divine right of kings

Tbe claim of civil rulers to an authority, absolute and inalienable, in temporal and even in spiritual matters, without any responsibility for their use of such power to those whom they govern. It reached its highest pretensions under Henry VIII and James I, and appeared in later times under the Hohenzollern emperors and the czars. Such claim was approved by Luther and Melanchthon, but never by the Catholic Church. Theologians like Aquinas, Bellarmine, and Suarez have refuted it. Authority has its origin from God. It resides directly in the people who transfer or entrust it, not as its source, but as its channel, to those who exercise it for the good of the people and with responsibility to them.

New Catholic Dictionary

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