Again, since she is organized on a supernatural basis, there are supernatural elements in her own constitution which she can no more modify than her dogmas. Recently, in France, she was offered the kingdom of this world if she would do so; it was proposed to her that she actually retain her own wealth, her churches and her houses, and yield up her principle of spiritual appeal to the Vicar of Christ. If she had been but human, how evident would have been her duty! How inevitable that she should modify her constitution in accordance with human ideas and preserve her property intact! And how entirely impossible such a bargain must be for a Society that is divine as well as human!
Take courage then! We desire peace above all things—that is to say, the Peace of God, not that peace which the world, since it can give it, can also take away; not that peace which depends on the harmony of nature with nature, but of nature with grace.
Yet, so long as the world is divided in allegiance; so long as the world, or a country, or a family, or even an individual soul bases itself upon natural principles divorced from divine, so long to that world, that country, that family, and that human heart will the supernatural religion of Catholicism bring not peace, but a sword. And it will do so to the end, up to the final world-shattering catastrophe of Armageddon itself.
“I come,” cries the Rider on the White Horse, “to bring Peace indeed, but a peace of which the world cannot even dream; a peace built upon the eternal foundations of God Himself, not upon the shifting sands of human agreement. And until that Vision dawns there must be war; until God’s Peace descends indeed and is accepted, till then My Garments must be splashed in blood and from My Mouth comes forth not peace, but a two-edged sword.”
WEALTH AND POVERTY
Make to yourselves friends of the Mammon of iniquity.
You cannot serve God and Mammon.-LUKE XVI. 9, 13.
We have seen how the Church of the Prince of Peace must continually be the centre of war. Let us go on to consider how, as a Human Society dwelling in this world, she must continually have her eyes fixed upon the next, and how, as a Divine Society, she must be open to the charge of worldliness.
I. (i) The charge is a very common one: “Look at the extraordinary wealth and splendour that this Church of the Poor Man of Nazareth constantly gathers around her and ask yourself how she can dare to claim to represent Him! Go through Holy Rome and see how the richest and most elaborate buildings bear over their gateways the heraldic emblems of Christ’s Vicar! Go through any country which has not risen in disgust and cast off the sham that calls herself ‘Christ’s Church’ and you will find that no worldly official is so splendid as these heavenly delegates of Jesus Christ, no palaces more glorious than those in which they dwell who pretend to preach Him who had not where to lay His head!