Chapter 3

Student: Although it must be considered heretical, I believe, to assert that the pope does not have coercive jurisdiction over others, state nevertheless how the aforementioned theorists attempt to prove this.

Master: They try to point this out by the authorities of holy writ and of saints. And indeed to begin with by the authority of Christ saying to the apostles in Matthew 20(:25-27): "Ye know that the princes of the gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant". [Marsilius of Padua, Defensor Pacis, II.iv.13] From these words we understand that the greatness and primacy of him who is great and first among all the disciples of Christ (all Christians are such disciples) consists in ministry and service, and that consequently he in no way possesses coercive jurisdiction over others.

Student: The ministry and service of the pope consists in ruling and governing the flock entrusted to him, which he could by no means do unless he possessed coercive jurisdiction. Nor is the pope's duty to be minister and servant an obstacle, for even a temporal judge when punishing wrongdoers is a "minister" according to the pronouncement of the Apostle in Romans 13[:4].

Master: They say that Christ excludes this explanation since he assigns ministry and service to the greater and first among his disciples in such manner as to forbid him the exercise of power over others, saying "they that are great exercise authority upon them, but it shall not be so among you etc." From these words one infers that to the minister and servant of other Christians Christ forbids the exercise of power over others, and thus excludes coercive jurisdiction from him, because coercive jurisdiction which must not exercise power over wrongdoers is useless and superfluous. Moreover when you say that a temporal judge is a minister according to the Apostle, the answer is that you misunderstand the Apostle, because the Apostle does not say that "power" is the minister of subjects, he rather says that it is the minister of God. But Christ wanted the first among Christians to be not only a minister of God but also of others.

Student: Do they prove in some other way that the pope does not possess coercive jurisdiction over others?

Master: They also prove it as follows. The pope does not have greater coercive jurisdiction than did Christ whose vicar he is. But Christ as a mortal man did not have coercive jurisdiction, since, to begin with, coercive jurisdiction without an abundance of riches or the assistance of the wealthy cannot be adequately exercised and consequently would be uselessly retained. Christ, however, completely abdicated ownership of all possessions necessary for exercising coercive jurisdiction, and was content with bare access to food and clothing. Nor did he use the help of the rich to exercise such coercive jurisdiction. Therefore he did not have coercive jurisdiction as a mortal man. Furthermore, as he himself witnessed, he came to ministrate and not to be ministrated to, therefore he did not come to exercise coercive jurisdiction and thus he did not possess it. And finally, Christ completed the task which God the Father had entrusted to him, as he witnesses when he states in John 17[:4] : "I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do". Yet Christ by no means exercised coercive jurisdiction, therefore he did not as a mortal man receive coercive jurisdiction from God the Father, because had he received it and never exercised it, he might justly have been accused of wicked conduct or negligence, since he would have held an office without performance.

Student: In this instance they are clearly wrong, because the Gospel story witnesses that Christ exercised coercive jurisdiction when he violently expelled buyers and sellers from the temple, as we read in Matthew 21[:12], Mark 11[:11], Luke 19[:45], and John 2[:15].

Master: They contend that it is you who are wrong here, and for two reasons. First: because to expel buyers and sellers from the temple and to do the other things which Christ performed at that time are matters not relevant to coercive jurisdiction. On that occasion Christ did not exercise the function of a prelate or high priest but assumed the office of a janitor, as witnesses the Master of the Sentences [Peter Lombard] who states in book 4 chapter 24 [of the Sentences]: "this office, namely that of janitors, the Lord assumed in his person when, having made a whip of thin cords, he expelled the buyers and sellers from the temple. Indeed he explains his janitor function when he says 'I am the door. If someone enters through me etc. [John 10:9]'" Therefore the aforestated office which Christ then exercised pertains to janitors. But janitors are known to possess no coercive jurisdiction by their function. Thus you cannot prove by this example that Christ had coercive jurisdiction. Second: they say you are wrong because even if Christ had possessed jurisdiction as high priest, he would not have had it except with respect to the faithful and to those who believed in him, for it would not have been his function as high priest to pass judgment on religious outsiders. And at the time Christ had [also] expelled unbelievers from the temple. Therefore he did not do this as a priest but as a janitor, to whom it pertains (with no jurisdiction attached) to expel from the temple not only sinful believers but also those who are not of the faith. From these points they conclude that Christ as a priest never exercised coercive jurisdiction, therefore he did not have it.

Student: Although Christ did have coercive jurisdiction he by no means exercised it, because there were no wrongdoers among his disciples against whom he would have had the duty to use coercive jurisdiction. This did not mean that he lacked such jurisdiction. After all, if a king only had law-abiding subjects he would not on that account lack jurisdiction.

Master: They reject your response in this way. A number of Christ's disciples gravely misbehaved, becoming apostates from the faith they had accepted. For we read in John 6[:66] that "many of his disciples went back". It is therefore not due to an absence of punishable deeds but because of his lack of coercive jurisdiction that Christ never exercised power or retribution upon the delinquents. From which they conclude that Christ as high priest did not possess coercive jurisdiction. Therefore neither does the pope obtain coercive jurisdiction. They attempt to prove this contention by further authorities. Thus, Origen on the text of Matthew 20[:25-26] "the princes of the gentiles etc." states: " 'Ye know that the princes of the gentiles exercise dominion over them', that is to say not satisfied with merely governing their subjects they attempt to violently dominate them. 'But it shall not be so among you' who are mine. For just as all material things are in the realm of necessity while spiritual things are of free will, so those who are spiritual princes, that is prelates, must possess a rulership based on love and not on fear". [Marsilius, II.iv.13] From these words we gather that the whole rulership of the prelates of the church (and consequently of the supreme pontiff) must consist in love, not in fear. Therefore they must be loved, not feared. But those who use coercive jurisdiction are feared by evildoers, witness the Apostle in Romans 13[:4], who states: "But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid" namely, of authority. Therefore the prelates of churches must not use coercive jurisdiction.

Chrysostomus also appears to express a similar opinion about this text [Matthew 20:25-27], for he states: "the rulers of the world exist to dominate their lesser brethren, subject them to slavery, despoil them, and use them unto death for their own service and glory. But the rulers of the church are created to serve the small and ministrate unto them all that they have received from Christ, to the point of neglecting their own utilities so as to promote those of the lesser brethren". [Marsilius, II.iv.13] From these words a distinction between secular rulers and the rulers of churches clearly emerges, for secular rulers dominate their subjects, while rulers of churches serve and ministrate to lesser brethren. Therefore they have no authority to exercise coercive jurisdiction over them. Ambrose too seems to be in agreement with these views. He states (we have this in 23 q. 8 c. Convenior)[col. 960] : "I may grieve, I may weep, I may groan, against arms, soldiers, and Goths my tears are my weapons, for those are the defences of the priest. I neither can nor ought to resist by other means". [Marsilius, II.v.5] From these words we learn that a priest must resist evildoers by prayers and tears, and not by temporal force, and consequently that he does not have coercive jurisdiction.

Chrysostomus likewise seems to accept this, and most openly too, in his volume of dialogues which is entitled Concerning the priestly dignity. In book 2, chapter 3 thereof, commenting on the Apostle's text from 2 Corinthians 1[:24] "not for that we have dominion over your faith" he states: "Outsider judges demonstrate potent authority against their evildoing subjects, and force them against their will to abandon the wickedness of their prior behaviour, but in the church it is required that we convert to better actions a person who is not coerced but consenting, for indeed neither are we given by the laws such power as to restrain men from crimes through the authority of a legal judgment". [Marsilius, II.v.6] It cannot be stated more clearly that the church does not possess coercive jurisdiction, since in the church no one must be forced to do better actions nor can someone be restrained from crimes by a judicial sentence. Furthermore: he who has coercive jurisdiction needs to be involved in secular affairs, for it is his task to settle disputes and lawsuits, and disputes, lawsuits and quarrels are classified as secular issues (Extra, Ne clerici vel monachi secularibus negotiis se immisceant, c. 1). But is it not the business of the supreme pontiff to be involved in secular affairs, as the Apostle witnesses (2 Timothy 2[:4]) who states: "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life". [Marsilius, II.v.1] Therefore coercive jurisdiction does not pertain to the pope by Christ's dispensation.

Again: the pope does not possess greater jurisdiction by Christ's dispensation than did blessed Peter. Yet blessed Peter and the other apostles did not receive coercive jurisdiction from Christ. Therefore neither does the pope have coercive jurisdiction by Christ's dispensation. The major premiss is self-evident. The minor is proved by the authority of blessed Bernard, who states in the book to Pope Eugenius: "They will not show, I think, those who would say this, where at some time any of the apostles sat as a judge of men", and a little further: "in short I read that the apostles had stood up to be judged, I do not read that they had sat as judges, something yet to be, not something that was". [Marsilius, II.v.3] From these words we understand that the apostles were not judges of men. Therefore blessed Peter did not possess coercive jurisdiction. That the apostles were not judges of men also appears to be the opinion of blessed Gregory. For commenting on these words of the Apostle, viz. "if then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life" [1 Corinthians 6:4], he states in the Ethics: "those who have acquired the wisdom of external things examine earthly causes, but those spiritually gifted must not be involved in worldly affairs, so that by not being forced to manage inferior goods, they may devote themselves to superior ones". [Marsilius, II.v.2] Therefore as the apostles were gifted with the greatest of spiritual goods, they were not in any way occupied with the causes and lawsuits of men. This appears to be the evident opinion of the gloss on the following passage in Corinthians "if then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life", which states: " 'set them to judge who are least esteemed' that is to say, some wise and yet less worthy men. For the apostles on their rounds did not concern themselves with such matters. Thus he [Paul] wanted wise, holy and faithful men who were local residents to be the scrutineers of such affairs, and not those who traveled hither and thither for the sake of spreading the gospel". [Marsilius, II.v.2] These words show that the apostles did not focus on settling the worldly affairs of men. From which one deduces that they did not receive coercive jurisdiction from Christ, because they carried out with utmost diligence every office imposed on them by Christ.

Student: Holy writ clearly informs us that blessed Peter possessed coercive jurisdiction, since he inflicted death on Ananias and Sapphira by official authority, as blessed Gregory witnesses in the Dialogue (this is recited in 23 q. 8 c. Petrus)[col. 956-957] where he states: "Peter who resuscitated the late Tabita by praying, cursed the lying Ananias and Sapphira to their deaths. Nor do we read that he prayed for their end but only that he inveighed against the fault they had committed. And so it is plain that sometimes such effects are the result of power and sometimes of prayer, since he both took away the life of the latter by harshly complaining and gave it back to the former by praying". From these words we gather that blessed Peter used coercive jurisdiction with authority.

Master: To this they answer that you misunderstand the words of Gregory. For Gregory does not claim that blessed Peter procured the deaths of the aforesaid Ananias and Sapphira by the power of his office. In that case he would have become judge in a capital case which is known to be forbidden to all clerks. But blessed Peter procured the deaths of the aforesaid not through the power of office but through the power of effecting miracles, which God had granted to his person and not to the papal office. For sometimes one may effect miracles without prayer. And therefore it cannot be proved from this that Peter possessed coercive jurisdiction.