Catholics can reject the Church of the crusades, or the Church of popes thundering interdicts and excommunications, or the “Constantinian” Church—but they cannot reject the Church of Peter and of the council of the apostles, Pierre Manent writes. https://t.co/r6jJ9KmC97— Public Discourse (@PublicDiscourse) July 27, 2020
The beginning of this sentence, as it is written in Greek, follows the form of decrees made by Greek cities: “It has seemed good to the council and to the people. . . .” We can see the extraordinary audacity of this borrowed usage. We can also see which teachings this “council of the apostles,” drawing out the consequences of Pentecost, emphasizes for the manner in which we must understand “the fact of the Church.” This is not the Church copied from the form of the empire, a prideful power among prideful powers; this is the Church scarcely born, under the direction of Peter, an association deprived of everything that gives strength and credit to a human association. It is this Church that declares her power and her right to deliberate and decide as the human city deliberates and decides. In short, the Church has the form and consistency of a city.
Today Catholics can reject the Church of the crusades, or the throne and altar, or the Church of popes thundering interdicts and excommunications, or the “Constantinian” Church—but they cannot reject the Church of Peter and of the council of the apostles. If the Church today is something other than the sum of our nostalgias—or the print left behind by a “big thing” that we don’t know the meaning of, only we know that it does not concern us any more—it is because she is something other than an association of individuals exercising their right to have opinions. She is a kind of city, a “commanding form” in which a specific work is conducted, a work that operates on the whole man and is proposed to all men—this work that the Church in her weighty but clear language calls “sanctification” and whose source and body dwell in the sacrifice of the Mass.