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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Knights Republic - What does 'Republic' stand for?

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Quaternion Eagle of the Sanctorum Romanus Imperium

In our fight to defeat modernism, we are met with many inquiries about our devotion to the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus, our exclusivity to the Tridentine Mass, our quest to revitalize Catholic fatherhood, our vision for the restoration of Christendom, and the meaning and symbolism behind the ‘Republic.’ What is the ‘Republic’ and what does it represent?

Since our Order was founded in the United States, many mistakenly interpret the ‘Republic’ as such. In fact, it is far more than a single, liberal and secular government. The ‘Republic’ symbolizes the commonwealth of Christendom.

Equites Rei Publicae, the latin for “Knights of the Republic,” provides a better understanding when dissecting the translation. Rei Publicae, as understood in the Roman Republic, properly signifies the public good or commonwealth.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, revered Roman Senator and contemporary of Julius Caesar, articulated in the “Commonwealth” that:

“the aim of a ship's captain is a successful voyage; a doctor's, health; a general's, victory. So the aim of our ideal statesman is the citizens' happy life--that is, a life secure in wealth, rich in resources, abundant in renown, and honorable in its moral character.”

Circero, in “On Government,” refined his belief that "the good of the people is the greatest law." The measure of honor and virtue in a state’s moral character was most important.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, in “Plato’s Republic,” recognized the need for philosophically educated rules, who could better rule from a superiorly moral position:

“The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers become rulers in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.”

Plato, in his wise and fully vetted understanding of the proficiencies and failures of the Greek states, correctly ascertained that the greatest ruler for the security and prosperity of the commonwealth is the “Philosopher King.”

Although Cicero and Plato had a firm knowledge of morals and ethics in philosophy, they were pagans and lacked the proper catechesis of Whom all good originates. Man alone cannot create a moral and prosperous society.

St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, wrote in the 4th century that no kingdom or principality could be made virtuous by human hands. Particularly, he taught that secular government would not be necessary if not for the fall and that “true justice has no existence save in that republic whose founder and ruler is Christ,” otherwise known as the Kingdom of Heaven [1]. The City of Man and the City of God will always wage perpetual warfare, even when under the rule of a virtuous son of the Church. In the service of the City of Man, a Catholic ruler would be placed in compromising situations, highlighting his fallen nature, that would prevent him, without error, from navigating the waters of the world and perfecting a truly just society.

The Holy Bishop was absolutely correct about the shortcomings of the City of Man; but do not mistaken St. Augustine’s critique on government as evidence and support for liberal thought. His teachings build on Plato and Cicero’s primacy of morality and a just society, the building blocks, albeit Faith, for an authentically Catholic principality.

Blessed Charlamagne, first Holy Roman Emperor, explained the simple rule of Christian government as:

“Right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right.” [2]

On the contrary, St. Augustine would disagree that the Blessed Emperor, a devout son of the Church, would possess the faculties necessary to understand what true knowledge and right action is. 8th Century western philosophical and theological thought recognized this secular incompetence and laid the foundations for the Holy Roman Empire and its union with the Church.

The greatest government for the security and prosperity of the commonwealth is one that is married to the Church for the betterment of temporal and eternal affairs. The Church, as the spiritual shepherd and sole defender of good in the world, does not have the faculties to effectively manage and rule over temporal affairs. Likewise, the secular princeps, as chief guarantor of safety and the protector of commerce, lacks the faculties to effectively foster and rule over moral and eternal affairs.

This marriage was most realized in the Holy Roman Empire, which was the preeminent secular government in human history, spanning nearly 1,100 years from Blessed Emperor Charlamagne to it’s dissolving by the liberal French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. In central and eastern Europe, the double headed eagle, one wearing the imperial crown and wielding the scepter and orb, and the other wearing the papal tri-regnum and wielding the Holy Crucifix and St. Peter’s Keys, became the most visible illustration of the marriage between Emperor and Supreme Pontiff.

The ancient Rite of Coronation, with the Pope as the chief celebrant and blesser of the Emperor, contains a clear manifestation of this dichotomy. As the ceremony begins, the soon-to-be Emperor processes to the altar, kneels before His Holiness, and kisses the papal ring. The Emperor is then stripped of his worldly vestments; dons the blessed regalia of the princeps; hands are consecrated to wield the imperial scepter and orb; and receives the Iron Crown by the hands of the Pope. Once the Emperor takes his throne, His Holiness would kneel and kiss the imperial ring.

The subtleties of the ceremony illustrate a clear separation of the powers and authorities of the Emperor and the Supreme Pontiff. For all those to see, including the multitude of angels and saints in Heaven, the coronation affirms the Church’s superiority in the spiritual realm and the Empire’s superiority in the temporal realm. It is a marriage, joined in the Faith to serve and save souls.

During the The Exsultet, also referred to as the Praeconium Paschale, the ancient chant sung during the Easter Vigil, the Church would annually pray for the health and tranquility of ‘our Emperor’ and the “heavenly victory with all his people.” Before its removal in 1955, as the Church became more and more infiltrated by modernists, this was the concluding prayer:

“Respice etiam ad devotissimum imperatorem nostrum [Nomen] cujus tu, Deus, desiderii vota praenoscens, ineffabili pietatis et misericordiae tuae munere, tranquillum perpetuae pacis accommoda, et coelestem victoriam cum omni populo suo.”

“Look also upon our most devout Emperor [Name], the desires of whose longing you, O God, know beforehand, and by the inexpressible grace of your kindness and mercy grant him the tranquility of lasting peace and heavenly victory with all his people.”

By ceasing to pray for Christendom, and the Emperor of all Christians, the Church accepted a perverted world ruled by heretics, pagans, and communists.

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, in recognizing the decline of the temporal authority of the Church and the rise of modernism, correctly argued that:

"Who’s going to save our Church? It’s not our bishops, it’s not our priests and it is not the religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that the priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and the religious act like religious."

While the laity have the best opportunity to engage modernism on the parish level, faithful Catholics may make the engagement more effective by attacking from the secular. In a bottom-up (the family and parish) and unilateral (secular and society at large) coordinated approach, the laity could position itself to exterminate modernism in the Church and restore Christendom.

Like the sacrament of matrimony, we cannot let the modernist world dissolve this holy union forever. It can be restored by the faithful, and it must be restored in order to defeat modernism and rebuild Christendom. The clergy cannot do it alone.

In closing, the ‘Republic,’ Rei Publicae, symbolizes our mission to protect the faithful, defeat modernism, reinforce Christian virtue in society, and restore Christendom, which can only be accomplished by the investiture of the Holy Roman Empire.

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.


[1] Ernest L. Fortin and Douglas Kries, Augustine: Political Writings (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett., 1994).

[2] "De Litteris Colendis," in Jean-Barthélemy Hauréau, De la philosophie scolastique, 1850.

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