Norway’s Constitution Day invites us to reflect on the criteria for unity among human beings. Sigrid Undset proposes the following in an essay on St Eystein of Nidaros.

‘The Church of Christ has always preached liberty, equality, and fraternity but on another basis — that of knowledge of human nature. Our brotherhood consists in that we are all co-heirs of a treasure which we lost at the very outset of our family history, and which was wonderfully won back for us by a God who of his own free will entered into blood relationship with us. Human brotherhood implies that there is a need for authority to lead the backward, the thoughtless, and childish, and to direct the heartless and unscrupulous; and he is a betrayer of mankind who thinks himself to be so far different from these others that he needs no authority and no one to guide his conscience. Only One can have absolute authority, he who is Actor Vitae — exercising the Creator’s authority over that which he has made.’