Divine Right

Divine Right

(1) in politics, the claim of sovereigns to unlimited obedience, on the ground that the sovereign power is derived directly from God.

(2) In ecclesiastical polity, the divine right (jus divinum) has been claimed for certain forms of Church government, and for certain classes of persons as administering it; e.g. bishops in the Roman Church long claimed divine right to exercise authority in their dioceses, while the Pope claims that their right is not directly divine, but mediately through him. This controversy has never been authoritatively settled. It was largely discussed in the Council of Trent (q.v.).

(3) In the Protestant churches generally, the claim of divine light on the part of the clergy to govern is generally abandoned, and where it is held the right is maintained as a mediate one, derived through the Scriptures, so far as they give principles and laws for Church government. SEE ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.

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