Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

nations, we think he exaggerates it, and supposes Protestant negations are more powerful than they really are. It may be that the Catholic populations are not at present very well pre

red to withstand the Protestant propaganda, allied as it is with rationalism and the revolution ; but they cannot long remain unprepared. The revolution having, wherever attempted, resulted in the loss of old liberties without'the acquisition of any additional civil freedom, must gradually lose its credit with the people, who must ere long be disillusioned ; rationalism is too cold, too absurd, and too destitute of life to hold them in permanent subjection. Scientists and sciolists may adhere to it while its novelty lasts, but both the reason and instincts of the people reject it and demand faith, religion. Protestantism, severed from the revolution and rationalism, is too much what the great Catholic controversialists met in the seventeenth century and vanquished for its revival to be able to gain and hold much new territory.

The real danger, in our judgment, is in the spread of secularism, or the secular spirit among Catholics themselves. This is the only serious obstacle we see to the conversion of the American people to the Church. Catholics here and elsewhere conform to modern civilization, and are carried away by its spirit. They follow the spirit of the age without knowing it; and though a Catholic may accept without scruple all the positive results of what is called modern civilization, he cannot imbibe and follow its spirit without great loss on the side of religion, which requires the renunciation of the world as the end for which one is to live and to labour. But there are even among Catholics very worthy men, men of excellent parts and rare learning, who virtually subordinate the spiritual to the secular. They have so far yielded to the secular spirit of the day as to place the defence of the Church on secular rather than on spiritual grounds, and defend her claims as the Church of God rather as necessary to secure civil liberty and advanced civilization than as necessary to save the soul and secure the beatitude of heaven. They are, in some degree, affected by the philanthropy or humanitarianism of the age, and occasionally confound it with Christian charity, which loves God supremely, and our neighbour as ourselves in God, or for the sake of God.

These men pursue a line of argument that draws off the Catholic mind from the kingdom of God and his justice, and fixes it on those things after which the heathen seek, secularize it, and lead it to think that our Lord's mission had for its object the multiplication of earthly goods, and securing earthly felicity. They unintentionally play into the hands of radicals and revolutionists, by influencing Catholics to strive after social instead of spiritual progress, and making them feel that the great work for the Church is less to train men for heaven than to make the earth a more pleasant abode for them; or that the proper way for men to work out their salvation hereafter, is to work earnestly and perseveringly for the progress of civil and political liberty, and the reform of political and social abuses. It can hardly have any but a bad influence on the Catholic mind to find prominent Catholics urging their Catholic fellow-citizens to make common cause with the most notorious and irreligious infidel and radical leaders of the revolution, as if there could be any thing in common between Catholics and men who demand liberty only to emancipate themselves from the divine law and to suppress the Church, or at least to restrain her freedom.

DOCUMENTS.

LETTER OF THE CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN TO

HIS HOLINESS, Conveying to him the offerings of the Catholics of the Diocese

for the year 1872. WITH

ITH profound respect I present to your Holiness, through the hands of the worthy Rector of the Irish College, Monsignor Kirby, two thousand pounds sterling, portion of a collection made in our churches, on the Sunday within the Octave of St. Peter's festival. The Catholic clergy and laity of the diocese of Dublin, who are devotedly attached to your Holiness, have charged me to forward this sum to alleviate as far as possible your present wants and trials, and to assist in enabling you to provide for their own spiritual interests, and to bear the burden of the solicitude of all the Churches.

They wish that this offering, like those made in past years, should be looked on as a public manifestation of the love and veneration which they cherish for your Holiness, as well as a profession of their humble and obedient devotion to the successor of St. Peter, on whom our Lord built his Church, and to whom he gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, with power to feed his lambs and sheep, and to bind by his infallible authority all the members of his fold together in the profession of the same faith, and to preserve them in the bonds of true charity.

Reflecting on the arduous and continual labours which this sublime dignity, conferred on you by Christ, obliges you to perform, your faithful children of this remote part of the world are convinced that they only discharge a sacred duty when they lay at your feet a portion of the substance given to them by heaven as an humble offering to assist you in your present afflictions, and to enable you to carry on the government of the universal Church.

Allow me on this occasion to assure your Holiness that the violent and sacrilegious persecutions with which the enemies of God and His Church have so long afflicted you, are to all the people of this diocese the source of great grief and indignation. They have already frequently protested, and they never will cease to protest, against the unjust spoliation which you have suffered, and the insults which have been offered to your sacred person by men pretending to uphold the sacred cause of liberty, but who in reality encourage every deed of darkness, and promote by their example the direst despotism, that of rule by brute force, and the most destructive communism.

Moreover, I must add that, in union with the faithful of the whole world, and imitating the example of the first Christians, who prayed most fervently for the Prince of the Apostles when he was cast into prison by the impious king Herodan event commemorated in the office of this day-the Catholics of this diocese unceasingly send forth most earnest prayers to the Almighty Ruler of all things, begging of him to free the Vicar of Christ from his present straits and tribulations, to frustrate the designs of his perfidious and sacrilegious enemies, and to give him a glorious triumph over the powers of error and darkness.

Imploring, in all humility, your Holiness to impart your apostolic benediction to the clergy, the people, and the unworthy pastor of this diocese, and kissing, with all respect, your feet, I remain, your most devoted and obedient servant and son,

* PAUL CARD. CULLEN,

Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland. Dublin, August ist,

Feast of the Chains of St. Peter, 1872.

Letter of His Holiness to the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin.

PIUS PP. IX. Dilecte Fili Noster salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem. Quae tu Dilecte Fili Noster, asseveras de dolore populi tui, ob eas, quas pro justitia patimur, insectationes, et de studio, quo a divina misericordia nostram Ecclesiaeque libertatem et pacem implorare nititur; ea Nobis evidenter ostendunt cum firmissima semper Hibernorum fides, tum crebra in tristissimis istis adjunctis argumenta filialis pietatis ; quorum certe minimum non est perpetua liberalitas. Nam arctis in rebus et calamitosis animum affectusque convertere in oppressos, et e propria exprimere inopia quae ipsis afferantur auxilia, incensae prorsus ac nobilissimae est caritatis. Stipem igitur per te Nobis oblatam, utut copiosam, multo pretiosiorem hoc nomine fieri duximus ; et gratos idcirco sensus animi inde excitatos in novos dilectionis Nostrae erga egregium hunc populum igniculos converti sensimus. Solus, qui pensat affectum, Deus meritam tanto obsequio amorique mercedem rependere poterit; quam sane Nos ejusmodi adprecamur piis hisce fidelibus, ut et cumulate respondeat offerentium caritati, et profusae simul liberalitati retribuentis. Dum vero Ipsum rogamus, ut votis Nostris obsecundet, favoris ejus auspicem et praecipuae Nostrae benevolentiae testem tibi, Dilecte Fili Noster, totique Clero et populo tuo universaeque Hiberniae Benedictionem Apostolicam peramanter impertimus.

Datum Romae apud S. Petrum die 26 Augusti Anno 1872. Pontificatus Nostri Anno Vicesimo Septimo.

Translation of the above Letter of His Holiness to the Cardinal

Archbishop of Dublin. DEARLY BELOVED SON,

Health and Apostolic Benediction.- What you assert concerning the grief of your people on account of those persecutions which we suffer for justice sake, and in regard to the zeal with which they are endeavouring to obtain from the divine mercy peace and liberty for us and for the Church, is fully confirmed by the unshaken faith of the Irish, and by the many testimonies of filial affection which they have afforded us in this our present most trying situation, and especially by their continued liberality. Certainly, it is the part of a most ardent and noble charity to turn one's thoughts and feelings to the oppressed in difficult and woful times, and out of one's own poverty to relieve their wants. Hence, though the offering presented by you to us is in itself most generous, yet the circumstances in which it is made, greatly enhance its value, and give a new impulse to the sentiments of gratitude to your excellent people, with which we are inspired. But it is to God alone who knows the heart that it is reserved to requite in a befitting manner, devotion and love of so exalted a nature. That such a reward, worthy of the charity of the donors, and the infinite liberality of the Remunerator, may be the portion of these devout and faithful children, is our prayer.

But whilst we ask God to show Himself propitious to our

petitions, we, as a pledge of His favour, and a testimony of our good feeling, impart with increased affection to you, our beloved son, to your clergy and people, and to all the faithful of Ireland, our Apostolic Benediction.

Pius PP. IX. Given at St. Peter's, 26th August, 1872.

27th year of our Pontificate.

LETTER OF CARDINAL ANTONELLI TO MONSIGNOR KIRBY,

Acknowledging the receipt of £2,000 for His Holiness. VERY REV. MONSIGNOR,—The Holy Father was greatly moved by the offering of £2,000 which the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin and his flock presented to him, through you, as a token of their devotion and attachment. His Holiness could not but feel most grateful for this new manifestation of filial affection, for the good wishes of the donors, and still more for the prayers which they offer to the Lord, begging of Him to put an end to the evils by which the Church is at present afflicted. Hence he imparts to the Cardinal Archbishop and to the faithful of the diocese his apostolical benediction.

Whilst charging you to convey this intelligence to the Cardinal, I am happy to assure you of the high esteem with which I remain Your faithful servant,

J. CARDINAL ANTONELLI. 13th August, 1872. To the Very Rev. Monsignor Kirby,

Rector of the Irish College, Rome.

EX SECRETARIA BREVIUM.

LITTERAE APOSTOLICAE Quibus Ssmus Pater, in tanta rerum publicarum calamitate,

exortas fideliuin societates, praeliantes praelia Domini,laudat, erigit, inflammat, ut omnes simul foedere inito charitatis vinculis efficacius ungantur.

Pius PP. IX.-AD FUTURAM REI MEMORIAM. “ Maximas sine intermissione in humilitate nostra reddimus grates Deo, et Patri Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, Patri misericordiarum, et Deo totius consolationis, qui in tanta tribulatione nostra, tantaque amaritudine allevat dolorem nostrum suscitans in filiis suis spiritum pietatis et orationis, spiritum charitatis et fortitudinis, ut tot malis ex acerrimo potestatis tenebrarum in catholicam religionem bello opportuna per eos

« ForrigeFortsett »