What Is The Source Of The Roman Empire? Opinion 3: The Roman Empire Is From The Pope Chapter 24 ~ William Of Ockham

What is the source of the Roman Empire?

Opinion 3: The Roman Empire is from the pope

Chapter 24

Student I will have occasion to speak of that matter later. Therefore briefly complete the arguments for the opinion which we are now discussing.

Master [8] That the empire is from the pope is proved by the following argument. The empire was from Christ because he was not only a priest but he was also king of all temporal affairs, in token of which he did some things in so far as he was emperor and some in so far as he was a priest, as the gloss on dist. 10, c. Quoniam idem [col.33] notes. The empire, therefore, is from the pope who is the vicar of Christ on earth.

Student Tell me how reply is made to that argument.

Master Reply is made in two ways; in one way that it is heretical to say that Christ, in so far as he was a mortal man, was a king in temporal affairs.

Student We will be able to get enough about this in the third tractate of the second part of this Dialogue. Tell me, therefore, what the other reply is.

Master The other reply is that a vicar does not always have all the power which the one whose vicar he is has. And therefore even if Christ had been a king in temporal affairs and the empire had been from him, it could not be concluded from this that the empire is from the vicar of Christ.

Student Bring forward another argument.

Master [9] Another argument is this. A priest of the old law was over kings, as God attests who said to the prophet and priest Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:10, "See I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms", etc. Much more, therefore, is the highest priest of the new law over the empire.

Student Tell me how reply is made to this.

Master Reply is made in many ways. In one way that the priest of the old law was not over the kings except in spiritual matters, not in temporal affairs. The highest pontiff, therefore, is over the emperor in spiritual matters, not in temporal affairs. It is said in another way that the highest priest of the new law is not considered as similar to the highest priest of the old law. Granted therefore that the highest priest of the old law was over the king, it could not be inferred from this that the highest priest of the new law was over the emperor. Otherwise it is said that although Jeremiah was a priest, nonetheless he was not the highest priest. And it can not be proved from that text, therefore, that the empire is from the highest priest of the new law, unless it could also be proved in the same way that the empire is from a priest inferior to the highest pontiff. This, however, is not true.

Student Would you bring forward another argument.

Master [10] Another argument is as follows. By the sun and the moon we understand the highest priesthood and the empire. Genesis 1:16 says about these, "God made the two great lights", etc. Just as the moon receives light from the sun, therefore, so the emperor receives power from the pope.

Student How is reply made to that argument?

Master The reply is that although by the sun and the moon we may understand the highest priesthood and the empire, nevertheless the relationship between the empire and the highest priesthood is not the same in every way as that between the moon and the sun. For given this, the opposite conclusion can be reached from the aforesaid argument. This is because (i) just as the moon is not from the sun but both are from God so the empire would not be from the highest priesthood but both would be from another. It is because, (ii) just as the moon has some strength and power which it does not have from the sun, namely over waters and fluids, so the emperor would have some power which he would not have from the pope. It is said, therefore, that with respect to one thing there is a similarity between the sun and the moon and the pope and the emperor and with respect to another thing there is not a similarity. For there is a similarity in this respect, that just as the sun is worthier and nobler than the moon, so the highest priesthood is worthier and more noble than the empire, just as spiritual matters are worthier than temporal ones.

Again, just as the moon receives light from the sun, so the emperor, in many matters, in God's causes for instance, ought to receive direction from the pope, when he is catholic, good and wise. With respect to many other things, however, there is no similarity, as was said above.

Student Would you bring forward yet another argument?

Master [11] The following is another argument. The church is one body; therefore it has one head. But the emperor is not the head. The pope, therefore, is the head of the church. The strength in the members, however, is derived from the head. Therefore the emperor, who is a member of the church not its head should receive his strength from the pope as from its head. Therefore the empire is from the pope.

Student Tell me how this is replied to.

Master The reply is that the pope is the head of the church, which is the congregation of the faithful. And therefore in spiritual matters the emperor submits to the pope. And therefore he ought to receive from the pope some spiritual direction and strength. But because the pope is not head in temporal matters, therefore the emperor does not submit to him in temporal matters and he ought not receive the empire from him.





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