Point 29. The Church and Christendom
There is a great difference and a mortal opposition between the Church and the world considered as a stranger or a rebel to the Gospel, subject to the “ Prince of this World ”, Satan – this world which has not yet been conquered by love and vanquished by the power of its eschatological Lord and King, Jesus Christ. But what would the Church be if she were not implanted in the world? if she did not have to be so implanted? if she were to be a purely spiritual community, a religious bond without any material support or any social institution? But it is normal and necessary – and indeed ordained by Jesus Christ – that the Church assume all the realities of earthly life, families, peoples and kingdoms.
The world of the Gospel, freed from Satan’s tutelage and entirely governed by Christ’s law, is “ Christendom ”.
1. The Phalangist rejects the disincarnation or the disengagement of the Church. For him Church and Christendom are the same land, the same cities, the same peoples – at one moment considered under the aspect of their temporal communities, necessities, traditions, activities and aims, and at another moment under the aspect of their religious organisations, life and destiny. Without the Church, Christendom cannot for long be maintained in its order, virtue and beauty – as we see today where it has been cruelly abandoned by her – for it is the Church that provides its supernatural dimension, its soul, its vigour and its framework. Without Christendom – as in times of persecution and in the current period of liberalism and anarchy – the Church is in a state of affliction, and despite miracles of continual heroism, she is exposed to consumption and death.
2. The Phalangist will not allow himself to desire a Christian world lacking submission and devotion to the Church which inspires, nourishes, and even exercises a necessary authority over it. Nor will he dream of a purely spiritual “ informal ” Church without any communication, concord or concordat with temporal society, its authorities and laws, since such fantasies only serve to expose both the Church and secular society to ruin.
3. The Phalangist keeps a reasoned and strong attachment to Christendom, to its idea, its past glory, its present reality, and its entire global agenda. He will not tolerate any perfidious criticisms of it: that it is, for example, a ghetto, closed in on itself and jealous of its own spiritual and temporal goods. He knows that the Christendom he loves derives its legitimacy, its life and its future only through the mysterious sap of divine grace, of which the Roman Catholic Church is the sole dispenser: a Church of order, to be sure! But the Church could not be the inspirer and animator of all human order, were she to cease to be primarily the Church of grace, the Church of eternal salvation, whose heart is elsewhere, far above the things of this world, in Heaven with her Spouse, Jesus Christ, to Whom she ceaselessly raises and leads her children.