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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Church And State - 328 words
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The Catholic Church, while she is militant on earth, is compelled to wage an incessant conflict, both for the preservation of the purity of her doctrines and for her own liberty in proclaiming them. The political disputes are a part and a consequence of the dogmatic controversy, and the mission of the Church resides in both alike. All modern history is filled with this double contest; on the one hand with her successive victories over new forms of error, and on the other with her gradual emancipation from every earthly influence. The latter aspect of ecclesiastical history is chiefly exhibited in the vicissitudes of the Papacy as a temporal power--in the growth and settlement of the Roman States. The conservation of the independence of the Holy See through the integrity of its territory has been an object of such importance as frequently to engage nearly the whole of Europe in the contests it has occasioned. Empires have risen and fallen in its behalf, and it has been the paramount interest and motive in most of the greatest changes in the political arrangement of Europe. It was a glorious spectacle for mankind, that, through all the shocks and changes of our history, through barbarous and civilized ages, in spite of the temptations of ambition and of the instigation of religious hatred, during centuries of boundless covetousness and violence, the Church, whilst surrounded by heretical and infidel powers, should have continued in possession of her dominions, recovering them whenever they were attacked, and gradually increasing them for nearly a thousand years, although guarded by nothing but the awe of an unseen protector, and the dread of the mysterious avenger who watched over her.
Now that this feeling has been discarded as a superstition, now that it has been discovered that the dreaded power is a phantom, that shame is childish and honour absurd, and that conscience is nothing but the unreasonable voice of habit--now that the spell which was on.
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