Seeds of Modernity?

The Papal Reformation had actually altered forever the character of the West. The Age of Department: Christendom from the Great Schism to the Protestant Reformation, by John Strickland This reformation happened

had the military may); soldiers set in motion to extend the reach

of the Latin Church; universities established; and, inquisitions were held. A mixed bag here, at least how I see it– like numerous human endeavors even those led by men of goodwill. In this mix, the Great Schism. Whereas Christendom (East and West) had grown by humility and repentance and revealed the presence of paradise in this world, in the West paradise and this world were now divided in 2. And, on this, I should again refer to a couple of thoughts: the intrigue in the Byzantine court can quickly match anything that occurred in the West– either by the papacy or in the position of the western emperor.

Even more, the East had actually lost significant territory and considerable numbers of the faithful to Muslim military advances, while the West turned the tide and stopped these Muslim advances both in France(eventually driving Muslims out

of Spain)and in southeastern Europe; how to stabilize humility and also be prepared to safeguard one’s own has been and remains a tough problem for Christians and Christendom. Going back to Strickland: in the West, Christianity transformed to an instrument for engineering a brand-new order: This was not, to be sure, a secular utopia. As we shall see, the kingdom of paradise remained

its requirement of cultural integrity. However with its critical method to Christianity, it set the West on a course toward modernity. How did it set the West on this course? Strickland discusses that these changes would overturn the idea of

heavenly immanence. God was no longer working directly in the Church–“Church”being comprehended as the whole body of believers. Rather, provided the two cities (man and God )and the 2 classes– cloister and castle– the West tried to restrict God to work just through the Church as the organization. An ecclesiological culture thus arose in which divine immanence was no longer intrinsic to the divine-human body of Christ. It was now extrinsically moderated through the clerical– that is human– facility. Which, it appears, is among the important things that the Protestant Reformation would pertain to attend to. And I don’t indicate to comment on the doctrinal

viewpoints, just to attempt and extract how such events have actually affected later on– often centuries later on– events. Strickland goes back to

the Eastern(and prior to the eleventh century, Christendom’s )idea of Symphony, referred to as assigning to”Christian rulers the duty of working in harmony with bishops for the good of the Church.” However it could be broken if the ruler placed earthly concerns prior to those of the Church. And, if so, who or what would put a check on the ruler? It remains my view that this Eastern concept of Symphony is not readily available to us in a world of fallen male and in a world where the characteristics needed for one to increase to emperor are the specific opposite qualities of those required by Christ. It can not be claimed that it was sustained or sustainable even in the East.

This is not to say that the division of authority between the Church and the king in the West ever worked perfectly– each institution was led by a person, after all. However at least the structure remained in place that

paid for the possibility of an institutional check of one against the other. In the meantime, paradise ended up being increasingly institutionalized by the popes, kings, monks, and medical professionals who led it there. This was both the genius and the tragedy of the new Christendom.

Without institutions, nothing lasts. The problem boils down to: how to keep these institutions from being overtaken by corruption? Or, more properly, how to recover these when they undoubtedly fall under corruption? And, one can say, what was occurring in the West at this time was exactly the ways by which this latter concern was being responded to– as was also the case in the later and better-known Protestant Reformation eventually leading to modifications to corrupt Church actions. Not to whitewash the actions of popes, kings, reformers, etc. But the question stays : how to handle the corruption that always, eventually, enters into every organization? It is this concern that the West battled with during this eleventh century period. On the other hand the governance model in the East(Symphony )with the emerging design in the West(the two cities), Strickland provides

that the expression finding kind in the West … … of a difference “between church and state “… is an absurdity. All members of the state were members of the Church, and all members of the Church within a provided geographical location were members of the very same state. There is much to unpack here.

First is the idea of a”state.”As long as all laws, judgements, interpretations, and punishments are held by one power, there is a state. This was generally the case in the East. Such a thing was moving to fulfillment in the West under Charlemagne, but his efforts didn’t last beyond a generation or 2 of his death. In the West, the concept of a state– a monopoly, as described above– actually didn’t take root until after the Protestant Reformation, solidified with the Peace of Westphalia. Martin Luther was certainly a beneficiary of such a division of authority. Was the division ever completely in balance? No. were lines never crossed? No. however it was the design at which Western society and governance aimed.

The alternative, the one embraced by Strickland, is the concept of Symphony– the emperor at the head, however listening to and assisted by his bishops. Maybe I have too little faith, however such a model, it seems clear to me, constantly winds up with an emperor doing as he pleases, and a church meekly going along.

Experience this reality in the West today. The Lateran Palace was now the last tribunal for all of Western Christendom. The pope presumed the status of”universal ordinary,”meaning in

the vocabulary of legalists that he was the highest appellate judge. The pope might have stated or”assumed “such a thing, but this didn’t make it so. The numerous kings and princes had armies, more significant than anything the pope might command straight. The pope did hold excommunication over the heads of the kings and princes, however without a military willing to enforce his edicts, the impact of such a tool was mostly depending on the faith and conscience of the target. Conclusion The pontificate of Gregory VII marked a turning point in the political history of the West. After that time, rulers no

longer delighted in uncontested influence in the religious policies of their worlds. This, for Strickland, is a bad thing. He sees it as detrimental to the continuing development of Christendom. Possibly he is right, possibly he isn’t. We do know that the model, to the level it was made use of in the East, did not really limit corruption in either the Church or the emperor. We do understand that the model was one that was unable to consolidate gains made

by Christianity, particularly in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. We do understand that the qualities of one who reaches emperor( or president or prime minister)are not the exact same attributes as one who aspires to live as Christ did. We do know that all males are fallen, and the least bad service to handle this when it pertains to governance is to divide authority. Epilogue Strickland continues this chapter with a take a look at the multiple crusades of the West(consisting of disputes in between Church and king about carrying out such endeavors ), the disputes and debates between Western emperors and kings and the Church, the tool of excommunication, etc. Instead of viewing these as a weakness of Christian governance in the West, as Strickland does, I find these checks one versus the other as strengths. The department between Church and king, both under a common Christian culture, gave individuals room to discover liberty.

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