THE Roman statesmen and mili tary leaders by whose labours the ancient world, so far as it was known to them, became an imperial whole, regarded that achievement as an end in itself. Time proved them mistaken. In
the perspective of history, the Roman Empire is seen as merely forming the natural foundations for a supernatural structure that, also, was to be worldwide. The Roman Empire was a massive parable by which the minds of men might be trained to think in terms of a religious catholicism wherein should be " neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumeision, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free." There resulted the great Church and civilisation of the Middle Ages. That, however, was before the growth of the nationalistic spirit broke up the unity of Europe in both a religious and political sense.
Now, up to a point, the work has to be done over again. And God, Whose policy is always of the long-term order. is once again training the minds of men to think, on the political level, of a great human federation in which there shall be neither East nor West, British not American, German nor Russian. It is towards the realisation of that ideal that politically-conscious mankind is now straining. In reflecting on that, there are certain points which call for consideration.
1. The federation of mankind is already an accomplished fact. In Christ and His Church, even now, we form one living organism. Unity in the Mystical Body transcends our national and racial differences. But this unity bas to become effective on lower levels.
We have to rebuild Christendom, but on a wider scale than before, and more organically.
2. We cannot do this with any hopes of permanent success unless we start from the Accomplished Fact. It is from the existing nucleus that the organism must grow. To attempt a new start without reference to the foundations already laid is superfluous labour and funk.
3. Nevertheless, the international idealism of our times is playing its part—a part similar to that once played by Roman imperialism. A world tederation that respected national traditions would be a magnificent, historical parable which should make easier a true understanding of what it is that the Catholic Church signifies. 'Through its natural aspirations, God is leading our generation towards a vision of His supernatural Society.
STANLEY B. JAMES.