Is a Theocracy more Moral than a Democracy?

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Limit votes to only truly catholic people.
Interested in benevolent dictatorships?

They aren’t necessarily more moral. It depends on the morals contained in the theology.

Recent event like stoning a woman for adultery because she was raped are one example where a theocracy might not be much of an improvement over a democracy. On the other hand, in a true democracy morality is decided by popular vote, which could result in decent morals or it could not. Too many “ifs” to make a blanket conclusion.

I maintain that human beings are incapable of dealing with the absolute freedoms handed to us by America’s Founding Fathers. We tend to overstep our boundaries and vote ourselves into all kinds of nonsense and wrong-doing… disordered things like legalized abortion, homosexual marriage, mormonism, church of Satan, etc… …and it only gets worse from there.

A democractic government with Catholic teaching as it’s core and Christ as the foundation, in union with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church (yes, a symbiotic Church AND state) is the only model of government that can restrain the human (fallen) appetite for sin.

Government by Catholicism has rarely (if ever) worked out in the past. Geopolitical power has a tendency to corrupt leaders. Keeping the church separate from the government doesn’t just protect people from being ruled by religious laws they disagree with, it also keeps church leaders from abusing religious teaching for personal gain. Not to mention creating new church teaching with short-term politics in mind.

"Is a Theocracy more Moral than a Democracy?"

Not in your wildest dreams.

As a matter of fact, I’d probably end up dead while trying to defend the US Constitution against a theocracy. That’s how low I think of the morals of a theocracy. There is zero moral equivalence between the two.

I haven’t had a wild dream in a long time now.

:wink:

Although I am strongly in favor of a Catholic theocratric democracy, let’s look at the issue from the other angle: a secular democracy (what we have today).

I honestly believe that the democracy we have today will self-destruct. As our culture becomes increasingly secular our elected leaders will create legislation that restricts religion and encourages immoral behavior. What happens when there is no longer a moral “line in the sand”? What happens when there are no more morals or virtue? Hate speech and hate crime legislation is a veiled attack on religion. Religious hatred is the last acceptable bigotry. Our education system has eradicated Christianity from our schools. If the Dept of Education had their way, private (Catholic) schools would be the same. Parents who would try to instill christian values in their children at home will be accused of spreading myths and hateful teachings.

Heresy is allowed to not only exist, in America, but it is allowed to flourish, endangering souls and dividing people, to our countries detriment.

One ominous effect of secularism on our culture is our national birth rate. It is far below the 2.11 birthrate required for any society to sustain itself, thanks to “the pill”, Roe V. Wade and the sexual revolution. Millions of unborn souls have perished in the name of “freedom”.

What does the future hold for God’s children? How long before God will no longer stay His hand?

Yes, it has worked in the past. In the middle ages, the Church was the ultimate authority above all European rulers. It wasn’t a republic but it worked. Europe was thoroughly Catholic until Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingle, et all, ended up starting their heresies.

What has not existed before is a representative republic with a constitution that enshrines the Catholic Church as the only permitted religion. All laws passed should agree with the teaching of the Magisterium.

I don’t think this would happen under a Catholic Republic. What makes you think it will?

I am not seeing how this is possible. Could you explain this?

Smells of the no-good-Scotsman fallacy. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having a state religion in so as the religion isn’t mandatory (much in the same way that a country can have a state sport in so as playing the sport isn’t mandatory). If there is a constitutional vote in favor of having a Catholic society (66% + 1 votes) or if a country is formed with the intention of being a Catholic state, then sure.

-Prophecy

Besides all the other arguments against a theocracy in general, consider this:

One cannot truly have freedom of religion without having freedom from religion. Think about what that means when a country is a theocracy in which some individuals are of a different religion, even they are still permitted to practice their own religion (in which the aspects of the religion in power are still pushed on everyone else).

If one calls for a Catholic dictatorship (theocracy), than one has to also consider

Theocracy often becomes “my religion is the right one, and I’m going to enforce it on everyone” and specifically for a Christian theocracy “my interpretation of the Bible tells me this about social policy, and for those who disagree with my interpretation, too bad.” The Puritans tried to have a theocrcy in the new world for some time, but it was problematic because they couldn’t always agree what the Bible said about social policy.

If you think the Catholic Church gets rid of this problem by the infallibility of the magisterium, you would be wrong in part because very few, if any, social policies would fall under any infallibly defined dogma. You would also be wrong because the morality of civil law depends on it’s effect (say, if criminalizing fornication would cause greater evils than it eliminates, it would be immoral to institute or keep that civil law). For example, alcohol prohibition was started by the good intentions of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), but it becomes clear when looking at history that alcohol prohibition cause much greater evils than it eliminated, and that there were many elements of it that were very gravely immoral.

I want to add that many of the social problems today that were mentioned earlier in this thread have to do with the fact that government is doing too much. It is not the role of government to marry people or define marriage (that’s a religious function). The government should not be in the business of educating anyone. For people who cannot afford K-12 education, there are alternative ways, such as government financial aid to the poor to send them to a private school of their choice, that one’s education can be taken care of.

If one wants to see the potential consequences of a government run by the Catholic Church, look at the “dark ages”.

This is why a thoroughly Catholic government would be best. Because we, as Catholics, KNOW that Holy Mother Church is the One True Church, everyone who chooses to live in Catholic-Land must agree to support and defend the Church or leave, but heresy within her borders will not be tolerated. It would be a government by Catholics for Catholics.

It was problematic because it was founded on sandy soil…Protestantism!

The morality of civil law depends on having Church and state making decisions based on canon law. I don’t see a problem there. We are not living in the dark ages when human rights and temperence were nonexistent. You participate in a gay pride march, you get a citation and pay a fine. You do it again, you go to jail. A law is a law. I believe, with the right Constitution and, thus, the right form of God-centered government, these issues could be dealt with humanely but sternly.

There will ALWAYS be too much government interference because our form of government is flawed. It separates Church and state. When the laws are secular in nature, it is only a matter of time before the land becomes secular.

That isn’t a fair comparison. Torture was considered an effective form of interrogation by all state governments from Roman times through the dark ages. It was considered a tool of the state. We are far more humane today…more so than at any time in human history. A Catholic government, if formed properly, would be unable to resort to torture and murder…oppression of heresies, certainly, but not the cruel and torturous methods of the dark ages. If you want to compare barbaristic societies, be sure to include early American treatment of the Native American tribes, women and slaves.

If you want to see the consequences of a representative republic that separates church and state at ALL levels, look at Roe V. Wade, the Homosexual legal battles, the plethora of heresies and the thousands of Protestant churches leading people in thousands of different directions. Look at the smut and rubbish on TV. Our country is begging for an attitude adjustment from God on the order of Sodom and Gomorrah.

This is why a thoroughly Catholic government would be best. Because we, as Catholics, KNOW that Holy Mother Church is the One True Church, everyone who chooses to live in Catholic-Land must agree to support and defend the Church or leave, but heresy within her borders will not be tolerated. It would be a government by Catholics for Catholics.
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Are you calling for everyone who disagrees with you to be thrown out of the country? That’s radical (in a bad/extremely arrogant way).

Everyone KNOWS that their religion is the correct religion (even though there cannot be more than one correct religion). I don’t think my religion (Catholicism) is wrong, but I, for one, wouldn’t want my religion to dictate other people’s lives if it is wrong.

It was problematic because it was founded on sandy soil…Protestantism!

The morality of civil law depends on having Church and state making decisions based on canon law. I don’t see a problem there.
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Actually, cannon law tells us nothing infallibly about how to best run a society. The Magisterium is only infallible in matters of faith and morals.

A Catholic theocracy would have the same problems as the Puritans (since it would be ruled by the fallible opinion of man, see previous paragraph).

the role of government to marry people or define marriage (that’s a religious function). The government should not be in the business of educating anyone. For people who cannot afford K-12 education, there are alternative ways, such as government financial aid to the poor to send them to a private school of their choice, that one’s education can be taken care of.

There will ALWAYS be too much government interference because our form of government is flawed. It separates Church and state. When the laws are secular in nature, it is only a matter of time before the land becomes secular.
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Considering that popes with civil power became very corrupt when the Catholic Church had great temporal power, I’d say that separation of Church and state is a good thing.

That isn’t a fair comparison. Torture was considered an effective form of interrogation by all state governments from Roman times through the dark ages. It was considered a tool of the state.
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I never mentioned, nor was thinking about torture in particular. You mentioned torture. There were lots of problems in those times other than torture.

The Church had a lot of power, and in no way did a great job doing good and preventing evil with that power then. That’s all I’ll say for now…

The two aren’t necessarily in conflict- for example if Iran’s system wasn’t fixed, they would be both.

I am not suggesting we throw anyone out. America is what it is, even if it is doomed. We can’t change that. But we are, after all, speaking hypothetically. So I am simply saying if there were an opportunity to start a new country in a new land and a new government for it, then Catholic-land would be my choice. There have been attempts to start entirely Catholic communities/towns here in the US but they have failed because they are bound by the laws of the United States, which are too permissive and incompatible with the Catholic faith. Please don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I just think it is fundamentally flawed.

You don’t sound very convinced of your faith. There is only one true faith and it is the Catholic faith. Not because I believe it, but because it simply is. Then doesn’t it follow that we should all be living according to that truth? You are advocating freedom of religion (or even no religion). I maintain that that notion is inherently dangerous to our souls and our society.

But it is faith and morals that informs our decisions about what should be law and what should not. The Supreme Court over the years have become more and more secular. Their only concern is equality and fairness, which is flawed, without faith and morals to inform them.

I disagree. I think that a Catholic monarchy with a an elected parliament would be much more successful than anything the Puritans put together because it’s charter/constitution would be founded on the faith and morals of the Catholic faith, which is INfallibly decided by the Magesterium of the Church.

The Church at that time had problems with it’s structure. In those times, the pope appointed kings. Bishops left their dioceses to their sons, who became bishops themselves by virtue of inheritence. Positions of church leadership were sold and bartered politically. All of these problems were corrected over time so that today the Church is a very different institution. We have learned from our mistakes. I believe that the Church today has far more virtue.

I got ahead of myself, I guess. I didn’t state that as clearly as I would have liked anyway as I was in a rush. It came out all wrong. Please allow me to withdraw those statements.

Not true in my opinion. The bad apples get all the historical opinion. If you look at the very long history of Catholic countries and then identify the bad cases, you will it is a fairly small percentage. Not that all the rest were good, but to say they have rarely woked out is absolutely false. BTW, outside of the papal states, I can think of no Catholic theocracies, catholic states in the form of monarchies are probably what you are referring to. Big difference.

As to the original question, who knows? I would contend that with man’s fallen state there will be bad governments under any system. We need a state, but the results will never be ideal. You cannot say that a monarchy is bad, democracy is good, or vice versa. What you can say is that certain types of governments are evil, exampe would be a communist state or a Islamic theocracy. Certainly theocracies that are non-christian have a horrible track record. Unlike Catholic theocracies, these do almost always work out badly.

I think it is good to strive for a good and just government. I think it is very dangerous to shoot for an ideal that can never be reached. The ideal ends up being the ends which justify some really bad means.

Part 1/1

Are you calling for everyone who disagrees with you to be thrown out of the country? That’s radical (in a bad/extremely arrogant way).

I am not suggesting we throw anyone out. America is what it is, even if it is doomed. We can’t change that. But we are, after all, speaking hypothetically. So I am simply saying if there were an opportunity to start a new country in a new land and a new government for it, then Catholic-land would be my choice. There have been attempts to start entirely Catholic communities/towns here in the US but they have failed because they are bound by the laws of the United States, which are too permissive and incompatible with the Catholic faith. Please don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I just think it is fundamentally flawed.
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When you said, “everyone who chooses to live in Catholic-Land must agree to support and defend the Church or leave,” (post 11) it seemed to me that you were calling for everyone who disagrees with your religion to be thrown out.

So it seems that you think it would be good to have a country started by Catholics were anyone else is not allowed. Is that correct?

What laws are you talking about that are incompatible with the Catholic faith that have doomed such towns? Were they laws saying a government cannot discriminate based off of religion?

You don’t sound very convinced of your faith. There is only one true faith and it is the Catholic faith. Not because I believe it, but because it simply is. Then doesn’t it follow that we should all be living according to that truth? You are advocating freedom of religion (or even no religion). I maintain that that notion is inherently dangerous to our souls and our society.
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You’re saying that freedom of religion is dangerous to souls and our society!? Did I understand the right?

Everyone has the moral responsibility to form their own conscience and follow their conscience (even if it is wrong). The only way to form one’s conscience is to be open to alternative. For example, if you were born into a Muslim family, you probably would have been raised a Muslim. You could have only come to what I think is the correct religion by being open to looking at other religions, and being willing to admit that one’s own religion is wrong provided there is sufficient evidence. If you (a Muslim) after sufficiently careful evaluation of one’s own religion and other religions, come to the conclusion that one’s own religion is right, one has the moral responsibility of following that religion (even though it’s wrong) as best one knows how. If there were no freedom of religion, accept the correct religion, Catholicism, you (a Muslim) would likely be forced to violate one’s conscience by not being allowed to practice one’s own religion. This violates CCC 1782, which says that one may not be forced to violate one’s own conscience.

BTW, I just wanted to say that I’m a theology major at a “right-wing” Catholic college.

But it is faith and morals that informs our decisions about what should be law and what should not. The Supreme Court over the years have become more and more secular. Their only concern is equality and fairness, which is flawed, without faith and morals to inform them.
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The biggest question about laws are “what is the effect?”

Virtually every teaching that is unique to Christianity or to Catholicism in particular could not be legislated by the government with good results that outweigh bad results. Remember, it was largely religious people who pushed for alcohol prohibition, with very dangerous results. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case of legislating for the sake of morality do more good than evil. There have been countless times in which officials have cited religion or morality to grab more power.

Most legislation that actually does more good than evil is religion non-specific. For example, legislating against assault, theft, and murder is by no means Christian legislation.

Part 2/2

I disagree. I think that a Catholic monarchy with a an elected parliament would be much more successful than anything the Puritans put together because it’s charter/constitution would be founded on the faith and morals of the Catholic faith, which is INfallibly decided by the Magesterium of the Church.
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One of the things I’ve been trying to say, but I guess you didn’t understand, is that only a few major teachings of the Catholic Church fall under papal infallibility. Specific criteria were listed for the condition of papal infallibility to be meet when papal infallibility was formally defined by the Catholic Church in 1870. To see these criteria from the actual Catholic Church document yourself, see session 4, chapter 4, number 9 (near bottom of page) at the following link:

papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum20.htm#papal

Those same criteria are the same when exercising papal infallibility in conjunction with the bishops at a council (as opposed to Ex Cathedra).

There’s not a single, infallibly defined dogma, that would form a governmental constitution. If there is, name a specific one (make sure it’s infallibly defined!).

The Church at that time had problems with it’s structure. In those times, the pope appointed kings. Bishops left their dioceses to their sons, who became bishops themselves by virtue of inheritence. Positions of church leadership were sold and bartered politically. All of these problems were corrected over time so that today the Church is a very different institution. We have learned from our mistakes. I believe that the Church today has far more virtue.
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Did you consider the possibility that individuals in the Catholic Church hierarchy are more virtuous now because of the lack of civil power and the separation of Church and state?

Sorry for the late response. Soccer games took all evening.

By the way. I should point out that I am just a lay person. I don’t have the benefit of a theology or sociology degree so the opinions I have on all this are more gut instinct. In other words, I am still developing my theories on this as I have time. I am not a hateful, bigoted person. I do not condone violence or hatred. But I most definitely do believe in the truths of the Catholic faith, that they are universal whether we choose to believe them or not.

Allowing other religions in Catholic-land would ultimately lead to more division and heresies. There must be some way to restrict or minimize them without resorting to violence. Perhaps other religions would allowed to practice. However, fines and/or denial of tax exempt status would be a good place to start to keep heresy from flourishing. There are probably other methods.

In the last decade there was an attempt by a very well meaning philanthropist billionaire to create an all Catholic society. He funded and built an entirely Catholic town in Florida. A place where Catholics and their children could begin feel safe from the salacious siren call of society. He very quickly ran into outcries from the media when he tried to prevent town merchants from carrying birth control/prevention products. He was unable to enforce placing Christ at the center and Mary as the Mother of the public school. There was no way to prevent other religions from setting up shop and proselytizing. He ran into many other problems but you see the situation.

You understand me correctly. Without a doubt I believe freedom of religion is one of the root causes for the decay of our morals and faith as well as hate and bigotry in this country. As I have stated before, human beings, on the whole, are incapable of discerning between destructive freedom and the freedom Christ gave us to love Him with all of our hearts, all of our minds and all of our soul. It is our hearts yearning to know the truth so we can follow it, otherwise people wouldn’t be religious at all. There is only one Truth and it is the Catholic Church, founded by Christ, who intended for us all to be one as He and Father are One.

But that’s the crux of the problem. We have the moral responsibility to search out and follow God. How would we know if we are following a malformed and ill-conceived conscience? If a young girl becomes pregnant, her conscience (possibly formed by well intentioned but incorrect protestant teaching) may direct her to destroy the life within her at an abortion clinic. Our flawed system of laws allows abortion clinics to facilitate this girl’s wrong-headed decision. If our laws banned all forms of abortion according to Church teaching, this child would be able to live and the girl wouldn’t have to live the rest of her life with the guilt of murder as her constant companion. Our conscience can be very deceiving depending on what influences were allowed to form it.

That’s wonderful. I hope this “right-wing” Catholic school is living up to it’s namesake. You are truly blessed to be able to afford and pursue this calling you have. Perhaps we can enlighten each other. I, too, am on a quest for knowledge. But mine is through my own part-time study of Scripture, the Churches teachings, the Church Fathers and history. But I am humble enough to admit when I am wrong.

continued in the next post ]

CONTINUED

Prohibition was another misguided notion. It was fueled by fundamentalist sentiment, not Catholic virtue.

Nudity laws are one example I can think of that were enacted for the sake of morality that has been very beneficial to our society. This happens to be one moral that the public (mostly) still has in common with Catholic teaching. I support these laws, knowing that seeing naked people on the street would cause me to think things I know are contrary to the beatified vision. One day, however, these laws will be overturned in the name of equality and free choice because our government and it’s judiciary have no moral boundaries because their conscience may not be informed by Church teaching.

These laws merely serve the purpose of keeping the peace and they just happen to coincide with Christian virtues, not because of them.

I understand what you are saying. What I am proposing is a charter/constitution that defines the Catholic Faith as it’s moral basis. Laws cannot be enacted which would violate the traditional teachings of the Church and Canon Law. Canon law contains a firm enough foundation to set boundaries for those who would establish laws. The problem with America is that there are no moral boundaries because the Constitution doesn’t protect any morals. Catholic-Land would have a firm “line in the sand” that cannot be moved by elected officials or public opinion.

I did a simple Google search and found this:
catholicplanet.com/articles/article78.htm

I have considered this. I don’t think it is because of the separation of church and state at all. But it was the civil power that they wielded in times past that was the problem. I advocate that Church leaders NOT be endowed with civil powers, only that elected government and government bodies (Supreme Court, FCC, Dept of Education, etc…) must be bound by Church teaching. Society and commerce would behave much as today but a far cleaner and more virtuous landscape absent abortion clinics, homosexual lobbies, gay pride parades (those things are monstrous), nudity and sexual innuendo on television. We would see a crucifix in every classroom, public or private and even national holidays for important feast days of the Church.

I think it’s important to define the terms here. A “theocracy” is a system in which both ecclesiastical and secular authority are vested in the same individuals, so that a priestly class also holds the reins of government. The Catholic Church has never taught this–in fact, clerics are forbidden to hold public office.

On the other hand, I would say that the Magisterium has made it pretty clear that the separation of Church and State as we have it here in the United States is contrary to Catholic teaching. Rather, the Popes have made repeatedly clear, the State is obligated to “favor [the Catholic] religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws” (Leo XIII, Immortale Dei §6).

I have laid out some of these matters in an article (link). Perhaps that would be helpful to see the magisterial teaching on the topic. It is extremely important to note that the fathers of Vatican II, in Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty, explicitly said that this document “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ” (DH §1). So there can’t be any appeal to Vatican II as having changed the Church’s teaching on the separation of Church and State. It didn’t.

That being said, I do think that we have learned that a genuinely Catholic government needs to be gentle with non-Catholic residents in that country, so that unless their words and actions are truly and obviously harmful to the common good, they should be tolerated.

God bless,

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