There was a brief moment in the twelfth century when Manuel I Komnenos considered attempting to undo the Great Schism in grand style by persuading the pope (endlessly troubled by the German emperors) to reverse the translatio imperii and crown the soverign of Constantinople as Holy Roman Emperor. Surely, it was provident and fitting that the first Christian Emperor should have vacated the Eternal City to make way for the Supreme Pontiff. “For with truth as our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good” as Boniface VIII would say. Looked at this way the Second Rome is no insult to the Elder and the Greater but a fitting seat for the first of all laymen. Perhaps the providential role marked out for Russia at Fatima indicates that the Almighty favours such a reversal of the revolution of 800 (perhaps especially since the Kings of France failed to comply with His earlier requests). As Soliviev famously cried out to Leo XIII:

Oh deathless spirit of the blessed Apostle, invisible minister of the Lord in the government of His visible Church, thou knowest that she has need of an earthly body for her manifestation. Twice already thou hast embodied her in human society: in the Greco-Roman world, and again in the Romano-German world; thou hast made both the empire of Constantine and the Empire of Charlemagne to serve her. After these two provisional incarnations she awaits her third and last incarnation. A whole world full of energies and of yearnings but with no clear consciousness of its destiny knocks at the door of universal history. What is your word ye peoples of the world? […] Your word, O peoples of the world, is free and universal Theocracy, the true solidarity of all nations and classes, the application of Christianity to public life, the Christianising of politics; freedom for all the oppressed, protection for all the weak; social justice and good Christian peace. Open to them therefore, thou key-bearer of Christ, and may the gate of history be for them and for the whole world the gate of the Kingdom of God!

Doubtless the virtual identification of the Church with the Roman Patriarchate in the High Middle Ages was an essential precondition for the ambition and the glory of that greatest of all eras but it was also a stain upon that glory to whose eradication many of the highest deeds of the heroic age were directed. If she does ever rise again Christendom will be breathing with both lungs.

Breathe in here…

Drink deep here…

Period appropriate crusading musical accompaniment…

Triumph_orthodoxy

“For those who reject the grace of redemption preached by the Gospel as the only means of our justification before God, Anathema!”

“The saint we are to honour today is one of the sublimest and most lucid interpreters of Divine truth. He rose up in the Church many centuries after the apostolic age, nay, long after the four great Latin doctors, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory. The Church, the ever young and joyful mother, is justly proud of her Thomas, and has honoured him with the splendid title of the angelical doctor, on account of the extraordinary gift of understanding wherewith God had blessed him; just as his contemporary and friend, St. Bonaventure, has been called the seraphic doctor, on account of the wonderful unction which abounds in the writings of this worthy disciple of St. Francis. Thomas of Aquin is an honour to mankind, for perhaps there never existed a man whose intellect surpassed his. He is one of the brightest ornaments of the Church, for not one of her doctors has equalled him in the clearness and precision wherewith he has explained her doctrines. He received the thanks of Christ Himself, for having well written of Him and His mysteries. How welcome ought this feast of such a saint to be to us during this season of the year,  when our main study is our return and conversion to God! What greater blessing could we have than to come to the knowledge of God? Has not our ignorance of God, of His claims, and of His perfections, been the greatest misery of our past lives? Here we have a saint whose prayers are most efficacious in procuring for us that knowledge, which is unspotted, and converteth souls, and giveth wisdom to little ones, and gladdeneth the heart, and enlighteneth the eyes. Happy we if this spiritual wisdom be granted us! We shall then see the vanity of everything that is not eternal, the righteousness of the Divine commandments, the malice of sin, and the infinite goodness wherewith God treats us when we repent.” ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

Canon in honour of St. Thomas Aquinas: Ode I

 

by John Plousiadenos (1429 – 1500)

Longing to praise the famous teacher of theology,
I approach You, O Christ, as one of infirm utterance.
Inspire me with wise speech so that I may worthily adorn him
by songs and harmonious melodies.

As a star from the West he illumined the Church of Christ:
The musical swan and subtle teacher,
Thomas, the wholly blessed, called Aquinas the sagacious.
Coming before him let us cry: Hail, teacher of the universe!

Sweet-smelling and pleasant myrrh gushed forth
from the precious coffin in which your all-holy
and lawgiving body reposes, most reverend father,
teacher of piety and the opponent of impiety.

“Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God’s church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders.”

 – Lateran IV (1215)

“…the disgrace into which the Society of Jesus had fallen made Catholics hesitant to embrace doctrines with which the Jesuits had been identified. One such doctrine was that for those who were inculpably ignorant of the Christian message, or of its truth, explicit Christian faith was not strictly necessary for salvation. Jesuits had taught that such people could be saved, as those who lived before the coming of Christ could be, by a faith in Christ, or a desire of such faith, that would be implicit in their faith in God. As we have seen, this was a departure from the teaching of St Thomas and the whole mediaeval tradition, which had required explicit Christian faith for the salvation of everyone in the Christian era. After the suppression of the Jesuit order, hardly any Catholic theologians dared to question the traditional teaching on this point.”

– Francis Sullivan S.J.

I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other, however, from the rib of the man [cf. Gen 2:7], will then rise again and stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he has done, whether it be good or bad [Rom 14:10, 2Cor 5:10]; and indeed by the very bountiful grace of God he will present the just, as vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory [Rom 9:23], with the rewards of eternal life; namely, they will live without end in the society of the angels without any fear now of their own fall; the wicked, however, remaining by choice of their own with vessels of wrath fit for destruction [Rom 9:22], who either did not know the way of the Lord, or knowing it left it when seized by various transgressions, He will give over by a very just judgment to the punishment of eternal and inextinguishable fire, that they may burn without end. This, then, is my faith and hope, which is in me by the gift of the mercy of God, in defence of which blessed Peter taught [cf. 1 Peter 3:15] that we ought to be especially ready to answer everyone who asks us for an accounting. 

– Pope Pelagius I, Humani Generis, 557 [D228a/DH443]

“But in order that your devotion, dearly beloved, may in all things be pleasing to God, we exhort you also to show due zeal in informing your presbyters of Manichees where ever they be hidden.  For it is naught but piety to disclose the hiding-places of the wicked, and in them to overthrow the devil whom they serve.  For against them, dearly beloved, it becomes indeed the whole world and the whole Church everywhere to put on the armour of Faith:  but your devotion ought to be foremost in this work, who in your progenitors learnt the Gospel of the Cross of Christ from the very mouth of the most blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.  Men must not be allowed to lie hid who do not believe that the law given through Moses, in which God is shown to be the Creator of the Universe, ought to be received:  who speak against the Prophets and the Holy Ghost, dare in their damnable profanity to reject the Psalms of David which are sung through the universal Church with all reverence, deny the birth of the Lord Christ, according to the flesh, say that His Passion and Resurrection was fictitious, not true, and deprive the baptism of regeneration of all its power as a means of grace.  Nothing with them is holy, nothing entire, nothing true.  They are to be shunned, lest they harm any one:  they are to be given up, lest they should settle in any part of our city.  Yours, dearly beloved, will be the gain before the Lord’s judgment-seat of what we bid, of what we ask.  For it is but right that the triumph of this deed also should be joined to the oblation of our alms, the Lord Jesus Christ in all things aiding us, Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.” ~ Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon IX Upon the Collections IV