‘The Church is an anvil’
Pól Ó Muirí
Some of the comments from the last posting on the documentary on the Rosary (did anyone actually watch the programme in question?) brought to mind this quote from Philip Jenkin’s fascinating book, The Lost History of Christianity, which explores the destruction of ancient Christian communities in the middle and far east – not by the media or blog but by fire and sword. Hopefully, it might temper the mood of all those involved in the argument about the Catholic Church at the moment: those who worry about press persecution destroying their faith and those who think that violent anti-Catholic sentiment might actually win the day.
This short passage is from the chapter on How Faiths Die:
“Responding to a threat of persecution, 16th century Protestant Theodore Beza urged a foe to “remember that the Church is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer”. The history of all the great world faiths proves that religions are highly resilient, and difficult to eradicate. History is littered with false claims about the imminent deaths of religions, claims that in retrospect make almost comic reading. The first known contemporary reference to the Jewish people is an Egyptian inscription boasting that “Israel is laid waste: his seed is no more.” Mark Twain remarked on how often the world had turned out for the burial or Roman Catholicism, only to find it postponed yet again, “on account of the weather or something … Apparently one of the most uncertain things in the world is the funeral of a religion.” ”