Auctoritas, Potestas, and Integralism

I have posted an essay over at The Josias  in which I give my fullest account to date of what I call “integralism.” I argue that integralism gives the most satisfactory reading of Pope St. Gelasius’s teaching on the relation of the auctoritas sacrata of pontiffs and the potestas of emperors.  I also consider the postmodern, Augustinian radicalism of the likes of John Milbank and William Cavanaugh, and argue that while they make some important points, their theory ultimately suffers from an inadequate theology of grace. Finally, I take another look at Whig Thomism, and locate one of the the roots of its failings in a “personalist” theory of political community.


10 thoughts on “Auctoritas, Potestas, and Integralism

    • I certainly think so. «But from the time when the civil society of men, raised from the ruins of the Roman Empire, gave hope of its future Christian greatness, the Roman Pontiffs, by the institution of the Holy Empire, consecrated the political power in a wonderful manner. Greatly, indeed, was the authority of rulers ennobled; and it is not to be doubted that what was then instituted would always have been a very great gain, both to ecclesiastical and civil society, if princes and peoples had ever looked to the same object as the Church. » — Diuturnum Illud, § 22.

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  1. Daniele Menozzi (church history, U. of Florence) in her 2002 book, Sacro cuore: between interior devotion and Christian restoration of society. Fr. Henri Ramiere, sj is shown as the originator of the doctrine of the social sovereignty of Christ (1870) the ispiration for Quas primas (1925). “Ramiere sought to create a doctrine that revived the strict model of medieval Christian society without giving it a mandatory value.”

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  2. “We are witnesses today of a new integralism that may seem to support what is strictly Catholic but in reality corrupts it to the core”. “To be evenhanded there is also a political-ecclesial integralism of the left that also
    needs to be identified and diagnosed.”. ;Fr. Peter Bernardi, sj “Action Francaise Catholicism and Opposition to
    Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae”. in feteschrift for Fr. Joseph Komonchak (Orbis 2015) A Realist Church.


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  4. Hi Father Waldstein,

    Thanks for your fantastic post [“Integralism and Gelasian Dyarchy”] on the Josias site.

    A question – would you characterise the thought of Jacques Maritain as an example of ‘Whig Thomism’?

    I’m an Anglican currently writing on Wm. Cavanaugh’s ecclesiology and his reading of Maritain, and your thoughts on this question would be greatly helpful in developing my thoughts on the topic.

    Kind regards,



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