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Some People Overuse the Term Theocracy, But This Would Be Real Theocracy

(on at least a literal translation of the term): Forty-six Polish Members of Parliament proposed a resolution "stating that Jesus Christ is the King of Poland" (Poland Business Newswire, Dec. 21). The Catholic Church and the majority of Poles (51%-33%, see PAP News Wire, Dec. 21) opposed the move; the speaker of the Parliament took the view that the Parliament "needs the opinion of the Episcopate before [the declaration] could be voted on," so I take it that the move is dead.

Tammy Bruce is puzzled by the Catholic Church's opposition, but it makes perfect sense to me — such a declaration would likely do more to undermine Christianity in Poland than to advance it. These days, kings have responsibilities as well as glory; kings can be called to account for their failure to adequately serve the nation; kings can be deposed and even executed; my sense is that in democratic nations (even ones officially framed as monarchies), kings are seen as servants of the people more than as sovereigns.

Once upon a time, the understanding of kingship was quite different, and Jesus's and the Virgin Mary's historical royal titles (such as Mary's being called the Queen of Pland). But today, officially naming Jesus King would considerably downgrade him.

Thanks to Jules Crittenden for the pointer.

Maniakes (mail):
How would Jesus grant royal assent to legislation?
12.22.2006 2:18pm
BobH (mail):
Mary ("nuestra Senora") is the queen of the angels of Porciuncula, at least for those of us in L.A. -- since the full name of the city is "El pueblo de nuestra Senora, la reina de los angeles de Porciuncula." I'm not sure what kind of temporal powers that particular queenship gives her, though. Can she name members of the Board of Education, for example, even though the mayor apparently can't?
12.22.2006 2:39pm
Marc in Eugene (mail) (www):
We Catholics continue to worship Our Lord as King of the Universe and the Mother of God continues to be venerated as the Empress of the Americas, e.g., and no one imagines that either of them are giving their 'assent' to actual legislation anywhere.

The larger question is, can a confessional state, one in which there is a 'recognised' church (Islam, while not a 'church', is the 'state religion' in many places; the Christian Church in one form or another is the 'state church' in England, Sweden, etc) or in which such and such a religion 'is recognised as being practiced by the overwhelming majority (or some such locution) of the citizens' (this form of 'recognition' occurs in several Latin American nations, Italy, Spain etc) be justifiable according to Professor Volokh?
12.22.2006 2:45pm
Cornellian (mail):
Don't render unto Caesar, make me Caesar!

Somehow, I don't see JC as being willing to show up for the new library ribbon cuttings and other boring ceremonies that are the lot of contemporary European monarchs.
12.22.2006 2:52pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Tammy Bruce is puzzled by the Catholic Church's opposition,

By a lot of things, actually.

Me, I couldn't help thinking of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor. Why ruin Christianity by getting Jesus Christ too directly involved?
12.22.2006 3:24pm
Mike99:
The Catholic Church has already declared Christ the King of all Nations (see Quo Primas, , which established the Solemnity of Christ the King). The only question is whether nations will recognize their rightful King. Official recognition is not a "downgrade", if Kingship is rightly understood.
12.22.2006 3:24pm
Mike99:
My link did not work:

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius11/P11PRIMA.HTM

12.22.2006 3:25pm
Kent G. Budge (mail):
kings can be deposed and even executed

In the case of Christ the King ... already happened.
12.22.2006 4:06pm
Maniakes (mail):
In the case of Christ the King ... already happened.

Gives new meaning to "The King is dead. Long live the King!"
12.22.2006 4:58pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
How would Jesus grant royal assent to legislation?

He wouldn't have to. If he hadn't wanted it to be enacted, it wouldn't have been!
12.22.2006 5:30pm
Crunchy Frog:
Didn't Jesus himself once state, "My Kingdom is not of this world, but the next"? Pilate seemed satisfied with the answer, I believe.
12.22.2006 7:06pm
JohnAnnArbor:
Reminds me of when I was in eighth grade (mid-80s) and we had a UN day. Our task was to choose a form of government for a small Central American nation.

I represented Iran. I ended up leading the unsavory block (USSR, East Germany, North Korea, Cuba, etc.) in trying to impose a dictatorship on the new nation. (We were supposed to lobby in the spirit of the nations we represented, of course.) My initial idea, though, was for the dictator to be a Roman Catholic cardinal. You see, theocracy was working so well at "home" that the same concept might work in Central America (I argued).

We were voted down by the democracies. If only that happened in the real UN occasionally...........
12.22.2006 8:38pm
Aleks:
I rather doubt the Catholic Church would have ever approved of such a measure, not even in the Middle Ages (of course back then real kings would not have tolerated it either). After all the Church (not this or that temporal state) is supposed to be Jesus' kingdom and this sort of move cuts the Church totally out of the picture.
12.22.2006 9:34pm
Patrick Rothwell (mail):
I suspect the real issue with some in the Catholic hierarchy is not with the title honorary King in of itself - after all, Our Lady of Czestochowa is considered to be Queen of Poland. The real issue - I suspect - is that this movement is intrinsically tied up with the political aspirations of the far-right government in power, the Mohair Beret brigade, and the quasi-renegade Catholic media empire of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk of Radio Maryja (in)fame. The Catholic hierarchy does not take marching orders from the government, even a government of "more Catholic than the Pope" types.
12.23.2006 12:31am
markm (mail):
IIRC, through most of hustory the King of Poland was nearly powerless, not a great image for JC to be associatrd with.
12.23.2006 3:24pm