The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Volume 1, November 1864

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Volume 1, November 1864

Release date: February 2, 2012 [eBook #38751]

Language: English


The Irish Ecclesiastical Record

Volume 1.

November, 1864

[pg 049]

The Holy See And The Liberty Of The Irish Church At The Beginning Of The Present Century.

All students of Irish Catholic affairs must feel, at every moment, that we are at a great loss for a collection of ecclesiastical documents connected with our Church. The past misfortunes of Ireland explain the origin of this want. During the persecutions of Elizabeth, of James the First, and Cromwell, our ancient manuscripts, and the archives of our convents and monasteries, were ruthlessly destroyed. At a later period, whilst the penal laws were in full operation, it was dangerous to preserve official ecclesiastical papers, lest they should be construed by the bigotry and ignorance of our enemies into proofs of sedition or treason. Since liberty began to dawn on our country, things have undergone a beneficial change, and recently great efforts have been made to rescue and preserve from destruction every remaining fragment of our ancient history, and every document calculated to throw light on the annals of our Church. We are anxious to coöperate in this good work, and we shall feel deeply grateful to our friends if they forward to us any official ecclesiastical papers, either ancient or modern, that it may be desirable to preserve. Receiving such papers casually, we cannot insert them in the Record in chronological order, but by aid of an Index, to be published at the end of each volume, the future historian will be able to avail himself of them for his purposes.

[pg 050]

To-day we insert in our columns two letters never published before, as far as we can learn, in their original language. They were addressed, in the beginning of this century, by the learned Archbishop of Myra, Monsignore Brancadoro, Secretary of the Propaganda, to a distinguished Dominican, Father Concanen, then agent of the Irish bishops, who was afterwards promoted to the See of New York, and who died at Naples, in the year 1808, before he could take possession of his diocese.

The first letter, dated the 7th August, 1801, refers to certain resolutions adopted by ten Irish prelates, in January, 1799, at a sad period of our history, when Ireland was in a state of utter prostration, and abandoned to the fury of an Orange faction. In such circumstances, we are not to be surprised that the Catholics of Cork, Waterford, Wexford, and many other parts of Ireland, in the hope of preserving their lives and property, should have petitioned to be united to England; or that Catholic prelates, anxious to gain protection for their flocks, should have endeavoured to propitiate those who had the power of the government in their hands, by taking into consideration the proposals then made—that the state should provide for the maintenance of the clergy, and that a right should be given to the state to inquire into the loyalty of such ecclesiastics as might be proposed for the various sees of Ireland.

The celebrated Dr. Milner, treating of the resolutions just referred to, observes in his Supplementary Memoirs, p. 115, that they had nothing in common with the veto which was afterwards proposed by government in 1805, and several times in succeeding years, and adds, that the prelates “stipulated for their own just influence, and also for the consent of the Pope in this important business.”

According to the wise determination of the prelates, the matters they had agreed to were referred to the judgment of the Supreme Head of the Church. A speedy answer, however, could not be obtained. At that time the great Pontiff, Pius the Sixth, was a captive in the hands of the French Republicans, and soon after died a martyr at Valence in France. The Holy See was then vacant for several months, until, by the visible interposition of Providence, Italy was freed from her invaders, and the cardinals were enabled to assemble in conclave to elect a new Pope. Soon after his promotion, Pius the Seventh occupied himself with the affairs of our Church, and the secretary of the Propaganda received instructions to communicate through Father Concanen to the Irish Prelates the wishes of his Holiness.

The substance of the official note of Monsignore Brancadoro is, 1. That his Holiness is thankful to the British government for the relaxation of the penal laws to which Catholics had been so [pg 051] long subjected, and for any other acts of liberality or kindness conferred on them. 2. That the Irish prelates, whilst manifesting their gratitude for the favours they had received, should prove, by their conduct, that it was not through a feeling of self-interest, or through hopes of temporal advantages, that they inculcated on their flocks the necessity of obedience to the laws and the conscientious fulfilment of the duties of good citizens; but that they did so through a spirit of religion, and in conformity with the dictates of the gospel. 3. That to prove how sincerely they were animated with those feelings, the Irish prelates should refuse the proffered pension, and continue to act and support themselves as they have done for the past, thus giving an example of Christian perfection which would not fail to give general edification.

The second letter is also from the secretary of Propaganda to Father Concanen, and is dated 25th of Sept., 1805, in which year Dr. Milner had just brought under the notice of the Holy See some new projects of government interference with the Catholic clergy, which had lately been introduced into Parliament by Sir John Hippisley, at that time a supporter of Emancipation, but who afterwards gave proofs of a great desire to enslave the Catholic Church.

In the second letter Monsignore Brancadoro states the apprehension felt by the S. Congregation, lest the moment of the Catholic triumph should prove the one most dangerous to the purity and stability of the Catholic religion since the Reformation; that it would be no injustice to suspect the British Government of being influenced by designs to that very effect; that the Bishops should, therefore, as a general principle, renounce all idea of advancing their own proper interests, or of securing any temporal advantages, lest through human frailty they should inadvertently be surprised into any concessions which in course of time might prove injurious to the interests of religion. The Secretary then goes on to say that the S. Congregation found serious difficulties, more or less, in all the plans which, as Dr. Milner had reported, had been proposed by the statesmen of the day in England. These plans were:—1. The pensioning of the clergy. 2. State interference in the nomination of Bishops. 3. The restoration of the Hierarchy in England. 4. The concession to the ministry of the right to examine the communications which might pass between the English and Irish Catholics and the Holy See.

As to the plan of pensioning the clergy, Monsignore Brancadoro points out the dangers to which its adoption would expose them. If they accept a pension from government, the offerings of the faithful will be undoubtedly withdrawn, and the [pg 052] priesthood will be left quite dependent on the caprice of those in power. He recalls to Father Concanen's memory, that in his previous letter of the 7th of August, 1801, he had announced to him the Pope's wish that the Irish clergy should decline all pensions from the government, and mentions that the Irish Bishops, in reply, had stated that they willingly renounced all temporal advantages in order to preserve religion uninjured.

The secretary of the Propaganda next reminds his correspondent that Pius VI., in a brief of 20th March, 1791, had condemned a decree of the National Assembly of France, by which the clergy of that country were made pensioners of the state; and he adds that the Holy See had resisted a similar attempt of the English government in regard to the clergy of Corsica, when that island had fallen into their hands.

Examining the various vetoistical plans mentioned by Dr. Milner, Monsignore Brancadoro quotes the authority of the great and learned Pontiff, Benedict XIV., to show how decidedly opposed the Holy See has always been to every project directed to vest Catholic ecclesiastical appointments in the hands of a Protestant sovereign. This question is discussed in a brief of that Pope addressed to the Bishop of Breslau on the 15th of May, 1748, and his words are as follows: “There is not recorded in the whole history of the Church a single example in which the appointment of a bishop or abbot was conceded to a sovereign of a different religion”. He adds “that he would not, and could not, introduce a practice calculated to scandalize the Catholic world, and which, besides bringing on him a dreadful judgment in another world, would render his name odious and accursed during life, and much more so after death”.

2. The learned writer then proceeds to examine the various plans of granting to government certain powers in regard to the nomination of bishops, and explodes them all as replete with danger to religion, and well calculated to enslave the Church.

The plans proposed to lessen the Pope's unwillingness to grant to the sovereign the right of nomination were the following:—Some thought that the nomination should be limited to a certain class of persons who should have been approved of by the episcopal body after an examination and trial. Such a body might be the vicars-general, of whom two should be appointed for each diocese. The government was to be bound to choose the bishops out of this body. This plan was rejected, first, because it would really amount to vesting the nomination of bishops in a non-Catholic sovereign; and secondly, on account of difficulties created by the circumstances of the time and place.

Others proposed to give the government the right of excluding from the episcopal charge those obnoxious to itself. Monsignore [pg 053] Brancadoro says of this plan, that unless this right of exclusion were restricted by limits, it would be equivalent to a real power of nomination. But even so, even after due limitation, it was an absolute novelty in the Church, and no one could tell what its consequences might be. Besides, it was uncalled for, since the experience of so many centuries ought to have convinced the government that the ecclesiastics appointed to govern dioceses were always excellent citizens. Besides, it was the custom of the Holy See not to appoint to a vacant diocese until it had received the recommendation of the metropolitans and the diocesan clergy. This was a safeguard against improper appointments.

3. With respect to the restoration of the Hierarchy in England, Monsignore Brancadoro blames the motive which induced the English nobles to petition for such a change of church government, namely, the desire they felt to have bishops less bound to the Holy See. He declares that, although differing quoad jus, bishops and vicars-apostolic did not differ in reality, and that the Holy See was equally well satisfied with the bishops of Ireland, and the vicars-apostolic of England and Scotland.

4. The Secretary condemns, as worst of all, the plan of giving to the ministers the right to examine the communications that pass between the Holy See and the British and Irish Catholics. Such a right has never been allowed, even to a Catholic power, much less should it be allowed to a Protestant government. The case of France was not to the point, for there the right was limited to provisions of benefices alone. The government has no reason to be afraid: the Holy See has expressly declared to bishops and vicars-apostolic, that it does not desire any political information from them.

The two official notes we insert will be read in their original language with great interest. They are noble monuments of the zeal of the holy Pontiff, Pius VII., and of the vigilance with which the Holy See has always endeavoured to uphold the rights and independence of our ancient Church. Undoubtedly the wise instructions given in those letters had no small share in arousing that spirit with which a few years later our clergy and people resisted and defeated all the efforts of British statesmen to deprive our Church of her liberties, and to reduce her to the degraded condition of the Protestant establishment. The notes of the secretary of Propaganda are a fine specimen of ecclesiastical writing, illustrating the maxim fortiter in re, suaviter in modo.

[pg 054]

I. From Mgr. Brancadoro to Father Concanen, O.P., Agent at Rome for the Irish Bishops. Dalla Propaganda. 7 Agosto, 1801.

Informata la Santità di Nostro Signore del nuovo piano ideato de Governo Brittannico in supposto vantaggio della ecclesiastica Gerarchia dei cattolici d'Irlanda, non ha punto esitato a manifestare la più viva reconoscenza verso la spontanea e generosa liberalità del prelodato Governo, cui professerà sempre la massima gratitudine, per l'assistenze, e favori, che accorda ai mentovati cattolici de' suoi dominj. Tenendo poi la Santità Sua per indubitato, che la sperimentata fedeltà di quel Clero Cattolico Romano al legittimo suo Sovrano derivi interamente dalle massime di nostra S. Religione, le quali non possono mai esser soggette a verun cambiamento, desidera il suddetto Governo resti assicurato, che i Metropolitani, i Vescovi e il Clero tutto della Irlanda conoscerà sempre un tal suo stretto dovere, e lo adempirà esattamente in qualunque incontro. Brama però ad un tempo vivissimamente il S. Padre, che l'anzidetto Clero seguitando il plausibile sistema da lui osservato finora si astenga scrupolosamente dall' avere in mira qualunque suo proprio temporale vantaggio, e che dimostrando sempre con parole, e con fatti la sincera invariabilità del suo attacamento, riconoscenza, e sommissione al Governo Brittanico, gli faccia vieppiù conoscere la realtà di sua gratitudine alle offerte nuove beneficenze, dispensandosi dal profittarne, e dando con ciò una luminosa prova di quel costantè disinteresse stimato tanto conforme all' Apostolico zelo dei ministri del Santuario, e tanto giovevole, e decoroso alla stessa cattolico Religione, come quello che concilia in singular modo la stima, e il respetto verso dei sagri ministeri, e che li rende più venerabili, e più cari ai fedeli commessi alla loro spirituale direzione.

Tali sono i precisi sentimenti che la Santità di Nostro Signore ha ordinate al Segretario di Propaganda di communicare alla Paternità Vostra affinchè per di Lei mezzo giungano senza ritardo a notizie degli ottimi Metropolitani, e Vescovi del regno d'Irlanda, nel quale spera fermamente Sua Santità, che come ad onta dei più gravi pericoli si è già mantenuta in passato, cosi manterassi pur anco in avvenire affatto illesa da ogni benchè menoma macchia la nostra cattolica Religione.

Lo scrivente pertanto nell' eseguire i Pontificj comandi si rassegna nel suo particolare colla più distinta stima ec.

II. From the same to the same. Dalla Propaganda, 25 Settembre, 1805.

Reverendissimo P. Maestro Concanen,

La lettera del degnissimo Monsig. Milner, Vicario Apostolico del distretto medio d'Inghilterra, diretta a V. P., la cui traduzione ella, per ordine del Prefetto stesso, ha communicata all Arcivescovo di [pg 055] Mira, Segretario di Propaganda, ha fatto entrare la Sacra Congregazione nello stesso timore, che manifesta l' ottimo Prelato, che il momento della fortuna dei cattolici nel Parlamento sia il più pericoloso alla purità, e stabilità della nostra santa Religione, che sia mai avvenuto dopo la pretesa riforma di quel regno, e non si farebbe ingiuria al Governo acattolico, se si sospettassero appunto queste mire: E perciò dovranno i Vicarj Apostolici, ed i Vescovi di quel dominio abbandonare ogni mira di proprio vantaggio, ed interesse temporale, da cui, indebolito il loro cuore potrebbe facilmente, senza avvedersene, essere sorpreso a condiscendere in qualche cosa, che recherà, col tempo, del pregiudizio alla Religione.

Questo spirito di disinteresse si scorge già luminosamente in Monsig. Milner dal tenore della sua lettera: e perciò chiede egli saviamento della S. C. delle istruzioni, colle quali regolarsi nella trattativa, in cui si trova impegnato. Ma la S. C. trova delle difficoltà gravi, più o meno, in tutti i progetti, ch' egli narra, fatti da quei politici.

Ed in primo luogo, riguardo al progetto di assegnarsi stabili pensioni sul pubblico erario ai Vescovi, ed al Clero di quel dominio, la Santità di N. S. espresse già i suoi sentimenti, per mezzo di un biglietto dell' Arcivescovo, che scrive, diretto a V. P, in data dei 7 Agosto 1801, il quale essendo stato da lei comunicato ai metropolitani, e vescovi d'Irlanda, essi risposero, che rinunziavano volentieri a qualunque vantaggio temporale, per conservare illibata la cattolica Religione. Sarà dunque opportuno di spedire a Mons. Milner la copia di quel Biglietto, che si dà qui annessa.

E per verità, accettandosi dal clero le pensioni, cesseranno immantinente molti fondi di sussistenza, che ora ritrae dalla pietà de fedeli; resteranno le pensioni per quasi unico mezzo di sostentamento. Ora chi non vede a quali gravissime tentazioni non si esporrebbero gli ecclesiastici, di condiscendere, in qualche cosa pregiudiziale alla s. Religione, alla volontà di un Governo di religione diversa, che può in un punto ridurlo allu mendicità col ritenere le pensioni? Per questa, ed altre ragioni, essendosi adottata la massima di dare le pensioni al clero dell' Assemblea Nazionale di Francia nella Costituzione civile del clero, la Sa. Me. di Pio VI. la riprovò nel suo breve dei 20 marzo 1791. pag. 61, e seg. Ed avendo la stessa corte di Londra, quando entrò in possesso della Corsica, fatto il medesimo progetto, vi si oppose la S. Sede, e quella Real corte desistè dall' impegno.

Riguardo all' influenza, che si vorrebbe, del potere civile nella nomina de' vescovi, cosi varj progetti, che si sono fatti, per regolare una tale influenza, è in primo luogo da avvertirsi, che la nomina assolutamente non potrà accordarsi al Sovrano, come acattolico. Al qual proposito basterà riportare i sentimenti di Benedetto XIV. Questo gran Pontefice in una sua lettera scritta al vescovo di Breslavia li 15 maggio 1748, si espresse ne' seguenti termini.—"Non ritrovasi in tutta la storia Ecclesiastica verun indulto conceduto da Romani Pontefici ai Sovrani di altra comunione, il nominare a Vescovadi, ed Abbadie—soggiungendo, che non voleva, ne poteva introdurre un [pg 056] esempio, che scandalizzarebbe tutto il mondo cattolico, e che, oltre la gravissima pena, la quale Iddio gli farebbe scontare nell' altro mondo, renderebbe il suo nome esoso, e maledetto in tutto il tempo di sua vita, e molto più in quello che avrebbe a decorrere dopo la di lui morte. La stessa difficoltà sussisterebbe ugualmente, ancorchè il diritto di nomina fosse limitato tra una classe di persone, esaminata prima, e previamente sperimentata, ed approvata dal corpo dei Vescovi, come quello de' Gran-Vicarj, da stabilirsene due in ogni Diocesi, e Distretto. Ma oltre a questo, il progetto de' Gran-Vicarj involve gravissime difficoltà per le circostanze locali. Perciocchè, lasciando anche stare il pericolo dell' ambizione degli ecclesiastici presso de' Vescovi, e Vicarj Apostolici per essere dichiarati Gran-Vicarj, quando che ora, scegliendosi i soggetti da promuoversi dal ceto degli operaj, s' impegnano anche gli ambiziosi a faticare a prò delle anime: é chiaro ancoro, che in tanta penuria di ecclesiastici, ch' è in tutto cotesto dominio, se si tolgono due Gran-Vicarj per ogni Vicario Apostolico, o Vescovo, mancheranno affatto gli ecclesiastici per la cura delle anime.

Il semplice diritto di esclusiva involverebbe minori inconvenienti intrinseci, purchè fosse limitato; giacchè altrimenti, a forza di escludere si otterrebbe per indiretto una vera nomina. Ma questo diritto è affatto nuovo; e l' introdurlo per la prima volta, non si sa a quali conseguenze potrebbe condurre. Ma siccome tutti questi progetti si fanno per assicurare il Governo, che non sia promossa persona, che non gli sia invisa, dovrebbe bastare l' esperienza di tanti secoli, ad assicurare il Governo, stesso della somma premura, che ha sempre avuta la S. Sede, che i soggetti da lei promossi, non solo non siano invisi, ma siano anche graditi del Governo stesso. Eo V. P. puó di fatto proprio attestare della somma industria, attività, e segretezza usatasi, qualche tempo fa, della S. Sede, per escludere persona, che sospettava potere riuscire men gradita al Governo, benchè ape poggiata da forti raccomandazioni, ed includesse altra persona, cha sicuramente fosse di sua soddisfazione. Oltre di che essendo solitquesta S. C. di attendere per gli promovendi gli attestati, e le postulazioni, o le informazioni de' Metropolitani, o degli altri Vicarj Apostolici, ed anche del clero della rispettiva Diocesi, prima di proporre al S. P. i soggetti, da questi certamente sapra quali siano quelle persone, che possano essere poco accette al Governo, per escluderle sicuramente.

Quanto al desiderio de' Magnati, di avere vescovi, in vece di Vicarj Apostolici, in se stesso considerato è santissimo, ed analogo alla costituzione della Chiessa Cattolica; e se n' è trattato altre volte in Inghilterra. Dispiace solamente il fine, per cui si fa un tal progetto, cioè per avere Prelati meno aderenti alla S. Sede. Ma la S. Sede nulla avrebba a temere da siffata innovazione, sull' esempio de' vescovi d' Irlanda de quali è ugualmente contenta che de' Vicarj Apostolici d' Inghilterra, e di Scozia. Senza che, la constante esperienza dimostra, che quantunque in diritto sia diversa la condizione de' Vicarj Apostolici de quella de' Vescovi; pure in fatti non porta [pg 057] effetti diversi. Solo devrebbe rifflettersi alle circostanze de' tempi, ed agl' incovenienti che potrebbero esercitare il cosi detto Club Cisalpino, per evitarsi al possibile ogni innovazione.

Più di tutti sarebbe fatale quel progretto, che per altro Monsig. Milner dice essere di alcuni pochi, che ogni communicazione de' cattolici colla S. Sede debba soggiacere all' esame de' ministri di S. M. Questo diritto non si è mai riconosciuto dalla S. Sede in alcun principe cattolico: e l' esempio che si cita, della Francia, era dai concordati limitato alle sole ecclesiastiche proviste. Ma quanto sarebbe più pericoloso in un Governo acattolico, con cui non è possibile di convenire nelle massime religiose. Si spera per altro, che quei pochi, che propongono, un tal progretto, non troveranno seguito: e che quel Governo, che si vanta di lasciare una piena libertà ai suoi sudditi, non vorra imporre loro una catena negli effari più delicati, che riguardano la coscienza, per gli quali soltanto i cattolici, communicano colla S. Sede: giacchè la S. C. nel questionario stampato, che manda a quei Vescovi, e Vicarj Apostolici per norma della relazione delle loro chiese, nel primo articolo si protesta espressamente che non vuole di loro alcuna nuova politica.

Molto consolante è poi, riuscito alla S. Congr. la nuova, che sia riuscito, allo stesso Monsig. Milner di ottenere un' assai piú grande libertà per gli soldati cattolici nell' esercizio della S. Religione; e che abbia ben dispositi gli animi, per fare riconoscere validi nella legge civile i matrimonj contratti avanti un sacerdote cattolico. V. Paternità gliene faccia i più vivi ringraziamenti, per parte di questa S. C.

In fine l' Arcivescovo, che scrive, con piena stima se le rassegna.

A Recent Protestant View Of The Church Of The Middle Ages.

The history of the Church in the middle ages has ever forced upon Protestant minds a difficulty which they have met by many various methods of solution. The middle age exhibits so much of precious side by side with so much of base, so much of the beauty of holiness in the midst of ungodliness, so much of what all Christians admit as truth with what Protestants call fatal error, that the character of the whole cannot readily be taken in at first sight from the Protestant point of view. Some there are who dwell so long on the shadows that they close their eyes to the light, and these declare the medieval Church to have been a scene of unmitigated evil. To their minds the whole theology of the period is useless, or worse than useless, harmful. They connect the middle ages with wickedness as thoroughly as the Manicheans connected matter with the evil principle.

[pg 058]

Others there are who honestly admit that these ages, especially their earlier part, are not Protestant, but at the same time contend that neither are they favourable to Roman doctrine. These believe that facts abundantly prove that in the bosom of the Church which was then, the two Churches were to be found, which afterwards disengaged themselves from one another at the Reformation. This is the philosophy of medieval history which, as we learn from the preface to his collection of Sacred Latin Poetry,1 has recommended itself to Dr. Trench, the present Protestant Archbishop of Dublin. “In Romanism we have the residuum of the middle-age Church and theology, the lees, after all, or well nigh all the wine was drained away. But in the medieval Church we have the wine and lees together—the truth and the error, the false observance and yet at the same time the divine truth which should one day be fatal to it—side by side.” For such thinkers the sum of all the history of that period amounts to this: a long struggle between two Churches—one a Church of truth, the other a Church of error—a struggle which, however, ended happily in the triumph of the Church of truth by the Reformation, in which the truth was purified from its contact with error.

It is not without its advantages to know what views the occupant of an Irish see so distinguished, is led to take, of the Church to which seventy-seven out of every hundred Irishmen belong, with all the convictions of their intellects, and all the love of their hearts. It seems to us that his theory is not likely to satisfy any party; it goes too far to please some, and stops short too soon to be agreeable to others. But what strikes us most of all in it is the fatal inconsistency of its parts. Of this the very book to which it serves as preface is proof enough. Dr. Trench's position is this. He tells his Protestant readers that whereas in the medieval Church there was a good church, and an evil, all the good has found its resting place in Protestantism, all the evil in tyrannical Rome. Whatever of good, of holy, of pure, has ever been said or done within the Church, Protestants are the rightful inheritors of it all. From the treasury of the Church before the Reformation he proposes to draw, and to collect in this work what his readers may live on and love, and what he is confident will prove wholesome nourishment for their souls. He would set before them the feelings of the Church during these thousand years of her existence, and would summon from afar, from remote ages, “voices in which they may utter and embody the deepest things of their hearts”. Such, he assures them, are the voices of the writers whose poems have found a place in his [pg 059] book. Now, if we are to understand that the two ante-Reformation Churches stood out quite distinctly, one from the other, in open antagonism, like Jerusalem and Babylon, each having its own position more or less clearly defined, we should naturally expect to find in Dr. Trench's book the thoughts and words only of the Reformers before the Reformation, of the men, that is, who never bent the knee to Baal, but ever cherished in their hearts the true doctrine of salvation. If his own theory be worth anything, he must have recourse for his present purposes, to that one of the two Churches which alone has been perpetuated, victorious after conflict, in Protestantism. Where else shall he find sympathies that answer to those of Protestants? But he does not do so. For in the beginning of his preface he tells us that he has not admitted each and all of the works of the authors whose productions he inserts. He tells us that he has carefully excluded from his collection “all hymns which in any way imply the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation”, or, “which involve any creature-worship, or speak of the Mother of our Lord in any other language than that which Scripture has sanctioned, and our Church adopted”, or which “ask of the suffrages of the Saints”? These certainly are not the doctrines which have been perpetuated in Protestantism.

His own practice, therefore, is inconsistent with his theory, if that theory means to assert the existence of two Churches in the middle age, distinctly antagonistic, one to the other.

The only escape from this tangle is to reply, that Dr. Trench, although he may find two Churches in the bosom of the middle-age Church, does not, however, place between them a separation so sharp as to suppose the Church of good absolutely without evil, nor the Church of evil altogether destitute of good. In each there is good and some mixture of evil: error relieved by a vein of truth. His favourite authors, by whose labours he wishes to make his readers profit, are, in this last hypothesis, men who are subject to the influence of both Churches; men who belong partly to each in turn, whose doctrines are a pitiable admixture of truth with falsehood—who, in one word, are visited both by “airs from Heaven and blasts from Hell”. At times they say what all, even Protestants, may treasure up in their hearts, to live on and love; at times, again, they are made to utter what all should reject and condemn, as so many snares for unwary feet. We shall say nothing of the difficulty the mind feels in accepting such a description of the position of these writers, nor of the task we have to persuade ourselves that those who teach belief in deadly heresies to be essential to salvation, can be, at the same time, the chosen tabernacles wherein the pure spirit of real piety can ever take up its abode. Such was not [pg 060] the feeling of the ancient Church. We ask, instead, who are the men upon whose writings Dr. Trench would sit in judgment, “to sunder between the holy and profane”, to distinguish between the errors and the truth, to decide what we are “to take warning from and to shun, what to live upon and love”. With the exception of the two, Alard and Buttmann, all are men highly honoured by the whole Catholic world, and all, without exception, are praised for their excelling virtues by Dr. Trench himself. Among the twenty-three names we read with reverence those of Saint Ambrose, Saint Bonaventure, Venerable Bede, Saint Bernard, Saint Peter Damian, Thomas a-Kempis, Peter the Venerable, Jacopone, and others of great reputation for sanctity and learning. These are the men whose writings Dr. Trench is to parcel out into two portions; this to be venerated as sacred, that to be condemned as profane. It needs great faith in the censor, to accept readily his decision in such a case. What test does he undertake to apply? what criterion is to influence his choice? Why does he cast away the poems which celebrate St. Peter as Prince of the Apostles, and approve of those that extol St. Paul? Why should he style Adam of St. Victor's hymn on the Blessed Virgin an exaggeration, and quote as edifying his Laus S. Scripturae? Why are St. Bonaventure's pieces in honour of Mary visited with censure, and his lines In Passione Domini made the theme of praise? Dr. Trench gives us his reasons very plainly. “If our position mean anything”, says he (page x.), “we are bound to believe that to us, having the Word and the Spirit, the power has been given to distinguish things which differ.... It is our duty to believe that to us, that to each generation which humbly and earnestly seeks, will be given that enlightening spirit, by whose aid it shall be enabled to read aright the past realizations of God's divine idea in the wise and historic Church of successive ages, and to distinguish the human imperfections, blemishes, and errors, from the divine truth which they obscured and overlaid, but which they could not destroy, being, one day, rather to be destroyed by it”. That is to say, we, as Protestants, in virtue of our position as such, are able by the light of the Holy Spirit to discern true from false doctrine, the fruits of the good Church from the fruits of the evil Church. This enlightening Spirit will be given to each generation which humbly and earnestly seeks it. But, we ask, what are we to believe concerning the working of the same enlightening Spirit in the hearts of the holy men whose exquisitely devotional writings Dr. Trench sets before us? Were they men of humility and earnestness? If they were not, Dr. Trench's book appears under false colours, and is not a book of edification. And if they were, as they certainly were, who is Dr. Trench [pg 061] that he should take it on himself to condemn those who enjoyed the very same light which he claims for himself? And why should we not then rather believe that as these holy men had, on his own showing, the spirit of God, Dr. Trench, in condemning their doctrine does in truth condemn what is the doctrine of the Church of the Holy Spirit.

The theory is therefore as inconsistent as on historical grounds it is false. Such as it is, however, the conclusions we may draw from it are of great importance.

1. Dr. Trench declares that, both by omitting and by thinning, he has carefully removed from his selection, all doctrine implying transubstantiation, the cultus of the Blessed Virgin, the invocation of saints, and the veneration of the cross. Now, as the great bulk of the poems he publishes belong to the middle ages, strictly so called, it follows, on Dr. Trench's authority, that these doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were held long before the Reformation, and that the Church was already in possession when Luther came.

2. Since he tells us (page vi) that he has counted inadmissible poems which breathe a spirit foreign to that tone of piety which the English Church desires to cherish in her children, it follows that the spirit of piety in the Church of old is not the same as that in the present Church of England. Now in such cases the presumption is against novelty.

3. Dr. Trench (page vii) reminds his readers that it is unfair to try the theological language of the middle ages by the greater strictness and accuracy rendered necessary by the struggle, of the Reformation. A man who holds a doctrine implicitly and in a confused manner, is likely to use words which he would correct if the doctrine were put before him in accurate form. This is a sound principle, and one constantly employed by Catholic theologians, when they have to deal with an objection urged by Protestants from some obscure or equivocal passage of a Father. It is satisfactory to be able for the future to claim for its use the high authority of Dr. Trench.

4. A special assistance of the Holy Spirit is claimed for all those who humbly and earnestly invoke him. This assistance is to enable those blessed with it to distinguish between error and divine truth. Is this happy privilege to be exercised either independently, without the direction of the ministers of the Church, or is it one of the graces peculiar to the pastoral office? In the former case, every fanatical sectary may judge in matters of religion as securely as if he had the whole world on his side. In the latter case, it would be interesting to know how much does this privilege differ from the infallibility claimed by the Catholic Church.

[pg 062]

5. Finally, the contradictions inherent to the whole theory are most clearly to be seen in the following passage about the noble lines which Hildebert, Archbishop of Tours, in the beginning of the twelfth century, places on the lip of the city of Rome:

I have not inserted these lines, says Dr. Trench, in the body of this collection, lest I might seem to claim for them that entire sympathy which I am very far from doing. Yet, believing as we may, and, to give any meaning to a large period of Church history, we must, that Papal Rome of the middle ages had a work of God to accomplish for the taming of a violent and brutal world, in the midst of which she often lifted up the only voice which was anywhere heard in behalf of righteousness and truth—all of which we may believe, with the fullest sense that her dominion was an unrighteous usurpation, however overruled for good to Christendom, which could then take no higher blessing—believing this, we may freely admire these lines, so nobly telling of that true strength of spiritual power, which may be perfected in the utmost weakness of all other power. It is the city of Rome which speaks:

Dum simulacra mihi, dum numina vana placerent,
Militiâ, populo, moenibus alts fui:
At simul effigies, arasque superstitiosas
Dejiciens, uni sum famulata Deo;
Cesserunt arces, cecidere palatia divum,
Servivit populis, degeneravit eques.
Vix scio quae fuerim: vix Romae Roma recordor;
Vix sinit occasus vel meminisse mei.
Gratior haec jactura mihi successibus illis,
Major sum pauper divite, stante jacens.
Plus aquilis vexilla crucis, plus Caesare Petrus,
Plus cinctis ducibus vulgus inerme dedit.
Stans domui terras; infernum diruta pulso;
Corpora stans, animas fracta jacensque rego.
Tunc miserae plebi, nunc principibus tenebrarum
Impero; tunc urbes, nunc mea regna polus.
Quod ne Caesaribus videar debere vel armis,
Et species rerum meque meosque trahat,
Armorum vis illa perit, ruit alta Senatûs
Gloria, procumbunt templa, theatra jacent.
Rostra vacant, edicta silent, sua praemia desunt
Emeritis, populo jura, colonus agris.
Ista jacent, ne forte meus spem ponat in illis
Civis, et evacuet spemque bonumque crucis.
[pg 063]

The Mss. Remains Of Professor O'Curry In The Catholic University. No. II.

Prayer of St. Aireran the Wise, ob.. 664.

[In the first number of the Record we published from the manuscripts of the late Professor O'Curry the Prayer of St. Colga of Clonmacnoise. We now publish another beautiful devotional piece from the same collection.

Speaking of ancient Irish religious works now remaining, O'Curry says (at page 378 of his great work): The fifth class of these religious remains consists of the prayers, invocations, and litanies, which have came down to us. The Prayer of St. Colga, published in our last number, is placed by O'Curry in the second place among these documents, which he sets down in chronological order.

The first piece of this class (adopting the chronological order) is the prayer of St. Aireranthe Wise (often called Aileran, Eleran, and Airenan), who was a classical professor in the great school of Clonard, and died of the plague in the year 664. St. Aireran's prayer or litany is addressed, respectively, to God the Father, to God the Son, and to God the Holy Spirit, invoking them for mercy by various titles indicative of their power, glory, and attributes. The prayer consists of five invocations to the Father, eighteen invocations to the Son, and five to the Holy Spirit; and commences in Latin thus: O Deus Pater, Omnipotens Deus, exerci misericordiam nobis. This is followed by the same Invocation in the Gaedhlic; and the petitions to the end are continued in the same language. The invocation of the Son begins thus: Have mercy on us, O Almighty God! O Jesus Christ! O Son Of the living God! O Son, born twice! O only born of God the Father. The petition to the Holy Spirit begins: Have mercy on us, O Almighty God! O Holy Spirit! O Spirit the noblest of all spirits! (See original in Appendix, No. CXX.)

When I first discovered this prayer in the Leabhar Buidhe Lecain (or Yellow Book of Lecain), in the library of Trinity College, many years ago, I had no means of ascertaining or fixing its date; but in my subsequent readings in the same library, for my collection of ancient glossaries, I met the word Oirchis set down with explanation and illustration, as follows:

“ Oirchis, id est, Mercy; as it is said in the prayers of Arinan the Wise:—Have mercy on us, O God the Father Almighty! See original in Appendix, No. CXXI.

I think it is unnecessary to say more on the identity of the author of this prayer with the distinguished Aireran of Clonard. Nor is this the only specimen of his devout works that has come down to us. Fleming, in his Collecta Sacra, has published a fragment of a Latin tract discovered in the ancient monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland, which is entitled The Mystical Interpretation of the Ancestry of our Lord Jesus Christ. A perfect copy of this curious tract, and one of high antiquity, has, I believe, been lately discovered on the continent.

There was another Airenan, also called the wise, who was abbot of Tamhlacht [Tallaght] in the latter part of the ninth century; but he has not been distinguished as an author, as far as we know.

It seems to us that there are three things specially worthy of our consideration in this beautiful prayer.

In the first place, we find in it an explicit and most clear declaration of the Catholic Faith regarding the Blessed Trinity, especially the distinction of three persons, and the Divinity of each of these Divine Persons. O God the Father Almighty, O God of Hosts, help us! Help us, O Almighty God! O Jesus Christ! Help us, O Almighty God, O Holy Spirit!

We are in the next place struck by the extraordinary familiarity with the Holy Scripture which the writer evinces. There is scarcely one of the epithets which is not found in the sacred pages, almost in the precise words used by him, beginning with the first words, addressed to the Eternal Father, O God of Hosts, the Deus Sabaoth of the Prophets, and going on to the last invocation of the Holy Ghost, Spirit of love, which comprises in itself the two inspired phrases: Spiritus est Deus, and Deus Charitas est. We may also remark the coincidence between Saint Aireran and the liturgical prayers of the Church, especially in the invocations of the Holy Ghost found in the office of Whitsuntide and in the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, Tu septiformis munere: Digitus Paternae dexterae. O Finger of God! O Spirit of Seven Forms.

In fine, we find our Irish saint applying to the Son of God the vision of the Prophet Ezechiel regarding the four mysterious animals: O true Man! O Lion! O young Ox! O Eagle!The prophecy is commonly interpreted of the Four Evangelists. Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome are quoted as authorities for this interpretation. But it is worthy of remark, that Saint Gregory the Great, whilst giving the same interpretation, applies the mysterious vision also to God the Son.2 And Saint Aireran, by adopting this opinion, seems to afford us another proof of the great familiarity of our Irish scholars with the writings of the great Pontiff and Father of the Church. And this familiarity is rendered still more remarkable, and serves to give another proof of the constant communication between Rome and Ireland, from the close proximity of the times of our Saint and of Saint Gregory.]

[pg 064]

O Deus Pater omnipotens Deus exerce tuam misericordiam nobis!

O God the Father Almighty! O God of Hosts, help us.

O illustrious God! O Lord of the world! O Creator of all creatures, help us.

O indescribable God! O Creator of all creatures, help us.

O invisible God! O incorporeal God! O unseen God! O unimaginable God! O patient God! O uncorrupted God! O unchangeable God! O eternal God! O perfect God! O merciful God! O admirable God! O Golden Goodness! O Heavenly Father, who art in Heaven, help us.

Help us, O Almighty God! O Jesus Christ! O Son of the living God! O Son twice born! O only begotten of the Father! O first-born of Mary the Virgin! O Son of David! O Son of Abraham, beginning of all things! O End of the World! O Word of God! O Jewel of the Heavenly Kingdom! O Life of all (things)! O Eternal Truth! O Image, O Likeness, O Form of God the Father! O Arm of God! O Hand of God! O Strength of God! O right (hand) of God! O true Wisdom! O true Light, which enlightens all men! O Light-giver! O Sun of Righteousness! O Star of the Morning! O Lustre of the Divinity! O Sheen of the Eternal Light! O Fountain of immortal Life! O Pacificator between God and Man! O Foretold of the Church! O Faithful Shepherd of the flock! O Hope of the Faithful! O Angel of the Great Council! O True Prophet! O True Apostle! O True Preacher! O Master! O Friend of Souls (Spiritual Director)! O Thou of the shining hair! O Immortal Food! O Tree of Life! O Righteous of Heaven! O Wand from the Stem of Moses! O King of Israel! O Saviour! O Door of Life! O Splendid Flower of the Plain! O Corner-stone! O Heavenly Zion! O Foundation of the Faith! O Spotless Lamb! O Diadem! O Gentle Sheep! O Redeemer of mankind! O true God! O True Man! O Lion! O young Ox! O Eagle! O Crucified Christ! O Judge of the Judgment Day! help us.

Help us, O Almighty God! O Holy Spirit! O Spirit more noble than all Spirits! O Finger of God! O Guardian of the Christians! O Protector of the Distressed! O Co-partner of the True Wisdom! O Author of the Holy Scripture! O Spirit of Righteousness! O Spirit of Seven Forms! O Spirit of the Intellect! O Spirit of the Counsel! O Spirit of Fortitude! O Spirit of Knowledge! O Spirit of Love! help us.

[pg 065]

The Destiny Of The Irish Race.3

That God knows and governs all things—that whatever happens is either done or permitted by him, and that he proposes to himself wise and beneficent ends in all he does or permits—are truths which lie at the foundation of all religion. The wicked may refuse to obey his commands, but they cannot withdraw themselves from the reach of his power. While their wickedness is entirely their own, God makes them, however unwilling or unconscious, instruments to work out his ends.

It is thus that individuals and nations have each a peculiar destiny. Not that there is a blind fate, such as Pagans imagined; but that an all-seeing and all-governing God proposes to himself certain objects, which he is determined to attain, despite the perversity of man.

To learn the purposes of God in the development of human events, to trace his hand in the complicated movements of society, to see him overruling and directing all to his own great ends, is one of the most sublime objects to which the study of history can be applied. Frequently, indeed, we may be unable fully to comprehend the designs of his providence in the moral, as in the physical world. Fancy, or pride, may easily have a great part in suggesting our theories. But, if we confine ourselves to certain facts and undoubted principles, we can often trace the design in both orders, and admire in it the wisdom, the power, the goodness—all the attributes of God. Nay, all these shine more brightly in the moral than in the physical order.

The history of his chosen people is an example of this. We find empires rising and falling, at one time to punish, at another time to try, at another to deliver his people. The good and the wicked, the weak and the strong, become in turn his instruments. The whole history of that people is but a record of the acts of his overruling providence, directing all things to the accomplishment of the designs which he had announced.

This is, indeed, so evident in this case that it may not be considered a fair instance to prove my general position. For it is admitted that God's providence over the Jewish race was quite extraordinary. Still, it proves that God does so intervene in human affairs, and it illustrates many of the principles that must be kept in view in these investigations. It shows, for example, that many, unconscious of the fact—nay, with quite another object [pg 066] in view, acting perhaps from avarice, hatred, or ambition, are yet instruments in the hand of God for the accomplishment of his wise purposes. It shows how things, and persons, considered as of little or of no value, according to human views, may, in reality, be the pivots on which the destinies of vast empires turn, connected, as they may be, with the accomplishment of purposes which weigh more in the scales of Heaven than the mere temporal condition of all the empires of the Earth.

It is in this view that many Christian writers assert that the Roman empire obtained universal sway, that civilized nations being thus brought closely together, an easier way might be prepared for the spread of the Gospel. The generals and statesmen of Rome had no doubt a very low idea of the poor fishermen of Galilee, and of the tentmaker of Tharsus. It may be safely presumed that they did not even allow their names to divert their thoughts, for a moment, from the grand projects of conquest and government by which they were engrossed. Yet, in the designs of God, it was, most probably, to prepare a way for the work of those fishermen, and of that tentmaker, and their associates, that wisdom had been vouchsafed to their counsels and victory to their arms.

The endless invasions of the Roman empire by northern tribes is another instance of whole races being used by God for his own purposes, without their having any idea of the work in which they were employed. They came to punish those who had revelled in the blood of the saints, and to supply fresh material for the great work of the Church of God.

Towards the close of the fifteenth century, an Italian sailor, led by some astronomical observations and some half understood, or rather misunderstood, tales of ancient travellers, to believe that there must be another continent far away beyond the western waters, wandered from court to court, in Europe, in search of means to fit up an expedition to discover it, and he finally succeeded in making known a new world. It requires little faith in divine Providence to believe that it was God who was impelling him thus to open a new outlet for the energies of the ancient world, which were then about being developed on a gigantic scale, and, still more, to prepare a field for a more extensive spread of the Gospel, in which the Church might repair the losses she was about to sustain in the religious convulsions impending in Europe.

Numberless similar instances might be quoted. These designs of God are sometimes manifest, sometimes hidden; sometimes they are far-reaching, sometimes limited. Ignorance and pride may mistake or pervert them. But they always prevail; they are always worthy of their Author; and let me add, that the salvation [pg 067] of men being the object most highly prized by God, it is not only rightfully considered the most noble, but it is that to which his other works may be justly accounted subordinate.

It is under the light of these principles that I undertake an investigation of the purposes of God regarding the Irish race. These purposes seem to me no longer matter of speculation; they may be pronounced manifest; for they are written in unmistakable characters in the development of events.

The history of Ireland is, in many respects, peculiar. Few nations received the faith so readily, and no other preserved it amidst similar struggles. St. Patrick first announced the Gospel to the assembled states of the realm at Tara. He received permission to preach it, unmolested, throughout the length and breadth of the land. By his indomitable zeal and heroic virtue, he succeeded in winning over the natives so effectually, that at his death few pagans remained in Ireland. Not a drop of blood was shed when Christianity was first announced. Heroism was displayed only by the exalted virtues of the Apostle and of the neophytes. Nowhere else did the Gospel take root so quickly and so firmly, and produce fruits so immediate and so abundant. Catholic Ireland soon became the home of the saints and sages of the Christian world. To many of the nations of the continent her apostles went forth, charged with the embassy of eternal truth. In every realm of Europe her children established sanctuaries of piety and learning; and to her own hospitable shores the natives of other lands flocked to receive education, and even support, from her gratuitous bounty. Homes of virtue dotted her hills and valleys; and thus were laid deep the roots of that strong attachment to the faith, which, later, was to be exposed to trials the most severe.

We thus find God preparing Ireland for a future, then hidden to all but Himself. For the day of trial came at last. She was reposing in peace, under the shadow of the Gospel, when the barbaric invasion, that swept before it every vestige of learning and religion in many parts of Europe, reached her shores. Ireland was the only country that rolled back its wave. But she did this at the cost of her life's blood. For two centuries the Dane trampled her sons under foot. His cruelties yet re-echo in the national traditions. But the Irish race at last arose in its might, and drove the barbarian from its shores. The churches of the country had been pillaged, its monasteries plundered, its institutions of learning destroyed—everything that the sword could smite, or fire consume, had perished; but the Irish race came out of the ordeal preserving its own integrity, and the jewel which it prized above all else—its glorious faith.

Not long after this deliverance, and before Ireland had succeeded [pg 068] in obliterating the traces of Danish cruelty, another invader set his foot on her shores. Availing himself of the discords naturally arising from the disorganized state of society, he succeeded in gaining a foothold. By fanning these discords, he kept possession and gained strength. The rule of the Saxon became thus almost as severe a calamity as had been the oppression of the Dane. To the hatred, which is generally greater in the oppressor than in the oppressed, were added, in time, religious fanaticism and the desire of plunder, which became its associate and assumed its garb. The mere Irishman, who was hated under any circumstances on account of his race, was now hunted in his own country as if he were a wild beast. The property of the Catholic people was confiscated, and most stringent laws were enacted to prevent its renewed acquisitions. Priests, wherever found, were put to death, and the severest penalties were inflicted on those who would harbour any that escaped detection. Extermination by fire and sword was ordered in so many words, and was attempted. When this failed, a system of penal laws was established, which were in full force until lately, and which a Protestant writer of deservedly high repute (Burke) calls a “machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, and as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man”. Upon the partial abandonment of this form of oppression, a system of proselytism was adopted, and is yet in full vigour (for it has become an institution, and the best supported institution in Ireland), which, by bribes to the high and the low, appeals to every base instinct to draw men away from the faith.

Yet neither confiscation of property, nor famine, nor disgrace, nor death in its most hideous forms, could make Ireland waver in that faith which our forefathers received from St. Patrick. There were, of course, from time to time, and there are, a few exceptions. Did not these occur, the Irish must have been more than men. But, as a general rule, the places that could not be procured or retained, except by apostacy, were resigned. The rich allowed their property to be torn from them, and they willingly became poor; the poor bore hunger and all other consequences of wretched poverty; and though every Earthly good was arrayed temptingly before them, they scorned to purchase comfort at the price of apostacy. During the four years from 1846 to 1850, nearly two millions either perished from hunger or its attendant pestilence, or were forced to leave their native land to escape both. In the midst of the dead and the dying, proselytisers showed themselves everywhere, well provided with food and money, and Bibles, and every one of the sufferers felt, [pg 069] and was made to feel, that all his sufferings might have been spared had he been willing to barter his faith for bread. Yet the masses could bear hunger and face pestilence, or fly from their native land; but they would not eat the bread of apostacy. They died, or they fled; but they clung to their faith.

In vain, I think, will history be searched for another example of such vast numbers, generation after generation, calmly, silently facing an unhonoured death, without any support on earth but the approving voice of conscience.

This fidelity can be predicated with truth of the whole Irish race, notwithstanding the numbers of those in Ireland who are not Catholics. For these, besides being a minority of the inhabitants, are but an exotic, planted in Ireland by the sword. They were imported, being already, and because they were, of another faith, for the purpose of supplanting that of the inhabitants. Many of them adopted the faith of the old race, so that the names that indicate their origin are not a certain test of their religion. But so steadily has the old stock adhered to its faith, that an Irish “O”, or “Mac”, or any other old Celtic name, is almost sure to designate a Catholic. Indeed, such names are usually called “Catholic names”. Whenever an exception is found, it is so rare an occurrence that the party is considered a renegade from his race as well as from his religion.

It would, however, be not only unfounded to flatter ourselves that this stability in the faith is the result of anything peculiar in the Irish nature, but it would be, I may say, a blasphemy to assert it. God alone can preserve any one in the paths of truth and virtue; how much more must we attribute to Him the fidelity of a whole race, under the trying circumstances here enumerated?

Such grace may have been given, as many believe, in reward of the readiness and the fulness with which our ancestors first received the faith of the Gospel, and it is hoped that God will to the end grant the same grace of fidelity to their descendants. Our great Apostle is said to have asked this favour from God for the nation which so readily responded to his call. Let us unite our prayers with his, and, like Solomon, ask for our race not riches, nor power, but true wisdom, which is, above all and before all, allegiance to the true faith. This was the prayer, no doubt, which the millions of our martyred ancestors poured out. They themselves sacrificed property and liberty; they gave up everything that man could take away, that they might preserve this precious jewel. They believed that in doing this they were following the dictates of true wisdom, and, in their fondest love for their remotest posterity, they wished and prayed that similar wisdom might be displayed by them. May their prayer be heard to the end.

[pg 070]

This prayer has been heard, or at least this grace has been granted, up to the present. When the sons of Ireland on this day return in thought to the homes of their fathers, they may indeed look back upon a land inferior to many in the elements of material greatness. They may behold her castles and rich domains in the possession of the stranger. They may view the masses of their race with scarcely a foothold in the land of their fathers, liable to be ejected from the farm, and driven out on the public highways, and from the highways into the crowded town, and from the hovels of the crowded town into the poorhouse, and even at the poorhouse denied the right of admission. But amidst all the miseries of those who yet dwell in the old land—in spite of the wiles of unscrupulous governments, and heartless and tyrannical landlords, and hypocritical proselytizers—in spite of open violence and covert bribes, their undying attachment to the faith remains unaltered, unshaken—a monument of national virtue more honourable than any which wealth or power could erect, or flattery devise.

But all this is a grace, a great grace of God. It reveals a purpose of Heaven more bountiful in regard to this people than if he had raised them to the highest place in material power amongst the nations of the Earth.

Temporal prosperity, in its various forms, though a favour from God, is not his most precious blessing. He himself selected the way of the Cross. In abjection and suffering he came into the world; he lived in it despised and persecuted, he died amidst excruciating torments. To those whom he loved in a special manner, he says, “Can you drink the chalice which I am to drink, and be baptized with the baptism with which I shall be baptized?” and when they reply, they can, the promise that this shall be fulfilled, his leading them to follow him in the way of the Cross, his calling them to suffer for righteousness, is the best pledge of his greatest love.

This grace he has given to Ireland. Her children have received and accepted the call; they have reaped the reward. Indeed, I have found the opinion entertained by many clergymen of extensive experience, that there is not probably a people on this Earth of whom more, in proportion to their number, leave this world with well grounded hopes of a happy eternity. They do not, it is true, display a boastful assurance that they are about to ascend at once into Heaven. But vast masses serve God with humble fidelity in life, and, at death, acknowledging and sorry for their sins, doing all they can to comply with his requirements, they throw themselves, with resignation to his will, into the arms of his mercy.

Were nothing else apparent in the purposes of God, we might [pg 071] stop here. We would find a great and worthy object for all that Ireland has suffered, and cause to thank the Almighty Ruler for having given her the grace to suffer in union with and for the sake of his Son.

But God's graces are often given for ulterior purposes; and it may be asked whether the extraordinary preservation of this nation's faith has not another object in his wise and merciful counsels.

It appears to me that this is now clear in the case of Ireland. But, to understand it properly, we must reflect more closely on her connection with England, and on the condition of this latter country.

In the sixteenth century England abandoned the faith to which she had adhered for a thousand years. Her apostacy, though consummated by degrees, may be said to have become at last complete. The blood of her best sons flowed at Tyburn. The priests that were not of the number were banished, or forced to seek safety in hiding places. The same price was put on the head of a priest as on that of a wolf. The property of Catholics was confiscated, their children were taken from them, and educated in the religion of the establishment. These and analogous measures produced their effect at last. Were it not for these things, a great part of that nation, if not a majority, would be Catholic to-day. Though they desired no share in the plunder of the Church, and had no fancy for the new theories of the Reformers, they were weak enough to yield to a pressure, under which compromise first, and then apostacy, afforded the only means of escaping confiscation and the loss of every social advantage, frequently the only means of escaping death. The old faith stamped, indeed, its mark on the institutions of the kingdom in a manner that could not be blotted out. It left its memorials everywhere throughout the land. The noble universities, the gorgeous cathedrals, and the splendid ruins scattered over the surface of the country, are witnesses of its departed power; but it is itself effectually blotted out from the hearts of the people. Though the most noble kings and princes of the land had delighted in honouring Catholicity, though England had sent her apostles and her saints into many a clime, though her hills and valleys had re-echoed for centuries with the sweet songs of Catholic devotion, her people now know nothing more hateful than the faith under the auspices of which their fathers were civilized. They nickname it “Popery”, and the name expresses that which is to them most hateful.

Yet this England, this Catholic-hating England, has become one of the greatest nations of the Earth in the material order. Her fleets are mirrored in every sea; her banner floats on every [pg 072] continent. It has been truly said that the sound of her drums, calling her soldiers from slumber, goes before and greets the rising sun in its circuit around the globe.

But what is most remarkable, and certainly not without some great purpose in the order of divine Providence, England has become in our day the great hive from which colonies go out to people islands and continents in distant parts of the world; lands which were before vast wastes, tenanted only by the wild beast, or by the savage scarcely less ferocious. Indeed, she is the only nation in our day that seems to have received such a mission.

And is it then to an apostate nation exclusively that God has given the mission to fill up these wastes? Is it a corrupted faith only which is to be borne to these savage nations, and to be planted in those vast regions, which God has made known to civilized man in these latter days? Were this the case, we might tremble, though we should adore it as one of the inscrutable judgments of God, dealing with nations in his great wrath.

But is such the fact? It would indeed be the fact were it not for faithful Ireland. But, united as England is with Ireland, the result is quite otherwise. The very ambition and desire for gain which impel England to extend her power and plant her colonies in the most distant countries of the globe, become the instruments for carrying also the undying faith of Ireland to the regions which England has conquered.

Saul went to seek Samuel, thinking only of finding his father's asses. God was sending him to be anointed king over his people. England sends her ships all over the world, thinking only of markets for the produce of her forges and her looms. God is sending her that she may spread everywhere the faith of the Irish people.

Under the “Union Jack”, on which the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew are blended, but so blended as to prevent any Christian symbol being recognized (a fit emblem of the effect of the union of jarring sects, each professing to proclaim Christianity, but between them only obscuring and obstructing it)—the Irishman, too, is borne to the distant colony. He goes, probably, before the mast or in the forecastle, but he bears with him the true faith; and when he lands he hastens to raise its symbol. This may be at first over a rude chapel. But it is a signal to other way-farers, and they gather under its shade to offer up the sacred mysteries. As soon as his means permit, even before he can build a good dwelling for himself, he takes care that the house of God be, in every possible degree, worthy of its sacred character. And so the Church creeps on and grows, and regions that sat in darkness are now blessed by the offering of the Adorable Sacrifice and the announcement of the true faith.

[pg 073]

The Irishman, generally speaking, did not leave home through ambition, or for conquest. He departed with sorrow from the shade of that hawthorn around which the dearest memories of childhood clustered. He would have remained content with the humble lot of his father had he been allowed to dwell there in peace. But the bailiff came, and, to make wider pastures for sheep and bullocks, his humble cottage was levelled, and he himself sent to wander through the world in search of a home. But in his wanderings he carries his faith with him, and he becomes the means of spreading everywhere the true Church of God.

It is thus that the tempest, which seems but to destroy the flower, catches up its seeds and scatters them far and near, and these seeds produce other flowers as beautiful as that from which they were torn, so that some fair spot of the prairie, when despoiled of its loveliness, but affords the means of covering the vast expanse with new and variegated beauties.

It is thus that the famine, and the pestilence, and the inhuman evictions of Irish landlords, have spread the faith of Christ far and near, and planted it in new colonies, which, when they shall have grown out of their tutelage, will look back to the departed power of England and the undying faith of Ireland as, in the hands of Providence, the combined causes of their greatness and their orthodoxy. Macaulay's traveller from New Zealand, who will, on some future day, “from a broken arch of London Bridge, take a sketch of the ruins of St. Paul's”, may be some Irish “O'” or “Mac” on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City, who passes that way—having first landed on the shores from which his ancestors were driven by the “crowbar brigade”, and visited with reverence the hallowed graves under whose humble sod lie the bones of his martyred forefathers.

It is thus that the Catholic faith is being planted in the British colonies of North America; it is thus it is carried to India, and to Australia, and to the islands of the South Sea. Thus are laid the foundations of flourishing churches, which promise, at no distant day, to renew, and even to surpass, the work done by Ireland in the palmiest days of faith, when her sons planted the Cross, and caused Christ to be adored, as he wished to be adored, in the most distant regions of the earth.

The magnitude of this work is not to be measured even by the importance of these transplanted churches at the present moment. The countries to which I have alluded are but in their infancy. We can see on this continent the rapid strides of such infant colonies. Within three quarters of a century this country has advanced in population from three to over thirty millions, and in most other elements of greatness in still grander proportions. If it continue to increase, as it has done regularly from [pg 074] the beginning, at the end of this century, or soon after, it will have a population of over one hundred millions—that is, as great as is now the population of France, and Spain, and Italy, and Great Britain combined. If this be expected in this country in forty years, what will the case be in one or two hundred, in this and so many others similarly situated?

Australia starts with all the advantages of this country, and some peculiar to itself, and is following it with giant strides. It may overtake it before long, if not outstrip it. But the position of Catholicity there is very different from what it was at the commencement, or even at an advanced period, in the United States. The Catholics in Australia occupy a position of practical social equality with others. They will grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength of their adopted country, and have their fair share in its importance.

England herself, from which the Catholic name was thought to have been almost blotted out, has been deeply affected by this exodus of Irish Catholics. In her cities, and towns, and hamlets, the Cross has been raised from the dust. At the side of the ancient monuments which remind England of her apostacy, humble spires rise in every part of the land, and tell that nation that the faith which they thought destroyed still lives, and is ready to admit them again to its wonted blessings. They stand there, and betoken the unity and stability of that faith of which they are the symbols—of that faith which reclaimed the fathers of that people from barbarism, and continued to be the faith of the land for a thousand years, and is yet a faith, and the only faith, in which men of every tongue and every clime are united. The English people see its unity and stability, while they are forced to witness the ever shifting and clashing forms of the religion that was substituted for it. For, in the name of the one Christ and the one Bible, altar is everywhere erected against altar, pulpit thunders against pulpit, the teaching of to-day is contradicted in the same pulpit on the morrow; yet each one proclaims his own device as the plain teaching of Scripture.

This confronting of unity with confusion, of steady adherence to truth with the ever varying shifts of error, of the mild but bright glory of an everlasting Church with the frivolities of the proudest inventions of men, is a grace, and a great grace, which God grants. It is a grace for the use of which that people will give strict account. And oh! may that use be, that they will make it fructify to their salvation. For while we appreciate the blessings granted to ourselves, we have no other feeling in their regard than a wish that they, too, may share in these blessings, and be like unto us in everything “except these chains”.

But whether well used or abused, whether unto “the ruin” or [pg 075] “salvation” of many in that country, this grace is given chiefly through the Irish emigration.

I am not unaware of, nor do I undervalue, the importance of the faithful remnant that has in England steadfastly continued in the faith once delivered to the saints, nor of the accession made to their numbers by the conversion of so many noble souls, to whom God gave light and strength to overcome the many difficulties that would have fain prevented their following that light. But of both we might not inaptly ask, “What are these amongst so many?” They are like those few tints that gild the skies here and there, when the sun's light has all but departed; or like those stars that pierce at night the cumbered heavens—bright, indeed, and beautiful—but only showing forth more clearly the dark outlines of the heavy and murky clouds that shroud the horizon. They make us feel only more sensibly, and keep fresh in our memory, the loss of the sun that has set.

It is the Irish emigration that has chiefly supplied the multitudes who flock around English altars, that has made churches and schools spring up, that has finally called for the restoration of a numerous hierarchy; and, as if to mark this fact, and point out the great part that Ireland had in restoring Catholic life to England, God has so arranged it that the first head and brightest ornament of that new hierarchy should be the son of Irish emigrants; for such is the great and illustrious Cardinal Wiseman.

And even in these United States, let people say what they please, has not the Irish race held the first place in planting the cross throughout the length and breadth of the land?

In this, and wherever else I speak of the Irish race, I do not, of course, confine myself to those born in Ireland. The work which a race is called to do is to be done by those who now live, and by their children and their children's children, wherever they happen to be born. Indeed, it would be a contradiction in terms to consider the father and son, wherever born, as belonging to different races. Be it for weal or for woe, be it unto honour or unto shame, the fathers cannot disown the children nor the children the fathers. If it depended on feeling or wishes, I, for one, would be very glad to dissolve connection with any one who insists that he owes nothing to the race that gave him a father or a mother. I would readily leave such a one to his proud claim of owning no paternity but the land on which he vegetates, and I only regret that he will scarcely bring to it much credit or advantage. He who is unwilling to acknowledge the father that begot him, or the mother that gave him suck, is not a prize worth contending for. But whatever we or he may wish, whatever be the results to us or to him, he is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. What God has united, neither he nor we can put asunder.

[pg 076]

It is not that we should form separate classes or castes, or that we claim other rights or privileges, or have other duties than those of other races; but the one to which each man belongs has been fixed by the Almighty Provider in the very act of giving him being, and he who would fain conceal, or disown, or be ashamed of his race—that is, of the order of Providence to which he owes his existence—could succeed in nothing else but in proving himself unworthy the esteem of men of any race.

I know and gratefully acknowledge the important services rendered to Catholicity in the United States by persons of other races. There was, first of all, the Maryland colony, with whose noble history that of few, if any, of the other colonies can compare. By their justice and humanity in treating with the native tribes, by similar justice and fair dealing with other colonists, of every religion and every race, by their domestic virtues and patriotic course, the men of that colony deserved and received a high place in the esteem of their countrymen and of the world.

But their number is small, too small—indeed. Would that they were more. Were they all put together they would not form one average diocese of the forty-six now existing in this country.

God has sent us many illustrious men from France, and Belgium, and Italy, who have occupied the foremost ranks in the ministry, whose heroic virtues and zealous works are even now as beacon lights to all who labour for God's glory. But as to the people from these countries, they are not many more than those from the Maryland stock. Germany has sent many of her hardy sons to labour with the steadfastness of their countrymen in building up the walls of the sanctuary. These are, indeed, a most important element, and are destined to become more and more important every day. They may yet exercise a greater influence on the destiny of the Church in this country than the Irish race. But so far, I think, no one will claim that they can be compared with it in numbers, or as to the results hitherto obtained. Of the converts in this country we may say the same thing as of those in England.

Giving all, therefore, what belongs to them—for there is not, nor should there be here, any room for jealousy—I think it will be admitted that it is above all others to the sons of Ireland and to their children that the spread of Catholicity is due in this land. No matter who ministered at the altar (though there, too, the sons of Ireland have had their share), in the body of the church you will find that, in the majority of places, they constitute the bulk, and in many the whole of the congregation. Their hard earned dollars were foremost in supplying means to buy the lot and raise the building from which the Catholic faith [pg 077] is announced. The priest, no matter what his own nationality, was nowhere more confident of finding help and support than among the Irish emigrants or their children. Wherever a railway, or a canal, or a hive of industry invited their sturdy labour, the cross soon sprang up to bear witness to their generosity and their faith.

Even the old Maryland colony, though consisting chiefly of English Catholics, seeking here a freedom of conscience denied them at home, had its Irish element, and that not the least noble in deeds nor the least conspicuous in virtue.

When at the period of the Revolution the noblest men of this land stood together, shoulder to shoulder, and issued that Declaration of Independence to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honours, it was a Catholic of the Irish race who affixed his signature for Maryland. In doing this he pledged an honour as pure, and a life as precious as any of the rest, but he staked a fortune equal to, if not greater than, that of all the others put together. When he signed his name, one standing by said, “There go some millions”. Another remarked, “There are many Carrolls; he will not be known”. He overheard the remark, and to avoid all misconception, wrote down in full, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton.

Yet this noble scion of the Irish race, for so many years the pride and the ornament of his native state, while fulfilling all the duties of an illustrious citizen, was not ashamed of the race from which he sprang. Instead of selecting amongst French villes or English parks or towns a name for his princely estate, he stamped on it a title with the good old Celtic ring. He called it after a property of one of his Irish ancestors, Doughoregan Manor, thereby telling his posterity and his countrymen that if they feel any pride in his name, they must associate him with a race which so many affect to despise.

Let all the sons, and the sons of the sons, of Ireland be, like him, faithful to their duties as citizens, ready to sacrifice their all for their country, whether that all be little, or as great as was his vast wealth; just and respectful and charitable to men of all races and creeds, not anxious either to conceal or obtrude their own, but rather to live worthy of both; determined, in a word, faithfully to discharge all their civil and Christian duties, let them be earnest in elevating the one by greater fidelity to the other. Acting thus, they will imitate Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, and fulfil all I would wish them to do out of fidelity to their country, their religion, and their race.

It was also one of the Maryland stock, but of this same Irish race—another Carroll—who was chosen the first bishop, and the founder of the hierarchy, of the young American Church; as if [pg 078] Providence here too wished to indicate from which race the chief strength of Catholicity was to be derived in this land.

Would it be overstraining matters to say, that a hint of this was also given by Providence in the Irish name of the future metropolitan see of the United States—the first in time, and always to be the first in dignity? The word Baltimore is an Irish word, and, through the founder of the colony, was derived from an Irish hamlet, which from the extreme south-west coast of Ireland, is looking, as it were, over the waters of the Atlantic to this continent for the full realization of its name. The word, in the Irish language, means “the town of the great house”, and it was beyond the Atlantic that Baltimore, in becoming the chief see of a great church, has truly become “the town of the great house”, for the church, or house at the head of which it stands, extends probably over a wider surface than any other church or churches amongst which any one bishop holds pre-eminence, excepting only the church governed by the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom is committed the care of all the sheep and lambs of God's fold, that is, the whole of Christ's Church. In names, which God has given, or permitted to be given, he has frequently foreshadowed the destinies of individuals and races. Would it be superstitious to suppose that in the Irish name of this American ecclesiastical metropolis—the only important city in this country that has an Irish name—Providence pointed, on the one hand, to its future position in the Christian hierarchy, and on the other to the character of the chief portion of the family of that house or church?

But, be this as it may, it was a scion of the Irish race who was the founder of the new American hierarchy. For some time he held the crozier alone. The whole country was his diocese. But he did not depart until he saw suffragans around him forming a regular hierarchy, that was destined to multiply and, mainly on Irish shoulders, carry, everywhere, the ark that would spread blessings throughout the land.

The work that has thus been commenced is no doubt destined to prosper. It is not without a motive that in this country the lines are drawn, and the foundations laid by Providence for a noble church. Its beginnings (for we may say it is yet in its infancy) bear many of the marks of the process by which the work was effected, It is destined to grow, and may it grow, particularly in the mild beauty of Christian virtue, and win, by love, the homage of all the children of the land, that all may receive through it the graces of Heaven, and even their Earthly prosperity be consolidated and become the means of their acquiring higher blessings.

But whatever be said of the United States, the Irish race is [pg 079] certainly almost alone in the work of diffusing Catholicity in the various other countries in which the English language is spoken.

The sufferings of Ireland were, therefore, the means, and evidently intended by God as the means to preserve her in the faith, to give her its rewards in a high degree; and this preservation of her faith was as evidently intended to make her and her sons instruments in spreading that faith throughout the English-speaking world. This is, therefore, what I claim to be, in the counsels of God, the destiny of the Irish Race.

Did we endeavour to draw this conclusion by far-fetched arguments, we might fear the delusions of fancy, but I think it is plainly written in the facts to which I have alluded, when looked at with faith in an overruling Providence. The diffusion of the true faith enters too closely, and is too primary a thing in the designs of God, to suppose it for a moment to be the work of accident. It is his work first of all. Where it exists it exists because he so willed it. The instruments that effected it must be those which he has chosen and placed to the work with this very view. When, therefore, the results obtained, and those we see in the certain future, and the means by which they are obtained, are a matter of intuition, rather than of reasoning, the conclusion drawn seems to me to have all the force of demonstration, and in no way liable to be considered the product of fancy or of national pride.

This interpretation of the facts of history will, by some, be considered a complicated theory, and therefore unworthy of God. But the simplicity of God's operations by no means excludes multiplicity and combination of agents in themselves most inadequate or discordant. Our inclination to exclude these, though we imagine the very contrary, is the result of the consciousness of our own weakness, which we would fain attribute to God. We may, indeed, be overwhelmed, or at least embarrassed, by many instruments; and therefore we think it wise to avoid their use. But, it is as easy for God to use and direct many as few, or to produce results by his own immediate action. Nay, though sometimes he performs wonderful works in a moment, he is more often pleased to act through numerous and far-reaching instruments, which, at times, seem even to work in opposition to his designs, and by overruling and directing them, to prove that he is Ruler and Master over all things in action, as well as the Author of their being.

By one word he made the Earth produce “every green herb” and “every fruit-tree yielding fruit according to its kind”; but he is now pleased to make the fertility of the earth, and the various ingredients of the air, and the heat and light of the sun, labour through a whole season to produce the flower, that for a [pg 080] few days wastes its fragrance on the meadow. At one time he sends his angel to strike down in one night myriads of the enemies of his people; at another he is pleased “to hiss for the fly, that is in the uttermost parts of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Is., vii. 18), that they may come and be the instruments of his vengeance. At one time he rains down bread from Heaven to feed a whole multitude; at another, he sends his angel to take the prophet by the hair of his head from Judea, even unto Babylon, that he may supply food to his servant.

It is not for us to prescribe ways to Providence, but to study His design in the events which we witness, and to bow down and adore his Power, his Wisdom, and his Goodness.

To give power to an apostate and persecuting nation, and the grace of fidelity to another; to use and even to create the material resources of the first as the instrument of his design over the latter, may appear a circuitous course, but it is only another instance of that unity of purpose and multiplicity, variety and apparent incongruity of means, which we witness in almost all his works.

When the people of God were carried away into captivity, “the priests took the fire from the altar, and hid it in a valley where there was a pit without water”. There “they kept it safe”, while the Gentile hosts reigned triumphant in the land. But “when many years had passed”, and the people returned, they sought the fire, but found only “thick water”. This they sprinkled on the new sacrifices that were prepared, and “when the sun shone out, which before was in a cloud, there was a great fire kindled so that all wondered”. (II. Mach., i. 19, 22).

An analogous phenomenon, methinks, has been presented in Ireland. That combination of frenzy and irreligion, which men have called “The Reformation”, swept before it almost every vestige of faith from many of the northern countries of Europe, and seemed in a special manner to have enveloped in darkness the islands of the West. Men were like “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion”, boasting of liberty and light, but treating the faithful with savage cruelty, and showing their own inability to hold fast any positive principles which they proclaimed as truth. The ancient faith of these islands, overwhelmed in the waters of tribulation, seemed hidden in the hearts of the Irish people, saddened by persecution and sufferings of every kind.

But the day has come for pouring forth this water on nations. By their sufferings, the Irish race, driven into many lands, mingles with the progeny of its oppressors. The sun of God's grace, which seems under a cloud, is now shining forth, and a great [pg 081] fire is enkindled and is spreading its light and its heat far and near. The Church of God is everywhere showing itself again in its pristine beauty. English-speaking nations that were the ramparts of heresy, are beginning again to fall into the ranks of Catholic unity, and, as happened once before, the light of faith that took refuge in the most distant island of the West, is, from that sacred spot, sending forth its beams and gladdening the Church by giving her whole people as her children.

So far we are led, I may say, by the mere logic of facts. Were we to indulge in speculation, but in a speculation quite in conformity with the beneficent designs of God, we might expect still more from these effects of the steadfastness of Ireland.

Notwithstanding all the faults of England, the Catholic heart throughout the world has never lost its interest in that land, once so faithful. Other nations, once as Catholic, have been lost, and they are almost forgotten. The land where the Saviour Himself lived is, indeed, remembered on account of the sacred spots which he trod; but no hopes are entertained for the conversion of its people. The Churches planted by the Apostles have been destroyed. We cherish the memory of the holy confessors and martyrs who adorned them; but despair of their return to the truth is the only feeling in their regard that we can discover in the Catholic world.

But in one way or another the Catholic heart seems never to have despaired of the return of England. Opinions and expectations which are, probably, nothing more than an expression of the intensity of this feeling, are everywhere to be met. They exist among the learned and the high, as well as amongst the humble children of the Church, and are found to be cherished in different lands. England, with her long catalogue of saints, seems to be considered, not as an outcast, on whom the sentence of spiritual death has been executed, but rather as the prodigal, who in a moment of thoughtlessness demanded, what he called his own share, and wandered from his father's house. The father is looking out, expecting every day to see the wayward one return, and is ever ready to kill the fatted calf, and to call on his friends and neighbours to rejoice and be merry, for “he that was dead is come to life again, and he that was lost is found”.

But, alas! there is much reason to fear that such joy is not to be expected. We know of no instance of a whole nation once fully and deliberately apostatising from the faith ever again returning. The grace of faith, if lost by individuals by formal apostacy, is seldom recovered. It has never yet been recovered by any nation that once enjoyed its full light, and deliberately abandoned it. It is not for us, to be sure, to place bounds to the mercies of God. Who knows but that in these latter ages God [pg 082] may do a work which he never did before? and, now that the Church has encircled the globe, and announced the Gospel to every nation under the sun, God may send her back on another mission more glorious than the first, showing forth his power in giving new life to fallen nations as he did before in converting those who knew not his name. His first work might be compared to that which he performed when he took the clay and breathed into it the breath of life; this, to his raising up the dead already mouldering in the tomb. But he has done both in the physical, and he may do both in the moral order.

Without having recourse, however, to this extraordinary dispensation, the hope of which would be unwarranted by anything we have yet seen, may not the hopes to which I have alluded, and which could scarcely have existed without some influence of the divine Spouse of the Church, be realized in the conversion of the children, rather than in that of the mother? May not the expectations of the Catholic world be realized by a return of English-speaking brethren in the various colonies which the mother country has planted? May they not receive the graces which the latter has cast away, and thus more than compensate the Church for the loss of that one island?

Such results would be no anomaly in the experience of the Church. Several nations first learned Christianity under a heterodox form, and some of the most Catholic to-day are their descendants. Their errors were not their own faults, as nations, and God had pity upon them.

We may say the same thing of this, and of several other countries, where great and independent peoples will be found one day as they now are here. This nation has never apostatised from Catholic truth, simply because it never possessed it as a nation. At its birth it was already entangled in the meshes of heterodoxy, and it found the Catholic Church in its midst, with few adherents. Yet, at its very birth, it struck off the shackles by which she was bound. Several circumstances, it is true, aided this course of justice. But, who will say that these existed otherwise than by God's Providence, and for the nation's benefit, as well as for ours? This course of justice, moreover, was adopted cordially and fully by the founders of the country's independence, and that at a time when the Church was so treated by few even of those nations on whom she had the best claims. Bigots, it is true, were not wanting, then, or since. But it is a great fact, that this nation, as a nation and as a Government, has always, since its birth, treated God's Church with justice.

A cup of cold water, given in the name of Christ, shall not be without its reward. Do we exaggerate in hoping that this mode of proceeding towards his Church shall have its reward from her [pg 083] Heavenly Spouse—that it will plead for this nation with the Divine Mercy, as the alms of Cornelius obtained for him the knowledge of Gospel truth and a share in its blessings? The grace of faith, with these blessings, is the greatest which God gives to man, nor is it the less valuable because it is not now appreciated or is even spurned. It is God's grace that gives a hunger for divine things, as it is by Him that the hungry are filled.

Yes, I do not only desire, and send up the prayer, but I candidly avow the hope, that the light of faith is yet destined to shine brightly here, even amongst those who now look on it with contempt or hostility. In this I am strengthened by the desire for a knowledge of truth, which, notwithstanding the bigotry of many, is so widely spread. I am strengthened by the growth of the Church itself, which bears the marks of a higher purpose on the part of God than the mere preservation of those who came Catholics to our shores. I am strengthened by the very losses which the Church sustains in the falling away of many of her children. For surely God did not permit them to be driven hither by persecution that they might perish. He sent them forth to battle, in doing which, though many may be lost, he will grant victory to his own cause. I am strengthened by the very dangers by which we are surrounded; nor would my hope be shaken even if storms should impend. For it is according to the ways of God to reach his ends amidst contradictions.

Let it not be said that the humble condition or the faults of many of the children of the Church, forbid such a hope as this. God's ways are not as our ways. It is not by the great or by the mighty that his truth is propagated. Flesh might otherwise glory in His sight, and men might say that, by their wisdom and their efforts was His kingdom established. So far from this being an objection, when other things inspire hope, the hope is strengthened by the humble form in which the Church presents itself. Our hope of its diffusion is better founded when we see it borne to our shores by humble labourers, than if it had come recommended exclusively by proud philosophers, cunning statesmen, or by men loaded with wealth.

What we hope for this nation, we may hope with greater reason for the other nations yet reposing in their infancy, or growing in giant proportions under British rule. I say, with greater reason, because in most of these the foundations of Catholicity are laid even more deeply than they are here. While it would be a great thing for God's honour and glory, there is nothing to forbid the hope that these may one day be united in the true fold of the everlasting Church. The blood of Ireland and of England will mingle in their veins; and, while they will look back with shame on the apostacy of the sixteenth century, as a disgraceful chapter [pg 084] in the history of their forefathers, they will glory in the recollections of the saints and the heroes of religion who, for a thousand years, adorned both their mother countries. With feelings analogous to those with which we look back to the tyrants of the first centuries and their victims, they will set off the martyr heroes of one portion of their ancestors to the apostacy of the other, and the apostasy itself will be, in their history, but an episode proving how far human nature may stray, while their own conversion will be a standing monument of the power of the cross.

If these hopes be realized, the Irish race and its sufferings will have been the instruments in the hands of God by which the grand result will be accomplished; but whether they be realized or not, the main point which I have endeavoured to dwell upon seems to me to be established beyond doubt—that is, that this race has been preserved by God in the true faith in an extraordinary manner, for the purpose of spreading that faith throughout the English-speaking nations which now exist, or which are coming into being.

As Ireland owes the preservation of her faith to her being destined as the leaven of that mass, it is but assigning to God a purpose worthy of His goodness to say, that England owes her power to her mission to spread that leaven throughout so many vast regions. It will not, I presume, be considered rash to say that God, permitting her to acquire power, proposed to himself some higher object than that other nations should have cheap cotton or woollen fabrics, or that they should learn how to travel forty instead of four or ten miles an hour. In his goodness he designed that power for some purpose worthy of Heaven; and this purpose may be accomplished whether England herself will it or not, or even though she desire the very contrary. I have said before, that most learned and grave writers consider the Roman power to have been intended, in the counsels of God, to prepare a way for the diffusion of the Gospel. The rulers of Rome despised the Gospel and its heralds. Still Rome most probably owed to them her greatness, and but for this mission, she might have remained what she was in the beginning—an obscure village, a place of refuge for the thieves of the surrounding country. England may despise the Irish Catholic. Like Rome, she may look upon the professors of Catholicity as the great plague-spot of her system. Yet, in the designs of God, she most probably is indebted for her power to the part she is made to act in the diffusion of their faith. It is certain, at least, that the highest use of that power she has yet been allowed to make, is the carrying of frieze-coated Papists to distant shores, and the clearing of the forests where they are propagating, and are yet to propagate more extensively, [pg 085] the true faith. If a higher design in her behalf exist in the arrangements of Providence, it is yet to be made known. But for this she might have remained, as the poet described her, “a naked fisher” on her rock, and when she shall have ended her usefulness as an instrument for accomplishing this object, she may return “to her hook”, still musing, perhaps, her senseless “No Popery”, while the churches which she has unwillingly assisted to plant, will be growing up in beauty and praising God in one harmonious voice with the other children of his family throughout the world.

The value and importance of this great mission cannot be overrated. It is awful to think what would have been the condition of the English-speaking races, in a religious point of view, if Ireland had shared in the English apostacy. Scarcely a Catholic voice would be heard amongst those seventy or eighty millions now using that language, who occupy so large a portion of the Earth, and in another century, according to the ratio of their growth, may become two or four hundred millions, or even more. The very remnant that has continued faithful in England might have followed in the wake of their predecessors, had not the influence of Ireland caused the sword of persecution to be sheathed, and civil intolerance to cease at last, and thus the temptation to be removed which had proved fatal to so many. In that vast empire, or the empires that may rise out of its fragments—for, in more than one place are foundations of empires laid which would grow with giant growth, even though the power of the mother country were paralysed to-morrow—the holy sacrifice would not be offered up, and thus the prophecy not fulfilled, which foretold that a clean oblation would be offered from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. That union of the Christian family for which the Saviour prayed before he suffered, and which he left as a mark by which men would know his followers, would not be exhibited to the world. Christianity would be confounded with the products of these latter ages of so-called “light”, and be thought, like the appliances of steam and the contrivances of machinery, to owe its power to the genius of the Anglo-Saxon race, instead of deriving it from Him who died on Calvary. For their Christianity, by its very name, would proclaim that the work of Christ had failed, until the press and the “march of light” had come to its aid. Religion, in a word, instead of being a divine institution, would appear and be amongst them but a brilliant work or invention of man, and, therefore, in the supernatural order, but a brilliant delusion, not an institution which the mercy of God transplanted from Heaven, and made to stand, and to grow, and to bless, and produce fruit, in every age and in every form of society.

[pg 086]

But, in preserving the faith of the Irish race, God has provided a leaven of truth for these masses. By the side of systems of religion which men have devised, stands the everlasting Church—that Church which, as Macaulay remarked, is the only connecting link between the civilization of the ancient and modern worlds—the Church which taught the name of Christ to every nation that knows him, even to those who afterwards fell from the fullness of truth—the Church which Augustine brought to England, and Patrick to Ireland—the Church that raised the dignity of the poor, and humbled the pride of the high, placing all on the level of the Gospel—the Church that claims no new inventions, but is itself an invention of God, infinitely surpassing all inventions of man, holding out nothing to the nineteenth, which it did not present to the first, to the tenth, and to every other century, but presenting to all the faith and institutions of God, able to save all, to elevate all, to bring all into one fold, that all may be united in one happiness in Heaven.

Is not this great result worth all the sufferings which Ireland has endured? The ways of God appear often circuitous. But in their circuitous course they are everywhere fraught with blessings. The children of Ireland suffered; yet, even in their sufferings they were blessed. He himself pronounced “blessed those who suffer persecution for justice's sake”; for in their trials they redeemed their own souls. But they were doubly blessed, because they were preserving the ark of God, and carrying it through the waters of tribulation to bless more amply unborn and numerous generations. The ways of God are circuitous, and though, like the course of the planets, they sometimes seem to us to retrograde, they are always onward. The sufferings of Ireland at a time seemed without a purpose, or even the very contrary to what we might have expected for so faithful a people. But, who knows what might have been the result, if justice and humanity had marked the course of the English nation towards Ireland? Who knows but the temptation to the latter to be drawn into apostacy would have been too powerful? Had Apostate England dealt generously or justly with Catholic Ireland, who knows if, in the alliances that would have been formed, she would have been equally steadfast in her faith? And though for a long time confiscations, and plunder, and persecution, and slaughter, and even now, harsh treatment condemning her sons to famine and banishment, have been the effects of the English connection; if these have been the means of creating a barrier that prevented the spread of heresy amongst her sons, has too great a price been paid for the “pearl” that has been bought? When, particularly, the cross borne by the children of Ireland shall have been erected in the Western and Southern [pg 087] Hemispheres, and flourishing Churches in Catholic unity established under its shade, where, but for the fidelity of our fathers, heterodoxy alone would have had sway, shall we not say that little indeed were their sufferings compared to the value of such an Apostolate of Empires?

What is any Earthly mission compared to this? What is even the spreading of civilization with its highest privileges, compared to the spreading of the saving institutions of the Gospel? Even in this world virtue is a thing infinitely superior to mere physical power. The man who does God's will, whose soul is adorned with grace, is an object of complacency with his Maker, and enjoys his esteem infinitely more, than he who can control the hidden powers of nature, and make them subservient to his will, but does not make his own will conform to the great law that should govern it—subjection to the will of God. When Earth, and all that is of Earth, shall have passed away, the proudest human achievements will be seen to have been as nothing, while those who shall have caused God's name to be glorified, shall shine as bright stars “unto perpetual eternities”.

This mission, however, has its duties as well as its dignity. What will it avail us to be the sons of martyred sires who sacrificed all for God, if we barter the faith for which they died, for some paltry bauble, or fail to transmit it to those under our charge? Will not the constancy and sufferings of our fathers be a reproach to us before God and man? Will they not pronounce judgment upon us if, while we honour their heroic deeds, we ourselves display nothing but pusillanimity? And even though we preserve our faith, will not this be rather to our shame, if we do not endeavour to practise the virtues which it teaches? When the salt has lost its savour, it is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. The higher the vocation of God, the lower will be the degradation of those who fail to correspond. They will be despised, and justly despised, by God and by men.

We can see in the fate of other nations the consequences of infidelity to a noble mission. Spain and Portugal were once great powers. They achieved great things at home and abroad. The sails of their commerce whitened every sea. The most distant lands acknowledged their might. They, too, were missionary nations. They carried the faith to the East and to the West, and in both hemispheres planted the cross on continents and islands where Christ was before unknown. God may be said to have given them power for this purpose. It was mainly through their agency that the missionary work, which repaired the losses of the Church in Europe, was carried on for two hundred years.

[pg 088]

But the rulers of these countries listened to wicked counsels. On one and the same dark day did Spain, on another did Portugal, command the most strenuous heralds of the cross to be seized and bound in chains. The galleons that were wont to bear over the deep the treasures of Asia and America, and pour them into the laps of the mother countries, or to carry their commands and the means of enforcing them to the most distant lands, were now spreading their sails over every ocean and sea, in the inglorious work of conveying to home prisons, or into exile, the truest missionaries of the cross. On that day these nations renounced their noble mission, and the power that was given to enable them to carry it out soon departed.

The immediate agencies producing their downfall, as well as those that gave rise to their power, may, indeed, be seen in operation before the existence of the causes to which I have attributed them, but not before these were known to God. Now, he frequently prepares, by a long process, the instruments both of his rewards and his punishments, and holds them ready to be conferred on the virtuous, or poured forth on the head of the criminal, long before the fidelity of the one be tested, or the guilt of the other be consummated. Spain and Portugal thus fell, if you will, by immediate agencies long in operation, but by agencies over which God ruled, and which He directed according to his own wise counsels. They fell, and in their humbled condition, mocked by the remains of ancient greatness, they teach all the important lesson, that the greater the high calling given by God, the greater the punishment of those who prove untrue.

Were we also to prove faithless to the mission which God has assigned us, we know not what punishment may await us, even in this world. The trials through which our race has passed, and is passing, may seem severe; but, they are trials permitted by a loving father. May we never deserve that he should scourge us in his great anger. We might then find, like the Jewish people, that to suffer for righteousness' sake from the hands of men, is sweet, compared to the gall and wormwood mixed in the cup of those who fall into the hands of an avenging God.

On this day, when the Church calls on us to commemorate the heroic virtues and the glorious deeds of our great Apostle, I would fain say to every son of Ireland—to every one in whose veins Irish blood flows, no matter where he himself was born: Let us live worthy of our ancestry, of an ancestry which is the same for all, and is a noble one, noble in that which is the noblest thing man can rejoice in—virtue and fidelity to God. We ourselves are called in a special manner to do honour to our faith by spreading it amongst nations that are destined to [pg 089] occupy the highest position in the social scale. Let us be faithful to our calling. Let us show ourselves worthy sons of the martyred dead. Let us make sure, like them, whatever else we fail in, not to fail in transmitting the faith to those entrusted to our charge, never exposing it to danger for any advantage, much less for the trifling things that may be gained here by want of fidelity. Transmit, carefully, the faith, first of all, but with faith spare no effort that you yourselves, and those committed to your care, grow also in every other virtue. Nay, endeavour so to live that all men may learn to love the faith which is the spring of your actions, and thus glorify and love that God who is the “Author and Finisher” of that Faith.

Liturgical Questions. (From M. Bouix's Revue des Sciences Ecclesiastiques).

1. Is it lawful or obligatory to insert, at the letter N, in the collect A cunctis, the name of the patron of the locality (if there be one) when the titular of the church is the Blessed Virgin or a mystery of our Saviour?

2. Is it right to place on the corner of the altar the finger-towel, which in some churches is fastened to the altar-cloth, from which it hangs suspended?

3. Is there any obligation to ring the bell at the Sanctus and at the Elevation, even when there is no one at Mass?

4. Is it lawful for a priest to use a cincture of the kind generally used by bishops?

1. The name of the titular of the church in which the Mass is said is that which ought to be inserted at the letter N in the collect A cunctis. In the application of this general rule various cases may occur; the title may be a mystery of our Lord or of our Blessed Lady; or it may be a saint already named in the collect—for example, Saint Peter or Saint Paul; or Mass may be said in an oratory which has no titular saint. The following are the rules to be observed in such cases:

1o. That it is the name of the titular saint which is to be inserted at the letter N is clear from the following decrees:

1 Decree. Question. In missali romano praecipitur, ut post nomina Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, in oratione A cunctis, etc., dicatur nomen patroni praecipui illius ecclesiae, seu diocesis. In Hispania est praecipuus illius regni patronus B. Jacobus apostolus et ex concessione Apostolica in ecclesia dioecesi Guadicensi est patronus specialis S. Torquatus, B. Jacobi apostoli discipulus, et ejusdem ecclesiae [pg 090]et civitatis primus episcopus. Quaeritur: An in praedicta oratione A cunctis debeat dici nomen B. Jacobi apostoli, an B. Torquati? Answer. In oratione A cunctis post nomina sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, nomen Torquati tanquam Ecclesiae cathedralis Guadicensis Patroni dumtaxat ponendum esse. (Decree of 22 January, 1678, No. 2856, q. 8.)

2 Decree. Questions. ... 15. S. Jacobus est patronus universalis regnorum Hispaniae, sancti vero martyres Stemeterius et Caledonius fratres sunt patroni particulares ecclesiae cathedralis, et totius dioecesis Santanderiensis rite electi, et novissime approbati a S. R. C. Quaeritur igitur: Quis ex his patronis debeat nominari ... in oratione A cunctis, quando in missis haec oratio dicitur in ecclesia matrice et in caeteris dioecesis? 16. In casu, quo ob dignitatis praestantiam nominari debeat S. Jacobus, quaeritur an ... exprimi etiam possint nomina SS. Stemeterii et Caledonii in praedicta oratione ..., praecipue in ecclesia matrice ubi sacra eorum capita ... venerantur? Et si negative, supplicatur pro gratia ad promovendum cultum qui ipsos decet in ecclesia cathedrali ac tota dioecesi ratione sui specialissimi patronatus. Answer. Ad 15. In qualibet ecclesia nominandum esse patronum seu titularem proprium ejusdem ecclesiae. Ad 16. Provisum in praecedenti. (Decree of 23 January, 1793, No. 4448, q. 15 and 16.)

3 Decree. Question. An patronus nominandus in oratione A cunctis intelligi debeat patronus principalis loci? Answer. Nominandus titularis Ecclesiae. (Decree of 12 November, 1831, No. 4669, q. 31.)

2o. If the titular of the church has been already named in the collect A cunctis, no name is to be inserted at the letter N. The same holds if the Mass happens to be that of the same saint. This rule depends on the following decision:

Quis nominandus sit ad litteram N. si patronus vel titularis jam nominatus sit in illa oratione, aut de eo celebrata sit missa? Answer. Si jam fuerit nominatus omittenda nova nominatio. (Ibid.)

3o. If the oratory in which the Mass is said have no titular saint, the name of the patron of the locality is to be inserted. This rule is proved from a decree of 12th December, 1840, No. 4897, No. 2:

Sacerdos celebrans in oratorio publico vel privato quod non habet sanctum patronum vel titularem, an debeat in oratione A cunctis ad litteram N. nominare sanctum patronum vel titularem ecclesiae parochialis intra cujus limites sita sunt oratoria, vel sanctum patronum ecclesiae cui adscriptus est, vel potius omnem ulteriorem nominationem omittere? Answer. Patronum civitatis, vel loci nominandum esse.

4o. If the titular of the church be a mystery of the life of our Lord, or of our Lady, authors differ in opinion whether the name of the patron of the locality is to be inserted at the letter [pg 091] N, or whether no addition should be made. M. de Conny is for the latter opinion, and his authority is a safe guide for us. The second rule we have laid down is sufficient to show that no name is to be inserted in cases where the title of the church is a mystery of the Blessed Virgin, seeing that the august Mother of God is always named in the body of the prayer. The words of the conclusion are enough perhaps to excuse from the obligation of naming the patron of the locality in cases where the church is dedicated to a mystery of the life of our Lord.

2. The usage here alluded to is not only not becoming, but it is also contrary to the Rubric of the Missal. (part i., tit. xx.):

Ab eadem parte epistolae ... ampullae vitreae vini et aquae, cum pelvicula et manutergio mundo in fenestella, seu in parva mensa ad haec praeparata. Super altare nihil omnino ponatur, quod ad Missae sacrificium vel ipsius altaris ornatum non pertineat.

3. The sole reason for ringing a bell at Mass is to give a signal to the faithful. “Ad excitandos circumstantes”, says Gavantus (t. i. part i., tit. XX., l. c.), “ad laetitiam exprimendam et ad cultum sanctissimi Sacramenti adhibetur campanula”. Other writers coincide with this opinion. It seems but natural, therefore, not to ring the bell when there are no assistants present, and when there is no need of any signal. Besides, it is clearly the teaching of authors, and even of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, that whenever a signal is not required, the bell is not to be rung. Thus, the following decision forbids the bell to be rung during the celebration of the divine office in the choir, at least in certain circumstances:

Exposito in S. R. C. ecclesiam collegiatam civitatis Senarum habere chorum adeo subjectum oculis populi, et tali loco positum, ut canonici dicto choro pro divinis celebrandis, et praecipue Missae cantatae assistentibus, omnino altaria ejusdem coliegiatae pernecesse inspiciantur, et exposito quoque tempore, quo canonici choro ut supra assistunt, consuevisse in dictis altaribus celebrari Missas privatas et sine scandalo prohiberi non posse: ideo supplicatum fuit pro declaratione: an ipsi canonici in elevationibus quae fiunt in Missis privatis, genuflectere teneantur? Answer. Non esse genuflectendum, ne sacra, quibus assistunt, per actum privatum interrumpantur, sed ad evitandum scandalum, quod in populo et adstantibus causari possit ob non genuflectionem esse omittendam pulsationem campanulae in elevatione Sanctissimi, in dictis Missis privatis. (Decret of 5 March 1667, No. 2397.)

Nor, as a general rule, is the bell rung when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, for then it is unnecessary to summon the faithful to adore the Eucharist. “During the private Masses”, says the Instructio Clementina, “that are celebrated during the exposition, the bell is not to be rung”. Cavalieri, commenting on this passage, [pg 092] says: “Ex rubricarum praescripto ... interdicuntur”. He is of opinion that this rule of the Instructio regards only low Masses, but Gardellini holds that it refers also to High Masses:

Non erat, cur instructio etiam Missas solemnes commemoraret, pro quibus Rubrica, non jubet, ut in privatis, eadem pulsari ad finem prefationis, et ad elevationem Sacramenti. Romae saltem in majoribus ecclesiis obtinet mos etiam non pulsandi, praeterquam in Missis solemnibus pro defunctis: gravis organorum sonitus supplet vices tintinnabuli, et populi adstantis excitat attentionem.

From all this it is clear that the bell is not to be rung whenever there is no signal to be given. This is certainly the case when there is no one to assist at Mass.

4. The cincture for the use of a priest does not differ from that for the use of a bishop. It may be made either of linen thread or silk, but it is better that it should be of linen. It may be either white or of the colour of the vestments. These rules are drawn from two decrees of the Sacred Congregation:

1 Decree. Question. An sacerdotes in sacrificio Missae uti possint cingulo serico? Answer. Congruentius uti cingulo lineo. (22 Jan. 1701, No. 3575, q. 7.)

2 Decree. Question. An cingulum, tertium indumentum sacerdotale, possit esse colons paramentorum; an necessario debeat esse album? Answer. Posse uti cingulo colore paramentorum—(8 Jun. 1709, No. 3809, q. 4.)

[pg 093]


I. Condemnation Of Dr. Froschammer's Works.

Venerabili Fratri Gregorio Archiepiscopo

Monacensi Et Frisingensi

Pius PP. IX.

Venerabilis Frater, Salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem. Gravissimas inter acerbitates, quibus undique premimur, in hac tanta temporum perturbatione et iniquitate vehementer dolemus, cum noscamus, in variis Germaniae regionibus reperiri nonnullos catholicos etiam viros, qui sacram theologiam ac philosophiam tradentes minime dubitant quamdam inauditam adhuc in Ecclesia docendi scribendique libertatem inducere, novasque et omnino improbandas opiniones palam publiceque profiteri, et in vulgus disseminare. Hinc non levi moerore affecti fuimus, Venerabilis Frater ubi tristissimus ad Nos venit nuntius, presbyterum Jacobum Frohschammer in ista Monacensi Academia philosophiae doctorem hujusmodi docendi scribendique licentiam proe ceteris adhibere, eumque suis operibus in lucem editis perniciosissimos tueri errores. Nulla igitur interposita mora, Nostrae Congregationi libris notandis praepositae mandavimus, ut praecipua volumina, quae ejusdem presbyteri Frohschammer nomine circumferuntur, cum maxima diligentia sedalo perpenderet, et omnia ad Nos referret. Quae volumina germanice scripta titulum habent—Introductio in Philosophiam—De Libertate scientiae—Athenaeum—quorum primum anno 1858, alterum anno 1861, tertium vero vertente hoc anno 1862 istis Monacensibus typis in lucem est editum. Itaque eadem Congregatio Nostris mandatis diligenter obsequens summo studio accuratissimum examen instituit, omnibusque sem el iterumque serio ac mature ex more discussis et perpensis judicavit, auctorem in pluribus non recte sentire, ejusque doctrinam a veritate catholica aberrare. Atque id ex duplici praesertim parte, et primo quidem propterea quad auctor tales humanae rationi tribuat vires, quae rationi ipsi minime competunt, secundo vero, quod eam omnia opinandi, et quidquid semper audendi libertatem eidem rationi concedat, ut ipsius Ecclesiae jura, officium, et auctoritas de media omnino tollantur. Namque auctor imprimis edocet, philosophiam, si recta ejus habeatur notio, posse non solum percipere et intelligere ea christina dogmata, quae naturalis ratio cum fide habet communia (tamquam commune scilicet perceptionis objectum) verum etiam ea, quae christianam religionem fidemque maxime et proprie efficiunt, [pg 094] ipsumque scilicet supernaturalem hominis finem, et ea omnia, quae ad ipsum spectant, atque sacratissimum Dominicae Incarnationis mysterium ad humanae rationis et philosophiae provinciam pertinere, rationemque, dato hoc objecto suis propriis principiis scienter ad ea posse pervenire. Etsi vero aliquam inter haec et illa dogmata distinctionem auctor inducat, et haec ultima minori jure rationi attribuat, tamen clare aperteque docet, etiam haec contineri inter illa, quae veram propriamque scientiae seu philosophiae materiam constituunt. Quocirca ex ejusdem auctoris sententia concludi omnino possit ac debeat, rationem in abditissimis etiam divinae Sapientiae ac Bonitatis, immo etiam et liberae ejus voluntatis mysteriis, licet posito revelationis objecto posse ex seipsa, non jam ex divinae auctoritatis principio sed ex naturalibus suis principiis et viribus ad scientiam seu certitudinem pervenire. Quae auctoris doctrina quam falsa sit et erronea nemo est, qui christianae doctrinae rudimentis vel leviter imbutus non illico videat, planeque sentiat. Namque si isti philosophiae cultores vera ac sola rationis et philosophiae disciplinae tuerentur principia et jura, debitis certe laudibus essent prosequendi. Siquidem vera ac sana philosophia nobilissimum suum locum habet, cum ejusdem philosophiae sit, veritatem diligenter inquirere, humanamque rationem licet primi hominis culpa obtenebratam, nullo tamen modo extinctam recte ac sedulo excolere, illustrare, ejusque cognitionis objectum, ac permultas veritates percipere, bene intellegere, promovere, earumque plurimas, uti Dei existentiam, naturam, attributa, quae etiam fides credenda proponit, per argumenta ex suis principiis petita demonstrare, vindicare, defendere, atque hoc modo viam munire ad haec dogmata fide rectius tenenda, et ad illa etiam reconditiora dogmata, quae sola fide percipi primum possunt, ut illa aliquo modo a ratione intelligantur. Haec quidem agere, atque in his versari debet severa et pulcherrima verae philosophiae scientia. Ad quae praestanda si viri docti in Germaniae Academiis enitantur pro singulari inclytae illius nationis ad severiores gravioresque disciplinas excolendas propensione, eorum studium a Nobis comprobatur et commendatur, cum in sacrarum rerum utilitatem profectumque convertant, quae illi ad suos usus invenerint. At vero in hoc gravissimo sane negotio tolerare numquam possumus, ut omnia emere permisceantur, utque ratio illas etiam res, quae ad fidem pertinent, occupet atque perturbet, cum certissimi, omnibusque notissimi sint fines, ultra quos ratio numquam suo jure est progressa, vel progredi potest. Atque ad hujusmodi dogmata ea omnia maxime et apertissime spectant, quae supernaturalem hominis elevationem, ac supernaturale ejus cum Deo commercium respiciunt atque ad hunc finem revelata noscuntur. Et sane cum haec dogmata sint supra naturam, idcirco naturali ratione, ac naturalibus principiis attingi non possunt. Numquam siquidem ratio suis naturalibus principiis ad hujusmodi dogmata scienter tractanda effici potest idonea. Quod si haec isti temere asseverare audeant sciant, se certe non a quorumlibet doctorum opinione, sed a communi, et numquam immutata Ecclesiae doctrina recedere. Ex divinis enim [pg 095] Litteris, et sanctorum Patrum traditione constat. Dei quidem existentiam, multasque alias veritates, ab iis etiam qui fidem nondum susceperunt, naturali rationis lumine cognosci, sed illa reconditiora dogmata Deum solum manifestasse dum notum facere voluit, mysterium, quod absconditum fuit a saeculis et generationibus4 et ita quidem, ut postquam multifariam multisque modis olim locutus esset patribus in prophetis novissime Nobis locutus est in Filio, per quem fecit et saecula5... Deum enim nemo vidit umquam. Unigenitus Filius, qui est in sinu Paris ipse ennarravit.6 Quapropter Apostolus, qui gentes Deum per ea, quae facta sunt cognovisse testatur, disserens de gratia et veritate7 quae per Jesum Christum facta est, loquimur, iniquit, Dei sapientiam in mysterio, quae abscondita est ... quam nemo principum hujus saeculi cognovit ... Nobis autem revelavit Deus per Spiritum Suum ... Spiritus enim omnia scrutatur, etiam profunda Dei. Quis enim hominum scit quae sunt hominis, nisi Spiritus hominis, qui in ipso est? Ita et quae Dei sunt nemo cognovit, nisi Spiritus Dei.8 Hisce aliisque fere innumeris divinis eloquiis inhaerentes SS. Patres in Ecclesiae doctrina tradenda continenter distinguere curarunt rerum divinarum notionem, quae naturalis intelligentiae vi omnibus est communis ab illarum rerum notitia, quae per Spiritum Sanctum fide suscipitur, et constanter docuerunt, per hanc ea nobis in Christo revelari mysteria, quae non solam humanam philosophiam, verum etiam Angelicam naturalem intelligentiam transcendunt, quaeque etiamsi divina revelatione innotuerint, et ipsa fide fuerint suscepta, tamen sacro ad hue ipsius fidei velo tecta et obscura caligine obvoluta permanent, quamdiu in hac mortali vita peregrinamur a Domino.9 Ex his omnibus patet alienam omnino esse a catholicae Ecclesiae doctrina sententiam, qua idem Frohschammer asserere non dubitat, omnia indiscriminatim christianae religionis dogmata esse objectum naturalis scientiae, seu philosophiae, et humanam rationem historice tantum excultam, modo haec dogmata ipsi rationi tanquam objectum proposita fuerint, posse ex suis naturalibus viribus et principio ad veram de omnibus etiam reconditioribus dogmatibus scientiam pervenire. Nunc vero in memoratis ejusdem auctoris scriptis alia domanitur sententia, quae catholicae Ecciesiae doctrinae, ac sensui plane adversatur. Etenim eam philosophiae tribuit libertatem, quae non scientiae libertas, sed omnio reprobanda et intoleranda philosophiae licentia sit appellanda. Quadam enim distinctione inter philosophum et philosophiam facta, tribuit philosopho jus et officium se submittendi auctoritati, quam veram ipse probaverit, sed utrumque philosophiae ita denegat, ut nulla doctrinae revelatae ratione habita asserat, ipsam nunquam debere ac posse Auctoritati se submittere. Quod esset toet crandum et forte admittendum, [pg 096] si haec dicerentur de jure tantum, quod habit philosophia suis principiis, seu methodo, ac suis conclusionibus, uti, sicut et aliae scientiae, ac si ejus libertas consisteret in hoc suo jure utendo, ita ut nihil in sea dmitteret, quod non fuerit ab ipsa suis conditionibus acquisitum, aut fuerit ipsi alienum. Sed haec justa philosophiae libertas suos limites noscere et experiri debet. Nunquam enim non solum philosopho, verum etiam philosophiae licebit, aut aliquid contrarium dicere iis, quae divina revelatio, et Ecclesia docet, aut aliquid ex eisdem in dubium vocare propterea quod non intelligit, aut judicium non suscipere, quod Ecclesiae auctoritas de aliqua philosophiae conclusione, quae hujusque libera erat, proferre constituit. Accedit etiam, ut idem auctor philosophiae libertatem, seu potius effrenatam licentiam tam acriter, tam temere propugnet, ut minime vereatur asserere, Ecclesiam non solum non debere in philosophiam unquam animadvertere, verum etiam debere ipsius philosophiae tolerare erores, eique relinquere, ut ipsa se corrigat, ex quo evenit, ut philosophi hanc philosophiae libertatem necessario participent, atque ita etiam ipsi ab omni lege solvantur. Ecquis non videt quam vehementer sit rejicienda, reprobanda, et omnini damnanda hujusmodi Frohschammer sententia atque doctrina? Etenim Ecclesia ex divina sua institutione et divinae fidei depositum integrum inviolatumque diligentissime custodire, et animarum saluti summo studio debet continenter advigilare, ac summa cura ea omnia amovere et eliminare, quae vel fidei adversari, vel animarum salutem quovis modo in discrimen adducere possunt. Quocirca Ecclesia ex potestate sibi a divino suo Auctore commissa non solum jus, sed officium praesertim habet non tolerandi, sed pro scribendi ac damnandi omnes erores, si ita fedei integritas, et animarum salus postulaverint, et omni philosopho, qui Ecclesiae filius esse velit, ac etiam philosophiae officium incumbit nihil unquam dicere contra ea, quae Ecclesia docet, et ea retractare, de quibus eos Ecclesia monuerit. Sententiam autem, quae contrarium edocet omnino erroneam, et ipsi fidei. Ecclesiae ejusque auctoritati vel maxime injuriosam esse edicimus et declaramus. Quibus omnibus accurate perpensis, de eorumdrm VV. FF. NN. S. R. E. Cardinalium Congregationis libris notandis praepositae consilio, ac motu proprio, et certa scientia matura deliberatione Nostra, deque Apostolicae Nostrae potestatis plenitudine praedictos librus presbyteri Frohschammer tamquam continentes propositiones et doctrinas respective falsas, erroneas, Ecclesiae, ejusque actoritati ac juribus injuriosas reprobamus, damnamus, ac pro reprobatis et damnatis ab omnibus haberi volumus, atque eidem Congregationi mandamus, ut eosdem libros in indicem prohibitorum librorum referat. Dum vero haec Tibi significamus, Venerabilis Frater, non possumus non exprimere magnum animi Nostri Dolorem cum videamus hunc filium eorumdem librorum auctorem, qui ceteroquin de Ecclesia benemereri potuisset, infelici quodam cordis impete misere abreptum in vias abire, quae ad salutem non ducunt, ac magis magisque a recto tramite aberrare. Cum enim alius ejus liber de animarum origine prius fuisset damnatus non solum se minime submisit, [pg 097] verum etiam non extimuit, eumdem errorem in his etiam libridenuo docere, et Nostram Indicis Congregationem contumeliis cumen lare, ac multa alia contra Ecclesiae agendi rationem temere mendaciterque pronuntiare. Quae omnia talia sunt, ut iis merito atque optimo jure indignare potuissemus. Sed nolumus adhuc paternae Nostrae charitatis viscera erga illum deponere, et idcirco Te Venerabilis Frater, excitamus, ut velis eidem manifestare cor Nostrum paternum, et acerbiseimum dolorem, cujus ipse est causa, ac simul ipsum saluberrimis monitis hortari et monere, ut Nostram, quae communis est omnium Patris vocem audiat, ac resipiscat, quemadmodum catholicae Ecclesiae filium decet, et ita nos omnes laetitia afficiat, ac tandem ipse felixiter experiatur quam jucundum sit, non vana quadam et perniciosa libertate gaudere, sed Domini, adhaerere, cugus jugum suave est, et onus leve, cujus eloquo casta, igne examinata, cujus judicia vera, justificata in semetipsa, et cujus universae viae misericordia et veritas. Denique hac etiam occasione libentissime utimur, ut iterum testemur et confirmemus praecipuam Nostram in Te benevolentiam. Cujus quoque pignus esse volumus Apostolicam Benedictionem, quam intimo cordis affectu Tibi ipsi, Venerabilis Frater, et gregi Tuae curae commisso paremanter impertimus. Datum Romaae apud S. Petrum die 11 Decembris anno 1862, Pontificatus Nostri anno decimo septimo.

Pius PP. IX.

II. Decree Of The Congregation Of Rites.

The Roman ritual, speaking of the Blessed Eucharist, prescribes as follows: “Lampades coram eo plures vel saltem una diu notucque colluceat”. These lamps are to be fed with olive oil, which the Church has adopted for mystic reasons in so many of her sacred rites. But in many countries the difficulty of procuring olive oil is considerable, and the expense greater than small churches can bear. Several prelates of France, moved by these reasons, asked permission to burn in the lamps before the Blessed Sacrament oils other than from olives. The following is the answer:

Decretum: Plurium Dioeceseum.

Nonnulli Reverendissimi Galliarum Antistites serio perpendentes in multis suarum Dioeceseum Ecclesiis difficile admodum et nonnisi magnis sumptibus comparari posse oleum olivarum ad nutriendam diu noctuque saltem unam lampadam ante Sanctissimum Eucharistiae Sacramentum, ab Apostolica Sede declarari petierunt utrum in casu, attentis difficultatibus et Ecclesiarum paupertate, oleo, olivarum substitue possint alea olea quae ex vegetalibus habentur, ipso non excluso petroleo. Sacra porro Rituum Congregatio, etsi semper sollicita ut etiam in hac parte quod usque ab [pg 098] Ecclesiae primordiis circa usum olei ex olivis inductum est, ob mysticas significationes retineatur; attamen silentio praeterire minime censuit rationes ab iisdem Episcopis prolatas; ac proinde exquisito prius Voto alterius ex Apostolicarum Coeremoniarum Magistris, subscriptus Cardinalis Praefectus ejusdem Sacrae Congregationis rem omnem proposuit in Ordinariis Commitiis ad Vaticanum hodierna die habitis. Eminentissimi autem et Reverendissimi Patres Sacris tuendis Ritibus praepositi, omnibus accurate perpensis ac diligentissime examinatis, rescribendum censuerunt: Generatim utendum esse oleo olevarum: ubi vero haberi nequeatt remittendum prudentiae Episcoporum ut lampades nutriantur ex aliis oleis quantum fieri possit vegetabilibus die 9 Julii 1864.

Facta postmodum de praemissis Sanctissimo Domino Nostro Pio Papae IX. per infrascriptum Secretarium fideli relatione, Sanctitas Sua sententiam Sacrae Congregationis ratam habuit et confirmavit. Die 14 iisdem mense et anno.

C. Episcopus Portuen. et S. Rufinae Card. Patrizi S. R. C. Praef. Loco ✠ Signi D. Bartolini S. R. C. Secretarius.

Notices Of Books.


Martyrologium Dungallense, seu Calendarium Sanctorum Hiberniae. Collegit et digessit Fr. Michael O'Clery, Ord. Fr. Min. Strictioris Observantiae. Permissu et facultate Superiorum. 1630.

The Martyrology of Donegal: a Calendar of the Saints of Ireland, translated from the original Irish by the late John O'Donovan, LL.D., M.R.I.A., Professor of Celtic Literature in the Queen's College, Belfast. Edited, with the Irish text, by James Henthorn Todd, D.D., M.R.I.A., F.S.A., Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin; and by William Reeves, D.D., M.R.I.A., Vicar of Lusk, etc. Dublin: printed for the Archaeological Society. Thom, 1864, lv.-566 pp.

The Martyrology of Donegal was completed on the 19th of April, 1630, in the Franciscan convent of Donegal. The compilers were Brother Michael O'Clery, a lay brother of that convent, with three associates who with him are so well known by the name of “The Four Masters”. Colgan (Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae, tom. 1, p. 5 a.) thus speaks of it: “Martyrologium quod Dungallense vocamus, nostris diebus ex diversis tum Martyrologiis, tum annalibus patriis collectum est, partim operâ Authorum qui Annales communes, de [pg 099] quibus infra, compilarunt in Conventu Dungallensi; partim opera Patrum ejusdem Conventus qui sanctos, qui extra patriam vixerunt et de quibus hystorici exteri scripserunt, addiderant”. The Donegal copy of 1630 was a more complete transcript of a first copy, made by Michael O'Clery in the preceding year at Douay. Both copies are now extant in the Burgundian Library at Brussels, but circumstances have not permitted Dr. Todd to get the first copy also transcribed. Both copies are autographs of Michael O'Clery.

The first to discover the mine of Irish MSS. in Brussels was Mr. L. Waldron, M.P., who, in 1844, at the request of Professor O'Curry, examined the library there. By the influence of Lord Clarendon, then lord-lieutenant of Ireland, with the government, Dr. Todd procured from the Belgian government, in 1848, the loan of several MSS. of the greatest importance, with the permission to have them transcribed. One of these was the autograph MS. of the Martyrology of Donegal, prepared for the press by the author, with the approbations of his ecclesiastical superiors. A copy of it was executed by the late Professor O'Curry with the skill and beauty of his unequalled penmanship; and this copy was collated with the original, whilst it was still in Dr. Todd's possession. From O'Curry's copy Dr. Reeves made another for his own use, and from this he made a third transcript for the printers, and the translator, Dr. O'Donovan. This translation was the last labour of Dr. O'Donovan's life.

The contents of the volume are distributed as follows: An introduction (ix.-xxiv.) by Dr. Todd is followed by an appendix (xxiv.-xlix.) containing “a number of memoranda, references to authorities, and miscellaneous notes, which have been written by the author, and others, through whose hands the MS. has passed, on the fly-leaves at the beginning and end of each volume”. Many of them are of great interest. Then come the Testimonia et Approbationes (xlix.-lv.) of Flann Mac Egan, Conner McBrody, Dr. Malachy O'Cadhla, Archbishop of Tuam; Dr. Boetius Mac Egan, Bishop of Elphin; Dr. Thomas Fleming, Archbishop of Dublin; and Dr. Roth Mac Geoghegan, Bishop of Kildare. The Martyrology proper follows (1-351) with the Irish text on one page and Dr. O'Donovan's translation on the other. The notes appended are but few, and serve merely to explain obscurities in the text, to settle the reading, or to correct some obvious mistake. For almost all the notes we are indebted to Dr. Todd himself. A table of the Martyrology, compiled by the author, and translated by Dr. Todd, occupies from page 354 to page 479, and is followed by three indexes, compiled by Dr. Reeves, one of persons (485-528), another of places (529-553), and a third of matters (544-566). These indexes, says Dr. Todd, “possess a topographical and historical interest quite independent of their connection with [pg 100] the present work, and are in themselves a most important practical help to the study of Irish history”.

What is the value of this work? What position does it occupy among Irish Ecclesiastical documents? It cannot be regarded as an original authority. “It is confessedly a compilation, and of comparatively recent date, having been completed, as we have seen, in the early part of the seventeenth century. But it is a compilation made by a scholar peculiarly well fitted for the task, who had access to all the original documents then extant in the Irish language, the matter of which he has transferred either in whole or in part into the present work, quoting in almost every instance the sources from which he drew his information” (Introd., p. xiii.). The bare enumeration of these sources will serve to show the value of the book. I. The Metrical Calendar, or Festilogium of Aengus Ceile De, commonly called the Felire of Aengus. Its author was a monk of Tallaght, near Dublin, in the days when Saint Maolruain was abbot, about the beginning of the ninth century. Dr. Kelly of Maynooth has published a translation of a portion of this Metrical Calendar in his Calendar of Irish Saints. II. The Martyrology of Tallaght. This is a transcript of a very ancient martyrology containing the names of the saints and martyrs of the entire Church, with the Irish saints added under each day. It was composed at the close of the ninth or very early in the tenth century. The Brussels MS. is an abstract of the ancient copy at Saint Isidore's at Rome, but it contains the Irish saints alone, omitting altogether the general martyrology. It was from a transcript of the Belgian MS. that Dr. Kelly published in 1857 the calendar alluded to above. III. The Calendar of Cashel, which is not now known to exist. According to Colgan, its author flourished about the year 1030. IV. The Martyrology of Maolmuire (or Marianus) O'Gorman, written in Irish verse, in the times of Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh, about 1167. Its author was abbot of Knock, near Louth, and the work is taken from the Felire of Tallaght, and is not confined to Irish saints. V. The Book of Hymns, a portion of which has already been published by the Irish Archaeological and Celtic Society, and of which a second portion is in the press, under the care of Dr. Todd. VI. Poems, such as the Poem of St. Cuimin of Condeire (Connor), of the middle of the seventh century, published by Dr. Kelly, with a translation by Professor O'Curry; the Naoimhseanchus, attributed by Colgan to Selbach of the tenth century; the Poem of St. Moling of Ferns (a.d. 675-695), and several minor poems. VII. Several of the great collections or Bibliothecae, of which he names expressly the Book of Lecan, the Leabhar na Huidre, and the Book of Lismore. VIII. The lives of saints in Irish and [pg 101] Latin. Of these he quotes no less than thirty-one. From this list it will be seen that almost all the literature of the early Irish Church has helped to enrich the pages of the Martyrology of Donegal. And since norma orandi legem statuit credendi, we could scarcely find a nobler monument of the faith and practice of our forefathers. The Church that places on her list of saints, bishops, and priests, and abbots, and consecrated virgins, and hermits, possesses in that very calendar a mark deep and broad enough to distinguish her from all the sects that belong to modern Protestantism.


Lectures on Modern History, delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland. By Professor J. B. Robertson; cr. 8vo, p.p. xvi., 528. Dublin: W. B. Kelly, 1864.

The lectures included in this volume were delivered in the Catholic University of Ireland, on various occasions, in the years 1860 to 1864, and their purport has been well expressed in the author's own words. Speaking in reference to all his literary labours, “I devoted”, says Professor Robertson, “my feeble powers to the defence of God and His holy Church against unbelief and misbelief; and of social order and liberty, against the principles of revolution, which are but impiety in a political form”. In these words we have the key-note of the entire work. The “History of Spain in the Eighteenth Century” forms the subject of two lectures. To these is added a supplement of more than fifty pages, in which the late Mr. Buckle's “Essay on Spain”, contained in his “History of Civilization”, is severely but most deservedly criticised, and, we may add, is refuted by solid and convincing arguments.

In four lectures our author discusses the “life, writings, and times of M. de Chateaubriand”, involving, much of the internal history of France, especially as regards literature and religion under the first Napoleon and the succeeding governments down to the Revolution in 1848. These lectures are full of interest. But what must be considered as by far the most important portion of this volume is that in which Professor Robertson treats of the “Secret Societies of Modern Times”. In two lectures he traces the origin and progress of the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Jacobins, the Carbonari, and the Socialists; and in an appendix adds a “brief exposition of the principal heads of Papal legislation on Secret Societies”.

Such are the contents of the work. The style is agreeable and clear, the diction felicitous, and above all, the sentiments just, equally characterised by extensive information, political [pg 102] sagacity, and a profound reverence for divine faith. The professor has happily avoided both the tedious exhaustiveness of the German, and the brilliant flippancy which so often charms us in the French. Nor has he been unmindful of the more laborious students who would not shrink from the toil of research after further information. For these he has provided such an array of authorities, on each of his subjects, as must greatly facilitate the progress of those who would engage in diligent historical investigation. We know not where else there could be had so intelligible an account of the secret societies which have been so active in all the political convulsions of Europe, from 1789 to the present time. We need not advert to the part which secret societies have had in producing the present deplorable state of Italy. To the readers of the Civiltà Cattolica such reference would be unnecessary. To those who have not the advantage of regularly reading that most instructive periodical we would recommend Professor Robertson's lectures, as containing, in a moderate sized volume, a most perspicuous summary of what is requisite to be known concerning those dark conspiracies and their objects. If it were only for this, the volume would be a most welcome addition to our historical library.

The book has been brought out with the utmost elegance of paper, type, and printing.


La Roma Sotterrana Cristiana descritta ed illustrata dal Cav. G. B. de Rossi. Publicata per ordine della Santità di N. S. Papa Pio IX. Chromolithografia Ponteficia Roma, 1864. vol. 1.

Christian Subterranean Rome, described and illustrated by Cav. G. B. de Rossi. Published by order of His Holiness Pope Pius IX., vol. 1.

In 1861 Cavalier de Rossi published the first volume of his Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae seculo VII. antiquiores. On to-day we announce the appearance of the first volume of his long expected work on Subterranean Rome. In the introduction the author passes in review all that has been done to explore the Catacombs, from the fourteenth century to our day. Pomponius Laetus, Pauvinius, Ciacconius, and especially Bosio and Bottari, claim his attention in turn. After a sketch of the results of the labours undertaken in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Cav. de Rossi shows what yet remains to be done, and what part of this he himself proposes to accomplish.

The second part of the volume is entitled “Remarks on ancient Christian Cemeteries in general, and on those of Rome in particular”: [pg 103] the whole is divided into three parts. Part I. on the Christian Cemeteries in general, treats of their antiquity, their divisions into subterranean and non-subterranean, and the respective marks of each class. The author here proves that even in the third century, when Christianity was persecuted to the death, the Christian Cemeteries had a legal existence recognized by the Emperors. Part II. is devoted to the documents which illustrate the history and topography of the Catacombs, and embraces contemporary documents, historical and liturgical treatises later than the fourth century, lives of Pontiffs, etc. Part III. contains a general history of the Roman Cemeteries, arranged in four periods: beginning respectively, with the apostolic times; the third century; the peace of Constantine (312); and the fifth century, a.d. 410. In the second century the catacombs were of slow growth; in the third, their extent became most remarkable; after Constantine, they began to be abandoned as places of sepulture; with the fifth century set in their decay, leading to the removal of the relics of the saints to the churches within the walls, whither the sacrilegious hands of Goths and Lombards, who periodically pillaged the Campagna, could not reach; finally, after the ninth century, they were almost forgotten. Part IV. contains the analytical description of the Christian Cemeteries. The Cemetery of Callixtus, the most ancient and most celebrated of all, is described at length.


Vetera Monumenta Hibernorum et Scotorum Historiam Illustrantia; quae ex Vaticani, Neapolis, ac Florentiae Tabularis depromsit, et Ordine chronologico disposuit Augustinus Theiner, Presbyter Cong. Oratorii, Tabulariorum Vaticanorum Praefectus, etc. Folio, Romae, Typis Vaticanis, 1864. One Volume folio, pages 624.

The notice of the See of Ardagh in the sixteenth century, printed in our opening number, has probably prepared our readers to estimate the value of the important series of documents upon which it is founded. We purposed to urge strongly upon the clergy of Ireland the duty of supporting generously the distinguished scholar, who in his love of Ireland has undertaken the costly and laborious work of publishing all the manuscript materials of Irish history which are preserved in the archives of the Vatican, and has already given in the opening volume an earnest of their extent, as well as of their historical value. We are happy, however, to find that what we had desired and intended, has already been put in a practical form, and that an effort has been made to forward among the friends of Irish history [pg 104] the sale of this most interesting collection. We cannot, therefore, we believe, advance more effectually the object which we have at heart, than by transferring to our pages the following notice, which has been printed for private circulation:—

“Monsignor Theiner's Collection from the Secret Archives of the Vatican, of Naples, and of Florence, is unquestionably the most important contribution to the history of the Church in these countries since the great historical movement of the seventeenth century. It comprises upwards of a thousand original documents, Pontifical Bulls, Briefs, and Letters, Consistorial Acts, Inquisitions, Reports, etc., ranging from the pontificate of Honorius III., 1216, to that of Paul III., 1547.

“These papers, in the main, relate to the history of Ireland and of Scotland, especially of the former country. There is hardly a diocese in Ireland of which they do not contain some notice, and in many cases, as, for instance, that of Ardagh, already noticed by the learned editor of the Essays of the lamented Dr. Matthew Kelly, but traced in detail in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, No. I., pp. 13-17, they serve to fill up important breaks in the existing records, and to correct grave and vital errors in the received histories.

“But, in addition to the Irish and Scotch documents, the volume contains many of wider and more general interest; among which it will be enough to specify a single series—nearly a hundred unpublished letters of Henry VIII., relating chiefly to the negociations regarding the divorce, which they present in a light almost completely new.

“This volume is printed entirely at the expense of the distinguished editor. It is meant as an experiment; and, should the sale, for which he must mainly rely upon the countries chiefly interested, suffice to cover the bare cost of publication, it is his intention to continue the series from the archives of the Vatican, down through the still more interesting, and, for Irish history, more obscure, as well as more important, period of Edward VI., Mary, Elizabeth, and James I.

“Mgr. Theiner has requested his friend, Rev. Dr. Russell, President of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, to receive and transmit to Rome any orders far the volume with which he may be favoured.”


Sacred Latin Poetry, selected and arranged by R. C. Trench, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, etc. Macmillan and Co., London and Cambridge. 1864.
“Nihil obstat si etiam in his omnibus et Ipse (Redemptor noster) signetur. Ipse enim Unigenitus Dei Filius veraciter factus est homo: ipse in sacrificio nostrae redemptionis dignatus est mori ut vitulus: ipse per virtutem suae fortitudinis surrexit ut leo.... Ipse etiam post resurrectionem suam ascendnes ad coelos, in superioribus est elevatus ut aquila. Totum ergo simul nobis est, qui et nascendo homo, et moriendo vitulus, et resurgendo leo, et ad coelos ascendendo aquila factus est”S. Greg. Magn., Hom. iv. in Ezech.
The Destiny of the Irish Race: a lecture delivered at Philadelphia on the 17th of March, 1864, by Rev. M. O'Connor, S. J. In order to give to our readers the beautiful lecture of the ex-Bishop of Pittsburgh, we have increased the number of pages in this month's Record.—Ed. I. E. R.
Col. 1. v. 26. 1.
Hebr. 1, v. 1, 2.
Joan. 1, v. 18.
Joan 1, v. 17.
1 Corint. v. 2, 7, 8, 10, 11.
S. Joan. Chrys. hom. 7. in 1. Corinth. S. Ambros. de fide ad Grat. S. Leo de Nativ. Dom. Serm. 9. S. Cyril. Alex. contr. Nestor. lib. 3. in Joan, 1, 9. S. Joan, Dam. de fide orat. II, 1, 2, in 1, 2, in 1 Cor. c. 2, S. Hier. in Galat. III, 2.