Marsiglio Df Padua views on church and state

Marsiglio Df Padua views on church and state

Important Political Ideas of Marsiglio:

 The following are the main political ideas of Marsiglio

Views on State

             He also like Aristotle said that man is a social and political animal and natural outcome of this instruct in state.  Those who do not live in society or state are either beast of slaves.  Men progress state so that they may able to live well.  He stressed that it look after the historical as well as spiritual aspects of life.  A state is required to settle the disputes and provide security against enemies and natural elements and supply of needed things to the people.  He said that it is the responsibility of state to offer teachers to guide men about supernatural relations from the worship and honour of God and thank him for the benefits given.  He said that to continue civil government reason must even for the peace and order. His well thought-out state as an organic whole, needed proper assistance between the various organs.  He said “the various things needed by those desiring to live well cannot produce by men of single rank of offices, among the members of community each rank of office backing something which man needs for the sufficiency of life.  These various orders or offices of men constitute the multiplicity and diversity of the parts of the state”.

Marsiglio on Theory of Law

             The most significant part in his thought was his theory of law.  He gave dissimilar foundations of law, kinds of law and sanctions behind law.  It was witnessed that like Aquinas, he also classified the law into four categories like, eternal, natural divine and human law.  But the views in this regard totally different from Aquinas.  He did not admit the disagreement of Aquinas that four categories of law are manifestation of one and the same cosmic reason which comprises negative relation among them.  They are related by equivocation as having same but he source is not common.  He stated that, if the law was not applied forcibly was not a law. He considers law as enactment by duly established authority, in other words his law was more political and less moral.  Marsiglio disallowed Aquinas view that ‘Law’ makes the state, and said that “far from the state being based upon a subsistent moral law, law will rather be based upon the state, and will derive its important features from the qualities which in that context had detailed for the state”.  He did not accept the Aquinas’s Human Law, because Human law may disagree with Divine Law.  Marsiglio considered human law superior and prevailed in case of conflict with divine law and also possessed coercive power.

Though he talks about four types of law but he talked only about divine law and human law, and he was concerned only about Human Law, he discussed briefly about Divine law as well. He further subordinates Divine law to human law and arises as the extreme secularist among medieval thinkers. Marsiglio defends Human Law as “command of the whole body of citizens or of its prevailed part arising from the deliberation of those empowered to make law, about voluntary acts of human beings to be done or avoided in this world for the sake of attaining the best end or some condition desirable for man in this world”. The central idea of the above definition will highlight the following characteristic of law.

  1. He treats law as a forcible command of the legislator enforceable in the courts.
  2. The foundation of the law is the will of the community rather than divine providence or natural reason.
  3. Law originates from human will as a kind of command to the subjects.
  4. Compulsion is the essence of law.
  5. It foresees a duly established authority with power to make propagate and enforce the law.
  6. He admits the concept of popular sovereignty and assets that the source of all legal authority always people of its prevailing part.
  7. It shows preference for rule of law over Rule of Men and assets that the laws rightly laid down must be dominated.
  8. He highlighted the principle of positivism and asserted that all laws must be made by men. Even the unwritten law of custom must be laid by men.

We novelty that, Marsiglio in his theory of law he pooled the ideas of Aristotle with medieval tradition and evolved a theory of law around which his whole philosophy revolves.

 Marsiglio on Sovereignty of People

             He developed a popular concept and sovereignty and said that in a state the people should be sovereign, because it is the combined concern and representation of the community as a whole.  He proclaimed that combined wisdom is always better than individual wisdom hence, people are the best judges to enact the right laws, because such laws are of collective group’s interest and they can be obeyed.  He said that legislative power must be with prince or some other organ of the government, and behind such law, stand of the people who are superior to it and their combined will contains the essence of law. This will be much better for the state.  In other words he said that princes do not derive their power from their personal qualities, but mainly from the elected legislators.  He said that monarchy owed its power to the people and he should be accountable for the community, he claimed that monarch should do only administrative functions and should not go beyond that, if he surpasses his limits people can remove him.  Thus people can make laws; elect and correct the government; establish other parts of state including priesthood; control ex-communication define articles of faith by their elected council; binding all the enactments of the council; elect the bishop pope etc. According to him people are important and they are the source of all political, legal and ecclesiastical authority.

 Marsiglio on Representative Government

             This is carefully connected with his popular theory of Sovereignty on representative government.  He said that, an endorsement behind the government is not knowledge of law, or practical wisdom or moral virtue, but by the election of the whole body of citizens.  The body of citizens has the right to correct the government in all aspects and it can overthrow if it becomes practical for the interest of common people.  He also justified representative government through theological disagreement.  He debated that laws originates by the citizens and the law makers too, develop from the same matter.  From this discussion we can understand that it seems conceivable to infer steadily that a ruler who is elected by the people rather than his hereditary is more favored than the rulers who are hereditary.

Marsiglio Views on Church

             He strained to switch off the concept of the people sovereignty and he measured church as the social community.  He said, dominant situations in Europe like the disorders, Chaos and anarchy are because of papal brand and he wants to control its powers and authority to check these tendencies.

He requested that the current life is not inferior to the life there after, present life is also respected and he considered worldly life is more true and superior. He said that Christianity and secularism are not well-matched and priest wants to be true Christians, they must not have temporal thing like property, wealth, land, power authority, governmental office etc. They should concern only with eternal Kingdom and the logical virtue. He said that papalist have no rightful share in the authority of the secular government.  The clergy should execute to cure the souls and promote faith in men that can lead to salvation in the next life.  Thus he reduced the church to the position of a department of the state.

Marsiglio tried to restrain the authority of the pope, by in conflict that the position within the church is not by the pope but the General Council, a body of all faith (both lay and clerical).  The authority rest with the General Council to interpret scriptures, regulate the Ceremonials of Christian Worship, fill offices of the government and right to pass sentences of communication, acting through majority vote.  He condensed church organization to a position alike to the organization of the state with one change, while in the state organization, he suggested Monarchy is the best form of government. In the interest of unity in the church he rejected the Monarchial type of government.  He considered Church as a purely spiritual congregation of believers connected by common faith and common participation in the sacraments.

Relation between State and Church

             He allocated a subordinate position to the Church, he rejected to accept the divine origin and divine rights to pope. He said that priestly class ascended in the past by them to control the people and by frightening about the hell.  He replaced police and judges to stop the crime. He saw nothing untouchable about religion, clergy and church, he considered religion merely a social phenomenon.  He reduced the church to a position of a department in state and clergy merely as a class set to perform religious services.  He said that there was no such thing as spiritual offence and every offence was an offence against human law.

He desired the church to be inferior to secular government in regard to unity and peace of civil society. He said that if church was given independent position and jurisdiction then state would suffer hence unity is spirit of state.  He said that the two identical and co-ordinateauthorities would lead to supremacy over each other.  The priest had to preserve the peace, which established the life blood of the state.

He asserted the supremacy of state, over the church by disagreeing its intimidating power, Divine law did be present but could not be enforced.  Since divine law did not own any power of coercion in the world.  It could only be designated as Divine Doctrine, instead coercion was the necessary feature of Human Law and this power originated from human enactment. Hence, if the Divine law was to be enforced it was only the human legislator who can do so and not the Priest or church. He described the clergymen as physicians of soul and they heal the soul.