Hilaire Belloc

Europe is the Church, and the Church is Europe. It is immaterial to the historical value of this historical truth whether it be presented to a man who utterly rejects Catholic dogma or to a man who believes everything the Church may teach. A man remote in distance, in time, or in mental state from the thing we are about to examine would perceive the reality of this truth just as clearly as would a man who was steeped in its spirit from within and who formed an intimate part of Christian Europe. The Oriental pagan, the contemporary atheist, some supposed student in some remote future, reading history in some place from which the Catholic Faith shall have utterly departed, and to which the habits and traditions of our civilization will therefore be wholly alien, would each, in proportion to his science, grasp as clearly as it is grasped today by the Catholic student who is of European birth, the truth that Europe and the Catholic Church were and are one thing. — “What Was the Roman Empire?” from Europe and the Faith.

Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953) was an English writer and historian who, with his good friend and fellow Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, helped define the literary voice of the Roman Catholic Church in England in the early part of the 20th Century. Perhaps best known today for his satirical “Cautionary Tales for Children,” a series of verses recounting the fateful ends of various misbehaving boys and girls, Belloc wrote histories on a variety of subjects from an aggressively Catholic point of view, including Europe, the Reformation, the Crusades, as well as biographies of Oliver Cromwell, James I, and Napoleon.

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