Dominic Prümmer, OP on the duties of rulers and subjects

As something of an Election Day special, and in order to fill in the gap of yesterday’s missed Manualist Monday, we have a text from the esteemed pre-conciliar moral theologian and canonist Dominic Prümmer, OP, on the duties of rulers and subjects in civil society.

Dominicus Prümmer, Manuale theologiæ moralis vol. II, tract. XI, q. 2, art. 6 (13th ed., 1958), pp. 471-475


On the obligations of rulers and subjects.

Preliminary note. Here we speak only of civil leaders and superiors and subjects; for it is the custom to treat of the obligations of ecclesiastic superiors in canon law. The obligations of the faithful toward ecclesiastic superiors are love, reverence, and obedience in spiritual matters. In addition, the faithful ought to supply a subsidy for the suitable sustentation of the ministers of the Church, as has been said above in n. 499 concerning tithes and offerings.

Not only are emperors, kings, dukes, etc. called civil leaders here, but all those to whom falls the management of public affairs. Therefore in this sense, the House of Deputies is a civil leader.

599. a) The obligations of civil governors. All who have been charged with some civil community are held, under pain of grave sin, to procure the temporal common good, yet in such a way that the spiritual good is not endangered. This is clear in itself. Hence they are held, according to their powers, to avert all temporal evils, of which sort are wars, seditions, famines, contagious diseases of both men and animals, etc. They ought in addition to foster true religion, and not only to not impede the true Church in her actions, but rather to protect her against all the attacks of her enemies. They should furthermore strenuously enforce justice, both distributive and vindictive: distributive, namely, insomuch as they distribute offices and burdens in equity; and vindictive, in respect of malefactors, insomuch as they inflict just punishments for crimes committed, without any preference of persons. Read the rest of this entry »