cupy the seats of power, then the Churchnwill return to the witness-bearing puritynof her earliest days, a time when martyrdomnwas the usual outcome of an ecclesiasticalncareer.nOne should not underestimate thenstrength of his case: every student ofnChurch history can produce his own examplesnof the Church’s collusion withnthe City of Man. And Martin—whosennovels. The Find Conclave and King ofnKings, demonstrate his fascination withnscene-painting and dramatic encounter—pullsnout all the stops in chaptersnthat read like a script for an ecclesiasticalndocudrama: popes rivaling Satan innpride and Sodom in debauchery; papalnmurders and kidnappings; medieval torturenpresented with a pathologist’snscrupulous detail. There are poignantndeathbed scenes of popes in exile, popesnin prison, popes broken by the collapsenof worldly schemes of conquest andnpower. /, Claudius cannot match it.nThe format is simple: each chapter describesnan aborted opportunity for thenoccupant of Peter’s chair to render untonCaesar the things that are Caesar’s, renouncingnonce and for all temporalnpower and influence. It is The Shoes ofnthe Fisherman replayed in different settingsnamid shifting alignments of worldlynpower.nMartin dispenses his own brand ofnhigh-grade Irish blarney, and he cannotnwrite a dull book. But there are gravenproblems with this one which fall intontwo categories. First, the New Journalismnnovelization of history leaves one tonwonder how much is tme and how muchnis creative writing. Much is clearly fabricated:nmost of the dialogue; the long internalnsoliloquies of popes, bishops andnkings; perhaps some of the machinationsnof the papal elections as well. And somenof what purports to be straight history isninaccurate or misleading: Martin consistentlyndownplays the role of theologicalndifferences in religious controversies,nsentimentalizes the history of religiousnminorities like the Palestinian Christiansnand the Albigcnsians, and commits outand-outnbloopers, as in dating some ofnthe early Church Fathers after the papacynof Leo the Great.nBut the larger question, and thengreater difficulty, concerns the thesis ofnMartin’s book. That there have been corruptnand myopic bishops and popes nonone denies. That they have done Christianitynincalculable harm is a painful—nand shameful—truth. But the routenfrom these observations to Martin’s conclusionnthat the City of God and the Citynof Man can and must be cleanly dividednis not syllogistic. Spiritual pride and ambitionncorrupt just as surely as their temporalncounterparts, and confining clergynto a purely spiritual role would not necessarilynensure pious and edifying clergy.nMartin’s book is marred by his nostalgicnromanticization of the age of the Christiannmartyrs. He turns away from thensorry compromises of Western Christianitynto prophesy another age of Christiannmartyrdom.nAn all-or-nothing attitude towardnChristian commitment is not only understandable,nbut also admirable. ThenWest has reached the dead end of liberalnpluralism, a largely secular culturenespousing values antithetical to Christianitynand pursuing goals incompatiblenwith the Christian life. The moral perilsnof what cocktail-party hostesses calln”mingling” are obvious: the immoderatendesire to fit in, to “pass” as a normalnproduct of one’s time. In reaction to thenincreased pressure to conform, we havenseen the opposite response in recentnnnyears: Christians tend to huddle togethernfor warmth in shared opposition to thenWorld. The emergence of the Moral Majoritynand the proliferation of privite religiousnschools are two examples of thisntrend. How far one should go in thisndirection is a matter of judgment and circumstances.nBut there are no easy distinctionsnbetween the City of God andnthe City of Man. How should the earlynChurch have responded to a barbariannEurope? Should it have withdrawn intonGraeco-Roman purity and taken up permanentnresidence in the catacombs?nShould it have labored patiently to breaknoff a convert or two from the Goth ornVandal hordes? Or should it have actednas it did—tackling the conversion of entirentribes and nations, which at that timennecessarily entailed the conversion ofntheir mlers? And if this last choice wasnthe proper one, or even an acceptablenone, wasn’t some degree of political entanglementninevitable? Such an inquirynattempts simply to understand the contextnin which the Church’s worldly sinsnwere committed. How else could Christianitynhave been conveyed to the post-nRoman world? The Scriptures, thencreeds, the writings of the Fathers, thenhymns and liturgies had to be sharednwith the Germans and Slavs and Anglesnand Saxons; the treasury of ancient civilizationnhad to be shared.nReligion is transmitted throughnculture, whether native or acquired; thisnis true even though, as ChristophernDawson has pointed out, civilizationsnmn the risk of identifying religion withnculture. Any religion which claims universalitynand wishes to transcend its originsnmust work out the difficult questionsnthis entails. The relations of churchnand state, the boundary lines of secularnand religious, are merely one part of thengreater question of the relationship ofnreligion to life.nAt times Martin seems to accommodatensome of these complexities, but hisnnovelistic presentation, his fondness forncatalogues of horrors, his desire for a hierarchynfully detached from the world, rendernhim impatient with compromise andnJttly/Attgiistl98Sn