They even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure; with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality; with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes; with a power of deposing princes and absolving subjects from allegiance; with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God and that was worshipped.
John Adams (1735 - 1826)
Source: Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, 1765.
Almost everywhere political secularization was accompanied at length by a general decrease in religious observance. Theological matters ceased to be, if they had ever genuinely been, the main interest of the people. This does not mean that religion died out: far from it. But it became the interest, not of the whole, but of a section of the people. The Church, instead of being a recognized ruling authority, became what its Founder said it was, a little yeast in a large lump of dough. In some countries it barely maintained the right to exist; in others it had to adapt its methods to new conditions. But wherever possible it has continued openly to pursue the same ends, and has not ceased to declare what it believes to be the will of God even in the political sphere. Indeed, we may recognize a gain in the new situation. What it could once do by authority, it now seeks to do by persuasion.
The peace and joy of the Christmas season was marred by a proclamation of a general strike of all the military forces of the world. Panic reigns in the hearts of all the patriots of every persuasion. Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all-time low over the world.
No higher duty, or more solemn responsibility, rests upon this Court than that of translating into living law and maintaining this constitutional shield deliberately planned and inscribed for the benefit of every human being subject to our Constitution - of whatever race, creed or persuasion.