[L]et us take a look at the picture painted by St Cyprian of the African Church at the moment when he became its leader [in the third century]: ‘Each man applies himself to augmenting his own fortune. This is more important to the priests than piety, of more value than integrity of faith among the servants of God. It matters more than charitable works or moral rectitude. The men dare to clip their beards, the natural adornment of their faces, and the women paint theirs with cosmetics. The purity of men’s eyes – those works of God – is corrupted. People dye their hair all kinds of false colours. Ruse and artifice are employed in order to deceive simple souls. Christians marry unbelievers; members of Christ’s Church are prostituted to the pagans. Not only do men swear by all and sundry, they perjure themselves. They have only a conceited disdain for their betters. Every man pours venomous slander on his neighbour. Communities are divided by stubborn hatreds.’

Henri Daniel-Rops, The Church of Apostles and Martyrs (1948)

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