AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO and ST BENEDICT Readings - From: Norman...

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From: Norman F. Cantor The Medieval Reader First Edition: Pages 32-41 AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO 420: CHURCH AND STATE Augustine was a native North African Berber who was a master of Latin rhetoric and learning. While at one point denouncing the Roman state as a band of robbers and at another saying the virtues of the pagan Romans were only splendid vices, Augustine also gave the church an alternative and more moderate doctrine with respect to its role in the world. The only things that really count are the two cities, one of God and the other (the earthly) of the devil, which are mystical, internal communities whose membership is known only to God until the end of time. Meanwhile, let the church be a Catholic (universal) institution preaching the gospel and providing the sacramental means of grace, and let the state provide earthly peace so that the church can do its work and the pilgrimage of the heavenly city continue. Augustine thereby proposed an accommodating view of the church's role in society and its relationship with kings and nobility. In practice, this was the way things more often worked than the clanging disputes arising from efforts to assert the papal rules. Church is superior to state, Augustine believed, but they are cooperating rather than conflicting social agencies. Similarly, the church should filter and adapt classical culture for its own use A belief in the doctrine of hierarchy was combined by Augustine with a Roman sense of social cohesion and political stability. Hierarchy could be imbedded and function within a harmonious world system. Churchmen who served kings as administrators and secretaries liked Augustine's moderate version of hierarchic theory. And many bishops, who stemmed from great noble families and committed to fulfilling onerous managerial responsibilities, found Augustine's doctrine more practical than the confrontational papal rules. THE CITY OF GOD The earthly city, which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace, and the end it proposes, in the well-ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men's will to attain the things which are helpful to his life. The heavenly city, or rather the part of it which sojourns on earth and lives by faith, makes use of this peace only because it must until this mortal condition which necessitates it 'shall pass away. Consequently, so long as it lives like a captive and a stranger in the earthly city, though it has already received the promise of redemption, and the gift of the Spirit as the earnest of it, it makes no scruple to obey the laws of the earthly city, whereby the things necessary for the maintenance of this mortal life are administered; . This heavenly city, then, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages, not scrupling about diversities in the manners, laws, and institutions whereby earthly peace is secured and maintained, but recognising that,
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however various these are, they all tend to one and the same end of earthly peace. It
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AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO and ST BENEDICT Readings - From: Norman...

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