Over at Church Life Journal I have an article up responding to a critique of integralism by Timothy Troutner. I give an exposition of the goods of hierarchy and obedience, and how true freedom and equality depend on them. I argue that the exercise of temporal power for spiritual ends can be a good, albeit secondary, instrument in aiding persons toward their final end. The article was rather long as it was, so I didn’t have time to go into the specific instances of the use of such power that Troutner mentions, and distinguish the good ones from the bad ones. So, as a sort of addendum to my article, I will briefly consider four of them here: 1) the possession of slaves, 2) the burning of heretics, 3) the persecution of Jews, and 4) the “Mortara Case.”
1) Slavery, as classically understood, is the subjection of a man to a master for the private advantage of the master. This is an evil institution. It is a violation of man’s rational nature, by which he is ordered to participation in the common good. This institution was nearly universal in pagan antiquity, but was actually much reduced and rolled back in Christendom. No true integralist would defend it. But slavery as understood by liberalism is any subjection of one man to another without the consent of the one subjected. And this we cannot condemn. For the subjection of one man to another for the common good is essential to the that order which is the form of political life. Every single man on earth should be subject to some other man. (Except the Supreme Pontiff who is not subject to anyone on earth, although he is subject to Christ in Heaven).
2) All the baptized are subjects of the Church, and she should treat them prudently, as an abbot treats his monks. Sometimes this includes punishing them if they violate their baptismal obligations. The Church should be careful not to scrape off the rust too violently, lest she break the vessel. But she must also be mindful of Heli, who neglected to punish his sons, to the great detriment of the common good. In certain circumstances, this can mean that she needs to call in the secular arm to put heretics to death. This power can be abused, but it also has a legitimate use. In fact, one of the errors of Martin Luther, condemned by Pope Leo X is the proposition “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.”
3) Unbaptized Jews are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Church. The Church prays for the Jews, that they might come to know their Savior. But she has always forbidden that they be coerced to receive the faith. It is a great and terrible scandal that Jews were often persecuted by Christians. But it was a scandal recognized as such at the time, and condemned by ecclesiastical authorities.
4) The Mortara Case did not involve the kidnapping of a Jewish child, but rather the rescuing of a Christian child from the custody of those who would have defrauded him of the inheritance that he was promised in Baptism by teaching him to deny Christ. This has been amply demonstrated by Fr. Romanus Cessario.