Cuius regio, ejus religio

by Fr. John Rickert, FSSP.

An online article from Brill says the following:

The Peace of Augsburg

The slogan cuius regio eius religio (Latin, “whose land, his religion”) was coined early in the 17th century by the Protestant canon lawyer Joachim Stephani to describe a key principle of the Peace of Augsburg of September 29, 1555, which gave the Imperial estates the freedom of deciding between Catholicism (Roman Catholic Church) and Lutheranism (Protestantism; Protestant churches) in their own territories.

The idea is that the prince of each region would decide what the religion would be for that region.  The result was that Bavaria and southern Germany remained Catholic, whereas the parts north of the old Roman Empire became Lutheran.

The manifest Relativism of this approach clearly leads the way to secularism, in which the State officially becomes “neutral” but in reality, as seen over and over, becomes hostile to religion in general and the tenets of Christianity in particular.

Yet the great Catholic thinker Juan Donoso Cortés (1809 – 1853) argues convincingly in his Essay on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism that every State is a confessional state; the only real question is what religion the State will profess.  (For a brief summary of this masterpiece, see his Letter to Cardinal Fornari.)

Thus, the question becomes, “Can a Catholic accept the principle, ‘Cujus regio, ejus religio‘?”

Yes, and in fact, must.  Why?

Because Christ is the King of all the Earth, and we should follow the religion that He Himself has given us.

Padre Antonio Vieira (1608 – 1697) says that the Reign of Christ, Our Lord, is not only spiritual but also temporal, and he demonstrates this from the Holy Scriptures and Church Fathers.  “It would be absurd,” he says, “to think that Christ did not have as much dominion as Adam.”

Vivat Christus Rex!

October 30, 2022