Pope Francis to end Constantinism?

While the church includes a large institution with centuries of history, he said, “the church does not have a political nature, but a spiritual one.”

via Pope Francis explains his choice of name | CNS Blog.

As a Protestant who will one day die a Catholic, no, wait, I mean, as a liberal, Church over State, but separate, no, dang it.

Okay, starting over.

As a Methodist, I like what this pope has to say.

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5 Replies to “Pope Francis to end Constantinism?”

  1. I have no idea what is true. But doesn’t sound terrible to me if “And when they refused to do it, he stopped protecting them, and he let the military know that they were not more inside the protection of the Jesuits’ company, and they were kidnapped.”

    Fits in with not being political. Obey the law. If the priests did something against the current law, does any church have any real “protection” beyond an individual protection. If the priest was accused of something sexual, would/should the Catholic Church protect the priest? That’s a different story, but same logic, with accusations and no proof (some claim). The pope didn’t “kidnape” anyone. The government would say they where arrested. I’m not justifying anything. Only that the accusation is rather questionable. What special protection would be provide?

  2. Benedict (Ratzinger) wrote extensively on this before becoming pope. His treatment is brilliant (as one would expect from this brilliant German theologian). Here’s a snippet. On Jesus’ statement, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”…

    “This saying opened up a new section in the history of the relationship between politics and religion. Until then the general rule was that politics itself was the sacral. . . . This equation of the state’s claim on man with the sacral claim of the universal divine will itself was cut in two by the saying of Jesus we have quoted above. At the same time the whole idea of the state as cherished by the ancient world was called into question, and it is completely understandable that in this challenge to its totality the state of the ancient world saw an attack on the foundations of its existence which it avenged with the death penalty: if Jesus’ saying was valid the Roman state could not in fact continue as it had done up till then.”

    “At the same time, it must be said that precisely this division between state and sacral authority, the new dualism that lies therein, represents the source and the abiding basis for the Western idea of freedom. For henceforth there are two communities, ordered to one another and yet not identical, neither of which has a totalitarian character. The state is no longer the holder of a religious authority extending to the innermost recesses of the conscience; rather, it points beyond itself to another community for its moral basis. On the other hand, this second community, the Church, understands herself to be the final moral authority, one that is based, however, on voluntary membership and is entitled to mete out only spiritual and not civil punishments, precisely because she does not have the generally acknowledged rank of the state. Thus each of these communities has a limited radius of activity, and keeping their mutual relationship in balance is the basis for freedom.”

    “Hence the modern idea of freedom is a legitimate product of the Christian environment; nowhere else could it have developed. Indeed, we must add that freedom is by no means something that can be separated from it and transplanted into any system whatsoever, as is very clearly evident today in the rebirth of Islam. . . The blueprint for society in Islam is theocratic and, thus, monistic, not dualistic; the dualism that is the prerequisite for freedom presupposes in turn the logic of Christianity. Practically speaking, this means that only in those places where the duality of state and church, of sacral and political authority, is maintained in some form or another do we find the fundamental prerequisite for freedom.”

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Church, Ecumenism and Politics: New Essays in Ecclesiology (NY: Crossroad, 1988), 155–57.

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