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pace, and with no great perils or internal commotions in view. Only we still find ourselves always face to face with that great question, which mingles with all our internal policy, and complicates even our external relations, through the indirect action exercised upon us in relation to it from without-I mean, the Vatican question. There are here in Rome two rival sovereignties in open conflict one with the other, the Vatican and the Quirinal. The Vatican has not chosen to accept the terms offered by the State in the law of guarantees ; it regards the Quirinal as an open enemy and the usurper of its rights; and it protests in the only manner possible to it,—by a feigned imprisonment. This hostility between the two powers comes out from time to time in more or less significant incidents. To mention only the most remarkable, there was the demonstration that took place between the Clericals and the Liberals about three years ago, at the removal of the remains of Pius IX. to Campo Varano, which resulted in the most deplorable scenes. Leo XIII. at that time pronounced an allocution in which he lamented the diminished liberties of the Church and insisted on the necessity of the temporal power as a guarantee of its independence. Little more than a year afterwards he had to repeat the same complaints, because the Italian tribunals had disallowed the competency of the tribunals he had established within the Vatican in 1882. And just lately another incident has occurred of a still graver character. A suit has been pending for some years between the Government and the Congregation of the Propaganda ; and the Court of Cassation has just decided, on the basis of the laws for the suppression of ecclesiastical corporations promulgated in 1866, 1867, and 1873, that the real estate of the Congregation is to be converted into public property. This decision, although it may in fact do little material harm to the Propaganda, has stung the Vatican to the quick. For a few days a report was circulated in Rome that the Pope was about to leave the city ; but nothing came of it farther than the allocution of last March, in which the Pope melts into the usual lamentations over the tyranny of the Government and the enslaved condition of the Church, and insists as before on the necessity of the temporal power as a guarantee of his independence and paramount spiritual authority.
I quote these facts by way of explaining the situation, without attempting to offer a judgment upon them. I need only say that they are the inevitable consequences of the fact already pointed out—the co-existence in Rome of two riyal sovereignties, neither of which is disposed to concede anything of what it believes to be its rights. And it is to be expected that, so long as these conditions remain the same, incidents of the same kind, more or less frequent and more or less serious, will continue to happen in the future. It is a struggle for existence which is being fought out between the two powers, and it must end in the survival of the strongest. The repercussion of this conflict is felt everywhere throughout the country; and it has produced an immediate situation, and certain general tendencies, altogether peculiar to Italian political life. In addition to the great National party, which has created Italy, and which, with its various shades of Liberalism, dominates in Parliament, we have the Clericals, who depend entirely upon the Vatican, and share all its ideas, its
passions, and its aspirations; and we have the Conservative Nationals, or Catholic Conservatives. These last, while they agree in wishing for a united Italy with Rome for its capital, make some reservations in favour of the Pope. They form the party of conciliation between Church and State; but meanwhile, as they will not displease the Vatican, which holds to its old formula, “ Neither elected nor electors," they take no active part in the political life of the country. Neither they nor the Clericals are represented in Parliament. The destinies of the country are_thus left exclusively in the hands of the great Liberal party. To English people, who for fifty years have been trying to make the House of Commons represent as faithfully as possible all the various interests, opinions, and tendencies which exist in the country, such a situation as this must seem in the highest degree abnormal. And so in truth it is.
Count Cavour, when, in a solemn sitting of the Italian Parliament at the beginning of the year 1861, he declared the necessity of making Rome the capital of the kingdom of Italy, no doubt foresaw the great difficulties and dangers of all kinds to which such a declaration must give rise. The idea which he then entertained was that of attempting to come to a direct agreement with the Court of Rome, offering, in exchange for the surrender of the temporal power, the recognition of the full and entire liberty of the Church. He went so far as actually to make the attempt, employing for this purpose the services of a distinguished Roman, Dr. Diomede Pantaleoni, who, though he belonged to the medical profession, was deeply versed in ecclesiastical history, and also an ardent patriot, and who was anxious to see the completion of Italian unity in Rome accompanied by permission to the Church to expand and develop itself unhindered within its spiritual sphere. Nor was it only—as not a few suspected—as a political expedient, and as a means of extricating himself from insuperable difficulties, that Count Cavour had invented the formula, “ A Free Church in a Free State." He sincerely believed that this formula might initiate a new era in the civilization of the world. “The reconstitution of our nationality,” he said one day to Count Artom, “will not be without effect on the rest of the world. It is for us to put an end to the great war which is being waged between the Church and civilization, between liberty and authority. . . And, perhaps, from the height of the Capitol I may be able to declare a religious peace, and to sign a treaty which shall have far other and greater consequences for the future of humanity than the treaty of Westphalia."*
It was a burst of enthusiasm, no doubt; but what great thing has ever been done in the world without enthusiasm ?
It is this same Dr. Pantaleoni, now a member of the Italian Senate, who tells us, in his book recently published, under the title “The Italian Idea in the Suppression of the Temporal Power of the Popes," the story of the negotiations which then took place with the Court of Rome, in which he himself acted as intermediary. Dr. Pantaleoni tried to persuade the cardinals and prelates that the temporal power was already irrecoverably lost; and that it was therefore very much to their interest to accept the important advantages offered by way of compensation. These advantages were to accrue to
* “Euvre parlementaire du Comte de Cavour.” Introduction, p. 24.
them from a scheme of proposals drawn up by Pantaleoni at the request
Count Cavour. By this scheme the nominal sovereignty of the Pope was recognized, and his person declared sacred and 'inviolable; a sumptuous endowment in landed property was assigned to him, with exemption from all taxes; he was to have absolute freedom of ecclesiastical legislation, whether in matters of dogma or of discipline, and liberty of canonical communication with all the clergy of the realm, with power to convoke synods of all sorts. These concessions carried with them the full and unrestricted liberty of the Church. Count Cavour, on his side, accepted the scheme with some slight reservations. Nevertheless, the negotiations failed, chiefly through the opposition of Cardinal Antonelli
, who represented in the Vatican all the reactionary influences then prevailing in Europe, and hostile to the proposed agreement. Dr. Pantaleoni says, in a letter to Count Cavour :
. "The Ultra-Catholic and Jesuit party urge his Holiness to extreme measures, and press him to reject all compromise, and to declare in Consistory that the possession of the temporalities is essential to spiritual independence.'
So it was then, and so it is now. But if it was well to make the attempt, it was perhaps still better that the attempt did not succeed. It was hardly possible that such an agreement should have turned out anything but a blunder. It is all very well to wish for peace and reconciliation ; but circumstances do not always admit of the translation of these ideas into facts. It would almost have amounted to a miracle if an institution like that of the temporal power, which had 80 rooted itself in the traditions of the Vatican as to have become almost an article of faith, could have been abandoned all at once by pacific agreement. Such miracles do not take place in history. The peace of Westphalia followed thirty years of devastating war. The present conflict between Italy and the Church presents all the features of an historical necessity. Deplorable as it is in many ways, it has perhaps one good side, inasmuch as it is the only means of testing the intrinsic vitality and force of the claims put forward by the two combatants. And perhaps not one of the men now engaged in the contest will live to gather the fruits of Cavour's idea by concluding in the Capitol that treaty of peace which allured the thoughts of the great statesman in the last years of his life.
But, since war it is, the two parties carry on the struggle, each with its own weapons and in its own way. One of the last to descend into the arena is Father Curci. In his new book* the celebrated Jesuit returns to the subject already treated by him in two former ones, and insists on the necessity of a reformation of the Church as the only means of averting the utter ruin of the faith and irreparable injuries to human society. He holds that the Court of the Vatican-or, as it is now the fashion to call it, the Roman (or Papal) Caria—which was in former times the embodiment of the true spirit of the Christian Church, has now lost that sacred character, and is little more than “ single noisy and headstrong troop in the army of her defenders, arrogating to itself the right of officially representing her, while it possesses
* "Il Vaticano Regio : Tarlo superstite della Chiesa Cattolica."
+ “Moderno Dissidio fra la Chiesa e l'Italia ; " "La Nuova Italia ed i Veccl.i Zelanti."
nothing of the spirit of her Divine Master, nor is actuated by any other motive than its own earthly interests."
Father Curci lays it to the credit of the Papacy that it did, under Leo III., infuse something of the Christian spirit into mediæval society, which was still, he says, “an indescribable chaos of barbaric elements superimposed upon the decaying relics of the Pagan Empire.” When Leo III., in the Christmas of the year 800, invested Charlemagne with the emblems of political authority, he aimed—as we are told by another Italian author, Tosti-at the spiritualization of that authority by the attribution to it of a Divine origin ; and in this way the Papacy acquired a right of surveillance, and of intervention, when necessary, in the interests of the oppressed populations. Thus, what Curci calls “the supreme magisterial arbitrament,” which the Popes had begun to exercise in Western Europe long before Leo III., received on that memorable day its confirmation and the legitimation of its title. Up to that time the Popes and the Holy Fathers had certainly never failed to reprove kings for their offences, but they had always abstained from passing any judgment on the legitimacy of their authority or on the justice and benignity of their rule. But from that time forward they no longer hesitated to go as far as this; and the people found in the Popes a solid support and defence against the tyranny of their own princes. This was the system which Gregory VII. completed by the inauguration of that Papal theocracy which is the greatest fact of mediæval history. Nevertheless, Curci himself is of opinion that the Papal theocracy, while it was perhaps a necessity in those times of intense ignorance and confusion from which it sprang, should have been purely transitional, and should have ceased as soon as secular society bad acquired some conscience of its own and gave signs of emerging from utter barbarism. Instead of this, the successors of Gregory VII. were bent on perpetuating his system, and would not recognize the fact that it was no longer adapted to the changing times. Innocent III. and Boniface VIII., in particular, signalized themselves by their obstinacy in maintaining it, and thus involved the Papacy in many disastrous failures and defeats. But, once started on. the wrong road, the Papacy could not stop. The temporal power, which had so far been the cause only of slight and transient evils, may be said to have become the sole pre-occupation of the Vatican, and an unfailing source of the gravest injury to the Church. Hence sprang the seventy years' captivity at Avignon, the schisms, the Reformation, the philosophy of the eighteenth century, and the French Revolution, and, finally, the complete severance of the Vatican Court from civilization itself.
The course pursued by the Vatican led straight to the Syllabusthe maddest defiance ever hurled by the Church at human society. There can be no doubt that this rupture between the Church and society has had the most pernicious effect on both. Father Curci
. adopts the Cavourian formula, “A Free Church in a Free State;" but he does not regard the two as so distinct and separate that either can be indifferent to the fate of the other. Modern society has assimilated many Christian elements; or rather, to follow Father Curci's way of putting it, it is nothing else than that Christian society which in the most glorious times of the Church the Popes were labouring to create.
Yet it stands in need of a continuous moral inspiration—a Divine afflatus—in order that these elements may be perpetually quickened and sustained. Now this moral inspiration, this breath of the Holy Ghost, can only come to it from the Church. It is the Church alone which can give an essentially Christian character to society, illuminating its conscience by the teaching of her ministers, and offering herself as an example in doctrine, in learning, and in the exercise of the Christian virtues. But how is all this to be expected of the Vatican régime, which has declared war against human knowledge, and which, engrossed as it is in the pursuit of sordid aims and earthly interests, has altogether lost the track of the heavenly Guide? The Church must undergo a thorough reformation. She must abandon all pretension to that civil sovereignty by which she has brought so many disasters on herself and on society. She must return to the ancient purity of the faith, and to a simplicity of religious forms and rites more agreeable to the manners of our times. Only on these terms can she hope to regain the dominion of men's consciences, and to revive their faith, exhausted by the spectacle of a hypocritical and profane worship
This is, in brief, the fundamental idea of Father Curci's book. It has fallen like a shell into the Vatican camp, the vices and corruptions of which it has not hesitated to lay bare. I might have much to say of the influence on secular society which Father Curci attributes to a reformed Church. But I prefer to touch on the more practical side of the subject, and to speak of the attempts which have been made during these last years in Italy to put an end to the divisions between Church and State, and of the singular effect of those divisions on the situation of parties and on our whole internal political life.
It was about the year 1879 that there began in the largest towns of Italy, and among a certain class of persons, a somewhat animated agitation in favour of a reconciliation between the kingdom and the Papacy. This agitation had its centre in Florence, where a true and proper Association was formed of the so-called Conservative Nationals. They were persons who till then had, almost all of them, held apart from politics, and who had in no way participated in that great movement which brought Italy to Rome. Belonging, for the most part, to the comfortable classes, they were Conservative by tradition, by opinion, and by temperament. They started from the principle that the liberty and independence of the Papacy, which was and is the pride and glory of Italy, must be maintained intact; but that the unification of Italy, and the constitutional liberties which have accompanied it, are facts arising from the necessities of the times, and cannot be controverted. It remains to reconcile the two things. Their views coincided, in fact, with those represented in France by Montalembert and Lacordaire, and in Italy by Rosmini, Gioberti, Carlo Troya, Cesare Balbo, and others. But the attempt was stamped with failure from the first by the mere fact of its trying to settle the fundamental question, and find a means of reconciliation between the Papacy, which insists on the temporal power as essential to its independence, and the Kingdom, which is resolved to maintain an indefeasible sovereignty in Rome. Since no such means of reconciliation could be found, and yet the party was fain to offer some solution of the difficulty, they pitched