Questions tagged [civil-government]

For questions about the government's authority, how Christians should interact with secular governments, the relationship between Church and state, and the relationship between Christianity and secular laws.

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46 views

Has any monk or nun ever left a monastery to be married to a king or queen?

Has any monk or nun in Church history ever left a monastery to be married to a king or queen? St. Margaret of Hungary, according to Short Lives of the Dominican Saints p. 16, almost did: Her parents ...
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Why was "lay investiture" condemned?

What was the Investiture Controversy and lay investiture, and why exactly was it condemned? Fr. Hardon, S.J., defines "lay investiture": The act by which a sovereign, in the Middle Ages, ...
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Does Romans 13:1-2 contradict the actions of civil disobedience taken by the apostles?

Romans 13:1-2 (ESV): Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists ...
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Does the State have the right to correct the Church in theological matters?

Did any Catholic theologians think the State ever has the right to correct the Church in theological matters? For example, when Pope John XXII (r. 1316-1334) denied the then-material (i.e., not-yet-...
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Persecution in Christianity

I had a strange exchange with a user on this forum. They took a view I doubt Thomas Aquinas would have agreed with. They felt that anything that interfered with saying the Mass was persecution. Let ...
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What is the Biblical basis for civil disobedience, by not wearing a mask in the midst of COVID-19, despite health department rules?

In many places in the United States there are health department rules that require those attending worship inside a church to wear a mask. Yet, there are many churches that refuse to be in compliance ...
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86 views

Can Catholics participate in a regime or administration that lies to protect its people?

An article in Slate describe "Noble Lies" as: When experts or agencies deliver information to the public that they consider possibly or definitively false to further a larger, often well-...
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131 views

Has there been any denominational, official, public push-back against governments declaring in-person worship 'non-essential'?

Christians share certain beliefs that can be at odds with secular governments. In particular, Christians believe that salvation of souls is much more important than bodily health, as souls can exist ...
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Verse that says that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?

Where in Holy Scriptures does it say that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?
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Do Jehovah Witnesses believe it is immoral to pay for blood transfusions through taxation?

I’m having a discussion about abortion and taxes, and it was mentioned that Jehovah Witnesses have to pay taxes that fund blood transfusions. Do Jehovah Witnesses believe it is immoral to pay for ...
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Is there any biblical support for the Church to allow governments to close churches and prevent public worship?

There is a basic Bible principle for Christians to obey the laws of the authorities that govern them: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which ...
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Why do most Christians seemingly not mind swearing on the Bible in light of Matthew 5:33-37?

Although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the ...
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Do Christians foresee contradicting Government requirements in prolonged 'lockdown' conditions?

I received an email today from someone who has, thus far, complied with Government advice, concerned that prolonged lockdown conditions or 'semi-lockdown' conditions (which pose significant ...
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286 views

Why did the Bishop of Rome accept (and retains until today) the title "Pontifex Maximus" and how were the rights and duties transferred/transformed?

According to the annual yearbook of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome holds many other titles: Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal ...
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How to pray for a corrupt government involved in drug trafficking?

Venezuelan government/regime is destroying the country through corruption, drugtraffiking to the USA and Europe, murder, kleptocracy, unjustified imprisonments. The government palace is full of ...
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556 views

Does the Church of England regard itself as responsible for the behaviour of the general populace?

Today, the Church of England has released an apology for a statement they made. In response to people now entering into civil partnerships, rather than traditional marriage, the C of E made a ...
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238 views

According to the Catholic Church, what is the best form of civil government?

According to the Catholic Church, what is the best form of civil government? I am looking for references to Church documents.
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According to Catholic Social Doctrine what duties do Catholics have towards sex offenders on supervisory release?

If a government authority decides to place two child sex offenders on Supervisory Release in a vacant house in the immediate proximity of ones family, should that placement be fought or is it the duty ...
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Does Catholic Church condemn cruelty to animals? [duplicate]

The Government administrtion in my country, India, has of late been positively intervening against cruely to animals including stray dogs and domesticated cattle . I would like to know whether the ...
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85 views

Was the Catholic title "vicar of Christ" conceived as an "assistant" or an "agent"?

I was under the impression that a "vicar" was a "replacement" or "one acting in the stead of" another (an "agent") but it appears the Roman title of "vicar" seems to be more of an assistant. What is ...
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117 views

What is the biblical basis for carrying out social justice in opposition to the justice system?

What is the Biblical basis for seeking social justice when such actions are considered illegal, or in opposition to the justice system?
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What groups advocate and establish "unlicensed" churches in the US?

In the United States, most churches file papers of incorporation and formally apply for 501(C)3 status. A few choose not to, a notable example being the Indianapolis Baptist Temple Church in Iowa ...
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553 views

Is there any historical record of Elizabeth the First's reaction to John Knox's tract on 'the monstruous regimen'?

In his tract The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstruous Regimen of Women (see note below about the wording) John Knox appears to be extending Paul's proscription - regarding the place of ...
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Can a secular government ever be a moral authority?

Can a secular government ever be a moral authority? For example, if there comes a day in the future that a secular government decrees that murder is no longer a criminal offense in that nation, ...
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241 views

According to Catholicism do any of the Ten Commandments directly relate to tax evasion?

Evasion of tax eg. Income Tax is a punishable offence under the civil laws in many countries. But many Christians seldom get the feeling of having sinned if they have evaded tax. I wish to know if ...
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272 views

Why do Filipino Catholics have a harder time to get a church annulment?

This question may be wrong. I think the right question is in the following link: How do Filipino Catholics get a church annulment when their state marriage is valid, considering the Philippines doesn&#...
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How has opinion on the death penalty among American Catholics shifted since 1974?

In 1974, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), "by a substantial majority, voted to declare its opposition to capital punishment" (source). In 1980, it reaffirmed this stance in ...
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677 views

What is the Catholic Church's historical position on capital punishment: how did we get here?

It's big news in the internet today. Pope Francis declares death penalty unacceptable in all cases. The Pope made specific changes to the catechism reflecting this. From the New York Times: Francis ...
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Did Pope Francis declare that according to the teaching of the Catholic Church capital punishment is intrinsically evil?

The Internet is full of news that Pope Francis has amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church to forbid capital punishment under all circumstances. One thing remains unclear for me, however: Did ...
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According to the Southern Baptist Convention, what is the biblical basis for involving the church in politics?

I live in Kentucky, and a predominant preacher in this state is a man named Paul Chitwood, who is the executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. In 2015, Chitwood wrote an article called ...
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What was Samuel Rutherford's view on the role of pastors in wedding ceremonies?

Samuel Rutherford was an important 17th-century Presbyterian theologian who had significant influence in the drafting of the Westminster Standards, still widely used as a part of the constitutions of ...
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Why is it not that a state divorce is actually an argument AGAINST a church annulment petition rather than a necessary condition for such petition?

Note: This question may be wrong. I think the right question is in the following link: How do Filipino Catholics get a church annulment when their state marriage is valid, considering the Philippines ...
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309 views

What is Catholic Church's view on capital punishment?

Human rights activists in many countries where capital punishment is in vogue, have been advocating repeal of the punishment stating inter alia that that only God is empowered to take a human life. I ...
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Annulment: How do Catholic courts evaluate evidence admission? (Fruit of the poisonous tree)

Example: Say I'm married and I snoop into my spouse's personal belongings and discover some kind of evidence that, if it would be admissible, would prove beyond reasonable doubt (or balance of ...
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862 views

Marriage invalid. Would a church annulment require a state annulment or state divorce?

This question may be wrong. I think the right question is in the following link: How do Filipino Catholics get a church annulment when their state marriage is valid, considering the Philippines doesn&#...
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1answer
94 views

Are all confessions protected from being used in criminal court as evidence against someone?

Catholic doctrine and law prohibit a Catholic priest from testifying in criminal court against someone, solely on the basis of a 'heard' confession: there is never an instance when a priest can ...
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324 views

According to Lutherans, what is the Kingdom of God?

In a conversation with a United States veteran, I was intrigued when his response to Luke 4:5, 6 was that the United States is not included among the "kingdoms of the inhabited earth" because the USA ...
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432 views

Can a priest act on a confession of molestation?

What, if any, ability does a priest or bishop have in order to stop a brother priest who has confessed to molestation of minors, according to Canon Law? Very often I hear, and am personally aware of ...
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Would a JW be disfellowshipped if they join a military (and are unrepentant about it)?

On my reading of a Anton Gill's 1989 book "The journey back from hell", he speaks briefly about JWs in the concentration camps. According to Gill, one of the issues the Nazis had with this group was ...
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Who first understood the "authorities" in Romans 13 as spiritual, not secular, authorities?

In his forthcoming book, Freedom's Progress, libertarian Gerard Casey describes several different ways of interpreting and applying Romans 13:1–7. One approach in particular I had never encountered ...
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What were the Jehovah's Witness arguments against doing the Nazi salute?

For this question I am looking for answers from Jehovah's Witnesses, if possible. In this YouTube video ("The Schoolgirl The Nazis and The Purple Triangles") this lady Simone Arnold talks about how ...
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Does the Catholic Church perform non-civil marriages in the Dominican Republic?

In 2013, as many as 200,000 people born in the Dominican Republic were stripped of their citizenship, due to their Haitian ancestry. Most of these people were thus rendered "stateless," making ...
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How is the "spirituality of the church" consistent with theonomy?

In Hart and Muether's history of American Presbyterianism, Seeking a Better Country, they describe a doctrine of the "spirituality of the church," which emphasizes the spiritual, not social, task of ...
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Does the Catholic Church recognize any marriages performed by a Justice of the Peace [duplicate]

Does the Catholic Church recognize a marriage performed by a Justice of the Peace? I (Kathy) am a widow and have met a Episcopalian man (Dana) who is divorced but never married in any Church. We ...
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1answer
353 views

What is the biblical basis for allowing atheists to speak openly and freely in society?

Theonomy is a view held by some Christians which argues that the Mosaic law should be applied in modern society. One of the things that some proponents of this view argue for is that atheists should ...
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1answer
469 views

Can you only have a sacramental marriage?

I have tried to find an official ruling from the Catholic Church on this matter, but haven't had any luck and have only come across others asking the same question. This question is from the angle of ...
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Was the transition from establishment to voluntary church support made with "little difficulty" in the US?

In A History of American Christianity, Chapter 16, Leonard Bacon writes: The transition from establishment to the voluntary system for the support of churches was made not without some difficulty, ...
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101 views

Is there such a thing as a 'concordat' today in the Catholic church?

Background to question raised: I have been reading old histories where as a background stage, there were various antipopes (sometimes even 3 competing popes at the same time). The complex ...
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260 views

What is the Catholic view of separation of church and state in terms of war and application of the death penalty? [closed]

Note: This question was an honest search for a Catholic view not an accusation or attack. If I had written an attack it would be a 1000 times more severe and to a specific point. The defensive ...
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Why did the Western and Eastern churches react to their respective states so differently?

In Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley points out a key distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity: how each has related to the State through history. Ambrose had hit upon the ...