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  • Renaissance
    Part 3 of 4: Catholic Church's Stand

    What stand did the Church take at this momentous crisis in history? The Catholic Church did not follow the lead of either kind of extremists. She took the sane middle way. In medio virtus, in medio tutissimus ibis, safety lies in a middle course. In the midst of the great movement of the Renaissance which had well-nigh swept Europe off its feet, she remembered her perpetual mission to teach all nations, the Greek as well as the barbarian, the enlightened as well as the ignorant, the rich as well as the poor. Far from hurling anathemas at the progress of science and the opulence of arts (though she often saw them misused) she invoked heaven's blessing upon them, inspired them with Christian principles which permeated their whole mass, and thus made of them instruments to promote the glory of God and the salvation of souls. And with this true Christian broadmindedness, confident in the unfailing presence of Christ the Savior and of the Divine Paraclete, she wisely directed the unparalleled intellectual, artistic, and scientific movement, and, beaming with a new hope, took the road of the future. There was a revival; she made it truly Catholic.

    In all lands there were men not less eminent for their Christian piety than for their classical learning who, though given to the passionate study of pagan antiquity, remained thoroughly Christian, who, appropriating the good there was in pagan antiquity, nevertheless remained conscious of their own Christian superiority; who made pagan art, literature, and science not mistresses but humble handmaids of Christianity.

    Part 4: The Renaissance an Auxiliary of Christianity

    Part 1: The Term Renaissance
    Part 2: The Leading Characteristic of the Renaissance
    Part 3: Catholic Church's Stand
    Part 4: The Renaissance an Auxiliary of Christianity

    Publication Information:

    The Catholic Encyclopedia: an International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, Volume XVII - Supplement I. New York: The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1922.


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