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TWO SWORDS

a medieval doctrine on the relation of Church and State, as explained by Pope Boniface VIII (reigned 1294- 1303): "We are taught by the words of the Gospel that in this Church and under her control there are two swords, the spiritual and the temporal . . . both of these,m i.e., the spritual and the temporal swords, are under the control of the Church. The first is wielded by the Church; the second is wielded on behalf of the church. The first is wielded by the hands of the priest, the second by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the wish and by the permission of the priests. Sword must be subordinate to sword, and it is only fitting that the temporal authority should be sujbect to the spiritual" (Unam Sanctam, Denzinger 873). this doctrine was not fefined by teh Pope but reflected the mentality of the age, when both "priests and kings" were members of the same Catholci Church in whose name Pope Boniface was speaking.

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

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