Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Universal Ethic-The Natural Law and the State 6-Political Order is Temporal and Rational

4.6. The political order is a temporal and rational order

96. If the political order is not the place of ultimate truth, yet it must be open to the continuous search for God, for truth, and for justice. The "legitimate and healthy laicism of the State”(87) consists in the distinction between the supernatural order of theological faith and the political order. The latter can never be confused with the order of grace to which men are called to adhere to freely. It is bound rather to the universal human ethic inscribed in human nature. The State must therefore promote that which is necessary for the full realization of that human life for the people that compose it, and that includes some spiritual and religious values, such as freedom of its citizens to decide in their relationship with the Absolute and of the supreme good. But the State, in which the common good is of a temporal nature, cannot procure supernatural goods which are of an entirely different order.

97. If God and every transcendence were to be excluded from the political horizon, there would be no staying the power of man over man. In fact, the political order often presents itself as an ultimate horizon of mankind’s reason for being. Ideological and totalitarian regimes have demonstrated that such a political order, without a transcendent horizon, is not humanly acceptable. This transcendence is bound to that which we call the natural law.

98. The political-religious mixtures of the past, like the experiences of the totalitarian governments of the 20th century, have led, thanks to a healthy reaction, to reevaluate today the role of reason in politics, conferring thus a new relevance to the Aristotelian-Thomistic discourse over the natural law. Politics, that is the organization of the State and the elaboration of its collective projects, derives out of the natural order, and should carry out a rational discussion that is open to transcendence.

99. The natural law that is the foundation of the social and political order demands an adherence not of faith but of reason. Certainly, the same reason is often darkened by passion, by contradictory interests, by prejudices. But the constant reference to the natural law pushes toward a continuous purification of reason. Only in this manner can the political order avoid the insidiousness of the arbitrary, of particular interests, of the organized lie, of the manipulation of the spirit. The reference to the natural law detains the State from yielding to the temptation of absorbing civil society and of subjecting men to an ideology. It also keeps the State from becoming a Welfare State (uno Stato provvidenza) which deprives persons and community of every initiative and relieves them of all responsibilities. The natural law contains the idea of a State of right that is structured according to the principle of subsidiarity, respecting the interactions between persons and intermediate and moderating institutions.(88)

100. The great political myths were unmasked with the introduction of the rule of reason and the recognition of the transcendence of the God of love who forbids the adoration of the political order established over the earth. The God of the Bible wanted the order of creation so that all men, conforming themselves to the law which is inherent in them, may seek Him freely and, after having found Him, project over the world the light of grace which is its end.

(87) Cf. Pius XII, Speech of March 23, 1958, in AAS 25 (1958) 220.

(88) Cf. Pius XI, Encyclical
Quadragesimo anno, nn. 79-80.

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