Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Leo XIII, "the line of development," public worship, and "prophetic criticism"

Further to Rick's question about Leo XIII's understanding of the *meaning* of the "two there are" thesis, I am reminded of that touching line of Pius IX (related by Cardinal Ferrata in his memoires), which Rick and I have discussed: "My system and my policy have had their time; but I am too old to change.  My successor will have to do it."  Leo XIII certainly did change course, but not quite in the way the Murray revision insists. He affirms two powers, but not in splendid isolation from each other.  Consider, for example, the following from Leo's Apostolic Letter of March 19, 1902, written at the very end of his long pontificate:  "[S]ociety, in its foolhardy effort to escape from God, has rejected the divine order and revelation; it is thus withdrawn from the salutary efficacy of Christianity, which is manifestly the most solid guarantee of order, the strongest bond of fraternity, and the inexhaustible source of all private and public virtue.  This sacrilegious [sic] divorce has resulted in bringing about that trouble which now disturbs the world.  Hence it is the pale of the Church which this lost society must re-enter, if it wishes to recover its well-being, its repose, and its salvation. Just as Christianity cannot penetrate into the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter in public life without establishing order. . . .  If it has transformed pagan society . . . so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the States and peoples of modern times.  But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to sincere love of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."  Thus Leo.  And regarding "the line of development" George Weigel discerns from Leo forward to Benedict XVI, it needs to include acknowledgment of such as the following, from Pope St. Pius X's Consistorial Allocution of Nov. 9, 1903: "We do not conceal the fact that We shall shock some people by saying that We must necessarily concern ourselves with politics.  But anyone forming an equitable judgement clearly sees that the Supreme Pontiff can in no wise violently withdraw the category of politics from subjection to the supreme control of faith and moral confided to him."

It's all part of the tradition, and, with E.A. Goerner toward the end of his Peter and Caesar, I believe that the tradition points beyond Murray, et al., etc., to a deeper "integrism or integralism" (Goerner, 263) that perhaps involves not just law ("the canonsists") but true "public worship" (273 sqq.)  Goerner of course goes on to raise the need for "prophetic criticism" that will chasten the integralists' temptations toward externalia (268), but Goerner's conclusion is worth serious reflection: "Neither integrism nor prophetic criticism by itself is wholly Christian.  The Christian community needs both spiritual styles in order to be fully itself" (272).  Would George Weigel agree?  I suspect Leo would agree, at least with due qualification.




Brennan, Patrick | Permalink

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