By Henry B.
In this day and age, the term Theocracy is a grossly misused word. Before we delve into the pro's and con's of Theocracy, let's actually define it. Theocracy: A form of government in which a God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or Deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities. (Definition taken from Dictionary.com)
Now, there are two ways we can take the first part of this definition. The first way is we can recognize that all authority is ultimately derived from God. The second way is that God has commandments for every aspect of our life, down to taxes and roads.
Now the first is clearly correct from a Catholic point of view. All civil authority does depend on God for it's existence (John 19:11), and while that authority can often be abused, it does still stem from God. However, as Catholics we must reject the second view as thoroughly as we embrace the first. As Paragraph 62 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church reads:
"The Church does not assume responsibility for every aspect of life in society, but speaks with the competence that is hers, which is that of proclaiming Christ the Redeemer: “Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order; the purpose he assigned to her was a religious one. But this religious mission can be the source of commitment, direction and vigour to establish and consolidate the community of men according to the law of God”. This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization. This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ. The Church's competence comes from the Gospel: from the message that sets man free, the message proclaimed and borne witness to by the Son of God made man." (Emphasis added)
For the first part of the definition, our way as Catholics is clear. We must recognize the divine origins of Government, without giving to government that infallibility which is God's and Peter's alone. We must also, as Catholics, find a balance between assuring the Government fosters natural law and the common good, and between telling the Government the most efficient means of doing this.
We now move to the second of the definition, on the laws being interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities. This, to me, is the most essential aspect of a theocracy, and it is one which we must reject. The role of Government and the role of the Church overlap in many places, but are, nonetheless, quite distinct. To my mind, to have members of the Clergy as officials in the government will utterly corrupt the clergy while only beginning to drain the corruption within the Government. This fear of mine is hardly a hypothetical, when names like Richelieu, Talleyrand, Cesare Borgia, and Alexander VI come to mind. The fact of the matter is, we need priests who are humble and charitable, good shepherds willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. If you seek such men among politicians, you will have quite a hard search ahead of you.
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