Project Gutenberg's The War Upon Religion, by Rev. Francis A. Cunningham

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Title: The War Upon Religion
       Being an Account of the Rise and Progress of Anti-christianism in Europe

Author: Rev. Francis A. Cunningham

Release Date: December 23, 2011 [EBook #38391]

Language: English

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Transcriber's Notes:

In the original, chapter headings II-IX showed subtitles above chapter numbers, disagreeing with the display of numbers above subtitles on the Contents page and in chapter I. Those headings have been standardized.

Line spacing in the original varied inconsistently from single to 1.5, making the identification of intended block quotes difficult. For consistency, only speeches, quotes and reprints from document texts that were contained entirely within whole paragraphs—with no other narrative material—were treated as block quotes in this project (Exception: beginning P. 430 "To My Countrymen...."; this quote continues over several remaining pages and sections to the end of the book, and was not blocked).

Remaining transcriber's notes are at the end of the text.


The War Upon Religion

Being an Account of the Rise and Progress of Anti-Christianism in Europe

Rev. Francis A. Cunningham

The Pilot Publishing Company

Copyright 1911, By Rev. F. A. Cunningham.

Nihil Obstat:
David J. Toomey, Ph. D., S. T. D.
Censor Deputatus.

Archiep. Boston.




Influence of the Reformation— Jansenism— The Abbey of Port Royal— Quesnel— The Bull "Unigenitus"— Destructive Influence of Jansenism— Not Quite Extinguished Even Yet— Quietism— Molinos and Madame Guyon— Louis XIV. and Gallicanism— The Gallican Liberties— Resistance to Them— Gallicanism One of the Chief Causes of Anti-Christianism in France— Van Espen and the Pseudo-Canonists— Johannes von Hontheim, Known as Febronius— His Hostility to the Papal Supremacy— Scipio di Ricci— The Congress of Ems— Joseph II. of Austria and the Josephine Schism— Suppression of the Society of Jesus— The Sophists— Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists— Freemasonry— Neo-Paganism

Page 1

Immediate Causes— The States General— Confiscation of Church Property— Persecution of Religious Orders— The Civil Constitution— Sorrow of Pope Pius VI.— His Condemnation of the Civil Constitution— The Constituent Assembly— Massacres of September— The Convention— Changing the Calendar— Persecution of Catholics— The Reign of Terror— The Goddess of Reason— The Worship of the Supreme Being— The Council of [vi]Five Hundred, or the Directory— Arrest and Exile of Pope Pius VI.— The Death of the Pontiff in France

Page 51

State of France at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century— The Conclave of Venice— Cardinal Chiaramonti Elected Pope Pius VII.— Sketch of His Life— Cardinal Consalvi— Napoleon Makes Proposals of Peace With the Pope— Preliminary Deliberations for the Concordat— Diplomacy of Cardinal Consalvi— The Concordat Signed and Ratified— Text of the Concordat— The Organic Articles— They Are Repudiated by the Pope— The Case of Jerome Bonaparte— The Coronation of Napoleon— The Emperor Becomes a Persecutor— Excommunication of Napoleon— Arrest of Pope Pius VII.— His Imprisonment at Savona— The Council of Paris— The Pope is Imprisoned at Fontainebleau— Defeat of Napoleon— Triumphant Return of Pius VII. to Rome

Page 105

The Holy Alliance— The Carbonari— Mazzini and Young Italy— Hostile Congresses— Accession of Pope Pius IX.— Generous Dispositions of the Holy Father— Eighteen Hundred and Forty-eight— Flight of the Pope— Garibaldi— Rome Retaken by the Papal Allies— Conspiracy Against the Holy See— Iniquities of Piedmont— Hypocrisy of Napoleon III.— Usurpation of Victor Emmanuel— Fall of Rome in 1870— Accession of Leo XIII.— Leo XIII. and Labor— Accession of Pius X.— Modernism— The Methodist in Rome— The Insult of Mayor Nathan— Character of Pope Pius X

Page 177



(1) The Causes— The Liberalism of the Rationalists— The Liberalism of Pseudo-Catholics— Günther— Frohschammer— Doellinger— The Desire for Protestant Ascendancy— The Hatred for Catholic Nations— The Determination of Caesarism to Reduce All Religion to the Domination of the State— (2) The Men— Bismarck— Bishop Ketteler— Windthorst— Malincrodt— The Centre Party— The Laws of Hate— May Laws— Courage of the Bishops— War of Violence— The Turn of the Tide— Reconciliation

Page 209

The Franco-Prussian War— The Commune of 1870— Its Victims— Establishment of Third Republic— Beginning of the War on the Church— Gambetta— Paul Bert— Jules Ferry— War on the Religious Orders in 1880— Irreligious Education— Secularization of Schools— Peaceful Advances of Pope Leo XIII.— Anarchy and Socialism Gaining Ground— The Affair of Dreyfus— France at the End of the Nineteenth Century

Page 276

Beginning of the War— The Cabinet of Freemasons— Waldeck-Rousseau— The Associations Law of 1901— Its Hypocritical Character— Suppression of the Congregations— Combes— The Closing of Religious Establishments— Expulsion of Monks and Nuns— Character of Combes[viii]— Early Attempts at Separation— The Affair of "Nobis Nominavit"— The Bishops of Laval and Dijon— The Visit of President Loubet to Rome— The Rupture of Diplomatic Relations With Rome— The Discussion Upon the Separation Law— Speech of M. Ribot— The Separation Law Passed— Its Chief Measures— Sufferings of Catholics— The Associations of Worship Condemned by the Holy See— The Liquidation of Ecclesiastical Property— The School Question in France

Page 313

Accession of Ferdinand VII.— Apostolics and Liberals— Disaffection of Ferdinand— Carlist War— Hatred of the Jesuits— Atrocities of Espartero— The Pope Protests— Papal Encyclical— Balmes and Cortes— Concordat of 1851— Attempt on the Life of the Queen— Revolution of 1854— Persecution and Calumny— Protests of the Holy See— Espartero Fails— The Campaign of 1867— Trickery of Napoleon III.— Spain a Republic— Persecution of Catholics— Amadeus of Savoy— The Republic of 1873— Castillo— Canovas in Power— The Twentieth Century— Canalejas— Ferrer and the Barcelona Riots

Page 379

Old Glories of Portugal— Pombal the Infamous— Portugal and Napoleon— English Influence— Dom Pedro— Maria da Gloria and Dom Miguel— The Revolution of 1833— The Present Time— Assassination of Carlos I.— Revolution Always Active— The[ix] Young King a Victim of Conspirators— The Revolution of 1910— Violence Against the Religious and the Clergy Generally— Letter of the Jesuit Provincial— Spoliation— Treatment of the Prisoners— Outlawed and Exiled— The Charges and Their Answers— Armaments and Subterranean Galleries— Alleged Wealth of the Jesuits— Another Charge— Alleged Secret Association— Charge of Political Activity— Reactionary Influence

Page 418



If it is true that a nation is what its doctrines are, it becomes very easy to discover in the doctrines of contemporary Europe the last reason of the troubles and revolutions which keep it in constant turmoil. It has sowed the wind, now it is reaping the whirlwind. It has destroyed the foundations, and it is but natural that the edifice should begin to fall to its ruin.

The English Socinians, followed by Voltaire, uprooted the Christian idea, and Rousseau after denying the true nature of God, set up the worship of man in His place. From these ancestors was born a generation of rationalists and atheists, who celebrated their triumphs, first in the French Revolution, and afterwards in the general dissolution of organized society. Out of the jumble of confused systems arose all those philosophic, religious, moral, and social aberrations which strive to root themselves in the human mind of the twentieth century. Among the Catholics themselves, whenever ambition or the malign influence of worldly allurements were in the ascendant, there were here and there excrescences of error which tended to diminish the vigor and integrity of the Christian spirit, and lead to that mongrel condition characterized under the name of "Liberal Catholicism."

Rationalism, properly speaking, began in Germany, a country which, until lately, has effected little in the domain of thought, and in the fields of faith and reason, except to ravage and destroy the creations of centuries.[xii] Unhappily, however, it has built up nothing in their place. Emmanuel Kant, born in Prussia in 1724, began the process of demolition. Materialistic philosophy had already denied the existence of the soul, and of the invisible world; Kant proceeded to the denial of any certitude regarding the material and visible. With him everything assumed the character of the mythical and ideal. To explain his process he invented in man a second reason, the practical reason, which reconstructs what the speculative reason destroys. In fact, by separating the faculties of the human soul from the objects which they perceive, he led the way to systematic scepticism.

Kant was followed by Fichte. As the former instituted a doubt as to the reality of external objects, Fichte declared that there was no external reality, that the universe surrounding us is only a fiction of the mind to which we alone give reality, and the world is only a form of our own activity. Kant and Fichte assailed the reality of things outside the "Ego," the personal mind; it remained for Schelling—born in 1775—to destroy both subject and object, and to confound all things mind and matter in one immutable, eternal existence. With Hegel, a disciple of Schelling everything becomes pure obscurity, absolute confusion, chaos. Hegelianism was, in principle, the identity of contradictories, the identity of truth and error, of good and evil. In him was verified the prophesy of Isaias of those "who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." It was a system that insinuated that nothing really exists, that existence is merely a happening; that truth is not truth in itself, that there is no definite truth. It was the affirmation and negation of one and the same thing, fact, or being, at one and the same time. It was important inasmuch as it led the way to[xiii] systems even more bizarre and destructive in the intellectual and moral order.

Not to speak of the eclecticism of Cousin in the earlier days of the last century, which consisted in culling what he considered truth out of all the various philosophies of the past, without, however, having any definite idea of what was the truth, the chief product of German rationalism in the first half of the century was the system of Positivism. It consisted in confining human knowledge within the sole domain of the observation of the forces of matter, and the study of the mathematical laws and conditions which regulate these forces. Beyond that domain it declares that nothing exists scientifically. Neither first causes, final causes, nor the essences of things, ought—according to it—to be the object of scientific research, for these, it considers, are not science, but metaphysics. Under the name of metaphysics it included religion, theology, and moral teaching, all of which were to be simply eliminated as of no interest to men of intellect. Hegelianism had closed the eyes of human understanding; Positivism had mutilated and crippled its activities.

This disorderly system would have died with its author, August Compt, had not two of his disciples taken it up and given it a certain stability. One of these, M. Littré gave a resume of its teachings in 1845; but it was Taine who endowed it with a species of life, especially in his later writings. According to Littré, Positivism would do away with God, the Creator, the First Cause, the Final End, as subjects "worthy of childish minds." He declares that "outside the sphere of material and positive things the eye of the intelligence can perceive only an infinite void." He considers the soul, anatomically, as the ensemble of the functions of the brain and spinal column, and psychologically, as the[xiv] ensemble of the functions of the cerebral sensibility. He denies all immortality and future life. "The dead," he declares, "survive only in the ideal existence which presents them to our memory, or in the part they played in the collective life of progress accomplished by humanity." There was to be no more religion or worship. Instead of supernatural ideas and the dogmas of faith it would substitute the cult of "humanity." Finally, in denying the existence of God he ceased to recognize the divinity of Christ, His miracles, and the divine authority of His Church.

The new philosophy became the fad. It was welcomed by young men impatient of restraint; it was preconized by free-thought in a congress of students at Liege; it descended into the workshops, infested the schools, and became a necessary accomplishment for professors in academies and colleges. The danger was increased by the hypocrisy of its writings. "One of the characteristic traits of modern irreligion," says Mgr. Baunard, "is that taint of poetry mingled with mysticism which accompanies the most blasphemous negations."

Out of the union of Hegelianism and Positivism—the negation of absolute truth, and the disdain of metaphysics—was born a new historical criticism, which repudiated a priori the supernatural as false and impossible. This new system taught that: "When criticism refuses to believe in the narration of miracles, it has no need to bring proofs to the support of its negation. What is narrated is false, simply because it cannot be," and again, it declares—"The foundation of all criticism consists in setting aside in the life of Christ the supernatural," and again, "Nothing enters into human affairs but what is human; and every science, particularly history, must bid farewell definitely to the supernatural and the divine."[xv]

This perversive philosophy once launched needed only a leader to present it in a concrete and popular form. For such a purpose the German Life of Christ by Strauss could serve as a model. A hand was ready in France to take up the enterprise, Ernest Renan, the modern Voltaire, put forth his notorious "Life of Jesus," which might be called the great crime of the nineteenth century. Renan wished to show that Jesus is not God, and at every page his demonstration is shattered like glass against the evidence of the texts. These texts he knows, but he is content to falsify them. He does so because in his Hegelian school no one assertion is truer than its opposite. Sometimes he adopts the respectful, unctuous tone of those who cried out: "Hail, King of the Jews." In this frame of mind he speaks of Christ as "the man who even yet directs the destinies of humanity," "the man who has given the most beautiful code of perfect life that any moralist has ever traced." But almost in the same breath he insults, minimizes and reproaches our Lord as a pedantic peasant, an eccentric, an anarchist, and the like.

This intermingling of adulation and insult to the divine character of Christ had its effect. It seduced the simple-minded, and brought the book into the hands of the imprudent and deluded multitude. It blinded the masses, it brought tears to the eyes of the faithful, it crushed the great heart of Mother Church, it gave a tone to lying criticism, it gave to blasphemy the character of elegance; it lent assistance to a policy oppressive of truth and liberty; it performed its part in the war of spoliation and sacrilegious confiscation; it renewed the hours of darkness around the Cross of the dying Redeemer; it essayed to make humanity, regenerated through the Blood of the Son of God, return back to[xvi] Arius and to paganism. The work of Renan and his followers has been the great crime of the century.

During the last half of the century anti-Christianism underwent a change. The position held by Positivism was taken by evolutionist transformation. Its authors were Charles Darwin, the naturalist, and Herbert Spencer, the philosopher. Their doctrines were received with enthusiasm by thousands who had been seeking some new fad in the intellectual line. The anti-Christian looked to it to replace Christianity. In France it became the religion of the Third Republic. Jules Ferry, in the Lodge Clemente Amitie, 1877, declared openly: "We can now throw aside our theological toys. Let us free humanity from the fear of death, and let us believe in a humanity eternally progressing." It was the religion of atheism, and it has been forcing its creed upon humanity ever since.

Scepticism, born of Kant and Hegel, had come to its throne. With Hegel all things were only relative; with Kant objects are only phenomena, and the truth of things is merely subjective; religion itself was to him only subjective, and was, moreover, relegated to the things unknowable. In this he resembled Spencer with whom Religion held the first place in the category of the Unknowable, and that vast, dark, and bottomless pit into which he consigned everything which could not be known by experimentation. This glorification of ignorance, elevated into a system, became known as agnosticism.

The vagaries of sophism in the English-speaking world were hardly less prolific than in Continental Europe. The great intellectual forces of the nineteenth century allied themselves to two movements, the transcendental and the empiric. The former sprang from the writings of Rousseau; created the French Revolution,[xvii] developed into German rationalism, passed into England to the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, generated in France a whole tribe of soliloquists and dreamers, and was finally crystallized in the half-prophetic, half-delirious preachings of Carlyle. Crossing the Atlantic it inspired and originated New England Transcendentalism through the Concord School of Philosophy, of which Emerson, a pupil of Carlyle, was the chief exponent.

It was a vague and abstract school. It took its very name from the fancy that this new knowledge transcended all experience and was quite independent of reason, authority, the testimony of the senses, or the testimony of mankind. It spoke freely of the Infinite, the Infinite Nothing, the Infinite Essence of Things. Carlyle spoke of Eternal Verities, the Immensities, the Eternal Silences. Emerson wrote of it as the Over-soul, the Spirit of the Universe. It permeated all literature, it directed the study of history, it inspired poetry, it became a religious creed; it hypnotized a large portion of the studious world.

About the middle of the century men began to question it, especially when it was perceived that its conclusions did not correspond with its premises. Human thought suddenly veered to the opposite extreme. The world was tired of abstractions; it called for facts. Thenceforth reason was to be omnipotent, and Nature began to be studied. The philosophy of the new order made her a god. "She will give up her secrets to us, and we will build our systems upon them. We will tear open the bowels of the mountains, and read their signs. We will pull down the stars from the skies, weigh them, and test their constituents. We will seek the elemental forces of Nature, and there we shall find the elemental truths. We will dredge the seas,[xviii] sweep the rivers, drag fossils out of forgotten caves, construct the forms of dead leviathans from one bone, examine the dust of stars in shattered aerolites, and the structure of the animal creation in the spawn of frogs by the wayside, or the tadpoles in the month of May. And we shall find that all things are made for man; and that man alone is the Omnipotent and Divine." The world took up the cry and called it Progress. Mankind was shaken by new emotions. Through steamship, telegraph, telephone, and wave currents, distance was annihilated. The world was moved from its solid basis. Vast buildings were flung into the sky; the populations flocked to fill them in the dense cities; and in the exultation of the moment men looked back upon the past with a kind of pitying ridicule, and cried: "This is our earth, our world; we want no other. Humanity is our God, and the earth its throne!"

Then in the very height of all this pride, men suddenly discovered that under all this huge mechanism and masonry they had actually driven out the soul of man. The building of sky-scrapers, the slaughter of so many millions of hogs, the stretching of wiry networks over cities and states, the underground railways and sea-tunnels—all these were but a poor substitute or compensation for the ideals that were lost. Beneath all this material splendor every noble quality that distinguishes man was utterly extinguished, and one saw only the horrors of the midnight streets, the masses festering in city slums, the great gulf broadening between the rich and the poor, selfishness, greed, Mammon-worship, the extinction of the weak, the sovereignty of the strong, the cruelty, the brutality, the latent meanness of the human heart developing day by day like a monstrous disease upon the face of humanity.

Then came the mutterings of a new terror, the[xix] very offspring of the materialism that was worshiped, the spectre of socialism and anarchy, the new belief in the terrible destructiveness of a Godless science. The intellectual world drew back in horror at the sight of the child it had begotten. It began to repudiate the transcendentalism that made pantheism, and the empiricism which made Nature a god, and now it strives to justify itself by a futile attempt to reconcile God with human fancy. Its new religions are but the sugaring of the pill that a docile humanity must swallow. The vagueness of transcendentalism is united with the materialism of nature worship, and the resulting equation is pessimism. Charity, kindness, love, the smile of friendship and the laughter of innocence, all must vanish into the black night of despair before the mandate of a Moloch who has eaten the heart and smothered the thinking soul. It is the moment of crisis, when the world is beginning to look for a savior; and out of the darkness only one source of hope is seen glowing with eternal fire, one shelter for poor persecuted, over-ridden, oppressed humanity—the mother of order and happiness, the protectress of the home, the warmth of the heart, the life of the soul—the mistress of all true philosophy—the old, the never changing Church.


In following up the various assaults made by the Gates of Hell upon the Church established by Christ, one is struck by the absolute method and order they betray. There is a mind behind them all, and that mind has been working vigorously for nineteen centuries. Arianism, Manicheeism, the paganism of the sixteenth century, Protestantism, all were conceived along religious lines, and the thought of God was ever their central proposition. With the French Revolution, born[xx] of Deism in England and Rationalism in Germany, there came into view the spirit of Paganism, which has set itself against Christianity for over a hundred years. Even Paganism, with its aping of the ancients and its depreciation of Christian doctrine and morality, has yielded before the human craving for spirituality, and is falling to pieces rapidly. But the Gates of Hell never grow weary, and the mind that in past ages could trouble the peace of the Church rises to a new effort, an effort that, with strange fatuity, it dreams will be final. Arianism, Protestantism, Paganism failing, the new religion of degeneration takes on a darker, a more repellent aspect. It no longer hides behind religious phrases, but comes out into the open, and those who can read its character have called it Satanism.

Under the guise of Modernism it strove to plant its poisonous weeds even in the vestibule of the Church, but, exposed through the vigilance of our great Pontiff, it made use of the Protestant churches to propagate its errors, until in many pulpits the authority of Jesus is as much a stranger as if Christ had never been born. Out of this chaos came the strange philosophy of Charles W. Eliot with its use of Christian phrases and its negation of the Christian religion. Eliot's nonsense, however, was but a stepping stone whereby the last assault might be made upon the Church. The plans of this assault have been developing for years in many universities of the country, in the yellow press, and in many organizations of men who have grown weary of law and seek in absolute license the gratification of animalism. Satanism is thus the danger of the day.

After many exemplifications of the creed of Satanism in the matters of divorce, abortion, race suicide, white slavery, not to speak of burnings at the stake and the thousand and one horrible crimes that a "wicked[xxi] and adulterous generation" perpetrates in the open light of day, the world was prepared to hear its praises sung from the rostrum of one of America's largest educational establishments.

One evening last year an eminent professor, speaking in one of our largest universities, formulated some of its tenets, the horror of which, let us hope, will shock even the most depraved of minds. In Satanism charity shall be no more; that spirit of love which made life tolerable, which brought the smile to the face of poverty and suffering, which, born of Divine love, spreads its wings over the darkness of earth and creates faith in better things and hope of higher destinies—that charity shall have no place in the creed of these men, no more than it shall have place in that land of eternal despair whence first that creed came forth. More satanic still, the hand of this new religionist is red with the blood of the helpless, the infant whose feeble wailings wring the heart of a human mother, the blood of the infirm whose hollow cheek bespeaks the pity of the more fortunate, or whose halting step awakens the manhood of the young and noble, the blood of the aged who have given the years of their lives to the cause of humanity. To Satanism all these, to whom Christ had said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy burdened, and I will refresh you," are obstacles, in the pathway of conquest to the Gates of Hell. This Satanism gives as its excuse the cause of economy as against humanitarianism, as if Divine Providence during the many centuries that have passed has not fully demonstrated Its ability to care for the world, to prevent by natural means the danger of over-population to keep the balance in human affairs as wonderfully as It has in the circling of the stars in the firmament.[xxii]

One notes these various assaults not with any sense of fear for the Church to which Christ has promised His assisting presence, until the end of time, but as signs of the times, as warnings to those who thoughtlessly are led into the toils, to those who for a little temporary gain would deliver up the souls of their children that they may drink the doctrines of Satanism and lie down in pleasant places to die of its noxious poison.


The day has gone by when the discussion was between Christian and Christian; it is now a stand-up fight, a fierce struggle, every day becoming more fierce, between faith and infidelity. A spurious philosophy has prevailed under one name or another in every age, from the days of Democritus down to our own; but it has received recently an impetus from the teachings of Materialists. Emboldened by their success in research, the professors of the Materialistic school have attempted to lift the mysterious veil of nature, and have challenged the truths of Revelation on the most fundamental principles of the Christian creed.

In fact the Materialistic theories which today deify reason and make matter eternal, and which recognize in matter the principle and perfection of every form of life, are the substratum underlying almost every species of modern literature. It is this materialistic philosophy in the trappings of popular literature which is filling the earth with crime and making the lives of men a veritable inferno. Its pernicious influence has been stealing over the minds of men till it has succeeded in shaking to its centre the whole fabric of social life in almost every civilized country.

The irreligious works of the European continent have been translated into English, and circulated in[xxiii] every variety of form from the most ornate to the cheapest and most accessible. They are on the counters in the department stores, in the most flashing advertisements where their most prurient qualities are held out as inducements to the buyer. Nor are works of a similar spirit and tendency wanting in our own literature. And these works, adapted to every class of readers, and to every grade of intellect, revive the old errors, while fertile in the production of new ones, flatter the pride of the understanding, stimulate the passions of the heart, and diffuse their poison in every department of human learning and through every form of publication by which the popular mind can be reached.

An evil press, largely circulated and read by many who suspect no evil, is rapidly sapping the faith of the multitudes.

Unfortunately there exists in our nature a propensity to evil. Whatever flatters our passions or vicious inclinations we, as a rule, are readier to follow than what is good and virtuous. Hence we find that bad books are more generally read than good ones, and that newspapers wherein religion and morality are outraged, have a very wide circulation. If anything more than bad example tends to propagate vice, it is bad reading. Vice in itself is odious, but when decked out in the false coloring of a cleverly written book it becomes enticing. Young inquisitive people—and young people are generally inquisitive—are tempted.

After perusing such a book their horror of vice is much lessened; they take up another, and so, by degrees, their ideas become perverted. Nearly all men agree that it is the familiarity with vice which develops all the immoral and vicious propensities of human nature, and it is this familiarity with the face of vice which is so contagious, and draws so many into the[xxiv] vortex of crime in the large cities while its absence keeps country life so pure and untarnished.

It is indeed hard to say which is the more dangerous among books—those which are written professedly against Christ, His Church and His laws, or the furtive and stealthy literature which is penetrated through and through with unbelief and passion, false principles, immoral whispers and inflaming imaginations. To read such books is a moral contagion—it is to imbibe poison—it is certain spiritual death.

It is certainly a melancholy reflection, that any such books should be extant among us. It is sad to think that any of the human species should have so far lost all sense of shame, all feelings of conscience, as to sit down deliberately and compile a work entirely in the cause of vice and immorality, which, for anything they know, may serve to pollute the minds of millions, and to propagate contagion and iniquity through generations yet unborn—living, and spreading its baneful influence long after the unhappy hand that wrote it is mouldering in the dust.

It is a striking observation made by one of the Fathers of the Church that "as the authors of good books may hope to find their future crown lightened by the degree of wisdom and virtue which their writings impart through successive generations, so the writers of evil books may well dread an increase of punishment in the future world proportionate to the pollution which they spread, and the evil effects which their writings shall produce as long as they continue to be read."

To what frightful deserts must the writers of modern literature look forward in accordance with such a prediction! The literature of today, light and popular, stately and philosophical alike, teems with immorality and infidelity. It displays itself in every form of[xxv] poetry and prose, in lectures, essays, histories, and in biblical criticism. There it stands palpable and terrible, like Milton's Death, black and horrible, obstructing the light of heaven, and overshadowing God's fair creation. The press is a Catholic institution: a Catholic invented it; a Catholic first printed books, and the Catholic Church first fostered it. But the enemies of Catholicity have seized it and turned it into an engine of destruction to faith and morals.

The newspapers in most cases teem with scandals which absorb the thoughts or arouse the passions. Such reading familiarizes the young with the details of vice, and their better nature is overshadowed by the vicious existences pictured, while the moral strength to resist temptation is slowly but surely weakened.

Then there is that inward strife and struggle—that warring of the passions from which no one is free—that tendency to evil which seeks to cast off the salutary restraints of religion, and which has carried down with the current of innate corruption the greater part of mankind. All these things are borne in upon the soul, day by day, and year by year, as though life were to last forever, until the unhappy reader begins to abandon the absolute realities of life and law and to dwell in the house of a diseased imagination like a leper waiting for the moment of final dissolution.

What we want thus today is an arousing of the Catholic conscience in this regard, the cultivation of Catholic instincts, and the acquiring of Catholic habits of thought. While the banners of atheism and anarchy are waving throughout Europe, the forces of infidelity and indifference are doing their deadly work at home. The spirit of revolt, born of corruption and bred of disease, has swept across the ocean and finds a resting place nearer home. The enemy has laid hold of a[xxvi] great part of the Press and is using it for the destruction of morality and the perversion of truth. The wells of knowledge and the fountains of truth are being daily and hourly poisoned by means of the current literature. A spiritual pestilence is passing over the earth, and the souls of millions are perishing through its foul agencies.

If God, therefore, has given to Catholics wealth of ability and strength of mind, and richness of opportunity to engage in the intellectual combat which is being fought everywhere around us, they ought to use these means to oppose the tide of infidelity and indifference which is sweeping over the nations by putting against it the barrier of good books and Catholic reading. In many quarters the mists are beginning to lift; many intelligent people are beginning to look to the Catholic Church because of her openly proclaimed doctrines, her magnificent works in building up the mighty fabric of the social world, and her lofty ideals of humanity. Secularism in education is confessing its failure at home and abroad.

The toiling masses are turning to the Church for the solution of the vexed problems of labor. The creeds are falling to pieces for want of unity, cohesive principle and authority. Thousands are flocking back to the old Church in sheer weariness of spirit. The thousands would swell into millions if we were up and active in the dissemination of good books, and did our part in helping on the cause of Catholic literature. The Catholic book, the Catholic magazine, the Catholic newspaper is the fiery cross spread from hand to hand, to light up the darkness and to kindle the faith of the multitudes.[xxvii]


One of the forces that make most of contemporary conditions is that of Socialism.

Modern Socialism originated in a group of uncompromising materialists. Marx was one of the young men who revolted from the extravagant Idealism of Hegel, into the crassest Materialism, along with such men as Feuerbach, Bruno, Bauer and Engel. His theory of the universe reduces it to matter and force, and that of duty to the pursuit of pleasure in its material forms. The man's life was better than his creed, for there were some heroic sacrifices in it, for the good of the cause. But his theory neither called for nor sanctioned any such sacrifices. They were due to the pervading atmosphere of an imperfectly Christian civilization, with its ideals of pity and sympathy. They could not find their roots in a materialist view of the process of human history, which is but the tale of "conflict of existence and survival of the fittest," not much above the wrangling of wild beasts in the forests.

While it is only the errors of Socialism that meet with opposition from sound minds—the good points not being identified with the system except by accident—there are some of its errors that are fundamental and therefore deserve a larger exposure than the rest.

Among these is its false conception of the relation of individuals to society. Socialism of its very nature absorbs the individual into the State in such a way as to sacrifice the individual rights to the State's authority. This is an essential feature of all forms of real Socialism, and it puts an end to morality because it destroys all personal freedom and responsibility.

In the early days the Christian Church vindicated the inherent rights of conscience against the unholy tyranny[xxviii] of pagan Rome, which claimed authority to dictate the belief and control the religious practices of its subjects. Socialism would sacrifice the rights which the Church has won and must continue to defend, and proposes to erect a State, with unlimited power in the civil and ecclesiastical spheres.

In the view of the Socialist the State does not exist to furnish opportunities for personal development or defend our rights. In that State the individual must exist only for the sake of society, and his principal function is to promote the temporal well-being of the governing section. To this conception of man's nature they attempt to give a scientific authority.

They borrow from biology the idea of an organism and then, passing over the essential differences, they apply it in an unqualified sense to the State. Thus we are not surprised to read that "the relations of individuals to the social organism are on a par with the relation of cells to an animal organism." This monstrous doctrine implies that man is not a person, a free moral agent, with God-given rights and duties independent of the State.

It is Gronlund who says of rights: "There are none save what the State gives," and he adds "this conception of the State, as an organism, consigns the rights of man to obscurity." It certainly reduces man to a condition of physical and moral slavery.

Could it be established Socialism would thus prove a more frightful despotism than any pagan government of the past. Not a remnant of freedom would be left. The nature of our work, its place, time and reward would be fixed for us. The State could dispose at pleasure of our persons, our families and our property. It would lay its hands upon the family to destroy its unity and stability.[xxix]

The masses of mankind would be placed completely at the disposal of a small and closely centralized body of politicians whose judgments would have the force of infallibility and who would be armed with irresistible power to enforce their ideals and to compel the observance of their laws.

The Socialists continually assert that religion in their system will be a private affair and no concern of the State. But they also take it for granted that once Socialism is realized religious belief must vanish. Indeed, it is impossible that Church and State, which both claim to be supreme and conflicting directors of mind and conscience, should co-exist.

An omnipotent collectivism would not long bear with a spiritual authority which speaks in God's name, which necessarily disputes its jurisdiction and the truth and justice of its fundamental principles, and which is therefore a constant menace to its stability. In order to save itself such a State would naturally try to suppress and destroy the Church.

In the face of such a proposed revival of pagan society, it becomes more and more necessary to insist upon the doctrine of man's spiritual dignity and moral freedom, and the unassailable basis upon which they rest. A personal God, whose essence is absolutely moral, is the fundamental truth, which alone can safeguard our rights from unjust attack.

The obligation to obey the laws which God has imposed upon our conscience carries with it the power and the right to obey. Our rights thus are not given and cannot be taken away by such a State. They have their origin and authority in the supreme Author of our being. Their validity is bound up with the sovereign rights of God, and are therefore, absolute and inalienable.[xxx] It is in this Divine right that we find the broad and strong foundation of our freedom and of all the rights of man.

Thus Socialism is antagonistic to human liberty. Inseparably bound up with it is a materialistic philosophy. In the name of science—a word more abused than liberty—its adherents claim the right to revise and revalue all standards of morality. Experience shows that it thrives and propagates best in the soil of materialism. Its natural allies are the Secularists. Its irreconcilable foe, and the most formidable obstacle to its progress, is the Catholic Church.

It is, in fact, not merely a party for social reform, but a wing of the irreligious army, operating among the working classes, doing its utmost to sow mistrust and hatred of religion and to excite the hope and belief that the amelioration of the condition of labor depends upon the success of materialism.

While thus a warning is in order to those who are led by its utterances, its greatest danger lies in the fact that it may do much mischief in spreading an irreligious spirit, and weakening the foundations of belief among men whom it may not capture to its economic heresies, but who permit themselves to be influenced by what it might term its philosophic doctrines.


Out of the multiplicity of religious sects and philosophical systems with which Europe was deluged at the beginning of the present century, came the new form of Modernism, which is, as the Holy Father has said, but the synthesis of all errors. That vague endeavor to reduce Christian life and teaching to the vagaries of modern thought found its exponents in Germany, Italy,[xxxi] France and England. Schell in Germany sounded the note, and Fogazzaro in Milan took it up, picturing it in his novel "Il Santo." In England it found favor with the unhappy Father Tyrrell, and in France, with the Abbe Loisy and Houtin. The latter, according to present reports has become reconciled with the Church.

The watchful eye of the present Pontiff, Pope Pius X., detected the nature and aims of the new sect before it had yet time to fasten itself upon the minds of the faithful. Accordingly, on September 16, 1907, he issued to the world his famous Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici gregis, treating of the errors of Modernism.

The Encyclical was divided into four parts as follows

I. The Errors of Modernism—Agnosticism—This error declares that the human reason is merely a phenomenon, and cannot raise itself to the knowledge of God. This negation offers free access to scientific atheism, which is an opposition to what Faith teaches.

Immanence—Agnosticism is the negative side of Modernism; immanence constitutes its positive constituent. This doctrine would have it, that religion is a fact and as such demands an explanation; this is not to be sought from without, but from within. Religious immanence thus places as the basis of faith the sensus cordis, or a feeling of the heart, taking its origin from a need of the Divine hidden in the folds of the subconscious.

Subjectivism—Modernism supposing that the religious conscience is the supreme rule in all things relating to God, declares that that conscience, attracted by the unknowable, either exalts the phenomenon, that is, transfigures it, or deforms, that is, disfigures it, according to circumstances, persons, places or time.

Symbolism—Modernism declares that man, before thinking upon his faith, creates that faith, either in an[xxxii] ordinary and vulgar manner, or in a reflex and studied way. In this second case there come what are called the dogmas of the Church. These dogmas, Modernism says, are the instruments of the believer, the symbols of his faith.

Thus the essence of Modernism tends, from a social point of view, to subject the doctrines of the Church to the vague but dominant ideas of the moment, unknown yesterday, and forgotten tomorrow. From the point of view of the individual it would subject objective, theological and philosophic truth to the sensation of the individual and to the sentiment of the ego.

II. How these errors are employed.—The Pope then points out the principles which the Modernist theologian makes use of. For the theologian of this kind, dogma arises from the need which the believer has of elaborating his own religious thought. For him the Sacraments are only the symbols of faith, the consequences of worship, or something instituted for its nourishment. Inspiration is the need which the believer has of expressing his thought by writing or by word; in this way it approaches very nearly to poetical inspiration. It teaches, moreover, that the Church is only the product of the collective conscience, which, in virtue of vital immanence, comes down from a first believer; autocratic at first, it must now, according to Modernism bend itself to the popular forms.

To the historian, history is only the relation of phenomena, and should thus exclude God and everything divine. It declares that the apologist ought not to depend upon the Church, but should seek the aid of historical and psychological researches in the treatment of religious questions. The reformer would thus reform everything according to the above principles. It would replace positive theology by the history of dogmas,[xxxiii] which it would write in accordance with history and science. As to worship, the Modernists while desiring to be indulgent in its regard, would nevertheless gradually diminish it. Finally, they look for the abolition of the Roman Congregations in general, and particularly of the Holy Office and of the Index.

Condemnation—The Holy Father then condemns Modernism: "But these suffice to show by how many ways the doctrine of the Modernists leads to atheism and to the destruction of all religion. Indeed, it was Protestantism which made the first step upon this path; then followed the error of the Modernists; atheism will follow next."

III. The causes, the results and the purpose of Modernism. The proximate cause are the errors of the intellect; its remote causes are curiosity and pride: non sumus sicut ceteri homines, and philosophical ignorance. The purpose of Modernism is threefold: the abolition of the scholastic method in philosophy, the abolition of tradition and of the authority of the Fathers; and the abolition of the ecclesiastical magisterium, the teaching Church.

IV. The Remedies—First. The teaching of scholastic philosophy and theology in all Seminaries and Catholic Universities, and at the same time the study of positive theology, which ought to be prosecuted in a sincerely Catholic spirit.

Second. The expulsion of all Modernists from the rectorship and professorships of Seminaries and Catholic Universities.

Third. The care which bishops as delegates of the Holy See, should take to keep from their priests and the faithful all Modernist writings. They should be exceedingly careful not to give their imprimatur to books which are Modernist in any way.[xxxiv]

Fourth. The institution in each diocese of a council of censors to revise carefully all Catholic publications. The formula Imprimatur of the Bishop will be preceded by the Nihil obstat of the censor. The priest may not undertake, without permission of the Bishop, the direction of journals or reviews, and the Bishop will carefully examine those who write as editors or correspondents.

Fifth. The Bishops will forbid congresses of priests, except in rare occasions, when they shall be certain that there is no danger of Modernism, laicism, or presbyterianism.

Sixth. There shall be instituted in every diocese a council of vigilance, to watch over books and schools. They shall make certain as to the authenticity of the relics venerated in the churches, and see that the truth of pious traditions are not ridiculed in the newspapers; they shall maintain a surveillance over institutions of a social character and the publications pertaining thereto.

Seventh. One year after the publication of this Encyclical, the Bishops and religious superiors shall hand to the Holy See a diligent report, detailed and complete on the matters which constitute the object of the articles of this Encyclical; and thenceforth they shall do the same in their triennial report to the Holy See.

Such is in brief the resume of this famous document, whose appearance aroused the interest of the whole world. That its measures were effective is evident from the history of Modernism in the last three years. The incipient heresy is practically dead in the pale of the Church itself. Without it has invaded Protestantism, giving rise to pragmatism and all those vagaries which fill the philosophical curriculums of many universities. The Holy Father himself has gained a signal and complete victory.[xxxv]

And now a word as to the purport of the book which begins in the following pages. It is intended primarily to demonstrate that the struggle against the Church has ever been a struggle against the Holy See as the head and centre of all Catholicity. The repudiation of authority began with the Reformation. Then indeed it was merely an outcry against the claim of the Church to possess her authority from God. Later this error developed into a repudiation of human authority. Finally there came the repudiation of all lawfully constituted authority whether human or divine. It was the sequence of Protestantism, Rationalism and Radical Socialism.

Moreover, in the Catholic countries themselves the Church ever remained strong as long as all looked loyally to the centre of unity in the Holy See at Rome. The whole history of Jansenism, Gallicanism, Febronianism and Josephinism, is but the history of human ambition battling against the divine authority of the Sovereign Pontiff. And even then the result would have been a calming down of inordinate ambition before the claims of reason and Revelation, had not an impetus come from without. For a hundred years there has not been a revolution in the Latin lands which has not been aroused and engineered by the influence of English speaking powers. So that it may be said that if the Catholic countries were left to their own ways, they would remain not only Catholic, but up to date in every form of enlightenment and progress.


The War Upon Religion


The Earlier Crises.

The history of Christ's Church on earth has ever been a story of storm and stress. The faithful heart of today mourns in discouragement over the evils that afflict the Church in the opening decade of the twentieth century; yet it needs but a glance at the past to convince us that the severest trials of the Spouse of Christ have happened in times long gone by. She has seen the tempest arise out of the clear sky; the clouds of persecution have hung low, at times even enveloping her in their gloomy shadows; she has seen the lightning's flash and heard the loud roar of the thunders of human wrath, while the hurricane swept over the face of the earth overturning the fondest memorials of her progress, and levelling to the dust the proudest monuments of her civilization. She has prostrated herself to the ground and with buried face has called upon the mercy of God to comfort her sorrow and heal her wounds. And when the storm has passed, she has lifted up her eyes to behold the glory of a newer day, the rainbow of hope, telling of that ancient promise: "For, behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."[2]

The story of the past has been told too often to need repetition in this place. Our interest lies entirely with modern days, with the struggle of the Church against the spirit of anti-Christ incarnate in all the movements of error from the sixteenth century until our own times. And thus, while we are seeking the causes of that anti-Christian spirit, we cannot help regarding with interest the influence exerted by the Protestant Reformation upon the intellectual and moral life of Europe. The abandonment of the old faith led, by a natural sequence, to estrangement from Christianity itself. This is so palpable that it is surprising how the innovators could have overlooked the fact that to abuse and ruin the one meant the wounding and destruction of the other. Indeed, had not organized Catholicity existed at the time, and in its then form, there would have been no concrete Christianity to reform, but only some archaeological remnants out of which it would have been difficult to construct even an imperfect idea of the religion of Christ.

Coincident with the great revolt against the Church was the impetus given to the study of the natural sciences. This coincidence, unhappily, assumed to the unthinking the appearance of cause and effect, as if the intellectual powers of man had been stunted and repressed under the regime of ecclesiastical authority, to be freed and exercised in a time of revolt against the Church. This unfortunate conviction was gradually instilled into the minds of the masses by men brilliant of intellect, but unscrupulous in their hatred of the Church and of her teachings. The people accepted the premise and followed it out to its conclusion; that Catholicity should be regarded as an enemy, and as such should be persecuted and destroyed. They were[3] unable to measure the force of circumstances surrounding the new unfolding of the physical sciences, to recognize the evil character of many champions of the new order, or the glamor which the awakening of new studies cast upon minds hitherto engrossed with the sober logic of the schools. The fact, moreover, that many of the old theories with regard to natural phenomena must eventually have yielded to the processes of scientific evolution had not occurred to them. All these were forgotten or missed in the enthusiasm for the novelties of nature, and under the influence of a gaudy literature they permitted themselves to believe that the Church was responsible for the tardiness of the awakening, and hence that she should be discarded, that Christianity as a consequence should be uprooted, and that the intellect should acknowledge no other deity than the impersonal God of nature.

Moreover, the Church had ever been recognized as the supreme authority in the matter of Christian morality. To attack, therefore, her existence could mean nothing less than to open wide the floodgates of iniquity, to cast down the barriers that had hitherto restrained the evil passions, and to proclaim the reign of license and anarchy. These fatal conditions, taking their rise in the sixteenth century, grew into palpable being and gave place later to that monster of iniquity which today holds half of the world in its grasp.


The influences of the Protestant revolt were more far-reaching than the limits of any provincial or national territory, for although the Council of Trent, in 1545, had met the challenge of European discontent with a rigid investigation into every disputed point of ecclesiastical[4] discipline, nevertheless the roots of the new heresy penetrated by secret channels into those very countries which had repudiated the advances of Luther, and taken their stand upon the basis of Roman Catholic unity. It was but natural that a people nurtured upon the living bread of Apostolic doctrine as delivered to them through the ministry of the Holy See should look with distrust upon the excessive and destructive theories of the German Protestantism. They found, however, in the morbid doctrines of Calvin a certain weird and uncanny attraction, which like an hypnotic obsession led them on until they mistook empty and high-sounding formulas for the clear light of truth. It was not that they did not see much that was repugnant and absolutely untenable in Calvinism; nor would they openly espouse the outward organization which the heretic called his church; but they hoped to find a middle path as far removed from the rigid fatality of the Genevan heresiarch as it would be from what they would call, the laxity of the Roman Church. Out of the resulting confusion was born the spirit of Jansenism, which proved to be little else than the Calvinistic heresy disguised under the external forms of Catholic unity. It was a heresy all the more dangerous that its assaults were not directed in the open and from the outside, but were nurtured within the very household of the faith, where it spent its arrows of discontent upon the children of the Sanctuary kneeling in devotion under the shadow of the altar.

Midway between the strongholds of Luther and Calvin lay the country of the Netherlands, rendered important at the time through the influence of its celebrated University of Louvain. Out of its curious people came that Cornelius Jansen whose name was to acquire a questionable celebrity through his championship of the[5] new idea. A quondam conspirator in the interests of Philip II., he had been raised, for his services in that direction, to the See of Ypres. For twenty years he studied in his own way the great tomes of St. Augustine, reading his whole works ten times over, and his refutation of the Pelagians as many as thirty times. It was a period when theologians were much interested in grace, free will, predestination, and kindred questions. The Church had already condemned the theories of Baius in that regard, and Calvin's errors, which he claimed to have found in St. Augustine, had been refuted time and again. It was the work of Jansen to revive in a more classical form all these condemned doctrines and to seal them by an appeal to St. Augustine. To this end he finished before his death, in 1638, an immense work entitled Augustinus, which, however, was not published until 1640, two years after his death.

Its heretical character was immediately recognized. The University of Paris censured five leading propositions extracted from the work, which were in turn formally condemned by Pope Urban VIII., in 1642. The Jansenists, however, endeavored to meet the Papal condemnation with casuistic subtlety. They resorted to a distinction between the orthodox sense of the propositions and the heretical sense in which they might be read; they thus claimed that Jansen understood them only in their orthodox sense, while they agreed that the propositions were rightly condemned in a heretical sense. Hence they declared that the five propositions were either not at all contained in the work of Jansen, or at least that they were not there in the sense condemned by the Bull of Urban VIII. To these observations Pope Alexander VII. replied by the Bull of 1656, wherein he condemned such distinctions, declaring that the five propositions were taken from the work of Jansen, and that they were[6] condemned in the sense of that author. The Jansenists retorted by asserting that the Papal Bull was only a simple regulation of discipline, and that it could exact nothing more than a respectful silence. Practically the whole action of the new sectaries amounted to an effort to restrict the scope of Papal infallibility, in as much as they declared the Pope might rightly adjudicate in regard to dogmatic doctrines, but not in regard to dogmatic facts. Thus, he was right in condemning the five propositions, as they held, but wrong in declaring that Jansen taught them in a heretical sense. This distinction was formally condemned by Clement XI. in 1705, and the bishops and prelates of France were obliged to subscribe to a formula declaring that they condemned the propositions with heart as well as with lips, according to the mind of the Holy Father.

The novelty of the Jansenistic ideas raised up, especially in France, a coterie of supporters, brilliant of intellect, but entirely dominated by pride and egotism. Foremost of these was the Abbe St. Cyran, who became the sponsor of the Jansenistic doctrine after the death of its inventor. A Calvinist in sentiment, however orthodox by profession, his career was hardly such as might be expected of an apostle of truth. His treasonable life had awakened the hostility of the great Richelieu long before the advent of Jansenism, and he had spent years of weary confinement in the prison of Vincennes. His character was one of duplicity as is evident from his general tone of teaching. It was he who, one day, informed St. Vincent de Paul, that he would speak the truth in one place if he thought the truth would be appreciated there, and its opposite where ever he should find the people unable to apprehend the truth. It is significant of his pride that he declared that the Holy Scriptures were clearer in his own mind than[7] they were in themselves. This strange individual upon his liberation from prison, at the death of Richelieu, set himself up as a martyr and contrived to chant his woes into the ears of the courtly set that hovered about the French throne. He succeeded in casting the glamor of fashion over his Jansenistic theories. He was welcomed especially by the members of a family destined to hold the destinies of Jansenism in their grasp, the Arnaulds of Port Royal. There were two brothers of especial prominence, and two sisters, Angelique and Agnes, who had received their initiation into Jansenism in all good faith, but who became later on most bitter in their advocacy of principles which no true Catholic could hold. The Abbey of Port Royal, near Paris, thus became the very stronghold of the new sect and drew to its doors some of the brightest men of the day. Among these was that celebrated Pascal whose "Provincial Letters" exerted such an influence in stirring up a national hatred of the Jesuits. The Abbey of Port Royal, however, proved itself too great a factor in the seditious movements of the day. It was suppressed by a royal order in 1709, and its buildings demolished in the year following.

Just at the moment when the followers of Jansen seemed most ready to yield to the claims of saner thought, when the instructions of the Holy See were already bearing salutary fruit, the heresy took on a new lease of life, and opened up an avenue to greater dissension and error. In the year 1693 appeared a work entitled: Moral Reflections Upon the New Testament by Pasquier Quesnel, an ex-priest of the Oratory of Jesus. He was a man who had already incurred suspicion and censure. The book, although conceived in a tone of lofty piety and deep meditation, was found nevertheless to be a very storehouse of Jansenistic ideas. It was received[8] with enthusiasm even by many pious souls whose mental acumen could not perceive the poisonous spirit that it harbored. Cardinal Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, was at first one of its strongest supporters until the book, after a critical examination by a Papal commission, was condemned by Pope Clement XI. in 1713. The Bull by which this condemnation was proclaimed was the celebrated "Unigenitus," a factor not alone in the religious, but in the political history of the eighteenth century.

After the appearance of the Bull, Cardinal Noailles forbade his people to read the "Moral Reflections," but at the same time he refused to receive the Papal Bull without some qualification. Other prelates proceeded to greater extremes than this, four of them having the hardihood to appeal from the Bull to a further Ecumenical Council. This attitude was a declaration of open rebellion; it was a call to many who had hitherto hidden behind the screen of prudent silence. A new religious faction was formed and rapidly grew in numbers. They termed themselves the Appellants from their appeal to a future council. To meet the disastrous effects of this growing schism Pope Clement XI. in 1718 put forth the severe Bull, "Pastoralis officii," wherein it was declared that anyone, though he be cardinal or bishop, refusing to accept the Bull "Unigenitus" should thereby cease to be a member of the Church. The contest went on ten years longer before Cardinal Noailles and the French episcopate with but few exceptions yielded entirely to the demands of the Holy See. The affair, however, though quieted to a great extent in the ranks of the clergy, was nevertheless secretly supported by a number of contumacious persons, and openly by the Parliament of Paris and other governmental bodies, who brought persecution to bear upon the issue. In 1746 de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, forbade his clergy to administer[9] the Sacraments to any sick person who should be unable to produce a certificate from the parish priest stating that he had been to confession. He was cited before the Parliament in 1752, and was later banished from Paris. The controversy was finally settled by Clement XIV. who permitted that the Sacraments might be given to a person whose opposition to the Bull, "Unigenitus" was not notorious.

Such are the barest outlines of the rise and progress of Jansenism during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Beneath its surface lay strong and lasting issues, the effect of which is often perceptible even in our own day. One of these was its determined opposition to the Society of Jesus. Ever loyal to the Holy See and to the sound doctrine of the Church, the Jesuits could not but be an obstacle in the path of the sectaries, who in turn strove by every means for their annihilation. Both in the circles of religious life and among the courtiers and ever restless against the restraints of morality, the Jansenists pursued their foe with relentless energy. Through Pascal and his followers the resources of polite literature were brought to bear against the defenders of the faith, until, just as Jansenism was losing its last hold upon European society, their great purpose was accomplished, and the Society of Jesus was suppressed.

Into the private life of the ordinary Catholic the principles of Jansenism injected a gloom and sadness similar to the extravagant sullenness of Puritanism or its sister, Calvinism. Rigor and haughty reserve were accompanied by a false humility which caused its votaries to shun the Sacraments, to despair of God's mercy, to abandon all hope after the commission of one sin, or on the other hand a presumption without grounds upon an election which God had denied to others less[10] fortunate. It threatened for a moment a total overturning of belief in the salutary life of grace and an utter misconception of the free will of man which must lead eventually to a wandering away from God and ultimate atheism.

That the spirit of Jansenism is not altogether dead our Holy Father, Pope Pius X. assures us in recommending the daily reception of Holy Communion: "The poison of Jansenism," he says "did not entirely disappear. The controversy as to the dispositions requisite for the lawful and laudable frequentation of the Holy Eucharist survived the declarations of the Holy See; so much so, indeed, that certain theologians of good repute judged that daily Communion should be allowed to the faithful only in rare cases and under many conditions." Our present Holy Father disposes of Jansenistic doctrines by opening up freely the graces of the Holy Sacrament even as far as its daily reception.


A movement which rivaled Jansenism in its peculiar fanaticism was that Quietism which owes its public notoriety to a Spanish priest, Michael Molinos, who in 1675 published a work entitled: Spiritual Guide Leading the Soul, by Means of Interior Progress, to Attain Perfect Contemplation, and to the Rich Treasure of Interior Peace. Therein was developed a religious system that was apparently in harmony with the most orthodox asceticism, but which upon examination proved to be fundamentally false and seducing towards the most rampant error. The writings of Molinos were condemned by Pope Innocent XI. and their author compelled to do severe penance for the harm they had caused. In substance Quietism taught that the interior life or[11] spiritual perfection is reached when the soul, by union with God, holds itself in a thoroughly passive state with regard to everything else. In all things whether of this life or of the next, in questions of virtue as in questions of sin, the perfect soul wishes for nothing and fears nothing, not even hell; it is simply in a state of inactivity. Hence good works are not only unnecessary for salvation, but are even a hindrance to perfection, since the soul must act to perform them. Farther still went this theory in insinuating that when a person is attacked by even the grossest temptations he should never offer any positive resistance, such resistance being in itself action. Hence that the tempted person was never responsible for his actions, be they ever so infamous, since the criminality affects only the sensitive part of the soul, not the higher part which is united with God.

It is quite evident that a theory such as this could only lead to grave excesses not only in the matter of doctrine, but especially in that of morality. Examples were not wanting to show the practical workings of the new movement, which, however, rapidly disappeared under the watchful eye of the Holy See. It is worthy of note that a discussion over the orthodoxy of the writings of one of this class, a certain Madame Guyon, residing at the time in France, effected an estrangement between those two brilliant lights of the French Church, Bossuet and Fenelon. The latter, in his too great sympathy for one whom he believed too harshly judged, published a sort of defence of her. The defence was at once condemned by the Pope, and Fenelon out of the humility and true loyalty of his great heart submitted immediately and without reserve to the decision of the Holy See.[12]



In a line with Jansenism as a force destructive of the influence of Catholic grace upon modern life was the movement of Gallicanism. It differed, however, from Jansenism inasmuch as the latter affected the interior life of the Church while the former touched upon her external regimen. Its genesis can be traced far backward in history, though it never attained to proportions capable of inspiring fear until the middle of the seventeenth century. A feeling of restless annoyance[13] at the restraints exercised by the Court of Rome upon his absolute dominion in France caused the young King Louis XIV. to regard the Holy See with something of hostility even from the beginning of his reign. In fact, were he disposed in his youth to act with fairness towards his ecclesiastical neighbor there were not wanting courtiers who instilled into his ear the notion that the Holy See was seeking his utter abasement and ought therefore to be reminded strongly of its true position. An unfortunate event in the year 1662 brought this hidden fire to a flame. At that time the Duc de Crequy was acting as ambassador of France in the Eternal City. This ambitious and testy nobleman signalized his residence in Rome by permitting and even encouraging his retainers and friends to defy the city's laws, to insult the Roman authorities and to abuse in every way possible the hospitality extended them by the Papal government. Their acts of rowdyism at length inflamed the police and the soldiery to such an extent that a body of Corsican troops in the service of the Holy Father threw off all restraint and attacked the French retainers, killing three or four of them. The ambassador abandoned Rome in an excess of fury and brought a garbled version of the affair to the ears of Louis XIV. The King in his anger retaliated by dismissing the Papal Nuncio, and demanding from the Pope the most absurd and extravagant conditions as the price of reconciliation and peace. The Holy Father, Pope Alexander VII. had been guiltless in the whole affair, he had suffered patiently the impositions of de Crequy and his lawless band, and he displayed an extreme anxiety to repair any evil committed by his own soldiery; he could not, however, yield to the exactions of the French King. Thinking to meet the warlike threats of Louis by the aid of the Catholic sovereigns, he found himself abandoned by all[14] of them, and thus left at the mercy of the infuriated monarch. Louis XIV. had already proceeded to take possession of the Papal city of Avignon, and his armies were already on the march towards Rome for the purpose of intimidating the Holy See. The Pope perceiving that the crisis demanded immediate and radical action, agreed to many of the humiliating conditions, and thus secured an exterior appearance of peace. This was in the year 1663.

The passions of Louis XIV. were not, however, composed, and were awaiting only a favorable occasion for breaking forth into open heat. This occasion was offered in connection with a dispute concerning certain royal privileges in the ecclesiastical order, termed the Regalia. This was the right of the kings to enjoy the revenues of a vacant bishopric, and to confer, during the vacancy of a See, benefices without care of souls. The Parliament of Paris, by a sentence of 1668, had extended the regalia to all benefices which might be included in countries where the regalia had not previously obtained. King Louis XIV., by his edicts of 1673 and 1675, had confirmed that sentence, and the French clergy for fear of greater evils had approved. Two bishops, however, stood out against the edicts, and were deprived of their revenues in consequence; they were at the same time supported in their opposition by Pope Innocent XI. The Holy Father, when the question was brought before him, appealed to a decision of the Second Council of Lyons, held in 1474, which opposed the extension of the regalia. In two briefs of March and September 1677, he exhorted the French monarch to respect the rights of the vacant Sees; but when his exhortations were only disregarded, he issued two other briefs in 1678 and 1680, adding ecclesiastical menaces to his exhortations.[15]


It was at this juncture that Louis XIV. had recourse to his influence over the clergy in France, and perceiving that his encroachments were meeting with firmness upon the part of the Pope, he determined to effect a legal enactment whereby the powers of the Sovereign Pontiff should be made forever subservient to the will of the French king. Already in 1662 the University of the Sorbonne had signed six articles denying not only the divinely constituted primacy of the Pope, but asserting an undue independence in the powers of the king himself. To revive these articles as well as to strengthen his position in regard to the Holy See, the French Monarch convoked at Paris in 1682 an assemblage of the clergy which was attended by thirty-four archbishops and bishops, besides as many minor prelates. The members of this assemblage were invited individually by the king's order, and only such were called as were known to be in harmony with the pretensions of Louis XIV. Fenelon was not there, nor Mabillon, nor Bourdalone, nor many another brilliant light of the French Church, for the simple reason that they could not support the king in his unjust usurpations. The Convocation possessed at least one strong mind, that of Bossuet, the celebrated Bishop of Meaux, whose presence and action in such an assembly it is difficult to reconcile with his usual manly loyalty to Catholic principles. His excuse, that he hoped thereby to ward off greater evils and even schism from the Church is hardly of any value against the depressing influence of the act itself. The result of this assembly was the formal framing of the notorious Gallican Liberties which in a few words meant:

"1. That the Pope could not interfere with the temporal concerns of Princes either directly or indirectly.[16]

"2. That in spiritual matters he was subject to a general council.

"3. That the rules and usages of the Gallican Church were inviolable.

"4. That the Pope's decision in points of faith was not infallible, unless attended by the consent of the Church."

Four days after the signing of these articles the king put forth an edict imposing their observance strictly upon all the country. His commands were as follows:

"1. We forbid all our subjects, and all foreigners resident in our kingdom, secular or regular, of whatever order, to teach in their houses, colleges, or seminaries, or to write anything contrary to the doctrine herein stated.

"2. We order that all those hereafter to be chosen to teach theology in all the colleges of each university, whether seculars or regulars, shall subscribe to the said declaration before being permitted to act; that they shall submit to teach said doctrine, and that the syndics of the faculty of theology shall present to the local ordinaries and to our attorneys-general, copies of the said submission, signed by the secretaries of the said faculties.

"3. That in all the colleges and houses of the said universities, in which there are several professors, secular or regular, one of them shall be annually appointed to teach the doctrine contained in the said declaration; and in those colleges in which there is but one professor, he shall be bound to teach that in one of every three consecutive years.

"4. We enjoin upon the syndics of the faculties of theology annually to present, before the commencement of the lectures, to the archbishops and bishops of the cities in which they shall be, and to send to our attorneys-general, the names of the professors appointed to teach[17] said doctrine; and we enjoin the said professors to present to the said prelates the writings which they will dictate to their scholars when they shall order them.

"5. It is our will that hereafter no bachelor shall be licensed either in theology, or in canon law, or received as doctor, until he shall have maintained that doctrine in one of his theses, and having shown proof of such support in such theses to those having power to confer the degrees.

"6. We exhort and enjoin all archbishops and bishops to exert their authority to cause the doctrine maintained in the said declaration to be taught within their dioceses."

Artaud de Montor, in his Lives of the Popes writes in this connection: "Assuredly, if the archbishops and bishops made no resistance to the signing of the four articles; if they thought that such a notification might become useful to the Church; if they recognized that the authority of the Pope was to be thus boldly limited; if they thought it requisite to curb what Bruno called the Tiberine tyranny, they must now at length have discovered that they were subject to a perfectly insatiable authority, which would employ not even the language of the country to exhort and enjoin them to exert their authority in diffusing a doctrine more administrative than Christian, and more military than religious, with a view to substitute for the words of peace, concord, and mildness, new words of command, injunction, unbridled will, to which Catholicity was no longer accustomed. From the Attorney-General who thus lectures the bishops, to the Attorney-General who has immediately under his hand the secular power, there is, in such times, but a step. The same hand countersigned a document, and ordered the sword to leap from the scabbard."

In the meantime the Roman court was not idle. On the 11th of April, 1682, Pope Innocent XI. annulled the[18] propositions by a brief, and refused to grant canonical bulls to the bishops named by King Louis XIV. The hostile attitude of France continued openly for ten years, and it was only in 1693 that the King agreed that the provisions of his edict were not to be enforced. The spirit of Gallicanism, however, after being thus fostered for a decade in the schools and colleges of France was not to be eradicated by a mere permission of tolerance. A generation had grown up imbued with its false principles and ready to cast broadside through the country the seeds of a lasting hostility towards the Papal prerogatives. In fact, all through the whole course of the eighteenth century the creed of Gallicanism governed in a large measure the whole action and liturgy of the French Church. Its attitude of independence in regard to the Holy See very naturally encouraged that rising anti-Christianism which found its most potent foe in the successor of St. Peter. Even in the nineteenth century it possessed a certain life. Napoleon, in his Organic Articles, imposed it upon the seminaries of France even more strictly than did Louis XIV., at an earlier day. It has ever been the great obstacle to Catholic unity in France, the source of persecution against the Church; and if it virtually died in that country about the time of the Vatican Council, in 1870, its absence was never more noteworthy and consoling than at the present day when the whole French episcopacy stands united to a man in its loyalty and devotion to the Holy See.


Scarce had the battles of Jansenism and Gallicanism been ended, than a new campaign of destruction was inaugurated against the peace and unity of the Church.[19] Born of the confusion of Jansenism, it found a sponsor in Bernard Van Espen, the Flemish canonist, it was introduced to the world by Febronius, and it reached its development under the Austrian Emperor, Joseph II.

Until the eighteenth century the student of canon law believed his task fulfilled if he had read diligently the great Code of ecclesiastical law, if he had commented upon the Decretals, and had drawn therefrom conclusions entirely in harmony with the mind of the Church. This mode of procedure seemed altogether too slow and antiquated to Van Espen, Professor in the University of Louvain, who accordingly put forth, between the years 1693 and 1728 a new work upon the laws of the Church, the method of which was startling as its purpose was revolutionary. It was styled the Universal Ecclesiastical Law. It was no attempt to study or tabulate the old laws; it was rather an investigation, conducted in a spirit of prejudice, into the origin and authority of the laws by which the Church was governed, and an endeavor to minimize thereby the rights and prerogatives of the Roman See in favor of lesser and more recent human institutions.

The new system of Van Espen was taken up with avidity by every student who imagined he had a grievance against the Holy See. It became the order of the day to wander back piously to the primitive days of Christianity, to explore its history for evidences of modern institutions, to seek therein for the organization of the Vatican and the Roman Curia, and not finding them in days of Clement and Cletus, to raise the voice in loud protestation against the novelties introduced by the Popes. They scoured the ages of history to gather up every expression of hostility against the Temporal Power or the institution of the Cardinalate; they recorded scrupulously every complaint against the revenues[20] of the Holy See; they revived the epithets concerning the "superstition, the fanaticism, and the darkness" of the Middle Ages. In a word they framed a system whose watchword was the destruction of the Papal supremacy, the exaltation of episcopal pretensions, and the ultimate domination of the State in the affairs of the Church.


The theories of these pseudo-canonists nowhere found greater favor than among a certain class of prelates in Germany, who besides their jurisdiction as bishops of the Roman Catholic Church enjoyed the further dignity and revenues of prince-electors in the German Empire. These combinations of politician and churchman could hardly regard with favor the pre-eminence of a Bishop in Rome who claimed however justly the rights of jurisdiction in any manner over them. They thus welcomed with open arms any daring spirit who would minimize or destroy the value of the Papal supremacy, and thus leave them in undisturbed possession of their pretended rights, carrying as these did with them a broad license to all the worldly luxuries and distractions of a political court.

The prince Bishop of Treves in Germany was one of this kind, and it is not surprising that when a canonist or theologian of the new order suddenly appeared at his court that the latter should receive all the honor and encouragement such a bishop could bestow. The court of the Bishop of Treves produced in the middle of the eighteenth century such a spirit in Johannes von Hontheim, a suffragan of the electoral diocese, and better known under his pseudonym of Febronius. In 1763 appeared in Germany some copies of a mysterious[21] quarto entitled: The State of the Church and of the Legitimate Power of the Roman Pontiff, bearing the name of Justinus Febronius, and the place of publication Bouillon, though the author was in reality Johannes von Hontheim, and the place of its publication, Frankfort-on-the-Main. The book, finally increased to five volumes, was rapidly spread throughout Europe. In Venice it appeared in two editions, Latin and Italian. In France it was translated twice. In Spain the Council of Castile defrayed in part the expenses of a new translation, and that edition according to Cardinal Capara became the law for the Court and the Nation. Portugal provided both a Latin and a Portuguese text which latter was distributed gratuitously. Germany also produced both a Latin and German edition.

The book was condemned by Clement XIII., in 1764, and anathematized by the greater number of the German bishops upon its appearance, yet it made so much noise in the world, was so highly eulogized by the ignorant, and so greedily welcomed by the enemies of the Church, besides the fact that it has served to sanction so many desolating assaults upon the faith, the hierarchy and the discipline of the Catholic Church, that it is necessary to discuss it in detail, in order to undeceive many who even today hold some of the views espoused by Febronius.

And first as to the theme around which the author has woven his network of sophisms. George Goyau, in his Catholicism, thus synopsises the whole teaching of Febronius: "Febronius recognized the Pope as the Vicar of Jesus Christ; he professes that the Church has need of a chief to direct it, and that the bonds which unite the members to the chief ought to be sacred and inviolable; he desires that the primacy be conserved in the Church with care, and that it be piously honored; and[22] Photius who strove to sap its foundations appears to him a fool. But this primacy is to Febronius only a simple pre-eminence; all that it imports is a right of inspection and direction over the different dioceses, similar to that which an archbishop possesses with regard to his suffragans; but it does not signify that the Pope has any jurisdiction." He holds, moreover, that "The power of the keys was conferred by Christ to the whole body of the faithful; it belongs to them all radicaliter et principaliter; the bishops exercise it under the title of usufruct, usualiter et usufructualiter; while as to the Pope, he is superior to each bishop in particular in virtue of what Hontheim terms the majoritas; but that majoritas does not extend over the whole episcopal body in its entirety; the episcopal body is thus the real sovereign of the Church."

It was a consequence of such ideas that Febronius should utter the usual outcry against the "abuses" of the Roman Church, and recommend a general council of all Christians to the decisions of which all must bow. In all this he pretended to seek the furtherance of unity in the great Christian body.

The false doctrines of Febronius were met with denunciation and refutation from all reliable sources. Clement XIII. in 1764, Clement XIV. in 1769, and Pius VI. in 1775, raised their voices solemnly in condemnation of the book. The ablest theologians of the Church gave their services to combat its errors. Among these were especially Zaccaria, Amort, Kleiner and St. Alphonsus Liguori. It is noteworthy that the first refutation of Febronius came from the pen of a Lutheran, Frederick Bahrdt, in Leipzig.

Among the many able discussions upon the work of Hontheim that of the Abbe Bernier deserves to be reproduced in part, not only because it reflects the sentiment[23] of the time, but especially for its keen exposure of the falsehoods and inconsistencies which abound in the work of the heretic. It is found in a letter to the Duke Louis Eugene of Wurtemburg dated 1775.

"It is astonishing how the Treatise on the Government of the Church and the Authority of the Pope, by Febronius has made so much noise in some of the states of Germany; neither in its depth nor in its form was this book ever capable of impressing men of intellect or such as pretend to the faculty of reasoning. Whatever of truth the author produces is taken from French theologians, particularly from Bossuet, in his Defense of the Declaration of the Clergy of France of 1682; his falsehoods and errors are extracted from Protestants and Jansenists, or from those canonists who seek to humiliate the Court of Rome in her time of trouble. Various materials, which were never intended to be taken together, have been maladroitly compiled by Febronius; he has lighted torches which destroy each other; as he never takes his stand upon principles universally admitted, he is continually falling into contradictions; he denies in one place what he affirms in another; he sustains one theory at the very time that he professes to reject it; it would be sufficient to compare the titles of the sections and chapters of his work, to perceive that he either does not understand what he writes, or that he is not in accord with himself."

The Abbe thereupon goes on to point out the most glaring contradictions in the work, and to show that to any person not yet blinded by prejudice, the very contention of the author is destroyed by his evident lack of truthfulness.

In 1778, through the influence brought to bear upon the Archbishop Elector of Treves by the Papal nuncios, Caprara and Bellisomi, Febronius was led to reconsider[24] his action, and signed a retractation of his errors in a letter sent to Pope Pius VI. Three years later, however, in 1781, he published a Commentary on his Retraction, which served to show the spirit of insincerity which dominated him throughout his whole career. He died in 1790.

Febronianism was not so disastrous in itself as (it proved to be) in its consequences. Its immediate result was a weakening of that loyalty which Catholic peoples owe to the centre of unity in the Holy See; but through all that, it affected, in a certain way, the very foundations of the social and political life of Europe. Although its immediate effects were almost simultaneous in their action, yet for the sake of brevity we shall notice them in order. 1. The revolt of the Elector archbishops of Germany. 2. The schism of Scipio de Ricci. 3. The final development into Josepheism.


For two centuries, there were three nuncios sent by the Holy See to Germany: to Vienna, to Cologne, and to Lucerne. In 1777, the new Elector of Bavaria petitioned Pius VI. for a fourth nunciature, to Munich. This measure, so just and useful in itself, irritated the German archbishops, already too jealous of the jurisdiction of the nuncios in the Empire. The three Electors, Clement Wenceslas of Saxony, Archbishop of Treves; Maximilian of Austria, Archbishop of Cologne, and Baron d'Erthal, Archbishop of Mayence, were the soul of the resistance to the will of the Sovereign Pastor. Jerome Collerodo, Archbishop of Salzburg, and Legate of the Holy See, joined forces with them, and when Cardinal Pacca, the papal nuncio, arrived at Cologne, the Archbishop forbade any official reception, pretending[25] that henceforth he would recognize no external jurisdiction. A like treatment was accorded to Zogno, the new nuncio to Munich.

In August, 1786, the delegates of the above-mentioned four prelates, assembled in a congress at Ems, near Coblenz, and agreed upon measures to be taken in order to restrict the authority of the Pope in his relations with Germany, a restriction that, in their anticipations, was to mean nothing less than complete annihilation. The Congress of Ems formulated twenty-three decisions, which have become known as the Punctuations of Ems. Their purport was to suppress the immunities which were enjoyed by convents in regard to episcopal jurisdiction, to forbid all intercourse between the religious orders of Germany and their superiors in Rome, to suppress the nunciatures to Germany; they would also abolish the custom by which the Holy Father granted to German bishops the faculty, to be renewed every five years, of granting matrimonial dispensations. Moreover the Pontifical documents might not be circulated without the formal acceptance of each bishop; they changed the formula of the oath of fidelity to the Pope as fixed by Pope Gregory VII. The Electors, in fine, made themselves thenceforth the legislators for the Church of Germany, and as such addressed their "Punctuations" to the Emperor for his approval.

It is significant that Joseph II. much as he had encouraged the Electors, one of whom, Maximilian, was his brother, in their hostility to the Holy See, nevertheless he received the acts of the Congress coldly; it was not his policy to permit so much power to the German bishops when he had already decided that all ecclesiastical authority in his dominions was to reside in his own hands. Nor was the King of Prussia, Protestant as he was, any more enthusiastic in support of the rebellious[26] Electors. On the contrary he accorded to the Papal nuncio, Mgr. Pacca, every reasonable service, even receiving the latter, with all the formalities due to his ambassadorial character, at Wesel, in 1788. In fact the advent of this great representative of the Holy See proved a God-sent blessing to the Catholic people of the German States; for the spirit of revolt so obstinately settled in the minds of the ecclesiastical princes, found no echo in the hearts of their subjects, always as loyal to the Holy Father as they were disgusted and humiliated by the time-serving attitude of those to whom they had the right to look for guidance and example.

The anger of the four archbishops against Mgr. Pacca increased despite all reverses. In 1788 they petitioned the Diet of Ratisbonne to cause the framing of a law suppressing altogether the nunciatures. The German princes, however, had no intention of issuing thus a formal insult to the Court of Rome, and the law was not passed. Moreover, the archbishops had by this time discovered that their suffragans had taken umbrage at the fact that they were not officially notified as to the proceedings of the Congress of Ems, thus weakening the effect of that assembly in its most vital point, the adhesion of the episcopate to the repudiation of Papal authority. Finally, after various vain attempts to gain the aid of the secular princes, three of the archbishops, those of Salzburg, Treves, and Cologne, yielded a tardy obedience to the authority of the Pope; the Archbishop of Mayence, von Erthal, held obstinately to his position until after seeing himself abandoned by his quondam friends, he was at length driven from his See by the advent of the French revolutionary troops in 1793. By this event Febronianism lost, for a time at least, the influence it had exerted for thirty years over the Church in Germany.[27]


While these events were taking place in Germany a like movement was observable in Northern Italy. The Diocese of Pistoia, presided over from 1780 by Scipione di Ricci, was the scene of the trouble. This bishop, fanatically addicted to the reforms introduced into the Austrian States by Joseph II. held himself in constant opposition to the Holy See, especially because of the Pope's rejection of his errors. As counsellor to the Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany, he permitted the government to meddle with ecclesiastical affairs, to regulate all matters of worship and ceremony, and to assume full control of ecclesiastical teaching. Catechisms were composed without consulting the bishops, and schools were established by professors imbued with doctrines accredited by the government.

In 1786, at the instance of the Grand Duke, Ricci assembled at Pistoia a synod which was to formulate regularly the reforms he had in view. The schismatical bishop placed as moderator in this gathering that Tamburini who had been deprived of his professional office by Cardinal Molino, and who had not the right even to be present at an ecclesiastical assembly. The synod adopted all the doctrines of the French Appellants, and reconsecrated the old errors of Baius, Jansen, and Quesnel. The year following, the people of Prato, in the Diocese of Pistoia, arose in arms against the tyrannical bishop. They overthrew his episcopal throne and burned his coat-of-arms, after having despoiled his palace and seminary of the books and manuscripts found therein.

Despite these reverses Ricci, still sustained by the Grand Duke, held firmly to his position. He caused new edicts hostile to legitimate religion to be put forth, which[28] might have had disastrous effects but for the death of Joseph II., which caused Leopold to abandon Tuscany for the Imperial throne. The errors of Ricci were formally condemned by Pope Pius VI., in the Constitution Auctorem Fidei of 1794. Ricci, however, held his See in opposition to the will of the Sovereign Pontiff until 1799, when at length he sent his resignation to the Emperor. He was finally reconciled with the Church through the good offices of Pope Pius VII. in 1805, and died in 1810.


Joseph II. of Austria, son of the celebrated Maria Theresa, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was the incarnation of that spirit which, beginning its active life in Jansenism, was formulated in the doctrines of Febronius. More anti-Roman than all his predecessors, except perhaps Frederic II. of Hohenstaufen, he was destined through his practical alliance with the anti-Christian spirit of his day, to sound the knell of that same Holy Roman Empire, which was dissolved fifteen years after his death.


It was not, indeed, that Joseph II. desired to be, or to be considered un-Christian or un-Catholic. He had his own ideas of the Church of Christ, which were not the ideas of the rest of Christendom. His principle of rendering to God what belongs to God, and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, he interpreted with a large margin in favor of Caesar, to such an extent, indeed, that the tribute to God besides being determined wholly by himself, was to be so meagre as almost to be non-existent. Following the lead of his too liberal counsellor Heinke, he distinguished, much in the manner of the Modernists of today, between what he considered essential[29] and immutable in the Church, and what was only accessory and changeable. The former he would accept as coming from Christ, and as manifested in the primitive Church; under the latter category he classed all that might not suit his caprices, especially all that was bound up in the authority and functions of the Holy See, its supremacy, for instance, its infallibility, its temporal[30] power, its court of Cardinals, its Curia, and all else that, according to him, were but abuses arising from the mutations of history. Hence he looked upon himself as one whose duty it was to reform the Church, at least within the extent of his own dominions, and he entered upon that work with a vigor worthy of a nobler cause.

In the Church as conceived by Joseph II. everything was to be subordinate to the needs of the State. It was to be his Church, and its bishops and priests were to be his bishops, his clergy. Persuaded that he was the absolute and sole source of authority he employed all his energies in isolating his bishops, clergy and people from the centre of Catholic unity. The system of vexatious persecutions which he introduced to uphold his ideas gave to his system the name of Josephinism, a system which, but for the intervention of the French invasions, might even today have become the ruling force of Germany.

On April 2nd, 1781, he issued his edict against the religious orders; it was at this point, in accordance with the ideas of Frederic II. and the Encyclopaedists, that his subversive work ought to begin, a process indeed, which has been imitated in our own days by Jules Ferry, and by Combes. Eight days later, another edict exacted the imperial placet for all bulls or other documents emanating from Rome. The canonical oath of the Austrian bishops at their consecration, was modified to restrict all loyalty to the Holy See; the Papal nuncio, Mgr. Varampi, was made the object of vexatious measures, and all recourse to Rome, even for marriage dispensations was interdicted. Still more, the Emperor suppressed all sodalities and confraternities, abolished processions, restricted the number of the holy days, and even went so far in his meddlesome measures as to regulate the number of candles to be lighted at the various[31] devotions, and forbade the use of coffins for burial, making it obligatory to bury the dead in shrouds of cloth. At the same time, however, while interfering with and persecuting his Catholic subjects, his mind assumed a spasm of broadness to such an extent as to induce him to offer freely to Jews and Protestants, what he denied to his co-religionists.

At the same time it must be acknowledged that the headstrong attitude of the Emperor owed much of its obstinacy to the influence of counsellors in whom the spirit of flattery was more pronounced than any care for the welfare either of the Church or the people. Foremost among these was that Prince Kaunitz, who after serving through many successive reigns had acquired an ascendancy in the imperial household which would require strength of character in the sovereign to destroy. The mind and policy of Joseph II. were almost entirely in the hands of this politician, who had imbibed every rampant theory that the times could offer. Influenced by Voltaire and the encyclopaedists his reverence for religion was dictated only by the demands of expediency. Throughout his whole reign the Emperor listened to the counsels of this statesman in every matter of State or religion. Nevertheless, in order that his reforms might appear to have the sanction of ecclesiastical law, the Emperor gathered around him canonists and professors only too willing to prostitute their casuistry to the imperial will. Riegger, a disciple of the Jesuits in his youth, and later a Freemason, compiled in his Outlines of Ecclesiastical Law a new digest out of all sympathy with the laws that bore the Papal approval. Eybel published an Introduction to the Ecclesiastical Law of the Catholics, and by his teachings in regard to the laws of marriage, created such scandal as to require his resignation from the professor's chair which he held; this[32] fact, however, in no way diminished his credit at court. Pehem, another professor of the same kindred, diffused his untenable theories among the priests of the Empire. Chief among these destructive canonists was the Benedictine Rautenstrauch, whose influence extended throughout the dominions of the Emperor. It was through the instrumentality of this cleric that Joseph II. brought about the unification of the Universities and Seminaries of the Empire, building them up upon a plan of utter independence of all Papal control, and making their programme of ecclesiastical studies emanate from the powers of the State. Naturally the guidance of teachers such as the above could lead a selfish and ambitious mind like that of Joseph II. to any extreme of absurdity; nor was the Emperor slow in following their counsels.

In the meantime Pope Pius VI. regarded with grave anxiety the eccentric tactics of the Emperor. At first he made use of all his paternal condescension in the hope of leading Joseph to better sentiments. Perceiving, however, that he was gaining nothing by his representations, the Pope resolved upon a decision which surprised the world. Breaking with all traditions of the Holy See, he declared his intention of proceeding in person to Vienna. With this end in view he accordingly wrote to the Emperor stating his desire for an interview close at hand, with the hope of thus reconciling the rights of the Emperor with those of the Church. To this letter full of touching kindness, and announcing so unusual an action on the part of the Holy See, he answered in his pride:

"As the object of your journey touches upon matters which Your Holiness regards as doubtful, but which I have settled, permit me to believe that you are giving yourself needless trouble. I ought to warn you that,[33] in my resolutions, I act only in conformity with my reason, equity, and religion. Before coming to a decision, I weigh the matter long and well, and I consult my council; but once having decided, I remain firm."


Pope Pius VI. was not discouraged by the discourteous reply of the Emperor; nor did he give heed to the remonstrances of the cardinals and of his own family. On February 27, 1782, he set out for Vienna, reaching his destination on March 22 following. The Emperor[34] and his brother Maximilian, that Archbishop of Cologne who had already so deeply wounded the heart of the Pontiff, came to meet him some leagues from the capital. As soon as the Papal carriage was seen, the two royalties descended and walked forward to meet it. The greeting on both sides was most affectionate. The visit of the Holy Father, however, did not prove in every way a consoling event. An imperial ordinance had forbidden the Austrian bishops from appearing in the presence of the Pope. The latter, nevertheless, could officiate pontifically on Easter Day, and a few days later were opened the negotiations which had determined this journey of the Sovereign Pontiff. Unfortunately these conferences produced no result at all commensurate with the sacrifices entailed. Joseph showed himself inflexible in every main contention, and his concessions affected only points of the slightest importance, namely the promised cessation of new encroachments, and the renewal of the official relations between the nuncio Varampi on the part of the Holy See and Cardinal Herzan, representing the Emperor. The departure of the Holy Father from Vienna called forth the same official courtesies as marked his arrival.

On his return to Rome, Pius VI. was pained to see that his journey, which had met with disapprobation at its start, was more loudly censured now on his arrival in the Eternal City. These criticisms, indeed, seemed somewhat justified in the events which happened almost immediately, for the news was brought that the Emperor still continued to abolish convents and to confiscate their property. Moreover, the See of Milan being then vacant, Joseph appointed its new incumbent, although he knew very well that such right belonged to the Holy See. Prince Kaunitz, the Austrian Premier, who had added brutality to hostility during the Pope's[35] sojourn at Vienna, continued his insults, and threatened the Bishop of Rome officially that he would bring about a startling rupture of relations. The feeble and too confiding Emperor encouraged these audacious menaces. Indeed, writings of the most venomous character were being circulated throughout the Empire, their object being to throw discredit upon the Papal authority to the exaltation of that of the Emperor.

A visit of Joseph II. to Rome in December of the following year, 1783, effected little towards softening his sentiments in regard to the rights of religion in his dominions. A change of heart, however, came to him at length, but only when the evil seeds he had sown had sprung up into a harvest of destruction for that Empire which he valued more than God. In his mania for regulating everything, he decided to consolidate all the Seminaries of his States into four principal establishments at Vienna, Pesth, Pavia, and Louvain; and in these institutions the tribunes were to be given only to enlightened professors, that is, to professors in harmony with Josephist ideas. At Louvain this measure met with a particularly hostile reception: Cardinal de Frankenberg, Archbishop of Malines, refused absolutely to send his young men to Louvain, until he had obtained the promise that he should have control of the professors. When the University opened, in 1786, the Emperor's professors, Stagger and Leplat, were driven away by the students, who themselves soon abandoned the establishment. Cardinal Frankenberg and the nuncio Oppizzoni, were accused of inciting this movement and were punished, the one by being recalled to Vienna, and the other by an order to leave the Netherlands. At length, in 1789, the Netherlands, disgusted with the conduct of the Emperor, declared their independence, and signalized the last day of that year by signing their[36] own Constitution. Movements of unrest and rebellion began to manifest themselves at the same time in Hungary, and in the Tyrol, and although Pope Pius VI., forgetful of the injuries he had received at the hands of the Austrian monarch, interceded with the angry people in his behalf, the harm was too great to be remedied. Joseph II., who had brought these evils upon himself by his disregard of the duties he owed to God and His Church, died of a broken heart on February 20, 1790, begging that his monument should bear the inscription: Here lies Joseph, who was unfortunate in all his undertakings.

The purpose of Joseph II., however, like those of his teachers, bore fruit more abundant that they would have desired. Out of their determined efforts to undermine the authority of the Holy See, and the sanctity of Catholic institutions, the forces of revolution and anarchy drew their inspiration. The way was prepared, and the enemy had only to march dry-shod to their sanguinary victories.


The rapid rise of the Society of Jesus in the various countries of Europe, naturally attracted the attention of all those whose aim was the acquisition of as much personal power as was possible, to the detriment of individual, family, and social rights, and who had reason to fear an influence that stood for human progress and equal rights to all. The Jesuits soon assumed great prominence among the religious orders. Their excellence was admitted both in school and seminary; their learning gained for them the spiritual direction of influential persons; they became the confessors to princes and kings; they displayed extraordinary zeal in[37] the practices of devotion, especially that in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and they had already embraced the whole world in the field of their missions. They became a power that excited the envy of the less active, and the fear of potentates whose greed and inhumanity found a check in the gentle teachings of the followers of[38] St. Ignatius. More than all, they had ever shown themselves energetic in their support of ecclesiastical authority, especially in times when the latter was threatened by the vagaries of Gallicanism, Jansenism, and like movements; in the state itself they showed themselves veritable defenders against the machinations of those secret societies which even in the eighteenth century were very much in evidence.

FATHER RICCI, S. J. The last General of the Society of
Jesus before the suppression in 1773. FATHER RICCI, S. J.
The last General of the Society of Jesus before the suppression in 1773.

It was impossible that an organization such as theirs, blessed by the spirit of religion, going about doing good, defending the principles of true Christianity against any and every assault, should escape the odium and persecution of spirits whose chief claim to existence lay in the desire to pull down the structure of civilization and to erect in its place the temple of anti-Christ. The vials of irreligious wrath were poured out upon them to the last dregs. In the various countries of Europe they met with proscription and expulsion. In 1759 they were driven from Portugal through the efforts of the infamous Pombal; in 1764 they were forbidden to live as a society in France; they were exiled from Spain in 1767, from Naples in 1767, and from Parma in 1768. Finally every effort of anti-Christianism and Masonry was exerted to bring about their complete extinction in the whole world. In 1773 pressure was brought to bear upon Pope Clement XIV., who, while refusing to listen to the invidious complaints brought against them, nevertheless, for the sake of a temporary peace, was compelled to sign the decree of their suppression.

The suppression of the Society of Jesus may be regarded as the first great blow in the modern war of anti-Christianism. It was the annihilation of the vanguard of the army of civilization and Christianity. With the Society of Jesus out of the way, the campaign of social, moral, intellectual and religious subversion found an[39] open road to the excesses of anarchy and revolution. The Jesuits, however, like well-disciplined soldiers of Christ, bowed to the will of the Vicar of Christ, and bore their humiliation in silence for forty years, till the day when the Pope, Pius VII., freed from the chains of persecution, called them back to honor and usefulness.


The suppression of the Jesuits met with no greater joy than in the hearts of a certain class of intellectual perverts who may be regarded as the actual founders of modern anti-Christianism; these were the sophists who in that period of the eighteenth century were already flooding France and Europe with a deluge of immoral, irreligious and uncivilized literature.

It is to England that we must go to find the immediate origin of this desolating spirit. There, among the Socinians and Deists, a school arose that taught men to trifle with the sublime truths of revelation and to undermine the foundations of religious belief, men like Shaftesbury, Collins, Tindal, and Bolingbroke, who strove to subject religion to the state, and regarded virtue as a mere human instinct; who declared reason antagonistic to revelation, and saw in the Holy Scriptures nothing more than a collection of pretty fables. It was not until the eighteenth century that the influence of their theories began to ruffle the Catholic atmosphere of France. There were not wanting birds of passage who, while hibernating among the philosophic haunts of London, gathered up the seeds of infidelity to scatter them broadcast upon the soil of France.


The writings of Montesquieu (1689-1775) display a sneering attitude[40] towards the most sacred teachings and institutions of the Church. Jean Jacques Rousseau[41] (1712-1778) in his Social Contract and similar works endeavored to destroy the social order and bring back humanity to primitive barbarism. But more terrible in the rage of his iniquity than all others, in the great war of anti-Christianism, was the arch-infidel, Francois Marie Arouet, later called Voltaire (1694-1778). Of him might have been written the lines which Milton puts into the mouth of Satan:

"To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight;
As being contrary to his high will,
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labor must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still find means of evil."
Par. Lost, Bk. I.

Born in Paris of a mother whose loose morals made her a by-word to all who knew her, he imbibed at her breast that appetite for lawlessness and iniquity which ruled him to the last hour. His mother dying during his infancy, he became the protege of an abbe who had abandoned the duties of his sacred calling for the allurements of the world. In his boyhood he was sent to the Jesuit school of Louis le Grand, where the perversity of his character manifested itself to such an extent that one of his teachers prophesied that he would one day become the coryphee of deism. Thereafter his career was one of unlicensed depravity. More than once he was arrested and cast into prison; he had reason to hate the Bastille, for he himself had experienced the life of a criminal therein.


That writer was not far wrong who asserted that irreligion is but one form of the insanity which is born[42] of immoral living. It is remarkable in the anti-Christian literature of all times, and of none more than our own, that its heroes and heroines are the abandoned roués and harlots who, having defiled the temples of their own bodies, seek to carry the abomination of desolation into the holy places of God. In this matter Voltaire was no exception. His immoral life was lived ostentatiously and boastingly. We will not, however,[43] enter upon a list of the criminal observances of this man, preferring to leave such details to their proper place. It will be sufficient to point out the purpose that underlay all the actions and words of his life. This purpose is best indicated by citations from his letters and other written works.

His hatred for the Church and for morality is clearly displayed in the works that he gave forth during the later years of his life. In his Age of Louis XIV., a work that has been made an obligatory text book in the educational establishments subject to the University of France, we find passages full of insinuations and falsehoods directed against the Holy See. "The Pope's spiritual authority," he says, "is now destroyed and abhorred in one-half of Christendom; and if in the other half he is regarded as a father, he has children who sometimes properly and successfully resist him." Again he asserts: "To swear fidelity to any other than one's own sovereign is high treason in a layman; in the cloister it is an act of religion." He terms the Pope "the foreign sovereign." His Pucelle is a diabolical attempt to besmirch the pure character of Joan of Arc. It was a work, however, which excited so much disgust in all circles that Voltaire endeavored at first to disclaim it, and it was many years before the whole poem could venture forth with his authorization. The high society that could welcome its foetid pages was already ripe for the horrors of the Revolution.

From 1760 to the end of his life Voltaire assumed as his motto the impious expression: Ecrassez l'infame, "crush the infamous thing," intending thereby to indicate Christ and His Church. Throughout all these years the term appears constantly in his own and his disciples' letters. How he revels in his insane and satanic hatred, hardly finding words that can fitly convey[44] his utter aversion for the things of God! The Christian religion he proclaims "an abominable hydra, a monster which a hundred hands must destroy." He bids the philosophers scour the streets to destroy it "as missionaries journey over land and sea to propagate it." He bids them dare everything even to being burned in order to destroy Christianity. Again he calls upon his fawning admirers to annihilate Christianity, to hunt it down, to vilify it, to ruin it. The perusal of his works leaves one with the impression that Voltaire was constantly troubled with a nightmare, in the effort to free himself from which he emitted his lugubrious wailings.

In 1778 the mob of Paris united to crown him at the Theatre Francais. Referring to these manifestations the impious one wrote: "My entry into Paris was more triumphant than that of Jesus into Jerusalem." The further work of Voltaire was in accordance with expressions like these. His intimacy with Frederic II., of Prussia afforded the blasphemer many opportunities of indulging his satanic impulses. Among the anti-Christian sophists who made the Palace of Berlin their rendezvous was a school of Freemasons who had already begun to celebrate the final downfall of the Papacy. For the more rapid realization of this hope various expedients were advocated, among them being the pet resort of irreligious tyrants,—the abolition of the monastic orders, a project which found its foremost exponent in Voltaire.

Such was the man to whom anti-Christianism looks up, as to its great and original patriarch, a man utterly devoid of the human moral sense, a man to whom all that savored of the good or virtuous was an abomination and a thing of infamy, a man whose methods of deceit are expressed in his own words: "Lying is a vice only when it harms. You ought to lie like the devil, not[45] timidly or once only, but boldly, and all the time. Lie, lie! my friends, and some of it will be sure to stick." From his works anti-Christianism took the chief formulas of its creed, and following in the footsteps of its master, it has performed deeds worthy of his approbation.

Close in line with the irreligion of Voltaire was the work of Denis Diderot, the founder of the infamous Encyclopaedia, a huge mass of calumny against the religion of Christ, abounding in falsification of history, in doctrines inviting to immorality of life and subversion of all lawfully constituted authority. The poison of the Encyclopaedia was quickly assimilated by the aristocratic element of Paris. At first the salons, those rendezvous of the higher classes, took up the work, and by their discussions gave it a tone. It was highly acceptable to a social order, at that time immoral and impious to a degree; but its venom gradually overflowed to the masses, ever eager to imitate the excesses of the great.

The efforts of the leaders of irreligion were ably seconded by the various systems that arose towards the close of the eighteenth century, as so many developments of Deism and the worship of nature. The Sensationalists, under the tutelage of La Metrie, Condillac, Helvetius, and Holback, would make of man a mere machine, more ingeniously organized than the brutes; thought was reduced to a mere physical operation of the human body; hence the negation of the spiritual world, the spiritual soul, and the hope of immortality. The Rationalists in Germany led to disbelief in the inspiration and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures. Pantheism, Agnosticism, Idealism, and a thousand and one like branches of error, sprang forth from the revolt of the earlier sophists, all contributing their part to inflame and destroy the souls of men, and leading them on by[46] sure steps to final anarchy. The very multiplicity of such sophistic theories, arising amidst the darkness of anti-Christian night, like the constantly changing figures in a kaleidoscope, were but the ghosts of a hideous phantasmagoria, that, scarcely seen, resolved themselves into something more strange and more appalling. It was the gathering of the spirits of iniquity for the grand assault upon the City of God.


Prominent among the subversive forces of the eighteenth century was that of Freemasonry and its kindred associations. As to its real origin but little is known. The modern order seems to have taken its rise in England in the year 1717, its first constitution appearing in 1723. The new association spread with remarkable rapidity over the Continent, founding its lodges in Berlin, Leipzig, Brunswick, Naples, Paris, and other places, before the middle of the century. On its first appearance it was denounced as subversive of government, and as a peril to the social order. The members of which it was composed were men of evil omen, Voltaire, Condorcet, Volney, Laland, Mirabeau, Frederic II., and the like. Pope Clement XII., in his Constitution, In Eminenti, of 1738, condemned the order. Thereby all who should join a Masonic lodge, assist at any Masonic assembly, or have any connection with the sect, were ipso facto excommunicated. Benedict XIV., in 1751, issued the Bull, Provides, renewing the decrees of his predecessor, and giving many cogent reasons for his act.

The deep secrecy which involved all the operations of regular Freemasonry in the eighteenth century was not so closely guarded in one of the independent forms of[47] its spirit, known as the Society of the Illuminati. The founder of this order was Adam Weishaupt, a professor of ecclesiastical law at Ingolstadt. The end of this secret society, and the purpose which was to dominate it, was clearly the overthrow of all existing social and religious institutions. The statutes exacted from the members a blind obedience. Instead of works of devotion, prayer-books and the lives of the saints, it prescribed for its devotees the works of the ancient pagan authors or modern books of a similar description; its books of religion comprised such titles as: The System of Nature and the works of Rousseau.

The new order gained many disciples even among the crowned heads, who were slow to perceive that the very spirit of the organization was centred in hatred of the throne as well as of religion. As soon as the real nature and purposes of the Illuminati became known, efforts were at once made by the civil authorities for their suppression. In this they were aided greatly by the inevitable dissensions introduced into the order in the course of time. In 1784 all secret societies, communities, and confraternities, were prohibited in Bavaria. In 1785 Weishaupt was expelled from Ingolstadt, and after many wanderings finally found refuge with the Duke of Saxe-Gotha. Before his death he had the good fortune to repent and was reconciled with the Church. The order, everywhere fallen into disfavor, was gradually either disbanded, or incorporated into the other forms of the Masonry of the times. Its influence, however, like that of Freemasonry, remained, and was exerted with great vigor in the unhappy events that began in the year 1789.[48]


Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the youth of Europe, and especially of France, educated to admire merely natural virtue, enamored of the ideal beauty and of the political and civil institutions of other times, found in their schools a spirit of paganism. Little in touch with the true spirit of Christianity, it was easily led by the glamor of resounding phrases and classical figures. These classical studies, in which the excellent and virtuous teachers of the time found only literary and philological exercises, became through the evil influence of outside doctrinaires a subtle poison to the young mind, and brought to a point that rage for pagan antiquity which formed one of the most dangerous and misleading features of anti-Christianism.

From the time of the Reformation heterodoxy had sought its weapons in antiquity, whose uncertainty and obscurity could easily provide material for the desolating revolt against Christian authority. Machiavelli had already denounced modern Christianity as the cause of popular and national decadence; politicians lost themselves in adoration of the Greeks and Romans; to the sophists everything was grand and noble, in as far as it was pagan, everything was barbarous in as far as it receded from the ancient type. It was one of the methods of the war of impiety: anti-Christianism had need of antiquity as a mantle to cover its emptiness: it felt it must needs seek aid in the names of celebrated pagans, and thus strengthened, it might dare to abandon the Christian era, and take refuge around a Roman or Greek civilization resurrected[49] and placed in a position of honor. Classical education unconsciously aided in this mode of warfare, and while the school teacher, with the best of intentions in the world, taught his pupils to[50] admire the great beauties of the classical authors, without attending to the false principles and doctrines, intended for a social order entirely different from the Christian, there were not wanting those who profited by these studies to lead the pupil to a love of the pagan philosophy therein contained. By their efforts the Roman and Greek world was held up as the only condition that could provide true happiness, the only political society worthy of man.


Throughout the whole reign of Louis XV. this mania for paganism invaded every part of society, so that when Louis XVI. ascended the throne, he found it dominant not only in literature, but in art and in life itself. It was reflected in the corruption of the Court, in the sensual epicurism of the people, in the very manners of those whose ecclesiastical dignity ought to lead to more modern types of excellence. The hope of a return to the conditions of pagan Rome and Greece was one of the saddest hallucinations of the new anti-Christianism.



The French Revolution of 1789.

All the various forces indicated in the preceding chapter came together in one appalling union towards the year 1789, forming a veritable cauldron seething with malign influences. An unhappy public opinion had been created, "a power vague and terrible, born of the confusion of all interests, strong in its opposition to every power, constantly caressed by princes who feared it, and feared by those who pretended to defy it." The masses of France, provoked by the arbitrary government of Louis XIV., angered by the feeble and scandalous rule of Louis XV., broke out into license and destruction under the gentle and paternal administration of Louis XVI. The latter monarch had come into an inheritance vitiated by the extravagances and follies of his predecessors; with all the virtues and noble characteristics of a sincere Christian and refined gentleman, he was destined to bear the punishment for the sins of his fathers. He had long foreseen the hastening storm, and trembled before its coming. The exhausted state of the treasury and the diminution of credit gave the excuse[52] for demands of the most far-reaching extent. The nobility, regarding the situation with indifference, remained inert before the approaching ruin of the social order. Unwilling to be disturbed in their round of pleasure, they permitted the evil to grow until the very moment of the crisis.

The royal government betrayed its weakness when it convoked the States General, which held its first session on May 5, 1789. It was an assembly constituted of the three classes of the French nation—the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. Of its 1148 members, the Third Estate was represented by 598; there were 308 members of the clergy, of whom forty-four were bishops, 205 curés, fifty-two abbes or canons, and seven religious; the remaining 242 comprised the representatives of the noble class. The States General was an event of rare occurrence in French history, and was called together only in the most extreme crises of the State. It was now nearly two centuries (1615) since a gathering of a similar nature had been convoked, and from its unusual character and the gravity of its purpose much was expected on all sides. In the heat of its first debates, and in the rancor aroused in the public mind through the foolish and humiliating etiquette of the aristocratic elements, a strong sentiment of hostility made itself manifest between the people and their former masters. The popular element was conscious of its power, and made it felt almost from the beginning: in the space of a few months it was master of the situation: it had inaugurated a revolution before which the court, the nobility, the clergy, and every order that stood for law and decency went down in ruin. With the political phases of this great crisis we are not particularly concerned at present; the religious aspects of the conflict will suffice for our consideration.[53]




On the night of August 4, 1789, the privileged classes abandoned their feudal rights, and the clergy renounced their titles, and the offerings usual at baptisms, marriages, and funerals. This sacrifice, however, did not suffice to appease the revolutionary spirits, and on August 6th, the right of the clergy to hold property was called into question for the first time. It was then that Buzot pronounced that phrase which was soon to re-echo through the halls of the Assembly: "The property of the clergy belongs to the nation."

On October 10, Talleyrand, the Bishop of Autun, so soon to become an apostate and indefatigable persecutor of the Church, returned to the charge. After a fawning address to the popular passions he concluded in proposing a law whose first article declared that "the revenues and property of the clergy are at the disposition of the nation," with the condition that the State should recompense the ministers of worship with a suitable salary, which should be solemnly recognized as a public debt. The project of Talleyrand was espoused with fierce eloquence by Mirabeau and became a law on Nov. 2, 1789, framed in these terms:

"The National Assembly decrees: First. That all ecclesiastical property is at the disposition of the nation which charges itself with providing in a suitable manner for the expenses of worship, the maintenance of its ministers, and the relief of the poor, subject to the surveillance and according to the instructions of the provinces. Second. That in the dispositions to be made for the maintenance of the ministers of religion, there shall be assured every curé a[55] payment of not less than 1,200 livres a year, not including his house and garden."



On April 9, 1790, Chasset demanded the actual confiscation of all ecclesiastical property, a motion that was voted a law on April 14th following. The possessions of the clergy, valued at $400,000,000, were then put up at auction, and sold to speculators at prices that at once betrayed the venal spirit of the agitators. Indignant protests went up on all sides against a sacrilege whose effect could be nothing less than the destruction of religion; but all efforts to stay the action were unavailing.


The religious orders have ever been the object of peculiar hatred on the part of all that stands for anti-Christianism. Their close identification with the best interests of the Church, and the exemplification in their life of that evangelical perfection to which the whole doctrine of Christ invites, became a crime in the eyes of a generation delivered up to lawlessness, and the slavery of passion. It was only natural, therefore, that the impious spirit of 1789 should fasten its fangs upon this order of men and women and do them to death. The laws of the time tell the story very graphically. A decree of October 28, 1789, suspended the taking of monastic vows. The monastic orders were suppressed by a decree of February 13, 1790:

Article 1. The constitutional law of the realm shall no longer recognize solemn monastic vows of either sex; in consequence the orders and regular corporations in which such vows are taken are and will remain suppressed in France, nor may they be again established in the future.

Article 2. All individuals of either sex living in monasteries and religious houses, may leave such[57] houses by making a declaration before the municipality of the place, and they shall receive a suitable pension. Houses shall also be indicated to which all religious men who do not desire to profit by the present disposition shall be obliged to retire. For the present there shall be no change in regard to houses charged with public education and establishments of charity, until measures have been taken for that purpose.

On March 11, 1791, a law was passed abolishing the monastic habit. On July 31, of the same year, all religious houses were declared for sale. On August 7, 1792, a new decree declares that the pension accorded to religious shall be granted to such as should marry, or who have abandoned or shall abandon their monasteries. On August 12, 1792, a decree orders the evacuation before October 1, following, and the sale of "all houses as yet actually occupied by religious men or women," excepting such as are consecrated to the service of hospitals or establishments of charity.

On August 18, 1792, a decree was passed suppressing "the corporations known in France under the name of secular ecclesiastical congregations, such as the priests of the Oratory of Jesus, of Christian Doctrine, of the Mission of France, of St. Lazare, etc., etc., and generally all religious corporations of men and women, ecclesiastical or lay, even those devoted only to the service of hospitals and the relief of the sick, under whatever denomination they may exist in France." All such persons, however, were authorized to continue their care of the poor and sick, "but only as individuals, and under the surveillance of the municipal and administrative bodies, until the definitive organization which the Committee on Aid shall present as soon as possible to the National Assembly. Those who shall continue their services in houses indicated by the directories of departments[58] shall receive only a part of the salary which would have been accorded them. All irremovable property of such societies shall be put on sale, except colleges still open in 1789 which may be utilized for seminaries. Pensions shall be accorded all members of the suppressed societies on condition that they take the oath of fidelity to the nation, of maintaining liberty and equality, and of being ready to die in its defence."


The defenders of the Revolution take great pains to demonstrate that the object of the earlier laws was not anti-Christian or subversive of religion, alleging that the spirit of demolition appeared only after and because of the hostile attitude of the Church. One has only to read the speeches in the National Assembly, and the early laws emanating therefrom, to perceive the hypocritical nature of such assurances. The spirit of Voltaire is evident from the first day of the States General, and its tactics of falsehood and deception mark every stage of revolutionary progress until the end. The pretext of establishing a national church is a fact in evidence, whereby under the pretence of safeguarding the liberties of Catholics in France, an effort was made to uproot all idea of religion from the minds of the people. The signal for the opening of such a perversive campaign was the passing of that iniquitous law to which was given the name of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

On August 20, 1789, an ecclesiastical committee was formed for the regulation of all affairs pending between Church and State. It was composed of thirty members, chosen with great care from among the most violent sectaries of the Assembly. Out of the thirty only nine[59] were able to approach the discussion of ecclesiastical subjects with any appearance of justice, and this small minority soon found it impossible to advance their views in the face of the twenty-one radicals sworn to enslave and degrade the Church; they were consequently compelled to resign from the commission, leaving the great work of Church affairs in the hands of an impious cabal. The result of the deliberations of this diminished committee is found in the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which was voted in the Constituent Assembly, from July 12 to July 24, 1790.

The adversaries of religion betray a naive surprise that the Church should refuse to accept a law so worded as the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Yet to anyone acquainted with the spirit of Christianity the reasons for such hostility are sufficiently evident. The Abbe Hubert Mailfait in his comprehensive little work upon the subject thus sums up the most objectionable features of the wholly iniquitous law:

First. It destroys the religious hierarchy and annihilates the pontifical supremacy when it stipulates: (a) that the new bishops can no longer address the Pope to obtain from him the bulls of confirmation (tit. II., art. 19): (b) that the canonical institution shall no longer be given by the Pope, but by the metropolitan (tit. II., art. 16 and 17): (c) that the old division of France into dioceses and parishes shall be substituted by a new repartition, decreed without the advice of ecclesiastical authority, and without the approbation of the head of Christianity (tit. I.).

Second. It destroys ecclesiastical discipline: (a) by attributing the election of bishops and pastors to the laity, by way of the ballot and the absolute plurality of votes (tit. II., art. 2) and in decreeing the conditions of eligibility which should be found in candidates to a bishopric or parish (tit. II.): (b) in determining the number of foundations, prebends, abbeys,[60] priories, etc. (tit. I., art. 20-24 and 25); in restricting to the point of annihilation the power of the bishops in the nomination to ecclesiastical employments (tit. II., art. 22, 24, 25, 43).

Third. It sanctions an inadmissible domination of the temporal over the spiritual power, in subordinating the exercise of ecclesiastical functions to the taking of an oath of fidelity to the Constitution decreed by the Assembly (tit. II., art. 21 and 38).

The Civic Constitution of the Clergy thus established in France not only a schism, by depriving the bishops of the right of recourse to the Pope, but heresy also in denying the effective primacy of the Pope and his sovereign power in the direction of the Church and the nomination of her ministers.


When the news was brought to Pope Pius VI. that the Assembly was actually engaged in voting the several articles of the Civil Constitution, his sorrow knew no bounds. Public prayers were at once ordered in the churches of Rome, while at the same time the Holy Father addressed an impressive appeal to Louis XVI., insisting on his refusing his sanction to the impious measures. Letters were also sent by the Pope to the Archbishops of Bordeaux and Vienne, requesting them to use their good offices in dissuading the king from sanctioning the law. Unhappily these two prelates betrayed the trust reposed in them and used their influence to the opposite end. It is to their credit that they soon perceived their error and repented bitterly for it.

In the meantime Louis XVI. wrote to the Pope beseeching him to approve, at least provisorily, of the first five articles to which he was in a manner forced to give his sanction. The Holy Father placed the matter in the[61] hands of a commission of cardinals for examination. On October 30, of the same year, the thirty bishops who occupied seats in the Assembly subscribed their names to a carefully prepared memorial entitled Exposition of Principles Concerning the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, wherein the new code of laws was unequivocably condemned. In this position the episcopal deputies were supported by the adherence of nearly all the French bishops. Their expression of disapproval, however, came too late, as the civil constitution had already received the royal sanction (August 24, 1790), and thereby became a law of the realm.


A test of the new decrees developed an unexpected resistance, so bitter and decisive in many quarters as to awaken newer outbursts of harshness from the enemies[62] of the Church. On November 27, 1790, after a violent diatribe delivered by Mirabeau against the independent bishops a law was voted in the Assembly declaring that all clergy "shall take the oath within eight days" under the penalty of being debarred from the exercise of their functions. It stipulated, moreover, that in case of resistance the offending clergy should be treated as disturbers of the public peace, and deprived of their civic rights. This law received the royal sanction on December 26, and went into execution from that date. In the Assembly itself were many bishops and priests who were called upon to give the example of subservience. Only a few, encouraged by such notorious characters as Talleyrand, Gregoire, Camus, and Gobel, and tempted by the hope of preferment under the new order, yielded to the demands of the revolutionaries. Of the one hundred and thirty-five bishops of France, only four, including Talleyrand and Cardinal de Brienne, took the oath. During the following year the latter prelate was degraded from the honor of the Roman purple, for his unworthy act.

When the question was put to the priests of the country it met with a like reception. One should not be deceived, in reading the anti-Christian records of this time, by the long lists of names purporting to be the official register of priests who had subscribed to the oath. An examination of these lists reveals the usual duplicity of irreligious hatred, for in many cases, notably in the lists of Paris, they contain the names of church employees, sacristans, choir-singers, bell-ringers, and other ordinary laymen. In other cases we find the names of young men just preparing for the seminary, and school teachers who taught the catechism. Often, too, country pastors were deceived into believing that the taking of such oath was an act demanded by their bishop; these,[63] however, were only too anxious to retract as soon as the true state of the case was made evident to them. Of the real pastors of the Church the number who proved unfaithful to their duty was inconsiderable; the loyalty of the vast body, both of bishops and clergy, forms one of the brightest pages in the dark history of those unhappy years.[64]


In the midst of the general anxiety there came to Paris on April 13, 1791, the Bull of Pope Pius VI., formally condemning the Civil Constitution and calling upon the bishops and priests of France to stand firmly to the principles of their faith. This act of the Holy Father was the signal for outbursts of fury in the hostile camp. The Papal Bull was publicly burned amidst outcries of hatred and execration; women coming from Mass were whipped through the streets; ruffians interrupted the divine services and threw disorder into congregations of the faithful, while in many places disorderly mobs invaded the convents and dragging the nuns out to the public squares inflicted upon them the degrading punishment of the scourge. It was in vain that the Directory of Paris, frightened at the prospect of civil war, permitted Catholics to hire places for the use of divine worship; the very appearance of leniency only drew forth greater exhibitions of hatred and persecution. The king himself was compelled to attend at Mass celebrated by a Constitutional priest, as a pledge of his adherence to the principles of the Civil Constitution. Throughout the departments the persecution had already gone to great lengths; priests were everywhere imprisoned, and the Catholic laity who had dared to assist at the Catholic Mass, or who had refused to take part in the election of schismatical priests, were declared incapable of all civil functions. On June 9, 1790, the Constituent decreed that no bulls or briefs of the Pope[65] might be published or propagated in the kingdom without the authorization of the Legislative Corps and of the king.

In the meantime, the apostate bishop of Autun, Talleyrand, had consecrated two constitutional bishops, who in their turn proceeded to ordain to the priesthood a list of unworthy, illiterate, immoral, and dishonest rascals. The legitimate clergy, shut out from their churches, and driven to the homes of their friends, had nevertheless the consolation of knowing that the faithful were refusing everywhere to acknowledge the authority of the unlawful priests, and demanding in quiet, but significant ways, the services of those who alone had been called to the sanctuary.


The Constituent Assembly was dissolved on Sept. 30, 1791, and was succeeded on the following day, by the Legislative Assembly. The new government, in the hands of men more impious than those of the Constituent, began their proceedings with the passage of new laws of persecution, to which, however, the king had the courage to refuse his sanction. In spite, however, of the royal opposition new decrees continued to be published. On the twenty-ninth of November, a law was voted declaring that all ecclesiastics, other than those who had conformed to the decree of November 29 last would be obliged to present themselves before the municipality of the place in which they lived, and there take the civic oath, in the terms of Art. 5, title II. of the Constitution, and sign a legal attestation of the same. Such as should refuse would be held as suspects in revolt against the law, and with evil intent against their country, and as such particularly subjected and recommended[66] to the surveillance of all constituted authorities. If trouble should arise in the place of their residence they could be evicted from their domicile, arrested by the directory of the department, and, in case of disobedience, condemned to prison.

On May 27, 1792, the Legislative Assembly published another decree, stating that the deportation of non-juring ecclesiastics would take place as a measure of public safety and police regulation. Ecclesiastics were considered as non-juring who, being subject to the law of December 26, 1790, had not taken the oath; those also who, though not subject to that law had not taken the oath posterior to September 3rd, preceding, the day on which the French constitution was considered as completed; those also, who had retracted their oath. The deportation could be pronounced by the local authorities upon the denunciation of twenty citizens.

A law of August 26, 1792, prescribed that "all those ecclesiastics who have not taken the oath, or who having taken it have retracted and persist in their retraction, shall be compelled to leave within eight days, the limits of the district or department in which they reside, and within fifteen days they must leave the country. After fifteen days such ecclesiastics as shall not have obeyed the preceding dispositions should be deported to French Guyenne. Every ecclesiastic, who should dare to remain in the country after such procedures, should be condemned to ten years of imprisonment." This law was applicable to all priests—both secular and regular. About 50,000 priests became victims of these violent proscriptions.[67]




The passion of hatred for religion never abated during the sad days of 1792. Law followed law proscribing, persecuting, hunting down all who dared to oppose the evil suggestions of the revolutionary despots. On August 16, an order was issued appropriating all the sacred vessels of the churches, with the design of converting them into money or utensils of war. Another project of the government had for its purpose the banishment of all clergy within a fortnight. This method, however, of getting rid of the priesthood, seemed too slow to suit the ferocious lust of the tyrants—a quicker and surer plan suggested itself. To secure its execution, the leaders of the anti-Christian party sought to inflame the minds of the rabble with stories of plots and treason, perpetrated by the priests against the safety of the nation. Above all the threatened invasion of the Prussians was laid to their door, and the report of the same circulated through every street and alley of Paris. The populace, already made familiar with the sight of blood, seized upon the wild reports with the avidity of hungry animals, and needed only a suggestion to lead them on to acts of violence. This was not wanting. In the Assembly, Marat, Legendre and others openly demanded the slaughter of the priests, while Danton, the Minister of Justice, was appointed to see that the project was executed. In the meantime hundreds of priests, and thousands of Catholic laity, men, women and children, had been arrested, and filled the prisons of the country to overflowing. On August 31, the Commune of Paris put up everywhere placards containing a proclamation of Robespierre: "We have arrested the priestly disturbers; we hold them behind prison bars, and in a few days, the sun of liberty shall be purged of their presence."[69] All was ready for a massacre of gigantic proportions. A signal was agreed upon, for the commencement of the bloody deed; it was to be the third discharge of the cannon on Point-Neuf. On the morning of September 2, the dreadful carnage began in the prison house of the Carmes, where 120 fell by the sword. The[70] massacre lasted four days, while bands of assassins went from prison to prison, and in that short space of time took the lives of 1,400 persons of every sex, age and condition, 300 of whom were priests.


The Abbe Lecard, an eye-witness, describes the awful scene at the prison of the Abbey:

"The massacre took place under my window. The cries of the victims, the blows of the sabres as they fell upon the heads of the innocent victims, the shouts of the murderers, the applause of the witnesses, all resounded in my soul. I even distinguished the voices of my confreres, who were arrested and brought in the night before. I heard the questions put to them, and the responses they gave. They were asked if they had taken the civil oath, but none had done so. All could have escaped death by a lie; but all preferred death. All said when dying: 'We are subject to your law, we die faithful to your constitution, we except only what regards religion and what has reference to conscience.' They were immediately pierced by numerous swords, amid the most frightful vociferations. The spectators while applauding cried out: 'Long live the nation!'—at the same time executing abominable dances around the corpses.

"Towards three or four o'clock in the morning, similar cries, tumult and ribaldry were repeated. This was in consequence of their bringing into the court-yard, now strewn with corpses, two priests whom they had dragged from their beds. The executioners jested over the horrible scene. The two priests were asked to take the oath, but they refused with mildness and firmness.[71] Seeing themselves on that account condemned to death, they demanded a few hours to prepare themselves, and they obtained their request. The assassins employed the interval in removing the bodies, in washing and sweeping the court-yard, red with blood—a work which caused them considerable difficulty. To avoid this in the case of others who were about to be massacred, they proposed various expedients and, finally, agreed upon employing a quantity of straw on which they would butcher their victims and which[72] would absorb the blood and prevent the pavement from being stained. One of the assassins complained that the aristocrats died too quickly; that only those in the front row had the pleasure of striking them. It was accordingly determined that the victims should be struck only with the back of the sword, and that they should be made to run between two files of assassins. It was determined that around the place where the victims were to be immolated there should be benches for the ladies and gentlemen. All were free to enter. All this I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears."

These frightful scenes of Paris were equalled if not surpassed by the terrorists of the provinces, and especially in the cities of Lyons, Rheims, Nantes, Bordeaux, and Avignon. It was but natural that the flight of priests from the insane fury of the Revolution should be hastened by the events of those days. Many succeeded in gaining the frontier and found refuge in the Papal States, in Spain, Portugal and in England where they were received with respect and welcome. Many returned secretly to France and bravely defied the dangers of martyrdom in the exercise of their sacred ministry.


The Legislative Assembly, after a final law granting divorce upon mutual consent, or upon the demand of one of the parties, was dissolved on September 20, 1792.


On September 21st, 1792, a new government, entitled the Convention, began its sittings. It has been justly characterized as an organization the most bloody and atrocious in history. It was during its administration that that dark period occurred to which has been given the significant name of the "Reign of Terror." Composed[73] as it was of the vilest and most unscrupulous element of the nation its inauguration gave little promise of peace or security to the country. Its sessions were dominated by the Jacobins, the Girondists, and the Mountaineers, parties sworn to oppose each other in all political matters, though uniting in all measures of oppression to religion and the Church.

Their methods of tyranny were conceived with system and precision worthy of a better cause, and were executed by a machinery whose organized efforts reached into every village and hamlet in the land. Its Committee of Public Safety, the supreme secret council of the Convention, included men like Danton, Marat, and Robespierre. There was a Committee of General Security for the detection of political crimes, and the punishment of all suspected or proscribed persons. The Revolutionary Tribunal condemned the victims indicated by the General Security, and condemned them to death without a hearing.

There were Revolutionary committees in every department and municipality throughout the country, whose office it was to imprison suspects, and to employ the guillotine regardless of trial. The Revolutionary Army—composed of only such as had proven themselves devoted to the anarchistic doctrines of the times—was employed in the guarding the prisons, arresting suspects, demolishing castles, pulling down belfries, ransacking churches for gold and silver vessels, and other like purposes. It had its regiments in every city of France. It was by means of such powerfully organized associations that the Convention was able to perpetrate the atrocities of the Reign of Terror.

The first act of the new Assembly was to declare the abolition of royalty, and to proclaim France a Republic. At the same time it began the attempt to inaugurate a[74] new era, the first day of the first year of which was to be September 22nd, 1792.


In the new Revolutionary calendar the Christian order of months and weeks was set aside for an arbitrary arrangement whose awkward and frivolous character was evident, even independently of its sacrilegious intent. Instead of weeks of seven days, periods of ten days, or decades, were substituted. As there was to be no Sunday, the tenth or last day of the decade, called "Decadi," was to be observed as the day of rest, and have all the importance of the Lord's Day, the place of which it had taken. The months were twelve and consisted each of thirty days; to make up the necessary 365 days of the year, five intercalary days, called sans culottes, were added.

The months were adorned with festive names taken from Nature; thus Vendemaire, the vintage month; Brumaire, the foggy; Frimaire, the frosty; Nivose, the snowy; Pluvoise, the rainy; Ventose, the windy; Germinal, the month of sprouting; Floréal, the month of flowers; Prairial, the haymaking; Messidor, the time of harvest; Thermidor, the month of heat; and Fructidor, the month of fruit. To obliterate, as far as possible, every Christian idea associated with the days of the year, the new calendar abolished the Christian festivals and substituted strange and uncouth denominations for each successive day. It was a bold stroke, and though the Convention succeeded a few months later in causing its execution throughout the country, nevertheless it was never heartily accepted even by the most radical, and only a favorable opportunity was wanting for its final abolition with the Revolution itself.[75]



On the twenty-seventh of September, the Convention reduced ecclesiastical pensions to 1000 livres, and on October 23rd, it decreed that all who had flown the country were to be considered as banished in perpetuity, and should they return they were to be punished with death. On November 27th, a decree was passed, declaring that if a priest should marry, and be therefore inquieted by the residents of the commune in which he resided, he might retire to any place he liked, and his salary should be paid by the commune which had persecuted him. It was an effort to render the marriage of priests popular, an attempt, however, which always met with failure.

It was during the month of December, 1792, and that of January, 1793, that the trial of Louis XVI. took place. The Convention voted the death sentence, and the crime of regicide against one of the mildest sovereigns of the century was perpetrated January 17th, of that year.

The prescriptive laws against the clergy and the Church went on apace. On January 22nd the constitutional clergy were ordered to disregard all canonical rules in regard to marriage, and to bless the marriages of divorced people as well as those of constitutional priests. On February 14th, a reward of one hundred livres was offered to whoever should cause the arrest of an émigré, or of a priest under sentence of deportation. On March 18th, it substituted for the penalty of ten years for such priests the sentence of death. April 23rd, it put forth the article: "The national Convention decrees that all ecclesiastics, regular and secular, brothers or laymen, who have not taken the oath to maintain liberty and equality conformable to the law of August 15th, 1792, shall be deported without delay to French Guiana."[77]

Immediately on the appearance of this law the sea-ports of France began to witness thousands of captive priests who were placed on board the waiting vessels, ostensibly for transportation to America. As, however, such voyage was at the time impracticable because of danger from the English fleets then patrolling the seas, the victims of proscription were left in the miserable hulks, in some cases for as long as two years. Their sufferings in this regard were extreme. Huddled together in the holds like so many packages of dead merchandise, the bare floor for a bed, covered with rags and devoured by vermin, their torment was truly horrible. Many of them perished; others lost their reason; the survivors bore away with them many souvenirs of physical and moral torture which they carried to the grave. The story of the deportation of priests during the Reign of Terror is one of the ugliest records of the times.

The Convention next turned its attention to the constitutional clergy, whom it compelled by every means of proscription and exaction to dishonor the little remnant of sacred character that still remained within them. Hence the laws of 1793, decreeing deportation for any bishop who should directly or indirectly oppose an obstacle to the marriage of priests, or who should refuse to recognize divorce. It reduced the salaries of the bishops and limited the number of their curates. It, moreover, dismissed from the exercise of their functions all pastors who failed to display a pronounced enthusiasm for revolutionary principles, and put in their stead men whose ignorance was well known, and whose wives were willing to occupy a prominent position in the Church.[78]




During the latter part of 1793 the country had virtually delivered itself up to the will of its tyrants. The war against religion had assumed an open and defiant character, under the influence of the guillotine; churches had already lost their sacred significance, and the names of the saints or holy mysteries which they had hitherto borne gave place to profane and often impious titles; the Republican calendar had been formally adopted and enforced upon the nation; everywhere priests were called upon to burn their letters of ordination and to bring to the Convention their crosses, chalices, ciboriums and other objects destined for the Holy Sacrifice. The Archbishop of Paris, the infamous Gobel, entered the hall of the Convention at the head of other constitutional clergy, and there despoiled himself of all insignia of episcopal or priestly office, declaring at the same time that he renounced forever all his rights and duties as a minister of Catholic worship.


It was at this time, November 10th, 1793, that the Convention proclaimed the worship of reason, and deified that abstract idea by a sacrilegious ceremony in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, at Paris. An actress was placed upon a throne within the sanctuary of that ancient temple, and received amidst the hymns and maudlin praises of the multitude the adoration of a fallen nation. The example of Paris was imitated in all parts of the country, until the strange spectacle was observed of a whole nation gone mad.

The new worship brought with it renewed hostility to Christianity. Almost every day the Convention was[80] called upon to review processions whose object was to ridicule and cast odium upon the things of God. Bands of Sans-Culottes defiled through the streets, or passed through the Assembly halls, attired in copes, chasubles and dalmatics which they had pillaged from the churches. No limit was put to these exhibitions of horrible sacrilege. In many cases the processions were headed by an ass bearing a mitre upon his head, a chalice upon his back, with a cross hanging from his tail. It seemed as if the Revolution could go no further in its impiety, though men still held their breath waiting anxiously for the next move in the horrible nightmare.

In the midst of the general madness the Revolution turned against its own creatures and denied its own religion. The people had already begun to mock at the absurdity of the worship of reason, and tired of one false god, looked to their leaders to supply them with another. It was at this juncture that Robespierre, the man of blood and crime, suddenly became the apostle of a new cult, which was baptized in the blood of the adorers of reason. The guillotine reaped rich harvests, numbering that year among its victims the apostates, Gobel, Lamourette, Clootz, together with Hebert, Danton, Desmoulins and others.

In the beginning of the year 1794, Robespierre caused the Convention to pass a decree proclaiming the existence of a Supreme Being, and constituting feast days "to recall mankind to the consideration of the divinity and to the dignity of his being." On June 8th, he presided personally as high priest, at the first solemn feast of the new worship. The latter, however, proved even less popular as a religion than its predecessor, and served only to demonstrate how the human heart craves[81] for the worship of God, and will not be satisfied with the human imitations of a religion whose origin is divine.[82]


In its proscriptive decrees the Convention hitherto had not included the aged and infirm priests; by a decree of Floréal 22, these also were subjected to all exactions imposed upon others. Another decree demanded the accusation of all enemies of the people, and pronounced the penalty of death, without trial or witnesses, upon simple verbal denunciations. The Terror was now in its blindest spasm of madness, and in Paris alone, during three months, more than two thousand victims laid their heads upon the block, including many constitutional priests, who had the good fortune, through the pious offices of the Abbe Emery, to retract their errors and become reconciled to God.

A pall of moral darkness hung over the nation from end to end, a deep silence, full of anxiety and terror, was broken only by the shrieks of the dying and the insane laughter of the murderers. The silence and holiness of the Lord's Day was desecrated by labor and unseemly orgies; the decadi was observed instead of Sunday, and peasants or others daring to work on that day, or daring to rest on Sunday, were treated as suspects and punished with all the violence of irreligious hatred. Throughout the land every symbol and remembrance of religion had vanished: the church steeples had been torn down, the bells no longer called the faithful to divine service, the cross was treated as an object of public shame. Everywhere men and women suspected of fanaticism or denounced as enemies of the Revolution were condemned to death and executed. In the city of Lyons the guillotine severed thirty heads a day; but its work proving too slow for the blood-thirst of the assassins, the victims were ranged in rows, and mowed down[83] by storms of bullets. In this way fully one thousand seven hundred fell in a short period of a few months.[84]

ROBESPIERRE (1758-1794). ROBESPIERRE (1758-1794).

In the departments of the Ain and the Saone-et-Loire, liberty was decreed to priests who should agree to marry within a month; the aged were exempted from this law upon the condition of adopting a child of Revolutionary parents, to care for as their own. In Savoy, one thousand two hundred livres was offered as a reward for the arrest of a non-juring priest; all who refused to apostatize, whether faithful or constitutional, were arrested and condemned. At Marseilles and at Avignon, the infamous Maignet emulated his predecessor, Jourdan Coupetete, with the guillotine and fusillade of bullets. In the South, a young girl was arrested and put to death for having crossed over into Spain to confess to a legitimate priest. An aged official was sentenced to imprisonment and a heavy fine for having assisted at the "Feast of Reason" with an air of sadness and arrogance. Six women were guillotined for having assisted at the Mass of a non-juring priest.

In the Vendee one thousand eight hundred persons were murdered within a period of three months. And so the list went on through all the first half of 1794, which has left a record of millions murdered, deported, exiled, imprisoned, or tortured in a thousand and one ways. They were red letter days in the Revolutionary calendar, but the red color was made from the blood of Frenchmen. A mitigation of the horrors of those days came at last when the head of the arch-assassin, Robespierre, rolled away from the block on July 27th, 1794.


Among the oppressive laws enacted by the Convention, before its final dissolution in 1795, were those concerning education and the separation of Church and[85] State. The decree of October 21st, 1793, decided that primary schools should form the first degree of instruction; therein should be taught all that was rigorously necessary for a citizen to know. Persons charged with instruction in such schools should be known as institutors. The decree determined the number of schools to be founded in each commune, according to the number of its inhabitants, and fixed the programme of instruction.

The children shall receive in these schools the first physical, moral, and intellectual education, the better to develop in them republican ways, the love of country, and a taste for work. They shall learn to speak, read and write the French language. They shall be taught those virtues which do most to honor free men, and particularly the ideas of the French Revolution, which shall serve to elevate their souls and render them worthy of liberty and equality. They shall acquire some notions of French geography. The knowledge of the rights and duties of man and citizen shall be taught them by example and experience. They shall be taught the first notions of the natural objects that surround them, and the natural action of the elements. They shall be exercised in the use of numbers, the compass, weights, measures, etc.

Another decree, of October 28th, 1793, declared that "no ci-devant noble, no ecclesiastic or minister of any worship whatsoever, can be a member of the commission of instruction, or be elected a national institutor. No women of the ci-devant nobility, no ci-devant religious women, canonesses, nuns, who have been placed in the old schools by ecclesiastics or ci-devant nobles, can be nominated as institutors in the national schools."

A decree of February 21st, 1795, read as follows:

Art. 1. Conformable to Art. 7 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and to Art. 22 of the Constitution,[86] the exercise of no worship shall be troubled. Art. 2. The Republic shall pay salary to no minister of worship. Art. 3. It shall furnish no locality either for the exercise of worship or for the residence of its ministers. Art. 4. The ceremonies of every kind of worship are interdicted outside the enclosures chosen for such exercise. Art. 5. The law does not recognize any minister of worship; no such minister may appear in public with the habit, ornaments, or costume affected in religious ceremonies. Art. 6. All assemblages of citizens for the exercise of any worship whatsoever shall be subject to the surveillance of the constituted authorities. This surveillance shall be fortified by measures of police guard and public security. Art. 7. No particular symbol of any worship may be erected in any public place, neither exteriorly, nor in any manner whatsoever. No inscription can be put up to designate such place of worship. No public proclamation or convocation can be made to draw the citizens thither. Art. 8. The communes or sections of communes may not hire or purchase, in their collective name, any locality for the exercise of worship. Art. 9. No donation, perpetual or temporary, may be formed, and no tax imposed to pay the expenses of such worship. Art. 10. Whosoever shall, by violence, disturb the ceremonies of any worship whatsoever, or who offers outrage to its objects, shall be punished, according to the law of July 19-22, 1791, in regard to correctional police. Art. 11. The law (of 2 des sans-culottides, an II.) with regard to ecclesiastical pensions, is not hereby abrogated, and its dispositions shall be executed according to their form and tenor. Art. 12. Every decree whose dispositions are contrary to the present law formulated by the representatives of the people in the departments is annulled.


A decree of May 30th, 1795, decided that "no one shall fulfill the ministry of any worship in the said edifices,[87] unless he shall have given legal declaration before the municipality of the place in which he desires to exercise such functions, of his submission to the laws of the Republic. The ministers of worship who shall contravene the present article, and the citizens who shall invite or admit them, shall each be[88] punished by a fine of 1,000 livres."

A law of September 30th, 1795, decreed:

It is forbidden to all judges, administrators, and public officials whomsoever, to have any regard for the attestations which ministers of worship, or individuals calling themselves such, shall give relative to the civil condition of citizens. All officials charged with registering the civil state of citizens, who shall make mention in their records of any religious ceremonies, or who shall exact proof that they have been observed, shall also be condemned to the penalties contained in Article 18.

The Convention concluded its sanguinary existence on October 26th, 1795, after the conclusion of the Constitution of the year III.


The Convention was immediately followed by the government of the Directory, which lasted until the end of the Revolutionary period, in 1799. It was composed of a Council of Five Hundred, whose duty it was to propose laws, a Council of two hundred and fifty Ancients to approve or reject the laws thus proposed, and a supreme body consisting of five members—all regicides—which was called the Directory.

The new government was less bold in its persecutions than its predecessor, though the spirit that had actuated the Convention still lived in both houses of the Directory. The pursuit of priests was still continued, and the[89] laws against them and their protectors enforced with the greatest rigor. In the year 1796 eighteen priests were executed under the orders of the government. Nevertheless a sentiment of hostility to the oppressive measures of the law was beginning to[90] manifest itself in a number of the departments; churches were again being opened and the practice of religion renewed.


The rigors of the Terror, however, were not yet extinct; the worship of the Revolution was enforced, the sound of the church bells was forbidden, and the Revolutionary calendar still held its place in the ordering of the life of the people. An effort was made in 1796 to bring back into full force all the proscriptive laws of the Convention, but through the efforts of Portalis the Council of Five Hundred refused to vote the bill.

In the meantime the exiled and deported priests began to return in great numbers. In Paris more than three hundred were exercising their ministry openly; the diocesan administration was reorganized; and a general interest in the unhappy lot of imprisoned priests began to manifest itself among the people. In 1797, June 17th, a motion was placed before the Council of Five Hundred, demanding liberty of worship, the suppression of the oath, and the abrogation of the laws of deportation. These reforms were voted—after a few weeks of discussion—and in place of the obnoxious oath the Directory substituted the words: "I swear to be submissive to the government of the French Republic." Everything thus seemed to hold out promise of peace and security to the Church, and might have thus continued but for the coup-d'-Etat of the 10 Fructidor, which brought with it the renewal, for two years, of the horrors of the Terror.

The new government instituted under the three Directors, Rewbel, la Reveillère and Barras, brought back the Revolutionary forces into the Councils, and the old laws[91] of proscription were renewed. Priests who had obtained their liberty were again arrested and imprisoned or deported; the oath of the Constitution was re-established; the persecution became more rabid than ever in its last struggle for supremacy. To gather greater numbers to the Revolutionary ceremonies, it was decreed that marriages could take place only on the "decadi" or tenth day, whereon no manual labor might be performed, or merchandise bought or sold. It became a crime to print or hold in one's possession copies of the Christian calendar, and on Fridays and Saturdays of the old order the very sale of fish was forbidden, that the citizens might be compelled to eat meat. The deported priests suffered intolerable torments through the cruel treatment dealt out to them. Out of three hundred transported to Conamana, only thirty-nine were alive after a month's detention. In other places many died through famine, sickness and misery.

In the midst of these discouraging afflictions of the Church, the constitutional bishops, in a council held on August 15th, 1797, had the hardihood to plan a reconciliation between the schismatic church of France and the orthodox church, and went so far as to send their decrees to the Pope for ratification; Pius VI., however, refused to honor the communication with an answer.


In the incessant struggle of French anti-Christianism against the Church, its leaders had not neglected early in the period to turn their attacks against the head and centre of Christianity, in the person of the Holy Pontiff, Pius VI. Rome, "the mother of nations," was the sanctuary towards which many French students turned their steps to acquire a knowledge of art and literature; these[92] young men, imbued with the false spirit of their unhappy country, made use of the hospitality of the Eternal City to betray her. In the Academy of France, in the midst of obscene orgies and ribald speeches, the statues and busts of kings, cardinals and popes were overthrown, and sentiments of revolution and irreligion openly pronounced. Basseville and Laflotte, bearing an insulting message to Pope Pius VI., utilized their time in Rome in an attempt to arouse the populace to accept Republican ideas; but the Roman people, infuriated at the insulting bravado of these couriers of the French Government, attacked them in the Corso, giving a death blow to Basseville, and causing his companion to fly for his life. This was in 1793. The Constituent Assembly at Paris took up the death of its messenger as a pretext for hostilities against the government of the Holy See.

It was at this time also, that there began to appear in Paris certain Letters to the Pope, which displayed openly the intention of the new liberty with regard to the Papacy. The Moniteur of October 1st, 1792, put forth the following grandiloquent address:

Holy Father, gather your people together, and rising in the midst of them, declare fearlessly: Descendants of the grandest people of the world, imposture has too long been desolating your country. The hour of truth has come; come and enjoy the rights that nature gave you; be free, be sovereign; be your own lawmakers; bring back once more the Roman Republic. But guard well against the abuses and vices which were the ruin of the ancient republic; drive out from you all patricians, cavaliers, prelates, cardinals, bishops, priests, monks and nuns; be citizens all. See, I give you my tiara, and I hope that my example will be followed by my clergy.

It was only a month after these words had been printed that General Kellerman declared from the tribune:[93] "Citizen legislators, to liberate ancient Rome from the yoke of the priests, command our soldiers to pass the Alps, and we shall pass them."[94]


It was, however, during the administration of the Directory that the first actual assaults upon the Holy See were made by the forces of France. Under an appearance of good will, which only served to conceal its weakness, the Directory stultified itself in the face of Europe; the army alone by its victories sustained the honor of the nation.

After conquering the Rhine countries the Republic turned its eyes upon Italy. In the beginning of 1796, General Bonaparte, with an army of 30,000 men, crossed the Alps. Despite the snows of the winter and the continual blizzards they encountered, the French soldiers continued to descend into Piedmont, while the Italians still believed them to be on the borders of the Rhine.

Mantua fell, the Austrians were driven beyond the Adige, and Bonaparte hastened to besiege and take Bologna. It was the desire of the Directory that the conqueror should proceed on his way to Rome and annihilate forever the power of the Papacy. Bonaparte himself proved less greedy than his masters; he would be satisfied with one or two provinces from the revenues of which he might draw funds to defray the expenses of his campaign. His victories, nevertheless, were rapid and decisive, and in a few days made him master of all Northern Italy. The King of Sardinia and the dukes of Parma and Modena made their act of submission, while the Court of Naples manifested a desire to frame a treaty of peace.

Admonished by the fate of the neighboring nations, Pius VI. began to frame terms of negotiation with the conqueror. Towards the end of 1796, the Chevalier d'Azara, Ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, was[95] charged with the duty of arranging a convention with the French Government. The Directory had looked to Rome as the repository of immense riches, the plunder of which might help to bolster up the[96] enfeebled finances of France. The first condition imposed upon the Pope, in order to gain an armistice, was to turn over to Saliceti and Garrau, the representatives of France, the sum of 50,000,000 livres. D'Azara rejected the exorbitant terms, and seeing that he could effect nothing with the Directory, he opened up negotiations with Bonaparte directly.


His demands in this part met at first with the usual hauteur of the General, who required that His Holiness should first drive from Rome all French émigrés, and that he should expedite a Bull approving of the revolutionary government. To these first terms the ambassador answered: "If you imagine that you can compel the Pope to do the least thing contrary to dogma, and whatever is intimately connected with dogma, you are much mistaken, for he will never do so! You can take revenge by sacking, burning and destroying Rome and St. Peter's, but religion shall remain in spite of you. If, on the other hand, you desire the Pope to exhort all in a general way to good behavior and obedience to legitimate authority, he will do that willingly."

The words of d'Azara produced a favorable impression upon the General, though at first they had but little real effect. On June 19th, d'Azara was summoned to meet the representatives of the Directory at Bologna, where a demand for 40,000,000 livres was made together with the cession of Ancona, the occupation of Bologna and Ferrara, provisions for the soldiery, one hundred pictures or statues from the Papal museums, five hundred manuscripts, and the treasures of Loretto, or failing the latter, a fine of 1,000,000 francs. After many[97] discussions the sum of payment in money was fixed at 21,000,000 livres. To arrange all matters in a more satisfactory manner the Holy Father sent Mgr. Pierracchi as plenipotentiary to Paris. Here the messenger of the Pope was received in so barbarous and insulting a manner that he was obliged to leave the[98] French territory with all haste.


So discouraging did affairs now appear to the Holy Father that for a time he thought seriously of abandoning Rome for the present and taking refuge in the Island of Malta. However, he determined to effect if possible a new accommodation; this attempt proved as unsuccessful as those which preceded it, and the Holy Father in his desolation declared before a commission of the cardinals: "Let the Directory consider well the motives which constrain the conscience of His Holiness to such refusal, a refusal which he will be obliged to sustain at the peril of his life."

The representatives of the Directory to whom this protest of His Holiness was brought, at Florence, could not but admire the courage with which it was inspired. The matter was now taken up personally by Bonaparte himself, whose influence led finally to the signing of a treaty at Tollentino, February 19th, 1797. By the terms of this convention the Pope revoked all treaties of alliance against France, he recognized the Republic, he ceded his rights over Venaissin, he abandoned to the Cis-Alpine Republic the Legations of Bologna, and Ferrara, and all of Romagna; Ancona was to remain in the possession of the French; the Duchies of Urbino and Macerata were to be restored to the Pope on the payment of 15,000,000 livres. A like sum was to be paid conformable to the armistice of Bologna, not yet executed. These 30,000,000 livres were payable, two-thirds[99] in money and the rest in diamonds and precious stones; 300,000 francs were to be paid to the heirs of Basseville.

We shall not linger in relating the great difficulties the Holy Father experienced in raising the immense funds required by this treaty. The generosity of the Roman people, the cardinals, and the prelates of Italy, was displayed in a manner to reflect lasting honor upon their names. The whole transaction dealt a severe blow to the peace and security of the aged Pontiff from the effects of which he never fully recovered.


The Directory, ever on the watch for a pretext that might seem to justify new attempts against the government of the Pope, found one during the month of December, 1797. General Duphot, at the head of a band of rebellious Romans, had attacked the garrison at Ponte Sixto. The Papal soldiers, angered by the assault and the offensive insults of the mob, endeavored to repulse it by a harmless show of force. One soldier, more quick-tempered than his comrades, forgot himself in the moment of excitement, and fired into the crowd. The bullet struck General Duphot, who fell mortally wounded. The affair, accidental though it was, and perfectly natural, considering the circumstances, was taken by the French Government as an act demanding summary punishment. Accordingly, General Berthier, in command of the French forces at Ancona, received from General Bonaparte the following instructions:

Paris, 22 Nivose An. (January 11, 1798.)

Quickness will be of supreme importance in your march upon Rome; it alone can assure the success of the operation. The moment that you have sufficient troops at Ancona you will take up the march.[100]

You will strive secretly for a union of all the surrounding districts with that city, such as the Duchy of Urbino and the province of Macerata.

You will not make known your intentions against the Pope until your troops are at Macerata. You will say very briefly that the reason for your marching on Rome is to punish the assassins of General Duphot and all those who have dared to be wanting in the respect which is due to the ambassador of France.

The King of Naples will send his ministers to you, and you will say that the executive Directory is not influenced in this affair by any designs of ambition; that, on the contrary, if the French Republic was so generous as to restrain itself at Tollentino when it had still graver reasons for complaint against Rome, it will not be impossible, if the Pope gives satisfaction agreeable to our Government, to arrange this affair.

In the meantime, while making such proposals, you will continue on your way by forced marches. The art of the whole matter will consist in gaining ground, so that when the King of Naples becomes convinced that you are actually headed for Rome, he will not have the time to prevent it.

When you are two days' journey from Rome, you will menace the Pope and all the members of his government, who have rendered themselves culpable of the greatest of crimes, in order to inspire them with fear and cause them to take flight.

The plans of Bonaparte were carried out successfully. On February 10th, 1798, the French troops entered Rome by the Porta Angelica, and the Pontifical garrison was obliged to evacuate Castle San Angelo. On February 15th, a Calvinist named Haller brought to the Pope the final orders of the Directory, announcing his overthrow. French soldiers immediately replaced the Pontifical guards of the Papal palace, while one of Berthier's generals, Cervoni, had the effrontery to present to the[101] Pope the tri-color cockade, which the Holy Father refused, saying, "I know no other uniform than that with which the Church has honored me." It was the beginning of the end.[102]


The commissioner Haller was now delegated to announce to the Pope that he must leave Rome. The Holy Father protested: "I am hardly convalescent, and I cannot abandon my people or my duty; I wish to die here."—"You can die anywhere," answered the brutal messenger. "If the ways of gentleness cannot persuade you to go, we shall employ rigorous means to compel you."

Pius VI. left alone with his servants, appeared for the first time overcome with sadness. He entered his oratory, and after imploring the aid of the Almighty; re-appeared in a few moments. "It is God's will," he said calmly, "let us prepare to accept all His Providence has in store for us."

On February 20th, the commissioner, on entering the apartment, found the Pope prostrate at the foot of the crucifix. "Make haste!" he cried, and pushing his august prisoner before him he compelled him to descend the stairs with undue hurry, nor did he leave him until he had entered the carriage waiting at the gate. A detachment of dragoons, which accompanied the carriage, served to hold in check the crowds that had gathered in the hope of following in the footsteps of their sovereign.

It was the intention of the Directory to deport the Holy Pontiff to the island of Sardinia; but it abandoned this design in the fear that the English might attempt his deliverance. At Sienna, the Pope was lodged in the Augustinian monastery, where he remained three months, when an extraordinary event compelled his departure thence. On May 25th, an earthquake[103] destroyed the building, and the Holy Father had only time to quit his room when the floor collapsed. In June he arrived at Florence, where he remained for ten months, a prisoner, indeed, but yet enjoying many comforts from the company of congenial souls who were permitted to offer their words of sympathy. Among such were the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King and Queen of Sardinia, the latter being a sister of Louis XVI., Maria Clotilda, besides numbers of the poor who craved a blessing from his hands.

In the meantime the Directory found it a very difficult matter to dispose of its august prisoner. In its fear and cruelty it strove to induce the Grand Duke to drive the Pope out of his dominions, to which demand the noble sovereign answered that as he had not brought the Pope to Tuscany it was not for him to drive the Holy Father away. This generous resistance was immediately punished by the invasion of Etruria.

In the beginning of the year 1799 the Russian and Austrian armies were already menacing Italy; the Directory thereupon found it expedient to transfer their illustrious captive to France. Hence, on April 1st, despite the paralysis of one of his limbs, he was hurried away to Parma, where he could rest only a few days. On the thirteenth the journey was again taken up, although the physicians protested the great danger of proceeding while the Pope remained in so feeble a condition. The commissioner, upon learning the opinions of the physicians, entered the apartment of the Pontiff, and there dragging the coverings from the bed, inspected the limbs, examined the ulcers that had collected, and proclaimed brutally: "The Pope must go on, dead or alive."

The journey now led through Northern Italy, and across the Alps. On the evening of July 14th, the anniversary[104] of the storming of the Bastille, the cortege arrived finally at Valence, in France. The Pope was lodged in the citadel, in the governor's apartments, near the convent of the Cordeliers, which served as the prison of thirty-two priests. In this place he died August 29, 1799, in the eighty-first year of his age.



Opening of the Nineteenth Century.

Never did the shadows of night gather with more sorrow and hopelessness around the afflicted Spouse of Christ, than on that sad August 29, 1799, when, in the prison house of Valence, the form of the gentle Pius VI. lay still and cold in death. Gazing out from that Chamber of silence, upon the races of men, she might well be tempted to apply to the troubled world that expression whereby the prophet characterized the abode of eternal misery: Ubi nullus ordo, sed sempiternus horror inhabitat; "where no order, but sempiternal horror dwelleth." Politically, all Europe was in a frenzy of hope and despair, of triumph and defeat, of luxury and of poverty. The directing reins had been torn from the hands of government, and wild, uncouth, savage, insane mobs held high carnival over the ruins of desecrated homes. In the Sanctuary itself the forces of disorder had pushed their way, Jansenist, Gallican, Josephist and every other form of fanatical heresy fighting for possession of those altars from which they had driven the ministers of the living God. The Church, indeed, had been so utterly buried beneath the accumulated ruins of her external institutions, and so utterly prostrated through the humiliations poured out upon her, that a triumphant world was almost forgetting that she was, indeed, a power to be dealt with. And now, when the[106] news that her visible head was laid low, was spread abroad, the exultation of anti-Christianism knew no bounds. In Paris, in every dark alley and lane, as well as in the halls of the mighty the voice of congratulation was heard, for that he, who had stood forth a barrier against the immoral slavery of whole peoples to the passions of the demagogue and the anarchist, was now silent forever. Jacobin, Constitutionalist, Jansenist, Gallican, Caesarist and Protestant, all united in the conviction that Catholicity was at an end, and that the superannuated institution of the Papacy had fallen into a grave from which no power human or divine might ever again resuscitate it. They had forgotten the promise made by Christ of old: "For, behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world."

In the meantime divine Providence had so ordered the course of European affairs as to confound all the schemes of the enemy. Just as Napoleon Bonaparte was on his way to the distant campaign of Egypt, the great Powers coalesced in one desperate attempt to overthrow the domination of France, Russia and Austria, with their combined forces, drove the French from Northern Italy, and finally Austria alone contrived to wrest from French control all those rich provinces for the conquest of which Bonaparte had expended so much blood and treasure. Thus, it so happened, that when the great General returned from his Egyptian wars, all Italy was in the hands of the Austrians and Neapolitans. In Europe at the same time, George III. was reigning in England, Francis II. in Austria, Paul I. in Russia, while the Directory at Paris dominated directly or indirectly all the more insignificant States.

In the Church itself the administration of all external ecclesiastical affairs was rendered almost impossible. The Cardinals were dispersed in all directions; ten of[107] them with Cardinal Albani, Dean of the Sacred College found refuge in Naples, whence they sailed at the invitation of Austria to Venice.


In the hush that followed the death of Pius VI. the great question began to be asked: How and where shall the Conclave be held? It is true, the political changes of the past year had left Italy entirely free for such deliberations; and moreover, the martyred Pope, before reaching his place of exile, in 1798, had provided with singular wisdom for just such an event. In his Encyclical, Quum in superiori anno, written while at Florence, he had enjoined upon the Cardinals that, in the event of his death in exile, the Conclave for the election of his successor should be held in that city which, while in the dominions of a Catholic sovereign, should contain the largest gathering of Cardinals, together with any others who should join them. This provision of the late Pope seemed thus to point to Venice, especially as the Emperor, Francis II., graciously offered for that purpose the Benedictine Abbey of San Georgio, on an island directly opposite to St. Mark's Square. There, accordingly, it was determined to hold the Conclave.

Out of the forty-six Cardinals of the Sacred College thirty-five repaired to Venice. Among these were many of international celebrity, as statesmen or writers upon questions of general importance. Towards the end of November the Conclave had practically begun its preparatory business; Mgr. Hercules Consalvi was elected its secretary, and among his first official acts was that of sending to the European Powers a notification of the death of Pope Pius VI. Among those thus remembered was the exile of France, Louis XVIII., known at the[108] time as the Count of Provence, and living in Poland. As the elder brother of the murdered Louis XVI., he was regarded among the Courts of Europe as the rightful sovereign of France.

Before the Conclave was formally opened the usual interest of the Powers began to be felt, although only Austria made any public avowal of its determination to interfere in regard to the choice of a new Pope. France itself was not altogether indifferent as is shown by the correspondence both of Napoleon and of his Minister, Talleyrand. It was only two years previously that the General, then at Mombello, in Italy, wrote to his government: "The Pope is yet unwell. I beg you to send me new powers with reference to the Conclave, so that when it becomes necessary, I may communicate them to the French minister at Rome. We have the right to exclude one cardinal; and that one should be Albani, if he is put forward." Later still in the same year, 1797, he wrote to his brother, Joseph, at the time French ambassador in Rome: "Should the Pope die, do all in your power to prevent the election of another, and bring about a revolution. If that is impossible, do not permit Cardinal Albani to be considered. You should not merely use the right of exclusion; you must threaten the cardinals, declaring that I will march immediately on Rome." During the progress of the Conclave, Talleyrand wrote, on February 18, 1800, to Musquiz, the Spanish ambassador in Paris, protesting against the influence of Austria in the Conclave, declaring for reasons of no account except to himself, that the election from such Conclave must be illegal, and signifying that it would be for the interest of Spain to refuse to acknowledge such an election. As, however, there was only one French cardinal in Venice at the time, namely Maury, who was then entirely in the interests of Louis[109] XVIII., it is easy to see that any direct influence from France would hardly be considered.


In the case of Austria the matter assumed greater importance. It is true that Austria had proven itself no generous upholder of Papal prerogatives for the fifty years past; yet, in the present hour, the prestige of[110] Papal influence was something desirable especially by countries which still claimed to be Catholic. Moreover, the Sovereign of Austria was still adorned with the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire which he was not to lose until six years later; he was thus bound, in a way, to the interests of the Papacy. Still more, it was in his dominions, and under his protection that the Conclave was to be held. Hence, his determination to make use of every privilege, real or apparent, which he deemed inherent in his house.

It was with this purpose in view that the Emperor, Francis II., presented detailed instructions to Cardinal Herzan, who was to represent Austrian interests in the Conclave. The instructions are very sweeping in their scope, and were they followed out, the Conclave would have proved only a formality for ratifying the choice of Austria. They are as follows: "We oppose most seriously the election of any cardinal from the dominions of Spain, Sardinia, Naples, or Genoa; or any cardinal who has given evidences of devotion to the interests of any one of the three crowns mentioned. We oppose all cardinals of French origin, and all those who have shown any disposition to espouse the cause of France. Especially do we formally and absolutely exclude Cardinals Gerdil, Caprara, Antonelli, Maury, and those of the Doria family. Our paternal heart discerns only two cardinals whose qualifications promise a capability to encounter present difficulties.... In the first place stands Cardinal Mattei, in whom we place more confidence than in any other.... Our second choice is solely Cardinal Valenti." Unfortunately for the hopes of the Emperor, neither of the two cardinals mentioned was elected.


The Conclave was formally opened on December 1, 1799. The cardinals were divided into three parties,[111] one of which under the leadership of Cardinals Antonelli and Herzan espoused the candidacy of Cardinal Mattei; a second party was led by Cardinals Braschi and Albani; and in the interests of the papal prerogatives, gave their preferences to Cardinal Bellisomi at first, and later to Cardinal Gerdil; a third party called the volauti or unattached, voted independently; among these latter were the French Cardinal Maury, and the Neapolitan, Ruffo. In the first ballotings the votes stood 22 to 13 in favor of Bellisomi. When it became evident that the latter cardinal would soon secure the necessary two thirds of the votes, Cardinal Herzan contrived to turn the tide. Unfortunately for his interests, however, the[112] favor of the Sacred College began to look to Cardinal Gerdil, one of those whom the Emperor had formally and absolutely excluded. Thereupon, Cardinal Herzan applied his right of veto, thus placing Cardinal Gerdil outside all possibility of election. Austria, however, could utilize its power of veto only once in a Conclave; hence the cardinals were now practically free to act in disregard to the wishes of Austria. In the meantime the favor had again turned to Bellisomi, and Cardinal Herzan begged as a matter of courtesy that the Austrian Court be asked in regard to its attitude towards the popular candidate. Much time was expended in sending a courier to Vienna and awaiting his return. In the meantime, Mgr. Consalvi, secretary of the Conclave, contrived to arouse interest in an entirely new candidate, a man whose saintly life and great learning was added to the fact that he appeared wholly outside the quarrels of the nations. This was Cardinal Chiaramonti, Bishop of Imola. Cardinal Maury took up the suggestion with enthusiasm, and employed all his eloquence to impress the Sacred College with the idea. As the Conclave had now lasted for one hundred and four days, the cardinals already weary of procrastination, were only too eager to manifest their approbation. When the final ballot was taken, on March 14, 1800, Cardinal Chiaramonti received every vote except his own. He was accordingly elected Pope, taking the name of Pius VII.


Barnabas Louis Chiaramonti was born at Cesena, in the Legation of Forli, August 14, 1742. His father was Count Scipio Chiaramonti; his mother Jane, was a daughter of the Marquis of Ghini. The boyhood of the future Pope was without any of those marvelous incident[113] which usually give promise of coming greatness. That he was nurtured in a love of God and of religion is evident from the character of his gentle mother, who in 1762, entered the Convent of the Carmelites, at Fano, where she died, in 1771, with the reputation of a saint. Indeed, many years later, the cause of her beatification was suggested to her illustrious son, then Pius VII., who with his characteristic delicacy, put the proposition aside lest his filial love might seem to dictate where motives of disinterested justice ought to preside.

At the age of sixteen, after finishing his course of studies at the College of Ravenna, Barnabas, feeling the call of God, abandoned the allurements of the world, and entered as a novice at the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte, near Cesena, where he received the name of Gregorio. His career of studies was completed in 1768, when he defended a series of theological propositions in the presence of Cardinal Ganganelli, destined the following year to become Pope Clement XIV. After his ordination to the priesthood he acted as professor in the Colleges of his Order, especially at Parma and at Rome. He was thus engaged at the Monastery of St. Calixtus in 1775, when Cardinal Braschi, his townsman and relative, ascended the throne of St. Peter, as Pope Pius VI. Through the good offices of the new Pope, the young monk was made an abbot of St. Paul outside the Walls; but this title thus conferred without the concurrence of the regular Chapter of the Order, while assuring some privileges, did not dispense the incumbent from obedience to the titular abbot. His conduct in the delicate post, thus thrust upon him, so charmed Pope Pius VI., that on his return from Vienna in 1782, he took the humble abbot away from his monastery and raised him to the episcopal See of Tivoli. For three years he governed that diocese with such rare wisdom[114] and intelligence that the Sovereign Pontiff decided that he ought to be placed in a position wherein his abilities and zeal might have a wider field. Accordingly, in 1785, he was transferred to the See of Imola, and in the same year was created a cardinal.

He was Bishop of Imola more than ten years, when the Austrians, pursued by the armies of Bonaparte, took refuge at Bologna. His conduct in the wars that followed was dictated by the feeling of duty divinely committed to him. His courage in the face of the opposing armies won from Bonaparte an expression of admiration and praise; for when that General, on entering Ancona, found that the Bishop of the place had fled, he exclaimed in the presence of suite. "When I was at Imola, I found its Bishop at his post." In the uprising at Lugo against the French invaders, Cardinal Chiaramonti was at hand counselling patience on the part of the Italians, and later begging mercy when the French were preparing for sanguinary revenge. At times, as in his Christmas sermon of 1798, he encouraged the people to accept, at least under existing circumstances, the Democratic form of government then forced upon them, as being in no way "opposed to the Gospel, and requiring in fact the sublime virtues which are taught in the school of Jesus Christ, and which if practised religiously by you will redound to your own happiness, and to the glory and spirit of your Republic." During the year following the saintly Pope Pius VI. died at Valence and Cardinal Chiaramonti, a few weeks later repaired to Venice to become Pope Pius VII.

The general satisfaction manifested over the election of Pius VII. was not shared by Austria. Apart from the fact that her choice had been disregarded, it began to be rumored about that the new Pope was not altogether unwelcome to France, and that the new Consul not only[115] admired but sought him. Nor was Austria slow in displaying marks of her displeasure. The ceremonies of the coronation and consecration coming so soon after the election, it was naturally supposed that the great Cathedral of St. Mark's would be offered for that purpose. This favor, however, the Emperor refused to grant, so that the new Pontiff was restricted to the insignificant monastery church of St. George for a function that called for the splendors of a mighty temple.

Austria went still farther in her vulgar reprisals. Her government had the hardihood to ask the Holy Father to visit Vienna before returning to his own States, alleging that "such a journey would prove an incalculable benefit to the Holy See, that the personal acquaintance of the Emperor would be very useful to His Holiness, and for the good of both Church and State, and that, since the Pope happened to be at Venice, he ought not lose so precious an occasion of undertaking a journey, the expenses for which should be payed out of the imperial treasury."

The Holy Father, though declining the offers of the Austrian Monarch, wrote to him within a week after his election, in terms full of fatherly affection, and ignoring altogether the cowardly treatment he had just received from that source. The answer of Francis II. was one of empty felicitation, which he proceeded at once to falsify by his subsequent actions. At that very time he sent to Venice a diplomatic agent, the Marquis Ghislen who declared that it was his master's formal intention to retain possession of the three Legations. It will be remembered that in 1797, the Pope, Pius VI., by the Treaty of Tollentino, ceded to France the Legations of Bologna, Ferrara and the Romagna. In the signing of this treaty Cardinal Mattei represented the Holy See. In 1799, the Austrians gained possession of[116] the Legations by conquest over the French. It was for this reason that Austria desired to see Mattei elected to the papal throne, imagining that in such an event he would honor his signature to the document of Tollentino, by permitting Austria to keep her spoils of war. As the new Pope appeared too earnest a defender of papal rights, it was considered necessary to inform him in this categorical manner of Austria's intentions with regard to the conquest territory. The Pope opposed most strongly these claims, and announced his resolution of proceeding immediately to his own States. The natural route for such a destination would lead overland through the disputed Legations; but again Austria stood in the way compelling the Pope to proceed to his own territory by sea. In fact, on June 6, 1800, Pius VII. embarked on the Bellona, a small vessel which the Austrian government had placed at his disposal without the courtesy of providing its crew or provisions. The ship was so utterly unseaworthy, and the hap-hazard crew so inexperienced that the voyage which ought to have taken only twenty-four hours, consumed twelve days. Landing at Pesaro, in his own States, the Pope proceeded to Ancona, where the vessels of England and Russia harboring there, rendered him military honors. From Ancona to Rome the journey of the Holy Father proved to be a triumphal march. He arrived in the Eternal City on July 3, 1800, in the midst of a people intoxicated with joy. As he knelt before the great altar of St. Peter's, his heart expanded with gratitude to God, who, after permitting the exile of His Vicar for two long years, was now graciously providing for a new era for His afflicted Church.

One of the first acts of Pope Pius VII., after his election was the appointment of an official to act as his Secretary of State. Even in this matter the intermeddling[117] policy of Austria made itself felt, for on being denied in so many other pretensions, the Emperor sought at least to control the Papacy through its chief functionary. Hence its request sent to the new Pope that he would favor Austria by appointing Cardinal Flangini to that post. The Holy Father answered that as he had not at present any State he could not appoint a Secretary of State; he would, however, name a pro-secretary, and in fact had already provided for such an official. The ecclesiastic chosen for this emergency was that Mgr. Ercole Consalvi, who had already acted as secretary for the Conclave.


This celebrated man was born at Rome, June 8, 1757, of a noble family. The eldest of five children, he was left an orphan in his earlier years. He was educated at Urbino, by the Piarist brothers founded by St. Joseph Calasanzio in 1617. After four years at this school, he entered the school at Frascati, lately opened by the Cardinal Duke of York. The latter was a grandchild of King James II. of England, and a brother of Charles Edward the Pretender, known in Italy as the Earl of Albany. When Charles Edward died, the Cardinal-Duke assumed the title of Henry IX., King of France and England.

The young Consalvi became a favorite with the princely protector who recognized in his young protege a gift of character, self-reliance and enthusiasm. During his term at Frascati, the future Secretary distinguished himself by his literary productions in prose and verse. In 1776, he entered the great ecclesiastical academy in Rome, where his abilities brought him to the notice of Pope Pius VI., who in 1783 raised him to the dignity of[118] a cameriere sègreto, with the duty of providing for audiences at the Vatican. In 1784 he was made a domestic prelate. Promotions followed rapidly in the Curia; in a few months he became a member of the Governmental Congregation, and a secretary of the great hospital of San Michele. Still later he became a member of the pontifical segnatura. In 1786 he was offered the post of nuncio to Cologne, which he declined in favor of Mgr. Pacca. He next became a member of the Roman Rota, the tribunal of Justice. Again, he was made Assessor of the Department of War wherein he effected much good during the times of the French invasion of Italy.


It was shortly after the celebrated Treaty of Tollentino, that the unhappy affair of General Duphot occurred. On December 28, 1797, that officer, while commanding a mob of infuriated soldiery, was fatally shot by one of the Pontifical troops, and although no blame could be placed upon the government of the Pope, nevertheless the assassination was taken up as an excuse for hostility on the part of the French, who descended upon Rome, took possession of the city, and drove Pius VI. into that cruel exile which caused his death. Upon Consalvi especially, because of the position he then occupied in the Department of War, the full anger of the invaders fell. After an imprisonment in the Castel Sant Angels, he was subjected to many humiliating hardships. He was hurried off from Rome to Civita Vecchia with some Cardinals for the purpose of being transported to Cayenne. At Civita Vecchia, however, they were liberated with permission to go where they might choose, except to the Roman States. If found in that territory they were to be punished with death. Consalvi was again taken prisoner and confined in the Castel Sant Angelo. At this time it was determined to inflict a most trying[119] humiliation upon him; he was to be led through the streets of Rome, mounted upon an ass, and beaten by ruffians hired for that purpose. Escaping this indignity through the scruples of a French official, he was sent to Naples. Thence, he was permitted to go to Venice, in which journey he met the Holy Father, Pius VI., then at[120] Florence on the sorrowful way to death. It was while at Venice, that he learned of the death of the Sovereign Pontiff and remaining there took part in the Conclave that elected a successor.


In the meantime affairs in France were gradually assuming an aspect of peace and religious freedom. By the coup d'Etat of the 18 Brumaire. Bonaparte, returning from his Egyptian campaign, overturned the Directory, and effected a new government, December 15, 1799. The new power was to be presided over by a First Consul (Bonaparte) with two colleagues. Subordinate to these were the Senate of eighty members, the Tribunate of one hundred; and a Legislative Assembly of three hundred. The new government by proclaiming Bonaparte First Consul for life made him thereby a dictator, and placed practically the whole powers of the nation in his hands. It was with the glory of his triumphant elevation still fresh within his soul that the young conqueror set out early in the following year for the campaign of Italy. On June 14th, 1800, occurred the decisive victory of Marengo, whereby the French gained in a single day in Italy almost all that they had lost during the course of the last two years. The Austrians driven beyond the Mincio lost the Legations, and were finally forced to accept the Adige as the boundary of their possessions in Northern Italy.[121]

In the midst of his glory the religious sentiment which had ever lain dormant in the heart of Napoleon came to the surface, inspiring him to a course of action which was to have immense importance in the future history of France. His intentions are best summed up in a letter which Cardinal Martiniana, Bishop of Vercelli, sent, at the request of Napoleon, to Pope Pius VII., just then entering the Eternal City after the Conclave of Venice. The contents of this letter are found in another letter sent by Cardinal Maury to Louis XVIII. to inform him of the turn events were then taking in the affairs of Rome and of France:

"The Consul Bonaparte paid a visit to Cardinal Martiniana (at Vercelli). He desired him to go to Rome and announce to the Pope that he wished to make him a present of 30,000,000 French Catholics; that he desired the return of religion to France; that the intruders of the first and second order (the constitutional bishops and priests) were nothing but a parcel of dishonored rascals of whom he was determined to rid himself; that the dioceses were formerly too numerous in France, and that their number ought to be restricted; that he desired to establish an entirely new clergy; that some of the old bishops were almost forgotten in their dioceses where they had hardly ever resided; that many of them had emigrated for no other purpose than to cabal, and that he did not care to have them return; that he would consider in their regard only their dismissal, although he was willing to grant them a proper salary; that, while waiting until he could donate funded property to the clergy, he would assure them of a very honest living, and that the poorest of the bishops should receive 15,000 livres a year; that the exercise of the Pope's spiritual jurisdiction should be carried on freely in France; that the Pope alone should institute the bishops, who should be nominated by whoever should[122] administer the sovereign authority; finally, that he desired to re-establish the Pope in the possession of all his States."

This letter of Cardinal Martiniana was brought to Rome by Count Alciati, nephew of the Bishop of Vercelli, and was presented to the Holy Father shortly after his entrance into the Eternal City.

Very naturally the proposition of the First Consul met with hostility and protest from many quarters, notably from Louis XVIII., and from the old Catholic party under the leadership of the emigrated bishops. Every conceivable objection to such a treaty was placed before the Holy Father in the hope of influencing him to reject the overtures of the French ruler. He was reminded that the First Consul was the same Bonaparte who had imposed upon the Holy See the Treaty of Tollentino with its spoliation of Papal territory, its seizure of 30,000,000 francs, and other like exactions; it was the same Bonaparte who but a short time before had become a Mussulman in order to gain the good graces of the Eastern peoples. Moreover, what real favor might the Pope expect from that French government which he had ignored at the time of his election by neglecting to send to France the notification of that fact, especially when he had taken pains to recognize the rightful authority of Louis XVIII., by including him among the sovereigns to whom letters of greeting were sent upon his accession to the Papal throne? To the great mass of the French Catholic people the Church and the throne were inseparably bound together; they had existed together for fourteen centuries; they had fallen together amidst the horrors of the Revolution, and hence if one was again to rise to its ancient place of power and usefulness it should only be in conjunction with the restoration of the other. Added to this was the personal claim of Louis XVIII., expressed in very[123] decided terms, whereby he declared himself as the only ruler of the French people whom the Holy See should recognize, as he was the only one the Pope had hitherto recognized; hence if the Concordat of 1516, contracted by Leo X. and Francis I., was to be abrogated and supplied by another, this work belonged by right to the successor of that king and not to a usurper. In presenting these and similar objections to the Pope the exiled king had a worthy representative in the person of Cardinal Maury, a man of singular eloquence and of great personal influence, all of which was brought to bear upon the mind of the Holy Father and the members of the Sacred College.

Pope Pius VII., however, regarded the project from a different standpoint. Much as he desired the restoration of the Bourbons and of Louis XVIII. in particular, of whom he had said to Cardinal Maury, "I would give my life to restore His Majesty to the throne," nevertheless the interests of religion appealed more strongly to his heart than the claims of any human affection. The letter of Cardinal Martiniana thus appeared providential in the midst of the difficulties that beset him, and from which neither Austria, Naples, Spain, or any other human power could liberate him. With every reason to expect hostile measures from Bonaparte, he could not but feel relieved by these expressions of cordial good feeling; nor could he help reflecting that this was the first time for many years since a French general had sent to Rome any other message than those of threats and exaction. The proposition of the First Consul opened up before him visions of future peace and prosperity for the universal Church, and seemed like a very answer from heaven to the prayers he had offered up ever since the day of his election. His gratification, therefore was expressed in the letter which he sent in return to Cardinal Martiniana.[124]

"We can certainly receive no more agreeable news than that which is contained in your letter. The overtures it speaks of on the part of the First Consul cause us the greatest consolation, since they promise to bring back so many millions of souls to the fold of Christ, of whom we are the unworthy vicar. We shall regard it as our glory and an honor, and at the same time as something of benefit to the whole world, to behold the re-establishment in France of that most holy religion which has been the source of her happiness for so many centuries. You may say to the First Consul that we lend ourselves willingly to a negotiation whose object is so important.... Your presentation of his ideas gives us a well-founded hope that we shall be able to arrange affairs satisfactorily. However, your penetration must certainly perceive all the difficulties they present in themselves and in their application. But we confide in God's mercy and in His assistance in favor of the Church.... Observing that the First Consul has taken you into his confidence, we gladly accept you as a negotiator counting upon your zeal for the re-establishment of religion. With the object of hastening that result, and reflecting upon the extreme difficulty of explaining by letter affairs so intricate and so delicate, we have resolved to send you as soon as possible a person who has our confidence and who will be able to explain our intentions more easily, and to aid you in the negotiations...."

The person spoken of in this letter of Pope Pius VII., was Mgr. Spina, titular Archbishop of Corinth, a prelate well versed in the study of canon law, of a mild and pious disposition, one who had accompanied the late Pope during his exile and was with him in his last hours, and who had formed some little personal acquaintance with Bonaparte, as the latter was returning to Paris after his campaign in Egypt.[125]



Mgr. Spina set forth on the way to Vercelli on September 20th, 1800, and after many reverses, being at one time arrested at Modena, he arrived at his destination. It was the understanding of Pius VII. that the negotiations should be opened at Vercelli, or near at hand. The consternation of Mgr. Spina was therefore very great when, on reaching that city, he was confronted with the information that the First Consul had determined to transfer the place of meeting to Paris, a movement inspired no doubt by the twofold reason of making the whole proceeding seem to proceed from the petition of the Pope rather than from his own initiative, as also to[126] prevent the appearance on the part of the French government of "going to Canossa." The Holy Father upon being informed of this new move of the First Consul yielded in the interests of peace, and directed Mgr. Spina to proceed as soon as convenient, in the company of Padre Caselli, General of the Servites, to Paris. The two negotiators arrived in that city on November 5th following.


Of the two Papal representatives Spina alone was regarded as a negotiator, Father Caselli acting merely in the capacity of a companion, but having no voice in the deliberations. Even Spina himself was limited in his faculties, having no actual power of treating or of affixing his signature to the definitive documents. He was[127] simply a delegate charged with exploring the ground, listening to the propositions, and of suggesting freely, but obliged to send his report to Rome ad audiendum et referendum.

The Papal commissioner was not long left in uncertainty as to the character and intentions of the French officials with whom he had to deal. Of these the most conspicuous were the First Consul himself, Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gregoire, the constitutional Bishop of Nancy, and the Abbe Bernier, the official negotiator in the deliberations.

The First Consul, then in his thirty-second year, was just beginning that role of supreme dictator which was to last to the end of his successful career. In the matter of religious convictions much has been said both in his favor as well as against, though the most probable opinions concede in him a certain undercurrent of religious belief, vague indeed, and clouded by the passion for glory and supremacy which possessed his soul. There was enough of Christian sentiment within him to make him esteem the faith of his youth as the most sacred thing on earth and worthy of his best efforts. These convictions, however, were weakened and at times entirely overcome by the overpowering allurements of a life wherein glory was offered at the price of honor, and power was purchased in the surrender of moral restraints. Hence, although it may be said that the ruling motive of Bonaparte in proposing the Concordat was political in its nature, it would be wrong to deny that a sense of religious propriety and affection for his old faith entered also into the influences which moved him. Young, popular, penetrating in his genius, and subtle in his political doctrines, he comprehended the necessity of procuring peace of conscience for the people, and saw clearly the immense benefit the State would[128] derive from an understanding with the Church, as well as the personal advantage that must accrue to himself therefrom.

A few days after his arrival in Paris the Archbishop of Corinth was received by the Minister of Foreign Relations, who obtained an audience with Bonaparte almost immediately. "The welcome of the First Consul was, I must confess, a welcome full of enthusiasm. He spoke very respectfully of His Holiness and manifested towards him very favorable dispositions. He did not, however, conceal his displeasure that His Holiness had not officially notified him in his capacity of First Consul of the fact of his elevation to the Papacy, as he had the kings of England and Prussia and the emperor of Russia."

The audience was terminated by the order of conferring with the Minister of Foreign Affairs—and the party designated by him—upon all matters regarding the Concordat. It lasted fully half an hour, and was very satisfactory to the Papal Delegate.

Another figure destined to play an important part in the framing of the Concordat was the celebrated character of the Revolution, Charles Maurice Talleyrand, the former Bishop of Autun, an apostate who had added to his iniquities the crime of marrying a divorced Protestant. The whole work of this strange personage consisted in placing obstacles to the completion of an understanding between the French government and the Holy See. In fact, it was only during his absence from Paris, while he was taking the waters of a bath, that the negotiators could finally place their signatures to the definitive document. Gregoire, the constitutional Bishop of Nancy, performed with Talleyrand, the office of instructor in ecclesiastical matters to the First Consul. A Gallican of Gallicans, an intense hater of the old regime,[129] jansenistic and puritanical in his perverted piety, and obstinate in his adhesion to the principles of the Revolution, neither he nor the Minister of Foreign Affairs was a worthy interpreter of the mind and doctrines of the Church, especially in an affair of such great importance. It is, no doubt, due to the influence of these two ambitious men that the First Consul showed himself at times, during the discussions, somewhat hostile to the[130] interests of the Church, and disposed to throw over the whole tenor of the Concordat the restrictions of pure Gallicanism.


The Abbe Bernier, doctor in theology, and former curé of St. Laud of Angers, was the most intimate of all the officials concerned in the work of the Concordat. A man of retired and mysterious ways, living alone in the third story of a house in a side street of the city, he carried into the discussions a mind fully attuned to the demands of Bonaparte, and directed by the instructions Of Talleyrand. He was far from being a Revolutionist, having played an important part in the Royalist army during the war of the Vendee, an episode in his life which was never fully forgiven by Bonaparte; yet he could be relied upon by his master as one who would grant to the Pope the least possible concessions, while exacting from the Holy See as much as one could under the circumstances.

Against these minds, all astute and all varying in their religious and political doctrines, Mgr. Spina found himself practically alone. After many discussions, beginning at the first week of November, 1800, and lasting for six months,—during which time many drafts of the Concordat had been drawn up only to meet with rejection,—the deliberations seemed nearing their close by the completion of the fourth draft. When this document was at length finished the Papal negotiator received peremptory orders from Talleyrand to at once affix his signature, in spite of the fact that it contained articles which could not meet with the Papal approval. Mgr. Spina protested in vain that he had no faculties for signing, and begged a delay sufficient for sending the document to Rome for examination. The Minister of Foreign Affairs continued obdurate until the Papal Delegate appealed to the First Consul. The latter[131] granted the delay, but required that the messenger chosen for the journey should bear personal instructions from him. When these instructions were opened at Rome, March 10, 1801, they were found to contain an entirely new draft of the Concordat drawn up by the First Consul himself, thus setting aside definitely that fourth form for the signing of which Talleyrand had betrayed so much animosity.

While preparing the text of this document the First Consul had been casting his eyes around to discover some one capable of representing him at Rome in the discussions which must inevitably follow the reception of the new Concordat. An aged Breton, loyal to his country, moderate and full of tact, who had already performed some important missions in Italy—such was M. Cacault, the person chosen by Bonaparte for this purpose. He was already in his sixtieth year, and notable as a member of the Corps Legislatif, a man in whom the First Consul could place the utmost confidence. When departing for Rome, during the last week of March, upon asking of Bonaparte how he should treat the Pope, the General answered: "Treat him as if he had two hundred thousand men." Cacault arrived in Rome on April 8th, and entered at once upon his duties as Minister Plenipotentiary of the French government at the Court of the Holy See.

The Holy Father conceived fully the importance of these new moves of the First Consul, and began at once to give to them the attention they merited. The draft of the Concordat was first submitted to the scrutiny of three cardinals—Antonelli, Carandini and Gerdil—who were charged with the duty of studying the text and proposing such additions or changes as they might deem necessary. Their work was then submitted[132] to a commission of twelve cardinals under the presidency of the Pope, and entitled the Particular Congregation. These twelve ecclesiastical princes had all been victims of the Revolution, suffering especially in 1798 all the evils of ruin, exile and imprisonment. It can thus be easily conceived that their sentiments towards Bonaparte and the Republic were tinged with something of acerbity, which, however, vanished under the claims of justice and that expediency which the unhappy conditions of the Church demanded. To ensure perfect immunity from all external influences, the members of the Commission were at once subjected to the oath of secrecy of the Holy Office. "The slightest revelation would produce most disastrous consequences. Each cardinal must study the questions by himself without consulting either theologian or secretary. Each should cast a vote written by his own hand and should exercise the greatest care that no familiar or acquaintance should either by day or by night, obtain the least information upon this affair, which is certainly one of the gravest with which Holy See has ever had to treat." (Consalvi to the Cardinals of the Commission.)

In spite of the fact that the First Consul desired the prompt signing of his document, and was already planning to celebrate its completion during the same ceremonies which would accompany the formal ratification of the peace of Austria, nevertheless the work of the cardinals dragged out for nearly two months. In Paris the delay was the cause of excitement and anger. Mgr. Spina was harassed with questions and reproaches; Bernier was loud in his complaints; while Talleyrand in a fit of jealousy declared that the fault was Cacault's who thus hoped to draw to himself the glory of concluding the Concordat. The impatience of Bonaparte was expressed in the commands which he gave to Spina[133] on the twelfth of May, while waiting for the advent of the Papal messenger bearing the results of the cardinals' deliberations:

"Rome wishes to draw out this affair as long as possible in the hope of some political change which might favor her pretensions. I love and esteem the Pope very much, but I have little confidence in the cardinals, and in particular Cardinal Consalvi, who has broken his word with me, and is an enemy of France. He promised that the courier would arrive by the end of April; here it is the twelfth of May and he has not appeared; perhaps he has not even left Rome. More than that, my project of the Concordat has been changed and I shall not consent to that. Cacault writes that the Pope is unwilling to admit the article concerning the bishops and wishes me to send him the list of those whom I rejected, together with the reasons for their exclusion. Now, I declare that I do not want any of the former bishops, and I shall not yield upon that point. Why does the Court of Rome allow itself to be influenced by these non-Catholic powers? It confers with Russia, with Prussia, with England. Do the affairs of the Catholic world concern heretics and schismatics? It is I alone and the King of Spain who have the right to enter into such matters. You have just wounded Spain, and committed an awkward mistake in re-establishing the Jesuits at the request of the Tzar Paul I. Take care; it may cost you dearly to put yourself thus under the protection of Russia. For doing that the King of Sardinia has just lost Piedmont.

"It is with me that you should arrange matters; it is in me that you should place your confidence; it is I alone who can save you. You demand the restoration of the Legations? You wish to be rid of the troops? Everything will depend upon the answer you make to my demands, especially with regard to the bishops.[134] I was born a Catholic, I wish to live and die a Catholic, and I have nothing more at heart than the re-establishment of the Catholic worship, but the Pope is acting in a way that serves me as a temptation to become a Lutheran or Calvinist, and to draw all France along with me. Let him change his behavior and listen to me. If not, I shall establish a religion, I shall give the people a worship with bells and processions, I shall ignore the Holy Father, he shall no longer exist for me. Send a messenger this very day to Rome to tell him that."

On the following day Spina, Talleyrand, and Bernier, each sent a letter to Rome, with accounts of the First Consul's anger. The fears of the Holy Father at the news thus received were still further intensified by the orders contained in a letter written by Talleyrand to Cacault and dated the nineteenth of May:

... "I have formal orders from the First Consul to inform you that your first move in regard to the Holy See must be to demand of the Pope, within the term of five days, a definitive determination in regard to the project of the convention and the Bull in which the convention is to be inserted, which have been proposed to him for adoption. If in the respite which you are charged to offer, the two projects are adopted without any modification the two States bound together by the ties of peaceful relations whose importance and necessity the Holy See ought to perceive now more than ever.... If changes are proposed to you, and the granted time expires, you will announce to the Holy See that your presence in Rome having become useless for the object of your mission you see yourself obliged with regret to betake yourself to your general-in-chief, and you will leave at once for Florence."



M. Cacault made haste to transmit this ultimatum to the Holy Father, who received it with mingled feelings of astonishment and anxiety. Though fully determined never to yield upon points that concerned the dogmatic teachings of the Church, nevertheless he was careful not to act without first consulting his advisors in the Sacred College—the twelve cardinals of the Particular Congregation. Their sentiments agreed fully with his own. They thought it necessary for M. Cacault to withdraw from his diplomatic post, but the principle involved was altogether too important to permit of mere temporal considerations. The turn taken by events brought back to the mind of the Pope the unhappy episodes of 1798, the exile and death of Pius VI., the certainty of eventual schism in the Church not[136] only in France but throughout Europe. There was apparently much to be gained by a passive yielding to the demands of the First Consul; but the loss on the other hand would prove incalculable, besides meaning eventual ruin to the whole Church. It was not surprising therefore that after considering the matter from every standpoint the Pope finally intimated to the French minister his unalterable resolution of maintaining the position he had taken at any cost.

It was in this junction that the genius of M. Cacault was called into play. Fully acquainted with the temperament and disposition of Bonaparte he determined upon a measure that at first seemed foolhardy, but which upon mature reflection commended itself to the Roman Court. He would carry out the instructions of the First Consul to the letter, but at the same time he would so arrange matters that the affair in question should be settled to the satisfaction of every one concerned. His plan, in short, was to induce Cardinal Consalvi, the Papal Secretary of State, to proceed at once to Paris, and there personally conduct the discussions, feeling certain that the diplomatic skill of the young statesman could effect the result when all other means would be destined to failure.


Full of this idea the French minister approached the Cardinal, and urged upon him the duty of hastening at once to Paris, to superintend personally the disentangling of the situation.

"The First Consul does not know you," he said, "he knows still less your talents, and your tact, your persuasiveness, your coquetry, your desire to bring this affair to completion; go to Paris.... Go tomorrow,[137] you will please him, you will both understand one another; let him see that a cardinal can be a man of spirit, you are the one to conclude the Concordat with him. If you do not go to Paris I shall be obliged to break with you—remember there are ministers there who persuaded the Directory to transport Pius VI. to Cayenne. There are counsellors of state who are pleading against you, and generals who sneer and shrug their shoulders. If I break with you, Murat, a second Berthier, will march on Rome."

The words of M. Cacault made a deep impression upon the Cardinal, and together the French minister and the Secretary of State went to lay the plan before the Holy Father. The latter, desolated by the thought of losing if only for a time his beloved Secretary, yielded only after the necessity of the move had been demonstrated and had received the approval of the Sacred College.

On June 6th, the day following the expiration of the time allotted by Bonaparte, Cardinal Consalvi departed from Rome, seated in the same carriage with Cacault, who, in accordance with his instructions, was taking the way to Florence. In the latter city the two diplomats separated, the former continuing his journey to Paris, where he arrived on June 20th, and took up his lodgings at the Hotel de Rome, in company with Mgr. Spina. The Cardinal writes in his Memoires:

"My first thought on the following morning was to inform General Bonaparte of my arrival and to learn at what hour I might have the honor of seeing him. I asked at the same time in what costume he wished me to present myself. This question was necessary, since at that time the ecclesiastical dress was no longer in use in Paris, or in the whole of France. The priests were clothed as laymen; the churches consecrated to[138] God were now dedicated to Friendship, to Abundance, to Hymen, to Commerce, to Liberty, to Equality, Fraternity, and to other divinities of the democratic reason. Every one was entitled citizen; I was so addressed myself during my journey, even though covered with the insignia of the cardinalate. I would not discard that garb for a single day, though I thereby gave proof rather of courage than of prudence.

"The Abbe Bernier returned immediately with the information that the First Consul would receive me at two o'clock that afternoon, and that, as to the costume I was to appear as a cardinal as far as was possible."

At the stated hour Consalvi appeared at the palace.

"I entered," he said, "a salon in which I perceived only one solitary individual who advanced toward me, saluted me in silence, and then striding on before introduced me into a neighboring hall. I did not then know who this personage might be, but I learned later that it was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. de Talleyrand, a name too well-known in the annals of the Revolution to need any additional description from me. I imagined he was about to lead me to the private cabinet of the First Consul and I was congratulating myself in the hope of being alone with him. But what was my surprise when, on opening that last door, I saw before me in a vast hall a multitude of persons disposed as if for a scene in a drama. In the centre of the hall were symmetrically arranged the various corps of the state government (which were, as I afterwards learned, the Senate, the Tribunate, the Corps Legislatif, and the High Courts of the Magistrature) and, at the sides, generals, officers of all degrees, ministers, grand state functionaries, and before all others, detached and isolated, three persons whom I learned later were the three consuls of the Republic.

"The central figure came forward a few steps toward me, and it was only by conjecture that I divined that it was Bonaparte, a conjecture that was confirmed[139] by the attitude of Talleyrand, who still kept company with me and presented me to him. I was about to utter some words of compliment, and to speak of my journey; I had scarcely approached him than he at once opened up the conversation, and said curtly: 'I know the object of your journey to France. I want the conferences to be opened immediately. I give you five days, and I warn you that if, at the expiration of the fifth day, the negotiations are not terminated, you will return to Rome, while as to myself, I have already determined on what I shall do in such a hypothesis.'"

The calm dignity of the Cardinal triumphed over the haughty bearing of the Consul who permitted himself to yield somewhat. The audience lasted an hour and a half, and left the Roman prelate quite satisfied that he might employ as much time as the proper discussion of the affair should demand.

It was the 13th of July before the negotiators at last came to a definite agreement. The Concordat had reached that stage in the discussions when it could at length receive the signatures of the various officials interested. The night of the 13th was fixed as the date when that happy consummation was to be effected, and it was settled that all the negotiators were to meet for that purpose at 8 P. M., at the house of Joseph Bonaparte, brother of the first Consul.

So certain were the officials of the Government that the affair was now concluded, that the announcement of the fact appeared in the Moniteur of the day, in an article concluding with the words: "Cardinal Consalvi has succeeded in the object which brought him to Paris." Moreover, the First Consul had confided to his intimates that on the following day, July 14th, the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, the formal announcement of the signing of the Concordat would be made at a[140] grand banquet to be held at the Tuileries, at which three hundred or more guests would be present, including the six signers.

In the meantime the party of opposition to the Concordat had not been idle. Under the inspiration of Talleyrand a spurious imitation of the document agreed upon was gotten up, and after a note brought by d'Hauterive—one of the creatures of the Minister of Foreign Affairs—to the First Consul, was substituted for the real paper, under the impression that Consalvi would be led to sign it in the haste required for the accomplishment of the other consequent events. The Cardinal goes on to relate his discovery of this deception:

"Seated around the table," (in the house of Joseph Bonaparte) "a few moments were devoted to the question as to who should subscribe first, as it seemed that the honor belonged to him (Joseph) as the brother of the Chief of the Government. In the mildest manner, yet with all the firmness required by the occasion, I remarked that my quality of Cardinal and representative of the Pope would not permit me to take second place among the signers; I observed, moreover, that under the old Government of France, as in all such cases, the cardinals had undisputed precedence, and that I could not yield in a point which did not concern me personally but the dignity with which I was vested. I must in justice admit that, after some difficulty, he yielded with good grace, and agreed that I should sign first, while he should follow in the second place, then the Prelate Spina, followed in order by the Counsellor Cretet, Padre Caselli, and finally the Abbe Bernier.

"Thereupon we immediately prepared for the work in hand, and I took up the pen to affix my signature. But what was my surprise when I saw the Abbe Bernier presenting me the copy which he had unrolled, in order that I should begin with that rather than with my own, and after glancing over it to assure myself[141] that it was correct, I perceived that the Concordat which I was about to sign was not the one upon which not only the negotiators, but the First Consul also, had agreed, but one entirely different. The change in the first line caused me to examine with greater diligence the remainder of the document, and I discovered that the present copy not only contained the very same draft which the Pope had refused to admit without proper corrections, and which had given cause for the recall of the French envoy through the refusal of the Pope, but it changed the same in many points, having inserted many things which had already been rejected before that draft was sent to Rome.

"A proceeding of such a nature, incredible though a fact, and which I will not permit myself to characterize—the thing speaks for itself—paralyzed, so to speak, my hand before it could sign. I expressed my surprise, and declared decisively that I could not sign that document at any price. The brother of the First Consul seemed no less astonished at what he heard, and declared that he could not be persuaded of what I said, since the First Consul had told him that everything was agreed and that nothing remained to be done except to sign."

The firm stand taken by Cardinal Consalvi compelled the six commissioners to undertake again a revision of the document in order to be able to please if possible the First Consul, and thus end the affair before the banquet of the following day. It was noon of the fourteenth before they had come to a satisfactory agreement. The new copy was then taken by Joseph Bonaparte who brought it to his brother, the First Consul.

"He returned in less than an hour revealing in his countenance the anguish of his mind. He informed us that the French Consul was seized with a fit of great fury at the news of what had happened; that in the impetuosity of his anger, he had torn into a hundred[142] pieces the draft of the Concordat arranged by us; and that finally yielding to his prayers, his solicitation, his reflections and his reason, he had promised, although with unspeakable repugnance, to accept all the articles agreed upon but as to one, which we had left in suspense, he was as inflexible as irritated, charging me in conclusion, that he looked for that article just as it was written in the copy brought by Abbe Bernier, and that I had only one of two things to do, either to admit that article as it was and sign the Concordat, or to break definitely the whole negotiation; that he was absolutely determined to announce at the banquet of that day either the signing or the rupture of the affair."

It was two o'clock in the afternoon when Joseph Bonaparte brought this strange message. For two hours more this same messenger, aided by Cretet and Bernier, endeavored to bend the unflinching will of Consalvi, but to no purpose. He comprehended fully the great temporal evils that must follow a rupture with France, the dangers to the peace and liberty of the Pope and the welfare of the Church; but he knew at the same time that his action would be precisely in accordance with the wishes of the Holy Father, and therefore a matter of sacred duty. The discussion remained in the same condition when at four o'clock the six commissioners parted to prepare themselves for the banquet which was to begin at five. That this occasion promised to be one of violent anger on the part of Bonaparte was the thought of Consalvi as he entered the banquet hall of the Tuileries. The scene is described dramatically in his own words:

"Scarcely had we entered the hall in which the First Consul was waiting, and which was thronged with magistrates, officers, grandees of State, ambassadors, and most illustrious foreigners,—guests at the banquet,—than he gave us a welcome easy to imagine, he being already cognizant of the rupture. He had hardly[143] seen me than, with inflamed countenance, and in a loud voice, he said: 'So, Monsieur Cardinal, you wish to break the negotiations? Very well. I have no need of Rome. I will act for myself. I have no need of the Pope. If Henry VIII. who had not the twentieth part of my power knew how to change the religion of his country successfully, much more do I know how, and am able to do so. And when I change religion in France, I shall change it in nearly all of Europe wheresoever the influence of my power extends. Rome will recognize the losses she must suffer, and she will bewail them when it is too late. You are going, well, that is the best you can do. You want a rupture, and let it be so, since you wish it.'

"To these words uttered in public in a quick, loud tone of voice, I answered that I could not overstep my powers, nor agree on points contrary to the principles professed by the Holy See. 'In things ecclesiastical,' I added, 'one cannot do all that one can in temporal affairs in certain extreme cases. Notwithstanding that, it did not seem to me possible to say that the rupture was sought for on the part of the Pope, since we were agreed upon all the articles, holding only one in reserve, in regard to which I have proposed to consult the Pope himself, even though his own (the French) commissioners had dissented.' He (the Consul) interrupted me to say that he wished to leave nothing imperfect, and that he desired to conclude all or nothing. T answered that I had not the right to accept the article in question, as long as it remained precisely as he had proposed it, and without any modification. He replied angrily that he wanted it just as it was, without one syllable more or less. I answered that in that case I should never sign it, because I could not at any cost. He repeated: 'It is precisely for that reason that I say that you want a rupture, and that I consider the affair at an end, and that Rome will feel and weep over this rupture with tears of blood.'"


After more words uttered in a like strain, the guests proceeded to the banquet which was of short duration and clouded by the irritable temper of the First Consul. After it was ended, however, a better spirit entered into Bonaparte, and yielding to the solicitations of the Count de Cobentzel, the peacemaker of the day, he agreed that the commissioners might come together again for the last time on the following day.

"Let them see if they cannot possibly arrange matters, but if they separate without coming to a conclusion, the rupture will be regarded as definitive, and the Cardinal may leave. I declare also that I want this article to remain absolutely as it is, and that I shall admit of no change."

And so saying he turned upon his heel.

The commissioners met accordingly on the following day at the house of Joseph Bonaparte, and after twelve hours of discussion finally came to an agreement of such a nature that the honor of the Holy See would be guaranteed thereby, while at the same time the obstinacy of the First Consul would suffer no perceptible wounding. It was at midnight when the affair was at last pronounced completed, and the commissioners at once affixed their signatures to the document.

"The Concordat was signed at two o'clock in the morning in the house which I occupied in the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore. At the same hour I became the father of a third child whose birth was saluted by the plenipotentiaries of the two great powers, and his prosperity predicted by the envoys of the Vicar of Christ."[1]

It was midnight instead of two o'clock A. M.


The Concordat, thus signed on July 15th, 1801, was conceived in the following terms:


Convention between His Holiness Pius VII., and the French Government.

The Government of the Republic recognizes that the Catholic Apostolic Roman religion is the religion of the great majority of the French citizens.

His Holiness also recognizes that this same religion has derived, and at this moment expects anew, the greatest good and glory from the establishment of Catholic worship in France, and the especial profession thereof made by the Consuls of the republic.

Consequently, after the mutual recognition, both for the good of religion and the maintenance of internal tranquility, they have agreed upon the following:

Article I.

The Catholic Apostolic Roman religion shall be freely exercised in France. Its worship shall be public, conforming to the regulations of internal administration which the Government shall deem necessary for the public tranquility.

Article II.

A new circumscription of the French diocese shall be made by the Holy See in concert with the Government.

Article III.

His Holiness will declare to the incumbents of the French Sees, that it expects from them, with a firm confidence, for the sake of peace and unity, sacrifices of every kind, even to the resignation of their Sees.

If, after this exhortation they refuse this sacrifice, commanded by the well-being of the Church (a refusal nevertheless which His Holiness does not expect), the dioceses of the new circumscription shall be provided with new bishops in the following manner:

Article IV.

The First Consul of the Republic will, within three[146] months after the publication of His Holiness' bull, nominate to the archbishoprics and bishoprics of the new circumscription. His Holiness will confer canonical institution according to the forms established in regard to France, before the change of Government.

Article V.

The nominations to Sees, hereafter to fall vacant, shall also be made by the First Consul, and canonical institution will be given by the Holy See, in conformity with the preceding article.

Article VI.

The bishops, before entering on their functions, shall take directly in the hands of the First Consul, the oath of fidelity, which was in use before the change of Government, expressed in the following terms:

"I swear and promise to God, on His holy Gospels, to observe obedience and fidelity to the Government established by the constitution of the French Republic. I also promise to have no understanding with, assist in no council, entertain no league, either within or without, which shall be contrary to the public tranquility; and if in my diocese or elsewhere I learn that anything is plotted to the prejudice of the State, I will impart it to the Government."

Article VII.

Ecclesiastics of the second order shall take the same oath, in the hands of the civil authorities named by the Government.

Article VIII.

The following form of prayer shall be recited at the end of the Divine Office, in all the Catholic Churches of France: Domine, salvam fac Rempublicam. Domine, salvos fac Consules.[147]

Article IX.

The bishops shall make a new circumscription of the parishes in their dioceses, which shall be of no effect until approved by the Government.

Article X.

The bishops shall appoint to the parishes. Their choice shall fall only on persons acceptable to the Government.

Article XI.

Bishops may have a chapter in their Cathedral, and a seminary for their diocese, without any obligation on the part of the Government to endow them.

Article XII.

All the metropolitan churches, cathedrals, parishes, and others not alienated, necessary for worship, shall be put at the disposal of the bishops.

Article XIII.

His Holiness, for the sake of peace and the happy restoration of the Catholic religion, declares that neither he nor his successors will disquiet in any manner the holders of alienated ecclesiastical property, and that, consequently, the right to said property, with the rights and revenues attached thereto, shall remain incommutable in their hands or those of their representatives.

Article XIV.

The Government will secure a suitable salary to the bishops, and to parish priests whose dioceses and parishes are comprised in the new circumscription.

Article XV.

The Government will also take measures to enable[148] French Catholics, when so disposed, to create foundations in favor of churches.

Article XVI.

His Holiness recognizes, in the First Consul of the French Republic, the same rights and prerogatives enjoyed at Rome by the former Government.

Article XVII.

It is agreed between the contracting parties that in case any successor of the present First Consul should not be a Catholic, the rights and prerogatives mentioned in the preceding article, and the nominations to Sees, shall be regulated, so far as he is concerned, by a new convention.

The ratifications to be exchanged at Paris within forty days.

Done at Paris, 26th Messidor, year IX. of the French Republic, July 15th, 1801.


Upon its appearance, the new treaty was naturally subjected to criticism, adverse and favorable. That it meant a decided victory for the Church over her old enemies was admitted on all sides, and all hostility to its prescriptions could be reduced to the murmurings of the Royalists, the émigrés, the Gallicans, the constitutionals and the various revolutionary parties. By the great mass of the Catholic people it was hailed as a rainbow of promise after the desolating storms of the past ten years.

"According to its first article the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion was to be exercised freely in France; the Catholic Church was therefore to be free[149] in her organization, free in her preaching and teaching, free in her discipline, in her ministers, in her right of acquiring such property as would be necessary for the accomplishing of her mission. She is no longer as under the old regime, intimately allied with the State; she is no longer the Church of the State; the separation of the temporal and the spiritual has been effected.... But if in return one considers the words of the text according to their real value, she is entirely free; she need no longer fear trespassing from outside nor a supervision that tends only to hinder her action; nor those thousand and one interferences which were formerly perpetrated by Gallicanism."

The article continues: "Its worship shall be public"—words which naturally signify the exercise of religious ceremonies not merely within the walls of the church, but exteriorly also, as in public processions, carrying the Blessed Viaticum to the sick, and such like. Nor is it strange that these practices should be permitted in a land where the Catholic faith is the religion of the great majority of the people, when in Protestant countries they are carried out solemnly and amid the veneration of all.

The addition of the words—"in conforming to the regulations of internal administration (reglements de police) which the Government shall deem necessary for the public tranquility"—was one of the causes of the delay in framing the Concordat; it was the clause against which the First Consul declaimed so violently on the famous afternoon of July 14th, and it has served ever since as the foundation of an anti-liberal jurisprudence.

"In practice it is the mayor who in each commune is charged with maintaining public order and tranquility, and, by the same title, whenever a mayor considers that a procession or any other religious manifestation can occasion trouble and disorder upon the public streets, he has the right to interdict it. One must confess[150] that in a country like ours where the idea of liberty is so limited, it is sometimes a means for the protection of the clergy and faithful against injuries and outrages. But very often mayors have interdicted, and permanently, only Catholic processions, while they permit freethinkers to pass through the streets in parades that are dangerous to the public. If a mayor acts with such partiality, if he cannot support his interdiction with some serious reason—like that municipal official who would interdict a procession because the white veils of the young girls might frighten horses—if a mayor, in a word, acts by party spirit, and not in view of the public tranquility, he violates the Concordat. True liberty of conscience does not take account of the sentimental susceptibilities of occasional nervous individuals, nor would it impose upon anyone the obligation of dissimulating their religious professions or philosophical opinions; on the contrary it imposes on men the obligation of tolerating each other reciprocally in the peaceful manifestation of their beliefs. Hence, independently of the Concordat, is not such liberty of conscience demanded for all citizens by the Declaration of the Rights of Man?" (Croizil.)

The articles relating to the bishops excited the greatest amount of dissatisfaction in many quarters. It meant the realization of that idea which Bonaparte had expressed to Cardinal Martiniana in the year preceding—the utter abolition of the old hierarchy—and the substitution of one entirely new and conformable to the order of things about to be established. Before the Revolution there were in France 136 Episcopal Sees. In the scheme of Bonaparte these were to be reduced to fifty only, of which ten were to be metropolitan, although later, in 1801, he was pleased to add ten other sees to the number. Commenting upon this reduction, Cardinal Mathieu observes:[151]

"Sixty-six cities were thus subjected to a moral and material decline from which they have never since rallied. Indeed, each of these suppressed Sees was illustrated with memorials of apostleship and holiness, with monuments, with religious establishments of every kind which gave to the episcopal cities an importance superior to that of their population and made them so many interesting little capitals, wherein were often hidden men of great merit. The dignitaries of the secular and regular clergy, some families of impoverished gentlemen or well-to-do bourgeois and professional people, maintained therein an amiable society which kept up in the most secluded provinces the best traditions of the old regime—courtesy, a taste for literature and charity for the poor. All these little centres of intellectual and moral life were blotted out and the Concordat thus only sanctioned the destruction effected by the Revolution."

It was mainly because of reflections like these that the old émigré bishops received the news of these articles with so sad a grace.

The articles which treat of ecclesiastical property and the salaries of the clergy will prove of interest especially at the present time, when in the Law of Separation they have been so badly misinterpreted. Article XII. reveals the fact that the Church was placed in absolute possession of her property. The term "shall be placed at the disposition of the bishops" signifies the same thing that it did when in 1789 the property of the Church was confiscated by the then Government and, to use the terms of that law, mise a la disposition de la nation, placed at the disposition of the nation. There can be little doubt as to how those words were understood in 1789, for the nation, acting upon the law, immediately proceeded to the sale of all ecclesiastical property. The words, therefore, signified that the nation was placed in full and absolute possession[152] of such property, and the precedent must in all honor apply equally when the terms are used in favor of the Church. To say, therefore, that the article gave to the bishops the mere use ad revocationem of such property is only to betray a desire to excuse a robbery under the pretext of a misunderstanding. The Concordat thus acknowledged the Church's absolute possession of her churches and other religious establishments, a possession which will always remain hers rightfully, and which she shall defend in her own way against any attempt at alienation.

In the articles XIII. and XIV. the French Government acknowledges that even the alienated property, i. e., the churches, etc.—which after the confiscation of 1789 were sold, were even in 1801 the rightful property of the Church; though, nevertheless, the Church, for the sake of peace, therein agrees to waive her right. In so doing, however, she requires as a condition that the State shall compensate her for the same. This compensation is expressed in article XIV., wherein it is declared that the State shall assure a suitable salary to the clergy. In accordance with this disposition it follows that whenever—as at present—the Concordat should be abolished the Church should revert to her natural rights the compensation for alienated property being discontinued, such property or its value should be restored to the Church. In this matter the present Government of France has shown itself not merely unfair but actuated also by a spirit of robbery.

The Concordat finished, Cardinal Consalvi began his preparations for returning to Rome. He arrived in the Eternal City on August 6th. He had, however, been preceded by a messenger bearing the precious document, who arrived at the Vatican on July 25th. The instrument was immediately subjected to the examination of a[153] commission of cardinals, and only after long and heated discussions was it finally accepted by the Holy See. It was signed by the Pope on August 15th, 1801.

In accordance with the prescriptions of the Concordat the Holy Father began at once the execution of that article which required the resignation of the various sees by their actual or rightful incumbents. The brief dispatched by the Pope to all the bishops of France, whether resident in that country or living in foreign lands, necessitated that an answer be received within ten days. Fourteen prelates residing in London declared, on September 27th, that they could not consent for the present to his demands, at least without having been heard. Twenty-six bishops residing in Germany answered in the same terms on October 28th. On January 21st the bishops who had taken refuge in England addressed to the Holy Father a new refusal protesting "against the attempts which had been made or which might be made against the rights of the Most Christian King, their Sovereign Lord, rights which the laws of the Church commanded the first among the Pontiffs to respect religiously, and the defence of which was for the French bishops a duty rendered sacred by their oaths of fidelity from which no power could release them, and whose violation would be a criminal act." Some hesitation was likewise manifested by the constitutional bishops resident in France, a hesitation, however, which under the tactful management of Cardinal Caprara, the new Legate a Latere at Paris, was finally overcome.

The Holy Father, after waiting patiently for several months for a favorable answer to his demands, resolved at length to act notwithstanding all protestations. In the Bull, Qui Christi Domini, he declared that he derogated to the consent of the bishops who had refused to sign their resignation, he interdicted in them every act of[154] jurisdiction, he abolished the old dioceses existing in France, and erected sixty new sees in their place.

In the meanwhile the Concordat had been signed by Bonaparte, on September 10th, 1801. It yet, however, required the ratification of the governmental bodies before becoming law. Though signed on July 15th, 1801, it was not until April of the following year that this desired consummation was effected. It was finally ratified on April 8th, by the Corps Legislatif. The reason for the delay became apparent upon this occasion, for then there appeared in conjunction with the Concordat, and as if forming a part of it, a series of laws entitled Organic Articles, which had been elaborated during those nine months without the knowledge of the Pope, just as their publication was now effected without his cognizance. The purport of these latter articles was to destroy or contradict in great part the concessions granted by the Concordat. Rome has never ceased to protest against them, and to demand their abrogation or modification. In 1804 she seemed to have succeeded, deceived by the promises of Napoleon at a moment when he desired the aid of the Holy Father at the ceremonial of his coronation; in 1817, when a new Concordat was attempted, the partial abrogation of these Articles was one of the stipulations; their suppression was again proposed in 1848; and again in 1853. They remained, however, in spite of every effort, a constant obstacle to the fulfilment of the concessions of the Concordat and a source of perpetual trouble to the Church in France.


Organic Articles of the Convention of the 26 Messidor, Year IX.

Article 1. No bull, brief, rescript, decree, mandate, provision, signature serving for provision, nor other documents expedited by the Court of Rome, even[155] though they concern private individuals can be received, printed, or otherwise put in force without the authorization of the Government.

Article 2. No individual styling himself a nuncio, legate, vicar, or commissary Apostolic, or who makes use of any other determining title can, without the same authorization, exercise upon French soil, or elsewhere, any function relative to the affairs of the Gallican church.

Article 3. The decrees of the foreign synods, even those of the general councils, cannot be published in France before the Government has examined their form, their conformity with the laws, rights and privileges of the French Republic, and all that which in their publication could alter or interfere with the public tranquility.

Article 4. No council, national or metropolitan, no diocesan synod, no deliberative assembly, shall be held without the express permission of the Government.

Article 5. All ecclesiastical functions shall be gratuitous, except the offerings which will be authorized and fixed by the regulations.

Article 6. Recourse to the Council of State shall be had in every case of abuse on the part of superiors and other ecclesiastical persons.

The cases of abuse are as follows: Usurpation or excess of power, contravention of the laws and regulations of the Republic; violation of the rules which are consecrated by the Canons received in France; any attack on the liberties, privileges, and customs of the French church; and every undertaking or proceeding which, in the exercise of worship, might compromise the honor of citizens, trouble their consciences unnecessarily, or which might degenerate into a source of oppression or injury to them, or become a public scandal.

Article 7. Recourse to the Council of States shall also be permitted whenever an attack is made upon the[156] public exercise of worship, and the liberty which the laws and regulations guarantee to its ministers.

Article 8. This recourse is the privilege of all persons interested. In default of a particular complaint, this duty will devolve upon the prefects. Public functionaries, ecclesiastics or other persons who wish to make use of this appeal, will address a memorial, detailed and signed, to the counsellor of State charged with all matters concerning religion, whose duty it will be to obtain, in the shortest time possible, all proper information, and upon his report the affair will be taken up and finished in the administrative form, or sent, as the case may demand, to the competent authorities.

Article 11. The archbishops and bishops may, with the authorization of the Government, establish in their dioceses cathedral chapters and seminaries. All other ecclesiastical establishments are suppressed.

Article 12. Bishops shall be permitted to add to their names the title of Citizen or that of Monsieur. All other qualifications are interdicted.

Article 16. No one may be nominated to bishopric who has not attained the age of thirty years, or who is not of French origin.

Article 18. The priest nominated by the First Consul shall make haste to obtain institution from the Pope.

He cannot exercise any function before the bull containing such institution has received the seal of the Government, and before he has taken personally the oath prescribed by the convention made between the French Government and the Holy See. This oath shall be taken before the First Consul: a formal attestation of the same shall be drawn up by the Secretary of State.

Article 19. The bishops shall name and install the pastors; nevertheless they shall not publish their nomination nor give canonical institution until that nomination has been approved by the First Consul.

Article 23. The bishops shall be charged with the[157] organization of their seminaries, and the regulation of that organization shall be submitted to the approbation of the First Consul.

Article 24. Those who shall be chosen to teach in the seminaries shall subscribe to the declaration made by the clergy of France in 1682 and published by an edict of the same year; they will be obliged to teach the doctrine therein contained; and the bishops shall address a formal attestation of such submission to the counsellor of State charged with all matters concerning religious worship.

The bishops will ordain no persons whose names have not been submitted to the Government and approved by it.

Article 27. Pastors may not enter upon their functions before they have taken in the hands of the prefect the oath prescribed by the convention made between the Government and the Holy See. A formal attestation of this act shall be drawn up by the secretary general of the prefecture, and they shall receive a copy of the same.

Article 32. No foreigner can be employed in the functions of the ecclesiastical ministry without the permission of the Government.

Article 39. There shall be but one liturgy and one catechism for all the Catholic churches of France.

Article 40. No pastor may order extraordinary public prayers in his parish without the special permission of the bishop.

Article 41. No feast, with the exception of Sunday, may be established without the permission of the Government.

Article 45. No religious ceremony shall be held outside the edifices consecrated to Catholic worship in such cities as contain temples destined for a different worship.

Article 53. They shall not in their powers make any publication foreign to religious worship, unless[158] they be authorized to do so by the Government.

Article 54. They shall not bestow the nuptial blessing except on such as can prove in good and due form that they have already contracted their marriage before a civil official.

Article 56. In all ecclesiastical and religious documents it will be required to observe the equinoctial calendar established by the laws of the Republic; the days shall be designated by the names they hold in that calendar.

Article 64. The salary of an archbishop shall be 15,000 francs.

Article 65. The salary of bishops shall be 10,000 francs.

Article 66. Pastors shall be distributed into two classes. The salary of pastors of the first class shall be 1,500 francs; that of pastors of the second class shall be 1,000 francs.

Article 67. The pensions which they receive, in execution of the laws of the Constituent Assembly, shall be counted as a part of their salary. The councils general of the large communes can, out of their landed property or from the taxes, accord an augmentation of salary if the circumstances require it.

Article 68. Curates and assistants shall be chosen from ecclesiastics pensioned in execution of the laws of the Constituent Assembly. The sum of these pensions and the product of offerings made to them shall constitute their salary.

Article 69. The bishops shall draw up a list of rules relative to the offerings which ministers of worship are authorized to receive for the administration of the sacraments. These rules drawn up by the bishops may not be put in force without having been approved by the Government.

Article 70. Every ecclesiastic who receives a pension from the State shall be deprived of such pension if he refuses to perform the functions which shall be confided to him.[159]

Article 71. The councils general of the department are authorized to provide a suitable residence for the archbishops and bishops.

Article 72. The presbyteries and the gardens thereto pertaining shall, if they are not alienated, be turned over to the pastors or to the assistants in charge of the same missions. In default of such presbyteries the councils general are authorized to provide them with a suitable residence and garden.

Article 73. The foundations which have for their object the maintenance of ministers and the exercise of worship can only consist of rentals constituted in the State; they shall be accepted by the diocesan bishop, and cannot be executed except with the authorization of the Government.

Article 74. The immovable property, other than edifices destined for residence and the gardens pertaining, cannot be affected to ecclesiastical titles, nor possessed by ministers of worship by reason of their functions.

Article 75. The edifices formerly destined for Catholic worship, actually in the hands of the nation, shall be placed at the disposition of the bishops by a written order of the prefect of the department. A copy of this order shall be addressed to the counsellor of State charged with all matters concerning religious worship.


The Concordat signed and ratified Catholic France settled down to the enjoyment of comparative peace and security. It was, however, only the security which follows the ravages of disease, the peace of convalescence, full of weariness, languor and exhaustion. The fifty bishops installed by the new decrees could not help a feeling of discouragement as they viewed the situation. The Church, it is true, was brought back to a position of honor and importance in the nation; but it was, at the[160] same time, weighed down by the heavy burdens of Gallicanism and Caesarism; the former severing the ties that bound it to the head and centre of Christianity, the Holy Father; the latter making it subservient to the whims and fancies of a ruler, human at most and liable through the schemes of politics to be hostile and intolerant. The former was suited to the imperialistic ambitions of Bonaparte, who had already begun to dream of the glories of the old regime; the latter was couched in the fraudulent laws of the Organic Articles; the former was to lose its force before the lapse of half a century; the latter was to last as long as the Concordat itself.

Thus it was that the outlook at the beginning of the century was little favorable to the just execution of the Concordat. With all correspondence with Rome interdicted save under civil surveillance, deprived of the right of assemblage, and bound by slavish ties to a State official who alone could administer, reward, punish, teach, or cause to teach, according to his own pleasure, all true liberty seemed to have vanished as completely as during the dark times of the Revolution. With churches, schools and colleges under the direction of politicians, the right of ecclesiastical censure denied, and the number of aspirants to the priesthood limited, the religious society of France had become little more than an annex to the State, inferior in importance and subordinate to it in all things. The religious congregations were dispersed, the missionaries were forbidden to exercise their zeal, and for the thirty millions of Catholics in the country there were only eight thousand priests of whom fully two thousand bore the taint of the constitutional oath.

The bishops themselves were for the most part victims of the revolutionary tempest. Some of them had come forth from prison or from the foot of the scaffold whereon they had seen their fathers, brothers and friends brutally[161] butchered by frenzied mobs. Others had come back from an exile wherein they had guarded religiously the dear image of the French Church and the hope of her speedy restoration. "But it was the Church they had seen flourishing under the shadow of a kingly sceptre, the Gallican Church with its gaudy livery and its royal servitude decorated with the names of privilege and liberty. Accustomed to receive favors from the hand of power, it was easy for them to transfer their adulatory homage from the thrones of Louis XIV. and Louis XVI. to the boots and spurs of him who, after all, had just opened to them the gates of their country and filled his native land with glory."


It is not wonderful, therefore, that the will of the Conqueror should remain uppermost in all church affairs during the course of the Consulate, when only a few courageous and noble souls dared to stand forth in the defence of ecclesiastical rights and liberties. The Consulate was termed the Lune-de-miel, the honeymoon, in this new union of Church and State; but its joys, such as they were, were to feel ere long the bitterness entailed by the unreasoning and imperious exactions of an overbearing consort.

The soldier who had risen to the command of armies had been honored with the title of First Consul; his head, yet uncrowned, was restless till it should feel upon it the emblem of royalty. It was his ambition to be called, and to be like Charlemagne, an emperor; he desired that the consecrating oils in the great ceremony should be conferred by no less a personage than the Holy Father himself, and he wished that the Pope should perform this ceremony at Paris. The venerable Pontiff,[162] when apprised of this new demand of Bonaparte, was at a loss how to respond. He looked for counsel to his most prudent friends, and above all to the great Giver of light, and then weighing in the balance the great harm he knew must come from a formal refusal, and the immense benefits he felt must accrue to the Church from so slight a sacrifice, he determined, leaving the issue to Divine Providence, to gratify this wish of the General. He did not do so, however, before renewing his protest against the obnoxious Organic Articles, and obtaining from Bonaparte a promise of their speedy revokal.

In compliance with these resolves, the Holy Father set out from Rome on November 2, 1804, and after a journey of nearly a month's duration, through provinces once hostile, but now enthusiastic in their greetings, he reached Fontainebleau on Sunday, November 25th. Here he was met by Bonaparte who displayed at first an apparent desire to shower every honor upon his illustrious guest. Yet even this short stay near Paris was marked by the same evidences of fickleness and selfishness on the part of the First Consul, as were shown in his every relation with the Holy See. At one time it would seem as if nothing were too good for the aged Pontiff, and the Consul, to demonstrate this conviction, would display the most utter obsequiousness to his spiritual superior; an hour afterwards the Holy Father was made to feel most keenly the sense of humiliating dependence upon his tormentor. Yet the spirit of the martyr bore up bravely through storm and sunshine. He met the delegation sent to him from the French Senate with a calm undisturbed serenity that drew expressions of admiration from men hostile to the very name of religion; he forebore any words of reproach against the unwarranted demands of Bonaparte. There were, however, some things upon which he insisted strongly, and without which he would[163] refuse, even on the eve of the great day, to be present at the coronation. There were among the French bishops men who had signed the Civil Constitution during the Revolution in defiance of ecclesiastical warnings to the contrary. Still unrepentant, they hoped under the protection of Bonaparte to continue in the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction without yielding proper submission to the Holy See. To compel them to this latter course was the determined policy of Pius VII. though the constitutional bishops found a ready ally in the First Consul himself. The latter at first endeavored to gloss over the objections of the Pope, hoping that in the excitement of the day the coronation ceremony might take place before any action would be taken in regard to the obnoxious bishops. But Pius VII. was far too vigilant to become a victim to this deception. The aged Pontiff demanded the act of submission as a necessary condition before the great ceremony should proceed, and Bonaparte, tacitly acknowledging his defeat, yielded. The constitutional bishops at his command repaired to the presence of the Holy Father and complied fully with his wishes.

On the evening of December 1st, the Holy Father learned for the first time that the new Emperor had never contracted an ecclesiastically legal marriage with Josephine, his reputed wife. Despite the fact that all preparations for the great ceremony had been completed, the Pope sent word to Napoleon that he should refuse to take part in the coronation on the morrow unless the Emperor and Josephine should contract their marriage vows that very night in the presence of a duly authorized priest of the Church. Again the Emperor, fretful and impatient as he was, yielded to the demands of the Pope, and the marriage ceremony was performed at midnight in the chapel of the Tuileries in the presence of Cardinal Fesch, uncle to Napoleon. The following day, December 2nd, the[164] Conqueror of Europe, the great Dictator of France, realized the dream of his lifetime. The solemn ceremony of his consecration and coronation as Emperor of the French took place in the great cathedral of Notre Dame in the midst of all the splendor which the united resources of Church and State could afford. The ceremony began shortly after ten o'clock, when Napoleon, proceeding with Josephine to the foot of the altar, in the presence of the Holy Father made the solemn promise that he would maintain peace in the Church of God. The two candidates for royalty knelt upon cushions and received from His Holiness the oils and imperial consecration. Napoleon then ascended the altar, and taking the crown into his own hands placed it upon his head, after which he took up the smaller crown of the Empress and bearing it to Josephine crowned her. She received the diadem kneeling. The ceremony was concluded with the Te Deum.

Pius VII. returned to Rome after what was to him a humiliating and exacting journey. Indeed he could congratulate himself that he had at all escaped perpetual exile at Paris. Before he had left that city, the new Emperor, flushed with his recent glories, conceived the plan of retaining the Pope at Paris. The latter, however, had prepared himself for the demand and could answer courageously, that if they were to use force they would have at Paris only a poor monk called Barnabas Chiaramonti. Before he had left Rome he had arranged that in such an emergency a new Pope would be immediately elected.


Even at the entrance of the Eternal City, new complications met to annoy and confuse him, which, however, he settled with his usual diplomatic firmness and condescension. The affair of Prince Jerome was just then attracting attention. The latter, a lad of nineteen, and[165] brother of the Emperor, had married while in America, December 24, 1803, a certain Miss Patterson, a descendant of one of Maryland's best families. The ceremony was performed by Archbishop Carroll, and was valid in the eyes of the Church. Upon his returning to France with his young bride he was met by the anger of his imperial brother, who as soon as possible wrote to Pope Pius VII.: "I have several times spoken to Your Holiness about a brother, nineteen years old, whom I sent on a frigate to America, and who after a month's stay, married in Baltimore—although a minor—a Protestant daughter of an American merchant. He has just returned; he feels the extent of his fault. I have sent back Miss Patterson, his alleged wife, to America. According to our laws the marriage is null. A Spanish priest so far forgot his duty as to give the nuptial blessing." Napoleon then proceeds to request the Pope to declare the marriage invalid, giving as his principal reasons: That the lady was a Protestant; that Jerome was yet a minor according to French law; that the Gallican Church of France held it invalid, and that the marriage was clandestine and null according to the Council of Trent. To all these objections the Holy Father answered that the marriage was entirely valid, that it was not subject to the Council of Trent, the decrees of which had not been published in America, and that it was not in his power to annul the same unless stronger reasons were brought forward to warrant such action. To this determination the Pope adhered unflinchingly, despite the threats and revengeful actions of Napoleon. Even later, in 1807, when Jerome was married to a princess of Wurtemburg, the Holy Father, far from consenting, renewed his declaration as to the validity of the first marriage.

Napoleon, now at the summit of his political and military career, looked forward to still other conquests. He[166] had crowned himself Emperor of the French at Paris; he received another crown at Milan, making him king of Italy. Then came Austerlitz and Jena and Eylau to humiliate Austria and Prussia and Russia. He became a king-maker by placing his brothers upon the thrones of Naples, Holland and Westphalia. The battle of Wagram, 1809, brought Austria to the feet of the Emperor, who demanded in marriage the hand of the Austrian Emperor's daughter, the Princess Maria Louisa. Josephine, her claims long vanished, was divorced from Napoleon upon the plea of State necessity. An emperor to be an emperor indeed, must be able to look upon the children who shall carry his great name to posterity. The marriage of Josephine and Napoleon had been fruitless in this regard; reasons of State, therefore, demanded, according to Napoleon, that a dissolution should take place, and that a new empress be called to the throne. This reasoning of Napoleon was accepted by Europe; only the Holy Father withheld his approbation and assent. Josephine was divorced and the Emperor remarried to Maria Louisa. It was on this occasion that the terms were coined in the ecclesiastical world "the red and the black cardinals," at the great ceremony which was performed by Cardinal Fesch in the Tuileries, April 2, 1810. Of the twenty-nine cardinals then in Paris, thirteen, including Consalvi, refused to honor the occasion with their presence. This mark of disapprobation was punished by the Emperor who besides depriving them of their salaries forbade them to wear the colors or insignia of their cardinalatial rank. Hence their designation as the black cardinals. These two divorces betray sufficiently the shallow honor of Napoleon in dealing with the Church, a quality which other events of this period brought more into evidence.

The vainglorious assumptions of the Emperor knew no[167] bounds. Petted and flattered where he was not feared, he often smiled as he heard himself compared with Alexander, Caesar, or Charlemagne. He designed as a means of greater glory the complete solidification of his empire under his own supreme control. Only one obstacle lay in the way of his colossal ambition. He chafed at the thought that there was yet in Italy one little state which would hold out against his pretensions; and then, hurried on by the lust of power, and blinded by prosperity, this pretended successor of Charlemagne proceeded against the Pope. Again the aged Pontiff remonstrated. He reminded Napoleon of his former injustice in the matter of the Organic Articles; he reproached him for the injurious dispositions of the Civil Code which he had introduced into France, especially the law granting divorce, the tendency of which laws was to render the discipline of the Church almost null; and now in the face of this new danger, the projected subjugation of the States of the Church, he reminded the Emperor of the judgments that the Almighty must send upon those who disregard His Divine ordinances. The words of the Pope, instead of moderating the intentions of Napoleon, served only to fill him with violent anger. He determined thenceforth to cast aside all promptings of conscience and to take immediate steps for the complete subjugation of Rome. Benevento and Ponte Corvo at once fell into his hands; his troops took possession of Ancona and all cities on the Adriatic coast; Rome itself was invaded; the Papal militia was incorporated with the French; the Pope was deprived of every official necessary for the direction of ecclesiastical affairs, and surrounded by a guard in his own palace of the Quirinal.


For these outrages the Holy Father addressed Napoleon: "By the bowels of the mercy of our God we exhort,[168] we pray, we conjure you, Emperor and King Napoleon, to change your designs, to clothe yourself again with those sentiments which you manifested at the beginning of your reign. Remember that there is a God and King above you; remember, and always keep before your mind, that you will see very soon and in a terrible manner how those who command others shall by Him be judged with the utmost rigor." The holy Pontiff then published in the face of Europe a solemn protest against the unjust pretensions of Napoleon.

In a frenzy of rage the Emperor made answer to this complaint from the French camp at Schoenbrunn by declaring Rome an imperial and free city. On June 10, 1809, the pontifical standard was taken down from Castle San Angelo and the tri-color hoisted in its place. The same day Pius VII. and Cardinal Pacca, hearing of the event, exclaimed sorrowfully, in the words of the dying Savior: "Consummatum est." The Pope had long felt the necessity of excommunicating his enemies, but had forborne up to this time in the hope that the Emperor might display some spirit of repentance. As soon as he perceived that such hope was groundless, he only needed this crowning act of sacrilege to close the doors of his heart, and to proceed to make use of the spiritual arms of the Church. That same night the venerable Pontiff signed the Bull of Excommunication against Napoleon and all concerned in this spoliation. A courageous man was found who, before the morning, affixed this Bull to the doors of the principal churches of Rome. It was of course torn down as soon as discovered and carried to Napoleon, who was then in camp at Vienna.

Two years before, in July, 1807, the Emperor had asked scornfully: "What does the Pope mean by the threat of excommunicating me? Does he suppose that the arms will fall from the hands of my soldiers?" It[169] was but a few years later when the arms did actually fall from the hands of his soldiers in the great retreat from Moscow when famine and cold tore them from their grasp.


The Emperor now determined to proceed against the person of the Pope. General Radet was commissioned to arrest the Holy Father and Cardinal Pacca and to conduct them immediately away from Rome. The story of that arrest and the indignities heaped upon the aged Pontiff during his journey could not well be told in a few pages. We will then make it suffice to narrate only the salient facts.

At six o'clock on the morning of July 6, 1809, the French troops burst into the palace of the Quirinal. Radet, after a very few words of explanation, seized the Holy Father, and hurried him, with his faithful Cardinal Pacca, into a dingy carriage which was waiting in readiness. The Pope was absolutely without proper provision of clothing or money. There was no leave-taking, no words of consolation from his faithful subjects, but as a criminal is dragged away to punishment, so was Pius VII. carried out of Rome, across the Campagna to the north, until he reached the place of his captivity at Savona. Here he remained for three years, always under restraint and closely guarded.


In the meantime the imperial jailer made use of every expedient to break down the firm will of his august prisoner. It was shortly after the marriage of Napoleon and Maria Louisa that the Emperor, acting upon the advice of the Austrian Prince Metternich, sent the Ritter von Lebzeltern, envoy of Austria to the Holy See, to attempt a mediation. In this meeting the Emperor proposed that the Pope should take up his residence at Avignon, while[170] retaining his title to the temporal sovereignty; if he wished to reside in Rome, he must resign the temporal sovereignty, though permitted in such case to keep up the outward forms of Papal independence such as receiving and sending ambassadors and envoys. He declared at the same time through Lebzeltern, that he had no need of reconciliation with the Pope; that his bishops had the necessary powers for the granting of matrimonial dispensations, that the Code Napoleon authorized civil marriage, and that in the prime difficulty of all, the institution of bishops, he could set aside the action of the Pope and make use of a national council. The answer of Pius VII. was firm and uncompromising. He rejected the proposal of resigning his temporal power, he demanded free communication with his bishops and the faithful. He dismissed Lebzeltern without any concessions whatever, leaving the case exactly as it stood before that envoy's visit.

The anger of the Emperor upon learning the mind of the Pope did not prevent him from making another attempt at reconciliation. This time he sent two of the red cardinals, Spina and Caselli, formerly the Papal negotiators for the Concordat, who met with no greater success. Napoleon now determined to take the reins of ecclesiastical government into his own hands. He began this course by appointing Cardinal Maury, the Bishop of Montefiascone, to the post of Archbishop of Paris. The measure met with instant condemnation, especially from Pope Pius VII. who, writing to the Cardinal, reproached him for betraying the Church: "You are not ashamed," he said, "of taking part against Us in a contest which we only carry on to defend the dignity of the Church." To these remonstrances of the Holy Father the unhappy Cardinal paid no heed. For daring to thus utter his condemnation of the Emperor's conduct and Maury's treachery,[171] Napoleon determined to punish the Pope. The apartments of the Holy Father were broken into by imperial orders, all writing materials were taken away, his books, even his breviary, were forbidden him, his servants were sent away to Fenestrelle, his household expenses were cut down (five pauli, about fifty cents a day for each person being allowed for the maintenance of his household), the carriages he had used were sent to Turin, and even the fisherman's ring was demanded and sent to Paris. Before this was done, however, the Pope broke the ring in two.

Napoleon now began to seek precedents in history for the deposing of the Pope. Not succeeding in this he began a systematic persecution of priests and laymen suspected of too ardent piety, hoping thus to render devotion to the exiled Pope odious. Chafing at the ill success of all these subversive measures Napoleon determined upon a final scheme. He recalled the independence of the Russian czar in matters of Greek Church discipline; he reflected that George III. was undisturbed by any show of independence on the part of the English hierarchy. Why, therefore, should not Napoleon, the conqueror of Europe, make to himself a new schism, a new hierarchy, institute his own bishops, and be free from the troublesome superintendence of the Pope? The idea was inviting, and the Emperor immediately took steps towards its accomplishment. A great council was called at Paris. Its permanent presiding officer was Cardinal Fesch, the uncle of the Emperor, and it numbered among its deliberators one hundred and four French and Italian bishops. Like other councils it discussed matters of universal importance, but its chief debates concerned the canonical institution of the French hierarchy. In this matter the council decided that no bishop might be considered legitimate who had not obtained his canonical[172] institution from the great Father of the faithful. Yet that the council might not displease the Emperor it was decided that a deputation of bishops be sent to Savona to again beg the Holy Father to institute the candidates proposed. Again the Pope renewed his refusal, though, for the sake of peace, he agreed that if the sovereign Pontiff should delay such institution for six months, it might then be granted by the metropolitan or senior bishop. This was merely a delegation of power, not a cession, and was granted only for the emergency of the time being.

The Council of Paris was, taken collectively, null, inasmuch as it was convoked and carried on without the requisite conditions. Its decrees were, therefore, without any binding force. In fact, even the Emperor himself recognized this and was only too happy to find a pretext for its dissolution.


Napoleon now perceived that if he was to gain anything over the will of the Pope he must contrive to have his illustrious prisoner nearer to his own person. Under the pretext, therefore, that the English ships were hovering about Savona to liberate the Pope, the Emperor shortly after the termination of the Council of Paris, caused the Holy Father to be removed secretly to the palace of Fontainebleau. (June 16, 1812).

The conduct of the Emperor during the stay at Fontainebleau was in keeping with his past behavior. Under a specious display of ceremonial reverence towards Pius VII. he concealed a course of cruel treatment unworthy of a man, much less of a sovereign. It is true, the palace of Fontainebleau was not wanting in regal magnificence, that the table of the Pope was all that might be desired, and that the servants who surrounded him showed due[173] respect for their spiritual ruler. At the same time the Emperor himself acted the part of a bully and braggart towards a weak and feeble old man. An insulting tone of voice ever accompanied the most insulting demands, until the Pontiff worn out and half delirious with agony was made to yield to the most unwarrantable demands. Thus it was that upon the bed of sickness the Holy Father was finally led to apply his signature to a Concordat which, in a state of health, he would have repudiated in the most decided terms. It must be remembered, however, that this yielding was not in an affair of faith and morals, nor did it concern the Universal Church; it was a cession for the time being of temporal rights, not even a final session, but one made temporarily in the interests of peace, and as such did not affect the Papal position as the teacher and ruler of all the faithful. The Emperor, in his joy at this apparent victory, began at once to show unwonted kindness towards the Pope, and as a sign of his good will, permitted the old cardinals, the faithful black cardinals, to return from prison and exile to comfort him in his captivity. This concession proved unfortunate for Napoleon, for scarcely had they gained access to the Sovereign Pontiff than they began to represent to him the immense importance of the Concordat which he had signed. It was represented as a renunciation of all those inalienable rights which belonged to him, not personally, but as the Sovereign Ruler of the Roman States, a most humiliating concession after all he had hitherto borne in their defence. The Holy Father in deep sorrow protested that the document was not definitive, but merely a preliminary statement, which should be reconsidered before publication, so that the Concordat of that year was really without Pontifical authority. Thereupon, he made known to Napoleon his objections, retracted everything contained in the Concordat, rendering it thereby[174] null. This decision of the Sovereign Pontiff only rendered the Emperor all the more furious, and incited him to renew the discomforts of his prisoner. His cardinal advisers were again sent into exile or to prison, while he commanded that the Concordat of 1813 should be everywhere executed without further delay.


But the hour had already sounded for the total ruin of the tyrant. He who had trodden Europe under foot, now discovered Europe armed to meet him. With Germany consumed by a superhuman resolve to be free; with his old generals weary of fighting and struggling for the glory of a single man; with even his own relative, Murat, a partial traitor; with murmurings and threats resounding on all sides, Napoleon was not slow to perceive that his fortunes were in a precarious state. The year went by and battles were fought; some gained, some lost. The great campaign against Russia, with its consequent humiliating retreat had given the signal. The great Conqueror, who had once claimed a kind of sovereignty over a large part of Europe, now found France hardly able to uphold his imperial authority. In his desire to repair some of the wrongs he had perpetrated he liberated the Holy Father, in the beginning of the year 1814. But the repentance came too late. Already the enemy stood before the gates of Paris, and Napoleon learned that the day of his imperial domination was at an end. In his despair he fled to Fontainebleau, and there, in the very same chamber wherein he had confined his spiritual superior, he signed the articles of his abdication (April 6, 1814). His fate was soon sealed by those triumphant powers against which he had so long contended, and he retired a humbler man to his place of exile upon the island of Elba.[175]



Meanwhile Pius VII., who was by this time far on his way to Rome, was waiting at Imola for the final ending of the great tragedy which was taking place in France, and hearing of the downfall of his old-time foe, he hurried on with all dispatch to Rome. He arrived there on May 24, 1814, and made a solemn entrance into the Eternal City, whence five years before, he had been dragged away with so much violence. The joy and enthusiasm of the people, augmented by the memories of recent usurpation and tyranny, were unbounded. It was not alone that Rome had regained her sovereign but the Church also had again her beloved head, and all the Catholic world took part in the triumph of Religion over the unbridled ambition of her enemies.

It is true the storm had not entirely subsided. Napoleon again broke forth from captivity, and the Holy See for a moment trembled lest new outrages might yet be perpetrated against the Church. But before the danger could have been brought to its accomplishment, the newly arisen Napoleon was again overthrown at Waterloo, June 18, 1815, after which he was exiled beyond all hope of return, to the lonely island of St. Helena, where he died on May 5, 1821, after six years of penance.

Peace now settled upon the troubled Church. Religion once more dried the tears of sorrow, and the Pope, restored to the love of his faithful people, began to give his attention to arts nobler than that of war; the raising up of Catholic peoples in the knowledge of that God, Who, after purging them in the land of bondage, had overwhelmed their enemies and brought them to newer and richer prospects in the land of promise.



Anti-Christianism In Rome.


Pius VII. re-entered his capital May 24, 1814. In the meantime the princes of Europe had remade the map of Europe; but in spite of all hopes of permanent peace, their efforts only served to sow more widely the seeds of trouble and revolution. The Congress of Vienna, in session from November 1, 1814, to June 9, 1815, was, through the triumph it accorded to Protestantism, a triumph for the Revolution. That coalition was termed the Holy Alliance. Never was appellation more misleading, for the work of those princes only compromised the interests of religion, and put back for generations the empire of peace. Religious indifference had become the first article of the international code and the first requisite in the profession of diplomacy.

Pius VII. found the Eternal City despoiled of its artistic treasures, and he hastened to supply the deficiency made by Napoleon. He set to work to reorganize his kingdom. He replenished the impoverished treasury; he published civil, commercial, penal and legal codes, and regulated the taxes, re-established the Society of Jesus, and entered into Concordats with Bavaria, France, Sicily, Piedmont, Russia and Austria. Comparative peace settled[178] upon his domains so that when he closed his eyes in death on August 20, 1823, the fortunes of the Papacy in Italy were apparently secure.

Nevertheless, even in his day, the storm was already rumbling and the first threats were heard of that war which was later to wrest the temporal power from the hands of his successor, Pius IX. In the forests of Italy, in the fastnesses of the Abruzzi, among the woods of Calabria, in the mountains of Sicily and in the caves and valleys of the Appenines, a new spirit was in the mold taking shape.


The Freemasons, silenced after the defeat of Napoleon, took a new form in the notorious Carbonari, a secret society whose branches were spreading throughout every part of the peninsula. They were called Carbonari, which signifies charcoal-burners, because they held their assemblies in places called Vendite or places for selling coal. Their object was the overthrow of all organized government both in Church and State, and they swore their oaths with the most bloody promises under the most revolting penalties. Like all secret societies they had many degrees, their lowest being formed of young unsuspecting candidates, who were lured into the horrors of the higher grades by professions of loyalty to religion and the promise of quick and certain wealth.

The younger portion of Italy, quickly caught by the bait, was bound by oaths the infraction of which meant death, and finally led on to associations in which revolution and plunder formed the means and end. Pope Pius VII. issued an Encyclical directed against their insidious and dangerous doctrines, which was followed by another from Pope Leo XII. Both documents were enforced throughout the Papal States, and effected some little[179] relief; but the disease had gained too great a headway, and even in secret continued to make its progress felt in various centres of the country.


The efforts of the secret societies in Italy became more pronounced[180] during the pontificate of Pope Gregory XVI., when the Carbonari were united with a new association, the Young Italy of Mazzini.


Joseph Mazzini, born at Genoa in 1810, began to express his revolutionary doctrines in 1830, in the Genoese Indicator, and in the Leghorn Indicator. He was arrested and expelled from Genoa, whence he fled to Marseilles. There he met with three Piedmontese: Bianchi, Santi, and Rimini. These three conspirators furnished him with the idea of a new branch of secret societies, which they called Young Italy. To this nascent association Mazzini gave the motto "For God and the People," giving it to be understood that between God and the people there was to be no intermediary, neither political nor religious.

In accord with the Carbonari in making war upon Catholicism, and inspired by their title, they refused admission into their society to anyone over forty years of age. At first the unity of the peninsula was their apparent end, to which they added hatred of ecclesiastical government, and made the dagger and revolution the means for attaining those purposes.

The Republic appeared to them the only possible mode of government. Nevertheless that preference was not so exclusive but that they could consent to a monarchy as they actually did when they promised to Charles Felix, in 1831, that they would not molest a monarch who would agree to be a protege of the revolution and of the lodges.[181]



Exiled to Marseilles, in 1831, Mazzini passed on into Switzerland, where he made disciples of some Polish and German exiles. Thence he went to England, whence he directed the expedition in Savoie. Among the propagators of the Young Italy movement, who gave most sorrow to the heart of the Holy Father, were such apostates[183] as Achilli, Gavazzi and Gioberti. It is a significant fact that these disloyal ecclesiastics received no real recognition for their treason, and as soon as their services were no longer of use, they were cast aside by those for whom they had betrayed both country and God. There were also some of the nobility who betrayed a most shameful treason. Nearly all of them owed their prestige to the Holy See, but abandoned their benefactor when the promise of power was held out to them by Mazzini.


From his retreat in London Mazzini sent out his messages of hate and revolt. In 1842 he founded a revolutionary sheet called the "Popular Apostolate," a weekly which propagated his doctrines and sent them as a ferment of disorder into Italy.

At the same time, in France, Michelet, Sue and Quinet were attacking the Jesuits; books with the same object were printed in London; and even in Italy, Gioberti was publishing his Modern Jesuit, wherein he ventilated for the benefit of revolutionaries and sectaries the idea of a lay pontificate.


Among the many means employed to attack the Pope were certain Congresses which were held successively at Turin, Florence, Naples, Milan, Genoa and Venice. These Congresses were called scientific, and did actually treat of the natural sciences and economic studies; but their true purpose was to afford a forum for the expression of the views of Young Italy, and of hatred to the Holy See. Gregory XVI. perceived the real intent of these assemblies and forbade their holding in Rome, a refusal which excited the protestations of the conspirators who did not hesitate to proclaim him an enemy of progress and enlightenment.[184]


Gregory XVI. died in 1846 and was succeeded by Cardinal Giovanni Mastai-Ferretti, Archbishop of Spoleto who took the name of Pius IX. The proclamation of the election was marked in Rome by indescribable enthusiasm. He was hailed as a savior from the severe rule of this predecessor, and even Young Italy pretended to see in him a fosterer of their republican intentions. The future indeed looked inviting to the young Pope, who nevertheless, could not but see the darkness that hid the horizon from view. The Revolution continued its work. Despite the ovations of his people, despite the plaudits of the nations and their governments, Pius IX. was made to feel that the storm was at hand. At the same time while he felt the obligation of defending the rights of the Church with courage, he determined to make all reasonable concessions, and to accord as much liberty as his conscience might permit. For a month he debated with himself and his councillors upon the advisability of granting an amnesty to prisoners confined during the reign of Gregory XVI. The cardinals with certain personal experiences to guide them refused to accede to the demand for such amnesty, but the Holy Father in his solicitude for peace, granted the request actuated by the revolutionaries. All the political prisoners and exiles were amnestied on the condition of recognizing the Supreme Pontiff as their legitimate king, and of serving him as loyal subjects. All signed the contract, some going so far in their protestations of affection and loyalty as to arouse suspicion in the minds of some very practical ecclesiastics. Popular satisfaction manifested itself in enthusiastic fetes and dithyrambic felicitations.[185]


The amnesty was followed by other marks of generosity on the part of the new Pope. On April 19, 1847, the Holy Father gave to Rome a strong municipal organization; the State had its two chambers, its civic guard, an electoral law, a juris-consult, and a council of ministers. According to the new order of things laymen were permitted to enter the Council of His Holiness.


The whole world applauded; but the revolutionists were disappointed and prepared for a decisive blow. It looked for only one thing—the overthrow of the Papacy. Pius IX. had done much in reforming the administration, in laicising it to a reasonable degree, in providing for[186] all the popular needs, in creating asylums for the afflicted, schools for the children, and retreats for the poor; but the fall of the Pope was decreed, and Rome began to fill up with members of the secret societies, evangelical societies, Bible societies, all of whom worked together with implacable perseverance. Inspired by the perfidious and meddlesome English agents, they clamored for a larger liberty of the press, and for a greater national representation. Full liberty of the press was accorded, March 15, 1847, and journalism began immediately its work of destruction.


The year 1848 came. The situation throughout all Southern Europe wore a foreboding aspect. The king of Naples was menaced by a revolution; Venice was in the midst of an insurrection; Piedmont was at war with Austria; Hungary had arisen and driven the Emperor Ferdinand from his capital; and the July Revolution was just beginning in Paris. It was then that Rome re-echoed with the sound of revolution. Demagogues[187] besieged the Vatican, and mobs yelled for impossible demands, to all of which Pius IX. was forced to answer: "Non possumus." His minister Rossi was assassinated on the steps of the Assembly, and the gentle Mgr. Palma was shot as he stood near a window of the Quirinal Palace. The next day, November 16, the Quirinal was invaded; Rome was in the hands of the mob. Even the Holy Father yielded for the sake of peace, and signed the list of a new cabinet.

When Europe learned of this, it concluded that the Pope, deprived of his liberty had signed a document which was null. The Constituent Assembly at Paris reproached in severe terms the actions of the Roman mob.[188]


Finally on November 24, 1848, the Holy Father, realizing that he was a prisoner of an infuriated revolutionary crowd, determined to escape as soon as possible from Rome and seek asylum elsewhere. His release was effected through the strategy of the Duke of Harcourt. In company with Count de Spaur, the Bavarian ambassador, he contrived to ride incognito through the lines of sentinels around the Quirinal and about the city walls, and set out for Gaeta, where he arrived after some days. Here he was received with cordial welcome by the King of Naples, under whose filial care the Holy Father passed two years of exile.

In the meantime Mazzini had fastened his yoke upon the City of the Popes. Clubs were formed here and there. The Circolo Populare directed by Bonaparte Canino named a governmental junta, a sort of provisional government. Mazzini himself hid behind the scenes and directed the movements of the figures.


At that time there arrived from South America a personage who was to play a serious part in the final spoliation of the Holy See. This was the infamous Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was born at Nice, July 4, 1807. He was a conspirator from the beginning. As a young man he had conducted a practice of piracy with the Moroccan savages, after which he went to South America. The European insurrections of 1848 awakened the old passion for turbulence and disorder in his brain, and he hastened back to Italy. He came to Rome in the very moment of republican triumph.


On February 5, 1849, the Roman Parliament held a session in the Capitol. After a discourse pronounced[189] by Armelini, the Prince de Canino arose and cried out "Viva la Republica!" In a moment Garibaldi was on his feet and added: "We are losing time in vain ceremonies. Let us hasten our work." His words were repeated everywhere. By a decree of February 9, it was declared that the Papacy had actually and legally lost the government of the Roman States; that the Roman Pontiff, however, would have all the guarantees necessary for independence in the exercise of his spiritual power, that the form of government of the Roman State would be democratic pure and simple, and would be known as the Roman Republic.

Mazzini, the soul of the conspiracy, remained its dictator despite the nomination of a triumvirate. Garibaldi was charged by him to guard the Roman frontier against the operations of the Neapolitans. Rome itself was delivered up to all the horrors of anarchy. The European Powers intervened, and France sent under the walls of Rome, General Oudinot with a corps of the army.

During the first days of the siege Garibaldi gained over the French a slight advantage which gained for him the title of General.

One of the first acts of the exiled Pope at Gaeta was to issue a proclamation addressed to his subjects. Therein he expressed the hope that his misguided subjects would repent of their conduct toward him. But seeing that they were every day proceeding from one excess to another, he felt constrained to appeal against them to that supreme power of which he was the depository, and to arm himself with the spiritual sword which Jesus Christ had placed in the hand of His earthly Vicar. Therefore, he pronounced the decree of excommunication against all those who had taken an active part in the Revolution. Then, as if in sorrow for the righteous severity, to which he was obliged to have recourse, and[190] of the just defence which he had to make for the rights of the Church, he promised mercy and pardon to all who should give evidence of repentance.

His words, however, fell upon deaf ears. Mazzini was still in power. Atrocities of the most horrible type disgraced the streets of Rome, Imola, Ancona and Loretto. The clergy were persecuted and some of them strangled. Indeed, the triumvirs made use of fallen priests to celebrate the sacred ceremonies. It was then that the Catholic nations began to attest their veneration for the exile of Gaeta. France sent pressing offers of hospitality. Spain, Portugal, Austria, Bavaria, even Prussia and Russia offered their aid towards his restoration.


It was finally to France that he owed the glory of his return. While the Austrians were advancing through the Legations, the French army under Oudinot, Duke of Reggio, entered Rome after a siege of twenty-six days. At the end of June, 1849, the city finally capitulated, and General Oudinot proclaimed the restoration of the Pontifical sovereignty. On April 12, 1850, the Holy Father took possession of the City. An amnesty was granted, but with certain exclusions, among them being the triumvirs, the military chiefs and the members of the provisional government.

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was received in all Catholic lands with a concert of acclamations. But this triumph of Mary was only like a symbol of hope before the approaching storm whose mutterings could already be heard in the distance.

When Pius IX had returned from Gaeta, the secret societies made a solemn oath that they would yet obtain possession of Rome. Not content with wishing to deliver[191] Italy from foreign domination, they held up before the Italian people the illusory hope of becoming, through the defeat of the Papacy, the first nation of Europe. To attain this end it was necessary not only that the States should unite in one solid confederation, but that they should constitute one kingdom the government of which should be confided to the princes of the House of Savoy, to be held at the discretion of the sectaries. Their method consisted in spreading broadcast calumnies against the Holy See, in discrediting in Austria the House of Hapsburg which had been the last in Europe to shield the Papacy with the sword of the Holy Roman Empire, and in assuring the hypocritical neutrality of Napoleon III., who had ascended the throne only to be their supple instrument. Then they would place the King of Piedmont and Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel, upon the conquered throne of United Italy, first in the North and South, and finally in the Eternal City itself.


In fact, the first attacks upon the temporal power of the Pope came from the sectaries abroad. In the Congress of Paris, just after the Crimean War, the ministers of France, Sardinia and England formulated against the Papal States certain accusations, which they hastened to make public. Therein they declared the government of the Pope to be the most retrograde and perverse of the age. The Minister of Piedmont, Cavour, already dreaming of the unification of Italy, placed in the hands of the French and English ministers a verbal note in which he outlined a scheme for the expropriation of the Papal States. The note had no immediate effect, but combining with other hostile expressions against the Holy See, it was the signal of the storm which was about to burst upon the Church.


Piedmont had become a veritable hot-bed of liberalism[192] and irreligion. The government had ceased to respect its concordats with the Holy See. It had violated the rights of the churches, and had established itself as absolute judge in matters purely religious. The Archbishop[193] of Turin was banished and died in exile for having spoken in reproof of these unwarranted usurpations. The Bishop of Cagliari was obliged to leave his diocese. The encroachments of the civil government went from bad to worse; the property of the churches was confiscated, the religious orders persecuted, and a general reign of iniquity inaugurated.

In thus abandoning itself to the spirit of revolution, Piedmont went far in the way of iniquity. Under the pretext of working for the independence of Italy, its real design was to subjugate the whole land and make all its princes tributary. In fact, the history of the formation of the Kingdom of Italy is the history of all the treasons, corruptions, and turpitudes that one can imagine. The records of Europe contain nothing more high-handed or shameful. The Piedmontese Government, at once astute and brutal, secretly arousing the people by its paid emissaries, and then invading territories with violence; shamefully dissimulating the manoeuvres of its ambition, and their unmasking its projects with cynical audacity; scorning equally the rights of the people and the anathemas of the Church; recoiling before no means of corruption, and purchasing everything even military honor; insulting after its victories those whom it had surprised and defeated, not by the superiority of courage or skill, but by the aid of lying, treason, and the force of numbers; boasting of having yielded to the will of the peoples whose territory it was invading, and whose will it was forcing by the most odious of martial laws. It was the Piedmontese, Cialdini, who gave orders to shoot without mercy those peasants who were faithful to their King, the Pope, to religion and to country. It was Pinelli who said: "We must crush the sacerdotal Vampire, the vicar, not of Christ, but of Satan." It was he who called for fire and sword, an inexorable revenge against the Papacy and the Church. Other like[194] savages were Fantoni and Fumel, an Italian deputy speaking of them from the tribune said: "The proclamations of Cialdini and the other Piedmontese leaders are worthy of Tamerlane, Ghengeskhan and Attila."

In consequence of these barbarous orders, butchery was the order of the day. Priests, magistrates, women, mothers, were imprisoned and shot. On one occasion thirteen citizens were burned alive. Fourteen towns were set on fire and their inhabitants pursued and shot down. At Pontelandolfo thirty unhappy women who had taken refuge under the shelter of a cross were savagely massacred. Ancona was bombarded, and then Capua, and then Gaeta.

In that unholy war France hitherto the protectrix of the Church forgot her past. It is true she redeemed herself at Castelfidardo and at Mentana, giving to Pius IX her most generous blood; but she was powerless to prevent the consummation of the most perfidious and iniquitous acts of the nineteenth century.

Cavour recognized in Napoleon III., the French Emperor, a worthy accomplice. The two statesmen met at Plombieres and there decided to declare war against Austria. In the treaty of Zurich, concluded November 10, 1859, it was decided that Italy should be formed into one confederation under the honorary presidency of the Pope.

But hardly had the treaty been signed than Piedmont disregarded it by commencing a series of invasions, thanks to the silence of France and the influence of England. Pius IX protested in an allocution, reproving those acts of rebellion accomplished against the power and sovereignty of the Holy See.


In the midst of these events there appeared a pamphlet entitled: "The Pope and the Congress," which public[195] opinion attributed to Napoleon III. Therein, the author, posing as a pious and sincere Catholic, gave his adhesion to what had been done and counselled the separation of the province of Romagna. Napoleon finding that his trick was discovered wrote a hypocritical letter to the Holy Father.

At the same time Victor Emmanuel pursued his projects of annexation. After a vote manipulated by Cavour, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and the Romagnas were confiscated to the Piedmontese government. On March 26, 1860, Pius IX issued a Bull of excommunication against the usurpers and against all who had participated therein whether by counsel or by action. Without being named directly the King of Piedmont and Napoleon III. were the objects of the censure. The two accomplices thereupon threw aside all reserve and hastened to direct operations.

As the price of his complicity Napoleon III. obtained Nice and Savoy, in March, 1860. Only two States of Italy remained to be conquered, those of Naples (Italy) and the Holy See. The Revolution intoxicated with success, set to work to gain these two prizes. A revolt in Sicily served as a pretext. An Italian bandit, Garibaldi, favored by England, obtained control of Sicily; then Naples was delivered to the cause of Victor Emmanuel by treason and sacrilege. Francis II., its King, was forced to shut himself up in Gaeta. At the same time Cialdini, a creature of Victor Emmanuel, invaded the Papal territory, and brought his Piedmontese army against the forces of the Pontifical troupes, commanded by the gallant Lamoriciere. This brutal aggression aroused such indignation in France and in Europe, that the French government felt itself bound to remonstrate with Piedmont. The latter government, however, paid no attention to the remonstrance, but[196] continued its invasion. All the Catholic countries of Europe sent to the Holy Father the elite of their young men, and a gallant army of Papal Zouaves was soon under arms, ready to shed its blood for the cause of the Church.

Piedmont, under the silent and inactive eye of France, crushed that army on September 18, 1860. A few days later Ancona capitulated, and the Marches and Umbria were lost to the Holy See. In the South, Francis II. was still enclosed in Gaeta; Cialdini hastened thither and laid siege to the town. The King defended himself bravely, but at length, February 13, 1861, was obliged to yield and retired to Rome.


At length, through robbery and brigandage, Victor Emmanuel, in February, 1861, took the title of King of Italy, which Europe had the weakness to recognize. The moment seemed propitious to make the Rome of the Popes the capital of the new kingdom; Garibaldi tried to effect it, but was shamefully defeated at Aspromonte and forced to retreat. On September 15, 1864, took place the famous Convention, whereby Piedmont agreed to respect what remained of the Pontifical Kingdom, while France withdrew her forces from the Papal States.

The promise of Piedmont was illusory, and deceived no one. Garibaldi marched almost immediately on Rome with six thousand revolutionaries. Happily he was overtaken by Captain Costes, who commanded 388 horsemen, and this delay, although only twenty-six hours, saved the city for that time. The bands of Garibaldians were again defeated by the troops of Saussier and de Charette, at Mentana, November 3, 1867.

From that time until 1870, the power of France maintained the Pope on his throne. But when the Prussian[197] war broke out, Napoleon recalled his troops to the number of 5000; he needed them, he said, for the defence of France in her danger. Nothing now could oppose the Piedmontese. The Court of Florence at once sent 60,000 men, commanded by a renegade, General Caderna, who arrived before Rome in September. The whole Papal force amounted to scarcely 10,000, so that resistance became practically impossible. The Holy Father, nevertheless, went through the form of resistance. The enemy was obliged to force its way through a breach in the wall at Porta Pia, and entered Rome thus on September 20, 1870.


The same evening Cardinal Antonelli, the Papal Secretary of State, sent a circular of protest to all the civilized governments. It met, however, with silence, except in one instance. The Republic of Equador, through its President, the heroic Garcia Moreno, sent a message of sympathy, so full of courage and loyalty as to call forth the admiration and affection of Pius IX.

In order to give an appearance of decency to his usurpation, and to throw dust into the eyes of the European governments, Victor Emmanuel caused a plebiscite to be taken at Rome. This pretence of a popular vote called out only 40,000 names, most of which belonged to soldiers of the invading army. A law of guarantees was also published, whereby the person of the Pope was declared sacred and inviolable; the honors of sovereignty were to be maintained by him; he was to possess the Vatican Palace, the Lateran, and the country palace at Castel Gandolfo, besides an annual indemnity of 3,225,000 francs, which was naturally refused. There was also a guarantee of full liberty for future conclaves and ecumenical councils. Only one thing was[198] certain under all the guarantees: that the usurpers would have their way in any case.

After the taking of Rome by the Piedmontese, Pius IX shut himself up in the Vatican from which he was never to go forth alive. There he died, February 7, 1878. Victor Emmanuel, who had fixed his Court at the Quirinal, lived only until January 9, 1878.


The new Pope, Leo XIII., a native of Carpinetti, of the family of the Pecci, was one fitted to guide the bark of Peter in the trying circumstances in which he found it. The law of guarantees apparently in force could be said to shield the person of the Holy Father only because he gave no opportunity for its infringement. As a prisoner in the Vatican he could not easily come into conflict with the radical elements of the City who would show him scant courtesy did he choose to appear in the public streets, notwithstanding the law of guarantees.

In fact the temper of the mob has betrayed itself on more than one occasion. On the night of July 12, 1881, as the remains of the late Pope Pius IX were being borne to their last resting place in the cemetery of San Lorenzo. The event was made the occasion of rowdyism unimpeded by any surveillance on the part of the government authorities. As the funeral cortege moved along, the chorus of mockery and insult was raised on all sides. The police did nothing to silence the disturbers. Encouraged by this tolerance the mob went still farther. Insults were succeeded by threats. Then followed violence; stones were hurled and blows rained upon the members of the cortege. The faithful followed piously chanting the Miserere or reciting the Rosary, while the enemy howled the Garibaldian song. In the Piazza dei Termi the crowd hurled showers of[199] stones. The attending prelates were insulted, threatened with death, and struck upon the face. The faithful gathered around the funeral car determined to resent the profanations of the savage mob. It was only when the Church of San Lorenzo was reached that the police at length thought fit to intervene. The danger was then over, and the funeral obsequies proceeded in comparative peace.[200]


The true genius of the prisoner of the Vatican began first to manifest itself in his attitude towards the Knights of Labor in the States of America and Canada. Cardinal Taschereau of Quebec, and the Canadian prelates, as well as some prelates of the extreme party in the United States had almost secured the condemnation of this great labor organization by the Sacred Congregation at Rome. This body, it was claimed, was constituted somewhat after the model of Freemasonry; it had its secrets hidden from the outside world, and it had likewise a code of signs and passwords known only to the initiated. Catholics numbered largely among its members, and for this reason it was considered that the characteristics of this organization were those of a secret society which brought it under the ban of the Church.


But for the Pope the condemnation of the Knights of Labor by the Sacred Congregation would no doubt have been pronounced. Freemasonry, with its stupendous oaths and its invocations of dire and dreadful penalties in case of the violation of such oaths, with its liturgical services and elaborate ceremonial—not to mention Continental Freemasonry with its factional political policy and aims—was an altogether different thing from the constitution and workings of the society known as the Knights of Labor. The avowed object of the Knights[201] of Labor was the right of the laborer to a voice in determining the price at which he should part with his labor. It had no suggestion of anything revolutionary or anti-Christian. To have condemned this particular organization would have meant the condemnation of labor unionism everywhere.

Leo had already shown his sympathy for the workingman in many an expression of marked significance. His unconcealed admiration for much of what was characteristically American made him glad of the opportunity to pronounce officially in favor of this great organization of American workingmen.

The Encyclical which followed in 1891 made glad the sons of Labor throughout the world, and gave satisfaction to all democratic communities. Some of the sentences may well be quoted here: "The customs of working by contract, and the concentration of so many branches of trade in the hands of a few individuals, have brought about a condition of things by means of which a very small number of rich men have been able to lay upon the masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than slavery itself.... Is it that the fruit of a man's own sweat and labor should be possessed by someone else?... If the workman has to accept harder conditions because the employer will not grant him better, he is the victim of force and injustice." Sentiments like these had been expressed by other writers and other teachers, but coming from such a quarter and at such a time, they powerfully influenced the minds of the working classes, and won a regard for the Pope which has not died with his death. Even so great an aristocrat as Dr. Moorehouse, the Protestant Bishop of Melbourne, later of Manchester, in speaking of the Pope's Encyclical, said: "He shows a spirit very vast, a great depth of knowledge and a foresight most sagacious." Barres, the celebrated[202] French Socialist, said: "Let the Pope go on, and democracy will no longer see an enemy in the priest."

President Cleveland recognized the Pope's spirit by sending him a bound copy of the American Constitution, to which his Holiness graciously replied, and added these words: "In your country men enjoy liberty in the true sense of the word, guaranteed by that Constitution of which you have sent me a copy. The character of the President rouses my most genuine admiration." The Pope's recognition of the French Republic was part of his policy of conciliation, and gained for the Church many practical benefits in France.

Leo XIII. died peacefully on July 20, 1903. He was succeeded by Cardinal Joseph Sarto, patriarch of Venice, a native of Riese near Padua in Northern Italy, where he was born June 2, 1835. He was ordained to the priesthood September 18, 1858; was made Bishop of Mantua November 10, 1884; Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice in June, 1893; and finally Pope, taking the name of Pius X. on August 4, 1903.


Pope Pius X. came to his inheritance in a time of fearful storm and stress. The war on religion was already far advanced in France, and its mutterings were beginning to be heard in other States. But the new Pope, putting his trust in Him Whose Vicar he was, placed before himself the sublime mission of restoring all things in Christ.

His reign of seven years has already been signalized by an extraordinary virility, and a care for all in the Church. His encyclicals are marked by their timeliness and practical character. In 1906, his eyes as they surveyed the new direction of anti-Christianism, that modern refinement of error, detected its features in the movement to which he gave the name of Modernism. This system[203] condemned by him as the synthesis of all heresies, is the destruction of the idea of Christian doctrine by the theoretical or practical subordination of Catholicism to the modern spirit. The modern world, with its ideas, its customs, its needs, Modernism tells us, is an imposing fact; no power, not even the Church, can arrest its progress; it is therefore necessary to prevent the Church, intimately allied as it is with the life of modern society, from falling into ruin; it must transform its doctrines, and make them harmonize with the needs of a new age. The ideas of the Catholic faith ought to progress like the ideas of philosophy and the profane sciences. Such is the contention of the Modernists.


They forget that the Catholic also can have modern ideas and can draw profit for himself from all that is commendable in modern progress. But at the same time the Church is actually in possession of a deposit of faith infinitely true and intangible, coming as it does from divine Truth itself, and being true it cannot undergo such changes as are signified by the word evolution. But the adaptations which this modern spirit would demand of her are nothing more than an evolution, and would mean the abandonment of her Gospel, her dogmas, her supernatural life—in a word of herself.

The condemnation of Modernism naturally aroused the anger of its votaries. It had already gained to itself many men of prominence such as Schell in Germany, Fogazzaro in Italy, Loisy in France, and Tyrrell in England, all of whom made desperate endeavors to offset the effect of the Papal condemnation. But the efforts of the Holy Father were successful; Modernism has lost its prestige as a system, and men now that they are warned of its true character are quickly abandoning its influences.[204]


An incident which created considerable excitement both in Europe and America was the visit of ex-President Roosevelt to Rome in April, 1910. While Mr. Roosevelt was yet in Egypt on his way homeward, he sent a telegram to Mr. Leishman, the American Ambassador in Rome, requesting that official to arrange for an audience with the Holy Father. It was only shortly before that Mr. Fairbanks, the former Vice-President, had been refused an audience because of his expressed determination to visit and address the Methodist establishment in the Via Venti Settembre, an institution hostile and insulting to the Papacy and the Catholic Church.

Just as the desire of Mr. Roosevelt became known to the Vatican, it was also ascertained that strenuous efforts were being made by the Methodists to secure the presence of the ex-President at a public gathering. They had enlisted the services of Mr. Leishman to this end, and as Mr. Roosevelt had not declined the invitation, it became necessary to ascertain that he would not accept it before being invited to an audience at the Vatican. The arrangements for the audience were being made through Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Kennedy, D. D., titular bishop of Indianapolis and rector of the American College, but the ex-President refused to say that he would not accept the invitation of the Methodists, and thus the audience was cancelled. The incident was a sad reflection upon the good judgment of Mr. Roosevelt, who should have known the character of the Roman Methodist concern and what it meant to the Holy See; that it was an insult to the Holy Father, and to millions of his fellow-citizens.


On September 20 of last year, the fortieth anniversary of the breach of Porta Pia, an incident took place which[205] betrayed the real character of Italian anti-clericalism. It was on that day forty years before that the Pope was deprived not only of his temporal dominions but even of his liberty. The Vatican became as a little rock, in the midst of a stormy sea whose waves lashed it incessantly. Since 1870 no Pope has ever left the Vatican alive. Even the dead remains of Pope Pius IX. could not be carried through the streets without molestations. This fact made it evident last year that the remains of Leo XIII. could not be brought safely from their temporary resting place to their tomb in St. John Lateran. To avoid all similar trouble Pius X. has chosen for his last resting place the crypt of St. Peter's.

In the beginning of the Piedmontese occupation excessive care was taken to show a good face before the world. The politicians and political measures of the new government were at least moderate. But as time went on the enemies of the Church became emboldened in their hostility. The confiscations of the early eighties encouraged the spirit of unbelief and outrage which was embedded by evil example in the minds of a new generation.


In 1889, the votaries of every manner of disorder, intellectual, religious, and social, celebrated the reign of anarchy by the unveiling, in the Campo dei Fiori, of a statue of Giordano Bruno, an apostate monk, who has thus become the patron of anti-Christianism in Rome. Every year thenceforth the anniversary of the taking of Rome has been made the occasion of insult and defamation against the Holy See and the Catholic religion. Last year, Nathan, the Jewish Mayor of Rome, carried effrontery to its extreme. In a speech delivered on the occasion of the 20th September he hurled abuse, calumny and insult upon the Holy See in a manner to call for protests[206] from even the anti-clerical forces of the City. The Holy Father himself uttered a vigorous protest, which met with responsive sympathy from every part of the Catholic world. In Montreal, especially, a mighty meeting of twenty thousand Catholics voiced their indignation in the name of that Catholic city. Its effectiveness is evident from the fact that it forced a speedy though very lame explanation from Nathan himself, whose letter showed both his ignorance and his lack of acquaintance with the elementary notions of good breeding.



Pius X. shines as an exemplar of indomitable Christian Faith, confronting the infidelity of a modern world. He has the faith of Leo I., which stopped the march of Attila against Rome; the unwavering courage of Gregory VII., who died in exile but triumphed after his death over his enemies. The crises which he faces are not new,[207] and he meets them with the old weapons of supernatural manufacture which have proved to be the most effective against the enemies of the Church in all the ages which have passed. He is the true diplomat relying not on earthly defences, but on the promises of Christ to His Church.

The Latin statesmen who are opposed to him have found an impregnable barrier to their sinister designs. They may exult in a cheap, temporary triumph, but they have set loose to attain it the forces of disorder, and they will reap in time the deadly fruitage of their ill-advised plotting against the rights of the Church.

The Church ever triumphs. It is strange that these masters of a day do not learn a lesson from the history of the past. They are blinded by present power and position, and seek to accomplish what greater than they have failed to achieve.

Meanwhile, Pius X. serenely carries on the government of the Universal Church. He is unmoved by the clamors of politicians in high places, and quietly steers his course, unmindful of their threats, but calmly confident in the protection of a higher power.

He is an inspiration to the Catholics of the world. But especially to Americans, who like fair play and admire devotion to a high ideal. He is an exemplar whom they venerate and love. They admire his consistency and single-minded devotion to the interests of the Church which he guards. They are impressed by his courage and simple faith. In the face of the trying difficulties which beset him on every side they commend his calm faith in the ultimate triumph of right, and his serene confidence in the victory of justice.

The enemies opposed to him are powerful and resourceful; but the brave stand against them made by him and his Secretary of State elicit the sympathy of all true[208] Americans who love the right and adhere to it despite the temporary prestige of those who are opposed to it.

The hope of all Catholics is that the reign of Pius X. may be prolonged until he may reap the reward of his labors for the independence and liberty of the Church. But in every event they feel assured that the blessed result will be attained, if not in the lifetime of the present illustrious Pontiff, at least in the years to come as a blessed heritage of the intrepid Pius X.

At present the position of the Church is one of great difficulty. Represented as Rome is in Parliament by deputies who are all hostile to the Church, she has little to expect in the way of courtesy or justice. The law of guarantees which holds the person and good name of the Sovereign Pontiff inviolable, offers in fact but little security in the time of need. There are, indeed, hopes that a better era is opening up; that the people are beginning to look clearly upon the illusory promises of men whose only interest is their own elevation and power. If this hope is realized the Church may again breathe more freely, and the Holy Father may hope for some little release from the worries that constantly assail him.



The Kulturkampf—The Causes—The Men—and the Events.


Looking into the history of the times just preceding the Kulturkampf, and the nature of the events transpiring during its progress, among the causes may be enumerated the following: 1, the liberalism of the rationalists; 2, the liberalism of certain pseudo-Catholics; 3, the desire for Protestant ascendancy; 4, the hatred of ultramontainism as incarnated in the "Old Catholic" sect; and 5, the determination of Caesarism to reduce all religion in Germany to the domination of the State.


Emanuel Kant, and then Hegel and his disciples, had opened the way to unrestricted rationalism. They taught that religion was only an inferior form of "the idea," which "idea" formed its truth only in the "superior form" of philosophy. In 1833 Frederick Richter, a disciple of Hegel, denied the immortality of the soul, declaring the doctrine the cause of every evil. In 1835, another Hegelian, Strauss, denied the divinity of Christ. In 1837, Richard Rothe wrote a book to demonstrate that the Gospel would triumph only when all churches and religious societies were exterminated from the face of the earth.[210]

This species of philosophy, by denying the immortality of the soul, the divinity of Christ, and the value of the Church, reduced all religion to a vague form without any fixed or determinate existence. But, after all, what did Hegel and his disciples mean by religion? It is difficult to give an answer when one examines his works, barbarous as they are in style, and more nebulous in their conceptions than these of any other German writer. Nevertheless out of his misty speculations one can thus formulate his conception of religion: "Religion is only a creation, a phantasm of the mind of man, who adores a god whom he himself has formed to his own image; so that divine nature is only human nature idealized, unconfined, and then considered as a real and personal being."

From this principle which denied God, by confounding Him with man, and reducing all religion to simple philanthropy, Feuerbach deduced the theory that all theology was founded upon anthropology; that God was man, and that the love of God meant merely the love of man. Thus German philosophy had arrived at mystical atheism and was turning rapidly to open paganism with its denial of Christianity. This doctrine was preached by Stirner and by Gaspar Schmidt, who esteemed egoism as something sacred, and began to advocate revolution and anarchy.

Side by side with the school of Hegel was that of Tubingen, the head and master of which was Ferdinand Christian Baur (died in 1860). Baur had written, in 1835, a work on Gnosticism, which suggested many of the errors of Renan, and ten years later another work on St. Paul, of which Renan made much use when after denying the divinity of Christ, he wished also to deny the sanctity of Paul. Baur had once attempted to answer Moehler's monumental work, that "Symbolism" which exposed the contradictions of Protestantism and the constant doctrine of the Church.[211]

Under the leadership of Baur, the School of Tubingen rejected the Gospel of St. John, the whole theme of which is the divinity of Christ.

While the philosophers of Tubingen and other German universities were thus assailing the divine foundations of Christianity, another class of writers, Moleschott, Büchrer, Vogt, Löwenthal, and many Protestants, were turning to naturalism and atheistic materialism, the consequences of Hegelianism. The materialistic school, which was socialistic in politics, atheistic in religion, realistic in literature, had the impudence to present itself as the savior of society.

It would have mattered little had these various systems been compelled to rely upon their un-Christian apostles for support; but the pity was that men who pretended to believe in Christianity, in the Bible, in revelation only too often listened with favor to their teachings and applauded them. Thus it was that by the time of the French War of 1870, the Protestant mind of Germany was deeply infected with rationalistic ideas, so far at least as to render it unfit to understand even the primary principles of Christianity. Under such conditions it is easy to perceive how the teachings of Catholicity, resting firmly upon the Gospels and drawing their vigor from the divinity of its Founder, could prove a very eyesore to a misguided generation.

In Germany, in the course of the nineteenth century, until 1870, the Church suffered from a weak-kneed policy of many on whom she thought she could rely. The poison of Frebonianism was never quite eradicated, and made itself manifest from time to time in various wild disorders. Wessenberg and Dalberg strove to supplant the authority of the Holy See with a national church. Efforts were made to abolish clerical celibacy, to establish a new ritual, to inflate Catholic doctrine with a certain[212] heretical mysticism, to destroy Catholic devotion and loyalty by means of Rongeism. These and a hundred similar movements were evidences of the continuing influence of old Frebonianism, suppressed in one place only to break out in another. And yet, if the disorders had merely confined themselves to such wild distortions of Catholic practices, it would have been only a matter of time to cause their ultimate disappearance. But it is a singular quality in such pseudo Catholic movements, that they lead their supporters insensibly to the region of absolute heresy. Indeed, as is the case with the Modernists of today, the votaries of these "advanced" Catholic notions are often actual pantheists and atheists, while proclaiming their loyalty to the Church and her teachings.

The liberal Catholic of Germany will have much to answer for when judged for his part in leading to the persecutions of the Church in that country. In the first part of the century his presence was noted everywhere, in the court, in the schools, and especially in the universities.


About the time that Pope Gregory XVI. condemned the errors of Hermes, a certain ecclesiastic, Anthony Günther, was already creating a reputation because of his philosophical and theological novelties. As it was then a time when many strange systems were constantly appearing, and confusing the Catholic mind, the first writings of Günther, far from exciting suspicion, aroused words of admiration, even from men like Goerres, Moehler, Arnoldi and many other prominent ecclesiastics. Günther had so ingeniously concealed his true sentiments that their presence was not manifest.


After 1850, however, he began to show his real position.[213] Residing then at Cologne, he permitted himself to be drawn into the vortex of unrestrained liberalism, and conceived the project of reconciling the new doctrines of the rationalistic world with the truths of Christianity. In his works he accordingly gave the leading place to philosophy, to which he made theology subservient. His attitude, in fact, was nothing less than a return to the theories of Abelard, so vigorously condemned and exposed by St. Bernard. In this manner Günther approached the Rationalists; he repudiated tradition wherever it seemed in contradiction to his teachings; he passed carelessly over the Holy Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, often changing their form; he created new words for his theology, and attempted every conceit to produce a certain harmony between the faith and the spirit of the age.

In his doctrines, he purposely clouded the revealed truths. In an attempted explanation of the dogmas of the Trinity and of the Incarnation he displayed an ignorance as to their true conception. On such questions as the creation, and the union of the soul and body, he reasoned in a manner not only different from that of St. Thomas, but entirely opposed to that of the Church. The bishops of Germany were aroused to this new danger, all the more that many disciples were beginning to show the influence of the new master, and among them he had already begun to be hailed as a saint, the restorer of true philosophy, the savior of the Church. His doctrines were examined at Rome, and were condemned January 8, 1857.

Thereupon Günther wrote to Pope Pius IX., declaring himself obedient and submissive, and accepting in all humility his condemnation. Some of his disciples imitated his example; others, however, while declaring themselves obedient to the Holy See, continued to defend the condemned doctrines, bolstering their conduct with[214] the sophism, that as the condemnation was given in a general manner, the Holy See had not indicated in any way what precise words or propositions of the works had caused them to be placed on the Index. Hence, they said, that while the system of Günther might be condemned taken as a whole, the separate and individual doctrines of the author might be accepted. It was a new mode of evasion, which rejected the condemnation while pretending to accept it.

Pius IX., accordingly, wrote to Cardinal Geissel, on June 15, 1857, explaining clearly the untenableness of this new pretext. The Sovereign Pontiff, moreover, exhorted the Cardinal to forbid the books in his diocese, and to watch with all vigilance "that the doctrine contained in them, and already condemned, be not taught in any manner by anyone, whether in the schools of philosophy or in those of theology."

The school of Günther was thus suppressed; his teachings, however, continued to influence the minds of Germans far into the next decade, and contributed not a little to excite that craving manifested by the liberals for compromising the Church in favor of the spirit of the age.


In 1862 Pius IX. warned Catholics of new dangers. In the University of Munich, which from being the centre of German Catholic thought in the days of Görres, had under Maximilian become a very nest of false Catholicism, there was a professor of theology, James Frohschammer, whose tenets approached so closely to rationalism as to excite suspicion from the very outset. In 1858 he published his Introduction to Philosophy, and in 1861 a treatise on the Liberty of Science, and another work entitled Atheneus. These three volumes were full of grave errors and pernicious doctrines. In Frohschammer's[215] system reason was accredited with undue authority; full freedom of thought was permitted without regard to revealed or unrevealed truth; philosophy, it was declared, by its own power could arrive at those same principles which are common to faith and to natural reason, and even the divinely revealed truths of the Christian religion such as the supernatural end of man, the great mysteries of the Incarnation, and others like it were, it was stated, a part of science, and hence the material of philosophy, which could attain to the knowledge of them not through the principle of divine authority, but through its own natural forces. Moreover, it was taught that philosophy had no right to subject itself to any authority whatsoever; that its liberty was boundless, even though, as was asserted, the philosopher himself ought not to teach anything contrary to what divine revelation and the Church has taught, to call it into doubt because he cannot understand it, or to refuse to accept the judgment of the Church. Hence the wish expressed by Frohschammer that the Church should not meddle with philosophy, that it ought to permit philosophy to make its own corrections, even though it should have fallen into error.

These errors were especially harmful when rationalism was rampant in Germany; in fact the works of Frohschammer were condemned by the Church, not as if she loved philosophy less than a misguided world, but that she might prevent it from falling from its true position and becoming a poison rather than a food, and it was to that effect that Pius IX. wrote to the Archbishop of Munich on December 11, 1862.

Frohschammer had already one of his former books On the Origin of the Soul condemned by the Church: but instead of acknowledging his errors, he repeated them in subsequent works, at the same time maligning the Congregation of the Index and abusing the Church[216] with epithets and calumnies. But Frohschammer effected less harm when he placed himself in open rebellion so that all Catholics could be on their guard when his teachings were brought forward. To the liberals, however, he was a welcome aid, reading as they did in his works, and as coming from a Catholic source, the very tenets they were striving to inject into the German mind.


Perhaps no more potent evil genius existed for the corruption of the Catholic German mind at the time than the too famous theologian of Munich, Ignatius Doellinger. Born at Bamberg, on February 28, 1799, he made rapid and brilliant studies at Wurzburg and in his native town. He was ordained priest in 1822 and spent a few months in parochial work. In 1823 he was made professor of history and canon law in the preparatory college of Aschaffenburg, and when the University of Landshut was transferred to Munich, he was selected for the chair of history in the new institution.


In his earlier career, in fact as late as 1860, Doellinger was one of the foremost and loyal of German Catholics. At a time when so many of his co-religionists were being led into the campaign of hostility to Papal authority and the ancient discipline of the Church, Doellinger ever remained true to his ultramontain principles. In 1826 appeared his first theological work, The Doctrine of the Eucharist During the First Three Centuries of the Church, which was followed in rapid succession by a series of brilliant expositions of Catholic truth and history. In 1847 appeared his three magnificent volumes on "The Reformation, Its Interior Development and Its Effects." It was the signal for a crusade against the falsehoods of Protestant historians as uttered in nearly all the universities of Germany.[217]

In 1861 appeared his "Church and the Churches, the Papacy and the Temporal Power," a collection of public lectures which the author had delivered at the "Odeon" of Munich during that year. The work created a sensation among the Catholic teachers of the land, who could not but recognize in it the germs of the conflict which Doellinger was yet to wage with the Holy See. The Piedmontese had just completed their invasion of the Papal States, and naturally the world looked to Doellinger for words of protest. The unhappy theologian proved recreant to his duty at a moment of so much importance. Instead of uttering an unequivocal protest, Doellinger babbled only about the necessity of liberal institutions[218] secularization, etc., imitating to a humiliating degree the expressions of Cavour and Napoleon III. Doellinger had now steered his bark into the stormy waters of Liberalism.

In 1863, at an assembly of savants, at Munich, he discussed in a very bold manner the "Past and the Present of Catholic Theology," which called forth words of indignation from Scheeben, the eminent theologian of Cologne. Doellinger, together with some other disaffected Catholics, considered that the moment had nearly arrived for displaying open hostility to Rome. The man who had defended the Church in the Bavarian Chamber from the year 1845, who had spoken in terms of pure loyalty and affection at the Parliament of Frankfort, and at the Catholic congresses, who had spoken in no uncertain terms against the persecutions incident to the question of mixed marriages, who had flayed with his vehement scorn the supporters of a bill to abolish clerical celibacy, and had denounced the profligacy of King Louis and his favorite Lola Montez, in 1848, was preparing to turn his back upon a career so brilliant, and to take up arms against his mother, the ancient Church.

In 1869 when Pope Pius IX. named the commission which was to prepare the way for the Council of the Vatican, the name of Doellinger was omitted from the list. Although he could expect no other treatment than this, having already signified his utter disregard of all that history and tradition had taught concerning the Holy See, and having even gone out of his way to invent calumnies and garbled citations from historical writers in opposition to every papal claim, nevertheless Doellinger protested against his exclusion from this august body, and accordingly manifested even in advance his hostile attitude to any and every decision which the future Council might make. One of his principal moves in this direction[219] was to instigate Prince Hohenlohe, president of the Bavarian ministry, to arouse all the cabinets of Europe against the Holy Father.

During the Vatican Council he gave his best talents to the cause of opposition. While the episcopate of the whole world was deliberating in St. Peter's, Doellinger published his heretical views in his Janus, and in various Roman Letters to the Allgemeine Zeitung, besides putting forth many "declarations" stigmatizing the work of the Council. When the Archbishop of Munich demanded his submission to the decrees of the Council, Doellinger made a formal refusal, on March 28, 1871, and drew upon himself the sentence of excommunication.


The decisive step was now taken, and Doellinger in separating himself from the Catholic body was welcomed by the enthusiastic acclamations of all the liberal camp. Dreaming that he was about to play the role of a new Luther, the apostate gathered about him the disaffected elements of German Catholicism, especially in the various universities of the country. Men who held high prestige in the scientific and literary world, threw themselves at his feet and called him the savior of Germany. Forty-four professors in the University of Munich, a stronghold of Rationalism ever since 1848, and among them Freiderich Sepp and Reischl, were foremost among the defenders. Theologians like Hilgers, Langen, Reusch, and Knoodt from the University of Bonn; Reinkens, Baltzer and Weber, from Breslau; Michelis, from Braunsberg, and Schulte from Prague were but the leaders in the list of eminent savants who placed themselves under his rebel banner. The heart of Doellinger was inflated with pride and in laying the foundations of that sect to which the euphonious title of "The Old Catholics" was given, the apostate imagined that a new Reformation[220] was beginning, which would presently count its supporters by the thousands and millions.

History, with pitiless irony, has told the sad fate of his ambitions. Despite the immense aid given by the State to the new religion, despite the prestige even of Doellinger and his savants, the Old Catholics degenerated in a few years into a squabbling, disunited mob, to such an extent that Doellinger himself became ashamed of the child of his fancy. Too proud to acknowledge publicly the error which his heart recognized, he continued his apostasy until his death, by apoplexy, January 10, 1890.

Hermes, Günther, Frohschammer and Doellinger were but the manifestations of that spirit of disorder among the German Catholics, whose purpose was primarily to reconcile, by their own methods, the spirit of faith with the spirit of the age. Pride had created blindness, and blindness, spiritual suicide. But the liberal world that looked on placed their mutilated carcasses upon the altars of hate, and made their fall the occasion of fiery denunciations against the Church and all that it represented.


A second cause of the Kulturkampf lay in the desire of Prussia's rulers and statesmen to place the Protestant Evangelical Church in a position whence it might dominate all religious life in the Empire. Long before efforts were made, especially after the Third Centenary of Luther in 1817, to bring the whole of Prussian Germany into the ranks of the Evangelical Church. The schemes manipulated by means of mixed marriages, the long and pitiless persecutions of Frederick William III., followed by the comparative peace during the reign of Frederick William IV. This latter period had been prolific in examples of Christian life, in pilgrimages to holy shrines, in a great increase of popular devotion, in the spread of religious[221] orders with their sane and vivifying influences. The Catholic Church had been gradually arising out of a state of torpor and subjection to a position of prominence that called for consideration and respect from all non-Catholic sources.

The Protestants of Germany, however, were not altogether gratified at these beautiful results, and indeed, it was not long before they began to resent openly the evidences of Catholic progress. In their determination to stem the tide of Catholic conversion and increase they were not slow to use every means that opportunity placed at their disposal. Among these was the spirit of the Prussian people to which the name of Borussianism has been given, and which manifested itself as early as 1848.

The two great powers of Germany then contending for supremacy among the loosely confederated States were Prussia and Austria. In the Parliament of Frankfort the presidency of that body was conferred upon an Austrian archduke. The alarm was immediately sounded. If Germany were to become a united empire, was it not possible that Austria, as an integral part, might gain the ascendancy, and thus subject the whole German nation to the rule of a Catholic sovereign? In 1848 the union of the German Empire was set aside, and Frederick William IV. even refused to accept an imperial crown that would have among its gems the great Austrian state. Again in 1866, when the union of German States was being formed, Austria was formally excluded, nor has she been invited to enter the Confederation ever since. Her Catholic influences were the obstacles that stood in her way toward Prussian favor.


At the same time Prussia could not ignore the fact that many powerful and influential States around her[222] and even within her dominions were almost entirely Catholic. Poland, Bavaria and the Rhenish Provinces were too strongly Catholic to permit of any open aggression upon religious lines, although in the secrecy of ministerial cabinets the way for such aggressions was being constantly prepared. What was wanted was only an evidence of political weakness in the Catholic States, and this opportunity was offered only too soon.

Since 1860 the papal power had been slowly yielding in Italy to the attacks of Liberalism, aided very much by the encouragement of German cabinets. In 1866, Austria was stricken down by the hand of Prussia; in 1870, Catholic France felt its force at Sedan and at Paris; in the same year, Rome fell into the hands of usurpers. Even among the Catholic States of Germany the influence of Prussian intrigue had weakened the governments and made them tools in the hands of the more powerful ally. All these disasters in Catholic countries signified that Protestant Prussia was now in a position to impose herself with her laws and her religion upon the whole body of people coming within her sway. It is not surprising, therefore, that when William I. felt the glory of the imperial crown upon his brow, he should begin, like his predecessor, Frederick William III., to dream of a universal German Church of which he should be the Pope, and of which all his people should become willing and faithful members.


Closely allied with this desire for a Protestant ascendancy was an intense hatred of Rome and of Ultramontainism, especially as manifested in the dogma of Papal Infallibility as declared in the Council of the Vatican in 1870. This spirit had betrayed itself before 1870 especially in the words and actions of Bismarck, who remarked during the course of the French War: "As soon as the war with France is ended, I shall march against[223] the infallibility." To this end the populace was aroused and Protestant fanaticism was given full swing. The tocsin of alarm was sounded before the imaginary peril of a Roman invasion, and before the pretended assaults of the Church upon the State.[224]


For two years the secular press had echoed these fears and waved before the eyes of Germany the effigy of "Infallibility." All sane notions were cast aside, while defiance and hatred were sown in all hearts. All the journals, with one accord, took up the ever new theme of the Syllabus and of Infallibility to demonstrate to the German people that the jurisdiction of the bishops was absorbed forever by the papal jurisdiction, that the clergy were now slaves, and that every Roman Catholic, at a sign from the Pope, was bound henceforth to betray his king, his conscience, and the laws of the country. Feeling, under such impulsion, ran high, to such an extent in fact that the fear of Infallibility made many forget the part the Catholics had ever taken for the defence of the King, the country, and social order.

Underlying all these causes was the true reason of the Kulturkampf, the spirit of Caesarism, the desire to make the Church subservient in its life, in its doctrines, and in its hierarchy, to the caprices of the sovereign State. The forces to effect this had been growing steadily for some time. There were especially three parties to which the idea of a State controlled Church appealed. There were those who were hostile radically to the idea of religion, and whose campaign was directed against God; their leader was Bluntschl. Others, antagonistic to the Christian idea, attacked all positive religion, and desired the abolition of all Christian denominations; they were led on by Bennigsen. Finally, the Prussian Evangelicals, jealous of the progress of Catholicity, wished to create a great national Church in what they would call the Evangelical Empire, a Church that would acknowledge no interference from the outside, from Rome or elsewhere. Into this national Church it was determined to[225] absorb all the Catholics of the Empire. This was the dream of Bismarck.

In 1870 these various elements of disorder seemed to unite into a compact force directed against the common enemy, the Catholic Church. Rancors, divisions, jealousies, all were forgotten in the common impulse. It was the world banding together to exterminate the handiwork of God. The years have passed by, the Kulturkampf is over, its leaders are forgotten, its purposes have lapsed into history; but the Church in Germany has not been exterminated; indeed, it enjoys at present the most flourishing epoch in its history.


Among the characters most prominent in the Kulturkampf, we shall confine our more lengthy consideration to Bismarck, Windthorst, Malincrodt and Ketteler.

In Prince Bismarck were concentrated all the forces of the various parties uniting against the Church. He was born in the patrimonial castle of Schoenhausen, April 1, 1815, and received the name of Otto Edward Leopold von Bismarck. In 1832, when seventeen years of age, he entered the University of Goettingen. Here he attracted attention by his turbulent and fantastic character. A lively, boisterous companion, he was known as a drinker, epicure, smoker, duellist, and eccentric. He fought more than twenty duels. He became popular among his fellow students for his feats of arms, and his reputation in that regard extended to other universities. After leaving the University, he became an assessor of the Tribunal of Berlin, then referendary at Aix-la-Chapelle,[226] and at Pottsdam, after which he enlisted as a lieutenant in the Uhlan guards. Shortly after 1846 he married Johanna von Puttkammer, a woman who was later to exercise a malevolent influence over him during the troubles following 1870.


In 1847 Bismarck entered actively into the political[227] life of the nation. It was at the time when King Frederick William IV., yielding to the importunities of the Liberals, convoked a preliminary Diet, at which Bismarck was present to supply the place of a member rendered incapable of attending through sickness. Therein he showed himself an indefatigable defender of the conservatives against the demands of the Liberals, making himself soon the chief of his party.

This consultive Diet was forced to yield, the following year, 1848, to the popular demand for a more representative assembly. Another Diet accordingly met and voted for universal suffrage and the immediate elaboration of a new constitution. Bismarck distinguished himself in that Assembly, as in the preceding, by his unyielding opposition to Liberal innovations, and by the violence and asperity which characterized his utterances.

To propagate his ideas Bismarck founded a journal, which remains even yet the organ of the Conservative party in Germany, the Gazette of the Cross. As a result of Bismarck's many efforts, the King, urged on by the nobility, dispersed the Parliament, assembled the troops in Berlin and placed the city in a state of siege. The same year, 1848, the national Diet, composed of Liberals and Conservatives, met at Frankfort, and decided to re-establish the Empire, offering the imperial crown to the King of Prussia. In this matter Bismarck strongly opposed the views of the delegates and induced the King to refuse the proffered honor. The same actions recurred in the following year, Bismarck taking the same stand against German unity.

Thenceforth the new statesman began to be a power for the Kingdom of Prussia. His hatred of Austria seems to have dictated all his policies for the next twenty years. The war for the annexation of Schleswig-Holstein[228] in 1864, the war against Austria in 1866, the question of the Duchy of Luxembourg, and even the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, were all inspired by the fear that Austria should become too powerful, and deprive the Protestant State of Prussia of that ascendancy which Bismarck more than any other determined that she should have.

It was in 1862 that Bismarck was called upon by the King to take up the post of Premier, a position which was to make him in a few years the most powerful statesman of Europe. At the ending of the Franco-Prussian War, on January 18, 1871, in the Palace of Versailles, it was the power of Bismarck that placed the imperial crown upon the head of the new Emperor, William I. of Germany. The union of German States against which the Chancellor had fought in years gone by, was now the creature of his own making. The time was propitious, France, Austria and the Papacy were all humbled. Prussia had become one of the Great Powers. If Bismarck had rested there, his name would have been greeted with the accumulated blessings of all the German people, even though all these triumphs had been won by the way of deceit, brutality and an absolute disregard of all the promptings of justice and humanity.

That Bismarck had been preparing for his persecution of the Catholics is sufficiently proven from documentary evidence, although after 1888 he spent much time and effort to disclaim his part in the Kulturkampf. The Crown Prince of Germany in his diary of the date of October 24, 1870, wrote: "Bismarck related to my brother-in-law that immediately after the war he would enter upon the campaign against infallibility." Again, the Abbe Majunke, the eminent historian of the Kulturkampf, published in the Historico Political Papers of Munich, a sensational article wherein he proved from[229] existing documents that Bismarck was meditating the Kulturkampf before the opening of the Council: "The notes gathered together by Poschinger demonstrate that as early as 1850 the adversary of Windthorst has been the principal instigator of the Bavarian Kulturkampf," a fact which argued that he was the real instigator of the late Prussian persecution. Again Arnim, the former ambassador to Rome, shows that the Chancellor was projecting the conflict against infallibility at least while the Council was going on. Again, on September 13, 1870, Bismarck remarked to the deputy Werle, Mayor of Rheims: "When we have disposed of Catholicism, they (i. e. the Latin nations) will not be long in disappearing." All these and other evidences remain to show that the mind of Bismarck had been meditating the extermination of the Catholic religion before the actual hostilities began. His part in the conflict itself will be shown in discussing its events. In 1887, he made his peace with Pope Leo XIII., from whom he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ, and died in 1898, after witnessing the final collapse of the Kulturkampf and acknowledging its utter failure to accomplish the the end it had in view.

Directly opposed to Bismarck was another statesman in whom with all the energy and determination of his adversary were found the qualities of honor and justice united together in absolute loyalty to Catholic principles. This man was Louis Joseph Windthorst, born January 17, 1812, at Osterkapelln in the Kingdom of Hanover. After showing for some time an inclination for the ecclesiastical state, he finally decided his vocation in 1836 by entering the bar at Osnabrück. He was later made syndic of the Equestrian Order of the Nobility, and then lay President of the ecclesiastical tribunal. In 1838 he married and his union was blessed not only by conjugal happiness,[230] but more than all by the birth of four children, the eldest of whom survived him.


In 1848 there were in Germany two political parties; one defending the maintaining of Austria in the Confederation and desirous that she should be at its head; the other demanding the exclusion of Austria, and the preponderance of Prussia. Elected to the Diet from Hanover in 1849, Windthorst declared himself for Austria, a Catholic power which promised to permit the different[231] States to retain their autonomy; and he combatted openly the members of the German Parliament at Frankfort when they offered the imperial crown to William IV. of Prussia. Windthorst had just been nominated to the Presidency of the Hanoverian Chamber of Deputies, in 1851, when upon the accession of George V. to the throne, he received the portfolio of Justice. He served in that capacity until 1853 when the ministry of which he formed a part was overturned.

It was during the period of comparative quiet that followed, that Windthorst rendered to his natal diocese a remarkable service. Both in the Chamber and at Court he pleaded for the ancient principality of Osnabrück, which had been in the hands of a lay administrator ever since the great secularization. His efforts were crowned with success. In 1857 the diocese of Osnabrück was re-established and the Abbe Melchers, then Vicar General of Münster, was made its bishop.

In 1862 Windthorst was again called to the ministry of Justice, and again pleaded the cause of Austria. In a short time, however, he again left the ministry and was made Procurator General of the Court of Appeals at Celle. Hitherto Windthorst had been the principal adviser of George V., the intrepid defender of his country's independence, and the influential protector of Catholic interests in the midst of a Protestant Court; when at length his powers in that direction were ended by the action of Prussia in taking possession of Hanover.

The little kingdom thus blotted out, Windthorst turned his attention to the larger interests of the whole country. In placing himself, however unwillingly upon the platform of accomplished facts, and in taking the oath of the Prussian Constitution, Windthorst accepted the ruling of the Prussian Landtag, and was elected first to the Constituent Assembly, and then to the Reichstag of the Confederation[232] of Northern Germany, in 1871. He remained until his death the representative from Meppen, whence his soubriquet, the Pearl of Meppen. He was also sometimes termed His Little Excellency, from his slight stature, and also "the Guelph Leader," from his indomitable attitude in defending the interests of the weaker side against the aggressions of the unscrupulous majority.

In the Kulturkampf his position was the exact antithesis to that of Bismarck. By his strict ideas of honor and justice, and his indomitable courage in forcing the issues he had at stake, he gained his cause over the brutal and unscrupulous strength of the Chancellor. The ideal which he pursued was that of Christian society, the independence of the Church, respect for authority, and the maintenance of liberty and of civil equality. He was a contrast in every way to Bismarck. Windthorst was the champion of right, Bismarck the representative of force; the one was calm in his certainty of ultimate victory; the other fought with animosity and fury. Windthorst strove to enlighten and convince his adversary; the Chancellor was bent upon crushing and annihilating his enemy. In seeking the triumph of a principle, the one recognized neither menaces nor boastings; the other seeking his own personal aggrandisement spoke in terms of haughtiness and contempt of all who dared to differ from him. Windthorst was almost the only man who could not be cowed by Bismarck, and thus, urged on by the hand of God, the Pearl of Meppen crushed at last the Iron Chancellor. Windthorst was a man of men, constant, faithful to his friends, and firm as a rock in his trust in God. The words of Pope Leo XIII., at the time of his death in 1891, were significant: "He so loved his country and respected his sovereign, that he never separated his duties as a citizen from his zeal for religion. So well did he encounter his adversaries by the weight of his arguments[233] and the force of his eloquence, that it was easy to see that it was the love of truth which urged him on, and not any greedy desire for personal advantages or honors."


Herrmann von Malincrodt, the great orator of the Centre during the[234] Kulturkampf, was a native of Minden in Westphalia, where he was born on February 5, 1821. His father was a Protestant, yet of such natural honesty, that he would not stand in the way of his son's education in Catholic faith and doctrine. The mother of Herrmann was a pious Catholic, a cultured lady, whose care for the religious bringing up of her children was not satisfied with the religious teaching given them at school, but called a priest to her house to supplement the training of the school. The classical studies of young Malincrodt were made at Aix-la-Chapelle, where his father had taken up his residence in 1823. When, in 1838, the future deputy went to study law at Bonn, and later at Berlin, his faith was still intact as his heart was pure. He passed through the University with equal safety. The teachings of his good mother, who died some years before, were his safeguard and preserved him against the dangers so often fatal to youth. The anti-Christian doctrines of his professors, and the shameless examples of his fellow students had no effect upon his strong character. In his twentieth year he left his studies as good a Catholic as he was a learned jurist.

After a short period at the tribunal of Paderborn, and having been referendary successively at Münster and Erfurt, he retired for over a year to study for his degree. When his thesis, entitled Juridical Relations between Church and State was presented, the judges marvelled to find in so young a man such an evidence of solid learning, clear reasoning, and originality of thought. They noted moreover the uncompromising Catholic character of his essay, and accordingly, while they accounted[235] his endeavor a success, they added the remark: "A work too favorable to the Church." In 1849 he was named Assessor for the Regency of Minden, and two years later was sent to Erfurt to fulfil the same functions. In the latter place he made so favorable an impression upon the people that the government made him First Burgomaster of the town. This choice was all the more significant that four-fifths of the population were Protestants, while Malincrodt was known as an ultra Catholic; they were won, indeed, by his characteristic integrity, his tolerance and justice, and the nobility of deportment. So well satisfied were the citizens with his administration that he was accorded the right of the city.

The people of Westphalia were naturally proud of their fellow citizen, and in the elections of 1852, the district of Münster-Coesfeld sent him to the Prussian Landtag. He arrived at Parliament at a moment when a new conflict was threatening between the State and the Church. The ministers had just interdicted the missions of the Jesuits and forbade Prussian students to pursue their theological studies at Rome. King Frederick William IV. was animated with kindlier dispositions. He had witnessed the bravery and loyalty of the Catholics during the stirring times of 1848, and in recognition of the same he had effected that a clause should be inscribed in the Constitution guaranteeing the most essential ecclesiastical liberties. Unfortunately his ministers did not share his sentiments, and the court canonists found it too difficult to break with the old Prussian traditions, and accordingly they gave their best efforts to nullify the concessions of the sovereign. In the presence of the hostile manifestations the Catholics felt it incumbent upon them to organize for the better defence of their rights. In the elections of 1852, despite every ministerial pressure, they succeeded in sending sixty-three[236] Catholics to the Parliament, and the group thus elected took the name of the Catholic Faction.

Malincrodt had his place in the ranks of these pleaders for the Church. On March 11, 1853, after many months of silence, he made his maiden speech and proved himself an orator of the first rank. During that session he held the floor thirty-six times. In all the parliamentary discussions, whenever it was necessary to defend the Holy See, the rights of Catholics, or conservative principles, Malincrodt was always to the fore. His talents increased year by year, and would have brought him still higher distinction, had not the elections of 1864 sent him back to private life.

During the following three years events in his country were fast approaching a climax. The Danish and Austrian wars had demonstrated what Bismarck meant by "moral conquests." Malincrodt was among those who could foresee the coming storm. In 1867 the electors of Westphalia sent him to the Federal Diet of Northern Germany. It was there that he met for the first time that lilliputian of Hanover, already known as the Meppen Pearl, the Little Excellency, Herr Windthorst. The two Catholic statesmen recognized each other, and began a friendship which was to continue, under the aegis of the Church, until death. The speeches of Malincrodt in the Reichstag were a revelation to the assembly who recognized in him a man with whom German statesmen would have to reckon. He was as much opposed to German union as desired by the Prussians, as was Windthorst, and that because he knew how Prussia with the power in her hands would not fail to destroy the autonomy of the lesser States.

The Franco Prussian War followed, with its consequence of the unification of Germany under the imperial domination of Prussia. The Kulturkampf made necessary[237] the formation of the Centre, of which Malincrodt was at first the chief and spokesman. His eloquence throughout that stormy period was terrific, and had his career lasted a little longer, he could no doubt, in conjunction with Windthorst, have ended the struggle much earlier. He died, however, in his sixty-third year, in 1874, at Berlin after a burst of oratory that convinced even Lasker, one of the most implacable of his adversaries.

William Emmanuel von Ketteler was born on December 25, 1811, at Münster in Westphalia. He was thus, like his colleagues, Windthorst and Malincrodt, a Saxon. His mother, the former Baroness von Wenge von Beck, exercised a decisive influence over his heart and at an early age she inspired him with that truly Christian love for the poor which was one of his salient characteristics during life. He was remarkable even in childhood for his air of reflection and gravity, significant of a mind that was serious and inclined to a sense of conscientious duty. At the age of thirteen, in 1824, he was sent to the Jesuit College of Brieg in the Valais, where he finished his studies.

According to the German usage, his family sent him to many Universities, and thus he spent a short period successively at Goettingen, Berlin, Heidelberg, and Munich. He was everywhere an adept at athletic exercises[238] and an ardent worker. After his examinations in law he was appointed referendary of the government of his natal city, Münster.

It seemed as if he had found his vocation in law and politics. It was about this time, 1838, that he beheld the venerable Archbishop of Cologne, Clement August von Droste Vischering, dragged a prisoner to the fortress of Minden. Indignant at this act of barbarity, Ketteler threw up his governmental position. On July 9, 1838,[239] he wrote to his brother Wilderich: "As I do not care to serve a State which demands the sacrifice of my conscience, it seems to me that the priesthood is my most certain refuge. But how far I am from such a determination! To make me worthy of that sublime ministry would require a miracle greater than raising the dead to life." In 1841, he overcame his scruples, and went to seek counsel from Mgr. de Reisach, the Bishop of Eichstadt, who assured him that his vocation was genuine.


He entered the University of Munich, then at the zenith of its renown. Under the patronage of King Louis of Bavaria it had become the rendezvous of all that Catholic society esteemed as brilliant and distinguished. Görres, the great philosopher, was there with Philipps, the Professor of Law, and Doellinger, as yet orthodox in his teaching of history.

After three years of study he was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1844, after which he was appointed assistant in the little town of Beckum, in Westphalia, where he shared the labors of two young priests, one of whom, Brinckmann, afterwards also became a bishop. After two years he was sent as pastor to Hopsten on the confines of Hanover, where he spent his time in those duties which had become so dear to his heart, the care of the poor and the instruction of the young.

In 1848 he was sent as a deputy to the national Diet of Frankfort from a district composed chiefly of Protestants. Out of the 600 members present there, he found that forty were priests, while there were a few bishops and many notable Catholic laymen. Ketteler appeared in the tribune, a man with no political record and no literary glory. But his first speech aroused enthusiasm and proclaimed him one of the orators of the day. Ketteler demanded liberty of religious association for all creeds, liberty of education, and autonomy in the commune in[240] all that concerns the public school and the interior administration. After the assassination of Prince Lichnowsky and General von Auerwald by the insurgents, the Abbe Ketteler was charged by the Assembly to pronounce the funeral oration.

Fifteen days after this event the first great Catholic Congress was held at Mentz, and instituted a programme in which Ketteler was for nearly thirty years to have a leading part. This was the Catholic action in the Social question.

In 1850 William Ketteler was consecrated Bishop of Mentz, and entered at once into his role as the great social reformer of Germany. His solicitude for the poor was constant and practical. For the sick poor he called into his diocese the Franciscans of Aix-la-Chapelle; for the orphans and abandoned children he founded establishments in 1856 and 1864. For the workingmen he founded, in 1851, a Geselleverein, or Workingmen's Association, one of the first of its kind, besides bureaus of aid, and circles and societies for procuring cheap lodging for the needy. He had remarked that the numerous class of servant girls were almost altogether without religious attendance, moral protection, or material assistance. With the aid of the Countess Ida von Hahn-Hahn he founded refuges for their kind, and looking then toward those others to whom the allurements of the world had proved too fascinating, he established a House of the Good Shepherd. His work in the direction of the poor and of the laboring men went on without ceasing. His Establishments of Hospitality for the Workers provided board and lodging at the price of eighteen pennies a day. In 1856 the Association of Notre Dame de Bon Secours came to the aid of those who, while out of a place for a time, could find lodging until another situation were found for them.[241]

Nor was he content with the mere attention to the ordinary routine implied by such works. The service of his brilliant and well stored mind was also devoted to the cause, presenting some works that still remain authoritative guides in the matter of social economics. His great work in this regard was his Christianity and the Labor Question, written at a time when the doctrines of Lasalle and his companions were beginning to stir the workingmen into a campaign of violence and anarchy. The voice of the great prelate was heard also in the various congresses held every year in Germany to discuss questions of Catholic interest. In the Meeting of the Bishops at Fulda, in 1869, Mgr. Ketteler spoke eloquently upon the questions, "Does the Social Question Exist in Germany?" "Can the Church Aid Therein, and What is Her Duty?" "What are the Remedies at Her Disposal?" In the Catholic Congress of 1871, he delivered a masterly discourse upon Liberalism, Socialism, and Christianity.

In the Council of the Vatican, the position held by Ketteler in regard to the Definition of the Great Dogma, was that of many German bishops, namely, that while admitting the doctrine of infallibility as true and essentially Catholic, they were unwilling to admit that its definition was just then opportune. On the eve of the last session Mgr. Ketteler addressed to Pius IX. a letter full of submission, and during the rest of his life he defended the doctrine with all the enthusiasm of his heart and soul.

During the Kulturkampf until his death the great prelate proved a power of resistance against the tyranny of Bismarck, and although he could not live to behold the final failure of the enemy, he was rejoiced to know that the persecution was already producing fruits of conversion and edification everywhere. His great soul comprehended that the Church must finally come forth from[242] the contest crowned with the glory of triumph. It was in the assurance of this hope that he died in the Capuchin Convent of Bruchhausen in Bavaria, as he was returning from his last visit to Pope Pius IX. His part in the Kulturkampf, we shall review in the succeeding paragraphs.

Such then were the giants who came to the conflict of the Kulturkampf armed cap-a-pie, one indeed, with the weapons forged by hate and selfish ambition; the others with those emblems of Christian faith the lustre of which called forth the admiration even of the adversaries, and finally brought all opposition to a standstill.


The Kulturkampf! The name was invented by Virchow, the atheistic professor. He calls it a War for Civilization, though he of all men very well knew that the reality could mean only a return to savagery and barbarism. But as the Kulturkampf began in hypocrisy, was continued in hypocrisy, and finished in cowardly hypocrisy, what matters it, if even the name by which the mongrel is called is also born of hypocrisy!

The war was not the sudden ebullition of frenzied fear; it was a carefully prepared campaign. It was launched only when every circumstance seemed favorable to its success. France and Austria were helpless to oppose it; England and Italy were full of encouragement; the Protestants of Germany were excited by the spectre of infallibility; the Liberals welcomed it as a rebuke against their old enemy, Conservatism; the Holy Father himself was closed in behind the walls of the Vatican, a prisoner, and therefore without the prestige of governmental influence. At the beginning of 1871, the Catholic Church in Germany stood alone without an[243] influential friend in the world. It was then that cowardice raised its hand to strike; it was the act of a ruffian felling with a blow of his mailed fist the woman whom robbers had left half dead by the roadside.

If the Catholics were to blame in any manner, it was only because they had permitted themselves to be cajoled in advance by the smiles and hypocritical advances of Bismarck and his henchman, though it is true, they had every right to expect a grateful treatment from the new Empire. In 1870, Peter Reichensperger, one of the most prudent leaders of the Catholic party, advised the Bavarian Diet to join the Prussian alliance, through the trust he had in that State at the moment. Even Bishop Ketteler was deceived when he beheld the comparatively fair treatment of Catholics in the Rhenish province, whose proximity to France rendered it advisable that they should not be discomforted, though at the same time the Polish subjects of Prussia, at the other end of the Kingdom were complaining of political aggressions against their religious liberty. Bishop Ketteler, however, was soon compelled to avow his mistake. "It was a great fault on our part," he writes, "to have believed in the stability of the Prussian Constitution, in the rights which it plainly allowed us. We were culpable for having believed that, in Prussia, justice could triumph over the inveterate prejudice against Catholics, and over party feelings. We were deceived; but our fault is not of the kind that should cause us to blush."

The Catholics had, indeed, just reason to expect favorable treatment. They had been repeatedly assured that it would be accorded to them. In 1870 the Emperor, replying to an address from the Knights of Malta from the Rhenish Provinces and Westphalia, had uttered the significant words: "I regard the occupation of Rome by the Italians as an act of violence; and when this war is[244] ended, I shall not fail to take it into consideration, in concert with other sovereigns."

Thus it was that the Catholic people of Germany, whose men fought against the bullets of France for the Fatherland, whose priests and nuns went about the battle fields succoring and comforting the wounded and the dying, who, in a word, stood in every trial foremost among the defenders of the King and of his Government, were unprepared to see the hand that they had aided, raised in a moment to strike them down, and the sword that they had supported, uplifted for their extermination. It was again the conflict of the Church against a lying, hypocritical, ungrateful world.


To the most farseeing Catholics of the country it had long been evident that there was need of a strong organization of Catholic political forces. Before the Franco Prussian war no such distinctive organization existed. At the Reichstag of Northern Germany the Catholics were not grouped together, and at the Prussian Landtag they formed only an inconsiderable minority. There appeared to be no need of concerted action in the political field since peace and security seemed fully assured. The schools were Christian, the religious Orders performed their benevolent actions freely and unimpeded, the clergy was respected and honored. Nothing being attacked, there was nothing to defend. The Catholic deputies could enroll their names in any party they chose to favor. Thus it was that when the time of danger came they were scattered on every side.

After the war, however, Malincrodt, with some of his friends, brought the Catholic members together, and elaborated a manifesto which served as a platform for[245] the voters of the country, according to which Catholics were asked to cast their votes only for such candidates as would pledge themselves to enter the new Catholic party and support its principles. In the elections of March 3, 1871, the advice of these leaders brought sixty-seven Catholic representatives to the Chamber, a number that increased as the Kulturkampf progressed.

The new party took the name of the "Centre," and on March 27 affirmed its existence by publishing its programme. At the head of this document was written its motto: "Justice, the basis of Governments." The chiefs of the party, Savigny, Windthorst, Malincrodt, Peter Reichensperger, Prince Loëwenstein, and Freitag, were appointed a committee of direction for the party and empowered to act for the furtherance of its interests. The party thus constituted took for its permanent devise the words: "For truth, justice and liberty," and the Catholic deputies pledged themselves to defend these three causes with all the energy of their will and intelligence. They demanded, moreover, in the members of the party qualities worthy of its great purposes; no candidate might place his name on their list except such as were without fear and without reproach. For the interests of religion were in danger; and could they be defended efficaciously by men who were not themselves living in conformity with that religion? Every inconsistency of behavior would naturally be taken advantage of by the enemy and made the basis of scandal, and hence, as it was necessary not to give an opportunity for criticism, the party bound itself to a platform of moral integrity and austerity. A Catholic deputy guilty of having engaged in a duel contrary to the laws of the Church, could not be admitted. Even the stain of imputation, however undeserved, provided it gained popular credence, could debar one from its numbers. And thus[246] for the thirty years of its existence not one of its members, as far as is known, has cast dishonor upon the standard thus raised by its leaders. It is because of this high moral standard, this unflinching loyalty to the Church in all her endeavors, that the Centre was enabled to stand uncowed and unconquered throughout the long war that followed its inception.

The new Centre party was called into action almost from the day of its birth. The first Reichstag of the German Empire met on March 21, 1871. In his speech from the throne the Emperor solemnly declared that the new Empire was to be "the citadel of the peace of Europe." The Reichstag voted an address in answer to the Emperor's speech, which, while containing a sentiment of greeting and congratulation to the sovereign, was at the same time, to define the attitude of Germany with regard to European questions of the day. The Catholic people still remembered the promises formulated at Versailles on November 8, 1870, and confirmed at the beginning of 1871, and accordingly had reason to hope that Germany would make use of her diplomatic intervention in favor of Pope Pius IX., despoiled by his enemies and imprisoned in the Vatican. This hope was expressed in a resolution formulated by the Centre and proposed for the acceptation of the Reichstag. But the Liberal party, at the instigation of Bennigsen, repulsed the proposal of the Centre as a clerical intrigue, and voted that "Germany, without being influenced either by sympathy or antipathy, would permit every nation to attain its unity in its own way, and leave to each State the choice of the form of government which that State might consider best." This attitude of the new Government was thus a refusal to support the Holy See and an official recognition of the claims of Victor Emmanuel and his followers.

It was an act, moreover, which placed the Centre[247] party in a very compromising position, for in refusing to vote the address containing such an article they would lay themselves open to the charge of disloyalty and disrespect toward the sovereign, while in case they should vote for it, they would thereby approve of the iniquitous spoliation of the Papal States and the indignities heaped upon the Holy Father. There was no hesitation, however, in the action of the Centre. While faithful to their religious principles, and at the same time loyally devoted to their Fatherland, they refused to vote the obnoxious article. As was expected, their action drew upon them the envenomed hatred of all parties, in months they were greeted as traitors, renegades, and the "ultramontaine party."

The resolution of Bennigsen was voted on March 30, 1871, by a majority of 150. It was but the prelude of open hostilities. On April 1, 3 and 4, a discussion upon the Constitution was in progress, and Peter Reichensperger, of the Centre, endeavored to conserve in the new document the religious liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of 1850, with its consequences of freedom of worship and freedom of association. Under the leadership of Lasker, Treitschke and Blankenberg, the Liberals again repulsed the claims of the Catholic despite the fervid and logical eloquence of Bishop Ketteler. By a vote of 223 to 59 these liberties were expunged from the Constitution, and at its reading one of the Liberals, Marquard, remarked: "We have declared war upon Ultramontainism, and we will carry it to a finish."

The efforts of the Centre, however, although meeting with repulse in their first appearances, were yet indicative of a power with which the Liberal party would have to reckon. Hence it was considered necessary to effect its ruin in order that the principles of State absolution should acquire the domination to which it aspired. To[248] effect this object, Bismarck made use of a stratagem entirely in accord with his usual dishonesty and lack of scruple. His plan was no other than to throw discredit upon the Centre attack in the eyes of the Catholic people. He had already misrepresented the Centre before the Holy See as a source of trouble for the Church in the Empire, and he strove to induce the Holy See to formally disavow the operations of the Centre. Not being able to obtain such a disavowal, he pretended that he had actually obtained it. One of the Catholic members, Count Frankenberg, was deceived by the assurances of the Chancellor, and abandoned the party, on May 17, 1871, without giving any apparent reason. Three days later Malincrodt, certain of the trickery of Bismarck, published a formal protest against such an unworthy manoeuvre. Frankenberg, beginning to doubt, asked of Bismarck an explanation, and was assured that "the interview of which you have spoken between Count Tauffkirchen and the Cardinal Secretary of State will hardly be revoked. The Centre party has been disapproved. This disapprobation does not surprise me after the evidences of satisfaction and the expressions of entire confidence which His Majesty, the King, has received from His Holiness, the Pope, on the occasion of the re-establishment of the German Empire." So categorical an avowal at first threw the Catholics into a state of consternation, but Bishop Ketteler, of Mentz, feeling that something was wrong, wrote to Cardinal Antonelli, who at once, on June 5, sent a solemn denial of the interview, which was published as an answer to the declaration of Bismarck.

The chagrin caused by this exposure found its vent in the non-Catholic journals of the time, stigmatizing in the broadest terms the loyalty of Catholics. Bismarck's own newspaper, the Gazette of the Cross, called all[249] Prussia to arms against the Centre and Ultramontainism, those internal enemies who must be punished as were the Austrians and the French "for it is time to take up again the work of the Reformation, and to assure the supreme victory of Germanism over Romanism." In accordance with these sentiments the friends of Bismarck set to work with open aggressions. On July 8, 1871, a royal ordinance suppressed the Catholic section of the Ministry of Worship, which had been founded by Frederick William IV. in 1841, to give the Catholics an opportunity of presenting their needs and claims before the Government. The Catholic population was thus shut out from any officially favorable recognition.

At the same time Bismarck hastened to acts whereby the free action of the German bishops were nullified at the caprice of the State. There was at the time, in the Gymnasium of Brauensberg, a certain teacher of Christian doctrine, named Wollmann, who had undertaken to speak openly in opposition to the dogma of Papal Infallibility, and thus incurred the imputation of heresy, together with a director of the Normal School, one Freibel, a member of the Old Catholic sect. Bishop Krementz, of Ermland, after vain endeavors to bring him to a sense of his errors, excommunicated him and his companion, and then reported his action to the Minister of Worship, von Muhler, claiming that an excommunicated heretic should not be permitted to teach in a Catholic school. The Minister refused to remove the objectionable teacher (June 29, 1871), declaring that the dogma of Infallibility in no way affected the relations of Church and State. When, on July 9, following, Bishop Krementz protested in so just and logical a manner that none of the official journals dared to report his words, the Ministry[250] replied by threatening to expel any student of the Gymnasium who should refuse to attend the lessons of Wollmann.

The persecution proceeded from day to day. On November 23, 1871, the Bavarian Minister, von Lutz, presented before the Reichstag a law entitled "for abuse of the pulpit," the "Kanzel-paragraph," which went into vigor on December 10, 1871, and which was expressed in the following terms: "Any ecclesiastic or official of the Church, who during the exercise, or on the occasion of the exercise of his ministry, be it in the church in presence of the crowd, or in any place set apart for religious gatherings, shall, before several persons take as the theme of his discussions affairs relating to the domain of the State, in such a manner as to jeopardize the public tranquility, shall be punished by imprisonment the duration of which can be extended to two years."

The purport of this law was plainly perceived by the Catholic people. De Lutz, who with Prince Hohenlohe of Bavaria, a Catholic in a Catholic State, had elaborated the law, confessed openly, that "this was the first buttress in the defence of the State against the Catholic Church, and that still others would yet be erected." He admitted even more, that the law's intent was to protect apostasy, the rebellion of disloyal theologians against the dogmas and discipline of the Church. Hence he declared: "The law is framed to give courage to 'good priests,' who might suffer from the tyranny of the infalliblist bishops, who might force them to acts which we would punish." In reply to this declaration Herr Windthorst remarked: "Thus this law is an agreement between the new Empire and the Protestantism of Doellinger."

On the 8th of the following February, 1872, another law was proposed, giving to the Government all rights[251] over the schools. It had been suggested by Muhler, and was sustained by his worthy successor, Falk, aided by Bismarck. To oppose it more than 500 petitions were placed before the Landtag; those from Silesia alone contained more than 80,000 signatures.

In the discussions, Bismarck brought to sustain his cause the most influential members of the ministerial group, such as Gneist, a Freemason, Lasker, a hostile Jew, the apostate pastor, Richter-Mariendorf, and the materialist professor, Virchow. He himself met with his usual brutal cynicism the protests of Windthorst, and Malincrodt, and all the Polish and Guelph orators who dared to take the stand for justice and honor. The law was finally voted and passed with a majority of 42. Thus the Government had the right to supervise all institutes of education both public and private, the right to appoint the inspectors of schools, or to deprive those exercising such posts of their office. It was a law in fact which placed Catholic pastors under the direct and unreasoning surveillance of the State in a matter most closely connected with religion.

The tyrannical character of the law was recognized not by Catholics alone, but by all fair-minded men. The Kreutzeitung, and the Germania, differing in faith and thought, were in accord in this matter and complained bitterly of a law which meant only "the loss of that which had hitherto been the good fortune of Prussia, since it was clear that the Government and the National Liberals desired only the extinction of religion." The bishops protested with one voice, declaring the law "offensive to the essential and inalienable rights of the Church, and that grave perils and dangers were hovering over Church and State." Then as their protests and petitions remained unheard, they sent forth, on April 11, 1872, a collective letter informing their priests of their[252] resolution never to yield except to violence: "Since no power on earth can dispense us from the obligation of watching over the Christian education of the little children who have been confided to us by the divine Savior, we are firmly resolved to continue to fulfil faithfully the duties of our pastoral charge in that which touches the popular schools which the law takes away, in principle, from the maternal action of the Church, and that duty we shall fulfil to the end, as long as it is not made absolutely impossible."

The Government, however, which at first pretended to respect the rights of the Church, little by little removed many priests from the schools, took away as far as possible the priestly supervision, and favored mixed schools of Catholics and Protestants. The crucifix was then removed from the school rooms, together with all biblical pictures and the statues of the saints.

The Bishop of Ermland, who in July, 1871, had excommunicated the apostate Wollmann, received from the Minister of Public Worship, Falk, a notification to the effect that: "as the excommunication was not a merely spiritual penalty, but had also a civil signification, so it could not be admitted that it should be inflicted only by an ecclesiastical superior, and that the latter in using it would violate the prerogatives of citizens placed under the protection of the State, and would commit an assault against the rights of the State, which can and ought to oppose it; hence in his action against the two excommunicated persons, he had gone beyond the limits of his ecclesiastical powers; this act was therefore annulled, and the Government would refuse any longer to recognize him who had so acted, as the Bishop of Ermland."

Bishop Krementz answered, on March 30, exposing the absurdity of Falk's doctrine, the justice of his own action in regard to Wollmann and Michelis, and dissipating[253] the many sophisms and garbled citations contained in the letter of March 11. The Bishop declared, moreover, that he could not and would not obey, and spurned the malicious action he was commanded to do despite all right and all laws. The words of the courageous Bishop only served to fan the flame of hatred, but had no effect in lessening the injustice and violence of the Government.

When the bureaucrats of Berlin perceived that the bishops of the country were holding firm to their principles, they again had recourse to the dishonest methods of strategy. There was at the time a cardinal in Germany, the brother of that Prince Hohenlohe who had been instrumental in Bavaria in stirring up an agitation against the Papal authority. Cardinal Hohenlohe was one of those ecclesiastics who at the Council of the Vatican had held out most strongly against the definition of infallibility, and though he had finally acquiesced with the other bishops, he harbored in his heart something not at all in harmony with the Catholic position of his native land. He was therefore looked upon by the Government at Berlin as a most favorable subject to act as an intermediary between Berlin and Rome to force the hands of the unwilling bishops. Accordingly in the beginning of 1872, Bismarck caused it to be reported abroad that the Cardinal was to be sent to Rome as the German ambassador to the Holy See. A strange feature of this appointment was that the Pope had received no official intimation of the Government's intention, contrary to all diplomatic usages. The Cardinal accepted the mission without having asked the consent of the Holy See. In fact, the Papal Secretary, Cardinal Antonelli, soon received a laconic dispatch from the Chancellor informing him of the approaching arrival of the new ambassador. The plan of Bismarck was clearly to effect[254] through the offices of Cardinal Hohenlohe the suppression of the Centre party, knowing well that in case the Holy See refused to accept the embassy, it would arouse in Germany a storm of animosity which must prove invaluable in aiding the anti-Catholic movement.

The Pope naturally refused to receive Cardinal Hohenlohe as an ambassador. As a result the anti-Catholic press began at once to print its most violent invectives against the Catholic Church. In the Reichstag, the deputy Bennigsen, boiling with fury, demanded the final suppression of the embassy to the Holy See. The embassy was, nevertheless, continued, for Bismarck could not think of thus closing up an avenue, which, he fondly thought, would finally lead to the extinction of that Centre party which he hated as he hated the Catholic Church itself. Moreover, official documents are existent which betray the fact that Bismarck even at that early date was seriously considering the project of directing the future Conclave towards a choice which would favor the political ends he had in view.

On May 28, 1872, Von Roon, Minister of War, suspended Bishop Namszanowski, the high military chaplain, from his office, because the latter had refused to officiate in a place desecrated by the services of the Old Catholics. It was an act of Caesarism which tended to reduce the whole episcopate to the entire will of the State. It was remonstrated that there were no laws to authorize the action of Von Roon; accordingly it was proposed to make such laws.

While these were in preparation the persecution was for a time concentrated upon the Jesuits. For two years, indeed, the more bitter among the Protestants united at Darmstadt had demanded the banishment of the members of this Order. It was a proposition most savory to the Old Catholics, who would find it more easy to[255] banish the Jesuits than to conquer them, and it was through their efforts principally that the question of their persecution was finally brought before the Reichstag.

In the meantime the Government began to be besieged with petitions, some demanding the expulsion of the Jesuits, others defending them by greater numbers and stronger arguments. By April 29, 1872, there were forty-one such petitions against the Order, while its defenders presented as many as four hundred and seventy-six. On May 16, the Reichstag consigned all petitions to the Chancellor, Bismarck, as was proposed by the Councillor, Wagener. Thus was left to the arbitration of one man a matter which interested the whole Empire, to a man, moreover, who that same day was charged with preparing a law regulating the legal conditions of the religious Orders, congregations and associations, and which "should establish penalties for their activity when hurtful to the State."

While hardly ten thousand signatures demanded from the Reichstag the banishment of the Jesuits, more than four hundred thousand more were presented in their favor. On June 12, a law against the Jesuits was proposed; Prince Hohenlohe and three others aggravated its hostile measures by extending its effects to all Congregations bearing a resemblance to the Society of Jesus. Wagener declared openly that its purpose was to combat Rome, and hence that the law which was to strike the Jesuits should be only the beginning of the war upon Catholics. To give some semblance of plausibility to such a far-reaching design, he spread abroad the rumor that there were Jesuits hidden under every kind of habit. Malincrodt responded ably to the sensational clamorings of Wagener, proving that the intentions of the proposed law were violations of the rights of nature, of existing[256] legislation, of the particular Constitutions of the States, of that of the Empire, and of the primary elements of justice and good sense. The battle that ensued called for the loftiest eloquence of the Centre, from Windthorst, Ballestrem, the two Reichenspergers, and from Ketteler. One of the Reichenspergers declared that the enemies of the Jesuits "believe they must break every law to create a new law of proscription in order to protect themselves from two hundred Jesuits. Ah, gentlemen! confess that your law is but the failure of Liberalism!" On June 19, the infamous law was passed.

A few days after Pius IX., addressing on June 25, 1872, some Germans at Rome, gave them such advice as might be expected from the great Father of Christendom. "Pray," he said, for prayer is the most powerful means of restraining the persecutors of the Church. He bade them to oppose their enemies by word and writing, with firmness, and yet with respect. It was God's will that they should obey and respect their superiors, but He wills also that we should speak out the truth and combat error. The discourse of the holy Pontiff aroused evil feelings among the enemies of the Church in Germany, who declared it an exhortation to rebellion, and to civil war, that it was an intolerable usurpation, and that the Pope ought not to meddle with such matters.

Meanwhile the sisters were banished from the public schools, and the communes were ordered to break all contracts made with religious Congregations. The young men in the gymnasiums and high schools were forbidden to be members of Catholic societies, though Protestants were permitted full liberty in such matters. Thus in Bavaria the Government forbade the meetings of the great St. Boniface Association which looked after the spiritual interests of Catholics in Protestant districts, while at the same time it tolerated the Society of[257] Gustavus Adolphus, an association which pretended to care for Protestants in Catholic States. Indeed, Falk boasted that his aim was to restrain the Catholic propaganda.

The law against the Jesuits as printed in the decree of July 5, 1872, reads as follows: "The Order of the Company of Jesus, being excluded from the German Empire, it is no longer lawful for the members of that Order to continue to exercise any office of the Order itself, above all in the church and in the school; nor is it permitted to them to preach missions; within six months at the most the houses of the Company of Jesus must be closed."

Following the issue of this decree the Catholics everywhere were subjected to a most humiliating espionage. Jesuits were discovered everywhere and denounced to the authorities. Not only secular priests, but laymen and officials of the army were accused. The decree gave the Jesuits six months; but in many places their persecution began immediately. Colleges, houses and churches were closed; the Jesuits were forbidden to preach, to hear confessions and even to say Mass.

With the Jesuits were included also the Redemptorists, the Lazarists, and the Brothers and Sisters of the Christian Schools; even the pious congregations directed by these Orders were dispersed as being affiliated with the Jesuits.

The Bishops of Germany assembled at Fulda on September 20, 1872, and protested against the persecutions. They made use of the occasion to defend the noble attitude of Bishop Krementz of Ermland, to reproach the Government for its open favoritism in the case of the Old Catholics, to declare that Bishop Namszanowski had fulfilled his duty. They deplored this new offense against the Church through the persecution of the Company of[258] Jesus and of other Orders. In their summing up they declared that "the principles herein expressed by us will always be the criterion of our actions, and we are ready for that end to make the greatest sacrifices, even that of our lives."

In the meantime the anti-Catholics were busily elaborating their plan of campaign. A certain professor, Emile Friedberg of the University of Leipzig, published a rabid attack upon the Church wherein he outlined the policy to be pursued by his party in dealing with them. Among his suggestions, nearly all of which were ultimately adopted, were the following: The establishment of obligatory civil marriage; suppression of obligatory baptism; separation of Church and State; secularization of charitable works; a penal law against "abuse of the pulpit;" measures to prevent ecclesiastics not in harmony with the Government from using the pulpit; a rigorous surveillance of the education of the clergy; an order forbidding the appointment of ecclesiastics who by their civil or political relations could create difficulties for the Government; suppression of the Order of Jesuits; an interdict striking all Congregations not authorized by the Government; recourse to the State against the decisions of ecclesiastical authority; punishment of "abuse of power" by fines, and by suspension from exercise of jurisdiction; measures compelling the State never to place its powers at the discretion of the Church, never to punish an ecclesiastic resisting his ecclesiastical superiors, never to confirm the penalties ordained by the bishops; measures to abolish the sanctification of the holy days, etc.

All these measures and many more like them are worthy of note inasmuch as they contained the program of the real hostilities now about to begin. The separation of Church and State, being in the eyes of the Radicals,[259] the supreme end, it was proposed to proceed gradually, destroying first the means of life in the German Church, stopping up its veins and arteries, and finally strangling all its activities, until it should at length have become so weak and inert that any measure for its extinction should be easy and successful. It was the proposal of men; God, Himself, however, was to show that the last word remained in His divine power.


On January 9, 1873, Falk, the Minister of Worship, placed upon the desk of the Chamber four resolutions, the object of which was to inaugurate a certain Civil Constitution for the clergy, and to place the Church entirely at the mercy of the State. After having proscribed the religious Orders, these new resolutions aimed at the destruction of the secular clergy.

The first of these laws, "on the appointment and education of ecclesiastics," required that all ecclesiastics should be of German birth, that they should have graduated from a German gymnasium, and have spent three years in a State University, after which they should undergo an examination directed by the prescriptions of the ministry of worship. The State was to supervise all establishments of ecclesiastical training, even the Grand Seminaries which alone were to remain, all the lesser Seminaries being closed. The President of the Province had the right to reject every appointment or transfer of ecclesiastics made by a bishop, and the bishops should be obliged to notify the President of all appointments and transfers; moreover, the President could impose a fine of one thousand thallers upon any bishop who should not appoint a person acceptable to the ministry, and this appointment should be made within the space of a year;[260] otherwise he could lay hands upon the property of the bishop or of any other ecclesiastic refusing obedience, nor could the bishop appeal from such judgment to the crown. This civil punishment rendered the ecclesiastic unfit for the divine ministry. A fine was to be imposed upon any priest who after being deposed by the Government should dare to exercise his ecclesiastical functions.

A second law assigned the limits within which the bishops might judge in ecclesiastical affairs, the penalties they were to pronounce, though always with the consent of the civil authorities; an appeal was instituted from the judgment of the bishop to the High Court of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs, which Court could order the suspension of a bishop who had unjustly condemned a subject. There was to be a penalty for the bishop who should refuse to surrender to the State the records of any ecclesiastical trial; moreover, the High Court could justify itself for any deposition of a bishop by the plea that his continuance could not be permitted for reasons of public utility.

A third law regarded those who should wish to abandon the Catholic religion. It was a measure of encouragement to apostates whose defection it surrounded with the most benevolent and watchful care. The only thing necessary to legalize any act of apostasy was that the unfortunate should appear before a civil official with a declaration written and sealed, and the payment of five silver groschen (12 cents).

The fourth and last law, "on the limits of the use of means of punishment and correction in the Church" was one hardly likely to have any honest interest for the bishops, since it forbade, what they were never likely to do, the physical punishment of lay people, and any punishment attaining the fortune or the honor of the citizens. It was a law which hoped that by formally forbidding[261] any criminal act, would lead an inflamed public opinion to believe such a criminal act had really been perpetrated.

Such were the May laws which despite the pleading of the Centre orators, and their innate and evident injustice passed the lower House on April 5, 1873. In the Landtag, however, the difficulty of pushing them through was at once evident. To win his point at all hazards moved Bismarck to a stratagem worthy of his evil genius. The Emperor was accordingly induced to appoint twenty-four new members to the Landtag, all of whom were warm partisans of the Chancellor. The best men of the Landtag pleaded eloquently for justice and right, but their voices were drowned in the chorus of hate swelled by these new accessions. On the 1st of May the whole bill was passed, and by the middle of the month they received the royal signature.

As soon as the discussion upon the new laws was begun the German bishops addressed a memorial to the Government detailing with all precision and clearness the injustice and the necessary consequences of the proposed legislation. On February 5, they addressed a collective letter to the Landtag containing the principal portions of the former memorial, and declaring firmly: "For, if these projects, which are in direct opposition to the prescriptions and very essence of the Church, are adopted, not a Catholic, and still less a priest or a bishop, can recognize them, or submit voluntarily to them without betraying his faith." The petitions of the bishops had little effect with the Iron Chancellor, who smiled at the thought that fifteen aged prelates could turn him aside from his set purpose. On May 2, the bishops of Prussia addressed a circular to the priests and faithful of their dioceses, declaring: "The projects in question have not yet the force of law; if that should happen,[262] however, with God's grace, let us defend unanimously and constantly the principles exposed in our memorials, those principles not being our own, but those of Christianity itself and of eternal justice. We shall thus accomplish our pastoral duty even until death, and as we stand before the tribunal of the divine Pastor Who has called us, and Who Himself gave His life for His sheep, we shall not be rejected as hirelings."

On May 16, the day when the May Laws first appeared before the public, the bishops of Prussia sent a collective declaration to Secretary of State, again stating their claims to liberty of conscience and affirming the utter impossibility of submitting to these persecuting laws. "The Church cannot recognize the principle of a pagan State, according to which the civil laws are the only source of right, so that the Church can have only so much liberty as is conceded by legislation and the Constitution of the State. She cannot recognize such pretensions without denying the divinity of Christ, the heavenly Source of her doctrine and institution, and without placing Christianity itself under the arbitrary caprice of men."

The example of the bishops found an echo in the courageous behavior of the priests and faithful. From all sides the priests of Germany joined in collective protestations of their loyalty to the principles of the Church, and gave the lie to the Liberal sheets which pretended that defections had already begun in the ranks of the clergy. The faithful were not less zealous in manifesting their sentiments of admiration for the courage of their bishops and priests, and of a determined resolve to start firm for all their God and their Church should demand of them.

An election for the Reichstag was approaching, and the influential Catholics of the Empire bent all their[263] energies to gain whatever might lie in their power. On May 20, this election took place at Neustadt, a place that in 1871 had sent Count Oppensdorf, a strong partisan of Bismarck, to the Chamber with a majority of 5000 votes. The Catholics took up the struggle for this district. Their candidate was Count Frederic von Stolberg-Stolberg. Their efforts were successful and the Catholic candidate was elected by a vote of 6427 against 2155. The glory of this triumph was due principally to the work of the General Association of German Catholics, which now took up the cause of Catholic liberty as never before. As if in gratitude for this and some other similar successes, the General Association, at once published an official circular announcing that it had placed all Catholic committees under the protection of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and declaring: "If we place our confidence in that Savior so bitterly rejected by our times, we shall not be confounded."

The Government looked with astonishment upon these manifestations of Catholic loyalty and zeal, and endeavored by subtle trickery to bring them to nothing. To overcome the firm stand of the Catholic nobility, Bismarck induced Prince Ratibor, a Catholic, whose honor was not immaculate, to address the Emperor in the name of the Catholic people. His memorial entitled "Address of the Catholics of the State," recognized in the imperial Government the right of placing the Church in subjection; but nobody, even among the enemies of the Church, was deceived by the ruse.

The High Court for Ecclesiastical Affairs now began its work. It was composed at the time of nine Protestants and two Catholics, Dooc and Forckenbeck, both being creatures of Bismarck. It immediately sent out its police inspectors to spy upon all public meetings; every speech was criticized, the audience disturbed, the names[264] of all present at such meetings set down in note books, and, if caprice so dictated, the meetings might be dissolved by the police. While every sheet that attacked the Catholics was protected and subsidized, the Catholic newspapers were subjected to vexatious intermeddling and suppression. Many Catholic editors, like Dr. Majunke, of the Germania, payed for their zeal by imprisonment.

In the midst of these troubles, Pope Pius IX. wrote on August 7, 1873, to the Emperor: "Every measure of the Government demonstrates that its intention is to combat Catholicity; nor is there any apparent reason for such deeds; His Majesty approves of them as is shown by his letters; how then, can they continue? Does not the Emperor perceive that they are a menace to his throne?" The answer of William was worthy of the injustice of his Government; he defended himself by appealing to his rights and casting the blame upon the Centre and the German bishops. This correspondence between the Emperor and the Pope was spread throughout all Germany, which in its inflamed state was willing to take every word of the Pontiff as an insult and cause for further persecution. But the holy Pontiff, in his Encyclical of November 21, 1873, exposed the hypocritical sophisms of the Emperor, and upheld both the Centre and the bishops in the magnificent work they were carrying on.

In the meantime a ministerial ordinance of Falk, dated September 2, abolished all difference between the Old Catholics and the Catholics of Rome, declaring that the name, Catholic, should be common to both. At the same time, Reinkens of Breslau, who had been chosen by his co-religionaries as the "German Bishop," and consecrated by the Jansenists of Deventee and Harlem, was so highly recognized by the Government, that the Emperor[265] decided, by an official act, communicated on September 19, to all the provincial governors, that "Bishop" Reinkens constituted a part of the Catholic Church. The document is interesting: "We, William, by the grace of God, King of Prussia, etc., announce by these presents that we recognize and wish to have recognized as a Catholic bishop Joseph Hubert Reinkens, ordinary professor in the Faculty of theology of Breslau."


The May Laws of 1873 were put into operation with hardly any delay. The first to feel their force was Archbishop Melchers of Cologne, who had excommunicated the apostates, Rabbers and Pasfrath, and who had forbidden any ecclesiastic ordained by the Jansenists of Utrecht to exercise the clerical offices. The Government closed the Grand Seminaries of Posen and of Paderborn after the bishops of those Sees had refused to submit to the Government, or to bend to its will even after the sequestration of their salaries. At Treves, Cologne and Fulda also the income of the Seminaries were confiscated.

The Archbishop of Gnesen-Posen, Mgr. Ledochowski, had named a pastor and a vicar without consulting the Government. He was cited before the High Court, and was condemned to a fine of two hundred thallers, while the two priests he had appointed received notice that they could not exercise any ecclesiastical office. The same courageous Archbishop had ordered that the catechism in the Catholic school of Wongrowitz should be taught in the Polish language, while the Government demanded that it should be taught in German. As a result the teachers of the school were deprived of their places, and an effort was made to forbid religious instruction even in the churches.[266]

Again in August the High Court condemned for the crime of appointing pastors and assistants, the same Archbishop Ledochowski, together with Bishops Förster of Breslau, Martin of Paderborn, Cardinal Schwartzemberg of Prague, the Bishop of Olmutz and the Administrator of Freiberg in Brisgovia. The two latter prelates were not even subjects of Prussia, but were persecuted for having appointed pastors in Prussian territory without the permission of Berlin. Bishop Koett of Fulda was actually dying when the sentence of condemnation was launched against him; he saw the closing of his Seminary just before he died on October 15, 1873. The furniture of the dead prelate's house was taken to pay the fine imposed upon him. Truly even the dead were pursued by the fanatics of hatred.

The bishops of Heldesheim, Osnabrück, Münster and Treves, were also condemned by the High Court. Every day the priests of the Prussian dioceses were punished for daring to prefer the jurisdiction of the bishops to that of the bureaucrats. Religious and Sisters were hunted and banished under the pretext that they were affiliated with the Jesuits. Catholic teachers were driven from the schools, which were then committed to Protestants, rationalists, anything but Catholics.

On November 24 the Government invited Mgr. Ledochowski to resign his See; on the 30th of that month his palace was forced by agents of the Government, and searched, and all his correspondence with Rome and with his clergy was seized. In answer to the demand of the Government he had declared that as he had been placed over his diocese by God, through the means of His Vicar, the Government had no power to depose him; nor could any Court deprive him of his jurisdiction;[267] as to resigning his See, that would never happen as long as his persecuted people were exposed to such dangers.

On February 6, 1874, the Archbishop was arrested in his palace, and without trial or sentence, was carried away to Ostrowo, where he was cast into prison. On April 15 the High Court passed its sentence upon the Archbishop, already in prison, as on March 31, Archbishop Mechers had been sentenced and imprisoned. On March 6, Bishop Eberhard of Treves received the same fate, and three days after soldiers and guards surrounded his Grand Seminary, banished its directors and professors and confiscated all its property.

In the meantime a dissension had arisen in the Camp of the enemy. Arnim, who had served Bismarck during the Council of the Vatican, had come into disfavor with his powerful employer, and began to show revolutionary tendencies. One of the results of this discord between the Chancellor and his former tool was the disclosure of certain shady operations of Bismarck prior to 1870. Certain documents were brought forth showing that, in 1869, Doellinger had influenced the Bavarian Prince Hohenlohe to begin the war against Rome, and that at that time Bismarck was laboring in every part of Europe to arouse the Governments against the definition of papal infallibility. It was shown also that from June 18, 1870, this Arnim, whom Pius IX. called the "New Architofel," had suggested against the Church all the measures of which Bismarck had made use during the year that followed. These revelations coming thus in 1874, in the very heat of the persecution, gave additional evidence that the Council and the infallibility were only pretexts, and not the real causes of the Kulturkampf, an event which had been in preparation long before the Council was convened.[268]

The greater indignities perpetrated upon the heads of the Catholic Church in Germany now followed each other with such rapidity and violence as to overshadow the thousands of minor grievances. On July 27, 1874, Bishop Janiczewski, auxiliary of the See of Posen, was imprisoned at Kosmin for fifteen months for having assumed the episcopal office without the permission of the Government. The same day, Mgr. Koryskowski, delegated by the Archbishop of Gnesen to administer the affairs of that diocese, was sent into exile at Stargard. The Canon Woiyewski was imprisoned for having continued in his capacity as ecclesiastical judge after the imprisonment of his Archbishop. Bishop Martin of Paderborn was deposed from his bishopric; he refused to read the sentence which was nailed to the door of his prison cell; he was liberated, however, but conducted to the frontiers at Wesel. On January 18, 1875, the Seminary of Fulda, the most ancient establishment of its kind in Germany, was closed.

The record of persecution during the first five years of the Kulturkampf is an appalling arraignment of its perpetrators. Five bishops imprisoned, and all bishops fined and insulted, fourteen hundred priests incarcerated, all the seminaries closed, it seemed little short of miraculous that religion survived the merciless onslaught. Yet the end had not arrived. On December 4, 1874, Bismarck suppressed the embassy to the Vatican, an act which moved the Catholic people to send to the Sovereign Pontiff an address signed by all the faithful of the Empire. It was in answer to this address that Pius IX. published that eloquent encyclical of February 5, 1875.

Strange to say, however, all the previous legislation had not begotten the results that were expected. The clergy like the episcopate resisted the anti-religious laws, preferring exile, imprisonment and fines to defection,[269] however tempting. The faithful stood loyally by their afflicted pastors, refusing with one mind the ministrations of ecclesiastics sent to them by governmental orders.

The Chancellor, therefore, was driven to a final resort to effect his purpose of extinguishing Catholic faith in Germany. Accordingly a new series of laws was elaborated, entitled the Sperrgesetz, or laws suppressing the payments made to ecclesiastics by the State. One cannot rightly term these payments "salaries," a word which indicates no other claim than remuneration for services performed. The amounts annually payed to the Church by the State were moneys which the State owed to the Church since the beginning of the century on account of the wholesale confiscation of ecclesiastical properties and revenues following upon the Treaty of Luneville in 1803. As such they had been formally recognized, and hence their payment to the officials of the Church was a matter of justice which the State could not afford to refuse without incurring the stigma of robbery.

This, however, was the object of the new laws which were as follows:

Article 1. Beginning from the day on which the present law shall be published, the payment of all that the Government has hitherto allotted to dioceses, to institutions and to ecclesiastics who belong to such dioceses shall be suppressed. The same measure shall be extended to such ecclesiastical funds as the State administers permanently.

Art. 2. The ecclesiastical salaries shall be re-established whenever the bishop, or the diocesan administrator shall pledge himself in writing to observe the laws of the State.

Art. 3. In the dioceses of Posen-Gnesen and Paderborn the ecclesiastical salaries shall be re-established as[270] soon as a new bishop shall be appointed in concert with the Government.

Art. 5. If in any diocese, in which the ecclesiastical salaries shall have been re-established, any priest refuses obedience to the laws of the State despite the pledges given by his bishop, the Government is authorized to suppress anew any allowance in favor of such recalcitrants.

Art. 6. The Government is authorized to re-establish the salaries of priests who by their acts manifest the intention of obeying the laws of the State. If after that they shall violate the law, the suppression of their salaries shall be enforced.

This was the law, variously called the Brodkorbgesetz, the Sperrgesetz and the like, which was passed on April 22, 1875, with the hope thereby of starving the priesthood of Germany into submission.

On May 13, 1875, the minister Falk brought forth another law placing under the power of the State all sales and alienations of ecclesiastical properties and of pious foundations. A law of June 20 gave to the State the temporal administration of Catholic parishes; it was a law very much like that of the present French regime which would impose associations cultuelles upon the French churches. On July 4 came a still more iniquitous ordinance, regulating "the rights of the Old Catholics to the property of the churches." Thereby these sectaries were authorized to claim a part of the usufruct of parochial properties, and to employ in their services the use of Catholic churches and vestments.

If a pastor or curate should apostatize to this sect he might claim possession of the rectory and church, which at his death would pass into the hands of the Old Catholics, should they be in the majority. In fact, in some places, such as Bochum and Wiesbaden, the Catholics[271] were expelled from their Church by a very small minority of the sectaries.

On February 18, 1876, the priest was deprived of the right of directing Catholic instruction in the primary schools. On June 7, of the same year, the State claimed formally the right of surveillance over the administration of the property of the Catholic Church.

There was little more that the State could now do to subjugate Catholic faith short of absolute murder. The Kulturkampf had reached its most critical stage. It was, indeed, a moment when the human pride of the persecutors impelled them to boast of their crimes, and promise, if it were possible, greater exactitude in the future. The Chancellor could declare, in 1877, that the Kulturkampf was then at its zenith. In consequence it was time to look for that civilization which Virchow had prophesied as its ultimate result. Its real fruits were not what Bismarck or his Protestant clientele would have wished.

A new order had arisen in Germany, an order of unrest and anarchy which manifested its existence in a manner not at all to the liking of the ruling powers. Thus, on May 11, 1878, the Socialist Hoedel attempted the life of the Emperor, and the crime was repeated by Nobiling a few weeks after, on June 2. Even Protestantism felt the destructive force of the blow aimed at Catholicity. There were hardly any more marriages performed by Protestant ministers; their temples were deserted; their pastors openly attacked the divinity of Christ, while everywhere like a shadow of death a reign of crime and immorality rested upon the population.


The country at length began to awaken to a sense of the criminality of those laws which it had imposed upon[272] an inoffensive people. Even the Gazette of the Cross, the organ of the orthodox conservatives, could say: "It is through the Kulturkampf that we have encountered our moral and material miseries, miseries that are evident in every part of the German Empire. It is only by renouncing the Kulturkampf, and the ideas which brought it forth, that we can hope to escape from our embarrassments. Such is our opinion, and it is becoming more general every day. Where there is a will there is a way." The Gazette but echoed the sentiments of nearly all the German Protestants who had retained anything of Christian faith, and in consequence a demand was sounded throughout the Empire for a cessation of the persecution.

Bismarck, himself, though still wedded to his hope of dominating the spiritual life of the Church, saw clearly that his methods had proven abortive. Hence, from 1878 onward, the trend of governmental action proceeded slowly but surely towards a reconciliation with the Catholic elements in the nation. Moreover, it was becoming more and more evident that the Government needed the co-operation of the Catholics in curbing the spirit of revolution now making itself heard above the clamor of intrigue and oppression.

It was not surprising, therefore, that Prince Bismarck should turn to the Holy See for succor in his difficulty. Mgr. Masella, the papal nuncio at Munich, afterwards Cardinal, was therefore invited to Berlin to confer upon matters touching the relations of Church and State. Such a visit, however, was entirely out of the question as long as the laws against Catholics continued in vigor. The Chancellor contrived nevertheless to arrange a meeting at the baths of Kissingen, but without arriving at any satisfactory agreement. The Prince then sent his representative, Count Hübner, to Vienna to confer with the[273] papal nuncio at that Court, Mgr. Jacobini. Again negotiations were opened at Gastein in the duchy of Salzburg, but like the others came to naught, as the papal representative refused conciliation as long as the May Laws should continue.

It now became quite evident that the plans of Bismarck must require a reversal of his former policy. Accordingly, in 1880, a beginning was made by a slight modification of the obnoxious laws. The Government thereby yielded its claim to the right of deposing ecclesiastics; in 1881, it recognized the vicars-general who had been appointed through ecclesiastical channels to administer the dioceses of Paderborn, Osnabrück and Breslau; nor were these prelates required to take the oath of blind obedience to obnoxious laws. The bishoprics of Fulda and of Treves had been filled by papal appointment, the former receiving as its incumbent, Mgr. Kopp, and the latter, Mgr. Korum; strange to say, the Chancellor recognized both prelates.

These victories of the Catholics, slight in themselves, were powerful as evidencing the direction of governmental policies. The reversion, however, of Bismarck, was not so quickly followed by the creatures whom he had placed in the Chambers, and whose hostility to Catholic interests continued as violent and bitter as ever. "Let us be patient for one or two years," cried Bennigsen, the leader of the Liberals, "and we shall see the fruits of our glorious policy; we shall have conquered the Pope." In two years, 1882, the Pope remained unconquered, while in Germany the Catholic party increased in numbers and in power.

On May 31, 1883, new concessions were made to the Catholics. Provision was made for the pardoning of deposed bishops, the legal formalities required by candidates for ecclesiastical offices could be dispensed with[274] at the option of the Minister of Worship, the State examinations of ecclesiastical students were set aside. Still the May Laws remained upon the statute books, and against them the Centre party, under the leadership of Windthorst, continued to protest even though advised to show some leniency by Mgr. Galimberti. The firmness of the great leader was rewarded. The affair of the Caroline Islands, disputed between Germany and Spain, gave Bismarck an opportunity of approaching the Holy See with better grace than before. Accordingly the Chancellor arranged that the Holy Father, Leo XIII., should be invited to arbitrate between the contending nations. The Sovereign Pontiff could not help being happily impressed by this diplomatic action on the part of the two powers, which thereby recognized the Holy Father as a temporal sovereign despite the Piedmontese occupation of Rome.

The successful result of the papal arbitration opened up new avenues whereby reconciliation might be effected in Germany. The Sees of Cologne and Fribourg were at once filled, and Mgr. Kopp, Bishop of Fulda, was offered a seat in the Upper House of Prussia. In return for the many evidences of good feeling thus betrayed by the Government, Cardinal Ledochowski, who knew himself to be a persona non grata to the Prussian State, resigned his diocese of Posen, which was immediately filled by a new incumbent, Mgr. Dinder. On May 21, 1886, the theological schools were re-established as they had been before the beginning of the Kulturkampf. The High Court instituted for the adjudging of ecclesiastical affairs was suppressed, and the Sovereign Pontiff was hitherto to be recognized as the superior judge in such matters. The elections of February, 1887, increased the numbers of the Centre party, and Bismarck, thereupon, deemed the time fitting to end once for all the supreme[275] trial of the Kulturkampf. Certain modifications of the May Laws were placed in the hands of the Centre; some were accepted, others rejected. The concessions, however, were of such a nature that they might be in a way accepted, inasmuch as they gave promise of other and larger benefits. Through that diplomatic farsightedness which ever distinguished the great Pope Leo XIII., affairs were gradually assuming a condition satisfactory to the Catholics of Germany, although Windthorst and the Centre Party still claimed many concessions due in ordinary justice. The peace finally concluded, the Holy Father conferred upon the Chancellor the Order of Christ. It was a complimentary decoration that if it did not win the real convictions of Bismarck, at least served to silence any open hostility on his part for the future. The May Laws were finally revised in the Reichstag and abolished. Thenceforth cordial relations were established between the Pope and the Emperor William II. The Catholics of Germany began to taste the fruits of peace; today they have become a power in the country.



The Third Republic.

The Second Empire, especially during its last ten years, had proven itself no less hostile and treacherous to the Church than had many of its predecessors. This was evident most of all in the unworthy treatment of the Holy See during its trying conflict with the revolutionists of Italy. France had encouraged the spoliation of the Papal States by the forces of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel, and in 1870 it was forced to abandon Rome to the Italian Unionists. Before this last act had been consummated, however, a revolution broke out in France, September 4, 1870, and overturned the imperial Government.


The new republic was born in the midst of war and confusion. The Prussians were already displaying admirable vigor and activity, and the cause of France was trembling in the balance. A provisory government was established, entitled the Government of the National Defence. During the five and a half months of its life the National Defence held its sessions in Paris, then surrounded by the besieging forces of the enemy. In the meantime the French armies met with one defeat after another. Paris itself capitulated on Jan. 29, 1871.[277] Preliminaries of peace were signed that day at Versailles and confirmed by the Treaty of Frankfort on May 10 of the same year. After the capitulation of Paris a general election was held to provide representatives to a national Assembly. This Assembly met at Bordeaux and named Adolph Thiers, Chief of the[278] Executive of the French Republic. On August 31 of the same year, 1871, Thiers was elected President of the Republic. The presidents thence to the present time were: Marshal MacMahon, from May 24, 1873 to 1879; Jules Grévy, from January 30, 1879 to December, 1887; Sadi Carnot, from December 3, 1887, to his assassination in June, 1894; Casimir Périer, from June 27, 1894, to January, 1895; Felix Faure, from January 17, 1895, to his death, Feb. 16, 1899; Loubet, from Feb. 18, 1899, to February, 1906; Fallières, at present holding that office.


It was while the Prussian army was yet encamped near Paris, during the months of March, April and May of 1871, that the Commune held its sway. At the very moment when France was bleeding from a thousand wounds, the International, taking advantage of the circumstances, and aided by 150,000 of the National Guard, took possession of Paris and ruled the city with a high hand. On March 18 the Assembly fled to Versailles, leaving the place in the hands of the insurgents. On the 26th a species of election was held which surrendered the destinies of the Capital to the Commune. It numbered among its members fifty-four Jacobins, Blanquists and Hebertists, out of a total of seventy-nine. It was an assembly of Internationalists indeed. During the two months that followed, from March 18 to May 26, nothing was done without the approbation or intervention of the International.[279]

ABBE DEGUERRY. A Martyr of the Commune. ABBE DEGUERRY.
A Martyr of the Commune.

Socialists of a later date, in their shame over the excesses of their party, have endeavored to excuse their actions; but the cold facts of history stand unshaken to condemn them, and to point out the sort of destiny to which practical socialism must inevitably lead.

The Commune was an orgy of dissipation. Its officials,[280] to compensate themselves for their services, sat down to banquets worthy of Sardanapalus, where there was no lack of the wines of Beaune and Màcon, nor of litres of cognac, nor of routs unmentionable. The simple National Guards gorged themselves with wine and alcohol, while the common people looked on and howled their approbation and applause. There were women in their ranks, dressed as men, who feared neither sword nor rifle, and to whom in their unsexed condition the horrors of bloodshed and conflagration acted as intoxicating draughts of burning absinthe.

The Commune was above all an explosion of rage against religion and the middle classes. All who in any way represented religion or the social order—priests, magistrates, soldiers, police—were arrested and cast into prison as "hostages." The Archbishop of Paris, Mgr. Darboy; M. Bonjean, President of the Tribunal; M. Deguerry, Pastor of the Madeleine; the Jesuits; the Fathers of Picpus; the Dominicans; the Sulpicians, and other priests, besides an entire convent of religious women, were confined in the various jails of the city. The Commune imprisoned about 5000 persons, both lay and clerical. At the same time it laid hands upon the property of the churches, sacked the Archbishop's palace, and turned the churches to sacrilegious and scandalous uses.

Feeling at length that its victory could only be short-lived, and that Paris must soon fall before the army of MacMahon, surrounding it from without, the Commune began its campaign of destruction of the city itself. Vast quantities of petroleum were procured, and tons of gun-powder were made the instruments for furthering this end. On the night of May 21, the army of Versailles made a breach in the walls, the savage instincts of the mob were loosened and the "bloody week" began. Cluseret,[281] the International, had already written: "It is we, or nothing! Paris will be ours, or it will cease to exist." The Commune accomplished as much as it could of this sinister programme.

ADOLF THIERS. First President of French Republic. ADOLF THIERS.
First President of French Republic.

As the army of Versailles advanced, the Communards applied the torch to every monument of note that came in their way.[282]

During the 23rd of May petroleum was poured upon the Tuileries, and all along the Rue de Lille. Toward the end of the day the buildings on the Rue Royale and the Rue Saint-Honoré were burning. The Court of Accounts, the Legion of Honor, the Council of State, the Barracks, went down one by one. The next day the flames attacked the Prefecture of Police, the City Hall, the Custom House, the Archives and other buildings. How far the fury of the Communards might have gone toward the complete destruction of Paris cannot be said; it was a fortunate circumstance which saved from their torches the Louvre with its treasures of art, and the great Church of Notre Dame.

When it was not possible to employ fire, the artillery was called into action. The batteries of Père-Lachaise poured shot and shell against the dome of St. Augustine's, the bourse, the post-office, and other prominent edifices. Murder accompanied the horrors of fire. Men were shot down in the open street, or stabbed in the shadows of dark alleys. Six hostages, among them Mgr. Darboy and M. Bonjean fell at La Roquette. Fifteen priests and religious sustained on that day the agonies that make martyrs, pierced with bullets, transfixed by bayonets, and beaten to death by the blows of a savage mob. With them a number of laymen fell victims to hatred on that fateful 25th of May, 1871.


While all Europe felt a thrill of horror at these cowardly and brutal deeds, socialism seized the occasion to[283] chant the praises of the Commune. Its principal organ, the Vorbote, calls it a revolution "which the socialist democracy of the whole world ought to hail with enthusiasm," "which is only an episode in the social revolution." "The Commune is dead," it cried, "Long live the Commune!"[284]


It is not surprising that a Government born under such auspices should prove very unfavorable to the cause of religious and social freedom. The first promptings of war against the Church had sounded in the very first moments of the Third Republic. Its actual declaration and acts of hostility required a preparation of several years. It was on May 4, 1877, that M. Gambetta terminated his vehement assault upon the Catholic Church in the Chamber of Deputies with those words which have become famous: "Our enemy is clericalism!" In spite of the protest uttered by the Count de Mun, the Chamber acquiesced silently in the charge and thereby betrayed its evident purpose of antagonizing the Church. The administration of President MacMahon proving unfavorable to anti-religious sectarianism, it was determined to compel the hero of so many battles to resign—a consummation that was finally effected in January, 1879.


The following election placed Jules Grévy in the chair, with Jules Ferry as Minister of Public Instruction. The latter, one of the most acrobatic and unscrupulous demagogues of the century, would have courted the favor of the Catholic party had it been dominant at the time; but[285] his ambition for power and notoriety led him to the side he found most opportune. His zeal against the Church was increased by the competition of such rivals as Gambetta, Brisson and Paul Bert, all worthy apostles in the cause of de-christianization. The law of laicisation constitutes the culminating point in the life of Jules Ferry.

This law was not of recent origin; it had already been proposed in 1876, by the extreme Left. Paul Bert was then one of its most enthusiastic exponents. It is a law that denies to French Catholics the most essential liberties.

It required the elimination of the religious element in the Superior Council of Public Instruction, the reservation to the State of the monopoly of degrees, the suppression of mixed juries,—established by the law of 1875 in regard to higher education,—the suppression of university rights for every Catholic establishment of superior education, and, finally, it asserted that every member of a Congregation not authorized should be held incapable of participating in any instruction public or private. In a word, it made the Catholic an outcast in the domain of education.

The discussion upon the law took place in the Chamber from June 16 to July 9, 1879. During this time the high lodges of Masonry hoped to diminish in the eyes of Catholics the importance of this law. But the Catholic Press did its duty; the question was placed in its proper light, public attention was awakened, and the contest promised to become warm. It became especially bitter when the discussions touched upon the Congregations. Jules Ferry had inserted in the bill, under Article VII., the words: "No one shall be permitted to participate in instruction, whether public or private, or to direct an establishment of instruction, of whatever order it may be, who belongs to a Congregation not authorized."[286]

These few lines awakened the Catholics of the country, and with them the more honest republicans. To declare an immense category of French citizens incapable of teaching, in spite of the fact that they held diplomas, and that only because they pleased to live in community, constituted the most evident violation of justice and equality.

A cry of protest went up from every side. Jules Ferry, realizing that he was playing his highest stakes, and urged on by his brethren, struggled desperately for his Article. Moreover, all the Masonic lodges had entered into the contest; every morning the irreligious journals, denounced the Congregations as the great peril of the nation. Political questions, both foreign and domestic, seemed to have no more interest; the military reorganization of Germany was forgotten; all attention was concentrated upon the Congregations, the members of which were themselves astonished at the importance given to them by their adversaries; even in the tribune it was considered proper to discuss cases of conscience selected from old volumes of Jesuit theologians.

Nevertheless, despite the mobilization of all the forces of irreligion, despite the explosion of the most unbridled anger that was ever seen since the Revolution, despite the personal intervention of De Freycinet at the Luxembourg the Senate, influenced by more than 1,800,000 protests from heads of families, vetoed Article VII. Jules Ferry was defeated, and every one imagined his defeat to be definitive.


The worthy Minister of Public Instruction revised his tactics. Repulsed in one method of action, he knew how to gain his end by other and more decisive ways. On March 27, 1880, in concert with his friends of the Cabinet, he induced the President to affix his signature to the famous decrees of expulsion. In virtue of these decrees,[287] which were launched under the pretence of "existing laws," thousands of religious were expelled from their convents—with what violence, and in the midst of what protestations and tragic incidents, it would take too long to tell.

When the decrees were made known to the Pope Leo XIII., on March 31, the Holy Father replied to M. Desprez, then ambassador of France to the Holy See:[288]

The Church, which seeks the salvation of souls, has no more ardent desire than to preserve peace with those who govern public affairs, and to strengthen that peace among peoples. At the same time, the Church never changes. We are plunged in grief to learn that it is intended to adopt certain measures in regard to the religious Congregations. In the eyes of the Holy See the Congregations are all of equal value. Our heart is torn with the profoundest sorrow to learn that they have become the butt of a hostile power, and it is our duty to raise our voice to protest in their favor.

Still later, in writing to Cardinal Guibert, the Holy Father said:

As soon as the expulsion of the Company of Jesus was ordered, we have directed our Nuncio in Paris to bear our remonstrances to the members of the government of the Republic, and to represent to them the injustice of this treatment accorded to men of virtue, of devotion, and of recognized and approved learning. But, as the remonstrances formulated by our Nuncio have been fruitless, we were on the point of raising our Apostolic voice, as it was our right and our duty to do, when it was represented to us that there was a chance of arresting the execution of the decrees.

This last resource, which M. de Freycinet proposed to the Holy Father, was to obtain from the Congregations not yet stricken the written declaration that they were[289] not hostile to the political institutions of France. Following the guidance of Cardinals Guibert and Bonnechose, and counselled by the Holy Father, the Congregations appended their signatures to the declaration. The action of M. Freycinet only aroused the anger of the Masons, whose adherents in the Cabinet met the declaration and destroyed it as soon as presented. Freycinet was not long in meeting summary punishment from the sectaries. On the day following the presentation of the declaration he was forced to resign his portfolio.


In October, 1880, the expulsions began. The residences and colleges of the Jesuits and other Congregations were entered and their occupants driven out. Very often the military were called upon to enforce the decrees. It was to no purpose that the Catholics of the nation lifted up their voices in angry protest, or that bishops—like Mgr. Gay and Mgr. de Cabrieres—clothed in their pontifical vestments, uttered sentence of excommunication against the despoilers. The rout went on with ever-increasing ardor. It is to the credit of the French bar of the time that it refused to concur in the shameful acts. M. Chesnelong, in 1891, writes: "After the decrees of March 29, 1880, more than three hundred magistrates abandoned their career rather than sacrifice the least particle of their honor; these heroes of duty displayed a magnificent spirit of sacrifice to the very end."

Against the Congregations not attainted by the decrees, recourse was had to tactics slower but more perfidious. They were rounded up in a pitiless circle of taxes and assessments to such an extent as to rob the Congregations of one-fifth of their net revenues.[290]

Once more the Holy Father sent forth his vigorous protestations. In an open letter to Cardinal Guibert of Paris, dated October 22, 1880, after reviewing the situation he writes: "But today, in the midst of these new disasters, our emotion is great, our anguish is extreme; and we cannot help but grieve and protest against the injury done to the Catholic Church." The great Pope ended by declaring that "in the presence of this license, the duties of his office commanded him to safeguard with invincible constancy the institutions of the Church, and to defend her rights with a courage that would not end at any peril." Following this letter of the Sovereign Pontiff the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr. Czacki, proceeded in a few weeks, November 25, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and placed before him a ministerial declaration of November 9, which glorified in having dispersed two hundred and sixty-one non-authorized establishments, together with a note protesting against these avowed and cowardly persecutions.

The word, however, had gone forth to pursue the Church and her influence wherever they should appear, in any form. During the ten following years a veritable fury of laicisation and de-christianization was let loose. Catholicity was hunted down in every section of the social organization. The laws were penetrated more and more with an irreligious spirit. In the army the chaplaincies were disorganized. (Law of July 8, 1880) the military Mass was suppressed, and the troops were forbidden to take part—as a body—in any religious ceremonies (Ministerial circulars of December 7 and 29, 1883), nor were they permitted even to enter a Catholic Church in a body (Decree October 23, 1883); moreover, numerous Catholic military associations were closed upon the slightest pretext. In the Courts the usual prayers at the opening of judicial proceedings were[291] either suppressed or declared optional (May 23, 1884); the members of the bar were forbidden to assist in a body at religious processions (May 23, 1880). In the matter of education the bishops and clergy were excluded from the Superior Council of Public Instruction. Before 1880 the episcopate had been represented in this Council by four of its members. Since that date the representatives of private education held four seats out of sixty; but a priest has never been admitted.[292]


In the matter of higher education, the faculties of Catholic theology in the Sorbonne were suppressed (Budget of 1885), while the Protestant faculties have been maintained. In secondary education, religious instruction was made optional (December 21, 1881). In primary education a law of March 28, 1882, interdicted anyone from teaching the catechism in the local schools. In the prisons the religious services were notably reduced. In the hospitals of many cities the Sisters were driven out despite protestations of all kinds; moreover, no priest was henceforth to be placed upon the administrative commissions of the hospitals (April 5, 1879). The curés were also driven from the bureau of charity (April 5, 1879). The exterior ceremonies of religion were forbidden in the streets and religious monuments proscribed. In the cemeteries non-Catholics were to be admitted to burial side by side with Catholics (November 15, 1881.) In the churches, the mayor of the town was to have a key, could order the church bells to be rung, and exercise police supervision within the church limits, in contradiction to Article XV., of the Concordat. In the workshops and factories the law of Sunday rest was abrogated (1880.) In private houses, no private chapels might be maintained. In the family, the law of divorce was felt (July 27, 1884.) In May, 1893, this law was so transformed that a mere separation lasting three years[293] could then, on the demand of one of the parties, be changed into absolute divorce. Civil contracts were elevated to a position of honor. The laws stood at the bedside of the dying to prevent the making of pious legacies; in the cemeteries civil funerals were permitted with attendant anti-religious manifestations, and the new practice of cremation.[294]


The laws oppressed the consciences of the people by the pressure constantly exercised and the menace held over the heads of functionaries culpable of confiding their children to Christian teachers, of taking part in Catholic works, or of simply performing their religious duties. State officials were spied upon, denounced, reprimanded, and disgraced because they endeavored to reconcile the accomplishment of their duties to the State with the open practice of their religious obligations.

In the matter of schools the laws were especially unreasonable. In 1880, lyceums were opened for young girls in order to transform their Catholic spirit. In October 30, 1886, a law was voted declaring that thenceforth all Congregation teachers, male and female, should be excluded from all public schools, primary and maternal. In schools for boys the law was executed promptly, and their personal administrations were completely laicised before October, 1891. The schools for girls were subjected to the change more gradually but none the less effectively. By the law of March 28, 1882, priests were excluded from the schools. In November, 1882, it was forbidden to display any longer the crucifix, which was thereupon taken down from the walls and cast, in many cases, into the filth of the sewers.

Other laws attainted the salaries of the clergy. In 1886 that of the bishops was reduced by one-third, and that of the archbishops by one-fourth. The salaries of canons were gradually extinguished altogether, as were also[295] those of many curacies and assistants. The same method of reduction was brought to bear upon the allowances for seminaries; the towns were released from the obligation of repairing churches and religious establishments of charity. From 1876 to 1893, the budget for religious worship was reduced from 53,727,925 to 42,560,000 francs, or more than 11,000,000.

Still other laws affected the work of the bishops in the administration of their dioceses. In 1892, the Archbishop of Rheims was condemned for having taught the Catholic doctrine of marriage, and the Bishop of Lucon for defending the rights of the Pope. Other bishops were prosecuted for instructing the faithful in regard to their duty in the elections. In 1889, a law was framed imposing on all religious without exception the obligation of serving three years in the army. Its object was evidently to destroy the spirit of the priesthood in the hearts of young men, an object, however, which happily failed of its realization.


In the midst of all these exasperating infractions of religious liberty, the Catholic people of France were constantly consoled by the deep and abiding interest manifested by the Holy Father. In 1884, he addressed to them his celebrated encyclical Nobilissima Gallorum gens, an effusion of fatherly tenderness towards a noble daughter of the Church. In a magnificent word-picture he spoke of the past grandeur of France, he deplored her present evils, and he pointed out, as an efficacious remedy, a cordial understanding and necessary concord between Church and State. This understanding the Concordat of 1801 had cemented for the happiness and prosperity of a country which was then at the height of its power. And it was still to the Concordat not mutilated and denatured in its letter and spirit, but loyally interpreted and honestly executed that recourse must be had[296] for the re-establishment of union and peace. At the same time he warned the bishops that they should give no occasion for a suspicion of hostility to the Republic: "Nemo jure criminabitur vos constitutae reipublicae adversari." The same sentiments, calling for close union[297] among Catholics in a Catholic State, were reiterated in his letter to the Bishop of Perigueux, and in his encyclicals, Immortale Dei of November 19, 1885, in his Libertas, June 20, 1888, and still more in the encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890, all of which while defending the glory and rights of the French Catholics, instructed them in the duties and methods of unity among themselves, and of loyalty to the Republic.


The enemies of the Church, who during former periods had rested the defence of their persecutions upon the doctrines and internal life of Catholics, began during the period of the Third Republic to have recourse to tactics more effective among a people to whom republican liberty appeared the consummation of all national well-being. The Government no longer dared to touch upon the religion of the soul; it perceived clearly that dogmas and the internal rules of morality were beyond the scope of civil legislation. In its new war upon religion it invoked against the Church reasons of State, and interests of a political order. Comprehending as they did that the French people were attached to republican institutions, the party of persecution endeavored to represent the Catholics as the enemies of the republican Government while they would identify their own cause with that of the established power.

The Catholics were accused of political ends in all their actions, and their zeal in defending the spiritual order was transformed into a greedy desire for exclusive advancement in things temporal. Hence the Government, menaced by the plots and schemes of Catholics, was obliged to defend itself, and to adopt the most effective measures for destroying Catholic conspiracy.[298] These insinuations were constantly injected into the masses by anti-Christian journals, orators, and demagogues, whose perpetual cry was that the Church is the enemy of the State, of civil authority, of modern society and of intellectual progress, all of which were by them comprehended in the term "Republic."


The tactics in themselves are not historically new. You find them mentioned in the Gospel as employed by the Jews in their false testimony against Christ when they represented Him as a disturber of the people, as one who would forbid the tribute to Caesar, as one who[299] called Himself a King. For whosoever maketh himself a king is an enemy to Caesar. Later still, the pagans in their envy of the Christians, called them "useless beings, dangerous and factious citizens, the enemies of the Empire and of the Emperors."

The same complaints and the same bitterness are renewed more or less in the succeeding centuries as often as there are governments unreasonably jealous of their power, and animated with intentions hostile to the Church. They always know how to put before the public the pretext of pretended usurpations of the Church over the State, in order to furnish the State with the appearance of right in its encroachments and violence toward the Catholic religion. (Encyclical of Leo XIII. to the Catholics of France, Feb. 16, 1892.)

There were not wanting apologists to place the true position of Catholics before the nation. Thus Cardinal Guibert, Archbishop of Paris, in his letter addressed to the President of the Republic, March 30, 1886, declared:

No, the clergy never had, and has not today any spirit of hostility toward existing institutions.... If the Republic accepted the obligation, binding on all governments, of respecting the faith and worship of the vast majority of our country, it would find nothing in the doctrine of the Church, nor in her traditions, which would justify in a priest a sentiment of mistrust or opposition.... Monsieur le President, I appeal to your intelligence and your impartiality.... The Catholic clergy has made no opposition to the Government which rules France, but the Government for six years has not ceased to persecute the clergy, to weaken Christian institutions, and to prepare the abolition of religion itself.

So also spoke Mgr. Freppel, the bishop-deputy, in a discussion held in the Chamber, December 12, 1891:[300]

It is evident that the President of the Council (M. de Freycinet) believes in a hostile attitude of the clergy towards the Republic. That hostile attitude I deny formally. Already, on a former occasion, I was not afraid, from the height of this tribune, to defy our adversaries to produce one single pastoral letter in which a member of the clergy shows himself in favor of the monarchy against the Republic. That challenge has remained unanswered. For, Monsieur President, to simply demand the modification of certain laws as unjust or anti-religious is not sufficient to merit even for an instant the epithet of an enemy to the Republic. We are certainly allowed to form a different conception of the Republic than yours; that is the right of every one. It is certainly permissible not to identify in principle the republican idea or form with atheism, anti-Christianism, or Freemasonry. One may combat these errors or these institutions without having thereby an attitude hostile to the Republic itself. All that you have the right to exact is that in no pastoral writing and by no pastoral act shall a member of the clergy pronounce against the actual form of the Government.

The French cardinals, January 16, 1892, presented the same ideas:

To resume: respect for the laws of the country, where they do not conflict with the exigencies of conscience; respect for[301] the representatives of power; the frank and loyal acceptation of political institutions; but, at the same time, a firm resistance to the encroachments of the secular power upon the spiritual domain ... such are the duties which, at the present hour, are imposed upon the conscience and patriotism of the French Catholics.


It is sufficiently evident that all these declarations[302] were in perfect conformity with the instructions of the Holy See; yet, that there might be no doubt as to the authoritative teaching of the Church in that matter, the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII., addressed on February 16, 1892, an encyclical letter to the Catholics of France, wherein he pointed out the basis and conditions of a possible peace—provided it was sincerely wished for—between Catholicism and the republican Government.


After denouncing the "vast plot which certain men have formed to annihilate Christianity in France, and the animosity they display in striving to realize their design," he proceeds:

The Church, in her relations with the political powers, abstracts from the forms which differentiate them, in order to treat with them upon the great religious interests of peoples, knowing that to her belongs the duty of teaching them above every other interest. If each political form is good in itself, and can be applied to the government of peoples, the fact is that it does not encounter the political power under the same form among all peoples; each possesses its own. That form arises from the ensemble of circumstances, historical or national, but always human, which give rise in a nation to traditional or even fundamental laws, and through these is determined the particular form of government, the basis of transmission of supreme powers. It is useless to repeat that all individuals are bound to accept such governments, and to attempt in no way to overturn them or to change their form. Thence it is that the Church, the guardian of the truest and loftiest notion of political sovereignty, since she derives it from God, has always reproved the doctrines and condemned the men rebellious to legitimate authority. And that in times when the depositaries of power used it only to abuse her, thus depriving themselves of the most powerful support of their authority, and of the most efficacious means of popular obedience to their laws.[303]

But a difficulty presents itself: "This Republic," it may be said, "is animated by sentiments so anti-Christian that honest men, and above all Catholics, cannot conscientiously accept it." This it is which has given rise to dissensions and aggravated them. These unfortunate divergences would be avoided if one would only take into account the considerable[304] distinction between Constituted powers and Legislation.... Practically the quality of the laws depends more upon the quality of the men invested with power than upon the form of the power.... One can never approve of points of legislation which are hostile to Religion and to God; on the contrary it is a duty to reprove them.


The Holy Father thus makes it plain that the Church, and Catholics as Catholics, are not opposed to existing governments, nor are they in principle opposed to the legislation of such governments, as long as such legislation is not hostile to God and religion. When hostility of this kind is found in legislation, it is the duty of Catholics to oppose it and to strive to obtain a better law. The form of power remains the same, and the Catholic people are held by their principles to support it loyally.

These declarations coming from so many and such authoritative sources had their effect upon the common sense of the French people. The spirit of hostility to Catholicity and its institutions began to show a marked diminution. This was evidenced most of all in the very abiding place of former anti-Christianism, the French Chamber of Deputies. On March 3, 1894, M. Spuller, a disciple of Gambetta, and the man who had introduced the famous Article VII. in 1879, made the following significant declarations in the Chamber of that day:

When the Republic had to struggle against the coalition of the old parties, when the Church served as a[305] bond for all these old parties, I followed at that time the policy exacted by the circumstances, and which the supreme interest of the Republic commanded.... But does that mean that I ought to close my eyes to what is taking place today? Does it mean that those religious struggles which I once deplored and which I deplore still, which I proclaim a danger that ought to be avoided, a peril that it is to the interest of all of us to dissipate, does it mean that I did not deplore them even at the time I took so ardent a part in them? No, gentlemen, and if it were necessary for me today to summon what I consider the most precious of testimonies, because it is that of a conscience which has never weakened, I would address myself to my honorable and dear friend, M. Brisson; I would ask him to recall what he said to me himself in an intimate conversation, namely, that the struggle against clericalism, rendered necessary by the political action of the Church, is that which has done the most harm to the Republic, and has put back her triumph for ten or rather fifteen years.

Very well, gentlemen, I believe with the profoundest conviction, that after twenty-five years of existence, after the proofs which the Republic has given of her resistance and vitality, this struggle ought, if not to cease altogether, at least to take on a different character.... I declare that now the Church, instead of serving as the support of the monarchical parties, has cast herself into the arms of the democracy. I declare that by this movement the Church will draw you perhaps, you republicans, further than you would wish to go, for if you do not take care she will regain over the masses the influence which you have lost. That is why I consider that we ought not to abandon any of our old traditions in our incessant struggles for the benefit of secular and civil society; but at the same time I believe that a new spirit ought to animate our democracy and those who represent it.

Here the speaker began to be interrupted, thus:[306]

Voices from the Left: "What new spirit?"

M. Spuller: "I will explain.... The new spirit is this: instead of a mean, vexatious and exasperating war...." (Protests from the Extreme Left—Applause from the Centre).

M. Rene Boblet: "Whom are you accusing of carrying on this exasperating war?"

M. Camille Pelletan: "You insult the memory of Ferry."

M. Spuller: "If you permit me, gentlemen, I will say that it is I myself whom I accuse at the present moment, so that nobody can be offended."

M. Millerand: "That is a mea culpa."

M. Spuller: "Precisely, but all your finesse, all your casuistry will not prevent the country from understanding my words."

M. Chauvin: "The country will understand that the Government has become clerical."

M. Spuller replied:

I shall certainly be understood without, and when I assert that in a new situation we have need of a new policy, a new spirit, I am sure of being understood by everyone who is not blinded by his passions. That new spirit of which I speak, I do not wish you to think it ought under any pretext to be a spirit of weakness, of condescension, of abandonment, of abdication; on the contrary it ought to be a lofty and large spirit of tolerance, of intellectual and moral renovation, altogether different from that which has prevailed heretofore. Such is my profound conviction.... Yes, gentlemen, and mark it well the Church must not any longer pretend, as she has so long contended, that she is tyrannized, persecuted, hunted, shut out and kept out of the social life of the country.

I will say to M. Goblet, who has done me the honor of interrupting me, and of crying out as they cry out to[307] me in the public reunions: "Confess that you are with the Pope;" I will say to him that it would be no more unworthy of me than of him to recognize in the present Pope a man who merits the grandest respect, because he is invested with the highest moral authority.

These words, in the very Chamber itself, and uttered by a man who professed himself bound by no religion, found many echoes in the same quarter. Not the least important and significant were those of M. Casimir Périer, President of the Council. The Government had spoken its mea culpa with full consciousness of its fault.

There was another cause also which at this time awoke the country to the necessity of that moral teaching which only the Church can afford. Socialism in its rankest form had begun a campaign of assassination and terror which struck all hearts with consternation. The noise of anarchistic bombs was heard from one end to the other of France. In 1892, it was those of Ravachol and his accomplices; on December 3, 1893, Vaillant exploded a bomb in the Chamber of Deputies; Emile Henri cast another in the café of the Hotel Terminus on February 12, 1894; there was another in the Rue Saint-Jaques on February 20, 1894, and another in the Church of the Madeleine on March 15. These evidences of a social derangement recalled the necessity of religion with its moral power. This was all the more accentuated when on June 24, 1894, in revenge for the death of the anarchist, Henri, an Italian assassinated M. Sadi Carnot, President of the Republic, at Lyons. The result of the reflections aroused by these revolting crimes was the election on June 27, 1894, of that Casimir Périer who had joined M. Spuller in his demand for tolerance toward the Church.

It was under the comparative mildness of the rule thus inaugurated that the Catholics of the country could[308] begin to breathe a little the air of freedom. From 1894 to 1900, the beneficent works of the Church made progress; her schools and colleges were filled; the religious orders, dispossessed in 1880, began to rebuild their houses, open their chapels, and to undertake publicly the direction of houses of education. Throughout the whole French Church a development was noticeable, to the great comfort of many who had groaned for fifteen years under the iron yoke of anti-Christian legislation.


Through the efforts of Leo XIII., followed by those of the French cardinals and bishops, a new spirit, a spirit of conciliation, had indeed grown up in France, to which even the representatives of a Government hitherto hostile had lent their prestige. Nevertheless, it is difficult to define the reasons why these common aspirations of peace, instead of developing into a true religious pacification, ended in a war on religion the most terrible in its significance that France has ever known. Nevertheless it can be stated without temerity that the realization of true and definite peace was hindered through the efforts of men and circumstances.

The men of France stood in its way. In this matter we can distinguish three classes of men, the sectaries, the liberals and the Catholics. It was only natural that the sectaries, whose highest ambition was the destruction of Christianity, should repulse from evil principle every convincing argument in favor of peace. It mattered little to them that Catholics declared their adhesion to the Republican form of government; they sneered at the distinction made by Leo XIII. between the form of government and legislation.

The Catholic in combating unjust legislation was pronounced by them a peril to the Republic, and by the Republic[309] they understood, not a form of government for the good of the people, but the concrete spirit of revolution, the glorification of free thought, anti-Christianism and irreligion. From the sectaries, therefore, nothing could be hoped for in the way of religious pacification.

The liberals, on the other hand, if they entered into the new spirit and dictated its methods, were nevertheless, at the best, only opportunists. Their attitude was merely political; at the depth of their ideas and sentiments they were always hostile to the Church. They feared Catholicism because it meant the restraints of virtue; they feared its light, lest it betray the evil of the ways they were treading. There was thus no real sincerity in their false liberalism towards the Church. They were, moreover, trimmers, ever on guard lest a false move betray their position and lead them into parties to which they were averse. They feared to favor the Right lest the Left call them clerical; they guarded themselves against the Left, lest the respectable element of the country should accuse them of excess. When their ministers spoke of the new spirit, they made plain that they looked upon the Church as a vanquished enemy, which they continued to hold in leash, desiring only to let out a little more of the rope. They were, moreover, under the full influence of Masonry. At the very time when the ministry of the new spirit was constituted, out of the eleven ministers, seven were Freemasons, a preponderance which the sects have not lost in the succeeding ministries.

With regard to the Catholics, themselves, it must be confessed that their want of unity proved as great a hindrance to any effectual pacification. There were many who refused in a more or less open way to enter into the movement indicated by the Sovereign Pontiff. They argued, quarrelled, and remained militant monarchists to the end. Of those who showed a desire to[310] follow the directions of Leo XIII. some lagged behind in the movement, uncertain, timid, and nervous; others rushed to the front with an ardor that proved more bravery than prudence; others, neither timid nor rash, effected nothing through a want of understanding among themselves. Thus divided, scattered, disputing among themselves, they gave the vantage ground to the enemy. With a compact, organized army of workers, united upon one single line of policy the Catholics of France could have gained immense advantages.


Among the circumstances which contributed to the continuance of the anti-Christian spirit must be reckoned the Dreyfus affair. Dreyfus was condemned on December 22, 1894. The affair in itself was entirely a matter between him and the French army. Yet it served as a pretext for war against the majority of the French nation as comprised within the Catholic Church. Whether the defendant were innocent or guilty mattered little; his condemnation brought with it the humiliation of three orders of men who had acquired much power in France, and who determined to obtain revenge not upon the army, which had exposed them to the scorn of public opinion, but upon a force entirely outside the question, but easily attainable because of its weakness, the Church.

The Jews, pointed out by press and public speech as rapacious money-seekers and place-hunters, were only too happy that the circumstance gave them an opportunity of revenge. Freemasonry still quivered under the lash of Leo XIII. who had stigmatized them as the powers of darkness, the enemies of religion and the social order; the bishops of France had adhered to the word of the Sovereign Pontiff; a petition of the League of Patriots[311] was gotten up against Masonry; books and pamphlets were scattered broadcast exposing their illegality and international character; throughout the whole of France the anti-masonic movement was spreading day by day. It was to the Church that the sects attributed their growing unpopularity, and thus Masonry determined that the Church must be punished. Socialism, also, found in the Dreyfus affair, a pretext for the solidification of its forces. It had recognized that the Church alone disputed with it for the guidance of human souls, and in the Church alone could be found remedies for social evils incomparably more apt and human than any Socialism could put forth.

The Dreyfusards arranged themselves under these three banners and, uniting against the common enemy, began their campaign by laying the whole affair at the door of the Jesuits, intending through them to strike down eventually every institution of the Church existing in France. Hence the words of M. Jaurès in the Chamber, March 23, 1903: "Now that the country, now that the honest people of this country have seen the depths of the corruption, the perjury, falsehood and treason, when it can say that this policy of falsehood was the product of a long Jesuitical education ... we can see the immense political character of the battle which has begun." From 1894 to the end of the century the anti-Jesuitical campaign went on, increasing every year in bitterness and intensity. In June and July, 1899, seven or eight journals of Paris every day demanded the expulsion of the Jesuits. Freemasonry, through the columns of the[312] Siecle, circulated a petition against the Jesuits, laying at their door all recent crimes, especially Boulangism and the affair of Dreyfus. The Masonic congress held in Paris during the days of June 22, 23 and 24, 1899, placed at the head of its programme the dissolution of the Institute of the Jesuits and of all Congregations not authorized.



The War on the Religious Orders.

The twentieth century dawned with black and lowering skies, presage of storms to come. Even while the hymns of thanksgiving were echoing among the vaulted roofs of cathedral and chapel, the powers of darkness were assembling in high places to formulate plans of destruction. The word had gone forth that Catholicity must die, the oath had been taken in the secret lodges, the generals of the campaign were chosen, and work began in earnest.

The war with the Church was on. It had its skirmishes ever since 1879. Any president or minister who dared to favor the cause of Catholicity must fall. "They must temporize, resign, or die." MacMahon was forced to resign; Carnot was assassinated; Casimir Périer resigned; Felix Faure, for having steadfastly opposed the revision of the Dreyfus case, died almost immediately after swallowing a cup of tea at a soiree, and the Dreyfus case was made out against the Catholics. President Loubet was elected on February 18, 1899. In taking up the reins of government he was made to understand unmistakably that he must follow out the directions of a party whose slogan was: "Death to the Church!"[314]


One fact which shows that the spirit of the Government, which followed upon the accession of Loubet, was born for persecution, was the case of the Assumptionist Fathers. The latter were accused of interfering in the elections of 1898. A case was made out against them "for violation of the Penal Code interdicting gatherings of more than twenty persons." The real accusation[315] brought against them, however, was to the effect that they had favored the wrong candidates, that is, candidates not agreeable to the dominant powers. The prosecutor, Bulot, in his arraignment, cited the names of thirty-one deputies who, he declared, owed their election to the influence of the Assumptionists. The Assumptionists were condemned, and their congregation dissolved as illicit.


The complexion of the new Government which ruled from 1899 to 1902 may be seen from the following extract taken from the revelations of Madame Sorgues, sub-editor, a few years ago—of Jaurès' Socialist organ, La Petite Republique:

In fighting the battles of Dreyfus, Jaurès and his friends brought about a singular meeting of the two most irreconcilable camps.... The first service rendered was to restore the tottering Socialist press.... All the advanced (i. e. anti-clerical) dailies have passed into the hands of the great barons of finance; they are their journals now, not the journals of the workers.... They cast their eyes on Waldeck-Rousseau, the clever rescuer of the Panama people.... The agent of the Dreyfus politics had the happy thought of introducing into the Cabinet, Millerand, the Socialist leader, with the consent of his party. Socialism by becoming ministerial would be domesticated and rendered inoffensive against capital.

The Cabinet was thus in the hands of men little disposed to show fairness towards anything Catholic. In the Chamber of Deputies of that term there were four hundred Freemasons out of five hundred members; in the Cabinet out of eleven ministers, ten were Freemasons.[316] This was the illustrious band which was to make laws for the guidance of thirty-seven million Catholics.

At the head of this ministry stood Waldeck-Rousseau, President of the Council. Waldeck-Rousseau personified the policy which obtained during the two first years of the century, that is, the policy of duplicity and deception. It was necessary, in the beginning of the campaign, to entice the Catholics into a trap, after which their annihilation must follow as a matter of course. In the art of deception Waldeck-Rousseau was an adept.


The instrument by which the deception was exercised was the infamous Associations Law of 1901. The Congregations had ever been the bete-noir of the anti-clericals. They represented Religion in its perfection. In 1892, when the Fallières-Constans bill against the religious congregations was broached, and M. Carnot, its spokesman, had presented it before the Chamber, the Temps remarked: "Its purpose was to resolve the difficult problem of according the right of association to everyone, with such reserves, however, that the Catholics might not benefit by it, and that the Congregations might by it be destroyed." In the bill of Waldeck-Rousseau-Trouillot, prepared in June, 1900, such embarrassments were simply set aside. It was determined "to take the bull by the horns." The new project was, therefore, twofold; the first part assured a large liberty to associations non-suspected; the second part gave the Government a means of suppressing all religious orders. It read as follows: "No religious congregation can be formed without an authorization given by a law which shall determine the conditions of its workings. It cannot[317] found any new establishment except in virtue of a decree emanating from the Council of State.—The dissolution of a congregation, or the closing of an establishment can be pronounced by a decree rendered by the Council of the ministers."


The project which bore the names of Trouillot and Waldeck-Rousseau began[318] by declaring all religious congregations "illicit," under the pretext that the members of these associations live in community, that they make the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and that Article 1118 of the Civil Code declares that "only such things as enter into commerce can be made the object of a convention," and that poverty, chastity and obedience are things which do not enter into commerce.

M. Emile Faguet in his L'Anticlericalism (Paris, 1905) scourges this method of persecution:

This argumentation was seething with sophisms. In the first place it transposes into the Penal Code a disposition of the Civil Code and it makes a crime of that which is only a judiciary incapacity: the party who makes a contract upon something which does not enter into commerce cannot judicially exact the execution of that contract if his co-contractor should refuse. That is all that is meant by Article 1118, and there is no penalty against a man who makes a contract not conformable to Article 1118 of the Civil Code. Indeed, if such were the case, marriage would be illicit, for it is a convention of obedience, fidelity and protection between two persons, and obedience, fidelity and protection are not matters of trade; hence marriage would be contrary to Article 1118.

But, it will be said, we must count as illicit every convention which is contrary to good morals. Without doubt; but it is difficult to conceive how living in common, and taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience are opposed to good morals.[319]

Finally this position of the question betrays a voluntary confusion of the terms "convention" and "vow." A vow is not a contract, it is a resolution which one takes and in which one persists. Thus in no way does Article 1118 affect the question of associations and congregations.

It is strange indeed that these sapient legislators, after declaring religious associations illicit or criminal, contradict themselves by inviting these same "criminal" associations to seek authorization; which amounts to saying that the Waldeck-Rousseau ministry wished to sanction some things which it considered as essentially wrong. Thus the new law stultifies itself almost in its opening sentences, while it makes it quite plain that the subversive intentions of its author were to affect all religious congregations without exception.

Waldeck-Rousseau belonged to the same school as Jules Ferry; he believed in maintaining provisorily the Concordat, but he made it plain that he intended to laicise all the public service, and especially that of teaching, in which the congregations held so large a part. In a speech at Toulouse, October 28, 1900, after arguing that the development of the monastic possessions ought to be arrested, he declared:

Two classes of youth, less separated by their social condition than by the education they receive, are growing up without any mutual acquaintance, until the day comes when they shall meet and find themselves so unlike that they will not be able to understand one another. Little by little two different societies are being prepared—one of them, becoming more and more democratic as it is borne on by the great current of the Revolution, and the other, more and more imbued with doctrines which one would not have believed able to survive the great movement of the eighteenth century.[320]

In this sentence was contained his plea for compelling the teachers of the second class of youth, the congregations, to seek authorization, while at the same time he made it evident that none should be authorized whose methods should not be in accordance with the principles of the French Revolution.

Another element in the deceptive policy of Waldeck-Rousseau was the endeavor to bolster his proscriptive laws upon the assertion that they were intended to protect the secular clergy from the encroachments of the regulars. Hence the phrase: "The Church against the chapel." He ignored the fact that the secular clergy had no need of such protection inasmuch as the harmony between them and the religious orders was never called into question except by these anti-clericals who hated both religious and seculars.

Still further the same Waldeck-Rousseau took pains to falsify himself on more than one public occasion. Thus he assured M. Cochin and Mgr. Gayraud that the law of July, 1901, would permit members of religious congregations to teach in establishments belonging to persons not members of the congregation, although he knew at the time that decrees were being formulated to prevent such practice.

When the iniquitous law was yet before the Chamber the Holy Father, Pope Leo XIII., in a letter to the superior generals of the orders and religious institutes, complained bitterly of its purpose:

We have endeavored by every means to ward off from you a persecution so unworthy, and at the same time to save your country from evils as great as they are unmerited. That is why on many occasions we have pleaded your cause with all our power in the name of religion, of justice, of civilization. But we have hoped in vain that our remonstrances would be[321] heard. Behold, indeed, in these days, in a nation singularly fecund in religious vocations, and which we have always surrounded with our most particular care, the public powers have approved and promulgated laws of exception, apropos of which we have, a few months ago, raised our voice in the hope of preventing them.[322]


The Livre Jaune, published in 1903, and containing diplomatic documents, prints the words of Cardinal Rampolla in the name of the Holy Father:

The Holy Father, obedient to the duties imposed on him by his sacred ministry, has ordered the subscribed Secretary of State to protest, as he does protest in his august name, against the above law, as being an unjust law of reprisals and of exception, which excludes honest and worthy citizens from the benefits of the common right, which equally wounds the rights of the Church, which is in opposition to natural right, and which is at the same time replete with deplorable consequences. It would be superfluous to point out how such a law, on the one side, restrains the liberty of the Church guaranteed by a solemn contract, and prevents the Church from fulfilling her divine mission by depriving her of precious co-operators, while on the other hand, it increases bitterness of spirit at a moment when the need of pacification is most vital and pressing, and it takes away from the State the most zealous apostles of civilization and charity, the most efficacious propagators of the French name, the French tongue and French prestige abroad.

The effects of this law which has been well characterized as anti-social, inhuman, anti-religious, and anti-French, began to be felt at once. Many religious orders, such as the Jesuits, the Assumptionists, the Benedictines, Carmelites, etc., foreseeing that legal authorization would be denied them, abandoned their country, their[323] colleges and their convents; many others still hoped. The Government into whose hands they had fallen had invited them to seek authorization, and there was no reason, apparently, to suppose that this invitation was only a mockery. Still others, which had formerly been authorized, imagined that they might still continue in the enjoyment of such recognition. Both the latter classes were, however, deceived. According to the new law a congregation "might not found a new establishment except in virtue of a decree issued by the Council of State." It was thus difficult to see how the law could effect the establishments already founded. The promulgators of the bill, however, intended to confine themselves within no limits, and hence their purpose was very soon made plain. By a circular of December 15, 1901, the law was formally extended to include all establishments, both old and new, going back as far as those recognized in 1825. Later still, January 23, 1902, the Council of State decided that: "in the case of the opening of a school by one or more congregationists, that school should be considered as a new establishment opened by the congregation, whoever might be proprietor or tenant." A few days later, February 8, Waldeck-Rousseau sent notice of the same to the prefects. By these various circulars the law was thus aimed at all new schools founded by the congregations, at all new schools not founded by the congregations, but directed by religious, and at all old schools founded by the congregations.

It is a notable fact that these iniquitous extensions of an evil law were perpetrated in spite of the clearest assurances of the Government that the two latter classes of schools should not be touched. Even as late as February 4, 1902, the Government responded to a request of the Holy Father for an explanation of its intentions, by a note from M. Delcasse, which reads as follows:[324]

Paris, February 4, 1902.

The Council of Ministers have decided that the law of July, 1901, should not have a retroactive effect, and did not apply to educational establishments opened in virtue of the law of 1886. The conclusions of the Council of State enumerated in your despatch of January 29, do not touch them. This was a point with which the Nuncio was very much preoccupied. Mgr. Lorenzelli appears to be fully satisfied with the decision of the Council, of which I immediately made him cognizant.—Delcasse.

The actions of the Government were thus in direct contradiction with its assurances. Its protestations of fairness and leniency were falsified by its circulars and decrees. Its intentions were aimed at extermination complete and irrevocable.

The ending of Waldeck-Rousseau's career was pathetic and tragical. In 1904 he arose one day "from his bed of sickness to unburden his conscience by protesting against the anti-clerical fury of his ci-devant supporters and instruments. In vain he denounced the violations of his law of 1901, travestied by that of 1904 suppressing even authorized congregations. The verve of the great tribune had abandoned him. His speech was but a hollow echo of its former eloquence. Twice he reeled and was forced to steady himself by clinging to the railing. When he arose for the second time, to reply to the sarcasms of M. Combes, he suddenly lost the thread of his discourse, and before he had ended many benches were vacated; the forum, where his words had so often been greeted with wild applause, was almost empty." (Brodhead.—Religious Persecution in France.)

His death came two years later. It was rumored that he attempted to commit suicide. Whether he received[325] the last sacraments or not is not known. He had left instructions, however, that he was to be buried from his parish church of St. Clothilde.


The seventh legislature was dissolved at the beginning of April, 1902, and preparations were at once begun for the election of its successor. The point at issue in the approaching elections was the vindication or the condemnation of the Waldeck-Rousseau ministry, which had now been in office for three years. The result was entirely satisfactory to the parties whose life had been lived in open hostility to the Church. The Ministerialists, that is to say, the supporters of the administration of Waldeck-Rousseau, won 69 seats in the Chamber, as against 131 by the several elements of the opposition. The new legislature counted among its members ninety-six Radicals, eighty-three Republicans of the Left, 135 Radical-Socialists, forty-one Unified Socialists, fourteen Independent Socialists. Here were 369 men out of 500, every one of whom was pledged to exert every effort, by fair means or foul, to overthrow the life and power of the Church in France. As soon as the result of the election had become known Waldeck-Rousseau, as if satisfied with his work of destruction, resigned the ministry and retired to private life.

Before abandoning the active field of political life, Waldeck-Rousseau was careful to point out the man he desired to take his place and carry into execution the laws he had devised. This man was Emile Combes, the most violent of politicians. To this man, M. Loubet, who could not bear him—but who passed his life in doing what he disapproved of, and in condemning in[326] his speeches the very political acts which he signed with his name,—to this man M. Loubet hastened to confide the Presidency of the Council, and the direction of the Government. M. Combes! It is a name of ill omen, which echoes like the sound of a funeral bell among the cloisters in the empty convents, and by the firesides of Christian homes. The aged mutter the name and grow pale as if they had said an unholy thing. The little ones shrink to their mothers' side as the horror of that name strikes upon their innocent ears, for it brings back the memory of dear sisters who have vanished, engulfed as it were in the cavernous jaws of the anti-Christ. It is a name at which many lips hesitate when they utter the prayer! "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us." Yet, they will hesitate only for the moment, for in those very communities which he has robbed and persecuted a prayer will ever go up to God for his conversion. It is the way in which the true Christian takes revenge upon those who wrong him.


Emile Combes is a native of Roquecourbe, in the south of France, where he was born on September 6, 1835. His parents were good, honest people, filled with that simple piety which characterizes the true French[327] peasant. He had an uncle, the Abbe Gaubert, curé of Bion to whose generous interest the future politician owed his first advances in life. Through the influence of this good man the young Combes entered, in 1846, the petit seminaire of Castres, the scholars of which were supposed to have the first promptings of ecclesiastical vocation. During his college days the young man certainly gave every evidence of profound faith and devotion. The lessons of his pious mother made him, as he says himself, believe to the very depths of his soul. In his twentieth year he entered the Grand Seminary[328] at Albi. While in this institution he received minor orders, thereby proclaiming to the world his intention of preparing for the priesthood. For two years his purpose remained unchanged. He even fortified himself therein by deep and special studies in scholastic theology, and has left as memorials of his better life two treatises in that matter: A Study of the Psychology of St. Thomas Aquinas, and The Controversy between St. Bernard and Abelard, copies of which are still extant in the library of the Sorbonne at Paris.

Whether the vocation of Emile Combes was real or not, he certainly abandoned it in the midst of his ecclesiastical studies. He quitted the Seminary and became a professor in the College of the Assumption at Nimes, an institution established by the Abbe d'Alzon, founder of the religious order of the Assumptionists. Here he remained for three years, until 1860. He taught then in another Catholic college at Pons.

Hitherto there had been no certain indications of a weakening in his faith. But in 1864, as he was attending the medical school at Paris, he met with Renan. The acquaintanceship developed the seeds of that atheism which has since become his ruling quality.

To one who reads French history it ought not to be surprising that a Catholic seminary should have sheltered the youth of a man like Combes. Voltaire was a pupil of the Jesuits, whom he betrayed; Renan was once a student in St. Sulpice; Gambetta, the leader of anti-clericalism in the stormy 80's, studied in his boyhood in a petit seminaire. That they proved false to their early teaching is not remarkable when one considers the disaffection of an apostle who was privileged to enjoy an intimacy with the Savior of the world.

It was during his vacations in 1865 that Combes was initiated into the Freemasons. It marked the[329] first step in that path which he was soon to follow with persistent energy. In 1868 he received his degree as doctor of medicine, a profession which he practised at Pons. In 1874 he was elected Mayor of that town. His real political life began in 1885 when he was elected senator. Re-elected in 1894, he accepted the ministry of Public Instruction, Fine Arts and Worship in the Bourgeois Cabinet, wherein he showed himself one of the most obstinate promoters of lay education as opposed to that of the clergy. It was at this time that he inaugurated, in his relations with the Vatican relative to the Concordat, the policy which, ten years later, led to the separation of Church and State.[330]


As President of the Democratic Left in the Senate he lent his efforts to the policy of Waldeck-Rousseau from 1899 to 1902. He was elected President of the Senatorial Commission on the Law of Associations; he contributed largely to its adoption, and notably to the vote on Article 14, when he declared in the tribune his conviction of the moral incompatibility of the profession of teaching with the doctrine and life of the monastic orders. On June 7, 1902, upon the recommendation of Rousseau, he succeeded to the Presidency of the Council thereby becoming Premier in the Government.

His first words upon taking up this office signalized his determination of carrying on to its ultimate issue the war just inaugurated against the Catholic Church. "What can the new Cabinet do," he asked, "what can any cabinet do but continue the policy of that which precedes us, a policy which is resumed by saying that it has been nothing more than an incessant war of the Republican party against two dangers which republican unity alone can overcome; Caesarian reaction, and theocratic pretensions. That is the policy which we are determined[331] to pursue and which we invite you to pursue with us until we have completely disarmed the enemy."

An order of the day was passed voting confidence in the Government, and thus adopting as the policy of the Chambers, the war plan enunciated by the President of the Council. This was the work of the four groups of the Left, all radical and anti-religious to the depths of their hearts. The bloc, as they called this cohesion of the different parties of the ministerial majority, was thus constituted, and adopted as its plan of action the war against Catholicity.

The new Premier set to work at once to put into execution the law of July 1, 1901. Beginning with schools recently opened, that is, posterity to the late law, he closed at one stroke on July 15, 1902, as many as 2500. The congregationist teachers were allowed only eight days before abandoning their establishments and retiring to their mother houses. It was an illegal act in itself; it not only aggravated unduly the rigor of the law, but it was also irregular in form, since Article 13 of the law declared that a measure of this nature could not be taken except "by a decree emanating from the Council of the ministers," and not by a simple circular as in the present case.

Cardinal Richard, upon learning of this execution, wrote immediately to M. Loubet a letter to which many other bishops hastened to give their adhesion; M. Jules Roche published a letter to the President of the Council (Combes) in which he proved that the law had been violated; a petition was presented to M. Loubet by a delegation of the Christian mothers from the district of Saint-Roch. To these protests the Government answered by a presidential decree of Aug. 2, 1902—this time in legal form—whereby it declared the closing of 324 other establishments.[332]

The war went on. In Brittany many scenes of open conflict took place as the troubled peasantry strove to prevent the sudden spoliation of those institutions which they held dearest on earth. They had reason indeed to rebel, as the persecutors aimed not only at the extinction of their beloved teaching orders, but also at the destruction of that cherished Breton tongue which they had inherited from their fathers. The show of violence here and there manifested brought its inevitable consequences from a power only too anxious to find pretexts for persecution. The powers of many mayors were revoked, many ecclesiastics were deprived of their livings and correctional measures were pronounced against all who dared to take part in the various manifestations. Then came other decrees in August, laicising en masse the greater part of the public schools as yet directed by the congregations.

When the matter was brought into the Chamber (Oct. 13, 1902,) protests went up eloquently from a number of indignant deputies. Conspicuous among these were such bright names as Messrs. Aynard, Baudry d'Asson, Denys Cochin, George Berry, de Ramel, Charles Benoist and the Count de Mun. The answer of the latter to the policy of Combes is worth recording:

Majorities may cover your actions and sanction your decisions, but nothing can efface the evil you have done. The country—for I speak not of Brittany alone—can never forget those scenes of odious violence executed by your orders, wherein we have witnessed commissaries of police, followed by armed marauders, storming the doors of private houses, not merely the doors of a religious dwelling, but the doors of my own house, to drive out into the streets humble ladies who consecrate their lives, their labors and their devotion to the instruction of the children of the people. Nothing—and[333] understand it well—nothing can make us forget that; nothing above all can make us forget that you have condemned the soldiers of France to assist at such scenes, and to march with tears in their eyes, in the midst of a distracted and desperate crowd, the pathway of your persecutors. That shall never be forgotten! That shall never be pardoned.

While these things were going on the bishops of France framed a collective letter petitioning the Chambers to accede to the application for authorization made by the congregations. This letter when published contained the signatures of seventy-four bishops; only seven, for different reasons had deferred signing, though fully in sympathy with the movement. This letter, moderate and respectful, as it was, and merely asking in the way of petition for favors that might easily be granted, was treated by the Council of State as a hostile manifesto and was declared "abusive" and as such it rendered its authors culpable before the law. The Archbishop of Besancon, together with the Bishops of Orleans and of Séez, were considered as the promoters of the document, and as such were deprived of their salaries.

When the war against all new establishments was well under way, the "Bloc" then took up the question of congregations unauthorized but applying in due legal form for the favor of authorization. This the orders had been instructed and encouraged to do. Their treatment displayed at once the insincerity and hatred of the Government. A "Commission on Congregations" was formed, composed of thirty-three members, of whom twenty-one were Freemasons. The Commission instructed the anti-clerical Rabier to draw up a bill. The discussions of the Chamber upon this bill, resulted in the dissolution of fifty-three orders of men. On[334] March 18, 1903, twenty-five teaching congregations were suppressed, comprising 11,763 religious divided into 1690 communities. A few days later twenty-eight preaching orders received the same sentence. Among these were the Capuchins, the Redemptorists, the Dominicans, the Passionists, the Salesians, the Franciscans, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Benedictines, the Fathers of the Oratory, the Barnabites, the Carmelites and many others. On March 26, the Carthusians, considered as a commercial order, were condemned by a vote of 322 against 222. It was at this time that the anti-clerical Rouanet uttered that saying so significant of the whole Governmental policy: "We need not concern ourselves with either legality or right." The proscriptions were hardly pronounced than measures were at once taken for the liquidation of the property belonging to the dissolved congregations. We need not linger to relate the pathetic scenes accompanying the consequent expulsion of these fifty-three orders of men, nor the wave of indignation it produced throughout France and the civilized world.


After the congregations of men the war was carried on against similar orders of women. It was to no purpose that Messrs. Plichon and Grousseau[335] demonstrated in the Chamber the confusion manifested in the articles of the bill which designated as teaching orders the congregations devoted to the hospitals, and those whose lives were purely contemplative; it was in vain that they showed forth the success of the incriminated orders that they brought forth the declarations of the majority of the municipal councils pronouncing for the maintenance of these orders. Even M. Leygues who had voted for the law of July 1, 1901, as Minister of Public Instruction at the time, declared that the new bill by rejecting the demands of the Sisters en bloc was contrary[336] to that law. In spite of all protests the project was voted and carried by a majority of 285 to 269. Thus eighty-one congregations of women were at a single blow dissolved.

On August 9, 1903, M. Combes speaking at Marseilles before a congress of teachers declared:

I have refused 12,600 petitions for authorization. This figure suppressed 9,934 teaching establishments, 1,856 hospital corps, and 822 establishments of a mixed nature, i. e. hospitaller and teaching. Out of the 9,934 teaching establishments there are 1,770 situated in communes still wanting, I am sorry to say, in public schools.

The Temps of December 4, 1903, declared that 10,049 schools had been closed within a period of eighteen months, and that there remained only 1,300 yet to be suppressed.

To these 10,049 schools must be added 165 colleges and 1,347 schools conducted by the twenty-five orders of men suppressed on the 18th of March preceding, as also the 517 establishments directed by the eighty-one congregations of women proscribed on June 24, thus representing a total of 12,000 congregationists schools stricken in the space of eighteen months, with about 50,000 religious thrown out upon the streets, and more than 1,000,000 children deprived of their beloved instructors.

Charles Bota in his Grand Faute des Catholiques de France thus reflects upon these sinister events:

One can well imagine what went on in the mother-houses, the communities and the schools which the decrees of suppression invaded, bringing ravage and desolation! What sad and heart-rending scenes! The odious perquisitions of procureurs and police commissaries[337] goaded on by superior orders, or even perhaps—it looked that way sometimes—by the quality of the victims; the painful, insidious interrogatories wherein the simplicity and timidity of souls habituated to peace was violated; the alarm of the aged religious, of the sick and the infirm as they begged to know what it all meant; the returning religious hunted from their houses coming back to the mother-house to cast themselves weeping into the arms of their superiors, while the latter pointed out how the house was too small to receive them and too poor to afford them food; the uncertainty as to the morrow, the privations, the anguish, the moral tortures, the desperation of all; one should have seen such scenes near at hand to comprehend all that they meant. 'Ah!' cried M. Emile Olivier, 'all the cruelty, the tears, the consternation contained in those few words written by an official scribe upon the desk of a minister—On such a day, such a congregation of women will be dispersed.' They merited no regard, no commiseration those poor women so good to others, so delicate, so pure, that Taine could call them the pride of France.

The efforts of the enemy had thus far touched only unauthorized congregations. There were still many orders which lived in the possession of full authorization and which according to the existing laws had nothing to fear from the hatred of the anti-clericals. In this, however, they were very much deceived. A new bill directed at all religious teaching orders, of whatever kind or description, was introduced in the Chamber on February 29, 1904. Its first article, declaring the suppression, asserted "teaching of every order and of every nature is interdicted in France to the congregations." It was adopted by a majority of eighty-seven votes on March 14. The second article stated that from the date of the promulgation of the law the teaching congregations[338] could not receive new members, and that their novitiates must be dissolved. This article also—with the exception in favor of congregations destined for foreign schools—was adopted. It was decided, moreover, in article fourth, that novitiates for foreign missions could not maintain any of the dissolved congregations. The law was carried before the Senate, towards the end of June. It became a law of the land, with the official signature of M. Loubet, on July 8, 1904.

The triumph of anti-Christianism was thus complete, and the death sentence had been pronounced against the very existence of the monastic life in France.

It might be of interest to introduce here some appreciations of the Premier who had done so much harm to France and who was soon to begin the first scenes in the last act of our sorrowful drama. M. Emile Faguet, though not a Catholic, nor inspired by any definite admiration for Catholic principles, thus characterizes M. Combes in his l'Anticlericalism:

M. Combes, considered unanimously as the protege and choice—no one knows with what secret designs of M. Waldeck-Rousseau; ... M. Combes taken up—no one knows by what weakness—by M. Loubet, who felt for him the very contrary of sympathy; M. Combes, a minister who was incapable according to the opinion and avowal of everyone, nevertheless maintained himself in office as long, and even longer than Waldeck-Rousseau, in spite of mistake after mistake, in spite of co-laborers as incapable as himself, despite the procrastination systematically employed as an instrument of his rule, only because he was a determined anti-clerical, headstrong and brutal, whom nothing could arrest in the pursuit of his design and precisely because, as he had said himself, 'he had[339] accepted his office for that alone' and because he was absolutely incapable of seeing anything else in the government of France and in all modern history.


L'Echo, (Lyons), with admirable brevity thus summarizes the salient points in the character of the Premier and his policy:[340]

M. Combes is a sectary, a renegade seminarist given over to Freemasonry. His policy is the vigorous application of the anti-liberal law, the refusal of all authorizations asked by the Congregations, and the abrogation of the Falloux law.

M. F. Veuillot, writing in the Univers, pays his respects to the minister in no measured terms. He says M. Combes is "devoid of talent, virtue, honor—a brute unable to conceive a generous thought, to realize a great work, to produce anything useful, to show any effort of a patient and beneficial kind. The brute, however, has formidable fists, and he strikes out blindly before him. The man is without a breath of intelligence, a single sentiment of delicacy. He is but a commonplace mediocrity personified, rancid with hatred and puffed up with pride. As he cannot leave anything to make him famous, he will be notorious to posterity for his brutality alone."

Finally, the Abbe Felix Klein, in the North American Review for February, 1904, remarks:

M. Combes and his friends, who imagine that they are the leaders of all progress, are committing again the errors of the Middle Ages. That which Philip II. did in Spain, in his making use of the Inquisition; that which Louis XIV. did in France, in revoking the Edict of Nantes and in driving out the Protestants; that which England did, in her treatment of the Pilgrim Fathers, the anti-clericals in France are doing today in their hatred of the religions orders. They are placing[341] these orders beyond the law; they are preventing members of these orders from living as they see fit to live, and from earning their daily bread; they are practically forcing these members to leave France, all solely because of their ideas and innermost convictions. It is the old crime of heresy reversed. Since 1789, the French state has professed no longer to recognize religious vows, either to protect or to attack them; and in this it does well. But how illogical it is, then, to deprive certain individuals of their civil rights, merely because they take vows which it does not recognize! How does it concern the state if young men and women take the vow of chastity before God, and lead a life in common, devoting themselves to doing good in the manner they deem best? Is it not monstrous that, in the beginning of the twentieth century, the government of a great country should arrogate to itself the right of interfering in a matter of this kind, even that it should bring such subjects into the scope of its deliberations? Whether this vow be good or bad it is a question for one's own conscience. Let those who think it bad endeavor to turn others from it by means of persuasion; but to try to prevent it by brute force is the most retrograde course in the world.

The measure of true civilization is indicated by the degree of respect in which one person holds the rights of another; every man and woman, so long as not encroaching on the rights of others, is inviolably entitled to act, and, a fortiori, to think, to believe, to pray, as he or she wishes. The French Government, by preventing certain categories of citizens from acting together, solely because their ideas are not its ideas, has gone backward several centuries on a capital point, and has resurrected one of the most shameful practices of the past, the misdemeanor of opinion.


The congregations dissolved and dispersed, nothing[342] now remained but the final act in that great tragedy which had been progressing for more than one hundred years. The proposal was in order to lay the axe at the roots of religious life, and by one fell stroke to extinguish the very existence of the Catholic Church in France. Years have passed since this last work was begun; the Church has not been extinguished; she is even rising to a greater, a more glorious life; the promise of Christ is showing its realization in the midst of a people who, but yesterday, were ready to sing the requiem over her ruins.

The project of separating Church and State was no new notion in France; it was a very old article in the republican programme. Away back in the days of the Convention, in 1795, it had already been proclaimed and put into force. Again in 1830 and in 1848 it was put forward by a faction of the republican party. Under the Empire, especially during the discussions as to the French occupation of the City of Rome, it was made a part of the democratic platform. In a session of the Corps Legislatif on December 3, 1867, Jules Simon made a very bitter speech in favor of such separation. The following year Henri Brisson advocated much the same object when denouncing the payment of salary to the clergy.

It was, however, during the period of the Third Republic that the project began to receive attention in a practical sense, and formed the ideal towards which policies of Gambetta, Jules Ferry, Paul Bert and their like aspired. All efforts in this direction had proved abortive, not that the project was at all displeasing to the anti-clerical governments, but rather because the people were not "prepared;" and most of all it was necessary[343] first so to weaken the Church in her functional life, that when the separation should come, it must mean her annihilation.

It is pitiful to note the pretexts alleged by Reveillard in his work on the "Separation," as the causes which called for the final rupture. Speaking of Gambetta's acts of hostility in 1869 and later, he says: "It was the time of the great clerical demonstrations, of pilgrimages less religious than political, to Paray-le-Monial, to Lourdes, to Sainte-Anne d'Aunay, to the chant of canticles with the refrain: 'Oh, save Rome and France in the name of the Sacred Heart!'" He calls up also "the triumph of Marie Alacoque and of Pere Lamerliere" and the "law approving as a national public benefit the erection of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the heights of Montmartre." These demonstrations of national Catholic spirit were as so many thorns in the sides of rabid anti-clericalism, and would suffice in themselves to evoke the sentence of extermination against the Church that could call them forth. These same complaints are uttered with no less bitterness by Paul Sabbatier in his work on the "Disestablishment of the Church in France." In fact the unanimity with which all anti-clerical writers harp upon these manifestations of popular fervor make it plain that it was not a desire for political betterment which inspired the foes of the Church in these oppressive measures, but a desire carefully nurtured to strike at her very vitality and life.


It would be useless here to rehearse all the various attempts which were made in the Legislative Chambers up to 1902 to introduce the final question in regard to the Separation. On each occasion the discussion was voted down, always with the understanding that the time was not yet ripe for the act. Affairs had at length, after the Law of 1901, arrived at such a pass that the anti-clerical[344] government could afford to set in motion the wheels of its final policy. Various happenings at the time served as pretexts for hurrying on its action. Some of these were of special importance, and deserve to be recorded for the part they played therein. In 1902 the Government assumed a hostile attitude on the subject of the nomination of bishops, when it demanded the exclusion from the Bull of canonical investiture of the term[345] until then in use: "Nobis nominavit." The Government demanded the suppression of the word Nobis, thus changing the meaning of the phrase. It thus made it appear that the nomination of a bishop depended upon the Government alone, and that Rome had no other part in it than merely to register such nomination as made by the civil power. This question of words thus became a question of principle. The affair of the Nobis nominavit was finally arranged at the beginning of 1904. The Osservatore Romano, of January 23, announced the solution officially, adding: "After a lengthy exchange of ideas, the French government has accepted a solution which the Holy See had proposed of its own initiative, and which, without in any way wounding the privilege of nomination conceded to the Government in virtue of the Concordat, conserves intact and assures for the future the expression of the canonical and dogmatic doctrine."

This attempt of the Government to stir up a conflict with the Holy See was further accentuated by the suppression of the salaries of eleven bishops; and by the reduction, without any reasonable motive, of the budget of worship in 1904.

Two other cases which, provoked by the Government, served as a pretext for urgent separation were the affairs of the Bishops of Laval and Dijon. I prefer to use in its relation the words of M. Faguet as found in his work "l'Anticlericalism." "Two bishops, M. Gay, bishop of Laval, and M. Le Nordez, bishop of Dijon, were agreeable to the French Government and suspected, either for their private conduct, or for their administration, by the Curia. M. Le Nordez was advised by Rome to resign his functions. The Roman letter was turned over by the bishop to the French Government, which protested to the Vatican, claiming that, according to the Concordat, the nominations of French bishops ought to[346] be made by the French Government, and only the canonical institution of them was reserved to the Holy See, that their revocations ought to follow the same law as their nominations, and hence, that the Holy See had not the right to depose a French bishop. Exactly the same procedure was followed with regard to M. Gay, and exactly the same protests were made by the French Government in his case. At the same time the French Government commanded M. Gay and M. Le Nordez not to quit their posts. The Roman Under-Secretary of State answered that the deposition of a bishop was one thing, and the notice given to a bishop that he must resign temporally his functions in order to go before the Roman Curia to justify himself, was another; that such notifications belonged of right to the Holy See to which the bishops by it canonically instituted were responsible."

"The French Government was headstrong, rushed blindly into the affair, recalled its ambassador, and gave his passports to the Nuncio. War was declared."

"The two bishops, who were obliged to choose between their obedience to the French Government and their loyalty to the Holy See, decided for the latter. They set out furtively for Rome, submitted to the Curia, and resigned their French Sees."

"M. Combes saw in all this motives sufficient, not only to break all relations with the Holy See, but still more to denounce the Concordat and to pronounce for the separation of Church and State, at the same time formally casting—as he had done a score of times—all responsibility for these grave measures upon the Pontifical Government."

The anti-clericals were determined to abuse the patience of the Holy See until it should finally be driven into an action upon which the French Government might seize as a final pretext for a rupture. Already Pope Leo[347] XIII. had pointed out such intentions during his lifetime. In a Letter to the Clergy and Catholics of France, February 16, 1902, he thus wrote: "For them, separation signifies the negation of the very existence of the Church. They make, however, a reservation which might be formulated thus: 'As soon as the Church, utilizing the resources which the common law allows to even the least of Frenchmen, will be able, by redoubling her native activities, to make her labors fruitful, the State will and must intervene to put the French Catholics outside the common law itself.' In a word, the ideal of these men is nothing less than a return to paganism; the State will recognize the Church only when it wishes to persecute her."

This great Pope had, by the end of his life, exhausted every means of condescension and delicacy towards the French Government; but his efforts were doomed to failure before the hatred and bad faith of his enemies, and he began at length to feel that the time had come when he should enter a firm and dignified protest.

Pope Pius X. upon his accession was called upon to behold the accelerated progress of official persecution; he began to recognize the utter uselessness of even the most legitimate claims, and he hastened to express his sorrow and indignation for the continuous violation of human rights. On March 19, 1904, on the occasion of his name-day, he addressed the Sacred College upon the subject: "We are profoundly saddened," he said, "by the measures already adopted, and by others on the way to adoption in the legislative houses against the religious congregations which form in this country, by their admirable works of Christian charity and education, a glory not less for the Church than for the fatherland. They intend to go farther still, when they prevent and defend a project having for its end the interdiction of all[348] teaching to the members of religious institutes even authorized, the suppression of approved institutes and the liquidation of their property. We deplore and strongly censure such harshness so essentially contrary to liberty as it is understood, so essentially opposed to the fundamental laws of the land, to the inherent rights of the Catholic Church, and to the rules of civilization itself, which forbid the persecution of peaceful citizens. To this end we cannot dispense Ourselves from expressing Our sorrow over the measures adopted of deferring to the Council of State, as abusive, the respectful letters addressed to the first magistrate of the Republic by many well deserving pastors, among whom are three members of the Sacred College, the August Senate of the Apostolic See, as if it could be a crime to address the chief of the State to call his attention to subjects intimately connected with the most imperious duties of conscience, and with the common weal."

The solicitude of the Holy Father, however, only served to increase the venom of his foes. Toward the end of April, 1904, M. Loubet, President of the French Republic, visited Rome, and contrary to the spirit of the Concordat and the rules regulating the relations of the Holy See and the French Government, went immediately to the Quirinal to pay his respects to the Italian king. The Holy See considered this visit of M. Loubet "as a very grave offense against its dignity and rights. At the same time, while uttering in the face of the French Government an energetic and formal protest against the offense thus suffered, it sent in analogous terms by means of its foreign representatives, an account of its action to the governments of all the other States with which the Holy See held direct relations." The Pontifical note declared that "a head of a Catholic nation inflicts a grave offense against the Sovereign Pontiff in coming to give[349] homage at Rome, not to the Pontifical See but to him who contrary to all right usurps his civil sovereignty." The "note" goes on to remark that the offense is all the greater coming from the "first magistrate of the French Republic, presiding over a nation which is bound by the most intimate traditional relations with the Roman pontificate, enjoys in virtue of a bilateral contract with the Holy See certain signal privileges and a large representation in the Sacred College, and possesses by a singular favor the protectorate of Catholic interests in the Orient." It goes on, moreover, to state that this visit of M. Loubet was "sought intentionally by the Italian Government for the purpose of enfeebling the rights of the Holy See," and it concludes by declaring that "the Sovereign Pontiff makes these most formal and explicit protests to the end that so afflicting an action, (as that of M. Loubet) might not constitute a precedent."

On the receipt of this protest the French Government gave the Holy See to understand that it rejected the note in its form and in its substance. The anti-clerical journals went even farther than this, publishing not only the Pope's answer to French Government, but also the note which had been sent to the other Catholic Powers. The intention of such publication being to stir up the rancor of all who were moved by hostility to the Holy See.

In answer, moreover, to the Pontifical note, the French ministry demanded that the Holy See give an explanation of its words, and that within the space of twenty-four hours; then, rushing headlong upon a solution, as if impatient to hurry on the imminent rupture, it recalled the French ambassador to the Holy See (May 21, 1904). This action was approved by the Chamber six days after; it refused, however, by a vote of 366 to 144 to pronounce for the immediate denunciation of the Concordat; but that event was now well on the way, and[350] nothing was needed but to devise the ways and means.

The year 1905 opened with many muttered evidences of the coming storm. The prime minister, M. Combes, though not defeated in the January elections, beheld his majority so far reduced because of his rabid inconsistencies, that although re-elected to his former post he felt it incumbent to resign immediately. He was succeeded by a creature pledged to continue his oppressive policy, M. Maurice Rouvier. It may be said, however, that the spirit of Combes has dominated the French Chambers ever since. The new cabinet was destined to put the final touches to the anti-clerical campaign of dissolution.

Various motions having from time to time been introduced before the Chamber of Deputies tending towards the separation of Church and State, the Government finally, decided to place all of them for examination into the hands of a Commission of thirty-three, which was nominated on June 11, 1903. Out of the deliberations of this body resulted the first scheme, or project, of the proposed legislation in regard to Separation of Church and State. The question was formally introduced to the Chamber of Deputies in the session of March 21, 1905, and was discussed during forty-eight sessions until July 3 of that year. Its reporter, or sponsor, was M. Briand.


In the first session M. Georges Berry declared "that the question of separation had not been submitted to the electoral colleges, and that, moreover, every time that it had been put before legislative elections the electoral body had answered very unmistakably that it did not desire separation." In the same session the Abbe Gayraud, representing Catholic interests, spoke: "The Chamber, considering that diplomatic loyalty, and public honesty, no less than the interests of public order and of religious peace, exact that the denunciation of the Concordat,[351] and the separation of Church and State be accomplished in a friendly manner, decides to use care in each deliberation upon the project of the law relative to that subject, and invites the Government to form an extra parliamentary commission composed of ministers from the different denominations in concert with the heads of the Churches interested to prepare an agreement with those Churches as to the conditions of separation." In his speech upon the above thesis the Abbe Gayraud was led to speak of the Organic Articles which[352] he characterized as the "Servitudes of the Gallican Church." The argument which then arose in the Chamber might well be recorded.

M. Gayraud.—The doctrine of the Syllabus is the doctrine of the Catholic Church, as well of the Gallican as of the Roman Church. And I know very well that no one can draw an argument against the Concordat of 1801 from either the Syllabus or the dogma of Infallibility. The doctrines of these two pontifical documents represent not only the doctrine of the Church in 1864, but also that of the Roman Church in 1801, and of the Gallican Church as far as the Syllabus is concerned. Moreover, another line of complaint against the Holy See, upon which M. Briand leans, and to which he has today alluded, is the Organic Articles. Very good, but the Pope has never recognized the Organic Articles; the Catholics of France, precisely because the Pope would not recognize them, are unwilling to recognize them either. This is one good reason, if you wish to avoid the misunderstandings of the past, why it would be well to confer with the Pope in regard to the separation which you are planning. But, after all, does the fact of not recognizing the Organic Articles constitute a violation of the Concordat? I am convinced that the real violation consisted in the making and promulgating of these famous articles.

M. Briand.—And what of that?

M. Jaurès.—That only proves that the Concordat was still born.

M. Gayraud.—You know very well, M. Briand, that the Organic Articles do not constitute those regulations of police supervision provided for in the first article of the Concordat.

M. Feron.—You accept only what is favorable to you.

M. Gayraud.—"I have already said in this house: I[353] defy any member of this Assembly to show me that in the Organic Articles there is any regulation concerning the publicity of worship, or to show me a single organic article that has anything to do with it. Hence you cannot appeal to Article 1, of the Concordat to legitimatize the Organic Articles. Some have tried to do this, and why? Because the Holy See would not recognize them, and it was necessary to find some means of justifying them before the Pope."

It might seem as if the contention of M. Gayraud did not pertain intimately to the subject in hand. Yet that it was eminently apposite is evident from the whole course of the subsequent discussions. The supporters of separation had continually accused the Church of causing the rupture by her violations of the Concordat. Indeed, one can hardly restrain his tears as he reads the sorrowful complaints of Combes, Briand, Clemenceau and the others. The Church was so wicked in the face of these immaculate champions of civic morality! The facts of the case are very simple. The Church in France has always stood loyally to the observance of the Concordat, in spite of its many hampering restrictions. That she has often acted in disregard of the Organic Articles cannot be denied, nor does she wish to deny it. The reason for this is, that the Concordat was a real law; the Organic Articles was neither a law of the State nor of the Church, nor of both together. If these Articles had been put forth independently of the Concordat, we might for the sake of argument, concede that they would have a value. But they were promulgated as a part of a law enacted mutually by two parties, when one of the parties was actually ignorant of their existence until after publication. It is a falsehood thus to assert that they form a part of the Concordat. And since they do not form a part of that law, having their value only upon[354] such an assumption, they were no law at all. In disregarding them, therefore, the Church could not be accused of violating either an independent law or a part of the Concordat.

Moreover, the Church could not observe the Concordat without violating the Organic Articles, and vice versa. To accuse the Church therefore of precipitating the conflict because she acted within the limit permitted her by the Concordat, is one of the species of false reasoning which the anti-clerical party endeavored to force down the throats of all its hearers. It was well, therefore, that this should be rightly understood in the very beginning of the discussion.

Among the speeches delivered during the general discussion upon the Bill, that of M. Ribot deserves to be reproduced in part. It is well, however, to note in advance that this orator, though a foe to anti-clericalism, is not, however, a Catholic either in name or conviction.


M. Ribot began thus: "Gentlemen, I have already on many occasions indicated the position I hold with regard to the grave question under discussion. My friend, M. Barthou, did well, the other day, to recall some lines of a letter which I wrote a year ago, before the incidents which led to the rupture with the Holy See and the presentation of this projected law. I said then that the general movement of modern ideas would lead sooner or later to a complete separation of Church and State; I added that, if this separation were accomplished by men who had no marked hostility to the Catholic Church, and who would be willing to give it the character of a measure of pacification, of a measure truly liberal, the Catholic Church herself would comprehend that the separation[355] could be for her a guarantee of dignity and independence. I retract none of my words. If you ask me: 'Do you believe that France in the relations of Church and State has arrived at definitive crisis?' I must answer: 'I do not believe so.' I have already explained how such a change, so grave in itself, was particularly difficult in a country like France where liberty is not even yet solidly established in the laws and customs, where civil society has always been particularly and jealously careful not to allow the Church too great an independence, where a struggle has been going on for a century between the Church and the enemies of religion, whose desire is not to liberate the Church, but to attack her from ambush, to weaken her forces, and—perhaps they expect it, in their illusionment and blindness—to suppress her.

"I have said that the transition might be more or less lengthy, but that it was indispensable; that we must lead mildly and peacefully that Catholic clergy whom you have hitherto held under the tutelage of the State and whom we are about to enfranchise, that we must lead them mildly and peacefully to the practice of a regime altogether different, of a regime of liberty and emancipation, and I have explained that, to my mind, such a transition could not be effected without conferring with the head of the Catholic Church, with the Holy See.

"One can conceive of a regime of transition during which the Catholic Church would be allowed more liberty in the choice of bishops, and the Church itself be organized pacifically in view of the gradual suppression of the budget of worship. These are my ideas, and I have given them much reflection. If you are willing to bring about the separation under these conditions, I am with you; I will aid you to the best of my power. In that I foresee for the Church more dignity and a greater independence;[356] in that I foresee for the French State neither a diminution of security nor a menace to religious peace."

M. Ribot then declared that if the separation were to be effected as an act of reprisal against the Holy See, "it would be the beginning of a war more protracted, more bitter, and more violent than any we have seen for a long time."

"Paul Bert," he said, "remarked to me, when we were together on the Commission of 1882, and when we were examining just such questions as these, that he came from a department in which nearly everyone demanded the separation of Church and State, where a candidate could not be elected unless he should put that in his platform; but if one should do so, he was sure that the deputies who should vote for it could not be re-elected."

M. Villejean.—"Times have changed since then."

M. Buisson.—"Twenty years after."

M. Bienvenu-Martin.—"We have made headway since then."

M. Ribot.—"Yes, I understand. Times have changed; we have made headway. But are you sure that you have done enough in all the regions of this country to prevent a terrible misunderstanding following in the wake of the reforms you have made imprudently? Are you sure that you will be understood by those peasants who perhaps have voted for your programme, but who tomorrow will be profoundly troubled in their customs and in the customs of their families? Some years ago Littré spoke of Catholicism with a view to universal suffrage. He showed very clearly that there are contradictions in the public spirit, that those very men who are anti-religious in politics may be men of religious habits, or the heads of families in which such religious habits are constantly practised. Faith may be sleeping; but it has its sudden[357] awakenings; all habits are living; and, I repeat it, habit holds a firmer place in the life of French families than politics or electoral programmes ever will hold."

Further on in his speech M. Ribot referred to the relations of M. Combes with the Holy See on the question of the nomination of bishops, and that of the suspension of the bishops, Monseigneurs Gay and Le Nordez, declaring that "all these griefs which you call up were not sufficient reasons for making such great changes without taking the indispensable precautions."

"We are here to make politics," he said, "we are not here for mere events and secondary incidents. When you set out to hunt up incidents, when in place of following your own ideas and awaiting the hour fixed by prudence, and by your knowledge of political affairs, you take up a pretext for precipitating us into an adventure, you do not act as a statesman; you act as a man of passion, as a man who is determined to carry out his own conceptions, and who without asking if he may not tomorrow be convicted of falsehood by his country, takes upon himself a heavy responsibility. Is it statesmanship to strike directly at the secular clergy and to put into their hands a means of agitation far more dangerous than that which was in the hands of the congregationists?...

"And then, gentlemen, wishing to express myself with great discretion, I ask: Is this the moment for aggravating the coolness between the Catholic Church and the republican Government? I do not believe that we are face to face with imminent perils; no one in Europe assuredly desires war. But can we help noting that during the past year, while a great nation, a friend and ally of ours, has met with great difficulties, there has been something of a change in Europe? The language we have been hearing for the past year is not altogether in harmony[358] with that which has reached our ears during the last few days. Is this not the time when instead of deriding ourselves further, we ought if possible to bring back union to our country?"

The orator then went on to answer the objection that "the Concordat was by this time broken, and that the Government had no need to inform the Holy See of its wish to suppress that contract." M. Ribot replied that "it would be the greatest mistake we could at this moment commit, to ignore the Holy See, as if it no longer existed for us."

The speaker then referred to the amicable relations sustained between the Holy See and schismatical of Protestant nations.

"Do you not feel that the French activity will be very much weakened, not only in Tunis, but in the Extreme Orient, if we have no longer any relations with the Holy See? ... in such case what will become of our protectorate over the Catholics of the East? The Emperor of Germany has gone to Morocco during the last few days; some time ago he was at Jerusalem and at Constantinople. Are we going to permit Germany, Italy, and other nations to divide the debris, the remnants of our patrimony?"

A voice.—"Never!"

M. Ribot.—"Never? When the mistake is committed it will be too late to repair it."

M. Ribot then continued his speech: "After breaking all relations with Rome, after wounding the Holy See in its pontifical dignity, by refusing even to confer with it in regard to the denunciation of the Concordat, by omitting a formality which you would not neglect with anyone in the world, you are going to give up, carelessly and without a tremor, the complete direction of the French Church. He can tomorrow—if you invite it—name[359] the bishops, all the bishops, without leaving to us the right of presenting to him any suggestion, or of obtaining from him, as England obtains for Malta, as the United States obtains for the Philippines, as we have obtained for Tunis, that the religious choice made by him incline sometimes in the direction of political necessity. We cannot do more than that, and you who complain of the disquieting work of ultramontainism in this country, you do not even dream of effecting a transition which permits us to obtain in that regard some guarantees.

"I am sure that the Pope will not make any choice in a spirit reprisal, but that he will consider purely religious interests only. What consideration ought he to have for you, when you have had none for him? He will make choices that can embarrass you, against whom you will protest. Oh! I know you always have a resource at hand after you have made a bad law; you can make another which will be a law of despotism and perhaps of tyranny. That is always the poor resource of short-sighted assemblies. I would prefer to provide for the danger rather than be obliged to remedy it by such means. I am sure that a mutual understanding is desirable, that it is necessary. I wish you could see it, and that if you are determined to proceed resolutely towards separation, you will do it with that prudence, that method which I have indicated, and which is the only one that can save you from danger."

M. Ribot proceeds to point out the danger of "repulsing the Holy See with a violent, almost brutal gesture and of permitting political associations to enslave the clergy after they have been emancipated from the State."

"Gentlemen, you want to be logical, but you are the most short-sighted of statesmen. You justify in advance all acts of inquietude. My friend, M. Lanessan, who is[360] a devoted partisan of the separation of Church and State, published, the day before yesterday, in the Siecle a letter from a member of the clergy, whom he calls a liberal and republican priest, who does not care to see politics mixed with religion; and that priest declared that the separation, such as you wish to make it, without method, without transition, and without an understanding with the Holy See, must have for its result a considerable increase in the action of the Papacy and the Roman congregations over the French clergy, and that the French clergy will not submit, even in spite of itself, to a domination which drags it between the militant parties of political action."

Later in his speech, M. Ribot contrasts the Government's treatment of the Catholics with its treatment of other religious denominations. "You agree that you could not and ought not in making a loyal and liberal separation, refuse to the Protestant Church its traditional organization, because in their case the question of temporal organization is bound by the most intimate ties with the defence of religious ideas themselves, and with the existence of the dogmas upon which religion reposes. You have thus given satisfaction to the Protestants. To the Israelites you have said: 'You may keep your assemblies of notables, your mode of election, and also the superior council which establishes equally the unity of your faith.' Now you find yourselves in the presence of the Catholics. Have they less reason than the Protestants and Israelites of a visible organ of unity in France, for the reason that their unity can always be made and is made at Rome? However, you cannot refuse them the right of recurring to their ancient practices, those customs followed by the clergy of this country, of having assemblies of bishops, and also, if they wish it, a general assembly. But you find yourselves[361] face to face with an organization altogether different from that of the Protestants or Israelites; and you have not, I hope, the pretension, under the pretext that it would be an amelioration, to oblige the Catholics to adopt the organization of the Protestants or Israelites; you wish to leave them their own organization.

"That organization is known to every one; it is founded upon the principle of authority. The pastors are not elected, they are appointed from above; and even for her temporal government, for the administration of property, the Catholic Church has organized a system of limited councils, councils de fabrique and others, which proceed from the bishop; he it is who directs the conduct of all of them by his authority. Whether this system is good or bad, or whether it is better than a broader democratic system, are questions which I have no right to raise, nor you either."

After many discussions and interruptions the orator finally arrived at his peroration: "You see, M. Briand, the spirit in which we discuss this law. It is not a spirit of obstruction, nor the attitude of one influenced by foregone conclusions. I want to be associated with you; I would do so willingly if you will do what is indispensable, if the Government acts as it ought to act, as any government would act which was not pledged beforehand, which was not bound up in some way by the precautions which preceding ministers have taken to put us in a trap, if the Government would hold with Rome such an understanding as the conditions of lofty and perfect dignity require.

"You assert that Rome provoked all this; but you state in your report that Rome at this very moment is giving the example of forgiveness, of conciliation in the affair of Dijon, and in the affair of the nomination of the Patriarch[362] of Jerusalem, wherein the Holy See is proceeding slowly in order not to make any choice which would injure our influence in the East.

"You have read the recent allocution of the Pope. It gives you sufficient guarantees of moderation to enable you to enter into this conference with full dignity. There is no intention of humiliating France, or of rehearsing the calamities we have suffered. No! all that is asked for is that you should confer, negotiate, so that the country may not experience the saddest and most cruel misfortunes. I hold no brief for religion, which does not concern me: I am speaking for the State, for which, in my small way, I am responsible. I am defending the rights of the State and the cause of religious peace.

"We have had enough of divisions, enough of mortal hatred, enough causes of enfeeblement! Look back a little. The preceding ministry could see nothing but a struggle against the congregations. That question covered the whole horizon. Let your view be larger and broader. Stand for the interests of France, of religious peace, for the interest of those very ideas which are so dear to you, the success of that separation upon which you have entered, and which I would desire like yourselves, if you would undertake it under conditions that are acceptable and less dangerous.

"But the separation which you propose I cannot in conscience accept. I cannot place my responsibility side by side with yours. We have not approved by vote the policy of the last cabinet. This law, such as you propose, imports a definitive rupture with the Holy See, and is thus the consequence and sorrowful crowning of that policy. We cannot approve of it, but we have a strong hope that the discussion of the various articles will show you still more the difficulty of their application, the dangers to which you are exposing yourselves. I desire[363] most earnestly that, leaving aside all questions of personal ambition which have been the ruin of assemblies and led them into irreparable mistakes, leaving aside all conventional phrases, and acting solely in the interest of our country, you will come back to the true policy of France and the Republic."


In the meantime, while the debate was in progress the great majority of Catholics could hardly believe in the possibility of separation. Events, however, refused to confirm their hopes. The Bill presented by the Government, confided to a Commission, and modified to the point of absolute stringency in the discussions, was finally adopted by the Chamber of Deputies on July 3, 1905. Docile to orders received, the Senatorial Commission, and afterwards the Senate itself, ratified the decision of the Chamber. The haste in putting the new law to a decisive vote was dictated by the fact that a new election was imminent. The law was accordingly voted definitively on December 6, 1905, and at once promulgated. The Council of State was allowed three months delay in order to prepare the details of the rules which should regulate the execution of the law. That delay would end in April, 1906, just a month before the ensuing elections. The Separation would thus be an accomplished fact before the entrance of a new Government.

According to the Law of Separation the State assumes the position of a Government professing no religion, though it pretends to guarantee liberty of conscience and the free exercise of religious worship. The Budget of Worship and all public maintenance of any religious church or society was suppressed. By this article the[364] Catholic Church in France was deprived of 37,441,800 francs, or $7,488,360 a year. In order to make the odious item seem less heavy than it actually was, the law made provision for certain pensions. Thus ministers of religion who were not less than sixty years of age at the time the law was passed, and who had passed thirty years in ecclesiastical service, were to receive a life pension equivalent to three-fourths of their former salary. Such as were not less than forty-five years of age at the time, and who had passed twenty years in the religious service, were to receive a life pension of one-half of their former salary. To others less than forty-five years of age it granted pensions extending to from four to eight years, which allowances are to decrease progressively until at the end of eight years they shall be completely extinguished. A third article provides for an inventory of ecclesiastical property by government officials.

The crucial point in the Law of Separation was the attempt of the Government to place the administration of ecclesiastical property in the hands of certain organizations termed Associations of Worship. These associations were to consist of seven persons in a parish of one thousand people, of fifteen where the population is over twenty thousand, and of twenty-five where the number is greater. These associations can consist of lay people at least in the majority. They can build up a reserve fund, which, however, must be limited. Where the revenue is 5,000 francs, they can accumulate a sum only equal to three times their annual expense, and for others the reserve fund should not be in excess of over six times the annual outlay. The association must, moreover, accumulate a special fund, which is to be invested, for the purchase, construction, repair or decoration of the ecclesiastical property. By this article a large recognition is given to the hierarchy, since only such religious[365] bodies can be represented as are in communion with the Church which formerly held the property. But by Article 8 the State proceeds to place itself as a judge over the bishops in cases where different religious bodies through their Associations of Worship lay claim to the property.

The other numerous items in the Law of Separation were merely such as might be expected in a law so hostile and so aggressive.


Naturally the appearance of the new law caused excitement not in France alone but throughout the whole Catholic world. The Holy Father, Pope Pius X., expressed his grief in no uncertain terms. On February 11, 1906, he addressed to the hierarchy and people of France his encyclical "Vehementer Nos." The Holy Father begins, in this letter, by indicating, one by one, all the measures adopted by the French Government against the Church, measures which naturally would lead to that separation which the Holy See has always striven to avoid. He declares that the doctrine of the separation of Church and State is false because: 1, it offers violence to God; 2, it is an open negation of the supernatural order; 3, it overturns the order which God has wisely established in the world, an order which exacts a harmonious concurrence between the two societies; 4, it inflicts heavy injuries upon civil society itself. Moreover, the Popes have always protested against such a separation.

France is less able than any other nation to enter upon such a proceeding, for: 1, the bonds which consecrate the union of Church and State ought to be more inviolable than the pledges of sworn treaties; 2, it was a bilateral[366] contract which the State abrogated by its own sole authority; 3, this injury becomes all the greater when one considers that the State has effected this abrogation of the Concordat without any preliminary announcement or notification.

Still more, in this separation, the State has not given to the Church her independence nor permitted her to enjoy, in the liberty which it pretends to conceive, the peace guaranteed by common right. The evidence of this is found in the numberless measures of exception which are inserted in the law. These measures are contrary to the divine constitution given by Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Church, which is a body ruled by pastors and doctors. In contradiction to these principles, the law confers the administration and care of public worship, not to the hierarchy divinely constituted, but to an association of lay persons. These Associations of Worship shall, moreover, be supervised by the civil authority in such a manner that the ecclesiastical authority can no longer have any power over them. They are absolutely opposed to the liberty of the Church.

Finally, the law violates the property rights of the Church, whether by usurpation of these Associations of Worship, as also by the suppression of the budget of worship, which was in itself a partial indemnity.

The Pope continues: "For this reason We reprove and condemn the law, voted in France for the separation of Church and State, as profoundly injurious to God Whom it denies officially when it begins the law with a declaration that the Republic recognizes no creed. We reprove and condemn it as violating the natural law, the law of nations, the public fidelity to treaties. We condemn it as contrary to the divine constitution of the Church, and to its essential rights and liberties. We condemn it as overturning justice and trampling under feet the property[367] rights which the Church has acquired on many titles and in virtue of the Concordat itself. We reprove and condemn it as gravely offensive to the dignity of the Apostolic See, to Our own person, to the episcopate, the clergy and the people of France." The Pope then declares that this law can never be cited against the imprescriptible rights of the Church.

The Holy Father then addresses himself to the bishops, the clergy and the faithful of France. He asks the bishops to bring a most perfect union of heart and will to the projects which they shall form for the defence of the Church, and he declares that he will address them at opportune times practical instructions to guide their conduct in the midst of their great difficulties. The clergy should have in their hearts the sentiments of the Apostles and rejoice that they are esteemed worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. The faithful should remember the fate which follows those impious sects which permit themselves to be bound by a yoke, for they have themselves with cynical audacity proclaimed their motto: "Decatholicise France!" In their resistance they must be strongly united and possess a large measure of courage and generosity.

In the secret consistory, the Holy Father again referred to the insulting measures of the separation law.

Meanwhile the country began to feel the excitement attendant upon the various changes in government. On January 17, the French Parliament, Senators and Deputies, in joint session at Versailles, elected a President to succeed M. Emile Loubet, whose seven year term of office was to expire on the 18th of the following month. Their choice fell upon M. Clement Armand Fallières, President of the Senate. The new President represented the more radical wing of the republican party,[368] and was a strong anti-militarist. He had been President of the Senate since 1899, and was then in his sixty-fifth year.

In March of the same year the ministry of M. Rouvier, which had been in office for little more than a year, fell, and was succeeded by that of M. Sarrien. The Combes ministry, it will be remembered, resigned on January 15, 1905, because of a vote of want of confidence inspired by the rupture between Church and State. The resignation of M. Rouvier was also precipitated by the same question though from two opposite points of view. The Catholic party reproached him for his drastic application of the congregation law, and the inventories of Church property. The Socialists, because he had not applied the law as oppressively as they would wish. The new Cabinet included among its members certain notorious anti-clericals, among whom were Clemenceau, as Minister of the Interior, Briand, as Minister of Instruction and Worship, and Doumergue, as Minister of Commerce.

Again, on Sunday, May 6, took place the election of Deputies. The Catholics had, indeed, hoped for some recognition from the voters of the country, but were sadly disappointed when the returns showed a victory for the Government. The French Socialists were returned with important majorities, and the Bloc found itself stronger than ever before.

In the meantime the question of the Cultuelle Associations was being strongly discussed among the Catholics of the land. Many, indeed, either through ignorance of their real import, or because they hoped through a compromise to pave the way to greater gains, were in favor of accepting the conditions offered by the Government in regard to these associations. The bishops, however, assembled early in the year to discuss the question.[369] They displayed a resolution and courage worthy of the best traditions of the Church. They condemned almost unanimously the Cultuelle Associations as contrary to the constitution of the Church. Their decision was brought to Rome and submitted to the final judgment of the Holy See.

The Holy Father replied in the encyclical, "Gravissimo officii," of August 10, 1906, addressed to the Archbishops and Bishops of France, and containing the instructions promised by the former encyclical, "Vehementer Nos." The Sovereign Pontiff again condemned the law of separation, and confirmed the almost unanimous decision of the assembly of the Bishops. He condemned the Cultuelle Associations as imposed by the law. He added, moreover: "We declare it is not permissible to try some other sort of Associations at once legal and canonical, and thus to preserve the Catholics of France from the grave complications that menace them, so long as it is not established in a sure and legal manner that, under the divine constitution of the Church, the immutable rights of the Roman Pontiff, and of the Bishops, their authority over necessary property of the Church, particularly over the sacred edifices, shall be irrevocably set in full security above the said Associations. To desire the contrary is impossible for us. It would be to betray the sanctity of our office without bringing peace to the Church of France."

The resolute attitude of the Holy Father came as a surprise to the French Ministry. They had imagined that the Pope would not dare to utter words of defiance against the fiat of an irreligious Bloc. They began to fear that any further aggressions must only sting the Catholics to organized opposition. The Bishops met again in September and issued to the Catholic people of France a Joint Pastoral letter signed by every Bishop,[370] announcing their hearty agreement with the instructions of the Holy Father, and forbidding the establishment of of Cultuelle Associations. The Catholic body entered into the spirit of the hierarchy, and only a few unimportant individuals sought to contravene their authority.

The Government, fearing no doubt the effects of further drastic measures, began to modify the tenor of the law. The provision which required that the clergy might not hold religious service in a church without previously notifying the authorities in each case, was so changed that one general notice would suffice for the whole year. At the same time, however, the seminaries were to be closed and become the property of the Commune, while Bishops and priests might buy back or rent their own residences. The Holy Father, however, forbade the Bishops and clergy to furnish the notification about public worship: they were to continue to minister in their churches after the term of the notification had expired as if nothing had occurred.

The stand taken by the Holy See was looked upon by the French Government as a declaration of war, and it accordingly began to exercise newer methods of retaliation. On December 12, 1906, the Papal Nuncio, Mgr. Montagnini, who was then in Paris guarding the archives of the Holy See, was expelled from France, the Nunciature was surrounded, and the papers found therein were seized. It was in vain that the Vatican protested: the Government pursued its oppressive policy with all the more vigor. On December 15, Cardinal Richard was expelled from his archiepiscopal residence, and later the seminarians were driven from the seminaries.

The position of the Catholics in France was thus rendered humiliating and desperate. They still continued, as they do at present, to hold divine service in the churches, but always with the eyes of a hostile Government[371] fixed upon them, scrutinizing their actions, and criticizing their words. The clergy, deprived of their usual stipend, are forced to seek in various kinds of employment the necessary sustentation of life except when the generosity of the faithful enables them to observe the discipline of the Church which ordinarily forbids the clergy to seek their support elsewhere than from the altar.

One of the effects of the separation law was that the Holy Father was liberated from the vexatious interference of the French Government in the appointment of Bishops. Accordingly on February 25. 1906, the Holy Father himself not only appointed fifteen new Bishops but even consecrated them with his own hands in St. Peter's in Rome. It was the first time that a Pope consecrated so large a number of prelates at one time.

The fall of the year 1906 was marked by the creation of a new cabinet of which M. Georges Clemenceau was Premier. The new cabinet included among its members anti-clericals of the most aggressive kind, such as Briand, Doumergue, Picquart, and Viviani. It was this Viviani who, a few years previously had uttered the notorious boast: "We have at last extinguished the lights of Heaven."

Georges Clemenceau has been a rabid foe to Religion and to the Church from the very beginning of his political career. In 1880 he founded for this purpose a journal, "La Justice," and was a powerful advocate of aggression during the Dreyfus trial. From 1883 to 1893 he was looked upon as the master of the political situation in France. In 1901 he founded a weekly paper, "Le Bloc." It was this paper which gave the name to the infamous party which engineered the present anti-Catholic war in France. He has been identified with all the oppressive measures by which the French Government[372] has, of late, striven to vex the French Church. It was only in accordance with his deserts that he himself was driven in disgrace from his leadership in the fall of 1909, when he was succeeded by the no less aggressive but more hypocritical M. Briand.

One of the most shameful features in the French Government's war on the Church was the affair of liquidation. When the Congregations had been dispersed and their property confiscated, the Government appointed certain officials, called liquidators, whose office it was to superintend the sale of Religious property. The first estimates of the sum which might be realized by the sale of this property placed the total amount at 1,000,000,000 francs, the sum which, during the last few years has dwindled down to ridiculously small figures. The recent affair of M. Duez has brought out the whole official corruption of the scheme. M. Duez, one of the three original liquidators attached to the Seine Tribunal, began life as a clerk in a large department store. Afterwards, as solicitor's clerk, he embezzled 500,000 francs. In spite of this he was appointed one of the liquidators for the sale of Church property. In this capacity he handled millions of francs. For a time things went on well enough until the failures of some of the liquidators to produce anything but continual expenses began to arouse the suspicions of the Government. In 1906 the Government was forced to require from the liquidators an annual report of their proceedings. The report, issued toward the end of 1907, was a curious document. Finding that their embezzlements were being exposed, the liquidators began to claim that their work had been seriously hampered by threats of excommunications against the buyers of the property, and by the opposition of the Congregations and others who professed to have claims upon the property. Moreover, it[373] was said that M. Waldeck-Rousseau's estimate of a milliard was excessive, for the net result of the liquidation of one hundred and fifteen Congregations was not more than 189,932 francs. Of these one hundred and fifteen liquidations, sixty-nine produced absolutely nothing, yet the liquidators brought in bills amounting to 62,000 francs besides the 24,000 francs, which were the fees of the lawyers.

Accordingly in the beginning of 1908, M. Combes forced the reluctant Government to assimilate the position of the liquidators to that of other functionaries accountable for monies. M. Combes, who had been appointed Chairman of the Commission, saw in the affair only a way of injuring his political opponents. In February, 1908, M. Briand, then Minister of Justice, brought in a measure containing regulations for the sale of the property, and for the simplifying of the judicial procedures attendant. While M. Combes would cast the blame on the liquidators, M. Briand fixed it on the method of liquidation. The Bill of M. Briand had at least the effect of rendering the supervision more strict than heretofore. As a consequence suspicions began to be aroused, of late, in regard to M. Duez, who was the liquidator of several important Congregations. He was forced to submit his accounts to an official auditor, and his irregularities were quickly discovered. At first there was a call for his dismissal, but the Seine Tribunal merely decreed the acceptance of his resignation, "for reasons of health." He was given three months to produce a full account of his transactions while in office. These, however, were not forthcoming. Again and again he was called upon for a detailed account of his work. So the matter dragged on till the middle of March, 1910, when the successor of M. Duez became so "insistent" that the matter could not be kept longer in suspense. M.[374] Duez was arrested and found upon his own confession to have embezzled more than a million dollars. The scandal through the Government created a state of consternation, especially in view of the fact that the elections were already imminent. But the versatile Briand with a sympathetic "Bloc" has already thrown dust into eyes of the French people. One thing at least the liquidation scandal has effected—it has exposed the frightful corruption of that Government which has hypocritically insisted, time and again, that its war on the Church was conducted solely in the interests of humanity, has been actuated by the principle of what we Americans call by the expressive name of colossal graft. The French people have permitted themselves to be hoodwinked in the most outrageous manner. It only remains to be seen how long they will permit themselves to remain the victims of such official slavery.


It will be remembered that, following on the passage of the Associations law of 1901, came the actual attack upon the Congregations of France and the Catholic schools. The Congregations were dispersed generally, their property confiscated and their schools to the number of 25,000 closed. It was the day of triumph for M. Combes and the anti-clerical horde that followed him. It is remarkable that in 1904 when the rigor of the law was most acutely felt, the chief henchman of Combes was the Minister of Public Instruction, the notorious Aristide Briand, erstwhile editor of the infamous Lanterne. The Catholic schools of the Congregations thus closed, a new regime was inaugurated. Thenceforth there were to be public schools supported by the State, whilst private, or free schools, might be tolerated but at private expense[375] In this difficulty Catholic private schools were established here and there, but as may easily be imagined, their number could only be insignificant and their pupils few, since the Catholic people now found themselves obliged to pay for the support of churches and pastors for whom the State refused any further maintenance. Thus the great majority of Catholics all over France found themselves obliged to send their children to the State schools.

This necessity was oppressive and humiliating enough, even though the law of 1882 had defined that the State schools should be neutral in the matter of religious teaching. In this assurance of the Government the parents found some little comfort, and for a time it appeared as if the law might be observed. But a Government that had frankly declared itself atheistic, and opposed to all religion, was careful to place in its schools only such teachers as should reflect the sentiments of their employers. The French schools became thus the home of teachers not only without faith, but absolutely seething with open and implacable hatred of religion. Growing bold under the favor of an anti-clerical Government, they caused to be introduced into the schools text-books so worded as to impregnate the pupils' minds with anti-religious principles. At first the name of God was allowed in the school, though kept in the background. Soon it was admitted in inverted commas, and finally it was banished altogether. In January, 1907, eleven parents at Apremont complained to the Inspector, but no notice was taken. On June 24, 1908, the Bishop of Belley wrote to that official asking him to withdraw an offensive manual from the schools. Finally the matter was brought before M. Briand, who under the pretence of satisfying the Bishop made a few unimportant changes but left the book as atheistic as ever.[376]

Meanwhile the teachers in the State schools increased in boldness and aggressiveness. All discretion was at length thrown to the winds and doctrines irreligious and impious began to be taught openly and without reserve. The doctrines and practices of the Church were made the subject of ridicule, the name of God was omitted or referred to as a relic of superstition, morality was decried and patriotism denounced as an abuse of the Middle Ages. In 1908, when the Government saw that the parents were in earnest in demanding the observance of the school neutrality, it caused a certain Radical, M. Doumergue, Minister of Public Instruction, to introduce two bills. The first of these sought to inflict penalties upon those parents who shall prevent their children from attending classes in which books are used which are known to contain teachings abusive of religion. By the second bill the responsibility of the State is substituted for that of the teacher, who is thus removed from the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts and placed under the university tribunals. As soon as these bills were proposed the Bishops, in a Joint Pastoral, protested, declaring that the Bills meant nothing less than the expropriation of the family and the confiscation of its children by the State.

Meanwhile the Government continued its usual aggressive policy until the parents uniting together began to demand strongly the observance of neutrality. Thereupon the Bishops, in September of last year, issued another Joint Pastoral, in which the rights of parents were set forth according to the doctrine of the Church, and in which the use of a number of class-books which dealt abusively with the teaching, practice and history of the Church, was forbidden to Catholic children. At first M. Briand sought to discountenance its importance, but when he saw from the pastorals of individual Bishops[377] that the episcopate were in dead earnest, and from the action of pastors, parents and children, that the Bishops' instructions were likely to be carried out, he joined with the sectaries of the Bloc in denouncing what he hypocritically termed "an attack on the Republican schools." Meanwhile the teachers and the writers of the condemned books came together with prosecutions for libel against some individual Bishops who had signed and published the Joint Pastoral, and had enforced it by pronouncements of their own.

In the beginning of last year the matter, which had been carried on without any positive Governmental influence, was now carried into the Chamber of Deputies. There it was debated hotly on both sides. While Briand, Doumergue, Besnard, Dessoye and others attacked the Church, the Vatican and the Bishops, the champions of religious liberty counted such orators as the Abbe Gayraud, M. Piou, M. Aynard, M. Grousseau, M. Maurice Barres and several other men of eloquence and information. Nothing, however, was effected save to fan the flame of anti-clerical hatred, although M. Briand, when off his guard, pointedly admitted that the Bishops acted within their right in issuing the Joint Pastoral, that the parents had a right to associate for the care of their children's instruction, and that a State monopoly of education would only be a weapon of conflict and an instrument of tyranny. All of which admissions the versatile Briand proceeded to falsify almost in the same speech.

The next move was to proceed formally against individual Bishops. Accordingly, on January 20 Cardinal Lucon, Archbishop of Rheims, was cited to court by the "Teachers' Friendly Society." His Eminence appeared in person, and at the sitting of the second day spoke in his own defence. As he left the court he was loudly[378] cheered. The verdict of the court imposed upon the Cardinal a fine of 500 francs and costs. Still later, in March, Mgr. Turinaz, Bishop of Nancy, was haled into court, but, strange to say, though the evidence was the same as in the case of Cardinal Lucon, Mgr. Turinaz was acquitted.

The audacious effrontery of the Radical gang now seeks to proceed even farther. Not content with forcing its impious books into the public schools, it proposes to lay hands upon private schools as well, and to so trouble them with surveillance so as to compel their dispersion. Meanwhile, the affair of M. Duez has arisen like a horrible spectre in the eyes of the Bloc robbers; the country is aroused at the rottenness and corruption that is being laid bare; the Bloc is seeking to cover over the sore spots. There are other matters in hand besides the school question.



The Troubles in Spain.

Although the Catholic faith has always been deeply rooted in the hearts of the Spanish people, yet during the nineteenth century the anti-Christian spirit contrived at times to create disorder and to introduce persecution. The spirit of the French Revolution made its way early into the Peninsular.

The reign of the weak king, Carlos IV., who was misled by his shrewd and unscrupulous minister Godoy aroused dissatisfaction to such an extent that his own son, the future Ferdinand VII., joined with the malcontents in a warlike feud. The Kingdom thus distracted by internecine troubles was an easy prey to the conquering Napoleon. In 1808, Carlos IV., was forced to abdicate his throne which was thereupon bestowed upon Joseph Bonaparte. The reign of this usurper, especially his oppressive measures towards the clergy and Catholic people, stirred up the Spaniards, who flew to arms. After three years of heroic struggle, aided by the English, they liberated their country from French rule, and in 1814, restored the Spanish throne, with Ferdinand VII., as its occupant.[380]


In 1812 the liberal Cortes at Cadiz effected a Constitution inimical to the interests of the Church. Upon his accession, the king annulled the constitution, and restored the Church to the position and rights it had held previous to the advent of the French. The Jesuits were recalled from banishment, and other religious orders were encouraged to pursue their works of charity and beneficence. Unfortunately, Ferdinand was always wanting in firmness and in Catholic principle. Surrounded by astute and ambitious flatterers, he soon fell into the hands of the Liberals who induced him to revoke his good resolutions, to violate the rights of the Church and to re-establish the old despotism.


In 1820 the sentiment of the country was divided between the two opposing parties, the Apostolicals, who defended the claims of the Church, and the Liberals, who looked for license under the name of liberty. The Liberals were soon in the ascendant, and forced the King, in 1821, to restore the Constitution of 1812. The Apostolical party bitterly resented the treachery of the King, and after an uprising in all parts of the country, aided by French intervention, the Liberals were defeated. Ferdinand, however, was little disposed to follow the dictates of the victorious party, who in their disgust at his vacillating policy turned to the King's brother, Don Carlos, whom they determined to place upon the throne.


The discontent between Ferdinand and the Catholic party grew more acute from year to year. When, in[381] 1823, the Holy See refused to receive the Jansenist, Villanueva, as ambassador, the Government at Madrid dismissed the Papal Nuncio, Guistiniani. Those of the clergy who would not accept the Constitution were imprisoned, banished, or put to death. Only a few took the oath[382] imposed on them. In 1829, the King married Maria Christina of Naples, a woman who was destined to play a notorious part in Spanish history. Through her influence he abrogated the Salic law, which excluded females from the throne, and which had been forced upon Spain by the European powers in the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713. By this act he hoped to shut out from the succession his brother Don Carlos and his heirs, in order to place upon the throne his daughter Isabella, who was born on October 10, 1830. By this act Ferdinand gave to his country a cause for disorders which remain even to the present day.



Ferdinand VII. died in 1833, and his daughter was proclaimed Queen of Spain, under the regency of her mother Christina. The country was at once plunged into the horrors of civil war. Don Carlos, the pretender to the throne, and his adherents were ordered to leave the country. Aragon and the Basque Provinces took up arms in his cause, while the Liberals gathered around the regent. In the conflict the followers of Don Carlos were called the Carlists or Apostolicals, while the opposing party received the name of Christinists.


In 1834 the enemies of religion took occasion of the cholera, then raging in the Peninsular, to incite the populace against the religious orders whom they accused of having poisoned the wells. They began their hostilities with the Jesuits who were cut down even at the foot of the altars. The horrible cry was heard everywhere: "Away with Christ!" On July 17, a furious mob precipitated[383] itself upon the Jesuit college with cries of rage, calling out: "Death to the Jesuits!" "Let not a Jesuit escape!" Fifteen fathers were massacred, and some of them with a refinement of cruelty that passes description. Similar horrors were carried out the same day in the various monasteries of Madrid, those of the Dominicans, the Fathers of the Redemption of Captives, and the Franciscans. Forty-four of the latter perished, seven Dominicans and nine of the Order of Mercy. The leader in these atrocities was that Espartero, who having imbibed in his boyhood a knowledge of the faith, had learned in South America the awful art of shedding blood for the sake of personal ambition.


In 1835 the massacres were renewed at Saragossa, Barcelona, Cordova and many other places. In 1836, a decree ordered the sale of all property belonging to the religious orders. After the religious—as is always the case—the secular clergy were attacked, and the churches everywhere throughout the land. Bishops and priests were banished; ecclesiastical property was pillaged or sold; the supremacy and rights of the Pope were set aside; in a word, the Catholic Kingdom saw the beginning of a national schism.


Pope Gregory XVI., in 1836, protested against these persecutions, and the Government, awakened to some sense of shame, sent Vilalba to Rome to effect an agreement with the Holy See. The truce was but of short duration.[384]

In 1840 another revolution broke out, the result of which was the deposition of Christina, as regent, and the exaltation of the infamous Espartero in that capacity. The change was the signal for renewed hostilities against the Church, so that, in 1841, Pope Gregory XVI. was again moved to utter a vigorous protest. The Government replied by forbidding the publication of any Papal documents, and by confiscating what remained of the Church property.

In January 20, 1842, a law was proposed having for its object the entire separation of the Spanish people from the influence of the Holy See.


The Pope replied to this proposal by a strong encyclical, in which he said: "In fact, it is determined by this law that no account of the Apostolic See shall be held by the Spanish nation; that all communication with it for all manner of graces, indults and concessions shall be intercepted, and that those who contravene this prescript shall be severely punished. It is also decreed that letters apostolic and other rescripts issued by the same Holy See, unless they shall have been demanded by Spain, shall not only not be kept, and be inefficacious, but that they shall be denounced to the civil authority in the shortest interval of time, by those whom they shall reach, that they may be delivered to the government; and for those who shall violate this prescript a penalty also is fixed.[385]


"It is moreover ordained that impediments to matrimony shall be subject to the bishops, until a code of civil laws shall establish a distinction between the contract and the sacrament of matrimony; that no cause involving religious matters shall be sent from Spain to Rome;[386] and that in no time shall a nuncio or legate of the Holy See be there admitted with the power of granting graces or dispensations, even gratuitously.

"And more! The most sacred right of the Roman Pontiff to confirm or reject the bishops elected in Spain is clearly excluded; and the punishment of exile is to be inflicted as well on all priests designated to any episcopal church, who shall seek confirmation or letters apostolic from this Holy See, as on all metropolitans who shall demand the pallium from it.

"After this, it is indeed to be wondered at, that the Roman Pontiff himself is in that law asserted to be, as it were, the centre of the Church, since room for communication with him is not left, save by the license and under the inspection of the government.

"Desiring then to restrain, as much as in us lies, the evils, which in this great perturbation of the Catholic religion throughout Spain are growing more heavy; and to give our assistance to those most dear of the faithful, who, long since, are stretching forth suppliant hands towards us, we have determined, after the example of our predecessors, to resort to the prayers of the universal Church, and most studiously to excite the piety of all Catholics toward that nation.

"Therefore, while we renew and confirm, by these letters apostolic, the complaints and expostulations published in the allocutions before mentioned, and abrogate and declare to be of no force all acts hitherto done by the government of Madrid against the rights and dignity of the Church and of this most Holy See, we again exhort all ... to implore the mercy of the omnipotent God for the unhappy Spanish nation."[387]


The government in turn endeavored to suppress the Encyclical, but its efforts in that direction only resulted in spreading it the more throughout the land. A veritable awakening followed. Both clergy and people publicly demonstrated their loyalty to the persecuted Church, whose defence was ably taken up by such writers and orators as the celebrated Father James Balmes and Donoso Cortes. In 1843, the young Isabella, then being thirteen years of age, was declared of age, and made independent of any regency. The reign of Espartero was, for the time at least, at an end.

Espartero, during his ascendancy, proved himself a scourge to the Catholic Church in Spain. When he fell, the Catholics began to breathe more freely. A stop was put to the sale of ecclesiastical property. In 1845, whatever remained was used to give some little maintenance to the clergy, but the real and personal estate had already been disposed of in great part, and could not be recalled. To arrange matters a concordat was drawn up, and Castillo y Ayensa was sent to Gregory XVI. for that purpose. But the good will of the government evaporated before anything definite could be concluded, and the concordat was rejected by the Cortes.


However, after the Spanish government had aided the Pope in his exile at Gaeta, and helped to restore him to Rome, more definite proceedings towards a concordat were begun. The new concordat was concluded on March 16, 1851.[388]

It was just before the conclusion of this concordat that Donoso Cortes delivered a remarkable address to the Spanish Chamber of Deputies, in which he said:

"Do not tell me that in Spain, in Italy, in France and in Hungary the Revolution is conquered; that is not true. All the social forces united and driven to their utmost have only driven the Revolution under cover. The people can no longer govern, and the true cause of this is that there is no true conception of divine or of human authority. This is the disease that is strangling Europe, society and the world. This is the reason why the people can no longer govern. When Revolution in Europe shall have destroyed the standing armies, when Socialism shall have exterminated patriotism, when we shall see only two parties, the spoilers and the despoiled, then shall Russia quietly send its armies into our land, and the world will behold the greatest chastisement recorded in history."

The new concordat contained among its articles the following: "The Catholic, Apostolic, Roman religion, will be as in the past, the religion of the State, to the exclusion of all others. The Church shall conserve the rights and prerogatives which belong to her according to divine law and the sacred canons; in public and private institutions, education shall be conformable to the Catholic religion; the bishops in the exercise of their ministry and of their mission shall enjoy that entire liberty demanded by the sacred canons; the Church shall continue to possess, and to acquire new properties, under whatsoever legitimate title; and this her right of possession shall remain inviolable."


The concordat was signed at Rome, by Pope Pius IX., who in the consistory of September 5, 1851, proclaimed[389] its publication in terms of the greatest gratification. But the joy of the Catholic people upon this return to Spain to better sentiments was not long lived. On February 2, 1852, Queen Isabella, as she was speaking on the street with the Papal Nuncio, was attacked by a ruffian, who attempted to plunge a dagger into her side. The would-be assassin was arrested and thrown into prison. He was one of the conspirators under Espartero.

As the unhappy man had once been an ecclesiastic and had apostatized under the fury of the revolutionary propaganda, the revolutionary journals made capital of the fact to cast aspersions on the clergy, declaring that the assassin belonged to the clerical party. The government comprehended that it was necessary to put a restraint upon the press, and in consequence, many journals were compelled to stop publication. At the same time a spirit of conversion began to touch the hearts of the people. Everywhere the missionaries were active, and out of the religious houses the words of new life were heard to echo into the homes, the factories, the army and the navy. The revolutionists began to be alarmed, and set to work to destroy what the preaching of Catholic doctrine had effected.

The Liberals, haters of God and of country, commenced a series of barbarities. With the intention of destroying the monasteries and convents, they set fire to the Jesuit houses in Valladolid, Huesca, Barbastro, Saragossa and Valencia. At Valladolid in one day they burned three convents, and among them the celebrated and magnificent Trinidad. And these same incendiaries when they came into power in Spain two years later, dared to cry out against the barbarities of the Catholic Church.[390]


In 1854 the revolution again broke out. Many of Spain's best generals, among them Leopold O'Donnell, went over to the party of rebellion, whose object was the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The people, misled by a thousand rumors, knew not to whom to turn, but finally took as their leader that Espartero who had already proven himself a danger to Spain, hostile to the Church, and a slave to the secret societies.

On July 18, 1854, the royal palace at Madrid was sacked by the mob, though the Queen succeeded in escaping to safety. Though the Revolution called for a republic, with Espartero at its head, yet that general preferred rather to lead the ministry under royalty, and so contrived to restore Isabella to her throne. Under this second regime of Espartero the Church suffered even more cruelly than before. The agents of the secret societies, which controlled the Cortes, began to demand the revocation of the concordat, the suppression of the religious orders, and a general persecution of the Church. The minister Alonzo set the example by driving out of the Escurial the monks of St. Jerome.


To persecution the anti-Christians added calumny against the bishops and clergy of Spain, accusing them of desertion in the time of danger, of abandoning the victims of the cholera. These open falsehoods aided somewhat in stirring up a spirit of hostility even in places where the devotion of the clergy was known to be most heroic. Stories then were circulated of arms hidden in the sanctuary of Loyola; as a consequence, the Jesuits were driven from this shrine, even though it was[391] well known that their only occupation at Loyola was the maintenance of a college for the education of missionaries to Cuba, Porto Rico and the Philippine Islands.[392]


At the same time certain deputies in the Chamber complained that the journal, "The Catholic", had dared to publish the Bull of Pius IX. on the Immaculate Conception without governmental permission. One of the ministers, Madoz, proposed restoring the ruined treasury by the sale of all ecclesiastical property without exception. Another deputy, Escosura, a furious and fanatic anti-Christian, insulted, in a session of the Chamber on March 24, 1855, the Bishop of Osma, whom he called a butcher because of his defence of the church property; the Minister of Grace and Justice, Aguirre, demanded the punishment of those bishops who dared to preach religious unity. For this "crime" the Bishop of Osma was exiled to the Canary Islands. The same Aguirre caused the Bishop of Barcelona to be exiled to Carthagena.

It was in vain that the Holy See strove to compose matters. Appeals to the ancient piety of Spain, and to the well known virtue of the nation were alike unheeded. It was not the nation that ruled, but a clique who had gained control by force of arms, and it was this clique that sent back the appeals of the Holy Father with contempt and derision. The Cortes was filled with irreligious enemies of the Catholic name; it was these who set aside the concordat, from its first article to the last. It was these who forbade bishops to ordain priests, who forbade monasteries of nuns to receive new novices; and who converted to State use all chapels and religious schools. In the deliberations of the Cortes, on January 12, 1855, it was determined that the seminaries might no longer teach philosophy and theology, and that all ordinations of the clergy should be suspended.[393]


The Holy Father in the consistory of July 6, 1855, protested vigorously against the evils and spoliation of the Church in Spain. His words were useless, since Espartero and his followers continued in their way despite all claims of reason and right. They had driven the Bishop of Osma into exile, they had closed the Seminary of Toledo, they had forbidden the priests of Saragossa to leave the limits of their parish without governmental permission, they had dispersed the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, they had prevented the bishops from uniting in council, the Bishop of Urgel was exiled as a Carlist, the Bishop of Plasenza was persecuted because he had refused to give an inventory of church property, the Bishop of Avila would have been imprisoned but for fear of the people who threatened to intervene.

The persecutions became so rabid and frequent that Monsignor Franchi, the Papal Nuncio, left Madrid, and diplomatic relations were severed with the Holy See. Moreover, Zavala, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, dared to write to the various governments that the concordat was being faithfully executed, that the contract made with the Holy See was observed, and that the government was religious and pious. The Pontifical Allocution unmasked the falsehood, but did not change the condition of affairs.


The government of Espartero, capable of every evil, incapable of good, finally fell into odium with the people. In 1856 Spain shook off the yoke imposed upon her by the rebels, who had enslaved the Queen and fettered the Church. On September 15, the country returned to[394] its former government, and restored the Constitution of 1845. The new Minister of Grace and Justice recognized the necessity of restoring to honor a clergy vilified by the passions and impetuous discords of the times. The elections to churches were made according to the customs of Catholic Spain, and peace began to smile again upon the religious institutions of the land.

The appointment in October 1856, of Marshal Narvaez, to the presidency of the Council, was an act that promised the restoration of law and order. Narvaez, the Duke of Valencia, was one who knew the meaning of conspiracy, civil war, and revolution. He had seen with his own eyes the sad results of them, and how they impoverished, weakened, and strangled the State. A man of character and firm will, he knew how to form a a cabinet in harmony with his own ideas, and with them he set to work to re-establish order.

The Jesuits, expelled in 1854, were permitted to return; the concordat was again put into execution; all orders and decrees contrary to it were annulled, and on October 15, De Seijas Lozano, Minister of Justice, represented to the Queen that it was time to render to the bishops full liberty to confer sacred orders. In his brief he spoke in the highest terms of the Spanish episcopate, and of the piety and heroic devotion of the priesthood. It was a new note in contrast to the chorus of infamy that had been heard for the last two years. The end of the year 1856 beheld a serene heaven brooding over Spain, and a people who sighed with relief as they thought of the nights of horror and iniquity through which they had so lately passed.[395]


For a decade at least the Church in Spain enjoyed comparative peace. The war then broke out again and continued with new vigor. The masonic General Prim, returning from Mexico disappointed because he had failed to create a position for himself, brought back to Spain a new batch of conspiracies. In 1867 the Moderates[396] were in control with Narvaez at their head. They were not altogether unjust, and were somewhat friendly to the Church and the Catholic Party, which was then represented in the Cortes by Candido Nocidal and other illustrious men of Spain. At the same time the Cortes numbered among its members the Progressists, who were hostile to the Church and to the Queen, and who united in many measures with the Socialists, a party which was most dangerous and most opposed to the nature and to the traditions of the Spanish people. General Prim was the recognized leader of this union. He was a man of most extravagant ambition, who in the hope of becoming President of a future Iberian republic, or first minister of the Queen, gathered together all the forces of disorder which had lain dormant since the last revolution.


Prim first addressed himself to the King of Portugal, proposing to unite that country with Spain under the crown of Portugal. Being refused, he turned to the Duke of Montpensier, who rejected his proposals in the conviction that the time was not ripe for a revolution. He was not, however, disconcerted, and in union with O'Donnell, gave himself up to the problem of betraying his country to some foreign ruler. The first skirmishes of the followers of Prim were abortive owing to the vigilance of Narvaez, and many of the conspirators were driven out of the country.


Narvaez, however, died in 1868, and was succeeded as President of the Council, by Gonzalis Bravo. The policy of the latter was built upon an imprudent confidence in the friendship of the French Emperor, Napoleon III. Trusting to the promises of that crafty prince,[397] both Bravo and the Queen remained inactive, while the forces of the enemy under General Serrano pushed forward.

Duke of Tetuan.

Bravo in turn relinquished the government to Joseph Concha, an old conspirator, in whose heart the hatred toward the Church had never completely died out. In[398] the meantime the rebels forced their way through the country, and gained as they went forward the favor of a populace whose spirits were inflamed by the lust of bloodshed and plunder. With a nondescript army Serrano took possession of Madrid in September, 1868.

The Queen, despairing of her own safety, fled into France, and left the entire country in the hands of the revolutionists. On September 30, she protested against the treachery of Napoleon III., but no one would or could listen to her. It was only another of the unholy acts of the French Sovereign who had thrown ruin into various countries of Europe. Rome had seen the Holy Father betrayed by him; Florence, Naples, Parma, and Modena fell under his treachery; the Emperor of Austria had trusted him and found him wanting; he had cajoled the folly of Maximilian in that unfortunate prince's adventure into Mexico; and now he had betrayed Spain. One more piece of treachery remained in his conduct toward the Holy See—then came the reward of his double-dealing in the Franco-Prussian war, when he was himself cast down from his throne and driven into disgraceful exile.


General Prim, whose usual tactics were to raise a great cry, stir up revolt, and then when the danger came, to disappear, had been missing through all the fighting. Now that the danger was over he suddenly re-appeared. But both he and the Duke of Montpensier came too late. Serrano was in control with a mob of irreligious ruffians gathered together from Paris and Brussels and filled with a mortal hatred of the Catholic religion. The proofs of this spirit were not long in coming. The Jesuits were the first to be hunted down, and[399] after them the other religious; and while the revolutionists were raising the cry of "freedom of worship for all," they sacked and profaned monasteries and churches. Dioceses were reduced in number; cathedral chapters, abbacies, and prebenderies were suppressed; the fees to the nuncio and to the seminaries were discontinued. Ecclesiastical property was offered for sale, and a thousand iniquities of one kind or another were brought forward to enslave and impoverish the Church.

In the meantime the question of the form of government to be adopted occupied the minds of all. Some called for a republic, some for a monarchy under the regency of Montpensier or of Serrano; others wished for a union with Portugal. Still others proposed a stranger king, Prince Napoleon, Duke of Genoa, a friend of General Prim.

During the first three months the government remained in the hands of three worthies, Serrano, Prim and Topete. The usual hypocrisy of all anti-Catholic governments betrayed itself immediately. There were outcries, mobs, rumors everywhere; but Catholic processions were forbidden. A crowd of corrupt apostates could travel from one end of Spain to the other preaching impiety, under the name of the "pure gospel," while they dispersed the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul and drove from their houses the defenceless nuns only to gather them together in places where they were delivered to the insults of the mob and every degrading humiliation. Books, newspapers filled with obscene pictures were spread gratuitously among the populace as a proof of the new civilization.[400]


Religious and Catholic writings were held up as barbarisms and inimical to the interests of the country. Schools for the teaching of falsehood and iniquity were free and untrammelled, while the seminaries and Catholic schools were closed at Madrid, Seville and other places. Churches were destroyed and chapels burned to the ground without hindrance or protest. Catholics looked on in horror, but had to be silent while the terrors of an infidel government hung around them. The government itself encouraged its partisans to gather the spoils of victory, to satisfy their old punishments with terrible vengeance. To pay the national debt of forty millions of francs the property of the Church was again seized and sold. When the Revolution began, the motto of the rebels was "Spain and Honor;" now it had become a cry of irreligion and destruction.

At Antequera the sectaries attacked a convent of nuns, sacked it and burned it to the ground. Through the streets of Madrid mobs of vile assassins rushed wildly, calling out "Down with the Concordat! Down with the tyrants of Rome!" The anti-Catholic press hurled maledictions upon the Catholic faith. The Espana declared that it would have no Catholic sovereign; the Nacion proposed Alfred of England because he was a Protestant. At Seville the Church of the Capuchins was turned into a powder magazine.

The old revolutionary Aguirre abolished the religious communities, declaring that they were an integral and principal part of the shameful and oppressive regime which the nation had at last gloriously overturned. Bishops were ordered to leave their dioceses, and to cease all pastoral visits. At the same time, while Catholic[401] churches were closed and religious communities dispersed, synagogues were inaugurated and Protestant temples opened.

In the meantime the politicians had been busy seeking a head for the government. The hopes of Montpensier were easily shattered, and the King of Portugal had refused to unite the Spanish crown with his own. Invitations were then sent to princes in Germany and Italy, especially to the Duke of Aosta. Some looked to Don Carlos, who was then known as the Duke of Madrid, and who would like to be king under the name of Carlos VII. He had many partisans in Navarre, in the Basque Provinces, and in Catalonia. In his manifesto of June 30, 1869, he wrote: "Spain does not care to see the religion of our fathers outraged and insulted; and possessing in Catholicity the real truth, she wishes to see that religion free to exercise her divine mission. Spain is determined to preserve at any cost that Catholic faith and unity, which are the symbol of our glories, the spirit of our laws, the bond of our people, and the blessing of our country. In Spain through the tempest of the revolution many sad things have happened. But there are concordats which must be respected and faithfully executed." Carlos VII. presented himself in the name of God and of justice; but Napoleon III. plotted secretly against him; the Masonic bodies of Europe fought him; the Catholic powers abandoned him; and the revolutionaries in control of Spain refused him; so that all his efforts were in vain.


The next six years found unhappy Spain delivered up to every excess of demagogy and disorder. On February[402] 22, 1869, the Cortes met at Madrid for the purpose of drawing up a Constitution, which was finally completed and published on June 6 of the same year. General Serrano was made Regent, while the government remained under the Presidency of General Prim. On November 16, 1870, the Cortes elected as king of[403] Spain, Amadeus of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, son of the King of Italy. Amadeus took possession of the throne in January, 1871, but the rivalries of the various parties in the country, and the weak disposition of the King made his reign one of perpetual strife. The Carlists under Don Carlos VII. took up arms and brought about a civil war in 1872. Finally, in 1873 Amadeus, wearied out with a charge that was difficult principally because he permitted himself to be made the tool of the secret societies, renounced the crown on February 11, 1873.

AMADEUS OF SAVOY. Duke of Aosta, King of Spain. AMADEUS OF SAVOY.
Duke of Aosta, King of Spain.


For two years the country suffered under what purported to be a republican form of government. Serrano and Prim again came into prominence with their old hatred of religion and good order; but they were obliged to yield to the new dictators, Salmeron, Margal, and Castellar.

The new government elected a new Cortes, and to that body the popular suffrage sent a man who was destined to aid the struggling Church and bring back a semblance of peace to Spain. This was Don Antonio Canovas de Castillo, an old statesman who had served already in the battles of his country.


It was in the midst of these disorders, in the face of adventurers ready to offend all the great principles of social life, liberty, property and religion, and all natural and constitutional rights, that Canovas found a role worthy of his character. He grew powerful in that struggle for the defence of Christian society. He stood almost alone in the opposition; but his energy was indomitable, and his courage almost amounted to rashness as he set out to give battle to the secret societies, to[404] Masonry and to the International whose titled members filled the Parliament.

As he ascended the tribune he heard the murmurs around him telling him that he was already hated. But his courage gave him words. He was called a doctrinaire. "A doctrinaire!" he said. "But who is not a doctrinaire? Is there anyone who does not profess some doctrine, either good or evil? As for myself, I know that my doctrine is good; it is the Christian doctrine, and I am proud to declare that I put aside the enjoyments of life as an end of existence, holding for certain that a Supreme Justice awaits all men at the doors of death. The individual who faces the inevitable afflictions of life, its maladies and its miseries, if you limit his aspirations to the times in which he lives, he becomes a foe of discipline; he carries his negations, not to Heaven, which does not exist for him, but to everything which proves an obstacle to his ambitions, to country, family, and society, to destroy them. He becomes an international.

"Reactionary you call me! There is no one who in these days of trouble ought to bear that name better than I. I have heard that the Senors, Margal and Castellar, were reactionaries; and the successor of Proudhon, who has written his diabolical gospel, Chaudrey himself, he was shot as a reactionary by the Commune of Paris. You are preaching social and economical emancipation to the masses; but what obstacle has the workman from performing his labors freely? You promise social liquidation, the revision of property and of public fortune and their better division. What good reasons, political, historical or philosophical do you bring to support these theories? Are you bound to accept as Gospel truth, every idea that rises in the minds of men? Must you take every man as a Messiah who[405] proclaims himself an apostle or a prophet? If you do so, you will rob the State of all security, society of all stability, history of all solidity; and if you are indifferent, the philosophic theorizers will soon plunge the land into a torrent of blood."

Conservative Prime Minister.

Canovas was listened to in silence, and his auditors uttered no protest;[406] but they remained unchanged. Four years of republican rule ruined the country; liberty was betrayed by a license which permitted everyone to live according to his own caprice. Religion, buffeted and persecuted, its temples and property confiscated, its ministers proscribed, the public safety destroyed, with pillage unpunished in the cities conflagrations started in the country places, were the fruits of the new ideas which reigned in the high places of the state. Valencia, Grenada, and Seville became principalities, created Parliaments, frontiers, custom houses, coined monies, and levied taxes; it was a form of anarchy. Carlism took up arms again; Cuba revolted; and the government found itself powerless to bring matters to a peaceful condition.

In its anxiety the country looked to Canovas de Castillo. To those who spoke of insurrection he answered: "Let us wait; there is no need of bloodshed." On December 28, 1874, he appeared at the head of the troops at Sagonta, and proclaimed Alphonso XII. as King. The news spread quickly, and was accepted as a signal of deliverance. There was no resistance; the old government was gone; and the Cortes was dispersed.


Canovas was at once recognized as the representative of the absent King, and the country was ready to obey his directions. Armed with this power, he set to work[407] to put the country in order. He exiled Zorilla, the chief of the demagogues, he banished the revolutionaries and expelled the teachers of disorder, who had the impudence to call themselves "the Intellectuals." As the Constitution was but the legalization of tyranny, he drew up another, in which Catholic principles were respected.

The moment had come for inaugurating an era of peace. His ministry again declared that "the Catholic religion is the religion of the State," though it professed a tolerance for dissident sects. The monastic orders were received back into the land; churches were restored, the clergy received as much of the ecclesiastical property as had not been absolutely alienated. The Carlists were pacified, and the whole country once more brought within the bonds of patriotic union.

It was unfortunate that this great statesman, who had placed Alphonso XII. upon the throne, and watched over the first years of the present King Alphonso XIII., was assassinated by an anarchist, August 8, 1897.


During the regency of Maria Christina, and the reign of her son, Alphonso XIII., the Church was not at first openly attacked, although various legislative measures have been proposed to cripple the religious orders and deprive the clergy of all authority in matters of education.


There were difficulties in recent years, but while the Conservatives ruled under Senor Maura, or even the Liberals under Sagasta, the danger of any serious conflict was not imminent. But when the Liberals in 1905 were led by Moret, the rights of the Church began to feel the first signs of disrespect. The difficulties aroused[408] by the new government concerned chiefly civil marriages, cemeteries, the toleration of non-Catholics, and the religious orders. Previously civil marriages were recognized as valid only between such persons as would make a declaration that they were not Catholics. Count Romanones, the Minister of Justice, caused the suppression of such declaration, thus introducing civil marriages even between careless Catholics. The Bishops protested, but in vain; and the Bishop of Tuy was even cited to court for the openness of his language.[409]


After the fall of Moret, his successor, Canalejas, hastened to urge oppressive measures against the Church. Senor Canalejas was well known ever since 1887 for his anti-clerical tendencies, and had more than one conflict with the Vatican apropos of the dispersion of the religious orders. When he succeeded to the post of Premier, it began to be evident that he would forthwith proceed to laicise Spain according to his old vow.

It had always been the policy of Canalejas to settle old scores with the Holy See, and in doing so he descended to many of the brutalities that characterized Bonaparte in his dealings with Pius VII. King Alphonso proved a docile tool, and offered no resistance when ordered to sign any decree, however adverse to Catholic interests.

The first object of the Canalejas ministry was to be the revision of the Concordat. The Ambassador to the Vatican, Senor Ojeda of Perpinan, was charged to place before His Eminence Cardinal Merry del Val, the Secretary of State of His Holiness, the desire of the Spanish Government to treat the question. The Holy See replied that it was ready to enter on the matter, as it[410] had done with preceding Cabinets. Hence, to make a practical beginning, it offered on its own initiative, the four concessions agreed to in 1904, but which were not ratified by the Spanish Cortes, owing to the fall of the Maura Ministry.


These concessions were as follows: The suppression of all religious houses in which the community did not number twelve, with the exception of a few agreed upon with the Government; the authorization of the Government was to be obtained before a new religious house could be founded; strangers wishing to establish religious institutions in the country should first become naturalized as Spanish citizens; finally, the religious should be subject to the impost duties in accordance with the fiscal laws, like all other citizens.

The Spanish Government was not satisfied with these concessions, and expressed a desire for still others. The[411] Holy See yielded even then, and set to work to examine the situation and to study all possible concessions.

While matters thus stood in abeyance, the Spanish Government suddenly, without warning or intimation, proceeded to settle the questions without the concurrence of the Holy See. A Royal Decree was issued with the intention of enforcing the Royal Order of 1902, whereby religious communities would be obliged to fulfil certain formalities before they could obtain legal existence and recognition. This Royal Order had never been enforced because it had not been agreed upon by both parties.

The Holy See protested in an official note to the Government of Madrid, and requested that the matter be suspended pending the negotiations already going on between the Vatican and Spain. The answer of the Government, only a few days later, was the passing of a new decree giving free practice to alien religions. As this was also one of the subjects under discussion, the Holy See again protested. The Government, however, was not yet satisfied, and accordingly in the following Speech from the Throne, uttered many anti-clerical notes, especially its determination to put forward the projected law against the religious orders. The Holy See, in the face of these violations of diplomatic procedure, declared that if the Government continued to carry on its unilateral measures, it would be useless and impossible to proceed with the negotiations. But the Spanish Government only replied that it could not recall the measures it had already passed.

By this trick Canalejas hoped to extend the rule of the civil power over a matter which pertains to mixed questions, and this in open contempt of the Concordat and the most elementary laws of diplomacy. It hoped to create the impression that the Holy See yields nothing,[412] and in that way place it in the unfavorable light of being blindly obstinate. Moreover, it strove to place the Holy See in a position so humiliating that it would be obliged to reject its own overtures and accept whatever the opposition might grant. He hoped to discourage the protests of Catholic Spain by rendering the attitude of the Vatican ridiculous.

Canalejas prided himself upon being the champion of freedom of conscience. It was a play to the gallery in the hope of gaining popular encouragement from abroad. It was an effort to stir up antipathy to the Holy See and embittering public opinion against it.

The game of the Premier was detected, and he at once began to complain of the intransigent attitude of the Holy See, and accused the Holy Father of an intention to threaten. He spoke of "justice" and the "defence of the rights of Spain." He deprecated any idea of violating the Concordat or of wishing to break with the Vatican. His whole policy in fact was but a miserable attempt to hoodwink the Spanish people.

The Vatican, in the meantime, demanded a withdrawal of the obnoxious laws until the negotiations already begun should be terminated. The Government in answer played the role of offended innocence, spoke of the tyranny of Rome, and lauded the "heroes" who were fighting for a liberal and independent regime. Hence the interviews with paid newspaper correspondents who could place the position of the Ministry in a favorable light before the world.

The Spanish nation, however, could not be brought to see any truth in the statements of Canalejas, or any sincerity in his intentions, as was evident from the universal demonstrations.

In the meantime the Holy Father's demand that the obnoxious laws be suspended until the consultation in[413] regard to the Concordat should be ended, was received as an ultimatum at Madrid. In answer thereto, Canalejas determined to recall the Ambassador accredited to the Holy See. In consequence he directed a telegram to that effect to Senor Ojeda, who at once set out from the Eternal City without fixing any day for his return, leaving the First Secretary of the Embassy as his representative. The Papal Secretary of State was informed that "The Ambassador had been recalled to Madrid to receive directions."

This event, however, did not cause any great surprise in Catholic circles. It was well known that the mere recall of an ambassador does not in itself always signify a definite rupture, although in this case it constituted at least a very serious step.


For a long time Spain, like Portugal, had been made the camping ground of so-called "progressives," men and women who set out with the theory that the world was wrong and they, the prophets appointed by "destiny" to set it right. Among these self-constituted prophets of a new order was a certain Francisco Ferrer of Guardia, the son of a Catalonian farmer, who had acquired some wealth and influence by means that were shown to be disreputable. Fired with an unholy hatred of country and Church, his whole history is one of conspiracy and revolution. He had been actively connected with every effort to overturn established government since 1883. On every occasion he was known to be in active correspondence with the leaders of those revolutions, and was connected with everything they did. 1885, 1892, 1895, 1898 were years that stand out clearly[414] marked in his career of disorder, down to the time when the anarchist Morral attempted to assassinate King Alphonsus XIII.

After the movement of 1885 he fled to Paris where he chose for his friends men like the Jew, Nacquet, who has the unsavory honor of introducing divorce into the French code. An enemy to the sacred institution of marriage, he soon abandoned his wife and three children, and shortly after sealed his desertion by a divorce. To support himself he devoted his time to the teaching of Spanish, in which occupation he made the acquaintance of a middle-aged spinster named Meunier. Out of this friendship Ferrer gained some pecuniary profit, for this woman on her deathbed left him a fortune amounting to $150,000.

With this fortune, after he had become affiliated with the Grand Orient of Paris, Ferrer returned to Barcelona. It was here, in 1901, that he inaugurated his notorious scheme of "the Modern School," while at the same time he increased his fortune by gambling, and lived in a scandalous companionship with a woman of ill fame.

In his "Modern School" Ferrer advocated every doctrine of disorder and insurrection. He chose for his teachers men well known for their anarchistic ideas. His object was to eliminate from the minds of the children every idea of religion, patriotism, and morality. It was not Catholicity alone that he assailed, but everything that society stands for: the flag, country, marriage, property, family, and State. His school-books contained such teachings as these: "The flag is nothing but three yards of cloth stitched upon a pole;" or "The family is one of the principal obstacles to the enlightenment of men." Other doctrines contained in his teaching are too indecent for reproduction. His principal of the[415] girls' school was Madame Jacquinet, an anarchist who had been driven out of Egypt, and who described herself as "an atheist, a scientific materialist, an anti-militarist, and an anarchist." Another of his professors was that Mateo Morral who attempted to kill the King on his wedding day. Another was Leon Fabre, one of the leaders in the Barcelona riots.

The schools of Ferrer increased in various districts of Catalonia, until about 1906, nearly 2000 children were receiving his instructions. In the spring of 1909, he went to London, where he lived in company with the ex-school mistress. It was while in England that the first signs of discontent in Catalonia began to manifest themselves. The war in Morocco demanded soldiers for its prosecution, and on hearing that the Government was about to make a requisition in Catalonia, Ferrer, on June 11, suddenly left England and hurried back to Barcelona. There he again entered upon his campaign of revolutionary teaching, inflaming the minds of the people against the Government which had the hardihood to ask soldiers for a foreign war.

His teaching had its effect. On July 26, Barcelona broke out into open revolt. There were only 1600 soldiers in the town to meet the assaults of the rioters. The general strike ordered by the workingmen's associations crippled all means of trade and commerce. The mobs first assailed the banks and stores, but finding them too strongly guarded turned their attention elsewhere. The city was placed under martial law, and the small detachment of troops were divided where the danger seemed most imminent. There was no thought of the churches, convents, and religious houses.

Mr. Andrew Shipman, in his exposé of the case for McClure's Magazine, describes the horrors of the few days that followed. "The day of July 27 was a ghastly[416] one, filled with smoke, murder, and terror. The kerosene can was used after looting had secured every valuable article, and before midnight the mob had attacked and burned some twenty-two institutions in the newer and outer part of Barcelona. The police pursued them as best they could; but the revolutionists were divided by their leaders into sections, attacking churches, schools, and houses simultaneously at remote distances from one another. During the night the King and ministry, who were communicated with by cable—for all telegraph lines were cut—suspended the constitutional guarantees, leaving the city and province in an actual state of war.

"All day on the 28th the burning, looting, and destruction of churches, convents and schools went on; but by nightfall the troops had broken some of the barricades, and began to subdue some sections of the rioters. On Thursday, the 29th, they had the rioting under control, and the revolt was crushed. On Friday the roving bands of anarchists, rioters, and idlers were entirely stopped, and the next day street traffic began again.

"It is sickening to tell of the savagery of the mob. Even the dead nuns were dragged from their coffins and paraded with revolting and obscene orgies, and then thrown into the gutters. Clerical teachers in the schools were stripped, tortured and shot. Even little children were not spared. Churches that had stood as monuments from the days of the Crusades were destroyed; while everything valuable was plundered from them, and from the schools and religious houses. They even stole the clothes and petty jewelry of the girls in the boarding schools."

Immediately after the cessation of hostilities the arrest and punishment of the ring leaders were begun.[417] Among those arrested was Francisco Ferrer, who was tried by a court-martial, found guilty of rebellion and treason, and, on October 13, 1909, was executed.

Although the trial was fair, and has been officially declared such by Canalejas, a man who holds no friendship for the causes of Catholicity and Spanish right, nevertheless the news of Ferrer's execution raised a commotion throughout the world. Strangely enough the odium of the act was saddled directly upon the Catholic Church, against which the secular press delivered itself of diatribes full of bitterness. The fact seemed to be forgotten, or concealed, that the Church had no more to do with the execution than an infant just born. In fact the Holy Father himself had written in terms of clemency; but his advices were disregarded. The matter was purely a political one, the case of a convicted revolutionist, found guilty by one of the fairest courts in the world, and upon the most disinterested testimony. Happily the better instincts of civilization soon awoke to the real character of the whole proceeding, and the Church was exonerated among good men from any complicity, however just, in the death of the traitor.



The Crisis in Portugal.

Portugal has never yet recovered from the disasters which crushed it at the end of the sixteenth century. At the end of the eighteenth it was already in a state of decadence, which followed principally on the ruin of the marvelous empire of the Indies, won by Vasco de Gama, Albuquerque, and Juan de Castro, the subjection of Portugal to England by the Treaty of Methuen, and finally in a moral abasement such as the times were then producing in France and all countries affected by the French Revolution. This decadence was easily favorable to the reign of the sophists, the encyclopaedists and other open or secret enemies of religion.

It was in Portugal that the notorious Pombal exercised his power by a brutal expulsion of the Jesuits, who had brought so much glory to their fatherland by their missionary successes in Brazil, Paraguay and India. Pombal had misused the resources of Portugal, leaving that little nation a prey to a profound demoralization, which betrayed itself especially in the higher classes of society.

When the French Revolution broke out, Portugal was weakened by its economic dependence on England, a country which took away the wines and olives, and flooded the land with its own industrial products. In[419] this way the triumphal progress of the French armies placed Portugal in a very delicate position. It became a question of following England, and inviting the wrath of the French, or of yielding to Napoleon with the consequent certainty of invasion and ruin.


The Prince Regent of Portugal at the time was John VI. of Braganza, who was enjoined by Napoleon to close his ports to the English, and to expel all English persons residing in the country. Upon the refusal of[420] the Regent, Napoleon sent General Junot with an army against Portugal, and John VI. in his terror embarked with his Court for Brazil.

The fortunes of the Portuguese throne were diversified from that time until the present. After the flight of the Regent, John VI., the country was governed some years by the brother of Napoleon, King Joseph Bonaparte. When the French were driven out by Wellington and Moore, the throne reverted to the house of Braganza, but remained under the control of the English Lord Beresford, governing in the name of the absent Regent, then exiled in Brazil. In 1816, the Regent, upon the death of his imbecile mother, Maria I., succeeded to the throne. In 1820 the Cortes adopted a Constitution, and the King, John VI., returning from Brazil in 1821, swore to observe it, accepting it for Portugal and Brazil.

In 1826 John VI. died, and the Portuguese crown should descend in the regular line to his eldest son, Dom Pedro, then reigning in Brazil. As Emperor of the latter country, he could not at the same time be king of Portugal. Hence, in 1826, he renounced his claim to the Portuguese throne in favor of his daughter, Maria da Gloria, a child of seven years. The regency for the child was conferred upon the brother of Dom Pedro, the exiled Dom Miguel, who returned upon invitation for that purpose. The latter, however, recalling the laws which prohibited succession to the throne to the female children, while a brother of the preceding monarch or a son remained, contrived to place himself upon the throne. Dom Pedro, in anger at the event, returned to Portugal in 1831, after abdicating the Brazilian Empire in favor of his son, Dom Pedro II., and began a war with his brother, in favor of the deposed Maria da Gloria. In 1834, Dom Miguel was defeated and forced[421] to leave Portugal. Thenceforth, the Portuguese crown descended by succession to Dom Pedro V., who succeeded his mother, Maria da Gloria in 1853 and reigned until 1861; Louis I., from 1861 to 1889; Carlos I., from 1889 to 1908, when he was assassinated. He was then succeeded by Manuel II., the present unhappy victim of the Revolution of 1910.

TEOFILE BRAGA, Provisional President of the Portuguese
Provisional President of the Portuguese Republic.

The Revolution of 1833 was especially marked for its violence. Bishops and priests were imprisoned, and[422] men of very questionable virtue were put in their places. Ecclesiastical property was confiscated, for which indemnity was promised, but never accorded. Convents were suppressed and the religious persecuted. The sacred rites in the administration of the sacraments were regulated by the civil procedure. Only the death of the tyrant, Maria da Gloria, brought some relief to the Church.

The history of Portugal for many years has been a story of gradual decadence. The secret societies aided by English encouragement have honeycombed the country until the terror of the lodges invaded every institution and home in the land. A dynasty represented by a king like Carlos I., who showed himself utterly incapable of manly feelings or kingly instincts, gave color to the evil machinations of the hypocritical crew who love to feast upon the decay of ancient glory.


On the first day of February, 1908, a terrible event horrified the world. In the afternoon of that day Carlos I., the King of Portugal, and his son Luis, the heir apparent, were assassinated, as they were returning with their family to the royal palace at Lisbon. The conspirators had shot their victims. Queen Amelia courageously shielded her loved ones with her own body, but in vain. If she herself was spared it was not through any pity on the part of the regicides, who would have stricken her as fiercely, if they had not believed they had extinguished the royal line in the blood of the King and his children. For the time being, however, the hopes of the revolutionists were not realized, and the monarchy yet lived in the person of the younger son.[423]

The blood of the victims, in fact, seemed to have infused new virtue into the Portuguese people, who in the horror of the royal tragedy, and the pity aroused for the remainder of the family, tried to forget the past with its faults, and sustained the crown.

The younger son, Dom Manuel, a young man of eighteen, was proclaimed king, in the gloomy afternoon of that sad day, with the title of Manuel II. His proclamation to the people made mention of the "abominable crime," declared his adhesion to the Constitution, and promised his every effort for the welfare of his country and the affection of his people.

Manuel was not educated for the throne, and now under the horror of the awful murder, and with the heavy burden of an unexpected royalty, he made every sacrifice to bring about a thorough pacification.

In the two years of his reign Manuel appeared to be, but was not, the ruler. Seven ministries succeeded one to another in the government, all of them under the influence of one determination: to hush up as far as possible the assassination of the former king. It would not do to divulge the mysterious connection between the revolutionary regicides and the secret societies.

The first ministry was conservative, but it was quickly driven out of power, to be succeeded by the party of the Left. The door was thus opened to the Republicans. Already in secret they had manifested their power; they had organized plots against individuals, conspiracies against the monarchy, and violent measures against the Church and religion.

Manuel II., as yet too young to give a strong impress to his regime, made close relations with England and France. At home, unhappily, he fell under the secret and malign influence of the very men who had assassinated his father. In the Speech from the Throne, delivered[424] on September 23, 1910, at the opening of the Cortes, he betrayed his subjection to the sectaries who surrounded his throne. The Minister Teixeira de Sousa deceived the King in the anti-clerical struggle against the religious orders. His promises were only a sop thrown to the revolutionaries to calm their anger, but they signified that the last blow was being prepared to destroy the monarchy, since the Catholic people showed themselves friendly to it inasmuch as it held out the only guarantee of peace and security.


In the meantime the Republicans were active, building up their forces, and gaining over the army and navy by their promises and insinuations.

Portugal had forgotten the old traditions which inspired Camoens, the greatest of her poets, to sing the memory of those kings who made the name of Portugal glorious in far-off lands. The modern muse of Portuguese song is represented by a renegade, Guerra Junqueiro, who reviled the ancient glories of his country, and now a demoralized sense sees only the glory of the regicide and the license of anarchy.

The proclamation of the new Republic in Portugal followed a military pronunciamento of the type that obtained formerly in uncivilized countries, a manifesto of the army and navy rather than of the people.

The new political institution with a poet for its President is the fruit of the revolt of insubordinate officials armed for the assassination of their superiors, and of all who would dare to remain faithful to their oath and to their flag. The horde of pretorians, janizaries, and other instruments of tyranny, meant only the momentary preponderance of military power, the followers of[425] a few agitators, the illuminati who relied more on the sharpness of the bayonets than on the justice of any reasons they might adduce.

The European and often the American press viewed the whole disgraceful affair with favor. The daily reviews of the situation spoke in glowing terms of the "pacific and honest" event at Lisbon, while breaking into tirades against the wickedness of the religious.


Certain it is that on the night of October 4, 1910, while the King was at Lisbon for the purpose of receiving with due honor the new President of Brazil, Marshal Hermes de Fonseca, then visiting Portugal, the Republican conspirators decided to anticipate the stroke of revolt by imprisoning the King and preventing him from flying to the Northern provinces. The Vice-Admiral, Candido Reis, awaited with his squadron in the Bay of Lisbon, and gave the signal to turn the fire[426] of the cannon upon the Royal Palace. On land the Sixteenth Regiment of infantry killed the royal officials, joined with the revolutionary mob, took possession of the Arsenal in order to arm the rebels, and launched the war against their sovereign and the throne.

Manuel, taken unawares, found himself practically alone. While his uncle, the Duke of Porto, attempted a desperate defence by placing himself at the head of the mountain artillery, and was constrained to retreat, the young King, abandoned by his councillors and his courtiers, the friends of his brief day of power, determined to shed no unnecessary blood and took refuge in exile.


There was indeed a moment when the tide of revolution seemed forced back towards failure, and in that moment Candido Reis, the principal instigator of the revolution, committed suicide. The news only aroused the mob to increased fury, and sent them burning with[427] anti-clerical hatred against the helpless religious. The horrors and the excesses of that oppression have been demonstrated by the numberless murders and by the horrible cruelties practised upon the defenceless victims of "Liberty."

It is probable that the complete story of the persecution inflicted upon the religious of Portugal will never be known. Some of the victims have disappeared as completely as if the earth had swallowed them. But the history of the survivors is full enough in its appalling details to give an idea of the utter barbarity of the oppressors and the ignorance which impelled them to action.

Against the Jesuits the Portuguese secret societies have entertained an abiding hatred ever since the days of the infamous Pombal. Long before the late Revolution the writer visited the ancient church of the Jesuits in Ponte Delgado in the Azores Islands, and there beheld the evidences of vandalism perpetrated years before upon altars and shrines that have not their equal in the world. Naturally the fury of the mob, in the recent upheaval, sought out these Fathers as a worthy object of brutality, and inflicted upon them indignities with a savagery worthy of the inhabitants of the Fiji Islands.

Three of the great Jesuit institutions met with especial attention, those of Quelhas, Barro and Campolide. When the revolutionists stormed the first of these establishments, they reported a story that the priests had fired bombs upon the soldiers, and then retreated into underground passages to hide. The facts of the case, as it later developed, showed that the house at Quelhas had actually been shut by the Government and deserted by the Jesuits. Nevertheless the story of the bombs and the underground passages went the round of the[428] press of the world. These underground passages, by the way, were shown to be little sewer conduits about eight or ten inches in diameter, so that it would be extremely difficult for even the most ascetic Jesuit Father to enter, much less to live in them.

The College at Barro was one of the finest in Portugal, and it is a noteworthy fact in connection with it, that on the very last day of his reign the young King had signed a decree closing that Novitiate. In the house on the day of its attack there were eighty-six priests, brothers, novices and students, all members or intending to be members of the Society of Jesus. It is well known that the lower class of the Portuguese who fell under secret society influence were superstitious to an incredible degree. Hence, when it became noised abroad that there were strange apparatus in the college, such things as microscopes, X-rays, radium, and electrical appliances, the excited mob held up its hands in holy horror. The Jesuits who had such things, and talked in such learned language could surely be nothing less than hobgoblins, unnatural sprites and wicked spirits. The sentiment was fostered and encouraged in them by the unscrupulous spirits of discontent, who knew that anarchy could never prosper while learning and virtue remained unabused.

On October 5, the college was sacked, and its inmates marched out. After a humiliating journey on the railroad, they were finally imprisoned in the fortress of Caxeas. Father Torrent, a learned scientist of the band, was in a few days liberated as a French citizen.

The college at Campolide, the glory of Portuguese educational institutions, shared the same fate. Its Fathers were arrested and led away to swell the number of prisoners at Caxeas. The collection of laboratory apparatus, one of the finest in Europe, was delivered up[429] to the fury of a mob, who could no more appreciate their worth than the savages of Africa. The magnificent library of 25,000 volumes contained rare works that can never be duplicated.

The wave of indignation and contempt that followed in the whole world when the true nature and character of the revolutionists began to be known, has urged the Portuguese controllers to excuse and palliate their acts. When the nuns were driven from their convents they were led to the vile quarters of the arsenal where their humiliations were continued. It was said that this was done to protect them from the mob; yet it is now known that the mob had no intention of sacking the convents; this work was done almost altogether by the soldiers and sailors. In fact when a few soldiers guarded the Irish convent at Belim, the Dominican convent at Benfrica, and the Irish Dominican monastery at Corpo Santo, the mob had nothing to do, and these convents remained untouched.

When the nuns were taken from their convents they were piled like criminals into any handy vehicle, and then driven in the midst of a shouting, hooting mob along the streets. The soldiers who marched with them, as is shown in the many photographs taken of the event, laughed with idiotic bravado, and assumed as much importance as if their delicate, helpless charges were so many fierce warrior captives taken on the field of battle. In the Arsenal several hundreds of them were huddled together in one large room. Here they were visited by Senhor Affonso Costa, the Minister of Justice, who swaggered about among the gentle-minded ladies, roared at them, and glared with his magnetic eye. For three hours he questioned and insulted them, while a score of attendant press agents took down his magnificent bravadoes to be embellished for the press of the day. Except[430] for the misery of the poor Sisters, the whole scene was worthy of one of Sullivan's comic operas, calling for laughter where it did not inspire contempt.

This is the Portuguese Republic, the government to which the people of Portugal have been consigned. Its direction is plainly indicated from the fact that one of its first proposed laws is that which permits of free divorce. The Republic of Portugal has one rival on earth, that of the West Indies, to which people, laughing, give the name of Hayti.

It would be well in speaking of these events to reproduce the letter written by the Rev. Provincial of the Portuguese Jesuits, and addressed to his fellow countrymen. The letter was suppressed in Portugal, but was published later in England. It is as follows:

To My Countrymen: The prolonged period of distress which elapsed while the Fathers and Brothers of the Society of Jesus were quitting Portugal to take the road of exile, being driven from their beloved native land on the charge of abominable crimes, whereas their life had been wholly spent in self-sacrifice on behalf of others, whilst I was moreover occupied with the care of my spiritual children, having to determine for each a new scene for the exercise of his zeal—all this, I say, occupied me to such an extent that hitherto I have been unable to find time to address this protest to my countrymen, which, however, is demanded of me as a relief for my own grief and by my duty as a Christian and a religious whose office lays upon him this responsibility.

In this, my protestation and complaint, I shall speak only of those religious who, as members of the Society of Jesus, were subject to my jurisdiction, since for them alone was I responsible. I must, however, begin by saluting the glorious children of all religious orders whom we cherish and reverence as ennobled by their sufferings[431] and their participation in the cross through insults, bondage, and even death itself, some of them having sealed a life of saintliness and self-devotedness with the testimony of their blood.

But in thus solemnly addressing my country, I must, as a father, speak of my own well-beloved sons, expressing my grief on beholding what they suffer, and protesting their innocence of the charges brought against them.

In this free country men who extol the spirit of liberty, and claim to be leaders of the principle of universal equality, have on the instant expelled from Portuguese territory more than three hundred of their fellow citizens, spread amongst some score of houses in the Motherland and colonies beyond the seas in Asia, Africa and Oceania.

This cruel act was executed without the victims being permitted to speak one word in their defence, no time being allowed them to carry away a stitch of clothing, their books or their papers, though these contained the fruit of active studies pursued for years.


In the name of liberty they have taken from us all that we possess, have seized our property and our houses, built with what by dint of careful economy has been saved out of the pensions of our pupils, or has been assigned by individuals and legally invested for the purpose in their own names.

The College of Campolide was established in 1858 by three English subjects in order to assist Father Rademaker in the development of education and material progress in Portugal. The College of Campolide was accordingly for a long period English property and[432] flew the British flag. Later, after the death of these persons, the trust was dissolved, and Campolide, with all its belongings, was acquired by other individuals, Portuguese or foreign. One of these, Father Bramley, now in India, has, of course, claimed his share. I do not know why the Portuguese partner cannot do the same, there being a fundamental law which absolutely prohibits the confiscation in all cases of property belonging to private citizens. Since 1834, when the possession of property in Portugal was forbidden to religious orders, it has been the rule, as in England, that individuals alone could buy, sell or own such properties as were assigned by their legal owners to the use of Jesuits or others.

Along with buildings and land was seized, likewise the furniture of our houses, comprising first-rate scientific collections in the museums, scientific institutes and laboratories of the colleges at Campolide and S. Fiel, where for more than half a century, by means of the monthly pensions of our boys, and the generosity of friends inspired by esteem and devotion, the intelligent and disinterested labors of our fathers and brothers had succeeded in accumulating valuable materials for study, which by every right were ours, and ours alone.

Our libraries disappeared in like manner during the same period, the store where our linen was kept, the private rooms themselves, in each of which could be found, besides a washstand and bed, only a writing table and a modest bookstand with a few books, the companions of our solitude—all were suddenly declared to be the property of the State.

We ourselves, thus summarily and arbitrarily despoiled of everything, and turned out of our own doors, were led to prison by a throng of armed soldiers and[433] civilians, amidst the insults and jeers of a mob long excited against us by the calumnies of a ribald press.

Those who, forewarned of these outrages, succeeded in making their escape, were hunted like wild beasts through fields and streets, some of them—as I know certainly in the case of six—were pursued with gun shots—in some instances their assailants spat in their faces.


Yet these were men who had never made any appearance in politics, criminals of a novel species, who had renounced and sacrificed all that is attractive in human life to devote themselves, without thought of worldly recompense, to the education of youth in our schools, to preach the gospel to the heathen in our transmarine colonies, or to exercise every kind of priestly ministry, however hard and unattractive. Against these men a disreputable press, which in any other country would be sternly repressed, though spreading vague and blustering[434] charges, could not in any single instance succeed in proving, I will not say a solitary crime, but even a misdemeanor.

Yet such were the men who were clapped into gaols and dungeons as notorious criminals, exposed to barbarous sufferings, and for several days not even permitted any intercourse with one another. Let it not be said that all this is but exaggeration prompted by my grief. What has been endured by our exiles and captives went far beyond my simple sketch.


In my own case—of which I may be allowed to speak—to say nothing of what the Society of Jesus has legitimately obtained through its work and administration, I had at least a right to what I duly inherited from my[435] parents, with which I had acquired personal and landed estates, all registered in my name; yet I was forced to leave Portugal without anything but the clothes on my back, and even these I owed to a friend, for I possessed no secular dress in which to make my escape. I had, moreover, no money in my pocket, save what was sent me by a stranger who knew me only by name and sight, and to whom in my exile I desire to testify my gratitude.


As to the sufferings of my beloved brethren I will only say that in the artillery barrack, which was under the control not of the military, but of the dregs of the populace, not even a spoon was given to the prisoners wherewith to eat their mess of food, that they were allowed to withdraw privately but once in eight hours, and poor invalids to whom such tyranny might prove fatal, were told that they only sought a pretext for retirement.

At night the guards threatened to shoot anyone who attempted to get up. Finally, these warders had the brutality to bring in abandoned women, but these were compelled to retreat before the calm and dignified bearing of my worthy brethren.

As to their furniture, I will only say that afterwards when, being transferred to Caxeas, they were there provided with a mattress laid on the ground, a hard bolster, and a single blanket, they thought themselves in comfort, by comparison.

In a dungeon of the Town Hall, before their removal to the central prison of Limovro, some of the captives were still worse treated, being crammed together, to the number of twenty-three, where there was scarce room for three or four, and they had for five days to breathe[436] foul air, not being suffered to leave the chamber, and there being no ventilation save through one small aperture.

I am well aware that many officers and soldiers, coming to know the captives, manifested towards them not only sympathy but respect. These kindly feelings, however, for which we all desire to record our heartfelt gratitude, did not hinder the sufferings endured during five whole weeks.


Nor is this all. When after all these hardships and torments the Provisional Government set about executing the sentence of exile and outlawry against these Portuguese subjects in whose breasts there dwelt and still dwells the most ardent affection for their beloved country, these men who had bereft us of everything, who had taken possession of our goods and land, did not hesitate to require that they who, by a special decree, were to be driven from Portugal should pay for their own transport; and when one of our Fathers ventured to tell one of the officers who was more exigent in this exaction, that we had no means of doing so, he was answered: "Well, we shall see; when we squeeze you a bit, and you begin to fester, you'll find a way."

Money was soon forthcoming, for Portugal is not yet entirely in the hands of a crew whose passions are aroused against persecuted innocence. Many families contributed to supply funds for the journey, plentiful stores of provisions and clothing were furnished, and I was deeply moved to see many of my spiritual children reach foreign lands in the attire supplied by our well-loved scholars of Campolide during their frequent visits to their persecuted masters. In spirit I salute these benefactors,[437] and I shall never forget these young men who, without a hint from us, came to the succor of these poor sons of the society. But ere they took the road of exile there was reserved for them yet one more cruel humiliation.

Venerable elders, distinguished men of science, held in repute at home and abroad, religious venerated for their virtue, youths still almost boys, with innocence stamped on their features—all had to go to an anthropometric station and to be treated like notorious criminals, being described, photographed and measured in every detail, down to the joints of their fingers. The photographs then appeared in the newspapers, with the number assigned to each as to a convict. I cannot refrain from special protest against a proceeding so incredibly vexatious.

One circumstance in the persecution yet remains to be exhibited. A decree with the force of law published by the Provisional Government on October 10 revokes all exceptional legislation, and in its first article, No. 2, it assigns as the motive of such revocation that "there are now no permanent penalties of unlimited duration in the Portuguese Republic." But, strange to say, the law fulminated against the Society of Jesus is in flat contradiction to this declaration. Against us has been issued an exceptional law, so odious that one is astounded to think that in the twentieth century it has been possible to institute in full vigor such draconian legislation, and to claim for it the attribute of most absolute despotism. As though it were not enough to show its palpable opposition to the liberal profession of the new republic, the sentence which condemns us to exile and deprives us of the rights of Portuguese subjects is a permanent one, solemnly promulgated with the ruthless formula "for ever."[438]

Such is the slight sketch of the tyrannies of which we have been the victims in the name of liberty.


It will naturally be asked, what were our crimes?

In the first place, it is passing strange that to this moment not a single offense has been alleged against us.

The law of October 8 assigns none, but appeals to the ancient obsolete legislation of Pombal (1758) and Aguiar (1834) it revokes Hintese Ribeiro's decree, and promulgates antiquated vexations by which to victimize us.

On the other hand, public opinion—so-called—misled by the wild declamations of an irreconcilable press, never succeeded in formulating against us more than the vague charges devised by Jacobin novelists. In spite of all researches in the columns of anti-Jesuit journalism, or amongst the legends which circulate amongst the most credulous of my compatriots, I can find no accusation that does not fall under one of these six heads:

1. Armaments and subterranean galleries.

2. Wealth and fraudulent acquisition of inheritances.

3. Inveigling youths to become Jesuits.

4. Secret associations.

5. Political and anti-republican activity.

6. Reactionary influence.

In this dark hour, when with sad hearts we are all compelled to quit our beloved Portugal, I owe to my country a categorical reply to these accusations of our persecutors.[439]


The answer is simple. We had no armaments whatever, nor in any of our houses were there subterranean passages by which to escape or communicate with others.


And yet, had it been otherwise, had we possessed such covered ways—what then? Had we not a right in view of what had occurred? Our conduct, though less frank and open, would have been at least more business-like, as was said a few weeks ago in the Spanish Parliament, by the Premier Canalejas, in regard of defensive works said to exist in some religious houses. How[440] then, what happened at Campolide, where the mob broke in, flooding corridors and private rooms, bursting open everything, throwing about books and papers, and threatening to shoot the unfortunate inmates? Does not all this show that it would have been highly advantageous to have had some means of hindering the sack of the college until the public force could come to the rescue? In reality, however, there was nothing of the sort.

In the whole building of Campolide were only a couple of guns for purposes of sport, when our professors went for a fortnight's holiday to a country house at Val de Royal. Moreover, these guns were not employed when the assault took place.

What, then, of the shots fired from our residence at Quelhas? These shots were the occasion for bitter calumnies against us, in an official note which has as yet not been contradicted by the Provisional Government.

The general himself commanding at Lisbon, who was appointed by the republic, acknowledged to the representative of the Paris Illustration that, as was clearly proved, none of us had any hand in anything so done. Who it was that fired the shots, some being dressed in costumes found in our rooms, can easily be understood, especially when we know what occurred at Campolide, where one of these pseudo-Jesuits who fell to the shot of one of his comrades, was found under his cassock to be wearing his military uniform, betraying his true character.

It is certain, moreover, that two days prior to the assault on the Quelhas residence, all the fathers there had been arrested and imprisoned. As to the secret[441] underground passages and communications by which these mythical Jesuit riflemen made their escape, no one ever saw them to this moment.

Moreover, the general in command has likewise declared that there are no such subterranean works excepting narrow sewers.

So much for Quelhas. As to Campolide, I may add that beneath the surface were cut various water channels, amongst them a fine cistern constructed by one of my predecessors as director of the college. But although these channels had been inspected and their real character understood, the anti-clerical press did not hesitate to produce a sketch of one of them and to style it "entrance to a subterranean."

I confess that I had never thought I should one day be called upon to defend myself against the charge of such arsenals and ambushes. Such Arabian Night tales, so frequent in the Jacobin press, had often amused my brothers and myself, and when about a twelvemonth since terrible stories about an arsenal at Campolide were being circulated, and a friend of mine who had recently been a Minister of the Crown, warned me that we should at last be obliged to provide against an assault I answered plainly that we would rather have our lives taken than take the lives of others.


The belief in Jesuit wealth was so deeply rooted in Portugal as to be entertained not only by our enemies but even by our best friends.

Supposing this belief to be well-grounded, why should it make us criminals? It would be a strange measure to expel a man from his country merely because he possessed a large sum of money. But our[442] reputed wealth was purely fabulous, without any foundation in fact. Would that the society had actually in Portugal abundant material resources, we should have no lack of good works on which to expend them for the good of our country.

But we had no such resources. Frequently after my appointment as superior I had a hard struggle against grievous difficulties to find means of supporting my subjects.

So many are the misconceptions regarding Jesuit property that with a view of dispelling them I long projected the course of lectures on the subject. I was, however, prevented from doing as I wished by the incognito in which I was placed by Hintese Ribeiro's decree. God knows what a mortification it was to me to have to assume a disguise imposed by law, but wholly repugnant to my own straightforwardness and natural ideas concerning truth as well as to the heartfelt love and admiration which I entertained for the Society of Jesus.

This matter will require but a few words.

If the government of the society is strictly monarchial, its administration is, on the contrary, extremely decentralized. Each house is separately administered, and nothing can be more imaginary than the bottomless common purse which has inspired so many falsehoods.

As a fact, if in Portugal, thanks to the careful administration of their superiors, the Jesuit houses have been free from debt, they have usually possessed few comforts, and have sometimes endured great hardships.

Residences subsisted merely upon stipends for masses and preaching, or alms spontaneously offered. In the colleges the great expenses required to provide our boys with board and lodging, with the comforts and amusements they enjoyed, and still more with what[443] was required to keep abreast of modern educational developments. All this, I say, obliged us to interrupt our building works till the number of pupils should be much increased.

It is remarkable that while by universal consent Campolide ranked first in respect to board, tuition and hygiene as well as physical training, and while other colleges charged £5 or £6 per month, Campolide never charged more than £4. In the provinces, at Beira, S. Fiel, giving the same education, long exacted only £1 10s.—only recently was the monthly fee raised to £2. Among the recreations provided for our boys must not be forgotten the scientific excursions initiated at Campolide two years ago by myself along with Father Luisier, for the benefit of the elder students who were about to finish their school course and proceed to the university, and were thus introduced to all branches of natural history. The public schools which adopted the same plan later on did but imitate us, and not so thoroughly.

The anti-religious movement of 1901 having alarmed many families, so that the number of scholars decreased, it was found necessary to suspend operations. At a later period, when I myself was made rector of the college, I contrived to make considerable additions, but the troubles stirred up by the revolutionary press checked the work, which has been at a standstill for two years. Such is the truth of our wealth in Portugal.

What am I to say of our seminary fund, that, I mean, which is devoted to the education of young men in the society? How many of our opponents have expended their eloquence in vigorous denunciation of our wealth, without reflecting on the circumstances under which our recruits are enrolled and trained! The training in the society is very slow; one who goes through[444] the entire course is occupied in it for fifteen or even seventeen years. There are included the ascetical training of the Novitiate, then the literary and philosophical and the theological, and as a rule there is introduced one of practical pedagogy for those who are to teach in the colleges.

On the other hand, the great majority of vocations to the order were from the middle or lower classes, and the subjects had but little to obtain from their parents.


It thus resulted that for the heavy expenses necessary for this lengthy training of some two hundred priests and scholastics, about a hundred of whom were engaged in study at home or abroad, the sole resource was the fund established by some of our own members who had devoted their own fortunes to this very purpose. I can here testify that the vast majority of ours in Portugal never gave aught to the society, either because they had nothing to give or because superiors would not permit them, on account of the poverty of their relatives. Hence it resulted that the funds destined[445] for the training and instruction of our young men were wholly inadequate, and opulent benefactors whose generosity might supply the deficit were but rare in our country, where wealthy Catholics are few, and the fixed idea of Jesuit wealth hinders even our best friends from allowing us to benefit even by the large sums spent upon charitable purposes.

What, then, about our methods of acquiring inheritances? Against this slander I protest with all my energy. The fantastic pictures, frequently drawn in lurid colors by our enemies, are mere repetitions of the time worn fables invented by pamphleteers. Seldom indeed have legacies been bequeathed to us in Portugal, and in two cases alone were they at all considerable. Had they been more frequent we should have notably extended our propaganda, religious, educational, literary and likewise patriotic—both in our own country and its dominions over sea. How often in conversation with my brethren, when speaking of generous bequests made to the Misericordias, and especially to that of O'Porto, have I not remarked on the terrible outcry which would be aroused were any portion of such wealth to be assigned to works of the Society of Jesus.


Never has it been thought blame-worthy for anyone to invite others, by word or writing, to join the association which he himself esteems, and whose prosperity he accordingly desires; a religious man has a right to recommend any who possess the requisite qualities to join his order, and serve God therein. I must, however, make an exception in the case of our society, which will doubtless astonish many.[446]

We have a special rule forbidding us to advise anyone definitely to join the society, or to do more than further what we believe to be a genuine vocation from God, without any particular determination.

Such I know was the conduct of all my brethren, and had they done otherwise they would not only have transgressed their rule, but, moreover, have acted foolishly. In fact, the first question put to a candidate for admission is whether he has been influenced by anyone in this way, it being certain that a youth so attracted would not persevere. In truth, life in the society demands such self-sacrifice, and obedience so perfect, that nothing but a genuine call from God can insure fidelity, no human influence will avail for perseverance.

The long training, too, prior to the taking of final vows, affords such a guarantee of human liberty as there is in no other state of life, for during all this period—extending, as I have said, to fifteen or seventeen years—each of us may be released from the society, as he surely will be if he have not a real vocation.

As a matter of fact, our enemies in Portugal provided us with abundant arguments to refute this charge. For some weeks before the republic was proclaimed the revolutionary newspapers published various letters of one of our fathers to a young man who had intended for some time to join the society. These letters are models of prudence, moderation and spiritual honor, and whoever without prejudice or heed of the malicious comments in which they were embedded, will but study these harmless epistles, so worthy of a good religious, will find in them a conclusive answer to the slander against us.[447]


If there were any such amongst us would it not be somewhat curious to find that those who prosecute us on this account are amongst the most influential patrons of secret societies? However this may be, there is no accusation more utterly false than this. The institute and rules of the society are today—more than ever—open to all the world in every public library. It is true that since 1901 the society has assumed a kind of pseudo character in the eyes of the public and the law. But this was imposed upon us by statesmen who, though at the head of a Catholic government, did not dare to grant to a religious order approved by the Holy See that liberty given us even in Protestant countries which have a true notion of freedom.

We had therefore to assume the pseudonym of "Association for Faith and Fatherland" ("Associao Fe e Patria"). I must acknowledge that, threatened as we were with dispersion and banishment, we were but too glad to obtain this simulacrum of liberty, and to avail ourselves of any title under which we might devote ourselves to the utmost for the benefit of religion and of Portugal. But, I repeat, it was unwillingly that we adopted this incognito, which moreover hoodwinked nobody.

The actual Republican Government took possession of our own official catalogues, in which were recorded all our names and occupations. They may thus see that we never thought there was any reason to make a mystery of our existence or to shrink from letting it be known to the full that we bear a title which esteem next to that of Christian, namely of religious of the Society of Jesus.[448]


Opinions expressed in certain articles of the Mensageiro whispers of later years concerning our share in the polemics of the newspaper named Portugal, and innumerable fictions about the Jesuits, on occasions of the late elections; such were the causes of the accusation that we meddled with politics.

As for the Mensageiro, its articles are open to all who choose to read them, and the doctrines there expressed as to the responsibility of the electorate in regard of legislation and its execution, as to the solidarity of the members of our party, its traditions, programme and political life, are after all only those which are common amongst every people with whom the principles of civic culture and the social obligations of Catholics have not been so lamentably forgotten as with us. Only those who realize how utterly all is ignored which has been ventilated in these subjects outside Portugal, by episcopal pastorals, ecclesiastical instructions, and the zealous propaganda of the press, can explain the astonishment of many Portuguese, to whom conclusions concerning morals and conduct which elsewhere were familiar to all seemed altogether novel.

But however we may differ in regard of such matters, what kind of liberty would a country enjoy in which a theologian or moralist was not permitted to express the doctrines in which he believed or to write in periodicals on subjects of his special study?

As to the journal Portugal, a letter from its editor-in-chief published a few days ago may take the place of a reply. In it he declares that during the latest[449] phase of the paper, precisely that in which it was most fiercely attacked for its polemical attitude, the society had no share whatever.

In saying this I have no desire to shirk responsibility, or to express disapproval of the energy displayed by the Catholic press. Far from it. Truth must be vigorously championed, and the more so in proportion as the enemies of religion claim for themselves unrestrained license of language and calumny. They cannot indeed be fought with their own weapons, which honor and Christian charity forbid us to use, but at least they must be encountered with unflinching courage and resolute independence.

A revolutionary journal lately published a letter of mine in which I asked a correspondent to interest himself in obtaining support for those responsible for the "Portugal." I say nothing of the surreptitious publication of a private letter, nor of the insidious comments by which it was accompanied. I would only observe that the interest which I exhibited in this undertaking shows no more than that its general drift was in accord with my own views. Is there any offense in this?—even were it a fact that the articles written during the last stage of this newspaper were in reality ours.

Finally, as regards the last election, I must absolutely deny the fables circulated concerning my brethren by an unscrupulous press. I say nothing of the silly tales of Jesuits, crucifix in hand, threatening all who voted for the government with everlasting damnation. Such nonsense proves only how little those who spread these stories know about us. More than this, not one of my brethren took part in any electoral propaganda. Some Catholics even will be surprised to learn that very few[450] of us recorded our votes, this abstention being justified in most cases for serious reasons, by which alone can it be justified in such circumstances.

As to advice given by us when privately consulted, and in matters of conscience, I should not say anything, but for the factitious indignation exhibited by the hostile press, and its misrepresentation of facts divorced from their circumstances.

The last government of the monarchy from its commencement not only showed itself distinctly anti-clerical, but after variously infringing the rights of the Church, began a persecution of religious orders, affording clear evidence to all who did not choose to shut their eyes that their purpose in regard of these was no other than that exhibited in the last decrees issued in the king's name the day previous to his deposition, and exaltingly proclaimed in the public press immediately after the revolution. Now, I would ask, what Catholic priest wishing to do his duty in face of such a state of things would not uplift his voice against so manifest a danger and with the Baptist denounce what he holds to be unlawful?

On this particular question of politics, as on many others, I was honored with gratuitous slander by the enemies of the society, who attributed to my government of the province a new direction given to the society in Portugal. The truth is that neither as superior nor as counsellor had I ever to interfere, as these insidious writers pretended, with the conduct of ours.

The policy of the Society of Jesus at the present day, as it has ever been, is that expressed in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The enemies of God and His Church cannot forgive our combat for this ideal and our constant endeavor for its realization.[451]

Hence the implacable hostility wherewith we have ever been assailed, with charges the most diverse which in various times and circumstances have been found serviceable against us. In every case our adversaries have proved to be those of God and the Catholic Church.

What is now in progress proves the truth of what I say. It is alleged that we Jesuits are the worst enemies of the republic, and must accordingly be treated with exceptional severity. This is a mere pretence. The society has nothing to do with Republican institutions as such. When absolute monarchies were the rule throughout the civilized world, the foremost Jesuit writers already taught, on grounds of philosophy and divinity, the fundamental principles of democracy, and at the present day none of our provinces are more prosperous or enjoy greater liberty than those established under republics; it will be sufficient to name that of the United States.

There is, therefore, no such opposition as is pretended between Jesuits and republics.

It will, however, be objected that in Portugal at least we are anti-republicans.

But, in the first place, wherever it is situated, the society, like the Catholic Church, inculcates loyalty to whatever form of government is duly established. And Portugal was a monarchy.

A still more powerful reason precluded our sympathy with the Republican movement in Portugal, namely, that the republic as exhibited in our national history was not the republic imagined by speculative sociologists. It is Republicans who make a republic, and who were these in Portugal? With few very rare exceptions they were the declared enemies of religion, either avowed unbelievers,[452] or at best wholly indifferent to all beyond politics. Could we, without being false to our most cherished principles, affect sympathy with such a party?

They themselves undertook to show by their actions that we were not wrong; just as the last government under the monarchy clearly showed by its action that we were not mistaken in its regard.

I must, however, acknowledge that for all my dread of the revolutionary intolerance of these advocates of liberty, my simplicity was at fault, since I never dreamed of what we are witnessing today.


As it seems to me, I have replied to all the pretexts alleged to justify all the arbitrary tyranny, the spoliations and outrages against liberty of which my religious brethren and myself have been the victims. It remains only to speak of what is proclaimed as the final motive of the laws enacted against us, that our influence is reactionary.

Well! our enemies are right! If this reactionary spirit signifies fidelity and love for the Catholic Church, self-renunciation for Christ's sake, earnest endeavor that no jot or tittle of His law be neglected; if it means that we have striven to produce in Portugal a body of active and fearless Catholics, who will not confine themselves to prayers, but will labor by word and deed to renew all things in Christ; that to this end we employ every means within our reach, the pulpit, the confessional, lectureships, the press, in order thus to promote the glory of God and salvation of souls—then in truth we are reactionaries, and guilty of the offense laid to our charge.[453]

Strange offense indeed, in a country where on every hand we hear our enemies proclaiming liberty of conscience, of speech, of the press! Strange offense of which to be accused by men who denounced the monarchy for suppressing freedom, while in the columns of their newspapers and the rhetoric of their meetings they were violently attacking authority and its representatives; an offense to be punished by those who were never weary of declaring that every man must be allowed to propagate and fight for his own ideas. Yet what else did we do? Were we ever known to enforce the agreement of others or to avenge ourselves for their disagreement by inflicting upon them what we have ourselves endured—arrest, imprisonment, confiscation, banishment? No, it cannot be said that such conduct was ever ours; it is peculiar to those false prophets of liberty who, instead of responding with reason and argument, seek to reduce us forcibly to silence, or to crush us with insult and declamation.


[1] Memoires of King Joseph.

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation and spelling errors repaired.

P. xvi, "transcendental and the empiric" original reads "empyric."

P. 6, "Abbe St. Cyran" original reads "Abbie."

P. 85-86, original shows block quote as one continuing paragraph, not breaking for each article; retained.

P. 116, "Pius VII. embarked" original reads "Pius VI. embarked."

P. 148, "J. ARCHEVEQUE de CORINTHE," original reads "d CORINTHE."

P. 269-270, No "Art. 4" in the original.

P. 363 "three months relay" changed to "three months delay."

Five cases of Buonaparte (p. vi, 106, 114[2], 120) changed to more frequent Bonaparte (50).

P. 415, "Shipman, in his exposé" original reads "expose."

P. 438, "obsolete legislation of Pombal" original reads "Pomal."

The following variant spellings were standardized: Abbè, abbé and abbie to abbe; Emigre, emigrè, and emigré to émigré; Florèal and Floreal to Floréal; Jaures to Jaurès; protegé to protege; Anti-christian(ism) to anti-Christian(ism); Anticlerical/ to anti-clerical/, Leipsic and Leipsig to Leipzig, licence to license, offence to offense, Salzbourg to Salzburg, saviour to savior, Texeira to Teixeira, Souza to Sousa, Tolentino to Tollentino, tranquillity to tranquility, ultra-montainism to ultramontainism, defense to defence (except where "Defense" occurred in the title of a referenced document), rouès to roués, despatch to dispatch.

Both advisers and advisors, monarchial and monarchical, Monsignor and Monseigneurs, Savoy and Savoie (an area within Savoy), Braunsberg and Brauensberg, czar and tzar were used in this text.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The War Upon Religion, by 
Rev. Francis A. Cunningham


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