Monday, March 28, 2011

Belloc - Church as Conservator

YOU HAVE BEEN told, "Christianity (a word, by the way, quite unhistorical) crept into Rome as she declined, and hastened that decline." That is bad history.* Rather accept this phrase and retain it: "The Faith is that which Rome accepted in her maturity; nor was the Faith the cause of her decline, but rather the conservator of all that could be conserved ...

It was not the spread of the Faith which undermined the high civilization of pagan antiquity; on the contrary, the Faith saved all that could be saved; and, but for the conversion of the Roman Empire, nothing of our culture would have remained ...

We must begin by laying it down, again as an historical fact, not to be removed by affection one way or the other, that the conversion of the Roman Empire was a conversion to what was called by all our ancestry and what is still called by those with any just historical sense, the Catholic Church.

- Hilaire Belloc

* Belloc took a 1st in History while up at Oxford University

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