Obeying ceasar
#11
(12-05-2011, 10:55 PM)seanipie Wrote: I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like The United States of America is illegitimately occupied by the federal government. I word that in a way that will easily be misconstrued, but I can't think of any other way to say it. I think the country collectively turned its back on God around the time of Vatican II, what with free love, legalized abortion, ban on school prayer, "british invasion", woodstock, feminism, etc.. I could go on forever.

I understand how you feel, but I think the United had it wrong in 1776.
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#12
My political views on this subject have changed. I recently read an article, written by Charles A. Coulombe, on this very topic. I highly recommend it, as it gives two perspectives American traditional Catholics have with regards to the politics of the United States. I would call myself what Mr. Coulombe says is a "new paleo," however, I was previously an old Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley Jr. "old paleo."

http://takimag.com/article/the_old_paleo...z1fihI3A9R


Charles Coulombe Wrote:In politics, words are often elusive things. Definitions change from speaker to speaker and writer to writer and age to age. Well do I remember, in the palmy days of the 1970s and 80s, mainstream columnists talking about “conservatives in the Kremlin.” This was a phrase that meant something to a degree, but was also an oblique slap at others who claimed that label. The fall of the Soviet Union put all of our political adjectives into a state of considerable flux, revealing just how much opposition to or softness on Communism had determined our political landscape.

Which brings us to A.D. 2009, where, with the election of Barack Obama, those who call themselves “Conservative” are extremely fragmented—whether they consider the new President of the Republic to be the anti-Christ, or just a darker Mayor Daley, such folk have only their dislike of their new ruler in common. In this bright, shining, new 21st century, just what does “cnservative” mean, anyway? As everyone knows, there is a deep division between the “Neo-“ and “Paleo” Conservatives: the former considering the latter hopeless Romantics, and being considered as monopolist warmongers in return. But it is a major division within Paleoconnery itself that concerns us at the moment.

Of course, we have to define Paleocon before we do anything else. Some writers have suggested a recent origin for it as a response to neoconnery, dating origin as recently as 1992. But for this article, we will give it an earlier origin. One might say that its roots lie in the ‘20s and ‘30s, as thinkers of a certain mold attempted not merely to oppose tendencies they disliked in American life (such as the New Deal) but to define what was best in America itself—indeed, in the human experience. One might look at such different folk as Alfred Jay Nock, T.S. Eliot, H.L. Mencken, the Southern Agrarians, Ross Hoffman, and John Flynn as among the first of what we would now call the Paleocons.

With the demise of Taft Republicanism in the ‘50s, figures such as Russell Kirk and the protean William F. Buckley attempted to give “conservatism” a coherence which, given the diversity of its pioneers, was not so easy a task as one might think. Southern Agrarians; Burkeans like Kirk himself, Catholics of the Triumph school; proto-Libertarians; and a number of other groups clustered under the “conservative” tent. But what they had in common, back then, was a desire to see America as an integral part of Western/European civilization, and for many, to see our founding mythos of the Revolution as one of a series of essentially “conservative” upheavals, like the Glorious Revolution. People of this stripe were keen to draw a distinction between such events and the French, Russian, and subsequent Revolutions.

In addition to anti-Communism, another defining force for Conservatives was opposition to the societal changes emerging in the 1960s and gaining institutionalization in the following decade. Thus emerged what has been known ever after as “social conservatism.” Although a new phenomenon in themselves, antipathy to these changes was rooted in the basic principles espoused at that time by conservatives in general. The emergence of the neocons, the failed promise of the Reagan years, and the afore-mentioned fall of the Soviet Union produced the ideological landscape we have today.

With such a spotted past, paleoism, a loose federation of varying schools of thought, has of course had its divisions from the beginning—so much so that calling it a “movement” is a bit of a misnomer. Centering around whatever ideology a given writer or thinker espouses, some of these divisions have been—and remain—rather bitter. But there is another, overarching one, one that requires some examination. That is—generational.

Older Paleocons, such as the late Russell Kirk and Pat Buchanan, as noted, try to see the United States and their institutions and culture within the wider parameters of the West. For such folk, all that has happened to the soul of the country in the past five decades is a horrible aberration, akin to drawing a moustache on the face of the Mona Lisa. They would “conserve” what was best of the country they knew, and bring the purified nation forward to deal with the problems facing American and the World.

But many younger Paleos (sounds odd, doesn’t it?) disagree. For them, the loathsome state of affairs in which we find ourselves is no aberration, but the logical development of seeds present in the republic since its founding. While their nostra for healing the national ills may range from Catholic Monarchy to Libertarianism to the breakup of the country into smaller units, they agree that the present system is a hopelessly corrupt old structure lurching towards its well-deserved ruin. Some would welcome this event, in hopes that new and better things will rise from the ashes. They do not wish to conserve any thing, but to reconstruct the ruins.

Now, there are important reasons why each side should espouse the views they do, but, in this writer’s humble opinion, they have more to do with experience than ideology. It is very difficult to explain one generation to another, but I feel, given my own age, uniquely qualified to try.

Let us start with the older folk. A man like Pat Buchanan, for example, grew up at a time when, as a Catholic, loyalty to his religion and to American institutions went hand in hand. Although he had doctrinal differences with his neighbors, there was a general consensus on moral issues (yes, of course, there was hypocrisy; just as we of today are not always Inclusive, Sharing, and Accepting). From that moral consensus (and lack of sophisticate home entertainment centers) arose a wealth of neighborhood organizations: veterans groups, fraternal societies, school athletic teams, and on and on. The churches too were far more important in the social life of communities.

Indeed, for perhaps the majority of people, one’s immediate community played a bigger role than it does today. And here, in 20-20 hindsight, one’s mind may turn into an absolute cornucopia of Norman Rockwell scenes: kids trick-or-treating; school Christmas pageants, Fourth of July fireworks, parades, and barbecues; women in dresses, men is suits, and everyone in hats. I am just old enough to remember this kind of thing; I can imagine what a hold it would have on someone formed in that atmosphere. Consciously or otherwise, this would inevitably be the ideal such a man would want to conserve or recapture.

Now, though, let us turn our attention someone born in—say—978, the year I started College. Depending upon where in the country he was raised, his schooling would have been suffused with the trip that boomer-educators have stuffed into the system. His teenagerhood would have primarily involved the Clinton years. What would his experience of the institutions of Church, State, and Community have been? Would not his instinctive reactions be one of deep loathing? Regardless of how well-educated or self-taught he might be in the works of the Western Canon, would not his own experiences constantly war with what he read? This, too, is something I have experienced.

The kind of man we are describing, if possessed of the ideals propounded by one or another of the paleocon schools of thought, and living in an environment utterly dominated by the opposite spectrum, could not possibly think of conserving anything! Return to the Constitution? You mean the document that guarantees a woman the right to murder her child, and will no doubt shortly Gay marriage? “Um,” one might reply, “but that’s an aberration—“ “No,” retorts the angry young person, “that is the decision of the one body mentioned in the Constitution to decide what these things mean.” “Well,” one might begin again, “that isn’t the Constitution, that’s Marbury vs. Madison, and—“ The young person cuts one off with “whatever, everyone has accepted that the Supreme Court makes these decisions for the greater part of our history. The Court is the Constitution, and it’s rotten!”

For this reason, younger Paleocons are often willing to go, theoretically, where the older ones fear to tread. For the latter, many ideas, from anarchy to monarchy to theocracy to authoritarianism and other forms of governance, were simply impossible to consider, precisely because they clash with the Constitution. But the young ones have no problem contemplating these ideas. Moreover, thanks to the Internet’s ability to make allied foreign thinkers of the past and present immediately accessible, even the shibboleth of “Un-American” impresses few of the young.

Although their responses to the problems we face differ wildly, many of the younger set of paleocons are not, therefore, “conservatives” at all. What might we call them? Restorationists? Reconstructionists? That last might be better, although it is often used by various Jewish, skinhead, Calvinist, and neo-pagan groups (for a dizzying array of reasons.) At any rate, it is closer to what such people would like to accomplish—the remaking of the country along very different lines to what we know now.

Of course, an obvious riposte to the younger enthusiasts is that that every generation wants to remake the world when they start out, and few do. Moreover, in holding views so far from the mainstream, are they not courting irrelevance? But, in the world of ideas, immediate gratification is rarely an option, and Voltaire and Rousseau shook—and continue to shale—the world long after their deaths. There may well be, as these lines are being written, young thinkers begetting ideas that will one day push the world in as positive a direction as the Enlightenment writers pushed us this way.

There is another phenomenon at work here. I am, myself, a Catholic Monarchist at base; Robespierre was not. Yet he was more a man of the Ancien Regime than I could ever be, just I am much more a man of the Revolution. The reason, of course, lies in the periods of our upbringing, and the influences of the culture around us. So, too, with younger paleocons. Older folks will notice that quite a number of them are, shall we say, sexually more laissez-faire than their stated principles would permit; also that, even if they are diehard anti-immigration stalwarts, they do tend to be more globally aware than their elders: these and a number of other such things are testimonies to just how much a part of the current culture the younger folk are, no matter how much they may condemn it. By the same token, of course, the young see ideological blindspots in the older generation, compromises so venerable with their own ideals that the older folk are utterly unaware. The result, on either side, is often a sneering mental reference to hypocrisy.

In either case, the reaction is both justified and unfair. Justified, because, as that great American, Allen Ginzburg, once remarked “everyone’s lies about everyone else are absolutely true;” that is, both sets of complaints are quite true. On the other, it is unfair, because it is hard to see how, given their respective periods of upbringing, either side could behave differently.

What then, in the words of Lenin, is to be done? Why should anything be done at all? Paleocons of all stripes need to realize that there is much to be learned from one another—something all the more important in that we are run today by a set of people who have their own utopian agenda, quite as irrelevant to the needs and wishes of most of the country as anything anyone could dream up. Both generations must understand that each has a reason for being as they are. Young paleos ought to see that men like Pat look back to a past that was not merely, in many ways, better than the present; it was also tangible, real, as opposed to theoretical. Old paleos must understand that—as the new Chief of State proves—we are not going back. What are needed are thinkers and men of action who will use the best of the past and the present to play an effective role in the fight for the shape of the future.



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#13
It depends what you're obeying and what you're disobeying. There is still quite a bit of obeying going on. Maybe a little disobeying. There's no momentum for disobedience in the traditional Catholic community. I think we are all waiting gravity to pull down the Tower of Babel itself. They're doing a great job destroying their leviathan


As for religious freedom, you may like The American Myth of Religious Freedom by Kenneth R. Craycraft.
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#14
(12-05-2011, 10:31 PM)Resurrexi Wrote:
(12-05-2011, 06:25 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: This is an error of Wycliff, Hus, and certain early Protestant groups and has been definitively condemned by the Church.

Exact wording?

In the chapter of De Laicis I linked to earlier, when stating the Church has definitively condemned this error, St. Robert cites to the session of the Council of Constance which definitively condemned the following errors:

15. Nobody is a civil lord or a prelate or a bishop while he is in mortal sin.

28. Just as a prince or a lord does not keep the title of his office while he is in mortal sin, except in name and equivocally, so it is with a pope, bishop or priest while he has fallen into mortal sin.

29. Everyone habitually in mortal sin lacks dominion of any kind and the licit use of an action, even if it be good in its kind.

31. In order to have true secular dominion, the lord must be in a state of righteousness. Therefore nobody in mortal sin is lord of anything.
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#15
(12-05-2011, 02:42 PM)rbjmartin Wrote:
(12-05-2011, 11:36 AM)seanipie Wrote: I made a similar post about a month ago. I'm certainly not for sedition, but I don't fully recognize the authority of most of the modern world governments. Their existence and most of the basic laws as well as infrastructure I acknowledge and respect, but theres too much corruption for me to be comfortable when paying taxes or voting.

I quoted a similar thought in this thread: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...237.0.html

I took the pertinent quote from a comment in response to an article on Veteran's Day. The commentor made the following point:
Quote:Modern democratic governments, frankly any non-voluntary government, is not proper. It is not legitimate. It is based on coercion and de facto assumption of power alone, which is contrary to God's greatest commandment.

The Church has no special insight or knowledge as to when a government is "legitimate" or not for purposes of applying Just War Theory. However, using basic principles the Church can promulgate, one can deduce that in fact Congress, for example, is not legitimate.

He makes a good point. To my knowledge, the Church hasn't provided much clear guidance on what makes "legitimate" government. In many cases, it's obvious that the state is just the group of guys who can assert coercive power (i.e. violence) most effectively. So for instance, if there is a regime change in a country by violent upheaval, and an opressive dictator takes power, is his power legitimate simply because he asserts it? This de facto assumption of power seems to be the only thing that defines governmental power (with the exception of divine right, as embodied in the Old Testament kings and Catholic kings of old).

Again, St. Robert Bellarmine's treatise De Laicis, explains all this well.The previous chapter I linked to earlier in the thread explains how dominion rests legitimately in the hands of the wicked and faithless. In a different chapter he explains the source of legitimate government, including that of apparent usurpers, etc.:

http://catholicism.org/de-laicis.html/6

(in the context, the above chapter refers to the "fourth argument" of the heretics; here are their list of argument--just scroll down to "fourthly":  http://catholicism.org/de-laicis.html/2  )

Unfortunately, I don't have the book any more, but St. Thomas More, in his book against Luther, explains in one place that it's better for men to have bad rulers than none at all. He was also ready to continue to obey King Henry in all things except the oath of supremacy and any other actions contrary to the faith.

In anticipation of the argument that Popes at one time deposed heretics, etc., that came in the time of Christendom, when the Church and empire essentially formed one society and kings had a the relationship of a vassal to the Pope. Likewise, as members of the Church, the Pope could use coercive penalties (even temporal penalties) to bring them back to the faith--taking away dominion being such a temporal penalty (and one used by God as well, as  St. Robert explains). The Church never claimed a right to depose Domitian or Nero, etc. or ever claimed their rule was illegitimate. Likewise, for reasons explained by St. Robert, those governments eventually became legitimate. Likewise, in the

There's no reason I am aware of that the US Federal government has become illegitimate. That government may have some illegitimate laws (cf. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 72), but that's it.
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#16
(12-05-2011, 11:00 PM)Crusader_Philly Wrote:
(12-05-2011, 10:55 PM)seanipie Wrote: I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like The United States of America is illegitimately occupied by the federal government. I word that in a way that will easily be misconstrued, but I can't think of any other way to say it. I think the country collectively turned its back on God around the time of Vatican II, what with free love, legalized abortion, ban on school prayer, "british invasion", woodstock, feminism, etc.. I could go on forever.

I understand how you feel, but I think the United had it wrong in 1776.

Exactly. The US was the great experiment of the Enlightenment. However, we must still render to Rothschild what is Rothschild's. Now matter how it came about, legitimate authority does exist; whether it be your boss, your local officials, or your Federal, or soon to be World Governement. It's a hard teaching. Probably the hardest for Catholics.

But that does not mean we cannot be, and should not be, counter-cultural. Show your faith by good works and prayer. But, be careful to not fall into the snare of becoming just another political activist at the cost of worship to Almighty God. The anti-abortion movement as it is currently practiced comes to mind, as does the fight against so-called "gay marriage".

Treat these abominations as a kind of penance. But also feast on prayer and fast from food and eschew the worldy delights as much as possible.

Remember the teaching. "Render unto Caeser what is Caeser's, but Render unto God what is God's". The soul cannot be trodden down by man. They only have control over your carnal existence. Salt that has savour cannot be trodden down, even at the cost of martydom. Because they cannot take your soul, or your dignity, unless you allow them this access.

Life on earth is finite. Life in eternity, is, well eternal.
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#17
SaintSebastian,
I don't see anything in De Laicis that speaks to the establishment of the state. This is the key question for me. Perhaps I'm missing it and you can point me to the pertinent text.

Saint Robert Bellarmine says that political power derives from the natural law. So how is political power established by a large-scale murderer, for example? The assertion of power via brute force is not in line with the natural law, because it violates the command to love our neighbor.

With regard to the errors you posted from the Council of Constance, that's all well and good in a Catholic society, where lordship is given via a sacramental, i.e. anointing, and there is an understanding of divine ordination to the office of king or noble. But outside of a Catholic society, who is rightfully a prince or lord? How is their office established, if not by brute force (which, again, presents the contradiction with natural law that I pointed out above).
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#18
(12-06-2011, 01:19 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: Saint Robert Bellarmine says that political power derives from the natural law. So how is political power established by a large-scale murderer, for example? The assertion of power via brute force is not in line with the natural law, because it violates the command to love our neighbor.

Well, the command to love one's neighbor isn't a part of the Natural Law, right? Charity is a theological virtue, after all.
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#19
(12-06-2011, 01:21 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
(12-06-2011, 01:19 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: Saint Robert Bellarmine says that political power derives from the natural law. So how is political power established by a large-scale murderer, for example? The assertion of power via brute force is not in line with the natural law, because it violates the command to love our neighbor.

Well, the command to love one's neighbor isn't a part of the Natural Law, right? Charity is a theological virtue, after all.

True, to a degree, but some laws that derive from the command to love one's neighbor are certainly part of the natural law (such as the prohibitions against murder and theft). Commandments 4 through 10 can all be considered part of the natural law, yet they rest on the command to love one's neighbor.
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#20
St. Robert's main examples are the pagan Roman emperors and the Gentile rulers who ruled over the Jews and he sees the condemnations of Constance as a parallel proof.

In regards to how the a state is first established, he ultimately traces it back to Adam, who ruled over everyone until he died. More generally, he explains it like this, although he doesn't really explain exactly when this happens. The presumption seems to be that most governments that exist were originally established like this at some point, even if that point is lost to history.

Quote:But in this place other matters should be noted. First, political power considered in general, not descending in particular to Monarchy, Aristocracy, or Democracy, comes directly from God alone; for this follows of necessity from the nature of man, since that nature comes from Him Who made it; besides, this power derives from the natural law, since it does not depend upon the consent of men; for, willing or unwilling, they must be ruled over by some one, unless they wish the human race to perish, which is against a primary instinct of nature. But natural law is Divine law, therefore, government was instituted by Divine law, and this seems to be the correct meaning of St. Paul when he says, “He that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” 66

Note, secondly, that this power resides, as in its subject, immediately in the whole state, for this power is by Divine law, but Divine law gives this power to no particular man, therefore Divine law gives this power to the collected body. Furthermore, in the absence of positive law, there is no good reason why, in a multitude of equals, one rather than another should dominate. Therefore, power belongs to the collected body. Finally, human society ought to be a perfect State, therefore, it should have the power to preserve itself, hence, to punish disturbers of the peace, etc.

Note, in the third place, that, by the same natural law, this power is delegated by the multitude to one or several, for the State cannot of itself exercise this power, therefore, it is held to delegate it to some individual, or to several, and this authority of rulers considered thus in general is both by natural law and by Divine law, nor could the entire human race assembled together decree the opposite, that is, that there should be neither rulers nor leaders.

Note, in the fourth place, that individual forms of government in specific instances derive from the law of nations, not from the natural law, for, as is evident, it depends on the consent of the people to decide whether kings, or consuls, or other magistrates are to be established in authority over them; and, if there be legitimate cause, the people can change a kingdom into an aristocracy, or an aristocracy into a democracy, and vice versa, as we read was done in Rome.

Note, in the fifth place, that it follows from what has been said that this power in specific instances comes indeed from God, but through the medium of human wisdom and choice, as do all other things which pertain to the law of nations. For the law of nations is a sort of conclusion drawn from the natural law by human reason; 67 from which are inferred two differences between the political and the Ecclesiastical power, one in view of the subject, for political power resides in the people, and Ecclesiastical power in the individual, as it were immediately in the subject (on whom it devolves); the other difference is in view of the efficient cause, because political power considered in general is by Divine law, but considered in particular it is by the law of nations. Ecclesiastical power, however, considered from every point of view, is by Divine law, and immediately from God.

As bad as one might think our current rulers are, they have been put in power by this very process described above.

Then in regards to violent usurpers becoming legitimate:

Quote:On the basis of these proofs, in answer to the fourth argument of the Anabaptists, I maintain that by their argument they prove their point only in respect to particular forms of government, not to political power in general; but we wish in this place to establish the principle of political power in general, not any particular form of government.

I add, secondly, that very often governments are both just and unjust, of God, and not of God; for, on the part of those who hold and usurp authority, governments are thievish and unjust, hence not from God; yet, on the part of Divine Providence, which makes use of the evil intent of men and directs it either to the punishment of sin or to some other good end, or to the reward of good deeds, governments are just and lawful. For God, by an admirable decree of His Providence, sometimes deprives some of power and bestows it upon others in such wise that he who falls from power over the kingdom falls justly; and God Himself, in His own time, will inflict most just punishments for that invasion.

For God gave the possession of Palestine to the sons of Israel for a far different reason from that for which He afterwards gave it to Salmanasar or Nabuchodonosor, inasmuch as the sons of Israel, under the leadership of Josue, fought with praiseworthy obedience against the people of Palestine, and when many of these latter had been slain in battle, appropriated their lands, whereas Salmanasar and Nabuchodonosor, by a most wicked sacrilege, led into captivity the people of God; for in this they sought to follow not the Divine command, but their own wicked desire, yet even though they were ignorant of it, God made use of them for that end which, most justly, He willed to be attained.

St. Augustine 68 and Hugh of St. Victor 69 explain this matter accurately, nor is the testimony of the Scriptures wanting. For in Isaias we read as follows: “The Assyrian is the rod and the staff of My anger, and My indignation is in their hands. I will send him to a deceitful nation, and I will give him a charge against the people of My wrath, to take away the spoils, and to lay hold on the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he shall not take it so, and his heart shall not think so.” 70 In this place God speaks of Salmanasar and Sennacherib, who with evil intent seized the lands of Israel, yet God, without their knowledge, made use of their deeds to punish the Israelites.

Thus Isaias, “Thus saith the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue nations before his face, and to turn the backs of kings, and to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before thee, and will humble the great ones of the earth: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and will burst the bars of iron. And I will give thee hidden treasures, and the concealed riches of secret places: that thou mayest know that I am the Lord Who call thee by thy name, the God of Israel. For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have made a likeness of thee, and thou hast not known Me.” 71

From this passage it appears that Cyrus had obtained a kingdom for himself through his desire for domination, and not for the sake of God’s service; and yet God aided him, and gave him the kingdom he was seeking, that He Himself might liberate the people of Israel from the Babylonian Captivity.

Jeremias, “I have given all these lands into the hand of Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, My servant; moreover, also the beasts of the field I have given him to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son: till the time come for his land and himself: and many nations and great kings shall serve him. But the nation and the kingdom that will not serve Nabuchodonosor the king Babylon, and whosoever will not bend his neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon: I will visit upon that nation with the sword, and with famine, and with pestilence, saith the Lord.” 72 And yet who doubts that Nabuchodonosor subdued so many kingdoms with bad intent?

Ezechiel also says, “Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon, hath made his army to undergo hard service against Tyre. . . . and there hath been no reward given him, or his army for Tyre, for the service that he rendered Me against it.” 73 And below, “I have given him the land of Egypt, because he hath labored for Me, saith the Lord God.” 74

In like manner the Romans sought empire not for the sake of God, but through a desire for worldly glory, as St. Augustine shows at great length in the City of God. 75 Yet God gave them supreme rule, not only that He might reward them for their good works in the moral order, as St. Augustine likewise shows in the City of God, 76 but also that through the union of all the nations under one government the way might be prepared for the preaching of the Gospel, as St. Leo says in his first sermon for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Add, moreover, that even if at the beginning those who founded kingdoms were usurpers for the most part, yet, by the passing of time, either they or their successors became lawful rulers of these kingdoms, since the people gradually gave their consent. In this way the kingdom of France is now lawful, in the opinion of all, though in the beginning the Franks unjustly occupied Gaul. And the same may be said of the kingdom of Spain, which began with the invasion of the Goths; of the kingdom of England, which began with the unjust occupation of the Anglo-Saxons; and of this very Roman Empire, which was founded by Julius Caesar, the oppressor of his country; which, nevertheless, afterward became lawful to such a degree that Our Lord said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, etc.” 77
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