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QUO VADIS?

without a parallel in history ; and from this event, which human reason finds the most inexplicable moment in all history, it derives its reason for being a reason not implicit in itself. The historian meets the demands of his limited office when he makes visible what can be his- torically seen of this institution, when he reveals what it did in history and what was done to it in that history. But it is of such a character that it brings home to him more than any other theme could how little one is able to understand history from a mere conscientious study of its materials. One may derive an explanation of the power of the Papacy from the natural vitality of the Church if, like Macaulay, one is convinced that this Church would still exist unimpaired if some traveller coming from New Zealand were to stand in a great wilderness upon a crumbled arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's. And like the same Macaulay, one might view the constitu- tion of ecclesiastical Rome, with the Papacy at its head, as the true masterpiece of human wisdom as the most perfect of the inventions which have been devised to deceive and govern men. Neither of these explanations, nor both of them together, penetrate to the zone of mystery which the historian, concerned only with bringing to light what can be perceived of the past, is not of course called upon to enter, but from which the Papacy itself traces its origin. It has a view of its existence which transcends history and, indeed, the natural order. It lives not in reliance upon its skill and wisdom, but in the conscious- ness of its timeless ancestry. It has continued to exist, though every device of government might fail miserably. Yes, it has even out- lasted Popes who themselves did not share that faith in their throne which glowed in the hearts of the nations or perhaps not even there. Therefore it is impossible to make a case for or against the Papacy <m a basis of historical fact. The student is not called upon to add up moral light and darkness, but only to manifest both honestly in so fat as he is able. But the believing soul, for which the essence of an event is not contained in its mere historical occurrence, looks beyond sdl the faults and misdeeds of the Popes to that source from which its faith as well as theirs derives light and strength. At bottom the most violent attacks on the Papacy have had their origin even as the Papacy itself is rooted in religious fact not in affairs of state or political gambling for power, but in motives of a religious or philosophi-


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