A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe: Vol I The Struggle for Universal Empire The Revival of the Empire in the West byDavid Jayne Hill, LL.D.
Amid all the changes which accompanied the barbarian invasions, there was one form of authority which did not change, except to increase its importance. The Church was the only bond of union which still held together the fragments of the old Roman world. The barbarian kingdoms tended toward local isolation, but the Church supplied a medium of general intercourse. Everywhere in the West its traditions and interests were identical, and the turmoil and upheaval of the time only increased its sense of solidarity. Its bishops were the most intelligent and influential leaders of their day, and usually represented the most powerful families. Chosen by the community of the faithful, they were the connecting links between the lower and the higher circles of society. They naturally became, therefore, the trusted advisers of all classes, mediators and arbitrators between them, and often the governing heads of the communities in which they lived. And thus, the dismembered Empire found in the Church a refuge from barbarism, a bond of sympathy between all classes and sections, and a real organ of catholicity in its broadest sense.