By St. John Henry Newman, The Catholic Thing, October 13, 2019
The Psalmist says, “We went through fire and water”; nor is it possible to imagine trials fiercer or more various than those from which Catholicism has come forth uninjured, as out of the Egyptian sea or the Babylonian furnace.
First of all were the bitter persecutions of the Pagan Empire in the early centuries; then its sudden conversion, the liberty of Christian worship, the development of the cultus sanctorum, and the reception of Monachism into the ecclesiastical system. Then came the irruption of the barbarians, and the occupation by them of the orbis terrarum from the North, and by the Saracens from the South.
Meanwhile the anxious and protracted controversy concerning the Incarnation hung like some terrible disease upon the faith of the Church. Then came the time of thick darkness; and afterwards two great struggles, one with the material power, the other with the intellect, of the world, terminating in the ecclesiastical monarchy, and in the theology of the schools. And lastly came the great changes consequent upon the controversies of the sixteenth century. ….