XX-1 - Le pouvoir politique et son "autre" (2015)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Jean Reynard - Facets of the Cappadocians fathers' political thinking

During the second half of the IVth century, the Cappadocian fathers, Gregory of Nazainze, Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa were faced with the challenge of neo Aryanism which was actively upheld by the imperial policy in an empire converted to Christianity with Constantine. They were, however, theologians and exegetists and were only marginally concerned with questions arising from the relations between the political and religious fields. This experience led them to more precisely state the role they were expecting the governing bodies to play. They recognised that their power was legitimate and did not contest the established social order of which they were the warrants as they owed it to God. Nevertheless, this was to take place within a framework. On a religious level, they accepted the intervention from a Lord who shared their faith, but, in case of a disagreement, they became defenders of the doctrine they deemed orthodox and did not hesitate in directly opposing the emperors. Finally they drew up the sketch of the Lord that they wished for, a Lord who, as he was representing God on earth, had to comply with the moral model of the good king, as also described by contemporary heathens.

Paul Valadier - « All authority comes from God » (Epistle to the Romans, 13,1)

For a mind filled with democratic ethos, the biblical formula, or other similar ones, according to which All authority comes from God is rather cumbersome. Should it go by unmentioned? Should it be put into context to the point of being called into question for our societies? Should it be made a euphemism in order to be made commonplace? This paper shows here that these formulas, still valid, are highlighting beneficial tensions pertaining to any political life and that minimizing their full significance would be wrong. A Christian should not hush them up but, rather, should truly take them into consideration.

Yves Krumenacker - Resistance to Power in historic calvinism

From the outset, Reform was faced with the need to bear up against political and religious powers which were confronting it. Luther opposes any kind of revolt and only thinks of passive resistance. Following Luther on this point, in his various works, Calvin insists on obedience due to authorities. If the Power is unfair, it remains that it is God is nevertheless instituted and one must merely be content with thinking on the offenses which caused such a prince to be deserved by his faithful. They may pray, suffer, or flee in a country where religion may be exercised freely. Therefore, obeying God rather than man can only be passive and exceptional resistance. During the wars of religious, the right to resist takes shape, but this is done from a political synopsis giving precedence to nobility and magistrates and based on the rejection of foreigners, popular sovereignty and the theory of the contract. Thus it is less a right to resist than the nature of power which is at stake. According to Romans 13, other than in exceptional cases it is obedience to authorities which prevails.

Mireille Hugonnard - The catholic church in Franco's Spain. History of an evolution

In Spain in 2015, the death of Caudillo Franco will be remembered together with the political transition smoothly leading to democracy. Now, in the forty years prior to these events, the path of theology presents significant characteristics which can be made universal, in order to think in terms of political moral theology. The primary collusion with Franquism, bearing notable ambiguities, was enhanced by the serious political events of the civil war: on the moral level, the consequences were the setting up under duress of a Christian model based on religious obedience and, as a strict mirror, obedience to civil powers. The turn-around to which the Church was submitted after Vatican II, stressing the autonomy of temporal realities and acknowledging religious freedom, in the Hispanic context, has known an unequalled reverberation. The Church, its Magisterium and also its theologians, were radically transformed, converted and invited to return to the sources of obedience up to recognising the vocation of any man to responsible freedom. This new attitude was deeply imbedded in ecclesiology: will it one day transform the political aim?

François Lestang - A king other than Cesar? Political implications of Paulininan gospel.

For about twenty years, exegetic research has been more concerned with the social and political dimensions of the New Testament, particularly in the field of Paulinian studies. When pledging that Jesus is Lord, is there not an anti imperial claim? Many vocabulary entries describing Jesus' activity and authority are to be found in one could call anti imperial propaganda. How can this be construed? Perhaps there might be hidden scenarioswhen a word of explicit opposition is impossible?
In the beginning of the first letter to the Corinthians the notification of a crucified Christ comes together with the certainty that the rulers of this world will annihilated (1 Cor 2,6), which is a clear announcement of the end of imperial domination, in an apocalyptical logic. The letter to the Philippians puts forward a praise of Jesus that could be compared to Imperial apotheosis. It gives believers a celestial politeuma, unlike any terrestrial citizenship, even though it be roman. But there, stressing an anti imperial view is less required. In the end, the famous text Rom 13,1-7 which invites submission to authorities as willed by God is analysed in detail in order to detect whether any hidden scenarios might be there.

As a conclusion this article confronts the results of the text study with Acts 4,19 where Pierre declares that obeying God rather than humans is preferable.