The Meaning of de Jure (the proper legal power) and de facto (the actual power in the land)
An examination of the juxtaposition of the lawful sources of authority as opposed to the factual regimes prevailing then and now and how this balance resolves itself through Christ Himself.
A Short Examination:
I will centre on the military occupation of a defeated state, rebellions, the status quo, the government in exile, Civil war, the EU and self-determination. In addition I will look at Land Law, Licensees and trespassers. Finally I will consider the religious basis for our moral law in the Ten Commandments and how we develop that ancient Law of the Old Testament in our everyday lives derived from our Christianity. What is right for Christ is right for us and He is our Shepherd guarding us. We do not go wrong if we stay in the fold of the Good Shepherd whoever we are and wherever we come from. Our actions will not take us out of the fold if we submit to the Shepherd’s bidding and crook. Christ is paramount and his paramountcy overwhelms man’s misdoings.
2. The military example
Clearly countries may be occupied as in the Second World War: these German occupied territories were under the jack boot – their inhabitants had no enforceable legal rights. The de facto military control was supreme until liberation. The de Jure power had been over thrown. Those who challenged that de facto control were largely partisans and they asserted their resistance at cost dear to themselves and their countrymen in lives. To obey the de facto power may not be unwise and should save lives in reprisals but see the German occupied territories of the Last World War (Balkans, Central Europe, Italy Post 1943, France and Norway). In 1960’s Rhodesia Ian Smith’s UDI was unlawful and repressive but Harold Wilson’s de Jure authority was of no effect despite sanctions (economic) that did not bite. Acquiescence and resignation surprisingly may be qualities not vices, representing the Christian virtues of prudence and patience. Vichy France was collaboration yes but was it a price worth paying for Vichy and La France and the French within – debatable. The German July 1944 plotters were relatively weak in arms, men and will power. It was not surprising they were beaten off by the status quo regime as it had been since 1933 (Hitler’s).
3. Secession, The EU and Nation States
The Civil wars provide a political example. The Confederacy (the South) lacked de Jure justification for its secessionist stand and lost to Lincoln militarily. In Spain Franco the rebel prevailed in the field but his 1936-39 insurrection lacked de Jure authority even if he acquired de facto power in the Civil War.
The EU creates a quandary: By various Treaties the Sovereign government of the UK has entered into these EU Treaty obligations. I argue self-determination is axiomatic and England and Wales may secede from the EU by fresh cabinet decisions and an Act or Acts of her Parliament. The Westminster Parliament is sovereign for the repeal of all England and Wales Treaty measures previously enacted and enshrined in our statute law. The Monarchy will follow the Cabinet. It appears Whitehall is concerned about the Constitutional implications of secession and the economic / trade backlash from Brussels and Berlin of a break away. Germany and Merkel call the shots in the EU, like it or not. If Whitehall has the backbone it should prove England and Wales has de Jure power once and for all and secede from the EU. England can only face the economic reply from Berlin after secession is accomplished. There can be no remaining de facto in the EU by the English unless England takes no action deliberately. This would be unthinkable and intolerable. We are dangerously close to this position and an attritional relationship to the EU with a status quo of standoff with Brussells because of our equivocal attitude to the EU and Berlin. Action is now urgently required to reassert England and Wales’ de Jure authority by secession and so to govern England and Wales without wrongful interference from the EU.
I say England is driven to take action by these circumstances to defend her own Sovereignty or suffer grievous damage to her interests. Every nation desires self-determination and independence. Look at the nation states of Central and Eastern Europe who have achieved nationhood since 1989, after decades under the Russians and before then, Nazi Germany. Each nation state should be exhorted by the lead nations (e.g. England) to develop their self-determination.
4. Land Law, the status quo and the Soviet Empire
With real property the de Jure rule prevails. But consider the de facto occupier by consent or the trespasser who acquires possessory title. A possessory occupier may acquire title absolute, as Franco became lawful ruler of Spain post-Civil War. The status quo is crucial in Land Law and Civil wars and empires. The Romanovs relinquished to the Bolsheviks despite Churchill and the White Russians. He who wields the sword of power rules. Yet an empire may collapse e.g. Soviet Russia in 1989 unrolling the governments of Eastern Europe and Western and Southern Russia thereby creating fresh unexpected de Jure governments. In Land Law the de Jure rights may be overwhelmed by the trespasser who becomes lawful owner of the land. A Licensee of land on sufferance who may not enforce or transmit rights will still enjoy occupation of the property during his License, subject to revocation and cancellation by the superior estate owner.
5. The meaning of de Jure/ de facto balance
What does the de facto/ de Jure debate and intensity represent? Essentially the friction between the seen world and the unseen world. The Trinity and Heaven lie in the hidden world and our actual lives are in the seen world. Every good Christian believes the unseen world matters most yet the Human race is the de facto power. We derive our de facto power from Heaven and ultimately we must concede – the authority of this unseen world is the greatest or we do not truly believe in God and The Trinity. We have freewill but it is “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. We no longer believe in the divine right of Kings to rule (the enlightened despots). Democracy throws up one government after another – clearly man must admit he is de facto limited unless he foolishly arrogates to himself the power and authority of Heaven. Yes we do render unto “Caesar” as the de facto ruler and to God what is God’s as Christ taught us. The Petrine Power given to St Peter came from God Himself through His Son on earth. The Pope can bind and loose in Heaven yes but only because that power has been given by Christ the Son of God (i.e. The Popes have no power without Christ). At the end of the day the power and authority in the church derives from Heaven and the Almighty Father within the invisible world. Man lives humbly in the actual visible world until his soul goes to Heaven. The same derivation goes for our society, politics and the lives of our peoples – all power and authority comes from the invisible world of Heaven Herself.
6. The teaching of Christ
Clearly the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the moral de Jure with the natural law of time immemorial. Yet those Commandments of Moses belong to the Old Law which Christ same to revitalise not supplant in His teachings in the New Testament. I argue the whole nature of Christ’s moral teaching to us turns on the Last Supper and the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Christ does not break the Tablets of Stone given to Moses but he transforms individuals in heart, mind and soul, by enabling them to better interpret those Commandments he strengthens us. He talks about “His own Commandments” given to His Disciples for those Disciples to teach to all nations. Those Commandments are closely related to the original Ten of Moses yet His Commandments liberate us – the Old Law “imprisons”.
The de Jure for Christ? There can be no de facto for Christ only de Jure. His life is not mundane and base. Christ’s grace is unrivalled and is never overcome – it is supernatural. The factual climate is the deeds of man not the eternal mysteries of the Rosary: Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious and the Sacraments above all else. Christ has created one all-embracing de Jure regime of the greatest power and authority by His Crucifixion – He will never be supplanted nor will He ever usurp His Father. He will always have His Father’s ultimate creative love. His Life will eternally be right despite our sinfulness. Our misdeeds cannot unbalance Christ’s perfectly adjusted world where he reigns supreme: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat! Christ the everlasting de Jure King.
I should mention governments in exile e.g.: The Polish Government in London post 1945 and the Free French government (1940-44) also in exile in London. Like it or not these exiled governments have no de Jure or de facto basis. They are a little petulant and pompous and achieve little save distraction from the real struggle. At the end of the day the battle will be won on the ground not in exile in London. They focus dissent not assent and unity. They are not on the land of their nations as living on it. To return to the religious argument Christ has turned the tables and made the struggle His for us and we with Him not us against them. He has secured the prize – all we have to do is go up and receive it with good grace. With Christ there is no consolation prize but our prize is also to be consoled by Him alone nevertheless. Those who come between Christ and His Souls refuse to receive their prize. I urge you not to be discourteous to the Holy Redeemer – He will come to Judge the living and the dead in glory – have no doubt.