Pelosi at Canossa? by John C. Médaille

Pelosi at Canossa?

Christians are often frustrated by the secularism of the modern world, a world that has relegated the transcendent dimensions of human life to the realm of private opinion, while at the same time establishing the State and the Market as the absolutes that rule our lives, and that permit no rivals. The "separation of Church and State" has led to the absolutizing of the State and marginalizing of the Church. Some have responded to this situation by calling for its reversal, by making the state subordinate to the Church. They look back fondly at an age when princes would tremble at the frown of a pope, and even an emperor would dress in sackcloth and wait barefoot in the snow outside the pope's palace, pleading for his forgiveness.

This is the vision of the so-called integralists, and while it might be a somewhat idealized view of the past, it is not without some real basis in our history. What the integralists want is summarized by Father Edmund Waldstein, a leader of this movement:

Catholic integralism . . . holds that political rule must order man to his final goal. Since, however, man has both a temporal and an eternal end, integralism holds that there are two powers that rule him: a temporal power and a spiritual power. And since man's temporal end is subordinated to his eternal end, the temporal power must be subordinated to the spiritual power.


John C. Médaille is a retired businessman who has been teaching at the University of Dallas for the past 16 years. His primary course deals with Catholic social teaching and is a required course for the business degree. He is also the author of three books: The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace (Continuum, 2008); Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective (ISI Books, 2011); and, with Thomas Storck, Theology: Mythos or Logos; A Dialogue on Faith, Reason, and History (Angelico Press, 2020).

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