that many of his followers adopt a course of action wholly different from that which the Pope in his letters had advised and declared to be alone legitimate; and since, moreover, the money is obtained by threats, and for a bad end."

It may be said that the English Government begged the Pope to make these declarations, thinking that they would be of use in calming the minds of the Irish Catholics. Perhaps so; and it certainly would have been a reasonable wish. But the Pope's own instincts would have inclined him to make them, without any such influence.


It must be admitted that his natural temper is of the most tolerant. In the very first year of his Pontificate, on December 24, 1878, he wrote to the Archbishop of Cologne expressing his ardent desire that all disputes might be adjusted, and that the great German nation might-saving the rights of the Church—reap all the benefits of a durable peace; and on February 24, 1880, he himself made the first step towards an understanding with the Prussian Government by informing the same prelate that he would allow the names of the priests appointed by the Bishops to the cure of souls to be notified to the Government before canonical institution. This is a somewhat different temper from that of Pius IX., who in 1877 had called the Emperor of Germany another Attila! In 1880, when a new storm broke out in France against the religious Orders, Leo XIII. welcomed the proposal of the French Government, which promised to arrest the dissolution of the Orders if their members would make a declaration professing themselves adverse to mixing in any political movement, and affirming that they had never belonged to any party-a declaration which, after all, was not sufficient. We may notice also, in this connection, his writing on August 3, 1881, to the Archbishop of Mechlin, Cardinal Deschamps, to soothe the dissensions among the Belgian Catholics, which had sprung from the extreme opinions and pretensions of some of them. “ The various controversies," he said, " on public matters which excite men's minds in Belgium do not conduce to harmony; and he goes on to observe that, though no one could be more desirous than himself that the whole of human society should be conformed to the Christian model* and filled with the power of Christ, yet "all Catholic persons who wish to labour successfully for the public good must keep before their eyes, and steadily pursue, that well-considered mode of action which in such matters the Church is accustomed to employ; which, while defending with inviolable firmness the integrity of the divine doctrines and the principles of equity, . yet takes just account of circumstances and times and places; and often, as will happen in human affairs, it is obliged for a time to tolerate certain ills which could hardly, if at all, be removed without opening a way to still graver evils and perturbations." And he adds, “ Moreover, in discussing controverted points, they must be careful not to transgress the bounds prescribed by charity and justice, nor yet lightly to accuse or bring into suspicion men who in other respects adhere to the doctrines of the Church, and especially those who in the Church stand high in dignity and power."* He also alludes to the violence of a part, at least, of the Catholic press, and wishes it to be restrained.

* "Humana societas christiano more componatur.”

One of the main objects hitherto pursued by the Pope has been to raise the standard of education among the clergy; and perhaps one of the best ways of judging of his character is to observe the means chosen by him for this purpose. In one of those Encyclicals in which it pleases him to deal broadly with a subject of great social interestthe Encyclical of August 4, 1879—he discourses at some length of Christian philosophy, and of the benefits which society may look for from a sound philosophical system; and he goes on to say that the doctors of the Middle Ages, whom we call the Schoolmen, undertook and carried through a work of vast dimensions-that of gathering in the rich and plentiful harvest of doctrine diffused throughout the ample volumes of the Christian Fathers, and laying it up, as it were, in one place for the use and convenience of posterity.”+ But this work appears to him to have been best accomplished by Thomas Aquinas. This man, he says, with his keen, receptive mind, his ready

, and tenacious memory, his unswerving love of truth, his absolute integrity of life, and his extraordinary resources of knowledge, human and divine, "like the sun, warmed the whole world with the heat of his virtues, and filled it with the radiance of his doctrine.”I He believes, therefore, that the study of St. Thomas will furnish the Catholic clergy with the best—nay, with invincible—weapons wherewith to overcome all assaults on the Catholic doctrine; and hence he recommends and requires that in all the schools of the clergy it should be restored and revived. And by the study of St. Thomas he means the study of St. Thomas' own writings, or of the writings of those of his followers who have not in any point departed from his teaching, and who have not, imagining themselves to be greater than he, mixed up their own ideas with his.

* “Neve temere insimulentur vel in suspicionem adducantur viri ceteroquin Ecclesiæ doctrinis addicti, maxime autem qui in Ecclesia dignitate et potestate præcellunt."

+ Segetes doctrinæ fecundas et uberes, amplissimis Sanctorum Patrum voluminibus diffusas, diligenter congerere, congestasque uno velut loco condere, in posterorum usum et commoditatem."

# " Orbem terrarum calore virtutum fovit, et doctrinæ splendore complevit."

8. "Ne autem supposita pro vera, peu corrupta pro sincera bibatur, providete ut sapientia Thomæ ex ipsis ejus fontibus bauriatur, aut saltem ex iis rivis, quos ab ipso fonte deductos, adhuc integros et illimes decurrere certa et concors doctorum hominum sententia est."

Towards this object—that of making St. Thomas Aquinas supreme in the schools—the Pope has not ceased to labour. On October 15 of the same year he wrote a letter to the Prefect of the Schools, Cardinal Antonino de Luca, in which, after congratulating himself on the reception everywhere given to his Encyclical on the subject of Christian philosophy, and the general agreement with it, he relates what he has already done in several ecclesiastical colleges in Rome to enforce the teaching of philosophy according to the spirit and principles of the angelical doctor ; orders that an academy of St. Thomas shall be established in Rome for the purpose of expounding and propagating his doctrine ; and says he has determined that a new edition of St. Thomas' works shall be brought out, with careful and complete annotations. He gives the order for this edition in a motu-proprio of January 18, 1880, assigning for the purpose 300,000 lire from the Papal exchequer, and providing that the remainder of the cost shall be defrayed by the Congregation of the Propaganda, which shall repay itself by the sale of the edition, and apply the surplus proceeds to the publication of the best works relating to St. Thomas.

The Pope's letters to the Bishops who have best seconded him in this design have, during all these years, been many and ardent. He writes, on March 13, to the Bishop of Augusta ; on April 3, to the Bishops of Ventimiglia, Savona, and Albenga ; on September 11, to the Archbishop of Camerino; on November 30, to the Archbishop of Genoa; on December 25, to the Archbishop of Mechlin; on January 15, 1881, to the Bishop of Pavia ; on February 5, to the Archbishop of Fermo; on March 18, to the Bishop of Crema; on the 26th of the same month to the Patriarch of Venice; on April 14, to the Archbishop of Cosenza ; on May 16, to the Bishop of Clermont; on July 1!, to the Bishop of Budweiss, in Bohemia, and on the 14th to Cardinal Schwarzenberg, the Archbishop of Prague; on August 3, to the Archbishop of Mechlin again ; and so on. Nor is it to be supposed that these have been the only ones. Every thought of the Pontifical heart dilates and broadens to embrace the world. He is the only power in existence whose inherent and essential obligation it is to go on incessantly acquiring and extending over all civilized and even all barbarous nations an intellectual and moral ascendancy.

Meanwhile, on August 4, 1880, the Pope had proclaimed Thomas Aquinas the celestial patron of the schools; and on November 4 he issued the laws and regulations for the Academy instituted in his name and inaugurated in the following May.

The institution is conceived in no narrow spirit. He wishes it to be useful not only in those matters which especially pertain to it, but “to foster and promote the knowledge of all those things which men are accustomed to study, .. since, if ever in any time, cer

[ocr errors]


tainly in this, necessity itself obliges us to make use of the severest discipline in the investigation and discovery of truth, and thoroughly to eradicate from the minds of men the errors which have there found place." He hopes that, “from the wisdom of the elders,

" sedulously cultivated, some effectual force of better things may opportunely flow into the manners of men and the institutions of the State.” * Wherefore, he desires all Academicians to consider diligently what is the present attitude of men's minds towards the different doctrines—what new things are springing up, what truths are now especially assailed, for what purposes, and by what means; and he lays great stress on their making themselves acquainted with what is being published in other countries. Finally, he orders the publication of the proceedings, in which are to be inserted theological and philosophical notes, "weighty, and befitting the wisdom of Rome.”+ For which purpose, and for all the other requirements of the Academy, he assigns a certain sum by way of endowment.


It is clear, from his founding this institution, and from his anxiety for the improvement of clerical education, that Leo XIII. acts in a spirit more in conformity with the times, has a greater respect for learning, and expects better things from it, than some of his recent predecessors. First as Bishop, and now as Pope, he appears to base his strongest hope of a revival of Catholicism on the belief in its social usefulness, past and future, which the clergy, by their moral and intellectual influence, must infuse into the laity. In his opinion, whatever good there is in modern society, whether secular or religious, is due to Catholicism, and it is Catholicism that must provide the remedy for its actual ills and dangers. This is not, indeed, a new idea for a Pope ; but there are two things about Leo XIII. which are not quite so customary-one, the faith he has in expressing and enforcing his views; and the other, the breadth of argument and magnificence of language with which he does it. Abundant evidence of this is to be found in some of his solemn addresses to the Catholic world from the very beginning of his Pontificate. The first of these is the Encyclical “ Quod apostolici muneris” of December 28, 1878. In this he faces the most terrible problem of our times—Socialism. He traces its origin, its diffusion, its force, to the revolt against the Catholic faith in the fifteenth century; the object of which, he says, was theoretically this,--by discarding all revelation and overthrowing all supernatural authority, to give free course to the researches or rather the


“Atque illud fore speramus, ut ex sapientia veterum studiose culta vis quædam optimarum efficiens opportune influat in mores hominum, in instituta civitatis."

+ “Graves illos quidem, et romana sapientia dignos."

bewilderments—of unaided reason; and practically this also,—by consigning to oblivion the rewards and penalties of an eternal future, to confine the eager desire of happiness within the narrow limits of the present life. He strips Socialism of every show of Christianity. The Socialists, he says, never cease re-asserting the equality of all men amongst themselves, and hence they maintain that no reverence is due to majesty, nor obedience to the laws—except only such as are dictated by them at their own good pleasure. But, according to the gospel, the equality of men, on the contrary, consists in thisthat, partaking all of the same nature, they are all called to the same supreme dignity as sons of God, and together, since they are predestined to one and the same end, must be judged in conformity with the self-same law, to receive punishment or reward according to their deserts; but the inequality of rights and powers emanates from the same Author of nature, “ of whom the whole family in heaven

“ and earth is named” (Eph. iii. 15). The abandonment of this

( doctrine-which is the Catholic doctrine-by some modern States is the cause of the prevalence of the factions by which they are assailed; and the means of suppressing such factions is to return to the recognition of this principle. Wherefore the Pope exhorts princes and peoples no longer to despise the aid afforded them by the Church.

Of the Encyclical “ Æterni Patris,” in which he expounds and defends the social utility of Christian philosophy, I have already spoken ; but I have not yet quoted, and I certainly must not omit, the Encyclical “ Diuturnum " of June 29, 1881, on civil government. In

. this he begins by declaring that the war so long waged against the divine authority of the Church has resulted in the utmost danger to society, and especially to all political authority. He alludes to the assassination of the Czar, and the threats of the most abandoned men against the other sovereigns of Europe. He believes we should not have come to this but for the doctrines lately invented as to the origin of public authority, and the contempt poured upon the virtues of the Christian religion. He confutes the errors of those who pretend that all power springs from the people, and proves, by the testimony of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers of the Church, that the right of government (jus imperandi) must derive from God as its natural and necessary source.

He shows how much both of dignity and of security this doctrine lends to the civil power, and argues that the severity of laws is unavailing without the protection of religion. He therefore urges all princes and others who have the direction of public affairs not to repulse and despise this protection which has already been repeatedly offered by him, that so they may be in a position to profit by that abundance of bounties which the Church provides ; and he bids them remember that things were quiet and prosperous enough so long as the civil and ecclesiastical

« ForrigeFortsett »