by Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist.
1. Occasion and Intention
The sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 shook the Roman world to its foundations. Although Rome was no longer the capital even of the Western Empire, nevertheless she was the symbol of the civilized world. To many Romans this catastrophe seemed to be a refutation of Christianity. Clearly, the Christian God was unable or unwilling to protect the city in which he was now honored. Christianity was unable to fulfill the function that political theology assigned to it of assuring the safety of the empire, and especially of that city from which the empire had originally sprung. Saint Augustine of Hippo responded to this argument in The City of God.
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