Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Leo XIII: Church & State in France
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The calumny made headway; and in their credulity the pagans called the first Christians “useless creatures, dangerous citizens, factionists, enemies of the Empire and the Emperors.”But in vain did the apologists of Christianity by their writings, and Christians by their splendid conduct, endeavor to demonstrate the absurdity and criminality of these qualifications: they were not heeded. Their very name was equivalent to a declaration of war; and Christians, by the mere fact of their being such, and for no other reason, were forced to choose between apostasy and martyrdom, being allowed no alternative. During the following centuries the same grievances and the same severity prevailed to a greater or less extent, whenever governments were unreasonably jealous of their power and maliciously disposed against the Church. They never failed to call public attention to the pretended encroachment of the Church upon the State, in order to furnish the State with some apparent right to violently attack the Catholic religion. (Leo XIII: Church & State in France)

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