation of secular states in France and the United States. Blaming the Church for evils that oppressed the lower classes, the French revolutionaries first confiscated Church property and later subordinated ecclesiastics to the state through the CIVIL CONSTITUTION OF THE CLERGY (1790). Many clergy, however, refused to acknowledge allegiance to what amounted to a French national Church in the face of PIUS VI's declaration that the constitution was heretical and that he would excommunicate clergy who submitted to it. The constitution therefore created schisms within France and between it and the papacy that were not healed until NAPOLEON I, for political reasons, signed with PIUS VII the CONCORDAT OF 1801.

Puritanism in America had admitted the close connection of ministerial and magisterial authority during the 17th century in the northern and mid-Atlantic colonies. But Congregationalism had found widespread support and the "saints" had gradually given ground. In most colonies the principle of Church and State separation had been commonly accepted by the mid-18th century so that, with the winning of American independence and the acceptance of a constitution, there was no question that the separation principle was firmly established. The first American Catholic bishop, John CARROLL, and others that followed him supported the principle as well as religious toleration for all.

Bibliography: O. F. VON GIERKE, Political Theories of the Middle Ages, tr. F. W. MAITLAND (Cambridge, Eng. 1900; pa. Boston 1958). F. GAVIN, Seven Centuries of the Problem of Church and State (New York 1938) 68–128. C. C. ECKHARDT, The Papacy and World Affairs as Reflected in the Secularization of Politics (Chicago 1937). R. G. GETTELL, History of Political Thought (New York 1924), esp. ch. 6, 8–13, 18. F. MOURRET, A History of the Catholic Church, tr. N. THOMPSON, 8 v. (St. Louis 1930–57) v.6, 7, passim. C. POULET, A History of the Catholic Church, tr. from 4th Fr. ed. by S. A. RAEMERS, 2 v. (St. Louis 1934–35), v.2, passim. H. DANIELROPS, The Church in the Seventeenth Century, tr. J. BUCKINGHAM (London 1963). C. D. CREMEANS, The Reception of Calvinistic Thought in England (Urbana, Ill. 1949). G. DONALDSON, The Scottish Reformation (Cambridge, Eng. 1960). J. T. ELLIS, Perspectives in American Catholicism (Baltimore 1963) 1–39. A. SIMPSON, Puritanism in Old and New England (Chicago 1955).

[M. J. Havran]

Church and State Since 1789

Scholars are inclined to stress the relationships among the political movements of the late 18th century and to include them under a comprehensive title—the democratic revolution. In Europe and in North and South America these movements had a common element in the rejection of absolutist pretensions and hereditary privilege. There were similar demands for checks on executive power through popular representation, assertions of popular sovereignty and the natural equality of man, and appeals to individual rights of conscience, speech, and assembly.

Extension of Liberal Constitutionalism. If the proponents of change had a common base, they were faced with different situations. In England, the theory of Constitutionalism had already been accepted; there remained the tasks of extending civil liberties to unpopular minorities such as Catholics and Jews and of broadening the base of political participation. On the Continent, entrenched institutions and social groups provided determined resistance that was only gradually overcome in the course of the 19th century. In the United States the social structure offered no such resistance to ideas and institutions that had been maturing during the colonial period.

Implicit in the constitutional theory was the distinction between the state, with its specific centrally coordinated activities, and society, with its manifold uncentralized relationships. The Constitution of the United States made this distinction explicit in its concept of reserved and delegated powers and in its first 10 amendments. In Continental Europe there remained considerable ambiguity in this field both on the theoretical level, where a Rousseauist monism had some influence, and in the tendency of the state to continue the control of religion characteristic of the Old Regime. A clear example of the latter was the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790).

In broadest terms the 18th-century political revolutions can be considered as efforts to reestablish constitutionalism, or the limitation of governmental authority by private right, in opposition to theories of obedience to the state that had developed since the Renaissance. Medieval precedents could be cited to justify such efforts. But when proposed in the 18th century, constitutionalism had to face the problem that the Protestant Reformation had strengthened the tendency to consider a common religion as the necessary cement for a cohesive community structure. Various Christian churches had been established in many states through arrangements that afforded protection and support to a privileged religion over which the state exercised considerable control.

American Developments. As religion weakened as a social bond in the 18th century, "reason," "nature," and patriotism were appealed to as substitutes. When specific circumstances made religious pluralism necessary, it was accepted. Thus, a combination of Catholic leadership and a Protestant majority led to the TOLERATION ACTS in Maryland (1639, 1649); the royal charter for Rhode Island (1663) accepted the principle of religious liberty, though it was circumscribed in practice; and William PENN's Frame of Government in Pennsylvania (1682) made his colony the freest in religious matters. This trend toward separation of Church and State was greatly extended by the American Revolution: Thomas Jefferson authored Virginia's Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), which affirmed the neutrality of the state in matters of faith.

When the Bill of Rights was appended to the U.S. Constitution (1791), the opening words of the First Amendment declared: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The decisive factor in this solution was pragmatic: in no other way could the thirteen states, four of which had established churches and all of which had a mosaic of religious variations, be formed into a single nation. In only one other nation, Belgium, was full religious liberty written into the constitution at the foundation of the state. There, as in the United States, special circumstances made Catholics favorable to constitutional limitations on government and to freedom of religion.

Objections of Catholic Theorists. The doctrine of popular sovereignty associated with these developments met objection from Catholic theorists on the ground that it denied that God was the source of all authority. They also found disestablishment unpalatable on the premise that Church and State are independent societies, with the Church superior because of its end. Asserting the "indirect power" of the Church, they maintained that the state must support it when its aid is needed or when the temporal and spiritual converge (e.g., in education, marriage). With a variety of nuances this position continued to dominate Catholic thinking throughout the 19th century. The struggle to preserve the States of the Church strengthened this position, for the temporal power was incompatible with a theory of separation. Nor did the cause of separation recommend itself since many of its proponents wished to strip the Church of all public influence.

Theoretical objections, however, did not impede the gradual extension of liberal constitutionalism. On the practical level, circumstances determined the reaction of most Catholics to the disappearance of the confessional state. In areas where they were a minority, as in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and in some German and eastern European states, Catholics welcomed any steps that extended religious freedom. The same attitude prevailed where Catholics were a majority but the governing power was non-Catholic, as in Ireland and Poland.

Attempts at Accommodation. Even where religious liberty conferred the greatest benefits, as in the United States, few developed a consistent theory to explain their preference. Those who did so were mostly Europeans and were known as Liberal Catholics. Faced with the necessity of making some accommodation with reality, the majority accepted the formula of "thesishypothesis." The "thesis," or ideal, was asserted to be the situation in which civil society would recognize only the true religion and would value it as the foundation of public order; the "hypothesis" was applied to situations in which the Church would accept the actual circumstances of divided religious loyalty and would demand only the right to preach the gospel freely, to rule and guide the baptized, to organize private and public religious worship, and to possess property. Even the outstanding Liberal Félix DUPANLOUP, Bishop of Orléans, appealed to this distinction to explain the apparent rigidity of the SYLLABUS OF ERRORS of PIUS IX (1864). The favorable response he drew from bishops in all countries testified to the popularity of this partial accommodation to the disappearance of the confessional state.

Use of Concordats. The proponents of indirect power and of the thesis-hypothesis formula had some difficulty in explaining the CONCORDATS that became a prominent feature of ecclesiastical policy in the 19th century. Patterned on the arrangements made by Napoleon I with PIUS VII for France (1801) and Italy (1803), the concordats bound the Church and specific governments to mutual reciprocal obligations. Both in the negotiations and in the texts, these had the appearance of contractual engagements between sovereigns. They afforded no support to the assumption of superiority of the ecclesiastical power required by the thesis.

Liberal Catholics. The Liberal Catholics made a more explicit attempt to adjust to the condition in which the Church could no longer count on the coercive power of the state to support its mission. The term Liberal Catholic lacks precision; those whom it designates were not liberal in the sense that they raised the banner of personal autonomy against authority in institutionalized religion. Nor were they genuinely philosophical in their approach to political problems. They began with the conviction that privilege was dead and that the Church could count only on the free assent of its members. They did not consider the passing of the confessional state a tragedy. They welcomed it as a boon that had already proved its worth in Belgium and the United States. They were impressed by Daniel O'CONNELL's use of the parliamentary process to gain Catholic EMANCIPATION, and contrasted the advantages of religious liberty with the deadening dependence of the Church on arbitrary power in the old regimes.

Nearly everywhere their views met resistance, notably in Rome. Early Liberal Catholics, such as Félicité de LAMENNAIS, were strong advocates of papal power, which they viewed as a necessary counterweight to the national state's control of religion. But GREGORY XVI's Mirari vos (1832), and particularly the determination of PIUS IX to oppose all political forms that posed a threat to the continued existence of the Papal States, caused the Liberal Catholics to drift from the ULTRAMONTANISM that had been their hallmark. In the crisis leading to the disappearance of the temporal power, the term ultramontanist came to be applied to those supporters of the papal position who rejected all accommodation with representative institutions and individual liberties.

Growth of Catholic Institutions. While circumstances were adding to the difficulties of Catholics who wished to accept the new political order, there was a remarkable growth of Catholic institutions in democratic and liberal states. Conflicts over education led to the establishment of Catholic schools; interest in social questions increased the number of welfare institutions and stimulated the formation of Catholic workingman's associations; political conflicts, such as the KULTURKAMPF in Bismarck's Germany, contributed to the strengthening of viable Catholic political parties. Even dramatic breaks with tradition, such as the unilateral denunciation of the concordat by Republican France (1905), ultimately diverted Catholic energies into social and apostolic tasks. As decision-making in government broadened to include some participation by the majority of citizens, compacts with heads of states no longer provided sufficient guarantees for the vitality or even the safety of the Church. In this context, Catholic social organizations were to provide new methods of achieving the Church's mission.

Reorientation of Papal Policy. LEO XIII did not provide a new theoretical basis for Church-State relations. But he did give a new approach to modern political problems. He made strenuous efforts to detach French Catholics from their loyalty to monarchical government (Au milieu des sollicitudes); he praised the religious situation in the United States (Longinqua); he emphasized the God-given gift of liberty of the human person (LIBERTAS); and he declared that the people had the right to choose their rulers freely, though not to confer the right to rule (Diuturnum). PIUS X made no notable contribution in this field, though he did remove the ROMAN QUESTION from the arena of world politics and improved relations with Italy by modifying the NON EXPEDIT. BENEDICT XV removed the latter entirely and allowed Italian Catholics to form the Populari party on a nonconfessional basis.

Threat of Totalitarianism. The immediate consequence of World War I was a great expansion of the areas in which the form of the state was democratic with constitutions guaranteeing civil rights and full freedom of worship. Benedict XV and PIUS XI entered into cordial relations with most of these and negotiated concordats that accepted religious pluralism. But the collapse of the Czarist regime in Russia gave birth to a Soviet totalitarian state that was avowedly hostile to religion. The March on Rome (1922) established a Fascist state in Italy that became increasingly totalitarian. In 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany and established a dictatorship incompatible with Christianity. Dictatorships replaced democratic systems in several smaller states.

Pius XI made a determined effort to protect the rights of the Church with the LATERAN PACT and concordat with Mussolini (1929) and a concordat with Hitler (1933). But the principles of these regimes made it impossible for the Church to operate normally, and Pius XI condemned their basic tenets in Non abbiamo bisogno on Italian Fascism (1931), Mit brennender sorge against German National Socialism (1937), and DIVINI REDEMPTORIS against atheistic Communism (1937). Troubles with other dictatorships underlined the relatively favorable position of the Church in the democracies.

Papal Teaching on Democracy and Freedom of Religion. This experience was reflected in the wartime messages of PIUS XII, especially that of Christmas 1944 (Benignitas et humanitas). In it the pope rejected absolutism in all its forms. While insisting on the right of peoples to choose their form of government, the pope noted that men "are demanding a system of government more consistent with the dignity and liberty of the citizen" [Acta Apostolicae Sedis 37 (1945) 13]. The Church shared this interest and believed that citizens should be an active participants in social life. The pope contrasted the masses with a "people worthy of the name," free to hold opinions, to express them, and to use them for the common good. Later, in an address (Ci riesce) to the national convention of Italian jurists (1953), Pius XII maintained that in the new international community with states professing a variety of religions, false religions and moral error could be tolerated to promote the common good. The state is not bound to repress error in all circumstances; the common good is the decisive element.

A comprehensive statement on the historic issues of Church and State is found in JOHN XXIII's PACEM IN TERRIS, which was intended to be a guide for the 2d session of VATICAN COUNCIL II. Throughout the document, the distinction between society and the state is explicit. Equally clear is the right of conscience: "Every human being has the right to honor God according to the dictates of an upright conscience, and the right to profess his religion privately and publicly" (14). Error does not destroy human rights (158). Among essential human rights based on "the dignity of the human person" is "the right to take an active part in public affairs and to contribute one's part to the common good of the citizens" (26). This is not in conflict with the principle that "authority comes from God," which can be accommodated to democracy (52). Fundamentally, "every civil authority must take pains to promote the common good of all without preference for any single citizen or civic group" (56). The basic function of government is to preserve rights: "For to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person and to facilitate the fulfillment of duties, should be the essential office of every public authority" (60). The description of the government that best corresponds to "the innate demands of human nature" (68–77) reads like a sketch of American democracy. Throughout, liberty becomes a basic norm of political life.

The teaching of Pope John had been foreshadowed by a number of European and American theologians who described the confessional state as the product of historical circumstances rather than an ideal toward which Catholics were bound to strive. Their work was assisted by a growing awareness of the vocation of the laity in representing the Church in the temporal order and in the emphasis on autonomous bodies of laymen in CATHOLIC ACTION. In the United States John Courtney MURRAY, SJ attempted a restatement of the Gelasian formula. The Christian is both a child of God and a member of the human community as a citizen of the state. In each capacity he is endowed with a set of rights. Harmony between Church and State must be achieved in the human person. It is democratic man, conscious of his freedom and his social obligations, who must assure the primacy of the spiritual in human society. It is by his witness to the faith that the mission of the Church is furthered.

As a member of the subcommission of the Secretariat for Christian Unity that dealt with the church-state issues at the second Vatican Council Murray was a principal architect of the council's Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis humanae). Murray developed a doctrine of human freedom that showed that the position taken by the council did not contradict earlier papal teaching. In commenting the Declaration, Murray singled out its endorsement of three important doctrinal tenets: religious freedom is a human right (personal and collective); the function and right of the state in religious matters is limited; and the freedom of the Church is the fundamental principle defining the relations between the Church and the sociopolitical order. Together with the council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes), Dignitatis humanae resolved a long standing ambiguity that seemed to posit a double standard freedom for the Church when Catholics are in a minority; privilege for the Church and intolerance for other religions when Catholics are in a majority. (W.M. Abbott, Documents of Vatican II, 672–673). Gaudium et spes stated explicitly that the Church is not bound to any political system. "In their proper spheres," the consitution continues, "the political community and the Church are mutually independent and self-governing," but their concern to serve the personal and social wellbeing of the same beings is best achieved with mutual cooperation (GS 76).

The archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojty·a, took special interest in the text of Gaudium et spes at Vatican II and later, as Pope John Paul II, addressed the issues of Church and state on numerous occasions. Many of his statements were made in defense of religious freedom and the rights of the Church in the new democracies that emerged after the breakup of the Soviet bloc and the demise of communist regimes. His most systematic and comprehensive presentation of norms and principles guiding Church-state relations appeared in the encyclical Centesimus annus, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of Rerurm novarum. John Paul presented it as a "rereading" of Pope Leo's encyclical which, he says, was written to address political, socioeconomic issues that arose in the 19th century and resulted in "a new conception of society and of the State, and consequently of authority itself" (n. 4). The task of the Church is not to promote a particular model of government, but teach principles that insure the common good and the wellbeing of the human person. The Church's "contribution to the political order is precisely her vision of the dignity of the person revealed in all its fullness in the mystery of the Incarnate Word" (nn. 43, 47). John Paul's approach to Church-state relations recognizes that political institutions are conditioned by historical circumstances and that it is the duty of both Church and state to promote and insure the dignity and rights of the human person.

Bibliography: H. A. ROMMEN, The State in Catholic Thought (St. Louis 1945); The Natural Law, tr. T. A. HANLEY (St. Louis 1947). A. C. JEMOLO, Church and State in Italy, 1850–1950, tr. D. MOORE (Philadelphia 1960). J. N. MOODY, ed., Church and Society (New York 1953). J. C. MURRAY, We Hold These Truths (New York 1960). J. MARITAIN, Man and the State (Chicago 1951). L. STURZO, Church and State, tr. B. B. CARTER (London 1939; Notre Dame, Ind.1962). J. N. MOODY and J. G. LAWLER, eds., The Challenge of Mater et Magistra (New York 1963). G. WEIGEL, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (New York 1999).

[J. N. Moody/Eds.]

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