sanction, and there is no need for human laws to conform to the Natural Law or to receive obligatory force from God.' The rejection of the idea that 'the Roman Pontiff can and should reconcile himself and reach agreement with progress, Liberalism and recent departures in civil society' caused widespread unease, then and since, despite the attempt by John Henry Newman and others to explain the temporary and localised nature of the concerns addressed by the Syllabus.6
The struggle to unify Italy had been decisive for the papacy. When Leo XIII succeeded Pius IX in 1878 he reluctantly accepted his situation as the 'prisoner in the Vatican' and constantly expressed his disapproval ofthe loss ofhis states in Italy, but changed circumstances freed him to use his authority unfettered by temporal affairs. Moreover, the new doctrine of papal infallibility immeasurably increased papal power yet was so overwhelming in its implications that it has been used only once since its definition in 1870. Yet, even without its use, infallibility added an indefinable dimension to papal teaching. When the pope spoke to the bishops and their flocks through an encyclical, both clergy and laity were expected to accept its contents as so weighty that disagreement or rejection bordered on the unthinkable. Once the papacy began to enunciate principles on the social question, the material itself and its diffusion within the church took on a magisterial aspect. Catholic social teaching, rather than individual expressions of social thought, was now possible.
Nevertheless Leo, inheritor of a mindset in which a hierarchical model for church and state was dominant, was as committed as his predecessors to maintaining the status quo and he declared in Diuturnum (1881) that 'those who refuse honor (sic) to rulers refuse it to God', but reaffirmed that the purpose of the state is the good of the people, rather than of its rulers.7 Soon after his election he issued an encyclical, Quod Apostolici Muneris (1878), in which he lumped socialists, communists and nihilists together as striving for 'the overthrow of all civil society' and said that, if these tendencies were not checked, 'the greater portion of the human race will fall into the vile condition of slavery'. He appealed to 'Catholic wisdom, sustained by the precepts of natural and divine law' to lead from this pitfall and added freemasonry as another peril, eventually calling it a 'vile sect' in Inimica Vis (1892).8
By 1885 Leo had widened his horizons with an encyclical, Immortale Dei, on 'The Christian constitution of states' in which he insisted that, while the right
6 For Quanta Cura see Carlen, The papal encyclicals 1740-1878, pp. 382-3 and for the Syllabus of Errors see Ehler and Morrall (eds.), Church and state through the centuries, pp. 281-2.
7 Carlen, The papal encyclicals 1878-1903, pp. 52-4.
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