We can reasonably disagree… It’s a matter of judgment, really.
Insofar as this changed among Catholics, it changed in the sense that the Pope became less capable of functioning authoritatively without the support of the Catholic monarchs. And of course the situation among Anglicans and Lutherans was much worse.
And bear in mind–the Pope didn’t cease to rule a substantial chunk of Italy until the 19th century.
True. It was not a process that just happened overnight.
I think that’s the understatement of the millennium.
It’s more than many protestants will admit to. But, I agree. Had those in the 1500’s been able to foresee the 1600’s, I think we’d all be Catholics today.
I disagree. I think this is exactly the false lesson that the modern world has learned from the Reformation. I find William Cavanaugh generally persuasive on this point (though I admit that I have a strong bias). I have also been deeply influenced by John Bossy.
Actually, I agree if you mean that the Church should not use the weapons of the world. I disagree vehemently if you mean that there is something called “secular politics” which is fine and healthy in its own place, and something private and individual called “faith” or “religion” which is also fine and healthy in its own place, and the two shouldn’t be mixed.
I mean that the Church should not use the weapons of the world. I do not mean the modern convention of separation of church and state; that is, there I believe there is a place for Christian morality in guiding societal norms through a government, and that isn’t limited to a set of specific issues. That being said, religious institutions should not be a) using states to convert their populations by force, or b) using their particular faith as a geopolitical bargaining chip. Perhaps this would be made moot had the Church not split, and the whole concept of “state religion” wouldn’t have been an issue in the ensuing centuries. After all, if there’s only one Church, there’s no other flavors of christianity to disfavor. I think my objection centers around the ABUSE of the state apparatus by the Church, not the specific relationship.
The modern era has introduced a definition of “separating church and state” where it is assumed that no issues of religious morality can enter public debate. This definition goes too far.
Which changes? The obsession with uniformity? The suppression of popular religion? The focus on authority and good order, even at the expense of charity? The muffling of the Church’s witness and the handing over of all effective authority to the emerging secular state?
Yes, changes were necessary. Changes are always necessary, and for that matter they always happen. There is no such thing as an unchanging state of affairs in this world. But the question is, where the changes that happened necessary, or would some other changes have been better?
My own view, for what it’s worth, is that something like Vatican II should (and without blatant anachronism, with regard to essential principles, conceivably could) have happened in the sixteenth century. The basic problem with Vatican II is that it is four hundred years too late.
I think we are closer in opinion than we sound, and maybe that is my fault for trying to get something that long typed up quickly. I agree that other changes would have been better than the specific route the Reformation took. If I were Martin Luther, would I have left the Church, given his specific disagreements with it? Probably not, but again, we have 500 years of hindsight.
I would also agree in that a Vatican II scenario would be the best you could reasonably hope for. But, we don’t always get Vatican II’s… Sometimes all we get is Trent. :shrug: