z CONSULS OF GOD
to make myself guilty of destroying anything or anybody/' In him the idea of the Pax Romana had the greatest of its unarmed protago- nists. He firmly reminded the provincial churches of the primacy of his See, but to each he allowed a liberal measure of self-government be- cause he had a high regard for the episcopal office and for the individ- uality of each people. He could say, "We are defending our rights," but also, "We respect the rights of the several churches." Recogniz- ing fully the future significance of the Prankish kingdom for the Cath- olic totality, he was persistently careful to do all he could to improve and unite the corrupt churches involved in the political conflicts then decimating the Merovingian territories. Having a great objective constantly before his eyes, he overlooked the moral deficiencies of the notorious Franconian Queen Brunhilde when he needed her power and influence in his struggle against simony and surviving heathenism. In order not to break off the first slender thread of a Franco-Roman relationship, he also resisted the project of Columba, a fiery missionary who wanted to force the Irish date of the feast of Easter upon the Gauls and Romans. This Celt addressed to the Papal See, "The no- blest flower of the whole declining Europe," one of the curtest letters which Rome ever received from one of its own messengers. But Greg- ory ignored it. He also paid no attention to a threat that the Celtic Church would go its own way in schism; and by this silence he re- tained the help of an opponent whose violence was also useful.
The Pope had very little success with the Franks, but they spurred him on rather than hindered him in his attempt to win the Anglo- Saxons for the European cultural community and for intimate union with Rome. For the first time Rome sent its own missionaries Prior Augustine of the Monastery of St. Andrew and a small company of monks to these barbarians. Rumours of Anglo-Saxon savagery induced these messengers of the faith to turn round when they had reached the Rhone, but Gregory did not budge from his resolve and sent them out again, making provision this time for French support. Their success after landing in Kent rapidly paved the way for progress among princes and peoples. For they did not come as emissaries of a foreign political power and had been authorized by the Pope to exercise great freedom in their missionary methods. One readily feels that there hovers over his answers to their anxious questions the supe-