Historical relations

Temple concentrates his attention not on the Constantinian settlement but on the experiment of Christendom in the Middle Ages. Church and state were two activities of one international society. The church, as repository and trustee of revelation, attempted to control the state. This was in principle laudable; but the papacy used methods of force appropriate to civil government. The result was an acute secularization of the church and the forfeiture of its spiritual authority. Moreover, in claiming all spiritual activity for itself, it tended to weaken the moral power of the state and reduce it to a mere mechanism for maintaining order (CIC 63; CN 43; cf. CC 9-23).

In protest, the Reformation strongly insisted upon the purely spiritual character of religion, but unfortunately narrowed its range to the individual. This shift was reinforced by Machiavelli, who hastened the emancipation of politics from the control of religion. The state became an end in itself. Christendom was fragmented into rival entities, and most settlements separated church and state (CIC 44, 63-6).

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