“Securus judicat orbis terrarum”
The verdict of the world is conclusive
The phrase was first used by St Augustine against the Donatists and was influential in persuading Newman to convert to Catholicism. He wrote in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, ‘For a mere sentence, the words of St Augustine, struck me with a power which I never had felt from any words before… they were like the “Tolle, lege, – Tolle, lege,” of the child, which converted St Augustine himself. “Securus judicat orbis terrarum!” By those great words of the ancient Father, interpreting and summing up the long and varied course of ecclesiastical history, the theology of the Anglican Via Media was absolutely pulverised.’
The Society’s use of this motto dates back to the nineteenth century.
Saint Augustine, oil on canvas by Philippe de Champaigne, c. 1645-50.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the Ahmanson Foundation