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QUO VADIS?

their faith in the elemental and the animalistic, enthusiasm for progress, freedom, self-determination. But it may be well to speak of one foe which accuses Rome of denying the world. Its name is Nihilism, and good Europeans do not believe that it exists. "Why should one simply wish to destroy everything?" That is a superficial, ignorant, or maybe also a cowardly and evasive answer. There does exist a Nihilism, the goal of which is nothingness. It is rare, is the faith of diseased, worn out and sometimes daemonic men. It has a corollary, though it may sound paradoxical to say that "nothing" can be the cause of something else. It arises from the nihilistic feeling that at bottom nothing exists excepting the veil which hides that nothingness. There is no eternal Being, no dependable fundament of existence, no substance, nothing to which the name we shall refuse to mention here could be applied. This Nihilism does not appear to be destructive. Indeed, it is ceaselessly active, constantly busy, scrupulously diligent even, restless on every Sabbath day, because it does not believe as Rome believes, or as Luther, as Calvin, and all who have yearned to stand in the light of the Eternal Throne, have believed; and it musters up a brilliant display of energy, intelligence, beauty, success, material comfort, in order to do battle with that terrible nothingness upon which there can be no point of rest even for thought or feeling. Thus humanity becomes creative by reason of terror. It is a mothering beast bringing forth its young an evil, miserable brood prema- turely while it flees.

But Rome believes. For Rome the world has a foundation. It adheres to permanence amidst change, and summons change to find its meaning in permanence and to draw sustenance from it. It stands for the Eternal Something which is always true to and in conformity with itself. Therefore it is rigid, is a sign of contradiction and a scandal in a world of change and motion. It moves others through the calm with which it endures, just as rock in a stream is a source of movement in that it throws back the foaming flood. The most legiti- mistic, the most rigid, of all thrones is at the same time a principle of movement in permanence. It is also the goal of a battle waged by all the revolts of the flesh, the mind and the heart. Rome answers the flesh by sanctioning the material in the Sacrament; it answers the mind wrestling, restlessly, with the Infinite, with its dogma as a


ROME