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Catholic Dictionary

Term

DIVINE RIGHT OF KINGS

Definition

The theory that the actual rulers of states have their authority by an immediate grant from God. Not only does God give authority to the State, but he personally selects the rulers, either by positive intervention, as in the case of King Saul in the Jewish theocracy, or by tacit approval of the ruler selected by appointment, election, and especially by hereditary succession. A logical conclusion to the theory of divine right of kings was to make it immoral to unseat them no matter how badly they governed.