In Russia, the most powerful seat of the great eastern schism, Catholics were long subjected to the most trying persecution. It is well known what influence the venerable Pontiff, Gregory XVI., exercised over the mind of the late Emperor Nicholas, and that he succeeded in causing him to mitigate the evils which weighed so heavily on his Catholic subjects. Pius IX. was still more successful. Having concluded a Concordat with the Czar, which was signed at Rome on the 3rd August, 1847, by Cardinal Lambruschini, on the part of the Holy See, and Counts Bloudoff and Boutenieff, on the part of Russia, Pius IX., in a consistory held on 3rd July of the same year, instituted bishops for the following Sees of the Russian Empire: The Metropolitan Church of Mohilow, the united dioceses of Luccoria and Zitomeritz, in Volhynia, the diocese of Vilna, in Poland, and a coadjutor, with right of succession, for the archbishopric of Mohilow. The Concordat contained 31 articles. Article 1st. Seven Roman Catholic dioceses are established in the Russian Empire—an archbishopric and six bishoprics, viz.: the archbishopric of Mohilow, which comprises all those parts of the Empire which are not contained in the undermentioned dioceses. The Grand Duchy of Finland is also included in this archdiocese. The diocese of Vilna, comprising the governments of Vilna and Grodno, according to their present limits; the diocese of Telsca, or Samogitia, comprising the governments of Courland and Kowno; the diocese of Minsk, comprising the government of Minsk, as at present limited; the diocese of Luceoria and Zitomeritz, containing the governments of Kiovia and Volhynia; the diocese of Kaminiec, comprising the government of Podolia; the new diocese of Kherson, containing the Province of Bessarabia, the governments of Khersonesus, Ecatherinaslaw, Taurida, Saratow and Astracan, together with the regions that are subject to the general government of the Caucasus.
In glancing at the articles of the Concordat, the Catholic reader will be agreeably surprised to observe that in so many important things the wishes of the Holy Father were acceded to, whilst it is matter for regret that in regard to others the Plenipotentiaries could not come to an understanding. It is provided by the 2nd and 3rd articles that apostolic letters under the leaden seal shall determine the extent and limits of the dioceses, as indicated in article 1st. The decrees of execution shall express the number and the names of the parishes of each diocese, and shall be submitted for the sanction of the Holy See. The number of suffragan bishoprics, as settled by the apostolic letters of Pius VI. in 1789, is retained in the six ancient dioceses. In the following articles, from 4 to 10, it is agreed that the suffragan of the new diocese of Kherson shall reside in the town of Saratow. The annual allowance to the Bishop of Kherson shall be 4,480 silver roubles. His suffragan shall have the same income as the other bishops of the Empire, viz.: 2,000 silver roubles. The chapter of the Cathedral Church of Kherson shall consist of nine members, viz.: two prelates or dignitaries, the president and archdeacon; four canons, of whom three shall discharge the duties of theologian, penitentiary and rector; and three resident priests, or beneficiaries. In the new bishopric of Kherson there shall be a diocesan seminary, in which from fifteen to twenty-five students shall be supported at the cost of the government, the same as those who enjoy a pension in other seminaries. Until a Catholic bishop of the Armenian rite is named, the spiritual wants of the Armenian Catholics of the dioceses of Kherson and Kaminiec shall be provided for by applying the ninth chapter of the Council of Lateran, held in 1215. The bishops of Kaminiec and Kherson shall determine the number of Catholic Armenian ecclesiastics who shall be educated in their seminaries at the expense of the government. In each of these seminaries there shall reside a Catholic Armenian priest, in order to instruct the students in the ceremonies of their national rite. As often as the spiritual wants of the Armenian Roman Catholics of the newly-instituted diocese of Kherson shall require it, the bishop, besides the means hitherto employed for this purpose, may send priests as missionaries, and the government will supply the funds that shall be necessary for their journeys and sustenance.
Articles 11 and 12 provide that the number of dioceses in the Kingdom of Poland shall remain the same as ordained by the Apostolical Letters of Pius VII., of date 30th June, 1818. There is no change as to the number and designation of the suffragans of these dioceses. The appointment of bishops for the dioceses and the suffragan bishoprics of the Empire of Russia and the Kingdom of Poland shall only take effect after each nomination shall have been agreed upon between the Emperor and the Holy See. Canonical institution will be given by the Roman Pontiff in the usual form.
In articles 13-20 are contained the following regulations: the bishop is the sole judge and administrator of the ecclesiastical affairs of his diocese, having due regard to the canonical obedience which he owes to the Holy Apostolic See. Certain affairs must be, in the first place, submitted to the deliberations of the diocesan consistory. Such affairs are decided by the bishop, after having been examined by the consistory, which, however, is only consultative. The bishop is by no means bound to give the reasons of his decision, even in case of his opinion being different from that of the consistory. The other affairs of the diocese, which are called administrative, and among which are included cases of conscience, and, as has been said above, cases of discipline which are visited only by light punishments and pastoral admonitions, depend entirely on the authority and the spontaneous decision of the bishop. All the members of the consistory are ecclesiastics. Their nomination and their revocation belong to the bishop. The nominations are so made as not to displease the government. The officials of the consistorial chancery are confirmed by the bishop, on the presentation of the secretary of the consistory. The secretary of the bishop, who is charged with official and private correspondence, is named directly by the bishop; and an ecclesiastic, as the bishop thinks proper, may be chosen. The duties of the members of the consistory cease when the bishop dies or resigns, and also when the administration of a vacant See comes to an end.
From articles 21-29 we read as follows: The bishop has the supreme direction of the teaching of doctrine and discipline in the seminaries of his diocese, according to the prescriptions of the Council of Trent. The choice of rectors, inspectors and Professors for the diocesan seminaries is reserved to the bishop. Before naming them, he must ascertain that, as regards their civil conduct, they will not give occasion to any objection on the part of the government. The Archbishop Metropolitan of Mohilow shall exercise in the ecclesiastical academy of St. Petersburg the same jurisdiction as does each bishop in his diocesan seminary. He is the sole chief of this academy—its supreme director. The council or directory of this academy is only consultative. The choice of the rector, the inspector and professors of this academy, shall be made by the archbishop, after he has received the report of the Academical Council. The professors and assistant-professors of Theological science shall always be chosen among ecclesiastics. The other masters may be selected among lay persons, professing the Roman Catholic religion. The confessors of the students of each seminary and of the academy shall take no part in the disciplinary government of the establishment. They shall be chosen and nominated by the bishop or archbishop. When the limits of the dioceses shall have been fixed according to the new regulation, the archbishop, with the advice of the ordinaries, shall determine, once for all, the number of students that each diocese may send to the academy. The programme of studies in the seminaries shall be regulated by the bishops. The archbishop shall decide upon that of the academy after having conferred with the Academical Council. When the rule of the ecclesiastical academy of St. Petersburg shall have been modified conformably with the principles agreed upon in the preceding articles, the Archbishop of Mohilow will send to the Holy See a report on the academy like that which was made by Archbishop Koromanski when the academy was restored.
Articles 30 and 31. Wherever the right of patronage does not exist, or has been discontinued for a certain time, parish priests shall be appointed by the bishop. They must not offend the government, and must have undergone examination and competition according to the rules laid down by the Council of Trent. Roman Catholic churches may be freely repaired at the expense of communities or individuals who shall please to take charge of this work. When their own resources are insufficient, they may apply to the Imperial Government in order to obtain assistance. New churches shall be constructed, and the number of parishes augmented, when such measures become necessary from the increase of population, the too great extent of existing parishes, or the difficulty of communications.
Such matters as could not be agreed upon and embodied in the Concordat may be gleaned from the allocution which Pius IX. addressed, at the time, to the Cardinals. "Many things of the greatest importance still remain, in regard to which the Plenipotentiaries could not come to an agreement, and the omission of which awakens our most lively solicitude, and causes us the utmost pain; for they concern, in the highest degree, the liberty of the church, its rights, its essential principles, and the salvation of the faithful in those Russian countries. We allude to that true and complete liberty, which ought to be secured to the Christian people, of being able, in regard to the things which relate to religion, to communicate, without impediment, with this Apostolic See, the centre of Catholic unity and truth, the Father and Master of all the Faithful. All men may understand how deeply grieved we are, when they call to mind the multiplied appeals which this Apostolic See has never ceased to cause to be heard at divers times, in order to obtain free communication of the faithful, not only in Russia, but also in other countries, where, in certain affairs of religion, it is seriously impeded, to the great loss of souls. We would speak of the property which ought to be restored to the clergy. We would have removed from the Episcopal Consistories the lay person chosen by the government, in order that, in these assemblies, the bishops may be able to act with all liberty. We must advert to the law according to which mixed marriages are not recognized as valid, until they have been blessed by a Russo-Greek Catholic priest; and also to the liberty which Catholics ought to possess of trying and judging their matrimonial causes, in eases of mixed marriages, by a Catholic ecclesiastical tribunal. Finally, we would allude to divers laws prevalent in Russia, which fix the age at which religious professions may be made, which destroy entirely the schools that are held in the houses of religious orders, which prevent the visits of provincial superiors, which forbid and interdict conversion to the Catholic faith."
In this same allocution the Holy Father deplores the miserable state of the illustrious Ruthenian nation, which, dispersed throughout the vast countries of Russia, is, from various causes, exposed to great dangers as regards salvation. Without bishops, they have none to guide them in the paths of righteousness, none to administer to them spiritual succour, or to warn them against the insidious approaches of heresy and schism. The Holy Father is confident that the Latin priests will bestow all their care and employ every available resource in affording spiritual aid to these "most dear children." "From our inmost soul," concludes the venerable Pontiff, "we exhort, earnestly and lovingly in the Lord, and urge the Ruthenians themselves to remain faithful and steadfast in the unity of the Catholic Church, or, if they have been so unfortunate as to abandon it, to return to the bosom of their most loving mother, to have recourse to us, who, with God's assistance, will do whatever is best calculated to secure their salvation."
As regards some of these highly important matters, the wishes of the Holy Father were acceded to by the Russian Emperor. The bishop of Kherson was allowed a second suffragan. It was also regulated that matrimonial and other ecclesiastical causes, whether in Russia proper or in the kingdom of Poland, should, on appeal from a sentence pronounced by the ordinary, be heard before the tribunal of the metropolitan, or before the more neighboring bishop, in case of judgment having been first given by the metropolitan. Such causes, in the event of final appeal, should be referred to Rome—to the tribunal of the Apostolic See.
In considering, at some length, the Concordat with Russia, and the more favorable terms by which it was followed, we learn what hopes may be entertained as regards the spiritual well-being of the more numerous Catholics, Armenians and others, who will now, in all probability, come under the sway of Russia.(2)
(M23) The Society of the Holy Ghost had labored successfully in France, the Indies, Canada, China, Acadia, or Nova Scotia, the islands, Miquelon and St. Peter. In the countries referred to, there were bishops, vicars apostolic, of this society, and several missionary priests. In Cayenne and French Guiana, they maintained an apostolic prefect and twenty missionaries apostolic. The troubles of the French revolution all but extinguished this zealous and influential missionary society. It was revived in the year 1848, under the auspices of Pius IX., and resumed its labors under the title of Society of the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. During the negotiations which led to the restoration of this society, the Vicariate Apostolic of Madagascar became vacant by the death of Bishop Dalton. Abbe Monnet, Superior of the Society of the Holy Ghost, was appointed to succeed him, and Rev. Abbe Liebermann, a distinguished convert from Judaism, was unanimously elected to the post of superior-general of the two united societies. The labors of Abbe Liebermann were crowned with complete success. In 1850, the Holy Father, in order to confirm and perpetuate the fruit of so much apostolic labor, erected three bishoprics—one in the low country of Guadeloupe, another at Fort Francis, in Martinica, and a third at St. Denis, of Bourbon Island. The eminent convert died in 1852, after having had the satisfaction to behold such great developments of his missionary work. The death of the first superior-general did not, by any means, retard the increase of the new society. On the contrary, new blessings seemed to descend upon it. Under the guidance of the second superior, the Abbe Schwindenhammer, who had been the friend and confidential counsellor of the first, the society came to be as an order of three choirs—Fathers, Friars, Sisters. To the Rev. Fathers, who were missionaries apostolic, the Father of the great Christian Family, Pius IX., assigned a field of labor, a hundred times more extensive than the land which was promised of old to the children of Israel—a territory from eleven to twelve hundred leagues in length, and broad in proportion. The friars were lay missionaries, whose duty it was to assist the Rev. Fathers, teach the neophytes the arts of Christian civilization, and change the deserts, the wild forest lands and dismal swamps, into smiling fields. A brother, who is a printer, has already departed for those missions, carrying with him a complete set of types. The sisters, in order to draw down the mercy of heaven on the negro lands, devote themselves to prayer, works of charity and self-denial, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and the continual offering of themselves in sacrifice for the salvation of the souls that are most neglected. They would even, if it were the call of heaven, repair to Africa, and found there religious communities, in order to confirm the good work commenced by the missionaries. So early as their first year, 1852, they had established two or three houses in France. This great missionary society came into existence at a singularly opportune moment, and none can tell what an important part it may bear in carrying the light of Christianity into that benighted Africa which modern discovery, the discovery of our age, the age of Pius IX., is now throwing open to the many blessed influences of civilization.
In the early days of the Pontificate of Pius IX., the Guinea missions extended over regions of negro-land nine hundred leagues from east to west, and seven hundred leagues from north to south, with a coast-line of eleven hundred leagues. These African countries are very populous; and there are towns of 20,000, 30,000, and even 60,000 inhabitants. The greatest barbarism prevails. With the exception of a few Mahometans in Sanegambia, the people are idolators. They are also cannibals, and human sacrifices are frequent. Polygamy is one of their vices, and those on the sea coast of Guinea have learned many others from contact with Europeans, such as hard drinking and all kinds of excess. Their women are in a degraded condition, doing all the drudgery, and not being admitted to an equality with their husbands. Notwithstanding all this, the missionaries give them a high character. They bear pain with fortitude, and have a horror of slavery, although so many of them are reduced to servitude by greedy traders. A sea captain once offered a negro any amount of money, on condition that he should become his slave. "All the gold your ship could hold," said the spirited African, "is no price for my liberty." They are very sensitive, grateful, and even affectionate towards those who befriend them. To the missionaries they always showed hospitality; and the peaceful explorer, Livingstone, and his friends generally met with the same kindness. If it was otherwise with the adventurous discoverer, Stanley, he owed the hostility with which he was often received by the African tribes to the armed force by which he was accompanied, and his determination to traverse their countries, whether they liked it or not. They listened attentively to the missionaries, and this circumstance induced these excellent persons to express the belief that, with proper precautions, they may be induced to embrace the Christian faith. Many things have occurred, in the course of this favored age, to encourage this hope for the future welfare of so many millions of the human race. Science has thrown its light into the hitherto dark regions of Central Africa, where no European had, as yet, been able to penetrate. The petty and corrupting traffic on the coasts will speedily expand into wide extended and improving commerce. The slave trade is gradually diminishing, and must, ere long, disappear under the blessed influences, more active than ever, which are now at work; the whole church is moved by the edifying narratives of zealous missionaries; and the countenance of the Apostolic See is willingly bestowed on missionary effort. So, it is not too much to say that, with such auspicious commencements in the age of Pius IX., the days of some future Pontiff, at no very distant epoch, will be blessed to behold Africa, so long neglected, happily, at length, brought within the pale of Christianity and civilization.
The missionaries speak of a Prince, whose history, if related by less trustworthy parties, could not fail to be considered fabulous. His territory is situated on the river Gabon. He speaks English and French fluently, as well as an African dialect called Boulou. He is a man of gentle and polished manners, and possesses the self-control of the most accomplished European. In point of sobriety, he is equal to the best of Europeans. He never drinks intoxicating liquor, and forbids his children to use it. He is beloved by his subjects, and respected by the neighboring tribes, who hold with him commercial and friendly relations. He shows great friendship to the missionaries, and takes great delight in assisting them. A good bishop is also mentioned, whose horror of the slave trade was such that he would not allow a negro to serve him. In addition to the mission-house, which is a solid stone building, there is also a seminary, where some of the native youth are educated for the duties of the Christian priesthood. The aboriginal populations receive the bishop and the heads of the missions with extraordinary honors. The salubrity of the climate is favorably spoken of, being nowise inferior to that of France. Everything appeared to favor the Guinea missions in the early years of the Pontificate of Pius IX. With the aid of continued countenance and encouragement, they cease not to be developed every day more and more throughout the vast countries extending from Senegambia to the Equator. At Joal and St. Mary of Gambia, there were flourishing missions so early as 1852. In 1850 M. L'Abbe Arlabosse founded a mission at Galam, 150 leagues in the interior of Senegal. Another mission was successfully established at Grand Bassam, in 1851. The printing press, already referred to, has contributed powerfully to facilitate missionary work. Seven diverse languages are now taught, viz.: Wolof, Serer, Saracole, Abule, Mpongue, Bingue and Balu, or Boulou.
It is somewhat remarkable that in all the countries connected as colonies with Great Britain, where Protestantism is so persistently adhered to, there should prevail the greatest liberty as regards the exercise of the Catholic religion. Thus, Cape Colony (Cape of Good Hope) was no sooner transferred from the rule of Holland to that of Britain than the Holy Father was enabled to extend his care to the Catholics of that remote land. A bishop was appointed, and missions speedily established. There are now three bishops, vicars apostolic, at Cape Town, Graham's Town, Natal. The islands Mauritius and Bourbon, each of which has a population of more than 100,000 souls, share the solicitude of the church and its august Head. They are not both equally favored by their civil rulers. The former was annexed to Great Britain in 1810. The Holy Father provides for its spiritual welfare, confiding its administration to a bishop and a sufficient number of priests, all of whom receive salaries from the government. The bishops hitherto have been members of the illustrious order of St. Benedict, and some of them have enjoyed a high reputation in the church, such as the learned and eloquent Bishop Morris, and the pious and accomplished Bishop Collier. Bourbon Island, until of late, 1850, when a bishop was appointed, had not been so fortunate. An eminent French writer rather satirically remarks, that it would have to wait until France ceded all her colonies to the British. There are, however, some priests who, together with the bishop, minister to the spiritual wants of the people. Great efforts have been made to establish missions in the large and populous Island of Madagascar, which, according to geographers, is 1,000 miles in length.
The priests of the congregation of St. Vincent of Paul, as zealous now as in the days of their illustrious founder, have penetrated into Abyssinia, and are laboring to bring about a complete reconciliation of that once eminently Christian nation to the church of Pius IX. The AEthiopian may not, indeed, change his skin. But, according to the reports of the missionaries, these people are changing their ideas, and giving proofs of a disposition to return to the centre of Christian unity. Everywhere the missionaries are received with kindness by princes and people, and favored with a respectful hearing.
So great is the reverence of the nations of the Turkish Empire for the character of the Pope, that one would say that he had a Concordat with those nations and their chiefs. The legate of the Holy See, Archbishop Auvergne, of Iconium, was received with the greatest honor by the Sovereign of AEgypt, on occasion of his legation to that country and Syria. A Catholic bishop was established at Alexandria, a city so intimately associated with the memory of Saint Athanasius. His jurisdiction extends over the AEthiopian countries, and this circumstance, considering their relations in bygone ages with the Patriarchs of Alexandria, facilitates their communion with the centre of unity. The Catholic bishop of Cairo, assisted by thirty priests, so long ago as 1840, governed a flock of nearly twenty thousand Copts of the ancient race of AEgypt. This body of faithful Christians is daily increasing, by the adherence of other Copts who had fallen into the Eutichyan heresy, more from want of instruction than obstinacy. Nothing could surpass the generosity of the Khedive towards the church. He presented to the Pope several marble columns, for the restoration of the Basilica of St. Paul at Rome, and built for the missionaries and sisters of St. Vincent de Paul a college, schools, and an hospital in the city of Alexandria. At Tunis and Tripoli there are 7,000 Catholics, who are ministered to by nine priests of the order of St. Francis. So early as 1840, Sisters of Charity went from France in order to establish a community at Tunis, with the full concurrence of the Mussulman government.
It is well known that as soon as a French colony was founded at Algiers, a bishop was appointed. That African Christendom, so happily commenced, still prospers, and extends its labors under the auspices of the august Head of the church. It is consoling to observe that there are so many nascent and even flourishing churches around the vast continent of Africa, from Senegambia and Sierra Leone, by the Cape of Good Hope, the islands on the south-east coast, AEthiopia and AEgypt, to the gates of Hercules. They stand there as sentinels, ready to intimate the moment when the army of the Cross may penetrate to the central continent, and conquer new kingdoms to the cause of Christ. This is surely not too much to hope for in an age when science has done so much, and commerce, that great handmaid of civilization, is opening a highway to the darkest recesses of the wide and long-lost heathen land.
(M24) Some serious-minded Catholics of Germany, dreading lest a national or schismatical church should come to be established in that country, conceived the happy idea of organizing, under the auspices of Pius IX., associations of laymen, who made it their duty to assist the clergy in everything that could tend to improve morals and education, relieve suffering, and restore the liberty and rights of the church, whilst they studied, at the same time, to impart a spirit of faith to the pursuits of science, the arts, and even the more humble occupations of trade. The chief founder of these associations, Mr. Francis Joseph Busz, has written a book, in which he shows what progress they had already made in 1851, and what it still remained for them to accomplish. They continued to prosper, and gave birth to associations of a like nature. Thus, at Cologne, Abbe Kolping, Vicar of the Cathedral, founded a society of Catholic Companions, the object of whose institute was, that they should spend their leisure hours together in a Christian manner, and increase the knowledge suited to their state of life, instead of losing their time, their money and their morals in taverns. By the year 1852, such associations of workmen had taken root in no fewer than twenty-five cities in Germany.
Ever since the Thirty Years' War, Germany had been distracted by religious divisions. And yet the sectarian spirit does not appear to have been so bitter as in some other countries. There was at least a desire for religious peace and union. This is sufficiently expressed in the articles of the treaty of Westphalia, which seems to have been intended as a temporary arrangement for the pacification of the country, until peace should be permanently established "by the agreement of all parties on points of religion;" "until all controversies should be terminated by an amicable and universal understanding." "But if, which God forbid! people cannot come to such amicable agreement on the controverted points of religion, that this convention shall, nevertheless, be perpetual, and this peace always continue." Thus was the great treaty only a preliminary of that lasting peace which can only be finally concluded when all minds and hearts are united in the bonds of a common faith.
Whilst many good men labored to bring about this most desirable end, others, such as Frederic of Prussia, and Joseph II. of Austria, by ill-advised measures, and the countenance which they gave to unsound and even irreligious doctrines, sowed the seeds of anarchy and unbelief, which failed not, in due time, to produce fruit according to their kind, and well-nigh accomplished the overthrow of society as well as that of the Christian Church. The Austrian Emperor appears to have understood the situation, and has generally maintained friendly relations with the Chief Pastor. Germany, besides, has not been without able and pious men, who have nobly sustained the cause of Truth and Union. Among these are particularly deserving of honorable mention the Counts Stolberg, father and son, whose writings have exercised a salutary influence. Whilst many other noble laymen contributed, like them, to the regeneration of their country, others, who were noble only in the ranks of literature and science, vied in their efforts with the learned of noble birth. The elder Goerres headed the Catholic movement when Prussia so cruelly persecuted the Archbishop of Cologne. So good an example was not lost on the son. The younger Goerres ceased not to emulate his worthy parent until the day of his death, in 1852. Another distinguished author, who, by his writings, greatly contributed to inform and encourage the Catholics of Germany, was Mr. Francis Joseph Busz, already mentioned in connection with the associations of Pius IX. He was a native of Baden, and an Aulic Counsellor of the Grand Duke. He had also been a member of the great National Parliament, which assembled at Frankfort for the purpose of restoring German unity. The best-known of his works are: Catholic Association of Germany, and the necessity of reform in the instruction and education of the Catholic secular clergy of Germany. Some of his remarks may be appropriately quoted, as they throw light on the present (1877-78) state of Germany, and explain in great measure the extraordinary relations between Church and State in the New German Empire: "The year 1848 proved to us Germans that we could not rely on our governments. Both diplomacy and bureaucracy are, and will remain, incorrigible. Our misery is, indeed, great. Dissension prevails among our good citizens; the ill-meaning are united. The Revolutionary War of 1848 and 1849 was a war of principles, but without results. It was repressed, but not exhausted. It keeps alive under the appearances by which it is concealed. The inexhaustible volcano is at work amongst us, not only since 1848, but for three hundred years. The abjuration of law, and even of all principle of right, is only the form or expression; the essence of our malady is the denial of God and His Church. The revolution is apostacy, the disunion of the nation is schism, its anarchy Atheism. Whoever, like myself, has witnessed the public negotiations of Germany, knows full well that the political struggle was, for a long time, and particularly for the last three years, a contest between the religious confessions. Such evolutions of evil possess a certain life, although it be only that which leads to dissolution. They spring one from another, and the new growth is always an improvement on that by which it was preceded. I say it with sorrow. The strife of political parties comes at last to be civil war, which, in its turn, becomes a religious war, and such war soon grows to a war of unbelief against Faith, of antichrist against Christ. The end is not uncertain. Christ will be victorious; for it is appointed that the power of hell shall not prevail." In such a state of things the first duty of German Catholics is that they be united. It is necessary that the German church should remain in intimate union with the Holy Apostolic See, relinquishing all pretension to be a separate National Church.
The aspiration of our author, so warmly expressed in 1850, that the German Episcopate should, in mind and action, be one body in the nation, acting and suffering together, appears, in these later days, to have been realized. It was also his firm conviction that it behooved them to labor to obtain complete liberty of action for the church, particularly in forming an exemplary clergy, both in the lesser and greater seminaries, as well as in those higher institutions, the German universities. Neither should the laity fail in the fulfilment of all Christian and charitable duties.
(M25) It is well known that, in ancient times, no countries in the world were more Catholic than Spain and and Portugal. The great wealth and power and glory to which they attained was, one would say, a mark of Heaven's approbation. Wealth, however, is a dangerous possession. In the countries referred to it induced corruption and degeneracy. Principles of anarchy came to be disseminated, devolution on revolution followed. The authority of the Chief Pastor was resisted. The ministers of religion and the religious orders were treated with contempt—were persecuted in lands where they had been so long cherished and revered. The children of a corrupt nobility were sent to govern the provinces and churches of the falling Empire. The result was, it is superfluous to say, the decline of religion—the overthrow of the once flourishing churches of Spain and Portugal. And yet were they not destined to perish wholly. A remnant was left; and it was appointed that this remnant should take root and fructify in a soil which trials and persecution had prepared for a new growth. It was reserved for the age of Pius IX. to behold Spain and Portugal renew their early fervor. They have returned to the centre of Catholic unity; and in both countries arrangements have been entered into for staying the spoliation of ecclesiastical property, appointing learned and edifying bishops to the vacant Sees, restoring seminaries and clerical education. The clergy, who had been infected more or less by the Jansenist heresy, now purified in the crucible of persecution, have resumed the sound doctrines and the heroic virtues of the apostolic men who will ever be the brightest glory of their land—Thomas of Villa-Nova, Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, Peter of Alcantara, Francis Borgia, St. John of the Cross, and Saint Theresa. The Holy See, with the concurrence of the Spanish Government, has organized anew the churches of Spain. In the consistory of 3rd July, 1848, Pope Pius IX. instituted bishops for the following Sees: Segovia and Calahorra, in Old Castile; Tortosa and Vich, in Catalonia; Porto Rico, in North America; Cuenca and St. Charles de Aucud de Chiloe, in South America. This last-named diocese, at the time of the appointment, was newly erected.
(M26) From the epoch of the "Reformation," when the ancient Catholic hierarchy of England, which had been so successfully founded by St. Augustine and the disciples of St. Columba, was swept away, until the year 1850, the church was missionary, and governed, as missions usually are, by prefects, who may be arch-priests, or vicars-apostolic, with episcopal titles. Until the year 1625, the English mission was under the guidance of an arch-priest. In that year Pope Gregory II. appointed a vicar-apostolic for all England. Circumstances appearing favorable to the church after the accession of King James II., Pope Innocent XI. placed the English mission under the spiritual charge of four vicars-apostolic, who were bishops, with titles taken from churches, in partibus infidelium. The country was, at the same time, divided into four missionary districts—the London, the Eastern, the Midland and the Western. The numbers of Catholics having greatly increased during the early portion of the present century, the Holy Father, Gregory XVI., took into consideration the new requirements that had arisen, by letters apostolical, of date 3rd July, 1840, made a new ecclesiastical division of the English counties, and doubled the number of vicars-apostolic. There were now eight districts under the spiritual jurisdiction of these vicars-apostolic, who governed and were governed by the wise constitutions given to their predecessors by Pope Benedict XIV. Meanwhile, the state of the Catholics of England was rapidly improving. Relieved of so many of their disabilities by the gracious Act of 1829, there were no longer any serious legal impediments to the legitimate development of their church. It grew accordingly, and by the year 1840 had become comparatively flourishing. It possessed many stately churches, eight or ten important colleges, the buildings of which were of a high order of architecture; numerous charitable institutions, each of considerable extent; over six hundred public churches or chapels, and eight hundred clergy. Many of the most ancient families of the land were among its devoted adherents, and it also claimed a not unequal share of the intellect and learning, the literary and scientific distinction of the country. Many of the British colonies had already been favored, and not without the full concurrence of the Imperial government, with that more suitable and normal state of church government, which depends on the institution of bishops in ordinary. Was the Mother Country, the seat of empire, whose church was so much more developed than that of any of the colonies, alone to be deprived of so great an advantage? Were the Catholics of England, who were certainly in no respect behind the rest of their fellow-countrymen, even in an age of light and improvement, to rest satisfied with a primitive state of things, when a broader, a more free, and in every way a more beneficial system of spiritual rule was within their reach? The Chief Pastor was willing to inaugurate such rule, provided that he found, on examination, that it was suited to the spiritual state and religious wants of the Catholic people. There was nothing, besides, in the legislation of the country that could be called an impediment to a new and better condition of ecclesiastical government.
(M27) For some time the Catholics of England had desired that their church should enjoy the advantage of being governed by bishops in ordinary. So early as the year 1834, they petitioned the Holy See to this effect. At that time, however, nothing was concluded. In 1847 the vicars-apostolic assembled in London, and deputed two of their number to bear a petition to the Holy Father, earnestly praying for the long-desired boon. It was craved, not as a mark of triumphant progress, far less as an act of aggression on the law-established church, but simply in order to afford greater facility for the administration of the affairs of the church, and more effectually to promote the edification of the Catholic people. The existing code of government had been adopted about a hundred years before, when heavy penal laws, together with endless disabilities, were in force, and religious liberty was unknown. Part of this code had been repealed by Pope Gregory XVI. But it still tended to embarrass rather than to aid and guide. Since Emancipation, in 1829, the Catholic church had greatly expanded, and the bishops, vicars-apostolic, were in a situation of great difficulty, as they were most anxious to be guarded against arbitrary decisions by fixed rules, whilst as yet none were provided for them. No doubt the system of church government by vicars-apostolic could have been amended and made more suitable to the altered circumstances of the church. But it would have been necessarily complicated, and at best could only have been a temporary arrangement. It was thought expedient, therefore, that the ordinary mode of church government should be extended to the Catholic church in England, in as far as was compatible with its social position. It was, accordingly, necessary that there should be a hierarchy. The canon law could not be applied under vicars-apostolic, nor could provincial synods be held, however necessary their action might be, without a metropolitan and suffragan bishops. The vicars-apostolic petitioned only with a view to improve the internal organization of the church. They had no idea of attacking any other body, and surely never dreamt of rivalry with the established Anglican church. What they did, besides, was perfectly within the law, and according to the rights of liberty of conscience. The Holy Father kindly listened to the petition, and referred it for further consideration to the congregation of Propaganda. When every point was carefully examined, and objections satisfactorily replied to, the favor petitioned for was granted. Difficulties having been started in regard to some matter of detail, the publication of the new code of church administration was delayed. These difficulties were removed the following year by Bishop Ullathorne. But the measure was again retarded by the revolution which broke out at Rome in 1848. The delay was not without its uses. It gave time to the statesmen of England to become acquainted with and consider the measure of reform which was proposed for adoption in the internal organization of the Catholic church in England. It was officially communicated to them when printed, in 1848. They made no objection. And yet, when it was promulgated in 1850, their chief spoke of it, in his ill-timed letter to the Bishop of Durham, as "insolent and insidious." For many an age to come, Catholics will read with astonishment that so inoffensive an act of the Holy See, done at the request of the Catholic bishops of England, and in the interest of the Catholic people, at the time some seven millions in number, should have excited the anger of so great a portion of the English nation. The isle was literally frighted from its propriety. From the Queen on her throne to the humblest villager, all were seized with sudden and unaccountable fear, as if the monarchy had been threatened with immediate overthrow. The Queen, in terror, called her Council of State around her. But her chief adviser, a weak-minded old man, had very little comfort to bestow. He could only help her Majesty's bishops to inflame the public mind. In all conscience, they had done quite enough in this direction without his assistance. The spirit of bigotry was enkindled, and the clergy, with their chiefs, gave proof of their bitter hostility through every newspaper of the land. This acrimonious opposition was, however, chiefly confined to the ministers of the church by law established. They believed, or pretended to believe, that the titles and legal rights of their bishops were aimed at, whilst, in reality, care had been taken to avoid offending them, or violating the law, by conferring on the new bishops the titles of the ancient Sees which were held by the established church. It is impossible to mention anything connected with the establishment of the hierarchy which can at all explain the violence of the bishops and clergy generally of the establishment. The popular commotion arose from misconception and the absurd falsehoods that were industriously disseminated. The masses were still raging, when Dr. Wiseman, who had just been raised to the dignity of Cardinal, published an appeal to the people of England, in which he showed that the measure which had occasioned so much disturbance concerned only the internal organization of the Catholic church, that the Pope had not sought such a measure, but had only acceded to it at the earnest request of the bishops, vicars-apostolic of England: that there was nothing connected with it contrary to the laws of the country, or that could not be reconciled with liberty of conscience, which was now so completely and generally recognized. It was as ridiculous as it was illiberal to heap torrents of abuse on the Pope, as if he had sought to usurp the rights of the Crown, or seize on the territory and revenues of the established Anglican church. As for himself, he was reviled because he had received the title of Archbishop of Westminster, whilst, in reality, as regarded the church of that name, and any territory or property connected with it, it was only an empty title. He was to be metropolitan. The title of London was inhibited by law. Southwark was to be itself a diocese. To have taken the title of a subordinate portion of the great metropolis, such as Finsbury or Islington, would only have excited ridicule, and caused the new episcopate to be jeered at. Westminster was naturally selected, although not by himself, as giving an honorable and well-known title. He was glad that it was chosen, not because it was the seat of the courts of law, or of parliament, but because it brought the real point of the controversy more clearly and strikingly before the opponents of the hierarchy. "Have we, in anything, acted contrary to law? And if not, why are we to be blamed?" But he rejoiced, also, for another reason. The chapter of Westminster had been the first to protest against the new archiepiscopal title, as though some practical attempt at jurisdiction within the Abbey had been intended. To this more than absurd charge, the Cardinal eloquently replied: "The diocese, indeed, of Westminster, embraces a large district, but Westminster proper consists of two very different parts. One comprises the stately Abbey, with its adjacent palaces and its royal parks. To this portion the duties and occupations of the dean and chapter are mainly confined, and they shall range there undisturbed. To the venerable old church I may repair, as I have been wont to do. But perhaps the dean and chapter are not aware, that were I disposed to claim more than the right to tread the Catholic pavement of that noble building, and breathe its air of ancient consecration, another might step in with a prior claim. For successive generations there has existed ever, in the Benedictine order, an Abbot of Westminster, the representative in religious dignity of those who erected and beautified and governed that church and cloister. Have they ever been disturbed by this titular? Have they heard of any claim or protest on his part touching their temporalities? Then let them fear no greater aggression now. Like him, I may visit, as I have said, the old Abbey, and say my prayer by the shrine of good St. Edward, and meditate on the olden times, when the church filled without a coronation and multitudes hourly worshipped without a service. But in their temporal rights, or their quiet possession of any dignity and title, they will not suffer. Whenever I go in I will pay my entrance fee, like other liege subjects, and resign myself meekly to the guidance of the beadle, and listen without rebuke when he points out to my admiration detestable monuments, or shows me a hole in the wall for a confessional. Yet this splendid monument, its treasures of art and its fitting endowments, form not the parts of Westminster which will concern me; for there is another part which stands in frightful contrast, though in immediate contact with this magnificence. In ancient times the existence of an abbey in any spot, with a large staff of clergy and ample revenues, would have sufficed to create around it a little paradise of comfort, cheerfulness and ease. This, however, is not now the case. Close under the Abbey of Westminster there lie concealed labyrinths of lanes and courts, and alleys and slums, nests of ignorance, vice, depravity and crime, as well as of squalor, wretchedness and disease; whose atmosphere is typhus, whose ventilation is cholera; in which swarms a huge and almost countless population, in great measure, nominally, at least, Catholic; haunts of filth which no sewerage committee can reach; dark corners which no lighting board can brighten. This is the part of Westminster which alone I covet, and which I shall be glad to claim and to visit, as a blessed pasture in which sheep of Holy Church are to be tended, in which a bishop's godly work has to be done, of consoling, converting and preserving. And if, as I humbly trust in God, it shall be seen that this special culture, arising from the establishment of our hierarchy, bears fruits of order, peacefulness, decency, religion and virtue, it may be that the Holy See shall not be thought to have acted unwisely, when it bound up the very soul and salvation of a Chief Pastor with those of a city, whereof the name, indeed, is glorious, but the purlieus infamous—in which the very grandeur of its public edifices is as a shadow to screen from the public eye sin and misery the most appalling. If the wealth of the Abbey be stagnant, and not diffusive; if it in no way rescue the neighboring population from the depths in which it is sunk, let there be no jealousy of any one who, by whatever name, is ready to make the latter his care, without interfering with the former."
In the passage which follows, the established clergy are rather unceremoniously handled; and not undeservedly, for there can be no doubt that their reckless diatribes in the pulpit, on the platform, and in the press, were the chief cause of the unhallowed uproar which attended the publication of the new and much-needed organization of the Catholic church in England. It certainly was not their fault if the country was not disgraced by deeds of violence. In one or two places, indeed, such things were attempted. At a town in the north of England, where there is a Catholic mission, a mob of excited people threatened the chapel and priest's house. The presence of a counter-mob from a neighboring colliery speedily restored tranquillity. In another town a crowd of the unwashed were proceeding to burn the Pope and Cardinal in effigy, when these august persons were wisely seized by order of the magistrates, and, with some of their unruly escort, secured within the prison walls. Although a few hired ruffians could attempt such things (it is known that those last named were hired), the English people were far from contemplating anything like violence. So it is with no small pleasure that is here recorded the high compliment paid to them in the following eloquent passage of Cardinal Wiseman's appeal: "I cannot conclude," he says towards the end, "without one word on the part which the clergy of the Anglican church have acted in the late excitement. Catholics have been their principal theological opponents, and we have carried on our controversies with them temperately, and with every personal consideration. We have had no recourse to popular arts to debase them; we have never attempted, even when the current of public opinion has set against them, to turn it to advantage, by joining in any outcry. They are not our members who yearly call for returns of sinecures or episcopal incomes; they are not our people who form antichurch-and-state associations; it is not our press which sends forth caricatures of ecclesiastical dignitaries, or throws ridicule on clerical avocations. With us the cause of truth and of faith has been held too sacred to be advocated in any but honorable and religious modes. We have avoided the tumult of public assemblies and farthing appeals to the ignorance of the multitude. But no sooner has an opportunity been given for awakening every lurking passion against us than it has been eagerly seized by the ministers of the Establishment. The pulpit and the platform, the church and the town hall, have been equally their field of labor; and speeches have been made and untruths uttered, and calumnies repeated, and flashing words of disdain and anger and hate and contempt, and of every unpriestly and unchristian and unholy sentiment, have been spoken, that could be said against those who almost alone have treated them with respect. And little care was taken at what time or in what circumstances these things were done. If the spark had fallen upon the inflammable materials of a gunpowder-treason mob, and made it explode, or, what was worse, had ignited it, what cared they? If blood had been inflamed and arms uplifted, and the torch in their grasp, and flames had been enkindled, what heeded they? If the persons of those whom consecration makes holy, even according to their own belief, had been seized, like the Austrian general, and ill-treated, and perhaps maimed, or worse, what recked they? These very things were, one and all, pointed at as glorious signs, should they take place, of high and noble Protestant feeling in the land, as proofs of the prevalence of an unpersecuting, a free, inquiring, a tolerant gospel creed!
"Thanks to you, brave and generous and noble-hearted people of England! who would not be stirred up by those whose duty it is to teach you, gentlemen, meekness and forbearance, to support what they call a religious cause, by irreligious means; and would not hunt down, when bidden, your unoffending fellow-citizens, to the hollow cry of 'No Popery,' and on the pretence of a fabled aggression."
The London Times might well say, referring to this magnificent appeal, that the Cardinal had at length spoken English. It was easy to mystify the people in regard to theological utterances. They could be no longer deceived now that the Chief of the new hierarchy had addressed them in round Saxon terms, about the meaning of which there could be no mistake. The appeal first published in the London Times was reproduced in all the newspapers of the country. The public mind was tranquillized, and very little was heard, afterwards, of the "Papal aggression." The Prime Minister, however, was bound, for the sake of consistency, to do something. What he did was highly in favor of the hierarchy. It proved that everything had been done according to law, simply by the fact that parliament was urged to make a new law by which everything that had been done would be illegal. This was the famous Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. It was designed to accomplish a great deal—to extinguish for ever the Cardinal Archbishop, and all the other newly-instituted bishops. It proved utterly futile—telum imbelle sine ictu. The people could not be made to put down the Catholic institution; and religious liberty was so thoroughly recognized that even an act of parliament was powerless against it.
(M28) The new Sees constituted by the Letters Apostolical of 29th September, 1850, were thirteen in number—Westminster, the Metropolitan See; Southwark, Hexham, Beverly, Liverpool, Salford, Shrewsbury, Newport, Clifton, Plymouth, Nottingham, Birmingham and Northampton.
(M29) At the time of the restoration of the English hierarchy, Dr. Wiseman was created a Cardinal, not so much in honor of the important act to which it was his charge to give effect, as because the Holy Father having resolved on a creation of Cardinals so eminent a man could not be overlooked. At the accession of Pius IX. there were sixty-one living Cardinals. Of these only nine were not Italians. When, on his return to Rome, after his sojourn in the kingdom of Naples, he determined to add fourteen Cardinals to the Sacred College, only four of the prelates selected were natives of Italy. The rest were, at the time, the most distinguished men of the Catholic world. Of this number Archbishop Geissel of Cologne was one, and the King of Prussia, more liberal than certain magnates of England, thanked the Holy Father, in an autograph letter, for the honor thus done to the Catholic church of his country. Since that time the Prussian monarch appears to have changed his sentiments as well as his ministry.
(M30) Notwithstanding the noisy demonstrations in opposition to the Cardinal Archbishop and his brother bishops, they were allowed to pursue in peace their labors of Christian zeal. The English grumbled, as is their wont. But discovering in time that they were neither attacked nor hurt, the rights of liberty of conscience were respected, and no persecution followed what it was at first the fashion to call the "Papal aggression."
(M31) The Emancipation Bill of 1829, by which liberty of conscience, which was so proudly called the birthright of every Englishman, was extended to Catholics, tended powerfully, no doubt, to promote the development of the Catholic church. It grew also by emigration from Catholic Ireland, and there were some conversions occasionally from the Protestant ranks. It was not, however, till the decade immediately preceding the restoration of the hierarchy, that there was a very marked and decided movement of the educated and learned men of England towards the Catholic church. It is not recorded anywhere that Catholic missionaries or envoys of the Pope had penetrated into those sanctuaries of Protestant learning—the celebrated universities of Oxford and Cambridge. There, at least, there was no "Papal aggression," and tract upon tract was issued from the press of those seats of learning, in which it was argued that the doctrines taught by the Fathers of the first five centuries were the real Christian teaching which all men were bound to accept. It appeared to have escaped the learned men of Cambridge and Oxford that these were the very doctrines so perseveringly adhered to by the long-ignored and down-trodden Catholics of England.
This fact, however, flashed upon their minds at last, and they who were lights in the Anglican establishment, which had been so long surrounded by a halo of worldly glory, and to be connected with which was a sure title to respectability, hesitated not to place themselves in communion with those whose position as a church had been for so many generations like to that of the early Christians who lurked in the catacombs of Rome. The clergy of the Catholic church in England, although they did not and could not have inaugurated the Cambridge and Oxford movement, recognized its importance, and freely seconded what it was beyond their power to initiate. Foremost amongst those who were ever ready to afford comfort and encouragement to the able and inquiring men who sought the one true fold, was the learned ecclesiastic of world-wide renown who, a little later, bore so conspicuous a part in the re-establishment of the sacred hierarchy in England. This highly-gifted divine was a willing worker in the great Master's field. His labors were beyond even his great powers; and so his career, though brilliant, was comparatively short. The cause which he so well sustained is one which cannot suffer an irreparable loss; and great would be the joy of the pious and devoted Cardinal, so early snatched away, if it were given him to behold the rapid developments of the church which, in his day, he so ably and successfully upheld.
(M32) If the increase of Catholics in England was rapid during the decade which preceded, it was much more so immediately alter the restoration of the hierarchy. This event appears to have given a new impetus to the growth of the church and her salutary institutions. Religious communities multiplied under the fostering care of the Cardinal Archbishop, and the encouragement which the Holy Father never ceased to afford. From 80, at the accession of Pius IX., they rose to 367; and schools and colleges increased from 500 to 1,300. The number of priests in Great Britain was more than trebled. It grew from 820 to 1,968, whilst churches and chapels rose in proportion—from 626 to 1,268. The number of dignitaries and other ministers of the Church of England, by law established, who, within the same period, embraced the Catholic faith, is estimated at over one thousand. There were, at the same time, numerous conversions among the laity. All this, together with the natural growth of population and immigration from Ireland, accounts for the increase of Catholics throughout the British isles in the days of Pius IX., as well as for the great additions to the number of their clergy, churches, religious and educational institutions. Monsignore Capel ascribes these extraordinary developments in great measure to the action of that section of the Church of England which is known as the High Church or Ritualist division of the Establishment. This is true, no doubt, as regards any augmentation of the church through conversions from Protestantism, and the impetus given by the movement towards Catholic union. "It is scarcely possible," says the Rev. Monsignore Capel, "to find a family in England that will not own that one of its members, or, at least, some acquaintance, has relations with the Catholic church, or observes some of the practices of that church, whether it be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, auricular confession, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, or veneration of the saints. This movement is of such powerful proportions, and possesses such vitality of action, that no power on earth, no persecution on the part of Protestantism, the government or the press, is able to suppress it. Catholics would never have been able, themselves alone, to realize what is now accomplished by a section of the established Anglican church. The members of this party, by their discourses in the pulpit, have familiarized the public mind with expressions which Catholics never could have spread among the English people to the same extent, such as altar and sacrifice, priest and priesthood, high mass, sacrament, penance, confession, &c. The movement has produced this result. Many persons have become seriously religious, who had been in the habit of considering that the service of God was only a fitting employment for Sunday. In fine, the spirit of God which breathed on the waters at the commencement is now passing over the British nation and impelling it towards Catholic truth."
Not a few of those who were once distinguished ministers of the Anglican church are now officiating, with great acceptance, as Catholic priests. Of the 264 priests of the diocese of Westminster, there are 40 who were members of the official or law church. There passed not a week, M. Capel assures us, that he did not receive four or five Ritualists into the communion of the Catholic church. This was no fruit of his labor and ability, he modestly as well as truly declares. They were persons with whom he had no relations whatsoever, until they came to him, their minds made up, and expressed that serious determination which is so characteristic of them.
The publications of the celebrated statesman, Mr. Gladstone, although they have not won for him reputation as a theologian, have, nevertheless, promoted the cause of Catholic theology. The opinions of so eminent a man were naturally subjects of general discussion; and thus, whilst he opposed Pius IX. and his decisions, he caused many, who would never probably have thought seriously of anything a Pope could say, to give their attention to matters spiritual of the highest import. As regards his own theology, it is partly sound, partly the reverse. Whilst entirely misapprehending the doctrine of infallibility, and denying what he conceives it to be, he vigorously maintains the indefectibility of the Catholic church, and acknowledges the claim of her pastors to "descent in an unbroken line from Christ and His apostles." Such is one of the powerful agents in the great movement of the age. The most influential of all, however, was Pope Pius IX. himself. English people and Americans often sought his presence. And who shall tell how many, after having conversed with him or his representatives, have been disabused of their erroneous notions, or have even embraced the Catholic faith?
One chief cause of the remarkable development of the Catholic church in the British isles, is the complete religious liberty which Catholics enjoy. This important fact was thoroughly recognized on occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of O'Connell in August, 1875, when a solemn Te Deum was ordered in all the churches by the Cardinal Archbishop, in thanksgiving for the liberty of conscience which was so gloriously won for the United Kingdom as well as Ireland and all the colonies. Pius IX. and the whole Catholic world joined on the same occasion in acts of thanksgiving with the spiritual heirs of Sts. Patrick, Augustine, Columba and St. Thomas of Canterbury. It is a noteworthy fact that the number of archiepiscopal and episcopal sees, together with vicariates-apostolic, &c., created by Pius IX. throughout the British Empire, is not less than one hundred and twenty-five.
(M33) For three hundred years the Catholics of Holland were sorely tried by persecution. Until the time of the Concordat of 1827, they were governed by archpriests, whose superior or prefect resided at the Hague. When Holland was separated from Belgium, the king of the former country wisely resolved to act as a constitutional monarch. He was considerate as regarded his Catholic subjects. His successor, William II., to whom in 1840 he resigned the crown, treated them with still greater benevolence. He sought an understanding with the Holy See, and gave effect to the Concordat of 1827. Vicars-apostolic, invested with the episcopal character, were now the chief pastors of the church of Holland. The king also sanctioned the establishment of several religious communities, among the rest the Society of Jesuits and the Liguorians. These arrangements were joyfully accepted by the Catholics of Holland, and paved the way for greater developments. These worthy people were, for a long time, believed to be few in number, and scarcely more than nominally Catholics. Relieved, at length, from the pressure of persecution, they astonished the world, not only by their numbers, but also, and even more, by their zeal in the cause of religion. According to the census of 1840, they were nearly one-half of the entire population of Holland. Total population, 2,860,450; Protestants, 1,700,275; Catholics, 1,100,616. The remainder was made up of Jews and other dissenters. Thus were the Catholics of Holland as eleven to seventeen. Since that time they have not ceased to increase. Nor have they lost the high character which induced Pius IX., in 1853, to restore, the king concurring, their long-lost hierarchy. An archbishopric, Utrecht, and four episcopal sees were established—Harlem, Herzogenbosch, or Bois le Due, Breda and Roermonde. This wise and necessary measure was followed by an outburst of wrath on the side of the anti-Catholic party. But in Holland, as in England, it soon subsided, and left only the impression that Protestants and other non-Catholic people claim an exclusive right to religious liberty. Pius IX. never ceased to entertain a high opinion of the good Catholics of Holland. "Ah!" said he to visitors from that country, "could we ever forget that these single-minded, loyal, patient Hollanders formed the majority of our soldiers, who were not native Italians, at Castelfidardo and Mentana."
(M34) Whilst in the old world, wherever really free political institutions existed, the spirit of persecution quailed before the recognized principle of religious liberty, in certain portions of the new it appeared to gain strength, and to increase in the violence of its opposition to the liberty of the church. This was particularly the case in New Granada, where politicians, without statesmanship or experience, imagined that they had made their people free, when they succeeded in separating them from Spain and establishing a republic, in which the first principles of liberty were ignored. It is not recorded that the clergy of New Granada sought to do violence to any man's conscience, or ever thought of forcing any one to accept the Catholic creed. To say the least, they were too wise to attempt, thus to fill the church with hypocrites and secret enemies. Of such there were already too many in those societies which shun the light, and in the new world as actively as in the old intrigue and manoeuvre in order to overthrow every regular and legitimately established government. Even the republic of New Granada, which had been fashioned so much according to their will, was far from perfect in their estimation, so long as the church was not completely subject to the state. So early as 1847, Pius IX. addressed a fatherly remonstrance to the President of the New Republic. It was of no avail. The evil continued. Anti-Catholic legislation was coolly proceeded with. In 1850 the seminary of Bogota was confiscated. The following year bishops were forbidden the visitation of convents. Laws were enacted requiring that lay parishioners should elect their parish priests, and that canons should be appointed by the provincial councils. The clergy were robbed of their proper incomes, and the congress or parliament of the republic arrogated the right to determine what salaries they should enjoy as well as what duties they should fulfil. This surely was nothing less than to reduce the church to be nothing more than a department of the civil government. The church could not so exist. Its principle and organization were from a higher source. The Socialists and secret plotters fully understood that they were so, and that in this lay the secret of the church's power to promote virtue and check the course of evil. It consisted, it appears, with their ideas of justice and liberty, that the church should, if possible, be deprived of this great and salutary moral power. So, whilst neither its members, generally, nor its clergy desired radical and subversive changes in the essential constitution of the church, the republican leaders determined that it should be completely revolutionized. The bishops and priests protested, with one voice, against such fundamental innovations. The republicans, no less resolute, and, bent on their wicked purpose, imprisoned and banished the clergy. One dignitary alone showed weakness. He was no other than the Vicar-Caputular of Antioquia. Pius IX. charitably rebuked him, and exhorted him to suffer courageously, like his brethren. The persecution, meanwhile, was very sweeping. The Archbishop of Bogota, Senor Mosquera, and almost all the suffragan bishops, were driven from the country, so that there was scarcely a bishop left in the republic. It was now speedily seen that the godless radicals had overdone their ungracious work. The country was roused. The tide of popular indignation set in against the short-sighted politicians who persecuted the church, and they, dreading an insurrection, withdrew, with the best grace they could command, from the false position which they had so unwisely assumed.
(M35) Whilst the spirit of persecution brooded gloomily over many countries of the new world, its influence began to decline in those lands where for centuries the idea of liberty of conscience was unknown, where even the slightest toleration existed not. Those northern lights, those champions in their day of Protestantism and "religious liberty" Gustavus Wasa and Gustavus Adolphus, were not mistaken when they bequeathed to their country laws which were intended to be as unchangeable as those of the Medes and Persians, and which forbade all Scandinavians, whether Swedes, Danes or Norwegians, under pain of death, to embrace the Catholic faith. Those princes were wise in their generation. They understood the power of Truth; they knew that half measures were of no avail against it; and that in order to stifle it, even for a time, all the terrors of worldly tyranny must be brought into play. Their laws, more terrible than the code of Draco, remained in force and without mitigation until a great revolution had swept over Europe, and sent a military adventurer to fill the regal seat of the formidable Wasas. In the time of Bernadotte (the Doct Baron), the infamous penal laws were relaxed. To become a Catholic now only led to imprisonment or exile. Six ladies of Sweden, in defiance of this milder law, came to profess the Catholic faith. They were tried, condemned and sentenced to be banished from the country. The execution of this barbarous sentence roused all Europe, and caused the abrogation of the Swedish penal laws against religion. (M36) Thus was a new field laid open to missionary zeal, and Pius IX., availing himself of so favorable a change of circumstances, appointed a Catholic pastor missionary apostolic at Stockholm. This devoted priest labors assiduously and in the midst of difficulties, but not without fruit. He contends, with all the success that can be as yet expected, against prejudices hostile to the religion which brought civilization to the Scandinavian nations, and which have been accumulating for three centuries and a half.
(M37) Denmark followed in the wake of Sweden. Within the first two years after the abrogation of the cruel Danish penal code, there were six hundred conversions to the Catholic faith.
(M38) The Catholic church in the recently-erected kingdom of Greece was governed by vicars-apostolic. It grieved King Otho, who, as is well known, was of the Catholic royal family of Bavaria, to see his country treated as if it were a heathen land. It was not, however, till the time of his successor, who is a son of the King of Denmark, that Pius the Ninth was able to establish a hierarchy in Greece. There is now an archbishop of Athens as well as an archbishop of Corfu.
(M39) At a time when crime abounded, the governments of certain petty States of Germany, instead of directing their energies towards its repression, and so fulfilling one of the chief duties incumbent on the State, employed all the authority with which they were invested to disorganize the church and destroy its salutary influence. As is usual, when States, forgetting the great objects for which they are entrusted with the sword of justice, follow such a course, they attacked the ministers of the church, banishing, imprisoning, thwarting and molesting them in every possible way. In the Grand Duchy of Baden the civil authorities arrogated the right to appoint parish priests and other members of the sacred ministry. They went so far as to endeavor to poison religious instruction at its source, and declared that the students in Catholic seminaries must undergo, before ordination, an examination by civil officials. This tyrannical law was courageously opposed by the venerable archbishop, Vicary, of Friburg. (M40) Although eighty years of age, he was dragged before the courts, and placed like a criminal under charge of the police. The faithful clergy were banished, imprisoned and fined. The Holy Father, with his usual zeal, remonstrated. It was to no purpose. At length the Catholics of Germany were roused. They could no longer be indifferent. The day was come when the church, in her utmost need, could not dispense with their assistance. All must now be for her or against her. The great majority flocked around her standard. Meanwhile, the public offices in the churches were suspended. The bells and organs were heard no more. Silence and death-like gloom overspread the land. Baden gave way. Wurtemberg, Hesse Cassel and Nassau, which had done their best to follow in the wake of Baden, paused in their mad career. Thus, throughout those lesser States peace reigned once more, and continued to reign in Germany until a greater State, Prussia, unwisely disturbed the religious harmony which so happily prevailed. The chiefs of States, alarmed by the revolutionary spirit which spread, like contagion, throughout Germany as well as the rest of Europe, adopted a more rational policy. They encouraged the clergy to hold missions everywhere. They invited the Liguorians and Jesuits, as well as the secular clergy, to assemble the people in the towns and throughout the country, knowing full well that they would preach peace and concord no less than respect for property and life. These pastoral labors were attended with extraordinary success. Faith, piety, and every virtue flourished among the Catholic people. All honest Protestants were filled with admiration. Among the latter there was also a remarkable movement. Some striking conversions took place, especially in the higher and better educated classes of society. The Countess de Hahn, so renowned in the literary world for her wit, abilities, and fine writings, joined the Catholic church, and published her reasons for so doing. Not satisfied with this step, she came to the town of Angers, in France, and placed herself as a novice under the direction of the devout sisters of the Good Shepherd. It is on record also, that a Protestant journalist of Mecklenburgh, in view of the commotions which prevailed, and the anti-social doctrines which pervaded society, went so far as to declare that there was no other remedy for Protestant Germany than a return to the Catholic church. His remarks conclude with the following words, extraordinary words, indeed, when it is considered whence they proceed: "Forward, then, to Rome!"
(M41) In countries nearer the Holy City, and professing to be Catholic, the venerable Pontiff found not such a source of consolation. Sardinia had banished the archbishop of Turin. It not only refused to recall him, but added to its list of exiles the archbishop of Cagliari. Many more bishops were, at the same time, threatened with banishment. A professor in the Royal University of Turin, encouraged by the government, attacked the doctrine of the church, and was so bold as to deny, in public, that matrimony is a sacrament. Pius IX. issued a condemnation of his anti-Catholic writings. The sentence did not move him. Nor did it stay the hand of the Sardinian government which was raised against the church and her institutions. It continued the preparation of its anti-marriage law. In addition, accusations were laid against the clergy. The king himself, evading the real question at issue, accused them of disloyalty, and declared that they were warring against the monarchy. The Holy Father, in the following letter to the king, distinctly set forth the real state of the case:
"If by words provoking insubordination are meant the writings of the clergy against the proposed marriage law, we declare, without endorsing the language which some may have adopted, that in opposing it the clergy simply did their duty. We write to your Majesty that the law is not Catholic. Now, if the law is not Catholic, the clergy are bound to warn the faithful, even though by doing so they incur the greatest dangers. It is in the name of Jesus Christ, whose Vicar, though unworthy, we are, that we speak, and we tell your Majesty, in His sacred name, not to sanction this law, which will be the source of a thousand disorders. We also beg your Majesty to put a check to the press which is constantly vomiting forth blasphemy and immorality. Your Majesty complains of the clergy. But these last years the clergy have been persistently outraged, mocked, calumniated, reviled and derided by almost all the papers published in Piedmont."
That country, unfortunately, appears to have been entirely at the mercy of the party of unbelief. It was ever ready to inflict new wrongs on the church, and occasion anxiety and sorrow to the Holy Father.
(M42) There are few readers of ecclesiastical history who are not deeply interested in that portion of India which was the first field of the extraordinary apostolic labors of Saint Francis Xavier. The blessing of the Saint appears to have rested on the land of Goa; for after many years of trial and difficulty and schism, this Portuguese settlement, once so great and important, still remains a province of the church. The Portuguese government, by unjustly claiming right of patronage, originated the schism which, unfortunately, was of such long continuance. It was reserved for Pius IX. to restore harmony to the Colonial church of Goa. Happily, in 1851, the schism was brought to an end.
(M43) Pius IX. was still an exile at Gaeta when, observing the increasing piety of the Catholic world towards the Blessed Virgin, and moved by the representations of many bishops that were in harmony with his own conviction, he issued the Encyclical of the 2nd February, 1849, addressed to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the whole world, in order to obtain from them the universal tradition concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother of God. In this Encyclical the Holy Father recognizes the fact that there was a universal movement among Christians in favor of the belief in question, so that the complete acknowledgment of it appeared to be sufficiently prepared both by the liturgy and the formal requisitions of numerous bishops, no less than by the studies of the most learned theologians. He further states that this general disposition was in full accordance with his own thought, and that it would afford him great consolation, at a time when so many evils assailed the church, to add a flower to the crown of the most holy Virgin, and so acquire a title to her special protection. He declares, moreover, that with this end in view he had appointed a commission of Cardinals in order to study the question. He concludes by inviting all his venerable brethren of the Episcopate to make known to him their sentiments and join their prayers with his in order to obtain light from on high.
As the cross itself was folly in the estimation of the early unbelieving world, so were such theological occupations, at a time when the Sovereign Pontiff had not an inch of ground whereon he could freely tread, a subject for jesting and sarcasm to the worldly-wise of the nineteenth century. It was some time before they came to understand that a Pope is a theologian more than a king, that, as such, he is sure of the future, and that the solemn proceeding in regard to the Immaculate Conception was a triumphant reply to all the errors of modern thought. This dogma brings to naught all the rationalist systems which refuse to acknowledge in human nature either fall or supernatural redemption. The means, besides, which were adopted in order to prepare its promulgation, tended to bring the various churches throughout the world into closer relation with their common Head and Centre. They who had hitherto laughed, now raged when they saw this great result, and attacked with the utmost fury what they called the "new dogma." Both sectarianism and the schools of sophistry descanted loudly, although certainly not learnedly, on the ignorance and ineptitude of the institution which so powerfully opposed them. All this was only idle clamoring. It never hindered the Holy Pontiff from prosecuting calmly the important work which heaven had inspired him to begin.
The Encyclical was warmly responded to by the Episcopate. Six hundred and three replies were duly forwarded to the Holy Father. Five hundred and forty-six urgently insisted on a doctrinal definition. A few only, and among these was Mgr. Sibour, Archbishop of Paris, doubted whether the time were opportune. But there was no doubt as to the sentiments of the Catholic world. Only in our time, when the facilities of communication are so much greater than in any former age, could the plan of consulting so many bishops in all parts of the world have been successfully adopted. Pius IX. was now at Rome, and invited around him all bishops who could travel to the Holy City. No fewer than one hundred and ninety-two from every country except Russia sought the presence of the Chief Pastor. The absence of the Russian bishops was all the more surprising, as the Russo-Greek church vies with Rome in the honor which it pays to the Blessed Mary. The bishops, however, were not to blame. Their good purposes were frustrated by the jealous policy of the Emperor Nicholas. The bishops assembled at Rome, in obedience to the wishes of Pius IX., did not constitute a formal council. They were, nevertheless, a very complete representation of the universal church. There were of their number some highly distinguished cardinals, archbishops and bishops, such as Cardinals Wiseman and Patrizzi, Archbishops Fransoni of Turin, Reisach of Munich, Sibour of Paris, Bedini of Thebes, Hughes of New York, Kenrick of Baltimore, and Dixon of Armagh, together with Bishops Mazenod of Marseilles, Bouvier of Mans, Malon of Bruges, Dupanloup of Orleans, and Ketteler of Mayence. Who will say that the learning of the Catholic world was not at hand to aid with sound counsel the commission of cardinals and theologians whom the Holy Father had appointed to prepare the Bull of definition? There had never been so many eminent bishops together at Rome, since the OEcumenial Council of 1215. On so great an occasion Pius IX. had requested the prayers of the faithful, and throughout the Catholic world supplication was made to heaven, in order to obtain, through the light of the Holy Ghost, such a decision as could tend only to promote the glory of God, the honor due to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the salvation of mankind. The bishops at one of their sessions gave a very practical utterance as regards the infallible authority of the Pope. The question having arisen whether the bishops were to assist him as judges in coming to a decision, and pronounce simultaneously with him, or leave the final judgment solely to the word of the Sovereign Pontiff, the debate, as if by inspiration from on high, came suddenly to a close. It was the Angelus hour. The prelates had scarcely resumed their places after the short prayer, and exchanged a few words, when they made a unanimous declaration in favor of the supremacy of St. Peter's chair: Petre, doce nos; confirma fratres tuos—"Peter, teach us; confirm thy brethren." The teaching which the Reverend Fathers sought from the lips of the Supreme Pastor was the definition of the Immaculate Conception.
(M44) The 8th December, 1854, was the great triumphal day which, according to the fine language of Bishop Dupanloup, "crowned the expectation of past ages, blessed the present time, claimed the gratitude of the centuries to come, and left an imperishable memory—the day on which was pronounced the first definition of an article of Faith which no dissentient voice preceded, and which no heresy followed." All Rome rejoiced. An immense multitude of people of all tongues crowded the approaches to the vast Basilica of St. Peter, which was by far too small to contain the imposing host. Then were seen advancing the bishops, in solemn procession, placed according to seniority, and followed by the cardinals. The Sovereign Pontiff, surrounded by a brilliant cortege, closed the procession. Meanwhile was heard the grave chant of the Litanies of the Saints, inviting the heavenly court to join with the Church militant in doing honor to her who was Queen alike of angels and of men. Pius IX. ascended his throne; and as soon as he had received the obedience of the cardinals and bishops, the Pontifical Mass began. When the Gospel had been chanted in Greek and in Latin, Cardinal Macchi, Dean of the Sacred College, accompanied by the deans of the archbishops and bishops, by an archbishop of the Greek rite, also, and an Armenian archbishop, advanced to the foot of the throne, and begged of the Holy Father, in the name of the whole church, "to raise his apostolic voice and pronounce the dogmatic decree of the Immaculate Conception." The Pope, bowing his head, gladly welcomed the petition; but wished once more to invoke the aid of the Holy Ghost. Then rising from his throne, he intoned in a clear and firm voice, which rang through the grand Basilica, the veni creator spiritus. All who were present, cardinals, bishops, priests and people, mingled their voices with that of the Father of the Faithful, and the sonorous tones of the heavenly hymn resounded through the spacious edifice. Silence came. All eyes were rivetted on the venerable Pontiff. His countenance appeared to be transfigured by the solemnity of the act in which he was engaged. And now, in that firm and grave, but mild and majestic, tone of voice, the charm of which was known to so many millions, he began to read the Bull, which announced the sublime dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It established, in the first place, the theological reasons for the belief in the privilege of Mary. It then appealed to the ancient and universal traditions of both the Eastern and the Western churches, the testimony of the religious orders, and of the schools of theology, that of the Holy Fathers and the Councils, as well as the witness borne by Pontifical acts, both ancient and more recent. The countenance of the Holy Father showed that he was deeply moved, as he unfolded these magnificent documents. He was obliged, several times, so great was his emotion, to stop. "Consequently," he continued, "after having offered without ceasing, in humility and with fasting, our own prayers and the public prayers of the church to God the Father through His Son, that He would deign to guide and confirm our mind by the power of the Holy Ghost, after we had implored the aid of the whole host of heaven, to the glory of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, for the honor of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the increase of the Christian religion; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own"—at these words the Holy Father's voice appeared to fail him, and he paused to wipe away his tears. The audience was, at the same time, deeply moved; but, dumb from respect and admiration, they waited in deepest silence. The venerable Pontiff resumed in a strong voice, which shortly rose to a tone of enthusiasm: "We declare, pronounce and define, that the doctrine which affirms that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved and exempt from all stain of original sin from the first moment of her conception, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, is a doctrine revealed by God, and which, for this cause, the faithful must firmly and constantly believe. Wherefore, if any one should be so presumptuous, which, God forbid! as to admit a belief contrary to our definition, let him know that he has suffered shipwreck of his faith, and that he is separated from the unity of the church." As the Pontiff concluded, a glad responsive "Amen" resounded through the crowded temple.
The Cardinal-dean once more reverently approached, and petitioned that order be given for the publication of the apostolic letters containing the definition; the promoter of the Faith, accompanied by the Apostolic Protonotaries, also came to ask that a formal record of the great act should be drawn up. At the same time the cannon of the castle of Saint Angelo, and all the bells of Rome, proclaimed to the world that the ever-blessed Mary was gloriously declared immaculate. Throughout the evening the holy city echoed and re-echoed to the sounds of joyous music, was ablaze with fire-works, and decorated with innumerable inscriptions and emblematic transparencies.
The example of Rome was immediately followed by thousands of towns and villages over the whole surface of the globe. It would require libraries rather than volumes to reproduce the expressions of pious concurrence which everywhere took place. The replies of the bishops to the Pope before the definition, were printed in nine volumes; the Bull itself, translated into all the tongues and dialects of the universe, by the labors of a learned French sulpician, the Abbe Sire, appeared in ten volumes; the pastoral instructions, publishing and explaining the Bull, together with the articles of religious journals, would certainly make several hundred volumes, especially if to these were added the many books by the most learned men, and the singularly beautiful hymns and poems which flowed from the pens of Catholic poets, no less than the eloquent discourses of the most gifted orators. Descriptions of monuments and celebrations would also immensely swell the list. Sanctuaries, altars, statues, monuments of every kind, as well as pious associations rose everywhere in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The ever-increasing devotion to Mary had become greater than ever. It was to the unbelieving a phenomenon in the moral world of the nineteenth century, which they could neither comprehend nor account for. They could only see that it was as a source of new life to the church.
(M45) The education law of France, enacted in 1850, had given rise to differences of opinion among earnest Catholics. These only increased after the celebrated coup d'etat of 2nd December. M. de Montalembert, who had become hostile to Prince Louis Napoleon, on occasion of the iniquitous confiscation of the Orleans property, M. de Falloux, and their friends of the Correspondant, and the Ami de la Religion, insisted that they ought not to accept the protection of Caesar in place of the general guarantees which were so profitable to the liberty of the church. They were right, as was but too well shown in the sequel. M. Louis Veuillot and the writers of the Univers opposed their views, and so they accused these gentlemen of servility. But this was too much, as the event also showed.
The congregation of the "Index" had condemned several French works, some absolutely, and others only until they should be corrected. Among these last were books generally used, notwithstanding their faults, in the public schools, such as the Manual of Canon Law, by M. Lequeux, vicar-general of the Archbishop of Paris, and the theology, so long in use, of Bailly. The authors of these works at once submitted. One of the sentences, however, that which affected the Dictionary of M. Bouillet, greatly offended the Archbishop of Paris—Mgr. Sibour, who had signified his approval of this publication. He blamed the Univers and the lay religious press in general. He formulated his complaints in a charge of 15th January, 1851, and by a still more vigorous one in 1853, which was written at the instigation of a Canon of Orleans, M. L'Abbe Gaduel, who had accused Donoso Cortes, in the Ami de la Religion, of several heresies, and who complained of having been refuted in the Univers with a warmth that was far from respectful. Mgr. Sibour forbade the priests of his diocese to read the Univers, and threatened with excommunication the editors of this journal, if they presumed to discuss the sentence which he had pronounced against them. A similar sentence came to be uttered by Mgr. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, against the same writers, condemning the opinions which they held concerning the study of the classics. M. Veuillot, following in the wake of M. L'Abbe Gaume, maintained that one of the principal causes of the weakening of faith since the time of the renaissance, was the obligation imposed on youth of studying, almost exclusively, Pagan authors. Mgr. Dupanloup contended rather against exaggerations of this opinion than against the idea itself. But having developed his views in an episcopal letter to the professors of his lesser seminaries, he would not allow them to be opposed; and so, like Mgr. Sibour, interdicted the Univers to his clergy. M. Louis Veuillot appealed to the supreme bishop.