When one speaks of Monarchy, the question inevitably comes up, “What type of Monarchy? Absolute? Constitutional?” The question cannot readily be answered until we clarify the definitions.
If we say that an absolute Monarch is one who answers to no one, not even God through the moral authority of the Church given her by her Divine constitution, then we cannot assent to the absolute Monarch. This would be a totalitarian dictatorship akin to the dictatorship of The People we see in the constitutional Republics that glory in “separation of Church and State.” In such Republics, The Will of the People usurps The Will of God, as known through both Natural Law and the Divine constitution of the Church. The People define for themselves what is right and what is wrong, as opposed to God who gave us immense freedoms (“You are free to eat of all the trees in the garden.” ~ Gen 2:16) so long as He alone defines what is right and what is wrong (“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat…” ~ Gen 2:17a). The Will of the People is a corrupt will. So is the will of a King or Queen. A King or Queen who ignores the Will of God is practicing “separation of Church and State” as much as any Republic. Thus, we cannot agree to an absolute Monarch by this definition.
So, must we then turn to a “Constitutional Monarchy” whereby the royal family must obey the constitutional decrees formulated by The People? If this type of Monarchy sees the royal family as being ultimately subject to “The People” (supposedly as a means to keep the Monarchy in line), then we have progressed no further than the constitutional Republic. We have a faux Monarchy where the corrupted People are still dictating what is right and what is wrong. This is a Republic with a Monarchist veneer. Here, we have The People on the prowl again, eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a practice by which God warns, “for, the day you eat of that, you are doomed to die.” ~ Gen 2:17b
Therefore, neither the absolute nor commonly referred to constitutional Monarchy resolves the issue at hand in governing society – that we must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
However, the way we might be able to make authentic progress in this matter, and therefore to make authentic progress in society and culture in general, is to subject both the royal family and The People to that tree of the knowledge of good and evil through subjection to the Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Church alone has the Divine constitution, one given her by Jesus Christ from the moment He formed the apostles, made Peter its head, and gifted her with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus Christ (this includes, by the way, non-Christian societies, for Christ is Master of all, not just of Christian societies), and by His ordination, all authority on earth in matters of faith and morals belongs to the Church He founded, and over which He is the Head. The Church is the Bride of Christ and the seed of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Thus, a society that is under a “Divine Constitutional” Monarchy by subjecting itself to the Church is one which is truly “free.” The society ruled by the Catholic Monarchy is “free to eat of all the trees in the garden” quite simply because it does not attempt to “eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” The King and Queen rule by “divine right,” which means not that they rule as if they were divine, but that their right to rule comes from God. The Monarch must serve his or her people; however, the Monarch must answer to God.
In the end, the a priori argument favors the Catholic Monarchy; though, the a posteriori argument based on a good review of history likely leads us to a very lively discussion. The history of Catholic Monarchies over the centuries is certainly not pristine; yet, neither is that of the constitutional Republics with their “Will of the People” and their “separation of Church and State.”
One thing is certain, however. Any solution that demands we eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil cannot be one by which to live. The Catholic Monarchy, as pale as its history might be at times, at least has the a priori Form proper to a truly free society.
That means it is a model toward which we should reach.