|I Sent., D. 44, Q. 2, A. 2|
Utrum Christiani teneantur obedire potestatibus saecularibus, et maxime tyrannis
|I Sentences, Distinction 44, Question 2, Article 2|
Whether Christians are bound to obey secular powers, especially tyrants
|Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Christiani non teneantur saecularibus potestatibus obedire, et praecipue tyrannis.
||The procedure in discussing this problem is this: It seems that they are not bound to obey secular powers, especially tyrants.
||Matth. 17, 25, dicitur: ergo liberi sunt filii. Si enim in quolibet regno filii illius regis qui regno illi praefertur, liberi sunt, tunc filii regis cui omnia regna subduntur, in quolibet regno liberi esse debent. Sed Christiani effecti sunt filii Dei; Roman. 8, 16: ipse enim spiritus testimonium reddit spiritui nostro quod sumus filii Dei. Ergo ubique sunt liberi; et ita saecularibus potestatibus obedire non tenentur.
||1. Matthew 17:25 says: "Therefore the sons are free." If then in any kingdom the sons of its king are free, then the sons of the king to whom all kingdoms are subject ought to be free in any kingdom. But Christians have been made sons of God —Romans 8:16: "The Spirit bears testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God." Therefore they are free everywhere, and are not held to obey secular powers.
||Praeterea, servitus pro peccato inducta est, ut supra, quaest. 1, art. 1, dictum est. Sed per Baptismum homines a peccato mundantur. Ergo a servitute liberantur; et sic idem quod prius.
||2. Besides, slavery is the result of sin, as was shown above, q. 1, a. 1. But by Baptism people are cleansed from sin. Therefore they are liberated from slavery, and the same conclusion folows.
||Praeterea, majus vinculum absolvit a minori, sicut lex nova ab observantia legis veteris. Sed in Baptismo homo obligatur Deo, quae obligatio est majus vinculum quam id quo homo obligatur homini per servitutem. Ergo per Baptismum a servitute absolvitur.
||3. Besides, a greater bond frees one from a lesser one, as the new law frees from observance of the old law. But by baptism a man comes under obligation to God, which is a greater bond that that of man to man by slavery. Therefore by baptism he is freed from slavery.
||Praeterea, quilibet potest licite resumere, cum facultas adest, quod sibi injuste ablatum est. Sed multi saeculares principes tyrannice terrarum dominia invaserunt. Ergo cum facultas rebellandi illis conceditur, non tenentur illis obedire.
||4. It is legitimate for anyone, who can do so, to re-take what has been taken away from him unjustly. Now many secular princes unjustly usurped the dominion of Christian lands. Since, therefore, in such cases rebellion is legitimate, Christians have no obligation to obey these princes.
||Praeterea, nullus tenetur ei obedire quem licite, immo laudabiliter potest interficere. Sed Tullius in libro de officiis salvat eos qui Julium Caesarem interfecerunt, quamvis amicum et familiarem, qui quasi tyrannus jura imperii usurpaverat. Ergo talibus nullus tenetur obedire.
||5. If it is a legitimate and even a praiseworthy deed to kill a person, then no obligation of obedience exists toward that person. Now in the Book on Duties [De Officiis I, 8, 26] Cicero justifies Julius Caesar’s assassins. Although Caesar was a close friend of his, yet by usurping the empire he proved himself to be a tyrant. Therefore toward such powers there is no obligation of obedience.
||Sed contra, 1 Petri 11, 18: servi subditi estote dominis vestris.
||Sed C. 1. On the other hand, however, there are the following arguments proving the contrary position: First, it is said: Servants, be in subjection to your masters (1 Pet. 2:18.)
||Praeterea, Rom. 13, 2: qui potestati resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit. Sed non est licitum Dei ordinationi resistere. Ergo nec saeculari potestati resistere licet.
||Sed C. 2. Second, it is also said: He who resists the power, withstands the ordinance of God (Rom. xiii, 2.) Now it is not legitimate to withstand the ordinance of God. Hence it is not legitimate either to withstand secular power.
||Respondeo dicendum, quod sicut dictum est, obedientia respicit in praecepto quod servat, debitum observandi. Hoc autem debitum causatur ex ordine praelationis, quae virtutem coactivam habet, non tantum temporaliter sed etiam spiritualiter propter conscientiam, ut apostolus dicit Roman. 13, secundum quod ordo praelationis a Deo descendit, ut apostolus, ibidem, innuit. Et ideo secundum hoc quod a Deo est, obedire talibus Christianus tenetur, non autem secundum quod a Deo praelatio non est.
||Solution and determination. Obedience, by keeping a commandment, has for its [formal] object the obligation, involved in the commandment, that it be kept. Now this obligation originates in that the commanding authority has the power to impose an obligation binding not only to external but also to internal and spiritual obedience—“for conscience sake”, as the Apostle says (Rom. xiii, 5.) For power (authority) comes from God, as the Apostle implies in the same place. Hence, Christians are bound to obey the authorities inasmuch as they are from God; and they are not bound to obey inasmuch as the authority is not from God.
||Dictum est autem, quod praelatio potest a Deo non esse dupliciter: vel quantum ad modum acquirendi praelationem, vel quantum ad usum praelationis.
||Now, this not being from God may be the case, first, as to the mode in which authority is acquired, and, second, as to the use which is made of authority.
||Quantum ad primum contingit dupliciter: aut propter defectum personae, quia indignus est; aut propter defectum in ipso modo acquirendi, quia scilicet per violentiam vel per simoniam, vel aliquo illicito modo acquirit.
||Concerning the first case we must again distinguish two defects: There may be a defect of the person acquiring authority inasmuch as this person is unworthy of it. There may also be a defect in the mode of acquiring authority, namely, if it is obtained by violence, or simony, or other illegitimate means.
||Ex primo defectu non impeditur quin jus praelationis ei acquiratur; et quoniam praelatio secundum suam formam semper a Deo est (quod debitum obedientiae causat); ideo talibus praelatis, quamvis indignis, obedire tenentur subditi.
||As to the first of these defects, we say that it does not constitute an obstacle against acquiring lawful authority. Since, then, as such, authority is always from God (and this is what causes the obligation of obedience), the subjects are bound to render obedience to these authorities, unworthy as they may be.
||Sed secundus defectus impedit jus praelationis: qui enim per violentiam dominium surripit non efficitur vere praelatus vel dominus; et ideo cum facultas adest, potest aliquis tale dominium repellere: nisi forte postmodum dominus verus effectus sit vel per consensum subditorum, vel per auctoritatem superioris.
||As to the second of those defects, we say that in such a case there is no lawful authority at all. He who seizes power by violence does not become a true holder of power. Hence, when it is possible to do so, anybody may repel this domination, unless, of course, the usurper should later on have become a true ruler by the consent of the subjects or by a recognition being extended to him by a higher authority.
||Abusus autem praelationis potest esse dupliciter: vel ex eo quod est praeceptum a praelato, contrarium ejus ad quod praelatio ordinata est, ut si praecipiat actum peccati contrarium virtuti ad quam inducendam et conservandam praelatio ordinatur; et tunc aliquis praelato non solum non tenetur obedire, sed etiam tenetur non obedire, sicut et sancti martyres mortem passi sunt, ne impiis jussis tyrannorum obedirent:
||The abuse of power might take on two forms. First, a commandment emanating from the authority might be contrary to the very end in view of which authority is instituted, i.e., to be an educator to, and a preserver of, virtue. Should therefore the authority command an act of sin contrary to virtue, we not only are not obliged to obey but we are also obliged not to obey, according to the example of the holy martyrs who preferred death to obeying those ungodly tyrants.
||vel quia cogunt ad hoc ad quod ordo praelationis non se extendit; ut si dominus exigat tributa quae servus non tenetur dare, vel aliquid hujusmodi; et tunc subditus non tenetur obedire, nec etiam tenetur non obedire.
||The second form of abusing power is for the authority to go beyond the bounds of its legal rights, for instance, when a master exacts duties which the servant is not bound to pay, or the like. In this case the subject is not obliged to obey, but neither is he obliged not to obey.
||Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod illa praelatio quae ad utilitatem subditorum ordinatur, libertatem subditorum non tollit; et ideo non est inconveniens quod tali praelationi subjaceant qui per spiritum sanctum filii Dei effecti sunt. Vel dicendum, quod Christus loquitur de se et suis discipulis, qui nec servilis conditionis erant, nec res temporales habebant, quibus suis dominis obligarentur ad tributa solvenda; et ideo non sequitur quod omnis Christianus hujusmodi libertatis sit particeps, sed solum illi qui sequuntur apostolicam vitam, nihil in hoc mundo possidentes, et a conditione servili immunes.
||Ad 1. In answer to the first, authority which is instituted for the utility of the subjects does not take away their liberty. Therefore there is no problem in being subject to such authority for those who have become sons of God by the Holy Spirit. Or another answer could be: Christ is speaking about himself and his disciples, who were not of servile condition, nor did they have temporal property by which they would be obliged to pay tax to their lords. Therefore it does not follow that every Christian shares in this liberty, but only those who follow the apostolic life, owning nothing in this world, and unaffected by servile state.
||Ad secundum dicendum, quod Baptismus non delet statim omnes poenalitates ex peccato primi parentis consequentes, sicut necessitatem moriendi et caecitatem, vel aliquid hujusmodi; sed regenerat in spem vivam illius vitae in qua omnia ista tollentur; et sic non oportet ut aliquis statim baptizatus a servili conditione liberetur, quamvis illa sit poena peccati.
||Ad 2. In answer to the second, baptism does not delete all the penalties arising from the sin of the first parent, such as the necessity to die, or blindness, or the like, but it gives rebirth into a living hope of that life in which all those things are taken away. So someone just baptized need not be immediately liberated from a servile state, even though that is a penalty of sin.
||Ad tertium dicendum, quod majus vinculum non absolvit a minori, nisi quando non compatitur se cum illo; sicut umbra et veritas simul esse non possunt: propter quod veniente veritate Evangelii, umbra veteris legis cessavit. Sed vinculum quo in Baptismo quis ligatur, compatitur vinculum servitutis; et ideo non absolvit ab illo.
||Ad 3. In answer to the third, the greater bond does not free from the lesser unelss it is incompatible with it; thus shadow and truth cannot coexist, because when the truth of the Gospel came, the shadow of the old law ceased. But th bond taken on by baptism is compatible with servitude, and therefore it does not dissolve it.
||Ad quartum dicendum, quod qui per violentiam praelationem accipiunt, non sunt veri praelati; unde nec eis obedire tenentur subditi nisi sicut dictum est.
||Ad 4. To the fourth argument the answer is this: An authority acquired by violence is not a true authority, and there is no obligation of obedience, as we said above.
||Ad quintum dicendum, quod Tullius loquitur in casu illo quando aliquis dominium sibi per violentiam surripit, nolentibus subditis, vel etiam ad consensum coactis, et quando non est recursus ad superiorem, per quem judicium de invasore possit fieri: tunc enim qui ad liberationem patriae tyrannum occidit, laudatur, et praemium accipit.
||Ad 5. To the fifth argument the answer is that Cicero speaks of domination obtained by violence and ruse, the subjects being unwilling or even forced to accept it and there being no recourse open to a superior who might pronounce judgment upon the usurper. In this case he that kills the tyrant for the liberation of the country, is praised and rewarded.