Macaulay on the Papacy

Quoted by Sean Gabb’sHistoryOfPopes.html

There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

7 responses to “Macaulay on the Papacy

  1. it’s a great quote. But I don’t know why the Pontiff is hobnobbing with the leaders of the now-pagan CofE…

  2. Viewing bankrupt stock with an eye to purchase

  3. The CofE, that disappearing sect of neo-pagan tree-huggers, disappearing literally up its own jacksi, will drift off, more or less quickly, into the void which GramscoFabiaNazis made on purpose for it, and it swallowed the bait fully.

    It is quite sad that this should have become the case. It was by no means fore-ordained.

  4. Just to be pedantic; Napoleon was not crowned by a Pope. He famously crowned himself.

  5. I am wondering if, instead of soldiering on with the remnants of British culture, we should take the decision to retire some of it. Eg as the monarchy becomes more multiculti, maybe we would like to think back fondly to the days of Queen Victoria and visit Osborne House etc, but not carry on with the current House of Windsor. In the same vein, the CofE – well with the women priests and the completely non-traditional teachings, maybe we should just shut it down. At the very least, the buildings and the monies run by the Church Commissioners (£7bn, largely derived from Queen Anne’s Bounty) belong to the nation – and if the female priests and so on want to go and find their own halls to carry on their form of worship – let them raise the money to do that themselves, and not in our heritage churches and not with the money that was donated over centuries for a totally different purpose. This would recognise that Anglicanism is part of our heritage, not part of our modern culture. The £7bn could be used for the upkeep of the buildings, and the churches could be used by English people for tasteful gatherings, weddings and the sort, as approved by whatever decision was made when the main church was shut down. We could also make whatever buildings we saw fit available for use by traditional Anglican groupings – but they are too tiny to run the whole lot – maybe they could get together enough people to just hold services in the cathedrals, while the parishes were closed won. If we don’t do this, we face the prospect, not only of the church monies being used to fund the direct opposite of what they were intended for – but also the gradual sale of our churches to become mosques. this tendency for churches to become mosques is a national scandal – it is outright heresy for the bishops to allow this – as the church bureacrats seek to misuse the church assets to fund themselves and their pensions as long as possible.

  6. Agreed. The Monarchy and the Church are like tangled wreckage on the deck of a storm-battered ship. They must be hacked away and cast over the side if the ship itself is to weather the storm.

  7. In the science fiction novel “A canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller Jr the Catholic church survives a nuclear war and then makes arrangements to survive a final earthly conflagration.