The Church is Not Opposed to Any Form of Government that Is Just and Serves the Common Good

June 27, 2024


Leo XIII says in his encyclical Diuturnum illud (June 29, 1881):

King Philip II of Spain

“There is no question here respecting forms of government, for there is no reason why the Church should not approve of the chief power being held by one man or by more, provided only it be just, and that it tend to the common advantage. Wherefore, so long as justice be respected, the people are not hindered from choosing for themselves that form of government which suits best either their own disposition, or the institutions and customs of their ancestors.”

In his encyclical Immortale Dei (November 1, 1885), the same Pontiff states:

“The right to rule is not necessarily, however, bound up with any special mode of government. It may take this or that form, provided only that it be of a nature to insure the general welfare….

“If judged dispassionately, no one of the several forms of government is in itself condemned, inasmuch as none of them contain anything contrary to Catholic doctrine, and all of them are capable, if wisely and justly managed, of insuring the welfare of the State.”

A White House photo of President Bush, VP Cheney, and Speaker Pelosi at the 2007 State of the Union address.

In these texts, Leo XIII supposes the case of a nation that, without violating the principle of authority or acquired rights, has to choose between the existing form of government and some other.

These teachings are also applicable, mutatis mutandis, to a person who, as a private individual, is faced with this choice, as for example, when he votes in a plebiscite to opt for a monarchy, an aristocratic republic, or a democratic republic; or when he chooses political party affiliation.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Appendix IV, pp. 391-393.



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