This is not a new idea. Lactantius (c. 304-313) wrote, “[God] would have Christians live under the power and government of others, lest they should become corrupted by the happiness of prosperity, slide into luxury, and eventually despise the commandments of God.” Ironically, Lactantius would later be appointed tutor to the son of the first Christian emperor, St. Constantine. I certainly hope that living under Christian government did not cause him to despise the commandments of God.
Everyone needs to be humble. Both churchmen and statesmen are meant to serve God. Who is going to keep the statesmen humble? Clearly, no one has been doing this for quite some time.
King Henry II, on the other hand, after he encouraged the murder of St. Thomas Becket, was made to walk barefoot through the streets of Canterbury wearing sackcloth while eighty monks flogged him with branches. He then spent the night in the martyr's crypt. The same kind of penance should be recommended to certain Presidents of the United States for their crimes against humanity. As the Church and State are separate, who is to recommend it? Together, Church and State could keep each other humble.
It has been said that the Government should listen to the people and the people should listen to the Church. Should the Government listen to the people if the people hate the Church or Her teachings? If most people favor the legalization of the murder of a certain class of people (which, debatably, they do) shouldn't the Government stand with the Church, rather than the people? The law must not be relative to the whims of the masses. Truly, the people should listen to the Church, but when have they ever done that?
In the 18th century, democracy was an idea unpopular among faithful Catholics - opposed by the Pope and those loyal to him. Clearly, this is no longer the case.
I have often heard justified complaint that Catholics in America are more concerned with worldly acceptance than with fidelity to Tradition. This is the direct and inevitable consequence of the Catholic adoption of an American culture based on democratic principles. How can bowing to the will of the majority ultimately be anything other than relativist?
Many American Christians balk at my notion that the authority and power to rule does not come from the people. This idea is shared by, of all people, Jesus Christ: "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above," He said (John 19:11). The power to rule comes from God. You know, Divine Right and that sort of thing. “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1). A government that does not acknowledge this true source of its power fails to govern well.
“My opinion is this: that in this way a kingdom may be governed in peace – when the sovereign is acquainted with the God of truth. That is, if the ruler withholds from doing wrong to his subjects out of fear of God, and he judges everything with equity…. For, if the sovereign abstains from doing wrong to those who are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him and to each other, it is evident that the whole country will dwell in peace. Many blessings, too, will be enjoyed there, because among all of them the name of God will be glorified. For what blessing is greater than for a sovereign to deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and by this good deed render himself pleasing to God”
– St. Melito (c. 170).