Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

would bring themselves steadily to contemplate facts instead of 80 resolutely shutting their eyes thereto, they would at all events see how extremely far is the Irish national religion from being that mass of superstition and formalism which they suppose ; and how plentifully interior and Christian virtues flourish under its influence. And we ask them (2) whether at all events when they look at Professor Huxley's desolating creed as we have exhibited it-there is not a large amount of positive religious ground, on which they can most healthily co-operate with Catholics, in a resistance to that creed and to its social results.

But it is rejoined, that Catholicity and the priesthood claim so much more than their due share of political influencé. Such a supposition however has been disproved again and again. There cannot be a more fairly representative instance on this head, than that of education. Now we explained in April (pp. 427-437)-following the steps of other Catholic writers-what it is which the priests really claim in the matter of education. They claim no more for Catholicity in Ireland, than the whole couservative body is eager to secure for Protestantism in Great Britain. They claim no more, than that there may not bo exceptional legislation in favour of one particular sect-thic anti-denominationalists--which is comparatively small even in England, and which in Ireland can hardly be said to exist. Why is it that conservatives are so blind to the true interests of their cause, as to throw their whole weight into the secularist scale, whenever it is Catholicity which stands on the counterpoising side?

And so as to the misty talk against “governing Ireland by help of the priests,” or “placing education in the priests' ' hands.” Of course it is plain enough, what Professor Huxley means by such language. In like manner lie would wish that Great Britain shall not be governed by help of Christianity or the Bible, and that education shall not proceed on a Christian basis. But this is not what pious Protestants mean, when they cry out against Irish priests; and as it may be assumed that they mean something, it is worth our while to see what that something is. If they merely intended to say that Catholicity and its teachers should not be allowed privileges which are denied to other religionists--in the present state of the United Kinglom no protest could be more reasonable: but then no one has crer «lreamed of proposiny that Catholicity should possess privilegcs of this kind. What such language renlly does mean - where it means anything definite and consistent-is, that the Imperial Parliament should organize an energetic anti-priestly movement; that legislation should be devised for the direct purpose, of lessening Irishmen's belief in their religion and docility to their priests. And as soon as this meaning is distinctly recognized, we hope that a large number of excellent Protestants will have sufficient common sense to abstain from joining in the cry.

However the Catholic Church is obliged by her principles to labour indefatigably for the consecration of politics, whether she be or be not duly supported by those Protestants, who in their measure desire the same object. It is with very great pleasure therefore that we have observed the zealous beginnings of an effort, which we trust will speedily and widely spread, for organizing and combining the Catholic vote in England. We are not sufficiently acquainted with statisticnl facts to speak with confidence; but it is abundantly possible that Mr. Disraeli’s Reform Bill-however little he dreamed of such a result-may have a very important effect, in strengthening the political posi. tion of Catholics in England. The great majority of them will indubitably consider those questions which we have called " sacred ”-denominational education, priests in workhouses, priests in prisons, &c. &c.—as entirely paramount over all others. It will happen therefore again and again, that in this or that constituency, precisely by means of the Catholic vote, the proCatholic conservative will beat the anti-Catholic liberal, or the pro-Catholic liberal will beat the anti-Catholic conservative. And if this be so, in every such constituency both conservatives and liberals will take care to choose as their representative some candidate, who is prepared to grant Catholics their just claims. This common-sense policy of Catholics used often to be set forth very luminously and in detail, some twenty-five years ago, by that powerful and most disinterested champion of the Church, Frederick Lucas; and it would seem to be much more hopeful since the Reform Bill of 1867, than it was even at the earlier period.

Reverting to Ireland—we have not hesitated to express our conviction, that in the long-standing and profound mutual misapprehension which exists between Englishmen and Irishmen, the former are immeasurably more in fault than the latter. Yet it is worth while in conclusion to inquire, whether there be not something which Irishmen also may do towards promoting harmony. In this respect two particulars at the moment especially occur to us. Firstly, it is Irishmen alone who can place before Englishmen in its fulness a true picture of things Irish. The writer of this article is the merest Englishman, one who has never so much as set foot in Ireland during the whole course of his life; and he can of course do but most scanty and inadequate justice to the religion of that country. What we earnestly wish is, that some devoted Irish Catholic would depict with photographic accuracy the lights and shadows of Irish Catholic life. We say “shadows” as well as “lights" : because the Irish Church would be unlike any other religious body which has existed, if there were not defects, even serious defects, in its practical working; and the last thing we wish is that thicse should be concealed, if only the innumerable redeeming features of the picture be adequately exhibited. A vivid apprehen. sion of Irish Catholic life in the concrete would do far more to remove English prejudices, than a thousand abstract arguments.

There is a second way, in which Irishmen may importantly lessen the misunderstanding which exists between the two countries. Let them show confidence and forbearance towards any English statesman, who labours under disheartening circumstances to do them justice. We confess we read with great pain certain invectives uttered against Mr. Gladstone, in re. ference to his sanctioning the prosecution of various priests under the Keogh Judgment. Our own belief is, that there has never before been an English Protestant statesman, who so appreciates and (politically) sympathizes with Irislı Catholicity, as Mr. Gladstone. He has already done Ireland most signal service; and on that gravest of all questions—that concerning education--which is now imminent, we do not expect he will be found wanting. We need hardly say we have no means of even guessing at Mr. Gladstone's mind, except by observing his public acts and public speeches ; and it is doubtless possible that the next session may show us to have been mistaken in our anticipations. But we affirm confidently, that there has been nothing done or said by him on the Galway case, which affords warrant for any diminution of confidence.

We fully admit indeed, that the position taken up by Government in the Butt debate had not on the surface a generous or a dignified appearance. Nevertheless we must commit ourselves to what may be thought a paradox. Even on the extreme supposition that Mr. Gladstone agrees substantially with the view we have exhibited in the preceding pages, we still think that he adopted the course most calculated to give his principles effect. Very many Irish Catholics seem not unnaturally to be under an impression that, as the conservative body in mass is inimical, so the liberal body in mass is favourable, to their cause. There cannot be a more utter mistake. Very many influential liberals have a detestation of Catholic priests, which may be less noisy and boisterous, but which is much more reasoned, profound, and bitter, than that entertained by the mass of conservatives; and we are confident that Mr. Gladstone's Irish difficulties lie much more with his so-called supporters, than with his professed oppo

nents. He is to elaborate during the recess a bill on Irish education, which (if it be really of the satisfactory character we expect) will at first hearing be received by many influential liberals with nothing less than disgust, as a base truckling to priestcraft and ecclesiastical usurpation. He will be able easily to show, so far as argument is concerned, that nothing short of such a measure as his will accord with that principle of religious equality, which liberals profess to have at heart. But this proposition, however undeniable, is so utterly uncongenial to the anti-Catholic liberals,—who moreover, with all their ability, are curiously narrow-minded on many points that it cannot be pressed home to them, except by a variety of speeches coming from a variety of speakers. Nothing of this kind could possibly have been done in the Butt debate; and if Mr. Gladstone had expressed his conclusions (supposing always his conclusions were really those we suggest) without any opportunity for reiterated inculcation of his arguments, he would have necessarily incurred the grossest misconception. He would have been set down as a slave of the priests; * a passionate outcry would have been raised by anticipation against his educational measures; and it would have been simply impossible to obtain for them a fair hearing. Before so densely prejudiced an audience as the House of Commons, to speak the simple truth on Irish Catholic affairs, is often equivalent to speaking falsehood; and extreme reticence is an obligation imposed by veracity itself. Now all that can be said against Mr. Gladstone is, that he was reticent. He neither expressed, nor implied by his acts, any opinion at all—for or against the priests, for or against the landlords—except only that in the case of certain named priests there was a sufficient prima facie case to warrant full legal investigation. And as to several of these priests, Mr. Butt himself admitted that they had violated the law.

We have never concealed our own earnest wish and hope, that Catholics of the United Kingdom may more and more shake themselves free from all connection with the liberal party as a whole. But towards Mr. Gladstone personally, our feeling is very different. We believe that the one main hope of sound and satisfactory Irish legislation is identified with his continuance at the head of affairs.

* Lord Hartington's suggestion in the debate, to Mr. Butt and his supporters, is very significant. “He warned them not to let their intentions be misunderstood; as it was essential they should not cause it to be thought that there was any likelihood of Parliament upholding in Ireland a system of priestly intimidation.”—“Times” Report.

ART. II.-THE MIDDLE AGES: THEIR POSITION

IN CHURCH HISTORY,

An Essay on the Spiritual Life of Mediæval England. By the Rev. J. B.

DALGAIRNS, Priest of the Oratory. Prefixed to the Scale of Perfection.

By WALTER Hilton. London : J. Philp. General History of the Catholic Church. By the Abbé J. E. DARRAS, Irish

American. From the last French edition, with Introduction and Notes.

By the Most Rev. ARCHBISHOP OF BALTIMORE. New York : O'Shee. History of Latin Christianity. By HENRY HART MILMAN, D.D., Dean of

S. Paul's. London : John Murray. Medieval Philosophy. By FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE. London :

Macmillan & Co. Introduction to the Literature of Europe. By HENRY HALLAM, LL.D.

London : John Murray & Son. Europe during the Middle Ages. By HENRY HALLAM, LL.D. London :

John Murray Histoire du Monde. Par MM. HENRY & CHARLES DE RIANCEY. Paris :

Victor Palmé. Dante, et la Philosophic Catholique au Treizième Siècle. Par A. F. OZANAM.

Paris. Ritter : Geschichte der Philosophie. Hamburg. La Philosophie Scolastique. Par M. HAURÉAU. Mémoire couronné par

l'Académie. Paris. Lectures on Heroes. By Thomas CARLYLE. London: Chapman & IIall. Shall France Perish ? A Sermon. By the BISHOP OF POITIERS. Translated

by a Secular Priest. London, Derby, and Dublin : Richardson & Son, L'Art Chrétien. Par A. F. Rio. Paris : Hachette.

F the Church is the Body of Christ, then, like Him,

increase in wisdom and age and grace with God and men. The Infant wrapped in swaddling-clothes in the crib at Bethlehem, though wordless, was the Eternal Word and Wisdom of the Father; in the scarred, disfigured, and lifeless form of the Man of Sorrows, as it lay in His Mother's arms beneath the Cross on Calvary, there dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily; and yet between Bethlehem and Calvary there

« FöregåendeFortsätt »