THE INNER LIFE COMPROMISES WITH THE FIRST EMPIRE
From the fourth century to the Reformation the organized Catholic Church was the official religious organ of western civilization as embodied in states and empires. While the earlier world-denying type of Christianity lived on in the monastery there arose in the papacy an organization whose function it was to infuse the new Christian ideal into the institutions of society transmitted through Greek and Roman civilization. The Catholic Church was all that was left of the Roman Empire in which was conserved the culture of the ages.
Christianity with its abstract spirituality logically would have kept aloof from the forms of organized society, the state, the family, science and industry, because the predominant Greco-Roman bases of these social forms were contrary to the inner, spiritual freedom of the Christian man. This would have been the logical ideal; but this did not happen. The separation of the Christian Church from the actual social and political world could only be theoretical. What really happened was that the great historical civiliza-