THE CHRISTIANISATION OF THE CHURCH
The Church must first awaken out of her sleep and her European emptiness, and then Europe will come again to life. The Church has failed, not because she was not Europeanised, but just because she was too much Europeanised. Instead of inspiring Europe she was inspired by Europe, i.e. emptied by the empty Europe. The soul obeyed the body and became the body itself. All the secular watchwords entered the Church and the Church watchwords were eclipsed. Liberalism, conservatism, ceremonialism, right, nationalism, imperialism, law, democracy, autocracy, republicanism, socialism, scientific criticism, and similar things have filled the Christian theology, Christian service, Christian pulpits as the Christian Gospel. In reality the Christian gospel has been as different from all these worldly ideas and temporal forms as heaven is different from earth. For all these ideas or forms were earthly, bodily, dustly--a convulsive attempt to change unhappiness for happiness through the changing of institutions. The Church ought to have been indifferent towards them, pointing always her principal idea, embodied in Christ. And her principal idea meant never a change of external things, of institutions, but a change of spirit. All the ideas named were secular precepts to cure the world's evil, the very poor drugs to heal the sick Europe outside of the Church and without the Church.
Yet the Church only possessed the true remedy, although she became forgetful of it, because she herself got sick, and instead of giving the world the necessary remedy she looked about to take it from the world. Weakened in her position in the world and forgetful of her external value, the Church, or some parts or parties of the Church, made even coquetry with the current and transitory potencies in order to make her position stronger. Yet the fact stood in history as big as a mountain that the Church always failed when making concessions of her spirit to any temporary power, and when not making concessions as to the visible forms and transitory shapes of human societies.
Neither Ritualism nor Liberalism helps anything without the true Christian spirit. The modern Ritualism and Liberalism are absolutely equally worthless from the Christian point of view, being so hostile to each other as they are, filled with the unclean spirit of hatred, unforgiveness, despising and even persecuting each other. They are equally unchristian and even antichristian. Measured by the mildest measure they are a new edition of the Judaistic Pharisaism and Sadduceeism. The Ritualists cling to their ritual, the Liberals cling to their protest against the Ritualists. But the true spirit by which both of them move and act and write and speak is the unclean spirit of hatred and despite of each other, the very spirit which excludes them both from communion with Christ and the saints. The Church has been equally de-christianised by Ritualists and Liberals, by Conservatives and Modernists, by bowers and by talkers. The Church must be now re-christianised amongst all of them and through all of them.
Let the Church be the Church, i.e. the community of the saints. Let the world know that the Church's mission on earth is not to accumulate wealth, or to gain political power or knowledge, or to cling to this institution or to that, but to cleanse mankind from its unclean, evil spirits, and to fill it with the spirit of saintliness. Let the Church first change her spirit and then urge the whole of mankind to change theirs.
Let the Ritualists know that however devout they might be, still they can call the Protestants their brothers. The most devout have been often killers of their neighbours and killers of Christ.
Let the learned doctors of Protestantism think that however learned they might be, still they are foolish and ignorant enough to be self-satisfied. It is doubtful whether the most elaborate sermon of a Protestant doctor smells more beautifully than incense. The most learned theologians in Germany and elsewhere have whole-heartedly supported the criminal enterprise of the warlike and criminal scientia militans. The deepest learning and the meanest spirit have often shown in history a very brotherly alliance. Christianity is not that.
Let the Pope be congratulated for his tenacious keeping of the idea of Theocracy. But let him consider this idea only as the starting-point in the social science of the Church. His Theocracy has been refused because it was not at the same time Christocracy and Sanctocracy. The saints in Christ are alone infallible. Let the Vatican be filled with saints, and infallibility then will not need to be preached and ordered but only to be silently shown. Nobody believes infallibility upon authority, but everyone will accept it upon Saintliness.
The way of authority is a fallible way.
The way of knowledge is quite as fallible.
But the way of saintliness is infallible.
Every spirit is fallible but the spirit of saintless. The Church is infallible not by any talisman but by her saintliness. The Bishop of Rome or of Canterbury will be infallible only if they are saints. The saints are detached from everything and attached to Christ, so that Christ incarnates His spirit in them. Not we, but Christ in us, is infallible.
Let the people of the Eastern Church stick to their Christian ideal of saintliness. Their interpretation of the Christian spirit may be the best and truest. Yet the ideal must become flesh. Let them not be proud of their not having pride, and exclusive because God chose them to understand the bottomless deepness of the esoteric Christianity. By pride towards the proud and by exclusiveness they may spoil and darken their ideals and remain in the dark.
Let all the Churches feel their unity in the ideal spirit of saintliness. But if that is difficult for them, let them first feel their unity in sinfulness, in committed sins and crimes, in their nakedness and poverty. Just to start with, this first step seems absolutely necessary. Never any great saint became saintly unless he first thought himself equal in impurity and sinfulness with all other human beings. The Churches must go the way of the saints. Their way is the only infallible one.