Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Two Saint Augustine's



       Toward the end of the sixth century Pope Gregory of Rome sent missionaries to Britain.  A place Gregory considered the "ends of the earth."   Just awful, and there was probably some doubt as to whether the mission would ever be seen again.  Yet, Popes never do become Popes because they are innocent.  

    Two hundred years previously, under the occupation of Roman Legions, Britain had, for a while at least, been declared a Christian land.  As well,  when Gregory sent his missionaries to Briton, the English King of Kent, the most powerful pagan south of Scotland and east of Wales, was already married to a Christian woman.  He had the wonderful name of Ethelbert, and she had the wonderful name of Bertha.  She came from just across the English Channel, where French or Franks lived and still do.  But I guess the "ends of the earth" meant cold and wet, and lacking in couth.

     There have been two Saint Augustine's.  The first from North Africa.  A great mind and passionate theorist, as great minds tend to be when the world is a settled place.  The second Saint Augustine was the first Arch Bishop of Canterbury, which is in Kent, and has the cathedral, and pilgrim tales.  This second 
Augustine was an adventurous politician with a duty to his Pope, souls to save and a career to consider.  

    I mention all this, because I am firmly of the opinion that Politics and Religion are precisely  the same thing, and have been since our species left the trees to run around as frightened beings in the wide open spaces that make up the curse of imagination.  And those who call for the abstract of reason, have no understanding of what it is we are, which is why too often the first Saint Augustine, the one from Hippo, with his insistence that "We Are All Sinners" often makes more sense than mathematics.


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