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    January 29, 1903

    “The Papacy and Civilisation” The Present Truth 19, 5, pp. 67, 68.

    ATJ

    INFLUENCE IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

    IT is claimed and urged on behalf of the Papacy that she is the best promoter of a proper and “Christian” civilisation.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.1

    As the basis and sufficient proof that the Papacy is the source and stay of a “Christian” civilisation, there is presented by both Catholics and “Protestants,” and not less by “Protestants” than by Catholics, the stupendous “fact” that she civilised the barbarians of the fifth century and the middle ages, who annihilated the Roman Empire. This theory the late Dr. Philip Schaff constantly affirmed, though it clearly contradicted and undisputed and indisputable facts of the history which he himself had written. The truth is that there never was a clearer historical fraud put forth than this claim that the Papacy civilised the barbarians who destroyed the Roman Empire, and occupied Western Europe in the middle ages.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.2

    It must not be forgotten that the Papacy had possession of the Roman Empire itself, with all the power of the empire at her command, for nearly a hundred years before the barbarians ever entered the Western Empire with any intention to stay, and more than a hundred years before she had any chance to “civilise” them. It must be remembered, too, that her alliance with the empire, and her securing possession of it, were for the express purpose of assuring to it the benefits of a “Christian civilisation” and consequent “salvation.” Surely here was ample time to test her powers in this direction, before she was ever called upon to “civilise” the barbarians.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.3

    What, then, was the result? It was this: When, by the union of Church and State, church membership became a qualification for political as well as every other kind of preferment, hypocrisy became more prevalent than ever before. This was bad enough in itself, yet the hypocrisy was voluntary; but when through the agency of her Sunday laws and by the ministration of Theodosius the church received control of the civil power to compel all without distinction, who were not Catholics, to act as though they were,PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.4

    HYPOCRISY WAS MADE COMPULSORY

    and every person who was not voluntarily a church member was compelled either to be a hypocrite or a rebel. In addition to this, those who were of the church indeed, through the endless succession of controversies and church council, were forever establishing, changing, and re-establishing the faith; and as all were required to change or revise their faith according as the councils decreed, all moral and spiritual integrity was destroyed. Hypocrisy became a habit, dissimulation and fraud a necessity of life; and the very moral fiber of men and of society was vitiated.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.5

    All the corruptions that had characterised the earlier Rome was thus reproduced and perpetuated under a form of godliness in this so-called Christian Rome, the Rome of the fifth century. Bower says of this time:—PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.6

    The primitive rigour of discipline and manners was utterly neglected and forgotten by the ecclesiastics of Rome. The most exorbitant luxury, with all the vices attending it, was introduced among them, and the most scandalous and unchristian arts of acquiring wealth universally practised. They seem to have rivaled in riotous living the greatest epicures of Pagan Rome when luxury was there at the highest pitch. For Jerome, who was an eyewitness of what he writ, reproaches the Roman clergy with the same excesses which the poet Juvenal so severely censured in the Roman nobility under the reign of Domitian.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.7

    The only possible result of such a course was constantly to increase unto more ungodliness, to undermine every principle of the foundation of society, and really toPTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.8

    HASTEN THE DESTURCTION

    of the empire. The pagan delusions, the pagan superstitions, and the pagan vices that had been adopted and brought into the Catholic Church by her apostasy and clothed with a form of godliness, wrought such infinite corruption that the society of which it was the greater part could no longer exist. It must inevitably fall by the weight of its own corruption, if from nothing else.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.9

    Dr. Schaff says in his “History of the Christian Church:”—PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.10

    The uncontrollable progress of avarice, prodigality, voluptuousness, theatre going, intemperance, lewdness; in short, of all the heathen vices, which Christianity had come to eradicate, still carried the Roman Empire and people with rapid strides toward dissolution, and gave it at last into the hands of the rude, but simple and morally vigorous, barbarians.PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.11

    And onward those barbarians came, swiftly and in multitudes. They came, a host, wild and savage, it is true; but whose social habits were so far above those of the people which they destroyed, that, savage as they were caused fairly to blush at the shameful corruptions which they found in this so-called Christian society of Rome. This is proved by the best authority. A writer who lived at the time of the barbarian invasions, and who wrote as a Christian, Salvian, gives the following evidence as to the condition of things:—PTUK January 29, 1903, page 67.12

    “The Church, which ought everywhere to propitiate God, what does she but provoke Him to anger? How many may one meet, even in the Church, who are not still drunkards, or debauchees, or adulterers, or fornicators, or robbers, or murderers, or the like, or all these at once, without end? It is even a sort of holiness among Christian people to be less vicious.” “From the public worship of God, and almost during it, they pass to deeds of shame. Scarce a rich man but would commit murder and fornication. We have lost the whole power of Christianity, and offend God the more, that we sin as Christians. We are worse than the barbarians and heathen. If the Saxon is wild, the Frank faithless, the Goth inhuman, the Alanian drunken, the Hun licentious, they are, by reason of their ignorance, far less punishable than we, who, knowing the commandments of God, commit all these crimes.”PTUK January 29, 1903, page 68.1

    And Dr. Schaff remarks of this very period, and the consequences of this effort of the Papacy at the civilisation of the Roman Empire: “Nothing but the Divine judgment of destruction upon this nominally Christian but essentially heathen world, could open the way for the moral regeneration of society.” This is precisely how the Papacy gave “Christian civilisation” and “salvation” to the Roman Empire, when she held full and undisputed possession of it for more than a hundred years. And her work of civilising the barbarians was after precisely the same order. Indeed, how could it be otherwise, when she assures us that the Catholic Church “is in this world the one thing that never changes.”PTUK January 29, 1903, page 68.2

    A. T. JONES.

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