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By Peter Kwasniewski, LifeSiteNews, August 1, 2019

In the Middle Ages, every member of Christendom lived under a common law: the law of the Gospel as taught by the Church. There were not two worlds, two standards, the sacred and the profane; there was but one, which unified all things around the Cross. Hence this society was hierarchical but not clericalist. Clericalism is the sclerosis of hierarchy. It occurs when hierarchy ceases to be a vital, internal principle of cohesion, recognized as the mouthpiece for a commonly-held Christianity, and becomes instead an externalized imposition.

If we follow St. Thomas Aquinas’s theology of marriage, which was fairly representative of the age in which he lived, we can say that married life was not seen as worldly to the exclusion of the demands of the sacred, nor was clerical and religious life seen as sacred to the exclusion of this world’s needs, but rather both were perceived as sacred realities belonging to the Church as expressions of Catholic life, and both were meant to bear fruit for the Kingdom of heaven: marriage by helping spouses to beget and educate citizens of the Kingdom, the clergy and religious by seeking first the Kingdom of God in their liturgical prayer, and then teaching and feeding the faithful with spiritual goods (and often enough, material goods). Marriage itself will no longer exist in the heavenly Kingdom, but, with the exception of Adam and Eve who were fashioned directly by God, all who are in the Kingdom are the welcome fruits of marriage, and this is precisely its great dignity: to be the unsurpassably vivid symbol and humble handmaid of ultimate heavenly joy, an indispensable midwife to the glorious City of God. ….

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