Sistine Chapel chimney could get sootier

Sistine Chapel chimney could get sootier

The discussions of reform of "THE church" by American journalists ignore several important sociological factors. For most Americans the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in the U.S. is not an ecclesia (i.e. a church in the original sense) but a "denomination," one among others. Roman Catholics, who often call themselves "Catholics," are no better and no worse, at least in the minds of most citizens, than Presbyterians or, for that matter, Eastern Orthodox Catholics. The medieval idea of the Roman Catholic Church was not that it was one denomination among others. There were no other "legitimate" denominations. Then the ideology was that there really was only ONE church (one ecclesia). The Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Catholic Church dominated "Europe" for hundreds of years (at least between 900-1200) and in some ways we can speak of a one thousand year "Empire" (Reich), consisting of both the RCC and the HRE together (Pope and Emperor). After Luther, Calvin, etc., and the Protestant Reformation (and Thirty Years War) that was no longer really the case. People discuss this Pope without reference to at least a thousand years of very turbulent political history. Ever since Luther very few people have really thought of the Pope in the same way as some really did think of him in high Middle Ages.

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