I have just finished re-reading How the Irish Saved Civilization, a book that raises in me alternations of admiration, exasperation, irritation and, ultimately, profound gratitude. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising in a book written by an Irishman! 🙂
His final paragraph rises to brilliant, prophetic insight:
Perhaps history is always divided into Romans and Catholics – or, better, catholics. The Romans are the rich and powerful who run things their way and must always accrue more because they instinctively believe that there will never be enough to go around; the catholics, as their name implies, are universalists who instinctively believe that all humanity makes one family, that every human being is an equal child of God, and that God will provide. The twenty-first century, prophesied Malraux, will be spiritual or it will not be. If our civilization is to be saved – forget about our civilization, which, as Patrick would say, may pass “in a moment like a cloud or smoke that is scattered by the wind” – if we are to be saved, it will not be by Romans but by saints.
How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill, pp 217-218