Saturday, 4 June 2016

Church And State

An Anderson text has an issue on every page. Corentinus says, of his own view on sanctuary:

"'It sets the Church above the state: as is fit and proper, of course.'"
-Poul and Karen Anderson, The Dog And The Wolf, Chapter XVIII, section 2, p. 360.

Oh no, it isn't, Corentinus. The state, which can be made democratic, should protect equally everyone within its borders irrespective of their religion or lack of it. Church and state must be separate. As I understand it, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, wanted clergy to be tried in, more lenient, Church courts and everyone else to be tried in the King's courts for the same offenses whereas Henry II wanted everyone tried in his courts. I would support Henry. Anderson's Time Patrol series presents the view that the unresolved medieval church-state conflict had beneficial consequences - but it was still a struggle for power between two groups of men.

Of Rufinus' drowning, Corentinus says:

"'Poor Rufinus. A ghastly ending. I'll pray for him. He just may had time to see the Light.'" (ibid.)

Again, come off it, Corentinus. Rufinus would not have converted to Christianity at the moment of death nor should any deity expect him to. If there is a hereafter, then let Rufinus approach the Light there.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Except, I don't think we now live in truly "democratic", or to put it better, liberty respecting times. Ours is the age of the increasingly oppressive bureaucratic state, one too often dominated by doctrinaire ideologues of the most grotesque sort using state coercion to force their ideas on others. I call that tyranny, not liberty, no matter the ostentatiously "democratic" forms used.

    I disagree with Corentinus in part. I would not set the Church above the state. Far better to think of the Church keeping the state at arms length, denying it has the right to either control the Church or that it is beyond the moral criticism of the Church. That was the view taken by Popes like Gelasius (in the 490's) and Boniface VII in his quarrel with Philip IV of France.

    And the basic point between Henry II and St. Thomas a'Becket was the latter claiming the right to CONTROL the Church in England and the archbishop denying that. In that sense, I will side with St. Thomas.

    I have to agree with what you said about Corentinus' comments about Rufinus. It would have been better if the bishop had simply said he would pray for Rufinus' soul and leave his fate up to him and God.


  2. Drat! I made a mistake in the third paragraph of my note above. I meant to write: "And the basic point between Henry II and St. Thomas a'Becket was the FORMER claiming the right to control the Church in England..." "FORMER," not "latter."

    I really need to be more careful, and less hasty!


    1. Sean,
      Your comments are always welcome. Hastiness is understood.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Many thanks! Esp. when you recall how often I have disagreed with you. But, errors caused by hastiness still annoys me. It can cause me to be misunderstood.