Among other central thoughts in Comte's explanation of history are these: - The displacement of theological by positive conceptions has been accompanied by a gradual rise of an industrial regime out of the military regime; - the great permanent contribution of Catholicism was the separation which it set up between the temporal and the spiritual powers,; - the progress of the race consists in the increasing preponderance of the distinctively human elements over the animal elements; - the absolute tendency of ordinary social theories will be replaced by an unfailing adherence to the relative point of view, and from this it follows that the social state, regarded as a whole, has been as perfect in each period as the co-existing condition of humanity and its environment would allow.
But Catholicism could not wholly or immediately be dislodged by the teaching of Luther.
To a less extent, similar problems and alternatives arise in regard to the church: - Catholicism a compromise between Jewish Christianity and Pauline or Gentile Christianity (F.
Such tenets were destructive not only of Catholicism but of Christianity of any kind and of civil society itself; and for this reason so unecclesiastical a person as the emperor Frederick II.
Chmielnicki was now regarded not merely as a Cossack rebel, but as the arch-enemy of Catholicism in eastern Europe, and the pope granted a plenary absolution to all who took up arms against him.
This weakness was due not to attacks from without - for orthodox Protestantism had long since lost its aggressive force - but to disruptive tendencies within the Church; the Enlightenment of the 18th century had sapped the foundations of the faith among the world of intellect and fashion; the development of Gallicanism and Febronianism threatened to leave the Holy See but a shadowy pre-eminence over a series of national churches, and even to obliterate the frontier line between Catholicism and Protestantism.
The decrees of this council defined Roman Catholicism against the Reformation; and, while failing to regenerate morality, they enforced a hypocritical observance of public decency.
It admittedly started by taking the truth of Catholicism for granted; and its only object was to make intelligible to reason the dogmas that faith already accepted.
Roman Catholicism was tolerated, or rather connived at; but its professors were subject to frequent alarms, and to great severities during the ascendancy of Titus Oates.
When, however, in connexion with the quarrel about the archbishopric of Cologne (1837), political Catholicism raised its head menacingly, Leo turned against it with extreme violence in his open letter (1838) to Goerres, its foremost champion.