Friday, June 19, 2020

A Free Political Theology Course

Lex Regia

The Who Report?

Accomodation to the State

The Christian Vitalist International: A translation of “Rescuing the Political” by Catholic philosopher-priest Romano Guardini.

But what is the meaning of the state? You say that it should support and protect the wellbeing of individuals and the whole, that it should regulate and develop economic life, support cultural work. You say it’s everything that corresponds to the laws that the state gives, which it grasps by stimulation and creation through people and agencies. And everything is right. The political designates the economic and cultural significance of the state. But that’s still not the political in the special sense of the word.

To me the political meaning of the state actually appears to be sublimity [Hoheit]. It is the incorporation of majesty for its own sake. But sublimity has at its essence God alone. Thus, the political meaning of the state seems to me such that, since it is itself given by God, it demonstrates and validates His majesty among the natural matters and realities of life. Not in moral and religious matters. For those responsibility lies not with the state, but the church. The state has to represent the majesty of God in the matters of natural life.

It does this most of all by way of its presence. It is legitimate. It does not simply exist, but it exists “with right,” by the grace of God, and this rightful existence demands recognition from other states and from individuals. And it does this by way of right in the life of its citizens: it makes right. It does not have a political character insofar as it pursues goals, provides benefits, facilitates commerce, or seeks to bring welfare, but insofar as it carries its meaning within itself. That means that just “being right” is beyond every goal. Said more precisely: the state is the right that God affirms, and that is the essential order itself. It is right, then, as a natural revelation of divine sublimity. It is on this right that the state stakes in its entire legitimate existence, the intellectual brunt of its sublimity, i.e. the state is “authority.” At the end every law proceeds “in the name of God.” The state, however, even stakes its power on right. It coerces obedience to right.
It is a naive judgment of the state, common to Roman Catholic intellectuals, considering it to be a valid or legitimate form of political organization as what preceded it in history. On this they are in error.