Can It Be Revived?
by G. Houghton Brown
" THE Peace of Christendom "
was the prime purpose for which Pope Leo and Charlemaaue instituted the supernational office of Holy Roman Emperor.
"Peace" is a much abused word and we may well inquire what was this " Peace " which for e thousand year all Christians, though at war, held as a sacred and unquestioned rule ? " Peace." as Christians understand 'it. is good will, it is a condiiion of the human will moved by the love of God The Peace of the individual soul depends on the s,oul's love of . God, domestic and political peace depends on man's love of his neighbour for God's sake, inter-racial or international peace is merely an extension of political peace and in time of war includes love of our enemies for God's sake.
If love, if good will, is lacking in any of these relationships. then there is no Peace or merely a very imperfect re
semblance to Peace. Perfect Peace is the goal of every human soul and it is a goal which _will tot be reached in thi, world ; perfect peace will be enjoyed only by the sanctified soul united to God after paying the penalty of death.
The chief purpose of that temporal or political organisation called the Holy Roman Empire was to rule end order the lives of men with the aim of Peace always first. Peace in all the idatiooships of this life leading to its perfection in Eternity The " Peace of Christendom," as Pope Leo and Charlemagne understood it did not mean that war was forbidden; on the contrary. for the sake of the Peace of Christ it as thought necessary to fight its defence of Truth and Justice and against everything or anybody who threatened the Christian lute of Peace.
In its ideal theory the duty of the Holy Roman Erritieror consisted in so ordering the temporal affairs of Christians that they should be able to dwell together in tranquillity both spiritual and physical and thus be able the bettor to gain that end for which God created them, the contemplation of His glory which is perfect satisfaction, ultimate Peace.
Tins was the ideal tor vsbiet the super-national throne of the Emperor was set above the thrones of kings and all national sovereignty and placed beside the spiritual throne of the Pope. This was the reason for the twin thrones of the " Vicar of God " and the
" Vial'. of Christ." It was for this " Peace " that Christians venerated both the spiritual and the temporal swords as the safeguards of the supernational order of Christian Peace.
Armed Force Armed force is indeed a necessary condition for the keeping of Peace in a sinful world as Pope Leo clearly it:cognised, when he chose Charlemagne, King of the Franks, at that date the greatest military power in Latin Christendom, to be the first of the supernational Emperors; neither Pope nor Emperor ever visualised the Imperial power as a self-controlled international machine for preventing strife. Every safeguard was arranged whereby the power of armed force should always be controlled and moved in conformity with the laws Of Goa and His Church for the purpose of defending the Peace of the Church which is Christendom.
The Popes. by insisting on their power to excommunicate and &pose the Emperors, sought to make SUM that the strength of temporal armed force should nevet move contrary to the ire teiests of the Christian religion •upon which the whole structure of Christian culture and civilisation reposed.
To prevent armed hostility by Means of an international armed " police force," us has been proposed at Dumbartim Oaks may be good or 11 may be bud. It all depends tender whose banner the armed police force moves, whether it marches to the order of God or itiaMIG011. whether it loves the Justice of Christ or serves the ethics of the Atheist It will be said that to-day we must establish a unity for vast Empiree of diverse beliefs and that it is impossible to regulate such diversity to the way that Leo and Charlemagne did by giving a political unity to the already existing spiritual unity of Latin Christendom.
This is true and because it is true we must face the fact that it is impossible to establish any tasting international unity without the foundation of a super-national belief. We may possibly achieve international agreements whereby armed warfare can, for a time be avoided, but that will not be " Peace " as Christians understaad Peace."
So long as nations deny the existence of God or worship Mammon or hold their own blood more. sacred than the blood of others, who can say that Peace reigns in the world ? Who indeed could say that under such conditions of injustice it would tee right even to forbid wzu ? For Christians Peace walks ever hand-in-hand with Justice There is no Peace for the unjust-for men of ill will.
h is useless to hope tor Peaee. or any semblance of Peace from a temporal order which is not built on a spiritual unity on the bond of love. International order can only be built on supernatural order. The temporal order is dependent on the spiritual order as man is dependent on his soul and the soul of God.
Collapse of National Frontiers To-day we are witnessing the collapse of national frontiers, the end of barriers of space and time which separate race
from race, continent from Continent. The old stational territorial order, upon
which our statesmen are busy planning the future, is clearly doomed. The.
New Order. the new divisions of the human race will be based more on religion and philosophy than on any boundaries of earth or water.
We of the Catholic Faith have for nearly 2,000 years been accustomed to vietv the world from the standpoint of religious rather than racial or national unity. The same outlook is common, but in .a lesser degree, to other religions
or philosophies but it is only the youngest of the world's philosophies.
which has so clearly sensed the new order of worldly things as to organise itself mffititeally on a super-national theory, atheistic Communism.
Latin Christendom when under the Holy Roman Emperor, was politically organised in much the same manner as the Soviet Republics are now. In Latin Christendom 'before the destruc tion of its spiritual unity, it was a punishable offence to deny or corrupt any article of the Christian belief just
as in Russia it is a punishable offence to work against 'Or 'seek to corrupt the' theory of the Communist State.
In Latin Christendom the civil laws were based upon and upheld the laws of the Church just as in the Sovies Republics the laws are based upon and uphold the Communistic ethics. It only when the temporal order. the political order, is at unity with and upholds the spiritual order that a great eultute
or civilisation tesults. The decay of European culture is due to the division and opposition of the political and the spiritual orders. In Germany the National Socialists recognised this truth and attempted to remodel religion to serve the National Socialistic State.
The world of to-morrow will witness the great divisions and struggles of
rival religions and philosophies. Lei us be prepared. if we do not show that the Christian ideal of Peace and Justice call he realised, that they are real and true policies, that they arc the only policies which ensure men any rights as an individual. we shall be judged and condemned as a people of dreams, a people whose beliefs are not realisable: we stall be told that the. Kingdom of Christ is not capable of forming thy foundation of a world order, that the laws of Christ are not applicable to modern man.
It is essential to revive a conscious nolitical unity in the Church, to restore to the people of God that ancient ideal. the Peace ol' Christendom, true Chris'len Peace understood as a political ideal, a super-national new order 'based on the rock of supernatural belief.
Ifethe world is to escape a reversion to slavery or a false peace imposed by force unrelated to Justice, it is essential for Christians to restore a supernitrite-me political order which, like the Holy Empire of old. will .make Christian Peace and Justice a real and active noliey. Only the Catholic Church 15 able to give the world the order it ,hirsts for because only amongst Catholics is there a universal faith which is super-national and also supernatural.