Catholic Apologetics



One flock, one shepherd, one sheep cot

Nothing is so contrary to the letter and the spirit of the holy Scripture than the opinion that came into vogue in conciliatory Protestantism: that there are more true Churches of Christ.
In fact, there is only one Church of Christ, just as there is only one Christ who founded it.
The certainty with which the Catholic accepts and defends this proposition isn't based on the idea that his personal human judgment is infallible. It only rests on his faith in the truth of God's Revelation.
The Catholic believes the Church Jesus founded is perfectly one, both with regard to its visible and its invisible aspect: one in itself, because it unites its members on one base by one faith and one authority and one public worship, and one in distinction to all other Christian communities, because, being the Church of Jesus outside of which there is no salvation, it doesn't tolerate religious pluralism.

Jesus calls his Church one sheep cot, or one flock, or one undivided kingdom. Moreover, the apostle of the gentiles, Saint Paul, teaches us the deep doctrine of God's house wherein all nations assemble, and of the Bride of Christ, excelling in virtue and beauty as the only chosen one, and of Jesus' mystical Body, which unites all faithful in one living organism. So there can't be more Churches that should all have equal rights, having Christ as corner stone and the Gospel as constitution.
Saint Paul assures us Christ is undivided. The truth Christ brought to us can't be divided, either. Even when an angel would descend from heaven, telling us a gospel that contradicts the Gospel of the Lord, we should refuse him as a lier and a swindler.
The opinion that He who called himself the Way, the Truth and the Life, when leaving the world, had to concede, as if he were a weak human being, that his followers be predestined to be enemies of each other and that people distinctly value and experience the revealed truth, is unreasonable.
We can only accept the opinion there exist more true Churches when we blindly trust our own human judgment, not when we justly refer to God's Revelation.

Only the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church meets what God demanded from the foundation of his Son by the mouth of his Prophets.
The prediction of Isaiah came true in it: "In the last days the mountain of the Lordís temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob'."
Only in this Church can we answer the high vocation Saint Paul speaks about when warning us in the name of the Lord we should unite in one body and one spirit:
"I urge you to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all ...
And He appointed some of them apostles, others prophets, evangelists, shepherds or teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ ...
So we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, but grow up into Him who is the head that joins all parts of the body."

We have to firmly refuse the complaint of the Reformation, allegedly based on the bible, that the Catholic Church doesn't owe its life as a visible institute to Christ, but has been built on human forces.
The Church didn't call itself to life. It was founded with all its internal and external properties by Christ, who is the corner stone and base of the house He built himself.
When Luther condemned the Church of Rome and said there is no salvation outside of his own lutheran Church, Catholicism could refer to both Tradition and Revelation to prove God wished only the Catholic Church.
And when Catholicism refused the proclamation of Calvin, who said there must be some churches of Christ under the pope, it wasn't because of unbelievable unthankfulness, but because Catholics read in the New Testament how the Church has been founded.

Dissenting Christians say the Catholic Church is inaccessible. It isn't compliant and doesn't appreciate attempts to reconcile differences and form a common Christian creed or institute.
They say Rome is refusing every discussion, and doesn't try to meet other Christian Churches, nor does it accept invitations for ecomenical conferences like those in Stockholm or Lausanne. They say the Catholic Church is too self-sufficient to acknowledge any good things in other Christian Churches.

There's quite a bit of truth in this complaint, for Rome was never willing to talk with other Churches about some structure wherein all Christians should live together in harmony and love.
Indeed, it's impossible for Rome to talk about such a thing.
Rome can't cooperate in an enterprise that wants to merge allegedly Christian but contradictory principles. This is not malicious stubbornness, nor lack of sympathy with an initiative of others, nor lack of love for dissenting Christians who honestly try to restore unity.
On the occasion of the ecumenical congress in Stockholm wherein Rome didn't want to participate, pope Pius XI explicitly promised he would pray with his faithful for the success of this action of dissenters to restore unity. And in his encyclical Mortalium Animos this same pope expressed the hope he could once hug his children who had been separated from him by a sad misunderstanding.
The Catholic Church is harsh towards dissenting Christians because it loves them and because it loves Christ and his rights.
It knows Christians can only find salvation by accepting the one Way, Truth and Life.

It's superfluous to call into life a new comprehensive Church of all people by mutual concessions and compromise, as if Jesus could not show the completion of his foundation before nineteen centuries would have passed. For this comprehensive Church already exists!
Other Churches might be ready to sacrifice some of their principles to unite the Christians. This shows they love the ideal of the Saviour who prayed unto the Father 'may they all be one'. But it also shows their principles are weak and this separates them from the other Christians.
However, when the Catholic Church, being the Mother Church, calls all its children who are separated from it, to serve Christ in its one faith, worship and authority, just as Christ demands it, it shows the strength and the love Jesus gave to it and the holy Spirit will keep to give to it until the day of the last judgment.
Indeed, the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ. "The Bride of Christ can't give up her fidelity, for she is pure and chaste. She only knows one sacred house."

{{History teaches every separation from the Mother Church leads to cutting up the new born ideal and the new Church.
Rome considers this, not without compassion, the visible punishment of the disobedient who pretend the authority of Revelation is more important than unity in the Church, but subject the holy Scripture and the Tradition to their personal judgment which can't lean on the assistance of the holy Spirit.
It's not Rome's fault the separated go their own way and fight both the Mother Church and each other. The protesting Christians themselves are to blame for the scornful pain of discord. Those who divide will be divided themselves.

Dissenters sometimes suggest the Catholics secretly enjoy the confusion in Protestant creed and the lack of hierarchic order in the Protestant Churches. This isn't true.
The Catholic isn't glad the separated Churches collapse. He's even more sorry for it than the separated can imagine. Because he understands the prayer of Jesus 'that they all join his one flock'.
The Catholic would lose his right if he wasn't prepared to make sacrifices for unity, because he considers unity a Christian task and a divine characteristic. That's why he worries about the division in sectarian Christianity, like the Catholic convert Vondel who asks "Where will ever stop division?".
We can easily explain the striking phenomenon that Christians become more quarrelsome as they farther separate themselves from the pope and his infallibility.

The Eastern Orthodox Church replaced the primacy of the pope with the authority of the Church as a whole, but this way, because it is schismatic, it is contradicting itself. However, it admits the Church is infallible, and therefore it could prevent its destruction.

The Anglicans are less convinced the Church needs a deciding body. They still are seeking the right concept and formula, and find it difficult that in the Anglican Church several bodies are sharing authority - king, parliament, privy council, Lambeth conference, Canterbury convocation. This way they render unity to division, which only an infallible authority could prevent.

The unity of Church and faith is most threatened by the Protestants, who refuse the principle of an authority that should place itself between the Gospel and the faithful.
The Reformation started from an erroneous idea, which has been proposed and disproved a thousand times: that Rome subjected the Gospel to the Church.
However, by liberating God's word from the yoke of the Church, Protestantism rendered the unique sense of the Gospel to arbitrary individual interpretation. It says God's Spirit guarantees the truth of personal creed. However, it has not enough power to defend the unity of faith, which God willed, against sectarianism and liberalism.

1) The Eastern Christians

The Eastern Church has somewhat changed in the course of the centuries. There certainly was a change in the structure of the visible Church, and there was an evolution - sometimes a mutilation - of the Christian doctrine.

Orthodox faithful may refer to the community of eldest Christendom to justify the true Church is not a monarchy but a somewhat accidental assembly of national Churches who have to obey only Jesus Christ, but history shows they don't always obey Jesus' unchangeable Gospel nor the tradition of the old Church.
Indeed, there are many dogmatic disputes about the seven Councils of the Church, the Conciliabulum of Photius, the theologoumena, and recently the rationalistic explications of the Scripture and the dogmas.
If we say the four large Eastern Churches - Greek, Arabic-Greek, Slav and Rumanian - are quarreling, we exaggerate. But we can't say there's only division in the language of the liturgy or between the orthodox theology and the surviving heresies of Nestorianism and Monophysitism.
The Greek-orthodox patriarch repeatedly had to resist wilful far-away patriarchs. The Bulgarian exarch is in a schism with Constantinopel since 1827. The Russian Church has several obediences that fight and excommunicate each other. They revolt for trifles and forget that Christ, the invisible Chief, asks his followers to serve the Father and not themselves.

2) The Anglican Church

The Anglican Church doesn't acknowledge any infallible authority.
The Articles of Religion explicitly say the inhabitants of the English empire don't accept the infallibility and plenary power of the Roman Catholic pope. But neither do they mention any other authority that should take over the papal privileges in the Anglican Church.

Of old, the archbishop of Canterbury is taking some precedence of the other bishops. However, it's a precedence of honour rather than a juridical or dogmatic primacy. People easily overestimate the importance of the Lambeth conference. It tried to regulate the affairs of religion and Church in accordance with the word of God and the existing formulas since 1867. But it didn't often succeed. The Lambeth conference isn't a general synod. It's not the highest authority of the Church, and the distinct independent churches may accept or refuse its judgment. The English still call the king 'the supreme Head on Earth', since Henry VIII in the Act of Supremacy high-handedly appropiated this title. Nowadays we can't see much of the king's authority in the affairs of the Church anymore. He gave many of his rights to the parliament, which in fact always decides in questions of faith and Church order, although the most orthodox don't like it.

In the course of time, the unity of the Established Church has been much damaged by parties within it.

A) By far the most important group are the Moderates. Its dominant characteristic is calculated peacefulness. Newman said they were influenced by many things, but took care the honour and fame of the Empire kept entailing the honour of the Church. At the side of the Moderates, and in a sense opposite to them, are the more progressive groups of Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals and Modernists. However, since the Moderates avoid extremism, they get the majority of the bishop's sees.

B) The Anglo-Catholics form the High Church. They refer to the eldest tradition of the Church, explain the 39 articles of the faith in accordance with it, avoid rationalism, and are close to Catholicism in many respects.

C) The Low Church is the Church of the Evangelicals. They don't often refer to the eldest tradition of the Church. We may call them Protestants. They refer to the Scripture to explain their opinions and their religion. They are convinced the Formulas of the Church don't exactly reflect the faith of the fathers, but rather sum up the one sense of the Gospel.

D) The Broad Church is the meeting place of the liberals. They are called modernists because they accept 'fluctuations' in the dogmas. They don't believe that the bible, the faith and the formulas have a fixed meaning. They value personal views and science more than traditional interpretation of the faith and adhere to the principles of modern criticism of the Scripture.

Since there's no clear authority in the Anglican Church and there are many parties in it, we can't say there's any unity.
In the past, the Church of England has been open to a lot of influences, and it still is. Only atheists and Roman Catholics are not admitted.
Whoever denies God exists or adheres to the doctrine of the pope, is excluded from Anglican religious life. But all the others can believe whatever they want. They can accept or deny Christ is God, Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, Christ has risen, the host is Christ after the consecration, there are seven sacraments, hell is forever, and many other articles of Christian doctrine.

3) Protestantism

The name Protestantism comes from the well known protest at the second Reichstag in Spiers (1529). The evangelical classes revolted against the majority which had condemned the attempts to reform the Church. The protesting party was sure the Catholic Church had deviated from Christianity in its doctrine and life. It referred to the personal conscience, and ascertained every separate person is responsible before God when it comes to the salvation of his soul and the honour of God.

The Reformation had a right to emphasize personal responsibility, but not to clear Christian conscience from its obligations to the authority of the Church, because this authority has been established by God.
This caused in the circles of Protestantism tensions that might be eased by artificial dialogue within these circles, but could have been prevented by dialogue with Rome. By breaking with Rome, the Reformation has lost its connections with the beginnings of the Church and the Catholic doctrine of faith and morality.

Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchton, Martin Chemnitz, Ulrich Zwingli, Johannes Calvin and Theodorus Beza had to justify breaking with the Mother Church. They couldn't do this with Catholic theology, so they sought a new way out of the irresponsible experiment.
The only way out was the way of simplification.
They called everything they didn't like in Catholic theology or practice and everything that could harm them unevangelical, excess, superstition, or a human construction. The reformers used the pickaxe instead of the trowel.
The result was, and still is: a divided Church and theology, which seeks its strength in standing against Rome, and in allegations of adoration of the virgin Mary, idolization of the pope, a man-made hierarchy and sacrament, overestimation of scholastical philosophy, superstitious practices, etc. Its weakness clearly is they are in conflict with themselves.

Catholics are not responsible for discord between Protestants. Catholic reaction didn't provoke the separation between Lutherans and Calvinists. The attachment of Catholics to Rome didn't force Protestants to divide themselves into hundreds of distinct denominations.
The discord is in the principles of Protestantism.
Whoever rejects hierarchy, seeks democracy. And whoever advocates general priesthood, makes every faithful a theologian.
The Protestant confusion about God and man, Revelation and faith, grace and sacrament, Church and predestination, shows there are limits to democracy and individual theology.

If we limit our perspective to the low countries where sectarianism doesn't prevail as much as in America, and to recent formations of some size, Protestantism already has so many church communities and confessions that even convinced Protestants can't easily distinguish between all principles of faith and concepts of church order.

A) The Dutch Reformed Church

This curious foundation of king William I, wherein l'Eglise Wallonne is fairly autonomous, but withered, has three directions: the right wing of the orthodox, the middle group of the ethicals, and the left wing of the liberals.
The orthodox are the real Calvinists. They stick to the confession of the three formulas of unity, admit the system of synods is weak in discipline, but don't want to break with the historical national Church like them of the Separation or Doleantie.
The ethicals are no real Calvinists anymore. They don't like intellectualism, but advocate the primacy of the conscience and the will. So they feel religion is in a subjective and personal perception of God rather than in a life in accordance with the objective norms that stem from the revealed truths.
The liberals form the large and important left wing. Although many of them nowadays return to some fixed confession, most of them don't mind the formulas. Some of them abuse the freedom of doctrine in the Dutch Reformed Church to proclaim Jesus isn't God. They only believe the Scripture so far as modern science admits.

B) The Reformed Churches

Outside the Dutch Reformed Church - the large Church with many distinct confessions - there are several independent Church that stick to the three formulas.
The strongest group are the Reformed Churches, which include since 1892: them of the Doleantie, who under Abraham Kuyper said 'goodbye for now' to the Dutch Reformed, and most of the Christian Reformed, who already had united the Cocksians of the Christian Separated (acknowledged by the Dutch goverment) and them of the Reformed Communities under the Cross (for whom the cross was more important than acknowledgement).
The Reformed Churches with their rather well formulated confession, strong Church order, and authoritative synod, form a unity that contrasts with the loosely connected Dutch Reformed Church. However, this unity wasn't strong enough to always guarantee the same creed for the united of the Separation and the Doleantie.
The famous 1926 synod of Assen suspended dr JG Geelkerken who had given an intolerable explication of the text in Genesis about the snake in paradise and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Since dr Geelkerken didn't recall the rejected propositions, but assembled his numerous followers in the independent Corrected Community of Reformed Churches, the schism was a fact. However, this community had no long and fruitful life, either. After twenty years it dissolved itself by joining the Dutch Reformed Churches.
But now a new and more fatal schism lies ahead.
The case of Klaas Schilder, wherein some latent tensions came to light, evolved from a discussion into a dogmatic conflict. The synod lost control of it, because it was involved in the case. It began with distinct opinions about the rather unimportant question of the effect of the sacrament when baptizing children.
Many elders thought that according to reformed confession baptism always means and seals in the recipient the rebirth, leaving undecided whether this rebirth has already happened or will happen in future. Some less conservative persons like Schilder, Veenhof, de Graaf, Dam, van Teylingen and Feenstra say baptism means and seals, in the children who belong to the Church but haven't been born again yet, only the promises of the covenant of grace. These promises do sanctify the recipient, but the sanctification gives only a foretaste of the grace, because the covenant will only be a fact if the recipient is going to cooperate with this grace.
Many less important questions caused that the discussion was exaggerated, so the synod could only force a dogmatic decision, choosing the side of the elders. This made the side of Schilder claim, typically Protestant: "We can't subject ourselves, because we must obey God more than men".
It seems a new schism is inevitable, even more so since the high authorities advised the church councils to fire the unwilling ministers.

C) The Free Reformed Communities

Apart from the greater groups mentioned in A) and B), which are important for public life, there are many small isolated Churches that decry each other:
- the Christian Reformed Church , which in 1892 couldn't decide upon a reunion with the Doleantie;
- the Reformed Communities under the Cross, that is the Cocksians who refused to join the Christian Separated or the Doleantie;
- the Christian Separated, that is the followers of de Cock who refused every reunion;
- the Evangelical Communities, which once were part of the cross bearing Reformed Church, but later on refused every form of hierarchy in the Church and became free missions;
- the Reformed Communities, that is the union of many distinct separated reformed communities, brought about by GH Kersten in 1927;
- the Old-Reformed Communities, who, guided by Dominus Boone, refused the 1927 union;
- the Corrected Reformed Community, which separated itself from the Reformed Communities in 1930.

D) The Lutheran Churches

Lutheranism has never been important in the Netherlands. Nowadays (1945), there are in our country less than a hundred thousand Lutherans, wheras there are almost four million Calvinists.
In the first half of the seventeenth century, from the Lutheran Fraternity - a number of scattered Lutheran communities - , emerged the Lutheran Association, later on called the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which in the course of time turned out to be very receptive to contamination with rationalism. To defend and maintain orthodox Lutheran principles, the stricter Lutherans in 1791 separated themselves and founded the Restored Evangelical Lutheran Church, which still is trying to keep up the orthodox principles of the German reformer against the great majority of members of the old Lutheran Church.

D) The Spiritualist Societies

These include a wide range of streams and sects that have in common they are not related to any fixed Church and say they are guided by the Holy Spirit. We can't identify the spiritualist societies with what dominus H Mulder calls opponents or professor J Lindeboom stepchildren of Chritianity. The concept of spiritualist society is wider. For example, the distance between the Baptist Society and the Society of Serious Students of the Bible is very great. The baptist is in our national Protestantism very familiar; he has a well defined confession, taken from the Scripture, and is averse to fanaticism. On the other hand, the Witness of Jehovah is clearly violating both the Scripture and our national sober-headed character; he has almost no theology and little social guidance.
We think the most important spiritualist societies are the following:
- the Mennonites
- the Hernhutters or Moravian (Bohemian) Brothers
- the Apostolicals or Irvingians
- the Restored Apostolic Mission
- the Salvation Army
- the Baptists
- the Mormons
- the Theosophic Movement
- the Anthroposophic Union
- the new Oxford Movement
- the Woodbrookers, in the Netherlands called Barchem Movement
- the Darbists
- the Swedenborgians
- the Maranatha Movement
- the Christian Science
- the Penticostal Movement
- the Adventists
- the Sabbathists or Seventh Day Adventists
- the Sufi Movement
- the Kingdom of God Movement
- the Witnesses of Jehovah or Serious Students of the Bible,
- many other movements, mostly imported from America.
What a lack of unanimity!
The members of the Dutch Reformed Church are only connected by the institute of the Church; in his faith, the liberal is as different from the orthodox as the Baptist from the Lutheran. In practice, the members of the Reformed Churches stick to the same confession, but their opinions about the authority and organisation of God's Church on earth are divergent. The Lutherans are divided both in the faith and in the concept of Church. As far as the Spiritualists still speak of a Church, their view on it is vague; and they keep discussing their confession of faith.
There are also many thousands of German Evangelicals, Anglicans and Presbyterians, whose faiths are distinct again.
Finally, there is the Protestant Association, which is becoming a resort for Christian refugees. Since the days of Opzoomer, who presided the first meeting, the Association intends to "further the free development of religious life, both inside and outside the circle of Church communities", but the statistics say the development is mainly outside the Churches.
The Protestant principle says everybody can refer to God's word in his own way. This is fine in theory, but in practice it implies the interpretations of Revelation and the appreciations of unity in the Church are very distinct.
So, where is the relation between the objective truth of our faith and the certainty of our faith? Or is the Revelation only a subjective truth?
And what remains of the correct administration of word, sacrament and discipline? If these three are the characteristics of the true Church, which Church can call itself the true flock of Christ?
Or are all Churches equally true? Whoever claims this, may be a good Protestant, but is called a sectarian, expelled by the Christian Reformed, despised by most Reformed anyway, and reproved by Calvinists of the Doleantie.

The slogans "The Bible alone", "Supreme authority of God's word" and "Free research" are beautiful in the imaginary world of infallible mortals, but dangerous weapons in the real world of the weak and fallible humans that God created. That's why we face the tragical reality of Christianity that teared itself up by breaking with the Mother Church.

Dissent in Protestantism isn't only a Roman fabrication.
Protestants do admit this, for they persistently tried to unite themselves again. For instance, there's the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, and the Deutsch-Evangelische Kirchenbund.
The Dutch Reformed, too, wanted to form an ecumenical movement, mainly to establish unity among themselves. They first tried to form an orthodox popular Church with the Alliance for Restoration of the Church. However, the 1930 synod rejected the proposals, because there were to many liberals in it. Then the Ethicals opted for the more democratic Construction of the Church, which was rejected in the 1934 synod. Finally, the 1938 synod rejected proposals of a combined commission for Restoration and Construction of the Church.
However, unity within the Dutch Reformed Church apparently will be brought about by the orthodox within a few years. The sufferings of the war made the spirits come closer to each other, because they fought for their rights together. Indeed, the Dutch Reformed Church had a strong direction during the years of the war. Dr KHE Gravemeijer was for the Durch Reformed what cardinal de Jong was for the Catholics, if we take into account that Gravemeijer had not so powerful instruments. Together with prof dr H Kraemer and some other prominents among the orthodox and the ethicals, he brought about what the synods never could: a new synod with the authority and the courage to really contribute to the reorganisation of the Dutch Reformed Church. The General Synod assembled for the first time since 1618-1619 in its 1946 Amsterdam meeting. Its first task will be to design a stricter discipline and probably a new confession of faith in the Church.
We can't deny the slowly recovering Dutch Reformed Church does attract other Protestant communities.
Apart from many individuals who didn't feel at home in sects or other small Churches, recently the Reformed Churches in Restored Communion joined the Dutch Reformed Church, too. After a short and unimpressive independent existence, the Separated from the Reformed Churches, under ds JG Geelkerken, asked and received admission to the Dutch reformed Church. We think there will be others who want to be admitted, too. In the Reformed Churches there is a serious quarrel again about the opinions of prof K Schilder. We can't say much with certainty yet, but if a new schism turns out to be unavoidable, the Dutch Reformed Church will surely open its doors for many discontented persons. There will be many of them, unless an independent Liberated Reformed Church will be founded. If this doesn't happen, many may join the Christian Reformed, because they are congenial to them, but many others will prefer the 'big' Church, which much improved since Kuyper's Doleantie.
Abroad, the World Conference for practical Christianity, which took place in Stockholm in 1925 under the well known Swedish Evangelical archbishop Nathan Söderblom, and the World Congress for Faith and Church Order, which was organised in 1927 in Lausanne by the American Movement for Faith and Order, gained quite a bit of approval. But they didn't produce direct results, and neither did the continuations in Oxford and Edinburgh, ten years later.
We can probably expect more fruits from the international contact between the Churches, resumed after the second world war by the World Council of Churches.
A provisional board of this Council already met in Geneva, the city of Calvin. Fifty distinct Churches were present. The most important decision was there will be a general meeting in 1948, where hundreds of representatives will be present. Another important decision was founding the Ecumenical Seminary. It will reside near Geneva, and the director will be prof H Kraemer, who worked hard for more unity in the Dutch Reformed Church.
The Roman Catholic Church never participated in these conferences for unity, although it was always an interested witness. It didn't want to offend the non-Catholic Christians, nor did it want to make the attempts fail beforehand. But it knows Scripture and Tradition say there's only sure salvation in the Catholic Church. So it can't cooperate in an enterprise that can't succeed, unless on the base of a minimalism we can't maintain.
The Catholic Church can't negotiate with the separated Churches as an equal partner. If it did so, it would give authority to a Christian religion that's wrong and strange to the one Church of Christ. Pope Pius XI said the following about it: "Should we accept the unthinkable, that the truth God revealed to us would be reduced to agreements? Instead, we have to defend the revealed Truth!"}}

Das Königslied hebt an mit der Liebe, die wird von der Königsbraut gebetet,
Erwache, Welt, denn die Schönste erhebt die Stimme! Stehe auf vom Lager, denn es ruft deine Seligkeit -
Was seid ihr so schweigsam, ihr Lauten, und was seid ihr so träge, ihr Geschäftigen?
Ich höre euer Ruhmgeschrei in allen Gassen, ihr prächtigt in allen Meeren und triumphieret auf allen Gipfeln:
Wollt ihr nicht die Braut des Höchsten grüszen? Wahrlich, wer ihr Antlitz sieht, erblickt den König!
(Gertrud von le Fort, Hymnen an die Kirche)

The King begins to sing about the love His Bride is praying for:
Awake, world, for the Finest is speaking! Arise from your bed, for your Delight is calling -
Why are you so silent, who use to be loud, and slow, who use to be busy?
I hear you boast in every street, make a show in every sea and triumph on every mountain:
Don't you want to greet the Bride of the Highest? Whoever sees her face, sees the King himself!