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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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PATRIARCHAL THEORY

Political rulers are divinely designated leaders in civil society because of their natural endowments. The theory arose in modern times to counteract the excesses of the French Revolution and avoid the pitfalls of the divine right of kings, without admitting the democratic basis of civil government. Espoused by, among others, D'Azeglio Luigi Taparelli (1793-1862), it seems to have been more a description of how many governments are formed (from the top down) than a theoretical analysis of the origins of political authority.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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