Question: What are the duties of Christians toward those who
govern them, and what in particular are our duties towards Napoleon I, our emperor?
Answer: Christians owe to the princes who govern them, and we
in particular owe to Napoleon I, our emperor, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military
service, and the taxes levied for the preservation and defense of the empire and of his
throne. We also owe him fervent prayers for his safety and for the spiritual and temporal
prosperity of the state.
Question: Why are we subject to all these duties toward our
Answer: First, because God, who has created empires and
distributes them according to his will, has, by loading our emperor with gifts both in
peace and in war, established him as our sovereign and made him the agent of his power and
his image upon earth. To honor and serve our emperor is therefore to honor and serve God
himself. Secondly, because our Lord Jesus Christ himself, both by his teaching and his
example, has taught us what we owe to our sovereign. Even at his very birth he obeyed the
edict of Caesar Augustus; he paid the established tax; and while he commanded us to render
to God those things which belong to God, he also commanded us to render unto Caesar those
things which are Caesar's.
Question: Are there not special motives which should attach us
more closely to Napoleon I, our emperor?
Answer: Yes, for it is he whom God has raised up in
trying times to re-establish the public worship of the holy religion of our fathers and to
be its protector; he has re-established and preserved public order by his profound and
active wisdom; he defends the state by his mighty arm; he has become the anointed of the
Lord by the consecration which he has received from the sovereign pontiff, head of the
Question: What must we think of those who are wanting
in their duties toward our emperor?
Answer: According to the apostle Paul, they are
resisting the order established by God himself and render themselves worthy of eternal
From: James Harvey Robinson, ed., Readings in European History, 2 Vols. (Boston:
Ginn and Co., 1904-1906), Vol. II: From the opening of the Protestant Revolt to the
Present Day, 509-510.