Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/241

This page needs to be proofread.


were read in the monasteries. Plato and soon after him Aristotle (though he was sharply attacked) nurtured Scholasticism. The Averroists in the secular schools of Paris soon found themselves pat- ently separating reason from faith. Dante still lived and wrote out of the feeling that these were one; and throughout a lifelong struggle Petrarch clung to that unity. After they were dead a change took place in Naples, Florence and other cities a change which led to a partly philosophical, partly aesthetic coolness to the spiritual world of the Middle Ages. In these cities and in the Rome of the Renaissance Popes, there were made manifest about 1500 things that had long since been in preparation in the dolce stil nuovo, in Scholasticism, and also in mysticism. The number of men who were estranged from the older conception of the supernatural increased. The arts of the Renaissance, if one excludes a few of its products, were no longer in- spired by the power of religion to give expression to its convictions, but grew out of the states of mind in which self-reliant man may find himself. To these artists religion became merely the subject-matter, the object, and the complex of symbols by which they gave expression to human points of view arising from within themselves. Some- times also it was no more than a storehouse of conventional fancies that could be put to aesthetic use. For already there were many who could not live without art many who differed radically in this respect from Bernard of Clairvaux who banished art lest it obscure the splen- dour of the inner life that had been vouchsafed to him. Art and inr tellectual activity were not to replace what had been lost. In this, as in many other periods during which they have flourished, they became symptoms of a defeatist pessimism face to face with existence. The magnificent human figures of the time wrestle with an inner spiritual chaos. Only a few artists confessed, as did MichaeUngelo, that in painting and sculpture alone is there no peace.

Hardly one among the ten Popes who reigned during this period of flourishing Roman culture can be recognized as a religious figure. It may be said in mitigation of the blame that rests upon most of them that there was a kind of natural barrier between these Romans and the innermost meaning of Christ's message. Characteristic of virtually all of them was readiness to take a role in th- . irama which He who