We have now brought the history of the Papacy to times contempo- rary with ourselves. Regardless of how we may personally feel toward this institution, it is hardly possible to escape reading the history with- out drawing the conclusion which Friedrich Schiller phrased thus: "From ,such traits one can form an impression of the spirit which governed the Roman Court, and sense the unshakeable firmness of the principles which every Pope saw himself compelled to sponsor at what- ever personal cost to himself. One sees Emperors and Kings, en- lightened statesmen and unbending soldiers, make a holocaust of rights, prove disloyal to their principles, and bow to necessity, when circumstances demand it. But that seldom or never happened to a Pope. Even when he was wandering about in misery, when he had in all Italy no foot of land and no soul willing to accord him affection, when he lived from the alms of strangers, he nevertheless maintained a steadfast guard over the rights of his See and o the Church. Though every other political entity has at certain times suffered and now suffers through the fault of the personal qualities of those entrusted with its administration, the Church has hardly ever suffered thus by reason of its Popes. However unlike these Popes may have been in temperament, outlook and ability, their policy remains the same always in so far as steadfastness, uniformity and unchangeable- ness are concerned. Their temperaments, their abilities, their out- looks seem never to have flowed over into their office. One might put it this way: their personalities were merged in their dignity, their passions were quenched under the weight of the three-fold crown. Though every time a Pope dies the chain of succession is broken and must be linked together again at every new election, and though no secular throne has ever so frequently changed its incumbent, or been so stormily assailed and abandoned, yet this remains the only throne on earth which seems never to have changed its occupant. For only the Popes die: the spirit which informs them is immortal."
The Papacy is therefore a sovereignty of a unique kind which by its very nature is something different from the secular leadership and ad- ministration of human associations. It rests on an historical event