Responses to Questions on Monarchism from Traditional Catholics, Part VI

from For Royalcello: Rehabilitating the Romanovs (FishEaters, November 23-28, 2006)

The one point fixed by nature, and by God, is that there must be authority everywhere, and that the authority existent for the time being, under such and such a form, be under that form obeyed; for since there is no actual authority in the country except under that form, to refuse to obey that is to refuse authority simply, and to revert to anarchy, which is against nature: just as a man having nothing but bread and cheese to eat, and refusing to eat his bread and cheese, under pretence that he much prefers mutton, condemns himself to starvation, which again is unnatural.

This argument does not in fact refute the position of any monarchists that I know of. Certainly, a monarchist living in a republic must not "condemn himself to starvation" by refusing to obey the laws and pay taxes. However, to continue with the CE's analogy, the hungry man is under no obligation to refrain from trying (while subsisting on bread and cheese) to obtain mutton in the future, nor must he abandon his belief that mutton is superior or concede the "equality" of mutton and bread & cheese. And he has every right to question whether those who insist that bread & cheese are in fact superior truly understand cuisine.

A country, once monarchical, is not eternally bound to monarchy... No one form of government is more sacred and inviolate than another.

Well, here I'm going to have to say quite bluntly that I disagree with the Catholic Encyclopedia. It's not infallible. And the above passages reflect the disastrous attempt by Leo XIII to reconcile the Church with the French Republic, which in fact accomplished nothing except division among French Catholics and the weakening of French royalism.

I can accept Switzerland, Iceland, and San Marino being republics, but the French, Brazilian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Montenegrin, Serbian, Italian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, and Ethiopian republics are abominations that deserve to be destroyed! Only Monarchies will ever be truly acceptable for these countries, not to mention the ten European countries that remain monarchies today. And that goes for the world's currently or formerly monarchical non-Christian nations as well.

To celebrate the French Republic in particular is to implicitly condone the murder of Their Most Christian Majesties Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette along with so many other innocent Catholic victims of the Revolution. And most modern republics are based to some extent on the ideology of the French Revolution. While governments that owe their existence indirectly to the atrocities of the late 18th century may have to be (reluctantly) obeyed, they are absolutely not entitled to the full emotional and intellectual assent that Catholic monarchies rightly command.

The intrinsic superiority of monarchy ought to be obvious to any Catholic who frees himself from modernist republican indoctrination and takes the time to think about it. My friend Pagliaccio (who unlike me is an actual Catholic) is fond of pointing out that God chose Monarchy as the form of "government" for the Cosmos, for His Chosen People (the Israelites), for His Church, and for the Family. Given four such monumental divine endorsements, how can Catholics not conclude that monarchy is superior, even if it isn't an explicitly and solemnly defined article of faith?

Anti-royalism, or modern republicanism, is essentially the elimination of the principles of the family and inheritance (the foundation of any civilized society) from politics. In a republic, whether democratic or authoritarian, only the president as an individual has any legal significance; his wife, children, and extended family count for nothing constitutionally. Only a hereditary monarchy pays due respect to the role of the family. The movement from monarchies to republics parallels perfectly the modernist replacement of the family with the individual as the basic unit of society. As far as I'm concerned, social conservatives have no right to whine about the deterioration of "family values" if they do not also address the expulsion of the family as a concept from the world's governments.

Prior to the French Revolution, it was no more necessary for the Church to proclaim the superiority of monarchy to other forms of government than it would have been to proclaim the superiority of the traditional family (with one man, one woman, and children) to other types of "families." But now that both traditions have been all but destroyed, there is no excuse for failing to see how disastrous the republican experiment has been.

Perhaps the editors of the Catholic Encyclopedia can be forgiven---at the time it was written, the world's leading republics, France and the United States, still appeared to be basically moral and Christian societies. But that is no longer true today. It is really not such a big step from "I have a right to choose my head of state" to "I have a right to choose an abortion." Only monarchy teaches its people the valuable lesson that some things are not meant to be their choice. And if Europe's surviving constitutional monarchies today do not appear to possess this advantage, that is only because they have been forced to compromise with republicanism and democracy, relinquishing their power and diluting their Christian character.

Within the U.S. one could argue that Catholics are persecuted, and we are to some extent, but the persecution is by those holding office and they can be removed lawfully.

...and replaced by others who are just as bad in different ways. I'm not impressed. What if one's objection is to the whole rotten system? You can't vote it out.

In a monarchy that persecutes Catholics, there is no lawful way to remove them.

Pope St. Pius V released English Catholics from their allegiance to Queen Elizabeth I. (Whether it was prudent for him to do this is another question.) But yes, in most cases it's true that Catholics must submit even to a bad monarch...a policy which is in fact justified by I Peter 2:18: "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward [harsh]."

The Hierarchy of the Church was ordained by Christ, and we know that from Scripture and Tradition. But that doesn't mean a hierarchy / monarchy is ordained by God for civil affairs.

Yes, it does. It's obvious from European history. The Church flourished when Europe was hierarchical and monarchical; it has withered in the democratic/republican era. This is not the fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc but rather the clear observable result of the egalitarian tendency which has necessarily undermined both kinds of hierarchies. Almost every objection to monarchy made by Catholic republicans here and elsewhere could be and has been made by Protestants against Catholicism. If people are not to submit to monarchy and hierarchy in temporal affairs, why should they submit to them in spiritual affairs? After all, the laity can't remove a bad bishop or a bad pope---as traditionalists know only too well after the last 40 years!

Beyond that, I don't see how it matters to a Catholic since Our King reigns regardless of who is collecting the taxes.

It matters because a country ought to mean more than just an entity that collects taxes. A country ought to provide a human focus for loyalty that reinforces the concept of the family as the unit of society and inculcates a deep sense of continuity with and indebtedness to our ancestors. Only a hereditary monarchy does this. Monarchy and the Family are not merely analogous; they are essentially the same thing: the monarchy is a family and the family is a monarchy. Monarchy is personal; republicanism is impersonal. It is Catholic to personalize things, as Catholics enrich their religion by honoring myriads of saints whose existence cannot be doubted even by secular historians; it is Protestant to reject such personalization. The difference between monarchy and republicanism is as profound as the difference between the sacramental worldview of the Catholic and the non-sacramental worldview of the Protestant.

Responses to Questions on Monarchism from Traditional Catholics