Now that the dust has settled from Traditonis Custodes (somewhat), it might be a good time to recall Eliot’s Christianity and Culture, where, he perceptively remarked, “Victories are never permanent, and neither are defeats.” Though an unreconstructed Anglican, he possessed a sensus Catholicus, which shone through in sentences like that. It is an insight we should take to heart in these post-Traditionis Custodes days.
Eliot’s insights are buttressed by St. Augustine’s repudiation of fourth-century Orosius’ Seven Books of History, which argued that Christ’s final victory had arrived upon the earth with the Emperor Theodosius’ proclamation of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Augustine scolds sharply in City of God:
Not only from the time of Christ but from that of Abel, the Church has gone forth on pilgrimage, amid both the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, and so it will be till the end of time…. As far as the prospects for the future are concerned, they remain as uncertain as always, for in the very great multiplicity of human affairs, no people has been granted such security as would free it from the dread of invasions hostile to this life.