“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,” rhapsodized Wordsworth on the French Revolution, “but to be young was very heaven.” A trace of the same exultant note can be found in WCC circles here in Paris. Never has the ecumenical star shone so brightly. The Central Committee has just recommended for membership seven new churches, and has been happily discussing the prospect of sending observers to the Vatican Council. At the local Church of Scotland on Sunday I heard a sermon on “Thou art Peter,” to which a Roman Catholic could have breathed Amen. Meanwhile Cardinal Bea said in England: “The fundamental issue is the teaching of the Church.… Here is the deepest challenge which divides us. If this problem is solved there will not be great difficulty in admitting a Papal infallibility.” Here again is that monumental presumption that in church unity discussions Rome is negotiating from a position of strength.
To criticize any of the current trends is unfashionable, but I’ll risk it, for I’ve just been reading Edmond Paris’ The Vatican against Europe, published in London by P. R. Macmillan. Born a Roman Catholic, Paris investigated the official version given of certain historical facts, and produced this volume which is a model of patient research, cross-checking, and scrupulous documentation. Ecclesiastical circles tried to smother it, happily without success.
Paris shows how since Charlemagne the Papacy has leant upon the Germans as a secular arm to impose its authority. He quotes from René Boylesve’s Feuilles tombées: “Are you then surprised at her [i.e. Rome’s] predilection for Germany, despite the latter’s crimes? The Church and Germany? But they are sisters. Both love themselves for themselves alone and are hypnotized by their ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more