Sent. II, D. 44
Expositio textus
Scriptum super libros Sententiarum II, dist. 44
Exposition of the text.
... Ex hoc videtur quod sit magis obediendum majori potestati quam minori. Sed hoc videtur esse falsum. ... From this it seems we should obey a superior authority more than an inferior one. But that seems wrong:
Quia in quibusdam magis obeditur uni quam alteri, et in quibusdam minus, sicut in quibusdam plus patri quam duci exercitus, et in quibusdam plus duci exercitus quam patri, ut in 9 Ethic. dicitur. Ergo sequitur quod idem eodem sit major et minor. 1. Because in some things obedience is given to one rather than the other, and in some to one more and the other less. Thus in some matters a father is obeyed more than the leader of an army, and in others the leader of the army more than a father, as is said in 9 Ethics. It follows therefore that in one matter one is obeyed more, and the other less.
Praeterea, archiepiscopi potestas est major quam potestas episcopi. Sed in quibusdam plus tenentur obedire subditi suis episcopis quam archiepiscopis. Ergo non semper majori potestati est obediendum magis. 2. Besides, the power of an archbishop is greater than that of a bishop. But in some matters subjects are to obey their bishops rather than archbishops. Therefore the greater power is not always to be obeyed more.
Praeterea, abbates monasteriorum subduntur episcopis, nisi sint exempti. Ergo potestas episcopi est major quam potestas abbatis. Sed monachus tenetur plus obedire abbati quam episcopo. Ergo non semper majori potestati obediendum est magis. 3. Besides, abbots of monasteries are subject to bishops, unless they are exempt. Therefore the power of a bishop isgreater than that of an abbot. But a monk is held to obey his abbot more than his bishop. Therefore, a higher power is not always to be obeyed more.
Praeterea, potestas spiritualis est altior quam saecularis. Si ergo majori potestati magis est obediendum, praelatus spiritualis semper absolvere poterit a praecepto potestatis saecularis: quod est falsum. 4. If the position be taken that such is indeed our duty, this seems not to be true.... For [fourth argument] spiritual power is higher than secular power. If, then, it were true that we must obey more the superior power, the spiritual power would have the right always to release a man from his allegiance to a secular power, which is evidently not true.
Respondeo dicendum, quod potestas superior et inferior dupliciter possunt se habere. Aut ita quod inferior potestas ex toto oriatur a superiori; et tunc tota virtus inferioris fundatur supra virtutem superioris; et tunc simpliciter et in omnibus est magis obediendum potestati superiori quam inferiori; sicut etiam in naturalibus causa prima plus influit supra causatum causae secundae quam etiam ipsa causa secunda, ut in Lib. de causis dicitur: et sic se habet potestas Dei ad omnem potestatem creatam; sic etiam se habet potestas imperatoris ad potestatem proconsulis; sic etiam se habet potestas Papae ad omnem spiritualem potestatem in Ecclesia: quia ab ipso Papa gradus dignitatum diversi in Ecclesia et disponuntur et ordinantur; unde ejus potestas est quoddam Ecclesiae fundamentum, ut patet Matth. 16. Et ideo in omnibus magis tenemur obedire Papae quam episcopis vel archiepiscopis, vel monachus abbati, absque ulla distinctione. Potest iterum potestas superior et inferior ita se habere, quod ambae oriantur ex una quadam suprema potestate, quae unam alteri subdit secundum quod vult; et tunc una non est superior altera nisi in his quibus una supponitur alii a suprema potestate; et in illis tantum est magis obediendum superiori quam inferiori: et hoc modo se habent potestates et episcopi et archiepiscopi descendentes a Papae potestate. Solution and determination. Two cases are to be considered in which we find the superior and the inferior authorities standing in different relations one to the other. First, the inferior authority originates totally from the superior authority. In this case, absolutely speaking and in all events, greater obedience is due to the superior power. An illustration of this is the order of natural causes: the first cause has a stronger impact upon the thing caused by a second cause than has this very second cause, as is said in the Liber De Causis [1]. In this position we find God’s power in regard to every created power, or likewise the Emperor’s power in regard to that of the Proconsul, or again the Pope’s power in regard to every spiritual power in the Church, since by the Pope all degrees of different dignities in the Church are distributed and ordered. Whence papal authority is one of the foundations of the Church, as is evident from Matthew 16:18. So in all things, without any distinction, the Pope ought to be obeyed more than Bishops and Archbishops; (more also by the monk than is the abbot).—The second case to be considered is, that both the superior and the inferior powers originate from one supreme power. Their subordination, thus, depends on the latter who subordinates one to the other as he pleases. As to this case we say that here one power is superior to the other only in regard to those matters in view of which they have been so subordinated one to the other by that supreme power. Hence in these matters alone greater obedience is due to the superior than to the inferior. An example of this is our relation to the authorities of a Bishop and an Archbishop, both of which descend from the papal authority.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod non est inconveniens patrem esse superiorem in rebus familiaribus, et ducem in rebus bellicis; sed ei qui in omnibus superior est, scilicet Deo, simpliciter est magis obediendum, et ei qui vices Dei gerit plenarie. Ad 1. In answer to the first, there is no problem in a father being superior in housdhold matters, and a commander in military matters. But he who is overall superior, namely God, is simply to be obeyed more; the same holds for the one who fully represents him.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod in illis in quibus magis obediendum est episcopo quam archiepiscopo, archiepiscopus non est superior episcopo, sed tantum in casibus determinatis a jure, in quibus ab episcopo recurritur ad archiepiscopum. Ad 2. In answer to the second, in those matters where the bishop is to be obeyed more than the archbishop, the archbishop is not superior to the bishop, but only in the cases determend by law, where appeal can be made from the bishop to the archbishop.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod monachus magis tenetur obedire abbati quam episcopo in illis quae ad statuta regulae pertinent; in his autem quae ad disciplinam ecclesiasticam pertinent, magis tenetur episcopo: quia in his abbas est episcopo suppositus. Ad 3. In answer to the third, a monk is held to obey his abbot more than the bishop in matters determined by his rule. But in matters of ecclesiastical discipline, he must obey his bishop more, because in these matters the abbot is under the bishop.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod potestas spiritualis et saecularis, utraque deducitur a potestate divina; et ideo intantum saecularis potestas est sub spirituali, inquantum est ei a Deo supposita, scilicet in his quae ad salutem animae pertinent; et ideo in his magis est obediendum potestati spirituali quam saeculari. In his autem quae ad bonum civile pertinent, est magis obediendum potestati saeculari quam spirituali, secundum illud Matth. 22, 21: reddite quae sunt Caesaris Caesari. Nisi forte potestati spirituali etiam saecularis potestas conjungatur, sicut in Papa, qui utriusque potestatis apicem tenet, scilicet spiritualis et saecularis, hoc illo disponente qui est sacerdos et rex in aeternum, secundum ordinem Melchisedech, rex regum, et dominus dominantium, cujus potestas non auferetur et regnum non corrumpetur in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Ad 4. The answer then... to the fourth argument is this. Spiritual as well as secular power comes from the divine power. Hence secular power is subjected to spiritual power in those matters concerning which the subjection has been specified and ordained by God, i.e., in matters belonging to the salvation of the soul. Hence in these we are to obey spiritual authority more than secular authority. On the other hand, more obedience is due to secular than to spiritual power in the things that belong to the civic good (bonum civile). For it is said Matthew 22:21: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. A special case occurs, however, when spiritual and secular power are so joined in one person as they are in the Pope, who holds the apex of both spiritual and secular powers. This has been so arranged by Him who is both Priest and King, Priest Eternal after the order of Melchisedech, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Whose dominion shall not pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed for ever and ever. Amen. [Conclusion of the second book of the Scriptum; this explains the doxological ending.]