Friday, 27 January 2017

The Return of Papal Power

Pope Urban VIII who used the Deposing Power of Popes to get rid of Duke Odoardo Farnese
The Deposing Power of Popes is the ability of the Pope to depose any ruler, or government of his or its power to rule, and thus their subjects of their need to obey. You can see a Wiki article here. Many of us had thought that this was no longer operative. However, I myself have always followed the line that until a kind of pan-Christendom came into being again, that the Pope would simply not use it. In fact, here in the University, we were talking about political, papalist claims just a few weeks ago, and the general consensus was that this was one of those things which simply would never be enacted and belonged to a bygone age.  

Pope Pius V who deposed Queen Elizabeth I
Of course we usually do not talk about the Deposing Power much, and definitely not in the days after Vatican II and all that 'discussion' about religious liberty and Dignitatis Humanae. 

Pope Boniface VIII who had a go at King Philip IV of France
However, the Deposing Power is the ability of the Pope to directly intervene in a State's governance and either rule it directly or call for new elections/appointments. It is quite a thing. I had thought that with the existence of the United Nations, and the Vatican nowadays trying to be accepted as an equal, and not as a superior with automatic rights to intervene and depose, that we would never see it even referred to again. 

Pope Innocent III, said to have deposed King John
They say we live in interesting times - in fact, every age says as much, but honestly, the resurrection of a high Papalism from the 16th century is not something I saw coming. 


New Catholic Dictionary (1910): 

"Present day popes have no mind to resuscitate their deposing power. As Pius IX said to the deputation of the Academia of the Catholic Religion, 21 July 1871: "Although certain Popes have at times exercised their deposing power in extreme cases, they did so according to the public law then in force and by the agreement of the Christian nations who reverenced in the Pope the Supreme Judge of Christ extended to passing judgment even civiliter on princes and individual states. But altogether different is the present condition of affairs and only malice can confound things and times so different." "

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