Monday, June 28, 2010

Can Catholics support a Monarchy?

The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is in Canada, specifically Halifax for a little while. Many people do not support the monarchy because they say it is outdated and they have no power because we now have a democracy. Also, some object because commonwealth countries pay to maintain a monarchy. The estimate for Canada is about $1 per person, so around $30 million per year.

But beside these legitimate complaints, should Catholics be morally opposed to monarchies? According to the Church, not necessarily. In fact, according to Thomas Aquinas, since unity in rule is preferable to disunity, monarchy is preferable to oligarchy or democracy. He believes that unity creates strength and better decision making. This concept is easy to understand especially if we look at our own society. Government often takes weeks, months, or years to reach a decision. Sometimes elections are called which requires endless campaigning and money. Democracy can slow things down and create less efficiency.

But of course monarchy has its issues too. The type of monarchy invisioned by Aquinas is a moral one. If a monarch made laws which were morally good, then it would create a good society. This is the view of the Catholic Church as well. The Church does not summarily dismiss monarchy as a viable type of government. It would, however, reject tyrrany or any type of government which had immoral laws. Indeed, the government of the Vatican is a monarchy, albeit an elected one. The Pope is the sovereign of the Vatican. Cardinals do not vote on issues, although they can be used as consultants. Therefore, the Vatican would not condemn its own type of government.

Also, the Catholic Church is not opposed to democracy either, however the Church can be critical of a democracy which violates human rights, even if supported by the majority.

In conclusion, the Catholic Church is theoretically not opposed to any particular type of government as long as it adheres to good moral principles.


  1. What do you think the Catholic church is? A Monarchy! Though there's only one monarchy that has institutionalized the rape of children.