Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/74

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CONSULS OF GOD

this is sublime commission given to humanity and history) be the ultimate concern and raison d'etre of every community and every gov- ernment. Justice too, though a brutal Roman state may have thought otherwise, consists in fostering purposes and attitudes which conform with the life and work of the Church. As a result of the ideal mar- riage of world-state and believing-state, all authority in the Christian- ized world is stamped with the character of a kingly priesthood or a priestly royalty. But what happens to this transcendental unity of the theocratic ideal amid the turbulence of earthly history? Is it like the bow and the lyre of Heraclitus a union born of disparate tendencies, a coalescence which struggles to be sundered?

Out of Augustine's vision of a civic entity having a religious soul, the Mater Ecclesia gazed dreamingly into the future, her features still mobile in youth. He confronted her with almost too many ideas. He gave her so many goals to reach and showed her so many ways in which to reach them, that as a consequence she could hardly avoid coming into conflict with herself. Always a warrior fighting on two fronts at the same time, Augustine created an arsenal of spiritual weapons from which all camps in the Church could draw. He wrote a program of genuine tolerance, and nevertheless became the Father of the Inquisition. He taught that the highest obedience was that with which the soul followed counsels of conscience; and yet as a Roman lover of order he strengthened the arm of authority. Fight- ing against the Manicheans and their fatalistic lalssez faire, he drew the idea of human freedom as taut as an overstrained bow. Against the English Pelagius and his "self made man," he emphasized Chris- tianity all too vehemently as a conception of God as the Sole Cause, who inclines hearts toward good and evil according to His divine plan. Thus this prodigally wealthy mind bequeathed to Christianity such vast horizons, so many ways and manners of being a Christian inside the Catholic Church, that the very gain of inner freedom of move- ment could also become a danger to unity. Augustine recognized the primacy of the Apostolic See as this itself understood and practised that primacy. His declaration that the debate with Pelagius was ended when Rome had spoken found the immortal phrase Roma locuta, CAUSA finite. But, to a greater extent than he could have imagined, a firm Rode was needed amidst the flood of the life he himself had created.


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