the Gallican/neo-Gallican tradition is highly equivocal as to whether it construes the pope’s ‘spiritual authority’ as essentially pedagogical, or as pedagogical (universally) and juridical (in the ecclesiastical forum), marshalling quotes and making comments that appear contradictory. Closely related is his interpretation of the pronouncements of Vatican II as definitively repudiating or excluding the ‘confessional state’. Although the conciliar documents (including Gaudium et Spes, which is overlooked) unambiguously make room for the ‘non-confessional state’, they do not appear to preclude civil governments acting with a confessional rationale in, for example, conferring exclusive legal privileges on the Catholic Church and church-linked institutions, or paying such deference to canon law as is compatible with the church’s sovereign mission. Finally, his appeals to the longer Thomistic tradition neglect its influential anti-conciliarist, Tridentine strand that contrasts the natural-law basis of civil jurisdiction with the divine-law basis of papal jurisdiction in order to refute the conciliarist ecclesiology favoured by Gallicanism and the author. As an apologist for the Catholic political tradition, Perreau-Saussine maintains that the contemporary alternative to a non-confessional ‘rights’ state in historically Catholic territories is secularist democratic totalitarianism. He nowhere denies that the situation may be differently nuanced in states with established churches not historically constituted as a (potentially) rival jurisdiction. As a theological apologist for English church establishment, I would argue that the state’s historic legal recognition of the universal authority of the church as a community of witness and worship continues to provide a bulwark (admittedly not altogether effective) against the totalitarian monism of the ever more repressive secular ideology of egalitarian rights pluralism. Sadly, Perreau-Saussine’s premature death has deprived many grateful students and readers of further offerings of his distinguished scholarship and stimulating thought.
Travis Ryan Pickell
Studies in Christian Ethics