Innocent III and England

Innocent III and England

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Innocent III and England

MacKinnon S.J., Hugh

Canadian Catholic Historical Association Report, 14 (1946-47), 35-46


Medieval men were in most things more logical than modern men; even when they were wrong it was their premise not their policy that was at fault. And precisely because later ages lost the medieval sense of logic, they laughed at medieval men and made pointless jokes about how many angels could sit on the point of a pin. Most of all, perhaps, they were logical about their religion; for they knew that every religion “impresses its image on the society that prôfésses it, and the government always follows the changes of religion”: and, instead of adopting the impossible slogan “keep the Church out of politics,” they gave heed to a divine command “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s.”

The whole history of Church and State throughout the medieval period becomes a meaningless and an irritating puzzle unless seen as a constant interplay between the spiritual and the secular to maintain this delicate balance. The story of Innocent III and England, if it is to be intelligible, must find its place within this general pattern.

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