“What damage could be done to the mighty structures of the empire by one who gave Caesar his due, who scorned the bigotry which hated an infidel and punished the ungodly, and who pictured a kingdom of freedom, peace, and love in which the distinction between friend and foe would lose all meaning? Yet, with their unseeing eyes, the Romans had rightly perceived a radical and dangerous subversion — with clearer intuition, it seems, than those who still characterize the preaching of Jesus as spiritual and therefore not political. What, in fact, could be more ‘political,’ a more complete and basal challenge to the kingdoms of this world, to its generals and its lords, both to those who hold power and to those who would seize it, than one who says that his kingdom is not of this world, and yet prays that the kingdom of his Father will come and his will be done on earth. This is an aspiration for the world more revolutionary, a disturbance of the status quo more seismic, an allegiance more disloyal, a menace more intimidating, than any program which simply meets force with force and matches loveless injustice with loveless vengeance. Here is a whole new ordering of human life, as intolerable to insurrectionists as to oppressors. It promises that forgiveness, freedom, love, and self-negation, in all their feeble ineffectiveness, will prove more powerful and creative than every system and every countersystem which subdivides the human race into rich and poor, comrades and enemies, insiders and outsiders, allies and adversaries. What could an earthly power, so in love with power as to divinize it in the person of its emperor, do with such dangerous powerlessness but capture and destroy it? It could change everything were it not extinguished, and speedily.” (p. 49-50)
Read the whole thing over at Inhabitatio Dei.