Integralism and Gelasian Dyarchy

(Note: I have revised the central section of this essay since its original posting in the light of constructive criticism.[1] A printable version can be found here).

1. Introduction: Three Theories

Political philosophy or politics, according to Aristotle, has an architectonic role in the practical order because it is concerned with the highest good.[2] All other practical sciences and arts are ordered to it, because their goals are sought for the sake of the goal of politics, but the goal of politics is sought only for its own sake. Politics is concerned with the final end, and hence it is the final judge of good and bad, of what is to be sought and of what is to be shunned. It is politics that judges something to be good without qualification, and not only in some respect.[3]

Aristotle sees this as following from the very notion of the good as a final cause. In order to desire anything at all, one must see it as tending toward one’s end, one’s perfection. Most goods are desired for the sake of something else; food, for example, is desired for the sake of preserving life, and the preservation of life is desired for the sake of other activities such as festivity and philosophy. But such a chain of ends cannot go on forever. There must be some final end that is desired for its own sake. If there were no such final end nothing could be desired at all; human desire would make no sense. Nor can there be more than one final end, since in that case there would be no rational way of choosing between different goods—the human will would be radically split and turned against itself.[4]

And this final end, which Aristotle calls eudaimonia (blessedness), is not only the goal of man merely considered as an individual, but even more his goal as a part of political society: “For even if the end is the same for a single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events something greater and more complete.”[5] That is to say, the final end of man is a common good, a good that is shared in by all without being divided or diminished.[6] And Aristotle sees this common good as being the good of the city-state, which he thinks of as a “perfect society” (to borrow a later term): a society whose end is man’s complete good, and which includes all other societies (such as the family, the village, and voluntary associations) as its parts. Thus politics has the role of ordering and integrating all of human life, both individual and corporate, by guiding it toward its final goal. Politics is not a violent imposition of power, but a legitimate and binding authority that aids human persons in the achievement of their true end.[7]

Aristotle’s marvelously simple account of politics and the good seems to be challenged, or at least complicated, by Christianity. “Duo… sunt:” there are two powers by which the world is chiefly ruled, Pope St. Gelasius wrote in his classic letter to the Emperor Anastasius, which was to be endlessly cited and interpreted by subsequent popes:

There are two, august Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority (auctoritas sacrata) of the priests and the royal power (regalis potestas). Of these, that of the priests is weightier, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, most clement son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in divine matters you bend your neck devotedly to the bishops and await from them the means of your salvation. In the reception and proper disposition of the heavenly sacraments you recognize that you should be subordinate rather than superior to the religious order, and that in these things you depend on their judgment rather than wish to bend them to your will. If the ministers of religion, recognizing the supremacy granted you from heaven in matters affecting the public order, obey your laws, lest otherwise they might obstruct the course of secular affairs by irrelevant considerations, with what readiness should you not yield them obedience to whom is assigned the dispensing of the sacred mysteries of religion?[8]

The so-called “Gelasian dyarchy” of pontifical authority and imperial power, of spiritual and temporal power, was deeply rooted in Scripture and tradition.[9] From the beginning Christianity did not deny the legitimacy of the existing political order, it recognized therein an authority founded in God’s creation and granted by His providence. But like any part of creation it saw the political as wounded by sin and in need of healing in the present, and in the eschatological future of elevation, fulfillment, and transcendence by a higher form of communal life. The order of creation was seen as a good, but temporary and preliminary order—a sign of a yet better order to come. The Lord’s famous dictum according to which one must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, but unto God the things that are God’s (Mt 22:21) did not at all conform to expectations about the Messiah. The Messiah was expected to end Roman rule and re-establish the rule of God. But our Lord does not immediately destroy the existing order; instead He plants the Kingdom of God as a seed that is to grow in the midst of that existing order. Only at His triumphant return at the end of time will He replace earthly powers with the New Jerusalem.

There are many different ways of understanding the Gelasian dyarchy. I will discuss only three of them: Augustinian radicalism, integralism, and Whig Thomism. My main focus will be on what I term integralism, which I will argue is the only adequate understanding of Gelasian dyarchy. Integralism reads Gelasius in the light of the unfolding of his teaching in the magisterium of the popes of the High Middle Ages—from St. Gregory VII to Boniface VIII— and in the light of the opposition to modern liberalism in the popes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Integralism sees the two distinct powers as being harmonized by the explicit subordination of the temporal to the spiritual.

Integralism has fallen out of fashion since the teaching Church ostensibly abandoned it at Vatican II, and opinion is now divided among various alternative positions. I shall argue, however, that Vatican II did not and could not abandon the essence of integralism. Nevertheless, I shall unfold chiefly by considering two of the many alternate understandings of dyarchy. The two that I consider are not necessarily the most important, but I consider them because they formulate clarifying objections to integralism, and because they contain important insights that have to be integrated into integralism.

What (for lack of a better term) I call Augustinian radicalism comes close to abandoning the idea of dyarchy altogether. It takes a highly pessimistic view of earthly power, which it associates with Augustine’s city of man, it emphasizes the temporal, passing nature of such power, and sees a quasi-inevitable conflict between it and the Church. The Church on this account should reject the coercive means used by earthly power, and by already living in an anticipatory fashion the peace of the heavenly Jerusalem, serve as a sign of contradiction to the powers that are passing away. This position comes in many forms and degrees. The writers of whom I am thinking in particular are Stanley Hauerwas, Michael Baxter, C.S.C, John Milbank, and William T. Cavanaugh as well as Dorothy Day, whose practical example serves as an inspiration to many of the others.

Whig Thomism on the other hand, takes a much more positive view of temporal power. The Whig Thomists emphasize the distinction between the two powers. Welcoming a certain form of the separation of Church and state, they reject any juridical subordination of the state to the Church, and hold that the influence of the Church on the state should come only through the Church’s influence on the consciences of individual citizens. By far the most eloquent and insightful expositor of Whig Thomism was John Courtney Murray, S.J.

The question of the relation of spiritual to temporal power is intimately connected to the question of the relation nature and grace. Christianity is able to distinguish between the two powers, because it is a religion of grace, which does not destroy the order of nature, but presupposes, elevates, and perfects it. I shall argue that Augustinian radicalism tends to exaggerate towards a monism of grace, in which the natural loses all standing. Whig Thomism, on the other hand, tends to exaggerate the distinction, not sufficiently understanding that nature is for the sake of grace. Only integralism fits well with a fully satisfactory account of the elevation and perfection of natural teleology in grace.

The question of dyarchy is not, however, reducible to the problem of nature and grace. Insofar the relation of the two powers is a political question, it depends on an account of the common good. Augustinian radicalism’s theology of grace leads to an inability to see the transcendence of the natural common good of political life, and thus to a misunderstanding of what it means for political authority to be derived from God. Hence its excessively negative judgment on all coercive power, a judgment that is ultimately irreconcilable with magisterial teaching on political authority. Whig Thomism adopts a “personalist” account of the good, reducing the common good to a mere instrumental/useful good, and adopting a liberal misunderstanding of the role of political authority. This misunderstanding is at the root of the Whig Thomists’ erroneous notion that the indirect influence of the Church on the temporal order through the consciences of individual citizens is enough to fulfill the demands of the Social Kingship of Christ.

2. Augustinian Radicalism

2.1 The Two Cities

The establishment by Christianity of an authority distinct from earthly power without the immediate destruction of earthly power can be seen as necessarily causing a violent conflict.[10] I have called the position that tends in that direction “Augustinian radicalism.” The term “radicalism” is meant to suggest that it sees Christianity as challenging the roots of earthly power, and as having revolutionary social implications. “Radicalism” is also meant to suggest affinities with certain “radical” secular political movements such as anarcho-syndicalism, with which Augustinian radicalism often shares an approach to concrete social problems, but Augustinian radicalism is itself thoroughly anti-secular.

A figure often held up as an example by Augustinian radicals is the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day. Michael Baxter, C.S.C., describes Day’s movement as follows:

The ethos of the Catholic Worker may be summed up as a commitment to embodying the lesson in the parable of the last judgment. In that parable, the Son of man is identified as a king and the virtuous enter eternal life by putting into practice the works enumerated by the king: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and caring for prisoners. Thus, performing these practices is what it means to live under the Kingship of Christ. […] Thus the concrete embodiment of this christologically-formed politics has ranged widely over the years: fighting for housing rights for the poor; supporting labor, such as striking sailors and farm workers; setting up work camps for conscientious objectors during World War II; protesting against nuclear weapons; organizing resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War; harboring Central American refugees; and so on. […] [T]he Catholic Worker takes Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno in a distributist or decentralist direction, which results in a “localist politics” that provides an alternative to the depersonalizing bureaucracy of the modern liberal nation-state.[11]

Dorothy Day was deeply mistrustful of the nation-state. She often quoted St. Hilary as saying “the less you have of Caesar’s the less you have to give him.”[12] That is, she wanted to accept as little as possible from the state so as not to be in a relation of dependence on it. If one accepts coins from Caesar, one must render taxes to Caesar, but if one makes no use of money, then one is not bound to pay taxes. Day wanted to begin living another kind of society within the “shell” of the old society: a new kind of cooperative society that would live entirely without coercion, applying the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount as literally as possible. The hope was that this new society would slowly begin to replace the old, violent, coercive, acquisitive society. As she put it:

But, and I cannot stress this enough, we must never forget our objective, which is to build that kind of society “where it is easier for people to be good.” […] We must keep in mind the fact that we are active pacifists and anarchists. Or peacemaker personalists. Or libertarians, pluralists, decentralists – whatever you want to call it. It certainly needs to be presented in many lights, this teaching of revolution, non-violent social change. We begin now within the shell of the old to rebuild society.[13]

The new society that is growing within the old is a sort of anticipation of the eternal city; the old is passing away. It is not clear to whether the old society will pass away entirely before the Second Coming. Fr. Baxter and the Protestant theologian Stanley Hauerwas, in a notable paper that the co-authored, write that the old society will to some extent endure till the ἔσχατον, and that therefore the tension between the societies will societies will remain. Significantly, Baxter and Hauerwas identify the new society with the Church herself, which they describe as a form of political life. Therefore, they can describe the enduring tension as a tension between Church and state:

Christians are called first and foremost not to resolve the tension between church and state, but to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ in their lives, which means leaving church–state relations profoundly unresolved, until the day when He comes again in glory.[14]

I have called Augustinian radicalism “Augustinian” because its proponents often use St. Augustine’s City of God to describe the relation between the old and the new. The “shell of the old society” is identified with the city of man, while the new society that is being built by the practice of the Gospel is identified with the City of God. Thus the Anglican Augustinian radical John Milbank writes:

In Augustine, there is, disconcertingly, nothing recognizable as a ‘theory of Church and State’, no delineation of their respective natural spheres of operation. The civitas terrena is not regarded by him as a ‘state’ in the modern sense of a sphere of sovereignty, preoccupied with the business of government. Instead this civitas, as Augustine finds it in the present, is the vestigial remains of an entire pagan mode of practice, stretching back to Babylon. There is no set of positive objectives that are its own peculiar business, and the city of God makes a usus of exactly the same range of finite goods, although for different ends[.][15]

It is hard to see how such a reading that identifies earthly power as such with the civitas terrena, and thus sets up an inevitably antagonistic relation between the Church and earthly power is reconcilable with the Gelasian duo sunt. Of course, as an Anglican, Milbank need not scruple at rejecting the Gelasian teaching. Catholic Augustinian radicals, however, ought to do so. Surprisingly, however, Catholic theologian William T. Cavanaugh seems to argue that there is an opposition between the Augustinian and Gelasian positions, and that the Augustinian position is the correct one:

The problem can be seen in considering the difference between Augustine’s “Two cities have been formed by two loves” and Pope Gelasius I’s famous and influential dictum “Two there are…by which this world is ruled.” For Augustine church and coercive government represent two cities, two distinct societies which represent two distinct moments of salvation history. There is not one society in which there is a division of labour. In Gelasius’ words half a century later, there is one city with two rulers, “the consecrated authority of priests and the royal power.” The eschatological reference is not absent; for Gelasius, the distribution of power between priest and king is a sign that Christ’s coming has put a check on human pride. Nevertheless, the element of time has been flattened out into space. The one city is now divided into “spheres,” and, as Gelasius says, “each sphere has a specially qualified and trained profession.”[16]

There is an important element of truth in what Cavanaugh is saying, as well as a subtle misreading of Gelasius (to both of which I will return), but first it is important to note his identification of “coercive government” with the city of man.

Although there are many differences between different proponents of Augustinian radicalism, they all share a profoundly negative view of coercion. Stanley Hauerwas is of course a pacifist. Following the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder, he claims that Christian theological justifications of coercive power are all betrayals of the Gospel aimed at making Christianity acceptable to rulers.[17] John Milbank’s view is more subtle. He notes that St. Augustine sees coercion as an effect of the fall, but that St. Augustine also teaches that the City of God makes “use” of the peace established by earthly coercion, ordering that superficial peace to the peace of the Heavenly City, and that she can even make a “pastoral” use of coercion herself.[18] But Milbank sees this position as the “most problematic” element of Augustine’s social thought.[19] Milbank argues that given Augustine’s own principles even a “pastoral” use of coercion cannot escape the taint of sin:

The revolutionary aspect of [Augustine’s] social thought was to deny any ontological purchase to dominium, or power for its own sake: absolute imperium, absolute property rights, market exchange purely for profit, are all seen by him a sinful and violent, which means as privations of Being. But his account of a legitimate, non-sinful, ‘pedagogic’ coercion partially violates this ontology, insofar as it makes some punishment positive, and ascribes it to the action of divine will. This is inconsistent, because in any act of coercion, however mild and benignly motivated, there is still present a moment of ‘pure’ violence, externally and arbitrarily related to the end one has in mind, just as the school-master’s beating with canes has no intrinsic connection with the lesson he seeks to teach. […] Because punishment must, by definition, inflict some harm, however temporary, it has an inherently negative, privative relationship to Being, and cannot therefore, by Augustine’s own lights, escape the taint of sin.[20]

The position that we see emerging from the Augustinian radicals is of an insoluble conflict between the City of God and any coercive earthly authority. All earthly powers belong to a tragic drama of sin that is passing away. The role of the City of God is to enact on the same stage a comic drama, through a practice of entirely non-coercive social life generously giving without expectation of repayment, and suffering evil without murmur or retaliation. In an evocative and amusing comparison, Cavanaugh compares the city of man to Ariadne in Richard Strauss’s opera Ariadne auf Naxos, and the city of God to Zerbinetta, disrupting Ariadne’s opera seria with an improvised opera buffa.[21]

2.2 An Integralist Critique of Augustinian Radicalism

There is much truth in Augustinian radicalism. It is quite right to emphasize that there is no third city between the City of God and the city of man.[22] I can even agree with Milbank’s words: “insofar as imperium lies outside ecclesia, it is an essentially tragic reality.”[23] Augustinian radicalism is right to resist an exaggerated distinction between nature and grace (as the discussion of Whig Thomism below will demonstrate). Its own account of the relation of nature and grace, however, goes too far in the opposite direction. In following Henri de Lubac’s teaching on natural desire for the supernatural, Augustinian radicals tend to evacuate the theonomic structure of natural teleology.[24] Grace elevates and perfects nature, but does not replace it. Divine charity does not invalidate the demands of natural justice. The supernatural end of the City of God is indeed the absolutely final end to which all other ends must be in some way subordinate; but it does not do-away with a common good of temporal life that is final in its own order. And crucially, it does not do away with the coercive methods of natural political authority, even while it subordinates them (in some sense) to a higher authority.

The coercive authority of temporal rule derives from the primacy of the common good, from the fact that the common good is more divine than any good of an individual as an individual. Human persons are not parts of a community the way that parts of a body are parts. Nevertheless, they do relate to the common good in a way similar to the way parts relate to a whole. The participate (share in a partial way) in that good, as a good which is for them better than any private good of their own. The common good is really the good of the citizens (they are the subjects who attain to it), but it is not ordered to them as its end. Rather they are ordered to it as their end. Created perfection is a participation in the perfection of God, who is the most universal common good. That is, a creature’s own good is found more in God than in itself, and all creatures by nature (not only by grace) tend more toward God than toward themselves. But God is not the only common good. In the order of nature, God’s perfection is participated in most fully by the universe as a whole. Thus the order of the universe is for any creature a better good than its own private good, a better good for which it can give up any private good. And, again in the natural order, the highest created common good attainable by human action is the common good of a perfect human society, which is a microcosm of the common good of the universe, and a higher good than any good belonging to individual men as individuals.[25] Thus Hauerwas is completely wrong to suppose that the Catholic tradition’s acceptance of political uses of coercion (including capital punishment) is a watering down of Christian ethics to make them acceptable to rulers. Rather that tradition is a recognition of the fact that even the temporal common good transcends all individual goods. The use of the sword by temporal rulers is therefore not violence done by one individual against another, but rather the exercise of an authority granted by God (cf. Rom 13) through the common good, which is “more divine” than any private good. Similarly, Milbank is wrong to suggest that any punishment must be sinful, since its violence is only extrinsically related to the good to which it is trying to lead the sinner. In view of the common good, the authoritative use of the sword is really like a surgeon cutting the body for the sake of health—the violence, though a physical evil, is a moral good because it is intrinsically demanded by justice.

Cavanaugh writes: “the Church is not a merely particular association, but participates in the life of the triune God, who is the only good that can be common to all.”[26] This amounts to saying that God as directly attained to by grace (“life of the triune God”) is the only common good. This is an unacceptable monism of grace, totally un-reconcilable with the Catholic tradition (as re-iterated for instance in Gaudium et Spes[27]). Nevertheless, Cavanaugh’s position has a certain plausibility derived from his critique of the modern, liberal state, which he argues is not really ordered to any common good, and does not see itself as so ordered.[28] Cavanaugh’s portrait of the modern, liberal nation state is highly persuasive, and it raises serious questions about the legitimacy of the political authority exercised by such states. Questions similar to those raised by Augustine in his critique of the Roman Empire as being ordered to a false illusion of justice. To the extent that political authorities do not subordinate the temporal common good to the eternal common good they almost inevitably are sucked into the sinful dynamic of the city of man. All of earthly reality must be subjected to the Kingship of Christ.

But how does such subordination take place? Not by replacing natural coercive power with a Christian anarcho-syndicalism, but rather with a (moderate version) of what Henri-Xavier Arquillière controversially called “political Augustinianism.”[29] Political Augustinianism differs from Augustinian radicalism in that it recognizes the legitimacy of coercive political power, but sees the need of integrating that power into the Church. Political authority thus integrated is not a separate city opposed to the City of God, but rather a particular order within that city, one in which the laity rather than the clergy exercise authority, an authority that they receive through the natural law and the temporal common good (at least on the moderate interpretation of the theory[30]), but which they must exercise to serve the eternal common good that is under the authority of the clergy. But that, simply put, is integralism. And it is the interpretation that the Church has always given to the dyarchy of powers.

3. The Integralist Reading of Gelasian Dyarchy

Catholic integralism (not to be confused with secular movements such as integral nationalism) was a name first applied in the 19th and early 20th centuries to Catholics who defended the anti-liberal and anti-modernist teachings of the popes.[31] Particularly integralism came to be associated with a defense of pontifical teachings against the separation of Church and state, and the claim that Social Kingship of Christ demands an explicit subordination of all areas of human social and political life to God through His Church.[32] But the roots of the Catholic Social teaching that integralism defends reach much further back than the anti-liberal teachings of the 19th century popes. They reach back to the counter-reformation political theology to which those popes appealed, and even further to the development of Gelasian dyarchy in the teaching of the medieval popes.

In his classic study of the relation of lay and clerical power in the Middle Ages, Walter Ullmann argues that the medieval papacy’s claims to authority show “a unity of themes and a consistency of principles” that were detectable even in late antiquity, before the name “pope” began to be used.[33] And the most fundamental theme of these claims was the theme of the Church.[34] The Church was understood not as a purely invisible, spiritual community, but as a visible society:

The Church designates the corporate union of all believers in Christ, as it was so manifestly made clear in Pauline doctrine. But this doctrine also makes it clear that this body, the unum corpus, is not merely a pneumatic or sacramental or spiritual body, but also an organic, concrete and earthy society. This dual nature of the corpus Christi is of fundamental importance: the element, however, which brings this concrete body into existence, which makes the union a corporate entity, is the spiritual element of the Christian faith: this element alone gives this body its complexion. As a body the corpus Christi is in need of direction and orientation: although the many constitute this unum corpus, not all have the same functions within it. There are gradations of functions within this body[.][35]

Given this account of the visible Church, Papal authority had political arguments, and Ullmann shows the arguments for Papal authority can be understood as political arguments along the following lines:

In the realm of government the teleological principle upon which any society must needs rest, operates through the principle of functional qualification. For society and its government are two complementary concepts. The latter directs the former in accordance with its underlying purpose or aim, its “finis” or “telos,” Only those who are qualified, claim to be entitled to govern; and the qualification depends upon the nature and purpose of society. The function of rulership presupposes the fulfilment of certain qualifications. He who is qualified to translate the purpose for which society exists, into concrete terms and measures, acts in the capacity of a ruler: he functions as a ruler, because he is appropriately qualified. This principle of functional qualification is operative in any society. The form of rulership or government, whether monarchic or oligarchic or aristocratic and so forth, may vary, but this does not affect the general principle.[36]

Membership in the Church was conferred by baptism, but membership did not of itself grant the necessary qualification for governing the Church:

Another element, namely ordination, was needed to secure, according to Papal views, the right to direct the Church. The distinction between ordained and unordained members of the Church, between clerics and laymen, was the distinction which was not only to give medieval society its peculiar imprint, but also to make the problems of this society, that is, of Latin Christendom, accessible to understanding. The distinction—not between Church and State, but between clergy and laity as parts of one and the same unit—is a thread that runs throughout the medieval period.[37]

The one qualified to rule the whole Church on earth was the bishop of Rome, as was already clearly expressed by Leo the Great:

When Pope Leo I spoke of himself as functioning on behalf of St Peter—“cuius vice fungimur”—he succinctly expressed the principle of functional qualification in monarchic form. By virtue of succeeding to the chair of St Peter, Leo claimed that he alone was functionally qualified to rule the universal Church, that is, to rule it on the monarchic principle. This designation by Leo of the Pope as “Vicar of St Peter” was new; the idea which it embodied was not. The formula chosen by Leo was the dress in which the idea of the principatus of the Roman Church was clothed. The idea embodied in the term principatus belongs to the realm of government. And government concerned the direction and orientation of the body of Christians, that is, of the universal Church.[38]

The conception of the Church that Ullmann lays out here seems to be monarchical rather than dyarchical; it seems to be a Christian, universalist version of the Aristotelian theory of the polis. And yet, Ullmann sees the basic lines of this theory as being already taught by St. Gelasius in the very locus classicus of dyarchy:

Since the Pope alone has the principatus over the Christian body, the emperor, according to Gelasius, must be directed by the sacerdotium. The secular power has not only no right to issue decrees fixing the faith, since the emperor is no bishop, but he also must carry out his government according to the directions given to him by the priesthood. […] Again, considering the nature and character of [the] Christian corpus, Gelasius’s claim that the priesthood must direct royal power, is self-evident[…] Consequently, in this Christian world, in the “mundus,” the secular power has a mere “potestas,” whilst the principatus of the pope expresses itself in the Pontifical auctoritas. And this auctoritas being divinely conferred for the purpose of governing the Christian body corporate, is logically enough sacrata, whilst the emperor’s power is a simple “regalis potestas”. This is a thoroughly juristic terminology employed by Gelasius. Auctoritas is the faculty of shaping things creatively and in a binding manner, whilst potestas is the power to execute what the auctoritas has laid down. The Roman senate had auctoritas, the Roman magistrate had potestas. […] Whilst, however, this fundamental difference between the pontifical auctoritas and the imperial potestas was clear to anyone versed in Roman juristic terminology and ideology, Gelasius superimposed a typical Christian argument upon it: in a Roman-Christian world, the sacred Pontifical auctoritas is all the greater, as it has to render an account even for the doings of the kings themselves on the Day of Judgment. […] And since rulership comes from God […] God’s priests are particularly concerned with the emperor’s exercise of the (divinely conferred) rulership: and since in a Christian society, of which the emperor through baptism is a member, every human action has a definite purpose and in so far has an essential religious ingredient, the emperors should submit their governmental actions to the ecclesiastical superiors and should not order the latter about, since they alone know what is, and what is not, divine and therefore Christian: they alone have auctoritas within a Christian body corporate.[39]

Ullmann’s reading of the auctoritas – potestas distinction has been criticized from an historical-critical perspective, with critics arguing that he anachronistically reads Gelasius in the light of the popes of the High Middle Ages.[40] I think that Ullmann makes a fairly strong case for his reading even on historical-critical grounds. But, in any case, a theological reading of a magisterial text has to go beyond mere historical criticism and interpret the teaching in the light of other Church teachings.

In his interpretation of another important Gelasian text, Tractate IV, Ullmann gives a reading of the task of the imperial power that makes it seem similar to the to the task given to the deacons in Acts 6:[41]

According to Gelasius, Christian emperorship originates in Christ Himself. Christ was the last Rex et Pontifex, the last Melchisedek, and by “a marvellous dispensation” He had discerned between the functions of the royal and of the sacerdotal power. Since the time of Christ no emperor had arrogated to himself the title of a Pontiff and no pontiff had claimed the height of royal power, although the pontiffs were actually, through Christ’s generosity and in a very special sense, both royal and priestly. But Christ, “mindful of human fragility” had discerned between the functions of each power: “discrevit officia potestatis utriusque.” His reason for so doing was two fold. On the one hand, it is written that no one warring for God should be entangled with secular things. The raison d’être of the royal power was to relieve the clerics of the burden of having to care for their carnal and material wants. For the temporal necessities the pontiffs indeed need the emperors, so that they can devote themselves to their functions properly and are not distracted by the pursuit of these carnal matters, but the emperors, Christian as they are, need the pontiffs for the achievement of eternal salvation. On the other hand, Gelasius introduces the very important and fruitful principle of functional order operating within society. To each part of an organic whole is assigned a special function and each member should adhere to the scope of functions allotted to him: then there will be order, or as Gelasius put it, human haughtiness—humana superbia—will be prevented from coming into its own again. This principle of functional order is a principle which is necessitated by the manifold functions which a body has to perform in order to be an integrated whole: it is a principle which will play a major part in the fully developed hierocratic ideology.[42]

An important point that emerges from Tractate IV is that the functional dyarchy of powers arises from “human pride,” that is from sin. Without the effects of sin, temporal matters would not be a distraction from sacred matters, and there would be no need to distinguish them. Because, however, we live in a fallen world, it is necessary for the spiritual power to be freed of care for earthly matters. This “diaconal” or “ministerial” understanding of the temporal power was to be taught very explicitly by Gregory the Great. In a letter to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, Gregory writes: “Power over all people has been conceded from on high to the one who governs, such that the earthly kingdom would be a service which subordinates itself to the heavenly kingdom.”[43] Gregory was certainly influenced by Augustine in this (Cf. eg. Civ. Dei V,24 and XIX,17), and, like Augustine, he sees the necessity of temporal power particularly for curbing sin. As Arquillière puts it:

[Gregory the Great] speaks of the pontiff who, with the help of princes, is concentrated on the restriction of the reign of sin and the promotion of the action of grace. The mission of the religious king had, by its very nature, become paramount in a Christianized society. It captures, from the beginning, the confusion of powers which would mark the Middle Ages, the essentially spiritual character of pontifical intervention. […] [By] inculcating the duty of kings with the discipline of the Church, Gregory opened an unlimited opening for the interventions of the Holy See.[44]

Arquillière’s reference to “confusion of powers” points to his main thesis: that the political Augustinianism of the medieval popes absorbed the temporal order too much into the spiritual order, thus destroying the legitimate autonomy of earthly authority. Douglas Kries, commenting on Arquillière’s thesis, claims that Augustine’s “obfuscation of the boundary between the natural and the supernatural” did provide the premises for the strictly monarchical view of spiritual power developed by consistent medieval hierocrats.[45] This is very similar to my critique of Augustinian radicalism above. But the tradition political theory of the medieval popes is not quite so simplistic.

In Ullmann’s portrayal, the medieval papal theory seems monarchical, not dyarchical. There is one body of Christians ordered to the end of eternal life. The ruler of this body is the pope. Temporal rulers are ministers of the pope with care of mundane matters. And yet the dyarchical element, derived from Gelasius, was always preserved: on account of human pride, God has established two powers. At times, the medieval popes seem to deny the Gelasian teaching by saying that the temporal power is derived not immediately from God, but rather mediately through the spiritual power. A careful reading, however, shows that this is not the case. The temporal power is derived from God, however, it can only have legitimacy if it submits itself to the spiritual power, which has care of the final end. That is, the temporal power inevitably serves the city of man if it is detached the spiritual power, but if it is subordinates itself to the spiritual power it can play a helpful role in the city of God.

Innocent III in one text compares spiritual and temporal power to the sun and moon:

Just as God, founder of the universe, has constituted two large luminaries in the firmament of Heaven, a major one to dominate the day and a minor one to dominate the night, so he has established in the firmament of the Universal Church, which is signified by the name of Heaven, two great dignities, a major one to preside—so to speak—over the days of the souls, and a minor one to preside over the nights of the bodies. They are the Pontifical authority and the royal power. Thus, as the moon receives its light from the sun and for this very reason is minor both in quantity and in quality, in its size and in its effect, so the royal power derives from the Pontifical authority the splendour of its dignity, the more of which is inherent in it, the less is the light with which it is adorned, whereas the more it is distant from its reach, the more it benefits in splendour.[46]

At first sight this text would seem to be in tension with the Gelasian dyarchy; if the temporal power “derives from the Pontifical authority” than how will the “human pride” of pontiffs be curbed? But at second glance one sees that the tension is indeed maintained. It is indeed God who has “constituted two large luminaries.” And therefore Innocent, in another text, teaches that the spiritual power only intervenes in earthly affairs “ratione peccati,” by reason of sin. Thus he writes:

No one, therefore, may suppose that we intend to disturb or diminish the jurisdiction or power of the illustrious king of the French just as he himself does not want to and should not impede our jurisdiction and power; as we are insufficient to discharge all our jurisdiction, why should we wish to usurp that of someone else? […] For we do not intend to render justice in feudal matters, in which the jurisdiction belongs to him, unless something may be detracted from the common law by some special privilege or contrary custom, but we want to decide in the matter of sins, of which the censure undoubtedly pertains to us and we can and must exercise it against any one. In this, indeed, we do not lean on human constitutions, but much more on Divine law, because our power is not from man but from God: any one who has a sound mind knows that it belongs to our office to draw away any Christian from any mortal sin and, if he despises the correction, to coerce him with ecclesiastical penalties.[47]

Similarly, Pope Boniface VIII, in a speech to French ambassadors, defended himself against the accusation of contradicting the Gelasian teaching, he said:

We have been learned in the law for forty years, and we know very well that the powers established by God are two. How should or can anyone suppose that anything so foolish or stupid [as the contrary] is or has been in our head? We declare that we do not wish to usurp the jurisdiction of the king in any way… But the king cannot deny that he is subject to us ratione peccati … Our predecessors deposed three kings of France… And although we are not worthy to walk in the footsteps of our predecessors, if the king committed the same crimes as those kings committed, or greater ones, we should, with great grief and sadness, dismiss him like a servant.[48]

One could read Boniface as merely paying lip service to the dyarchy, while interpreting the power ratione peccati so broadly as to effectively make the pope a universal monarch. But this is not how the Catholic tradition developed the teachings of Boniface and his predecessors.

The key to understanding the dyarchy comes from the elaboration of the hierarchy of ends in scholastic theology. An important point is the distinction between two different kinds of happiness to which man can attain, one in the natural order, and one in the supernatural. St. Thomas Aquinas writes:

Now man’s happiness is twofold, as was also stated above. One is proportionate to human nature, a happiness, to wit, which man can obtain by means of his natural principles. The other is a happiness surpassing man’s nature, and which man can obtain by the power of God alone, by a kind of participation of the Godhead, about which it is written that by Christ we are made “partakers of the Divine nature.” And because such happiness surpasses the capacity of human nature, man’s natural principles which enable him to act well according to his capacity, do not suffice to direct man to this same happiness.[49]

Now, there is clearly an order between these two kinds of happiness. Natural happiness is ordered to supernatural happiness, as St. Thomas teaches in the De Regno:

Through virtuous living man is further ordained to a higher end, which consists in the enjoyment of God, as we have said above. Consequently, since society must have the same end as the individual man, it is not the ultimate end of an assembled multitude to live virtuously, but through virtuous living to attain to the possession of God.[50]

If supernatural final end could be attained by the power of human natural activity, then the temporal rulers would have the care of it. But since it cannot, the final end is under the care of the spiritual power. The powers are distinct, but the lower is ordered to the superior:

Thus, in order that spiritual things might be distinguished from earthly things, the ministry of this kingdom has been entrusted not to earthly kings but to priests, and most of all to the chief priest, the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff. To him all the kings of the Christian People are to be subject as to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For those to whom pertains the care of intermediate ends should be subject to him to whom pertains the care of the ultimate end, and be directed by his rule..[51]

The temporal is, however, not entirely swallowed up in the spiritual. It does receive its authority from God (through the natural law), not from the spiritual authority. As the young Thomas taught in the Commentary on the Sentences:

There are two ways in which a higher power and a lower can be related. In one way, the lower power may be completely derived from the higher, and the whole power of the lower will then be founded upon the power of the higher; in which case we should obey the higher power before the lower simply and in all things [. . .] In this way […] is the power of the emperor related to that of the proconsul. […] In another way, a higher and lower power can be such that each arises from some supreme power which arranges them in relation to each other as it wishes. In this case, the one will not be subject to the other save in respect of those things in which it has been subjected to the other by the supreme power; and only in such things are we to obey the higher power before the lower. […] Spiritual and secular power are both derived from the Divine power, and so secular power is subject to spiritual power insofar as this is ordered by God: that is, in those things which pertain to the salvation of the soul. In such matters, then, the spiritual power is to be obeyed before the secular. But in those things which pertain to the civil good, the secular power should be obeyed before the spiritual, according to Matthew 22:21: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.’[52]

On the high-medieval view that I have elaborated, therefore, both powers are within the City of God. The temporal power must be subordinate to the spiritual power, or else it will become mere violence, and yet it does not derive its authority from the spiritual power: it derives its authority from God through the natural law. Nature is not destroyed by grace, and yet nature must be subordinated to grace.

This medieval view was, however, to become partially obscured in the context of the post-Reformation “confessional state.” Baroque scholasticism tended to treat the question not as a question of two powers within the one City of God, but rather as question of the relation of two (relatively) perfect societies: the Church and the state. There was a tendency here to slightly exaggerate the distinction between nature and grace, and not to see the extent to which nature is for the sake of grace.[53]

One can see the slight exaggeration of the autonomy of the natural in later scholastic manuals. In his 20th century manual, the great neo-Thomist philosopher Henri Grenier’s argues that temporal happiness is not strictly speaking a means to the end eternal happiness, because no natural operation can be a direct means to the supernatural end:

The end of civil society, i.e., of the State, is the temporal happiness of this life. But the temporal happiness of this life is a complete good in its own order: for it is not a part of eternal happiness, nor is it of its nature a means of directly attaining eternal happiness, for there can be no natural proportion between natural good and supernatural good.[54]

Now it is true that there is no proportion between natural good and supernatural good, but the acts in which temporal happiness consists must themselves be elevated by grace to become such means.

Grenier concludes from his position that the Church is not one all-encompassing perfect society. That there are two societies, one ordered to the temporal good, one to the eternal: the Church and the polity. And that neither of these societies is absolutely speaking a perfect society:

Neither the Church nor the State [i.e. the political community], from the point of view of the moral order, may be called a perfect society, as we have already seen. For a perfect society is a society whose end is man’s complete good, and which embraces all other societies as its parts. But the Church does not embrace all other societies as its parts—civil society is not a part of the Church; and its end is not man’s complete good, but rather his highest good.[55]

Grenier does, however, hold that both Church and state are “juridically perfect,” that is, that each has everything necessary to attain its goal, and that the goal of each is supreme in its own order.[56]

Now, in one sense Grenier is right. If by “the Church” he means the hierarchy of the spiritual power, then indeed it does not embrace the temporal order as a part. But a more proper meaning of “the Church” is simply the City of God, and in this sense the Church includes both the temporal and the spiritual powers as its parts. The City of God is indeed an all-embracing community, ruled by Christ the King.

While the reasons that Grenier gives are not quite right, his practical conclusions tend to match those of the medieval popes: the temporal power is subject to the spiritual power ratione peccati. Later, however, the neo-scholastic framing of the question in terms of Church and state as juridically perfect societies, with only indirect subordination of one to the other, lent itself to erroneous interpretations. Thus Grenier’s fellow Laval School Thomist Charles de Koninck was to write:

[T]he distinction between State and Church is radical. The ends that define these societies are different; and these societies can be called perfect to the extent that they are sufficient unto themselves. […] I do not believe that it is henceforth permitted to maintain that the State can again consent to be the secular arm of a religious society. […] To be the secular arm of the Church appears to me to be contrary to the nature of the State as complete society, sovereign and autonomous.[57]

Such misunderstandings could have been avoided by a more careful reading of the teachings of Pope Leo XIII, who gave a very full account of the relation of the two powers. In Immortale Dei Pope Leo writes:

The Almighty, therefore, has given the charge of the human race to two powers, the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human, things. Each in its kind is supreme, each has fixed limits within which it is contained, limits which are defined by the nature and special object of the province of each, so that there is, we may say, an orbit traced out within which the action of each is brought into play by its own native right. But, inasmuch as each of these two powers has authority over the same subjects, and as it might come to pass that one and the same thing related differently, but still remaining one and the same thing might belong to the jurisdiction and determination of both, therefore God, who foresees all things, and who is the author of these two powers, has marked out the course of each in right correlation to the other. ‘For the powers that are, are ordained of God.’ […] There must, accordingly, exist between these two powers a certain orderly connection, which may be compared to the union of the soul and body in man. The nature and scope of that connection can be determined only, as We have laid down, by having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account of the relative excellence and nobleness of their purpose. One of the two has for its proximate and chief object the well-being of this mortal life; the other, the everlasting joys of heaven. Whatever, therefore in things human is of a sacred character, whatever belongs either of its own nature or by reason of the end to which it is referred, to the salvation of souls, or to the worship of God, is subject to the power and judgment of the Church. Whatever is to be ranged under the civil and political order is rightly subject to the civil authority.[58]

Like his medieval predecessors, Leo frames the question as a question of the relation of two powers. Each of the two powers is instituted by God, and each has a certain legitimate sphere. But the temporal power can only live properly if it is subordinated to the spiritual power, which is like its soul.

Leo XIII’s position is that such integration should have juridical form. That is, that the earthly power should explicitly and officially recognize the authority of the Church, and form its laws in accordance with Church law. But we now turn to another theory of how the primacy of the spiritual should be realized: Whig Thomism.

4. Whig Thomism

The term Whig Thomism refers to various writers who agree with Lord Acton that the first Whig was St. Thomas. That is, they try to show that there is harmony between the Whig strand of Enlightenment liberalism and the political philosophy of St Thomas.[59] Notable examples are Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Richard John Neuhaus, all of whom have been deeply influenced by Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J.[60]

Unlike some of his later followers, John Courtney Murray was careful to try to avoid contradicting any element of authoritative Catholic Social Teaching. He did not, however, succeed. In an important essay, written over a decade before Vatican II, he proposed that the American model of Church-state relation escaped the condemnation since it is able to preserve the primacy of the spiritual:

What the First Amendment fundamentally declares, as the constitutional will of the American people, is the ‘lay’ character of the state, its non-competence in the field of religion, the restriction of its competence to the secular and temporal. There is here a unique historical realization of the ‘lay’ state—unique because this lay state is not laicized or laicizing, on the Continental model. This lay state does not pretend to be The Whole—an absolutely autonomous, all-embracing religio-political magnitude with its own quasi-religious content—such, for instance, as the Third Republic was in the minds of the small knot of men who shaped it. On the contrary, there is in the First Amendment a recognition of the primacy of the spiritual—a recognition that is again unique, in that it is a recognition of the primacy of the spiritual life of the human person, as a value supreme over any values incorporated in the state. There is too an implicit recognition that this region of man’s spiritual life is the source from which the state itself receives its ethical content, its moral purpose, and the higher norm that governs the operation of its political processes.[61]

For Murray, the primacy of the spiritual power is thus realized not by an official recognition of the authority of the Church, but rather by a recognition on the part of the state of the authority of the individual consciences of its citizens, who are to form the state according to the dictates of those consciences through democratic processes. Thus, according to Murray, the Catholic citizens of such a state can subordinate its end to the final end, by making sure that its laws are in accord with the law of God.

Murray argues that this amounts to a new application of the Gelasian teaching on dyarchy:

Its premise is the Christian dualist concept of man; and it recognizes that a dyarchy therefore governs the life of man and of society. However, this dyarchy has not the form that prevailed in the Middle Ages—the dualism of auctoritas sacrata pontificum and regalis potestas (with its oscillations between caesaropapism and hierocratism). Nor is it the dyarchy constituted in the so-called confessional state of post-Reformation times—the juridically established co-partnership in society of state and Church (Catholic or Protestant—the Protestant form being the ‘Church-state’ of Erastian tendency, and the Catholic form being the ‘state-Church’ with boundaries of jurisdiction laid down chiefly by concordat). The terms of the dyarchy visible in the First Amendment are not state and Church (that manner of dyarchy is constitutionally excluded by the provision against ‘establishment of religion’), but state and human person, civis idem et christianus (to adopt Leo XIII’s phrase).[62]

The reference to Leo XIII’s Immortale Dei is crucial to Murray. He puts much weight on Leo XIII’s teaching that spiritual and temporal power come into contact because they rule over the same persons. Seventeen years later he was to claim that Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae adopted a “personalist” account of society that supported his thesis:

[T]he Declaration embraces the political doctrine of Pius XII on the juridical state (as it is called in Continental idiom), that is, on government as constitutional and as limited in function—its primary function being juridical, namely, the protection and promotion of the rights of man and the facilitation of the performance of man’s native duties. The primacy of this function is based on Pius XII’s personalist conception of society—on the premise that the ‘human person is the foundation, the goal, and the bearer of the whole social process,’ including the processes of government.[63]

The main problem that I have with Murray’s position is with his understanding of the “personalist” conception of society (supposedly) taught by Vatican II and Pope Pius XII.

In a previous essay, I unfolded David Schindler’s profound critique of Murray’s teaching on religious liberty.[64] Schindler argues that the sort of separation of Church and state found in the First Amendment to the American Constitution actually involves an implicit theory of religion:

The human act in its basic structure, for purposes of the constitutional ordering of society, is understood to be silent about God (cf. “articles of peace”). But this means that, when theists go on to fill this silence with speech, they must now do so precisely by way of addition and in their capacity as private members of society.[65]

In my previous essay I discussed how Schindler shows that Murray separates nature and grace too much, taking insufficient account of the way in which nature is ordered to grace. But here I want to attend to Murray’s problematic account of the common good to which Schindler’s critique also alludes. Note Schindler’s emphasis on the private nature of the influence of the spiritual power on society through the consciences of its citizens in Murray’s account.

Murray’s “personalist” understanding of human society is “personalist” in the precise sense of that term so ably attacked by Charles de Koninck in On the Primacy of the Common Good: Against the Personalists.[66] On Murray’s account the political community is ordered not to the greatest temporal good of man, but simply to “the protection and promotion of the rights of man and the facilitation of the performance of man’s native duties.”[67] But this is to fundamentally misunderstand that man’s chief temporal good is the common good of natural happiness. And since the primacy of the common good is based on the fact that even in the natural order it is greater participation in the divine good than any merely private good, it is necessary that those who have charge of the common good order it explicitly to God. As de Koninck argues:

When those in whose charge the common good lies do not order it explicitly to God, is society not corrupted at its very root? […] If, in truth, the politician must possess all the moral virtues and prudence, is this not because he is at the head and must judge and order all things towards the common good of political society, and the latter to God?[68]

This is true even on the natural level. But, according to the consistent magisterium of the popes from Gelasius I to Leo XIII, the coming of Christ means that the ordering of the temporal common good to God must be achieved by the one who has care for it submitting to the auctoritas sacrata of the Church.[69] Thus Leo XIII writes in Immortale Dei:

Men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice—not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion—it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will.[70]

The consistency of this teaching with Dignitatis Humanae has been amply demonstrated by Thomas Pink.[71] As a matter of policy, the Church does not currently make use of the state as an instrument for coercing her members, but this does not affect the duty of the state to recognize the true religion. As Dignitatis Humanae itself declares: “Religious freedom […] leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”[72]

In 1951, Fr. F.J. Connell criticized Murray for not leaving traditional Catholic doctrine on the duty of societies toward the true religion untouched.[73] Connell gave the usual account of Church-state relations found in neo-Scholastic manuals of the day. But Murray lashed back in an angry reply, in which he accused Connell of being a “crypto-monarchist,”[74] and argued that Connell’s position on the duties of the temporal power would only make sense in the most extremely paternalistic form of absolute monarchy:

Perhaps Fr. Connell is not a conceptualist in his political philosophy. Perhaps when he speaks of “the state” he may actually, if unwittingly, mean the unlimited monarch, the king in the tradition of the French classical monarchy, who was also “Father of the People,” possessed of the total ius politiae, and therefore the single source of law and governmental decision. […] Clearly, if the term, “the state,” really means a regimen regale in the technical sense, a monarchic state governed singly from the top down, with unlimited power centered in the hands of “the civil ruler,” the king, it might become possible to make sense out of Fr. Connell’s theory of the obligations of “the state.” The obligation to investigate the claims of the Church and to permit her to preach could be exactly located—in the king; for nothing that concerns the state lies outside his official duty, and there are no limits to his functions. […] This leads to an important conclusion. In the logic of Fr. Connell’s theories there is inherent a denial of the transcendence of the Church to political forms—the principle that occupied so central a place in the doctrine of Leo XIII.[75]

Now, I am by no means a crypto-monarchist (having always been quite open in my monarchism), but the question of monarchism is entirely irrelevant, and is raised by Murray merely to throw dust in his readers’ eyes. Nothing prevents a political community with a democratic, republican, or mixed form of government from fulfilling its obligations toward the true religion in the manner described by Connell.

The reason why it would be difficult for the United States of America to fulfill those obligations is not because they form a republic, but because (at least as Murray understands them) they have enshrined a liberal conception of political life in their constitution.[76] The American Republic (at least by Murray’s time) does not see itself as ordering itself to the common good of earthly happiness, but rather to securing the God-given rights of its citizens. And that is precisely the problem. Murray’s reference to Leo XIII’s teaching on the Church’s official indifference to different political forms is stunningly inapposite. Because Leo explicitly teaches that all such forms can be legitimate on the condition that they serve the common good. And, in fact, Leo concludes from that principle that any society must have some (whether one or many) who have charge of the common good, and order the whole society to it:

A society can neither exist nor be conceived in which there is no one to govern the wills of individuals, in such a way as to make, as it were, one will out of many, and to impel them rightly and orderly to the common good; therefore, God has willed that in a civil society there should be some to rule the multitude.[77]

The reason why Murray’s Whig Thomism fails, is that by taking an overly personalistic view of political community, he does not understand the transcendence of the temporal common good, and therefore cannot understand how that good is to be ordered to the eternal good.

5. Conclusion: A Practical Synthesis

One reason why in our day Augustinian radicalism and Whig Thomism seem more plausible to many than integralism is that the first two seem to offer much clearer guidance on what practical steps to take in our current historical situation. There is no country on earth today where an integralist program is likely to have any immediate success. But the Christian anarcho-syndicalist projects of Augustinian radicalism can be started at anytime. And nothing prevents one from making the Whig-Thomist attempt at influencing the laws of one’s country through democratic procedure. What is an integralist to do?

In part I think that an integralist will do both what Augustinian radicals do and what Whig-Thomists do, but he will do them in a way formed by integralism. In the wasteland of late-capitalist society there is certainly a great need for the sort of alternative communities advocated by Augustinian-radicals. Communities in which virtues can be fostered and common goods achieved. Integralists form such communities too. But they form them knowing that they cannot attain to the most complete common good of the natural order, the common good that can only be achieved by a societas perfecta. Moreover, they form them in a way that takes a more realistic attitude toward coercion. Integralists are often to be found in Benedictine monasteries (especially in the Congregation of Solesmes), but Benedictine monasteries include coercive punishments in their way of life—at least the sort of punishments that are possible for a voluntary community. Contrast the strict rule of Benedictine life with the following description of events in a community founded by Dorothy Day:

William Gauchat who headed the house of hospitality, furnished an apartment for single women in need, and a married couple arriving first, were sheltered there. But when Bill wanted to put a few single women into the empty bedrooms, the couple announced that they had possession and refused to allow them entrance. Our guests know that we will not call upon the police to evict them, that we are trying to follow the dear Lord’s teachings, “If anyone take your coat, let go your cloak also to him. . . .” When another family came to Maryfarm, we explained that we were trying to open a retreat house and that we did not have room for them. It was the family of one of our own willful leaders who “loved God and did as he pleased.” He did not wish to remain on a farm belonging to his father, where he was forced to work too hard. He and his wife refused to listen and unpacked their things to stay with us. First they took over the lower farmhouse. After a few conflicts due to their possessing themselves of retreat house goods (as common goods) they moved to the upper farm to join Victor. For the following year they continued their guerrilla tactics from the upper farm, coming down to make raids on the retreat house food and furnishings, explaining to retreatants that they were true Catholic Workers and that the retreat house was a perversion of the movement.[78]

Now, I mean no disrespect to Dorothy Day (who was certainly a great saint), but a well-ordered community needs authority with the power to enforce rules, and integralists recognize that fact.

And of course, integralists can participate in democratic politics, trying as much as possible to shape the laws according to the natural law. This was the whole point of Pope Leo XIII’s policy of ralliement. Critics of raillement argue that this policy leads to its practitioners being corrupted by liberalism.[79] But this can be avoided, as Leo XIII intended, by keeping hold of a thoroughly anti-liberal political philosophy, and never forgetting that the current liberal order of political life is profoundly disordered.


[1] My thanks especially to Alan Fimister, for his critique of my account of potestas indirecta. I would also like to thank James Bogle, the Rev. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem., and John Milbank for their comments.

[2] Nicomachean Ethics, 1094a-b.

[3] Cf. Nichomachean Ethics, 1152b.

[4] Cf. James Chastek, “Christ’s Pluralism,” Just Thomism (blog), April 22, 2012: https://thomism.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/christs-pluralism/ (accessed February 22, 2016): “Aristotle no doubt thought [this opinion] was logically necessary: if we lack one single court of final appeal, how will we avoid chaos and anarchy? If one person or body is not ultimately in charge, how is anyone in charge? Admitting two ‘final judges’ means that some disputes are unresolvable even in principle—unless we are so polyannic as to assume that they will never come into conflict.”

[5] Nichomachean Ethics, 1094b.

[6] Cf. Henri Grenier, “The Dignity of Politics and the End of the Polity,” in: The Josias, June 17, 2015: https://thejosias.com/2015/06/17/the-dignity-of-politics-and-the-end-of-the-polity/ (accessed February 22, 2016); Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., “The Good, the Highest Good, and the Common Good,” in: The Josias, February 3, 2015: https://thejosias.com/2015/02/03/the-good-the-highest-good-and-the-common-good/ (accessed February 22, 2016).

[7] Cf. Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., “The Politics of Nostalgia,” Sancrucensis (blog), April 29, 2014: https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/the-politics-of-nostalgia/ (accessed February 22, 2016).

[8] Pope St. Gelasius I, Famuli vestrae pietatis [also known as Duo sunt], in: Andreas Thiel (ed.), Epistolae Romanorum Pontificum, Vol. 1 (Braunsberg: Eduard Peter, 1868), pp. 349-358, at p. 350-351; trans. John S. Ott: http://www.web.pdx.edu/~ott/Gelasius/ (accessed February 22, 2016).

[9] The rest of this paragraph is taken from my essay “Religious Liberty and Tradition,” Part III, in: The Josias, January 2, 2015: https://thejosias.com/2015/01/02/religious-liberty-and-tradition-iii/ (accessed February 22, 2016).

[10] The Thomist blogger James Chastek once put the problem as follows: “Admitting two “final judges” means that some disputes are unresolvable even in principle—unless we are so polyannic as to assume that they will never come into conflict. And yet this crazy pluralism is exactly what strikes Christians as necessary and reasonable since we recognize the necessity of civil society while at the same time having no religious civil code, even while we claim to make final and definitive pronouncements affecting the civil order. I have usually read Christ’s claim that he “brought not peace, but a sword” as simply another way of his restating that he is a “sign of contradiction”, but I wonder now if there is not a more radical sense to it: Christ insisted in the integrity and even autonomy of civil power and his Church, even though he knew that one need not wait long to hit upon some point upon which they disagree. […] Christ describes the world (before his return) as a “house divided”. This strikes a very ominous note, given that Christ is very clear that such a house cannot stand since it is set in fundamental contradiction with itself.” Chastek, “Christ’s Pluralism.”

[11] Michael Baxter, C.S.C., “‘Overall, the First Amendment Has Been Very Good for Christianity’ — Not!: A Response to Dyson’s Rebuke,” in: DePaul Law Review 43.2 (1994), pp.425-448, at pp.444-445.

[12] Dorothy Day, “Sanctuary,” in: The Catholic Worker, February 1969: http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/articles/895.html (accessed February 23, 2016).

[13] Day, “Sanctuary.”

[14] Stanley Hauerwas and Michael Baxter, C.S.C., “The Kingship of Christ: Why Freedom of ‘Belief’ Is Not Enough,” in: DePaul Law Review 42.1 (1992), p.126.

[15] John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006 [1996]), p. 410.

[16] William T. Cavanaugh, “From One City to Two: Christian Reimagining of Political Space,” in: Political Theology 7.3 (2006), pp. 299-321, at p. 309.

[17] See for example: Stanley Hauerwas, “A Christian Critique of Christian America,” in: The Hauerwas Reader, ed. John Berkman and Michael Cartwright (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001), pp. 459-480.

[18] Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, pp. 410-411.

[19] Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, p. 411.

[20] Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, p. 426.

[21] Cavanaugh, “From One City to Two,” pp. 315-318.

[22] See: Tracey Rowland, “Augustinian and Thomist Engagements with the World,” in: American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 83.3 (2009), pp. 441-459.

[23] Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, p. 425. It is not clear whether this is actually Milbank’s own position, since he is merely trying to tease out the implications of Augustine’s position in the text cited. But in any case, my analysis has shown that this is the direction in which Augustinian radicalism tends.

[24] I have unfolded this point in more detail in the following blog-essays: “Integralism,” Sancrucensis (blog), January 16, 2014: https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/integralism/ (accessed March 1, 2016); and “De Lubac and His Critics Make the Same Error,” Sancrucensis (blog), July 20, 2014: https://sancrucensis.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/de-lubac-and-his-critics-make-the-same-error/ (accessed March 1, 2016).

[25] See: Waldstein, “The Good, the Highest Good, and the Common Good.”

[26] William T. Cavanaugh, “Killing for the Telephone Company: Why the Nation-State is Not the Keeper of the Common Good,” in: Modern Theology 20.2 (2004): pp. 243-274, at p. 274.

[27] “Now many of our contemporaries seem to fear that a closer bond between human activity and religion will work against the independence of men, of societies, or of the sciences. If by the autonomy of earthly affairs we mean that created things and societies themselves enjoy their own laws and values which must be gradually deciphered, put to use, and regulated by men, then it is entirely right to demand that autonomy. Such is not merely required by modern man, but harmonizes also with the will of the Creator. For by the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability, truth, goodness, proper laws and order.” GS §36.

[28] Cavanaugh, “Killing for the Telephone Company,” passim.

[29] Arquillière’s book L’augustinisme politique: Essai sur la formation des théories politiques du Moyen Âge (Paris: Vrin, 1955) argued that the hierocratic political theory of the High Middle Ages was a development out of premises found in Augustine. This notion was vigorously disputed by other writers, who argued that the hierocratic theory is totally irreconcilable with Augustine himself. See: Michael Bruno, Political Augustinianism: Modern Interpretations of Augustine’s Political Thought (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014), ch. 1.

[30] The extreme version of the theory sees temporal power as being delegated by the spiritual power. I will show the problems with such a theory below.

[31] For the history of the term in a Catholic context see: Christopher van der Krogt, “Catholic Fundamentalism or Catholic Integralism?” in: To Strive and Not to Yield: Essays in Honour of Colin Brown, ed. James Veitch (Wellington: Victoria University, 1992), pp. 123-35.

[32] See: Gabriel Sanchez, “Illiberal Catholicism One Year On,” in: The Front Porch Republic, January 26, 2015: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2015/01/illiberal-catholicism-one-year/(accessed March 1, 2016); idem, “Catholic Integralism and the Social Kingship of Christ,” in: The Josias, January 23, 2015: https://thejosias.com/2015/01/23/catholic-integralism-and-the-social-kingship-of-christ/(accessed March 1, 2016). Note that “integralism” is used in by some authors in quite a different sense. John Milbank, for instance, uses “integralism” to refer to the nouvelle theologie’s integration of nature and grace, and uses the term “integrism” for what I will be calling integralism. See: Milbank, Theology and Social Theory, pp. 206-207.

[33] Walter Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages: A Study in the Ideological Relation of Clerical to Lay Power, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1962), p. 1.

[34] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 1.

[35] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, pp. 2-3.

[36] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 2.

[37] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, pp. 1-2.

[38] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, p. 2.

[39] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, pp. 20-22.

[40] See, for example: Alan Cotrell, “Auctoritas and Potestas: A Reevaluation of the Correspondence of Gelasius I on Papal-Imperial Relations,” in: Medieval Studies 55 (1993), pp. 95-109.

[41] Fittingly the Holy Roman Emperor would later serve as a deacon or a subdeacon in certain liturgical celebrations. See: Marc Bloch, The Royal Touch: Sacred Monarchy and Scrofula in England and France, trans. J.E. Anderson (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015 [1971) p.117.

[42] Ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government, pp. 24-25. The key passage of Tractate IV that Ullmann is interpreting runs as follows: “For Christ, mindful of human frailty, regulated with an excellent disposition what pertained to the salvation of his people. Thus he distinguished between the offices of both powers according to their own proper activities and separate dignities, wanting his people to be saved by healthful humility and not carried away again by human pride, so that Christian emperors would need priests for attaining eternal life, and priests would avail themselves of imperial regulations in the conduct of temporal affairs. In this fashion spiritual activity would be set apart from worldly encroachments and the ‘soldier of God’ (2 Tim 2:4) would not be involved in secular affairs, while on the other hand he who was involved in secular affairs would not seem to preside over divine matters. Thus the humility of each order would be preserved, neither being exalted by the subservience of the other, and each profession would be especially fitted for its appropriate functions.” Trans. in: Hugo Rahner, S.J., Church and State in Early Christianity, trans. Leo Donald Davis, S.J., Kindle e-book (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006 [1992]).

[43] Epist. III,65; translated in: Martin Rhonheimer, The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy: Essays in Political Philosophy and on Catholic Social Teaching, ed. William F. Murphy (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press), p. 7.

[44] Arquillière, L’augustinisme politique, p.40; citation and translation: Bruno, Political Augustinianism, p. 37.

[45] Douglas Kries, “Political Augustinianism,” in: Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, ed. Allan D. Fritzgerald, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), p. 657, cited in: Bruno, Political Augustinianism, p. 39.

[46] Innocent III, Sicut universitatis conditor, November 3, 1198, in: Sidney Z. Ehler and John B. Morrall (ed. and trans.), Church and State Through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents with Commentaries (London: Burns and Oats, 1954), p. 73.

[47] Innocent III, Novit ille, 1204: in: Ehler and Morrall, Church and State Through the Centuries, pp. 69-70.

[48] Boniface VIII, Licet haec verba, 1302, translation in: Giles of Rome’s on Ecclesiastical Power: A Medieval Theory of World Government, ed. and trans. R.W. Dyson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), p. xv-xvi.

[49] S. Th. IaIIae Q.62, A.1, c.

[50] De Regno ad Regem Cypri, I,15.

[51] De Regno, I,15.

[52] Sent. II, Dist. 44, Q. 3, A 4; trans. in: R.W. Dyson (ed. and trans.), Aquinas: Political Writings, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 277-278. Thomas makes an exception, however, for the Pope, whom he sees as has supreme temporal as well as supreme spiritual authority: “Unless perhaps the spiritual and secular powers are conjoined, as in the pope, who holds the summit of both powers: that is, the spiritual and the secular, through the disposition of Him Who is both priest and king.” (Ibid.) But that exception is not necessarily demanded by the popes’ own teachings, as we have already seen. The pope can be seen as holding the summit of the spiritual power only, and having authority over the temporal only insofar as the temporal is subordinated to the spiritual. Even Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctam, the most extensive claim of authority on the part of the pope is consistent with this view. Boniface writes: “Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.” (Translation: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/docs/unamsanctum.htm (accessed March 6, 2016). That is, the temporal sword is in the power of the pope, but not in the sense that the pope himself wields that sword.

[53] I am grateful to Alan Fimister for correcting an earlier version of this essay with regard to this point, as well as with regard to the discussion of Grenier below.

[54] Henri Grenier, Thomistic Philosophy, vol. III, Moral Philosophy, trans. J.P.E. O’Hanley (Charlottetown: St. Dunstan’s University, 1949), p. 474.

[55] Grenier, Moral Philosophy, p. 471.

[56] Moral Philosophy, pp. 472-474.

[57] Charles de Koninck, “What is Caesar’s,” trans. David Quackenbush: https://www.scribd.com/doc/200567591/What-is-Caesar-s (accessed March 2, 2016).

[58] Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §§13-14; Cf. Thomas Pink, “Opening Adress,” Pink-Rhonheimer debate on the interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae, University of Notre Dame, November 20, 2015: https://www.academia.edu/19136187/Pink-Rhonheimer_debate_at_Notre_Dame_on_the_interpretation_of_Dignitatis_Humanae_-_opening_address (accessed March 2, 2016), pp. 2-5.

[59] See: Michael Novak, “The Return of the Catholic Whig,” in: First Things, March 1990: http://www.firstthings.com/article/1990/03/006-the-return-of-the-catholic-whig(accessed March 2, 2016).

[60] See: Tracey Rowland, Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 16.

[61] John Courtney Murray, S.J., “Contemporary Orientations of Catholic Thought on Church and State in the Light of History,” in: Theological Studies 10 (1949): pp. 177–234, at pp. 188-189.

[62] Murray, “Contemporary Orientations,” p. 189.

[63] John Courtney Murray, S.J., “The Issue of Church and State at Vatican Council II,” in: Religious Liberty: Catholic Struggles with Pluralism, ed. J. Leon Hooper (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993): http://www.library.georgetown.edu/woodstock/murray/1966h.

[64] Waldstein, “Integralism.”

[65] David Schindler, “Religious Freedom, Truth & American Liberalism: Another Look at John Courtney Murray,” in: Communio 21.4 (1994): pp. 696-741, at p. 722.

[66] Charles de Koninck, On the Primacy of the Common Good: Against the Personalists, trans. Sean Collins, in: Aquinas Review (1997), pp. 10-71: http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/pdfs/aquinas-review/1997/1997-dekoninck-common-good.pdf (accessed March 2, 2016).

[67] My account of Murray here is admittedly somewhat simplistic. A fuller account would have to show that Murray’s distinction of civil society and the state is finally incoherent, and thus cannot be the means of allowing him to escape the errors of personalism.

[68] De Koninck, On the Primacy of the Common Good, p. 69.

[69] Sadly, de Koninck does not seem to have quite understood this further point. Hence his denial of the right of the Church to use the state as a secular arm. See: De Koninck, “What is Caesar’s.”

[70] Immortale Dei, §6.

[71] See my discussion of Pink in: Waldstein, “Religious Liberty and Tradition,” part II: https://thejosias.com/2015/01/01/vatican-ii-and-religious-liberty-ii/ (accessed March 2, 2016).

[72] Dignitatis Humanae, §1.

[73] F.J. Connell, “The Theory of the ‘Lay State’,” in: The American Ecclesiastical Review 125.1 (1951), pp. 7-18.

[74] John Courtney Murray, “For the Freedom and Transcendence of the Church,” in: The American Ecclesiastical Review 126.3 (1952), pp. 28–48, at p. 43.

[75] Murray, “For the Freedom and Transcendence of the Church,” pp. 37-38.

[76] One can question whether all of the American founders would have accepted Murray’s liberal reading of the constitution. There was certainly a liberal element in the founding, but there was also an older, classical republican element with a robust account of the common good. See: Felix de St. Vincent, “‘In Dread of Modernity’: Republican Liberty and the Common Good in the American Tradition,” in: The Josias, May 18, 2015: https://thejosias.com/2015/05/18/in-dread-of-modernity-republican-liberty-and-the-common-good-in-the-american-tradition/ (accessed March 3, 2016).

[77] Diuturnum Illud, §11.

[78] Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness (San Francisco: Harper, 1997 [1952]), pp. 261-262.

[79] See: Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., “Catholic Action and Ralliement,” in: The Josias, February 13, 2016: https://thejosias.com/2016/02/13/catholic-action-and-ralliement/ (accessed March 2, 2016).