A Critique of John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration (Part II)

by Derek Remus

The following is the second part of a critique of John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration in the light of Catholic doctrine on the relation between Church and state. Part I was an exposition of Locke’s position. It a slightly revised version of Derek Remus’s thesis at Thomas Aquinas College.
– The Editors

II. The Truth about Church and State

So much for our analysis of Locke’s position. Now we shall turn to the way things really are. It is worth pointing out that our starting-point will be very different from that of Locke. As we have seen, Locke’s doctrine concerning Church and State relations is rooted in his belief in the centrality of civil rights. The protection of civil rights is the object of the state’s jurisdiction, and the basis for religious toleration is that the practice of religion is not a threat to civil rights; in fact, the practice of religion turns out to be a civil right itself. As we shall see, Catholic doctrine concerning Church and State relations, on the other hand, is rooted in the primacy of the common good. Consequently, our defense of this doctrine will consist of the following parts: 1) an account of the nature of the common good in general and of the axiom that the common good is preferable to the private good; 2) an account of the end of the state or the political common good; 3) an account of the relation of religion to the political common good apart from revelation; 4) an account of the end of the Church established by Christ or the common good of eternal beatitude; 5) an account of how the political common good and the common good of eternal beatitude are related to each other.

A. The Primacy of the Common Good

The common good is any good which is a final cause to many. It is opposed to the private good, which is a final cause only to one. The common good is not a mere collection of private goods; rather, it is a good to many precisely by being one good numerically. This is because the common good is a cause to many not accidentally but per se. A cause is a cause to many accidentally when it causes each of its many effects through a distinct act, e.g. when the foot causes each of its many footprints through a distinct impression on the sand, since here the mode of causality is the same as that by which many causes produce many effects. A cause is a cause to many per se when it causes all of its many effects through one single act, e.g. when the sun illumines everything on a hemisphere of the earth through one single illumination. Hence, since final causes are causes by being the objects of appetite, the common good, insofar as it is a final cause to many, is the object of the appetite of a multitude precisely by being one numerical final cause. Therefore, it cannot be a mere collection of private goods, since then it would be many final causes.

Moreover, although the common good is the good of a multitude, it is not the good of that multitude “envisaged as a sort of singular,”[1] as if it did not belong to the singulars constituting the multitude. For then its belonging to the multitude would be accidental to the manyness of that multitude. The common good would then “be properly singular, or, if one wishes, it would differ from the singular good of the particulars in being the good of none of them (nullius).”[2] Applied to politics, such an understanding of the common good would be totalitarian, since the common good would really be the private good of a gigantic individual (the state), to which good the private goods of other individuals would be subservient by sheer power of force.

On the contrary, the axiom that actions belong only to supposits demands that the community pursue and enjoy the common good through the actions of the individuals that make up the community. The common good is therefore desirable for individuals, but in such a way that it is not diminished by the multiplicity of the individuals for whom it is desirable.

Moreover, the unity of the common good causes the individuals that pursue and enjoy it to become one “complete agent”; this does not negate the differences that exist among the individuals but rather orders “these differences to one another and to the whole.”[3] Further, each individual properly pursues and enjoys the common good not merely because it is good for him but because it is good for him and for all the other individuals who pursue and enjoy it with him. Hence, as St. Thomas says in Quaestiones Disputatae de Caritate with regard to the political common good, a good politician loves the common good not that he may have and possess it but that it may be conserved and defended.[4]

It is a per se notum proposition that the common good is better (more choosable) than the private good.[5] For the common good is a final cause which satisfies the appetite of a multitude, whereas the private good is a final cause which satisfies the appetite of only one of the individuals in that multitude. A multitude stands to the individuals that constitute it, however, as a whole to its parts. Therefore, since every perfection is proportioned to the subject which it perfects, the good which perfects the multitude stands to the good which perfects only one of the individuals in that multitude as a whole to its parts. But the whole is greater (more) than its parts. Therefore, the good of the multitude is better and more desirable than the good of an individual in that multitude.

Put another way, the common good is diffusive of itself to more beings than the private good. But the good, insofar as it bears the notion of desirable, is diffusive of itself, and so one good is better than another insofar as it is diffusive of itself to more beings. Therefore, the common good is better and more desirable than the private good.

Thus, for example, victory is the common good of the whole army; food, sleep, and personal glory are private goods of the soldiers constituting the army. Hence, the victory of the army is superior to the food, sleep, and personal glory of the individual soldiers. The soldier should therefore love that victory more than his food, sleep, and personal glory and, if necessary, should be willing to sacrifice the latter for the sake of the former.

B. The Common Good of the City
and the Political Nature of Man

Let us now apply what we have said about the common good in general to the common good as it exists in the state or city.[6] Here it is helpful to begin by considering how the city comes to be.

The city comes to be from the association of smaller communities which exist prior to it in time.[7] The first of these communities is the family or household, which comes to be for the sake of maintaining the species and procuring the needs of daily life, such as eating and having shelter. Then, from the association of families, the village comes to be for the sake of procuring the needs of non-daily life, such as those relating to buying and fighting. Since, however, there are needs that even the village cannot procure by itself, different villages come together and form a city, which is the perfectly self-sufficient community. Hence, as Aristotle says, the city “comes into being for the sake of living,”[8] that is, for bringing about those conditions which are necessary for the members of the city to satisfy the needs of life.

These conditions constitute the first common goods of the city, since they belong to all the members of the city as such. Note, however, that they merely constitute useful common goods, since they exist for the sake of other goods, namely, those which satisfy the needs of the individuals, families, and villages that make up the city. Nevertheless, if the citizens have a rightly ordered love for these goods, then they will love them not merely because they are good for themselves taken as individuals, but above all because they are good for the whole city, since insofar as they are good for the whole city they are more common and therefore have more fully the ratio of good.

Once the city exists, however, other common goods arise in it, namely, pleasant and honest ones. For although the city comes to be “for the sake of living,” it “exists for the sake of living well.”[9] When men have established a city and thus have the useful common goods that enable them to live, they are not content merely with living but seek to live well. To live well, however, they do not retire into their private lives as if it were there that they really find the good life and their common life were only for the sake of their private lives. Rather, because their membership in the city makes them parts of a whole, and they apprehend that the whole is greater than its parts, they seek to live well by pursuing and enjoying goods that are common to the whole city. Some of these goods are pleasant, such as public statues and music, and others are honest, such as the administration of justice and the worship of God. It is the latter which constitute the highest goods of the city and the true source of political happiness because, prescinding from the division of the good into common and private, it is universally true that honest goods have the ratio of good more than useful or pleasant goods, since only honest goods are desired on account of themselves.[10]

The honest common goods constitute the citizens’ common life of virtue; they are the noble actions which the citizens can only perform in common. This is because, as is clear from the rational nature of man, the highest good of man insofar as he is an individual is activity of his soul in accordance with those virtues that govern his own affairs. Therefore, the highest good of man insofar as he is a citizen is activity of his soul in accordance with those virtues that govern his affairs as they relate to the city. Hence, Aristotle says rightly that the political community “must be regarded…as being for the sake of noble actions” and that “those who contribute most to a partnership of this sort have a greater part in the city than those who are equal or greater in freedom and family but unequal in political virtue.”[11]

From what we have said, it is clear that man is ordered toward the political life by his very nature.[12] For since the city comes to exist as a result of man’s natural incapacity to provide for his needs by himself, it is clear that the city comes to exist by nature; therefore, man is inclined to enter it by nature. A further proof that man is naturally political can be taken from the fact that man alone of all the animals has the power of speech. Voice, which is common to other animals, expresses the pleasant and painful, but speech alone, since it alone expresses intellectual concepts, expresses the useful and the harmful and therefore the just and the unjust, inasmuch as the just and unjust are concerned with equality and inequality in things that are useful and harmful. But a society in which men communicate with each other regarding the useful and the harmful, the just and the unjust, and other such things, is precisely what constitutes a city. Therefore, men are by nature inclined toward participation in political life. They are naturally ordered toward being parts of the city, and they cannot attain the full perfection proportionate to human nature unless they order themselves to the political common good.

Let us now say a few words about how men order themselves to the political common good. First, let us recall that any community pursues and enjoys its good through the actions of the individuals that make up the community. This means, however, that the individuals must pursue and enjoy that good precisely as a community, that is, as individuals united in a common agency. The individuals can only be united in a common agency, however, if there is some governing principle that directs them to order their actions toward the common good. In the state, this governing principle is the ruler, whether the ruler is a single man or a body of men.

The ruler has the duty to determine the means appropriate for the attainment of the common good. These means are the laws of the state. Hence, St. Thomas defines law as a “certain ordination of reason toward the common good promulgated by him who has care of the community.”[13] Therefore, the citizens order themselves toward the common good by obeying the laws. By doing so repeatedly, they acquire the virtue of legal justice, through which they are disposed determinately to order the actions of all their other virtues to the common good and to subordinate their private goods to the common good.

Here it is necessary to point out that not any dictate of the ruler has the force of law, since law by definition is ordered toward the common good. Thus, if the ruler should pass a law which is ordered toward his private good, then he has not really passed a law.

We can see more precisely how a human law that is not ordered toward the common good lacks the force of law, if we consider the relation of human law to eternal and natural law. The eternal law is the divine reason insofar as it governs the entire universe and directs it toward a common end, namely, God himself.[14] Creatures participate in the eternal law insofar as “from its impression they have inclinations toward their proper acts and ends.”[15] The rational creature participates in the eternal law in a more excellent way than other creatures, since not only does he have an inclination toward his proper act and end impressed on him by the eternal law, but he apprehends his proper act and end rationally, so that he is able to provide for himself the means by which he can perform his proper act and attain his proper end. The participation of the rational creature in the eternal law is called the natural law.

Now, as we have already seen, man is naturally inclined toward participation in political life. Therefore, the natural law, which commands him to pursue those things toward which he has a natural inclination and to avoid the contrary, commands him to enter political society and work for the realization of the common good. Nevertheless, the natural law specifies the way for man to work for the realization of the common good in a purely universal manner and therefore without complete determination. Therefore, in order to bring about a determinate realization of the common good, the rulers of political society must draw particular conclusions from the precepts of natural law and make particular determinations of those precepts and then promulgate these conclusions and determinations as laws. Consequently, every authentic human law is derived from the natural law, which is ordered toward the common good. Moreover, since the natural law is derived from the eternal law, a human law which undermines the common good is a violation of the divine order. This is sufficient to conclude our discussion of the political common good.

C. The Natural Role of Religion in the State

We have seen, then, that the end of the city is the common good of its citizens– above all, their common life of virtue. Of all the virtues pertaining to this common life, the chief one is that of religion.

Religion is the virtue by which a man orders himself to God by exhibiting due honor to Him, “to whom we ought principally to be bound” as to our first principle.[16] Religion is a potential part of justice, since through it man renders what is due to another, though not to an equal. It is the highest of the moral virtues, since it is ordered to God in a more proximate way than any of the others, and God is the ultimate end of all the moral virtues.

The duties of religion bind not only the individual man but also the state. For the state, insofar as it arises from nature, has God, the cause of nature, “for its Author.”[17] Moreover, since human law is derived from natural law, and natural law participates in eternal law, it follows that the common good of the state is ordered ultimately to the common good of the whole universe, namely, God. Political power is therefore a secondary cause through which God, the first cause, orders all things to himself. Therefore, since God is the first principle and ultimate end of the state, it is a requirement of natural justice that the state worship God. Since worship of God is thus an element of the state’s common life, it is necessary that the state have one religion.

Moreover, the political common good cannot be realized if the state does not worship God. For the common good of the city is the happiness of the city. It is very difficult, however, for even one man to be happy, due to the difficulty of conquering the appetites and to the contingencies of fortune. All the more difficult is it, therefore, for a whole city to be happy. Therefore, the political common good is attainable only through divine assistance. Hence, in practicing the virtue of religion, the state not only adores God as its first principle and last end but also petitions God for the happiness of the community and thanks him for the blessings he has bestowed upon the community. Since, therefore, there is one happiness of the state, it is fitting that there be one order whereby that good is brought about and thus that the state have one religion.

Note, furthermore, that without revelation, religion cannot be ordered to the attainment of anything other than temporal goods, which are ordained to the common good of the city. One may of course hope for goods after death, but without revelation there is no order by which such goods may be attained. Therefore, apart from revelation, not only is it fitting that the state have one religion but that the priests who have the care of that religion be subordinate to the political rulers.[18]

D. The Catholic Church and the Divine Common Good

Christ, however, has made accessible to all men of whatever nation a good which transcends the goods of this life and to which those goods must be ordered, namely, the divine good which is the object of eternal beatitude. It is critical to point out that the divine good is a common good; indeed, it is the most universal common good of all. The reason for this is that, as we said earlier, a good is common insofar as it is diffusive of itself to many, and therefore, one common good is more of a common good than another insofar as it is diffusive of itself to more beings. But God, the supreme good, is diffusive of Himself to every being that exists. Therefore, to see and enjoy the divine essence in eternal beatitude is to share in a common good which “most fully has the note of common good.”[19] Note that this is true even though “as such the beatitude of the single person does not depend on the actual communication of this beatitude to many”; rather, it depends on “its essential communicability to many,” which communicability follows simply from the supreme character of the divine good.[20] Moreover, even if only one creature were to partake of eternal beatitude, he would still share it with God. That alone would be sufficient to make eternal beatitude the most universal common good.

Those who participate in the divine common good participate in it together “according to distinct acts or offices.”[21] They thus constitute a perfect society which is analogous to a political society, that is, which contains all the perfections of a political society and more. Hence, Scripture speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem, and St. Paul, addressing those who are members of it on earth, says, “[Y]ou are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God.”[22]

The angels and blessed souls, who constitute the Church Triumphant, are citizens of this celestial society fully, since they possess the divine good by beholding it as it is in itself. Nevertheless, men are made citizens of it on earth, though less perfectly, through membership in the Church Militant, by which they receive grace, a certain participation in the divine nature, in their souls.

To be good citizens of the celestial society, men must order their wills toward the divine common good and love it according to itself, that is, they must love it not for its possession by them but for its maintenance and diffusion.[23] This love is not natural to them. For just as man under the formality of earthly citizen requires that a love of the political common good be added to his will through the acquired virtue of legal justice, so man under the formality of celestial citizen requires that a love of the supernatural common good be added to his will through the infused virtue of charity. For by charity a man “loves God for Himself and his neighbors who are capable of beatitude” as himself.[24]

Just as men are ordered to the political common good through human law, men are ordered to the divine common good through divine law and, in particular, the new law or law of the Gospel. The new law, says St. Thomas, is principally the “grace of the Holy Spirit.”[25] In a secondary way, it comprises certain things that effect this grace in the soul, namely, the Sacraments, as well as certain things “pertaining to the use of this grace,” namely, certain doctrines to be believed and certain precepts to be fulfilled. The doctrines are the articles of faith, and the precepts are the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments. We should note here that inasmuch as the new law contains the Ten Commandments, it contains the whole of the natural law as well, since the Ten Commandments are a divinely revealed reaffirmation of the natural law. This fact will be important for our discussion of the relation of the Church to the state.

Our Lord has entrusted the task of ordering men according to the new law to the Catholic Church, which He Himself instituted. The government of the Church is administered by the members of the ministerial priesthood and, in particular, by the members of the episcopate, among whom the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, has primacy. To carry out this government, the priests and bishops administer the Sacraments, teach the faithful what they must believe, and direct the faithful in fulfilling the precepts of divine law. This latter they accomplish through instruction and exhortation as well as through the promulgation of ecclesiastical law, which determines divine law just as human law determines natural law. Because the Church is a perfect society, priests and bishops possess a real jurisdictional authority over all the Church’s members, namely, those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism.

Let us conclude our discussion of the divine common good by noting that the diffusiveness of the divine good is such that God wills all men to partake of it: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”[26] Therefore, the Church has a divinely ordained duty to bring all men into her fold, and her jurisdiction transcends the distinction of nations.

Let us now proceed to examine the relation of the Church to the state.

E. The Relation of the Church to the State

We said earlier that the state has a duty to worship God. We also said that apart from revelation, religion can only be ordered to the acquisition of temporal goods, which are ordered to the common good of the city, and that the priests ought therefore to be subject to the civil rulers. We have now seen, however, that Christ, who is God Himself, has established a religion which is ordered toward a higher, more universal good than the good of the city and according to which He desires all men, regardless of nation, to worship Him. This religion is that of the Catholic Church. Therefore, it follows that since the coming of Christ, the state has a duty to worship God according to the Catholic religion.

Moreover, just as the private good must be ordered toward the common good, so a lower common good must be ordered toward a higher common good; therefore, the life of political virtue, which constitutes the highest common good of the city, must be ordered toward the eternal common good of the beatific vision. Consequently, since “those to whom pertains the care of antecedent ends ought to be subjected to him to whom pertains the care of the ultimate end and be directed by his rule,”[27] it follows that whereas in states that existed prior to Christ, those who had jurisdiction over religion were rightly subject to the civil rulers, in states that exist after Christ, the civil rulers are to be subject to the rulers of the Catholic Church.[28]

This subjection of the state to the Church must be rightly understood, however. For as St. Thomas says in his In Libros Sententiarum, there are two ways in which a superior and an inferior power can stand to each other. The first way is when

the inferior power (potestas) arises wholly from the superior; and then the whole power (virtus) of the inferior is founded upon the power (virtutem) of the superior; and then simply and in all things must the superior power (potestati) be obeyed more than the inferior.[29]

For example, the minister of a king receives all his power from the king; therefore, his power is founded upon that of the king, and in all matters the king must be obeyed more than he. Thus, if there is ever a contradiction between what the minister orders and what the king orders, men must obey the king. The second way is when both the superior and the inferior power

arise from one certain supreme power (potestate), which subjects one to the other according as it wishes; and thence one is not superior to the other except in these things with regard to which one is placed under the other by the supreme power (potestate); and in those things only must the superior be obeyed more than the inferior.[30]

It is in the latter way that the Church relates to the state as a superior to an inferior power. The power of the state does not derive from the power of the Church; rather, the power of both derives from the supreme power of God, albeit in different ways. Therefore, the state is subject to the Church only in those matters with regard to which God has ordained that it be subject to it. These matters, says St. Thomas, are those things “which pertain to the salvation of the soul.”[31]

We can understand more fully what St. Thomas is saying here if we note that while the state must order the citizens’ temporal welfare to the attainment of eternal salvation, not every temporal affair in virtue of its object affects men’s attainment of salvation.[32] As we have seen in our discussion of the divine common good, salvation demands that men fulfill the requirements of the divine law, which includes all of the natural law. Often, however, within the limits of revealed and natural law, there are a diversity of means by which the state may attain its proper end. Clearly, with such matters as these, the Church has no concern and therefore no right to become involved.

There are other temporal affairs–and a great deal of them at that–, however, which do affect men’s attainment of salvation, since revealed and natural law do not leave open the course of action to be taken in such affairs. These affairs, such as marriage and education, belong to the jurisdiction of both the Church and the state, albeit not in the same way, since the Church is concerned with them insofar as they relate to the eternal common good, and the state is concerned with them insofar as they relate to the political common good. The state, therefore, has the duty to govern these affairs in a way such that they are capable of being ordered toward the eternal common good and to ensure that its laws concerning them are in accordance with natural and revealed law.[33]

For example, when the state dispenses marriage licenses, it must not dispense them to Catholics who have been married in a non-Catholic marriage ceremony, for, according to revealed law, such a marriage is not a real marriage. Further, the state must ensure that the Church is able to provide instruction in the Catholic faith to students in state schools. Since the existence of public buildings falls within the domain of temporal affairs, the state, at least in a Catholic country, where the religious unity of the people could be threatened by the public practice of non-Catholic religions, has the right to prohibit the building of non-Catholic churches. Further, since the state has the duty not only to safeguard civil peace (a useful common good) but also public virtue (an honest common good), the state has the right to prohibit the propagation of opinions in the press which threaten that virtue. But since, after Christ, the virtuous life to which a nation is naturally ordered is ordered to the attainment of heaven, the state also has the right to prohibit the propagation of opinions in the press which are opposed to its citizens’ attainment of heaven, such as opinions that are blasphemous or constitute an attack on the Church.

The Church, for its part, has the right to insist that the state fulfill its duty to govern temporal affairs in a way such that they are conducive to the attainment of salvation. This does not mean that the Church has the physical power to coerce the state into exercising this duty, but it does mean that the Church has the moral power to do so. That is, the Church can command the state to grant it temporal assistance in some way (such as public funding for the Church’s missionary work) or to refrain from passing certain laws which would violate natural or revealed law, and the state is morally obliged to listen to the Church. Moreover, in cases where the rulers of a nation are Catholic and violate the rights of the Church or the precepts of the natural law in some flagrant way and as a consequence behave tyrannically, the Church can inflict ecclesiastical penalties on those rulers, such as excommunication, and can even declare the fact that they are behaving tyrannically.[34]

It is unnecessary to do more than point out that just as there are temporal affairs which do not as such bear upon salvation, so there are ecclesiastical affairs which do not as such bear upon the temporal welfare and are thus wholly outside of the state’s jurisdiction.

In sum, since the coming of Christ, the state has a duty to recognize the Catholic Church as the true religion and to worship God according to it. It has the duty to ensure that its laws do not violate the teachings of the Catholic Church, which proclaims the revealed law and the natural law in their fullness. It has the duty to promote the welfare of the Church insofar as that welfare can be promoted by temporal means. Conversely, the Catholic Church has the right to demand that the state fulfills all of these duties. None of these statements violates the distinction between Church and state, since not all temporal affairs are subject to the jurisdiction of the Church, and not all spiritual affairs are subject to the jurisdiction of the state. As for those matters that are both temporal and spiritual, the state and the Church are concerned with them in different ways, even though the way the state is concerned with them is subordinate to the way the Church is concerned with them.


NOTES

[1]       Charles De Koninck, The Primacy of the Common Good against the Personalists in The Writings of Charles De Koninck, Vol. II, ed. Ralph McInerny (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), p. 75.

[2]       Ibid.

[3]       John Nieto, “The Axiomatic Character of the Principle that the Common Good is Preferable to the Private Good,” in: The Aquinas Review 14 (2007), pp. 109-132.

[4]       Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones Disputatae de Caritate, a. 2, c.: “Amare autem bonum alicuius civitatis ut habeatur et possideatur, non facit bonum politicum; quia sic etiam aliquis tyrannus amat bonum alicuius civitatis ut ei dominetur; quod est amare seipsum magis quam civitatem; sibi enim ipsi hoc bonum concupiscit, non civitati. Sed amare bonum civitatis ut conservetur et defendatur, hoc est vere amare civitatem; quod bonum politicum facit: in tantum quod aliqui propter bonum civitatis conservandum vel ampliandum, se periculis mortis exponant et negligant privatum bonum.”

[5]       More specifically, it is the kind of per se notum proposition called an axiom, that is, a principle which is common to all the sciences inasmuch as it is a truth about being as such or one of the concepts convertible with being. At first, one might be surprised by this, since it seems that the notion of the common good is found only in political science. Examples reveal that this is not the case, however. In the De Anima, Aristotle accounts for the generation of the nutritive soul by the common good of the perpetuation of the species (Bk. II, Ch. 4), and in the Metaphysics (Bk. XII, Ch. 10), he says that God is the extrinsic common good of the whole universe. As we shall see later on, the common good is present in sacred theology inasmuch as the beatific vision is a good common to all the elect. The reason for the axiomatic character of the principle of the primacy of the common good is that the good is convertible with being, and since the good is good by being good to some thing, which is either one or many, the division of the good into common and private is a per se division of the good and therefore a division of the good insofar as the good is convertible with being.

[6]       While it is possible for the words “city” and “state” to have slightly distinct connotations, they are here used interchangeably.

[7]       This paragraph follows closely Aristotle’s discussion of the coming to be of the city in Bk. I, Ch. 2 of the Politics.

[8]       Aristotle, Politics, Bk. I, Ch. 2, p. 37.

[9]       Politics, Bk. I, Ch. 2, p. 37.

[10]       Cf. St. Thomas, Summa, Ia, q. 5, a. 6, c.: “…quia honestum dicitur quod per se desideratur.”

[11]       Politics, Bk. III, Ch. 9, p. 99.

[12]       This paragraph follows closely Aristotle’s discussion of how man is by nature a political animal in Bk. I, Ch. 2 of the Politics and St. Thomas’s commentary on that discussion in Sententia Libri Politicorum, Liber 1, Lectio 1.

[13]       Summa, IaIIae, q. 90, a. 4, c.: “Et sic ex quatuor praedictis potest colligi definitio legis, quae nihil est aliud quam quaedam rationis ordinatio ad bonum commune, ab eo qui curam communitatis habet, promulgata.”

[14]       God is the extrinsic common end of the universe. There is also an intrinsic common end of the universe, however, namely, the order of the universe.

[15]       Summa, IaIIae, q. 91, a. 2, c.: “Unde cum omnia quae divinae providentiae subduntur, a lege aeterna regulentur et mensurentur, ut ex dictis patet; manifestum est quod omnia participant aliqualiter legem aeternam, inquantum scilicet ex impressione eius habent inclinationes in proprios actus et fines.”

[16]       Summa, IIaIIae, q. 81, a. 1, c.: “…religio proprie importat ordinem ad Deum. Ipse enim est cui principaliter alligari debemus, tanquam indeficienti principio; ad quem etiam nostra electio assidue dirigi debet, sicut in ultimum finem; quem etiam negligenter peccando amittimus, et credendo et fidem protestando recuperare debemus.”

[17]       Immortale Dei, n. 3.

[18]       Cf. St. Thomas, De Regno, Liber 1, Caput 15: “Quia igitur sacerdotium gentilium et totus divinorum cultus erat propter temporalia bona conquirenda, quae omnia ordinantur ad multitudinis bonum commune, cuius regi cura incumbit, convenienter sacerdotes gentilium regibus subdebantur.”

[19]         De Koninck, p. 81.

[20]         Ibid., p. 97.

[21]         Summa, IIIa, q. 8, a. 4, c.: “Unum autem corpus similitudinarie dicitur una multitudo ordinata in unum secundum distinctos actus sive officia.”

[22]         Ephesians 2:19; cf. Quaestiones Disputatae de Caritate, a. 2, c.: “…ita cum homo per divinam gratiam admittatur in participationem caelestis beatitudinis, quae in visione et fruitione Dei consistit, fit quasi civis et socius illius beatae societatis, quae vocatur caelestis Ierusalem secundum illud, Ephes. II, 19: estis cives sanctorum et domestici Dei.”

[23]       Cf. Quaestiones Disputatae de Caritate, a. 2, c.: “Sic igitur amarae bonum quod a beatis participatur ut habeatur vel possideatur, non facit hominem bene se habentem ad beatitudinem, quia etiam mali illud bonum concupiscunt; sed amare illud bonum secundum se, ut permaneat et diffundatur, et ut nihil contra illud bonum agatur, hoc facit hominem bene se habentem ad illam societatem beatorum.”

[24]       Ibid.: “Et haec est caritas, quae Deum per se diligit, et proximos qui sunt capaces beatitudinis, sicut seipsos.”

[25]       Summa, IaIIae, q. 106, a. 1, c.: “Id autem quod est potissimum in lege novi testamenti, et in quo tota virtus eius consistit, est gratia Spiritus Sancti, quae datur per fidem Christi…Habet tamen lex nova quaedam sicut dispositiva ad gratiam Spiritus Sancti, et ad usum huius gratiae pertinentia, quae sunt quasi secundaria in lege nova, de quibus oportuit instrui fideles Christi et verbis et scriptis, tam circa credenda quam circa agenda.”

[26]         Matthew 28:19.

[27]       De Regno, Liber 1, Caput 15: “Sic enim ei, ad quem finis ultimi cura pertinet, subdi debent illi, ad quos pertinet cura antecedentium finium, et eius mperio dirigi.”

[28]       Cf. ibid.: “Sed in nova lege est sacerdotium altius, per quod homines traducuntur ad bona caelestia: unde in lege Christi reges debent sacerdotibus esse subiecti.”

[29]       In II Libros Sententiarum, dist. 44, q. 2, a. 3, Expositio textus, c.: “Aut ita quod inferior potestas ex toto oriatur a superiori; et tunc tota virtus inferioris fundatur supra virtutem superioris; et tunc simpliciter et in omnibus est magis obediendum potestati superiori quam inferiori.”

[30]       Ibid.: “Potest iterum potestas superior et inferior ita se habere, quod ambae oriantur ex una quadam suprema potestate, quae unam alteri subdit secundum quod vult; et tunc una non est superior altera nisi in his quibus una supponitur alii a suprema potestate; et in illis tantum est magis obediendum superiori quam inferiori.”

[31]       In II Libros Sententiarum, ad quartum: “…et ideo intantum saecularis potestas est sub spirituali, inquantum est ei a deo supposita, scilicet in his quae ad salutem animae pertinent; et ideo in his magis est obediendum potestati spirituali quam saeculari.”

[32]       Note the phrase “in virtue of its object.” An affair which does not pertain to the attainment of heavenly happiness in virtue of its object still pertains to it in virtue of the intention with which a man engages in it.

[33]       The state, of course, has the duty to ensure that its laws are in accordance with the natural law for a reason more immediately tied to the nature of the state, namely, the derivation of every authentic human law from the natural law. Therefore, the requirement after the coming of Christ that the state order its good toward the good of eternal beatitude is an additional reason for why the state has this duty.   It is worth noting, however, that, due to man’s fallen nature, it is very difficult for anyone without the assistance of divine revelation to have a knowledge of the natural law which is free from error. Therefore, a state which recognizes the infallibility of the Church’s Magisterium is better able to fulfill its natural duty of passing laws in accordance with the natural law than a state which does not.

[34] This is the basis for the declarations of popes in different eras of the Church’s history that the citizens of certain nations no longer owed allegiance to their rulers.

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