Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

There are few Catholics who do not love Ireland, and we need not be astonished when we learn that young Montalembert's heart turned towards Ireland. Happy boy to visit such a happy land, -not happy in this world's happiness, but happy in the grace of God.

Young Montalembert went through Kerry upon horseback with a witty Irish boy for his guide. And here we must be pardoned for observing, that the ignorance of the Irish peasantry is a myth. Put an English bricklayer or ploughman and an Irish peasant face to face, and see whether the Irish does not surpass the English ; we will not only say in manners, shrewdness, and intelligence, for this is commonly admitted, but in extent of knowledge.

His visit to Kerry was to see O'Connell. His first visit to a country Irish chapel will be found most interesting.

"I had taken only a few steps on my way when my attention was attracted by the appearance of a man who knelt at the foot of one of the firs; several others became visible in succession in the same attitude, and the higher I ascended, the larger became the number of these kneeling peasants.

He left Ireland, we are told, after spending "two of the happiest months of his life."

“ He had seen a worshipping nation, and his imagination had been inspired by the sight, and all his resolutions had burst into flower.” (p. 110, vol. i.)

The history of “L'Avenir” is too well known to require any treatment here. llow Montalembert struggled in company with Lacordaire for liberty of instruction, -how the leader of the movement, F. Lamennais, fell away, is known to all. Still, we cannot look back on what they fondly hoped would be the future, without feeling how entirely they forgot the past, and the lessons which it teaches ; for, although “radicalism” was one of their party words, “liberalism,” one of the monstrous births of modern society, gave the tone to their words and works.

No doubt it was noble aspiration, “God and Liberty”; but “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” and there is no liberty where the Spirit of the Lord is not, and the Spirit of the Lord has not been with modern Liberalism. It has done more harm to the Church, we do not hesitate to say, than open heresy. Like Jansenism, it has eaten like a canker into the hearts of Christ's faithful. Yet, looking back upon the history of the Church of France since the days of “L'Avenir," it is a matter of great consolation for us to know that the evil has almost died out. The little noble band of searchers after“God and Liberty”—and with all their faults they were truly noble—have almost died away. One or two only remain. Montalembert has gone, and Lacordaire has gone, and M. Cochin has gone (we do not add the name of Père Gratry, for he belonged to quite another school of thought), and, as far as we can see, “liberalism” is well nigh extinct in the Church of France. To God be the thanks.

Yet we must not be unfair: Montalembert and his companions did immense service to the Church in their day, both by their public lives and writings, by their open witness to the faith of Christ, especially before the public tribunals, by their holy living, by their works of charity, by their ministrations

to the poor. And we all know that any one who remembers the poor is never forgotten by our Lord.

Of the life of S. Elizabeth, let us hear Mrs. Oliphant.

“ The work itself one of which no critic of the present day needs to speak. Of all the saintly studies that have followed it, and they have been many, none has successfully emulated the grace and beauty, the harmonious charm of this beautiful book.” (p. 328, vol. i.)

Of the “Monks of the West,” we need not also speak, except to call attention to the fact, that that beautiful work was the means of turning his own daughter's heart towards the courts of God.

As an orator, he was probably unsurpassed in France, and one of the secrets of his success, no doubt, lay in this, that he always spoke from the heart.

The one great cause of his shortcomings was (to our mind) his want of reverence towards the clergy--towards the constituted authorities of Christ's Church. As a boy of seventeen, we find him saying that the clergy did not understand the position of affairs ; and at the end of his life, we find him calling the Infallible Vicar of Christ an “idol.” No doubt he submitted whenever he was condemned ; no doubt he would have accepted all the Church of God required of him ; but his failure lay in this, that he never fully recognized the truth of that saying of our Lord, addressed to his Apostles :--"He who receiveth you, receiveth Me." From first to last, if we may trust Mrs. Oliphant's beautiful book,—and from other sources indeed we derive the same impression, -he set himself up to be a critic of the priesthood of God. And the end of these things we know. But God was merciful to one who had worked so nobly for Him, although not faultlessly; and the name of “ Montalembert ” shall go down to our children's children in honourable and grateful remembrance.

Before concluding, we have a word to say on Mrs. Oliphant-no unkind word.

To us, it seems like Edward Irving, whose life she has written as if she were a moth fluttering round the light, the Light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. She has written the life of F. Francis of Assisi, and seems utterly fascinated by the beauty of Catholicity. She makes, however, a distinction between the heart and the reason. If the heart leads her one way, the reason condemns.

But Mrs. Oliphant is singularly fair. Take this from the Preface.

“Lest her (Madame de Montalembert's) great kindness should entangle her in a supposed assent to any of my political or religious opinions, I feel it my duty to state most distinctly that this has not been the case.” This is what she says about the Definition of Papal Infallibility.

Certainly it is difficult to understand wherein the Papal Infallibility, which we have all our lives understood to be an article of Roman Catholi belief, differs from the Papal Infallibility proclaimed by the Council of Rom. in 1870."

All through the book there are traces that the heart of the writer is leading her toward the Catholic Church, although her reason may be pointing the other way. Let us hope and pray her reason also may in due time be convinced ; and that she who has written the life of F. Francis of Assisi, may be welcomed into the true Church by the “ poor little one of Jesus Christ." With one ast extract we will conclude :

“ The tears are scarcely dry yet that fell on his grave, and his vacant place will be hard to fill up in his country. But at least there is one thing at which all who know him will rejoice—that God took him mercifully from the evil to come, and that he did not see the lowest humiliation, or the most bitter sufferings of his beloved France."

Contemporury Review, 1872, art. I. : Is God unknowable ? By Rev. Father

DALGAIRNS. London : Strahan & Co.

E cannot within the compass of a notice express any sufficient appre

[ocr errors]

it justice, when the course of our own philosophical articles shall have brought us to the vital question herein treated. We will at once, however, express the bias of our own humble opinion that F. Dalgairns treats Mr. Herbert Spencer's scepticism with much greater respect than it deserves. We will add a very brief account of the position which F. Dalgairns himself takes up.

He agrees with FF. Newman and Kleutgen, in assigning a primary place, among the arguments for God's Existence, to that derivable from the phenomena of man's “moral conscience.” But the way of treating this argument is peculiarly his own. In his hands it assumes the shape of a “cumulative process” (p. 622). “On the one hand my analysis of moral law throws me upon a Personal Being in whom it lives ; on the other, I experience a sensible pain which is a direct consequence of the same moral law. Here is a combination of intuition and experience, which is Kant's condition of knowledge.”

The following criticism of the “agnostic” school is admirably true and admirably expressed :

[ocr errors]

“ This system of course has great polemical advantages . . . . Its authors reap the profit at once of both knowledge and ignorance. To them ignorance is a harbour of refuge, from which they may issue on piratical expeditions into the realm of knowledge. Its enormous and incurable weakness is, that it excludes from the circle of knowledge what the common sense of mankind will never consent to give up to ignorance.” (p. 617.)

Even an atheist, urges our author, feels a pang of conscience when he commits sin. This emotion is “the passionate cry of the Father, come to claim the child who denies that He exists.” (p. 625.)

Several thinkers are led, by the existence of evil, to “the hypothesis of a good being limited in power.” But this, adds F. Dalgairns with profound truth, “is to misrend the phenomena of the Universe. It does not wear the aspect of weak benevolence: it wears the sad look of yearning unrequited love." (p. 629.)

We believe F. Dalgairns was out of England when his article went through the press: certainly the misprints are deplorable. “First Cause” is throughout printed “First Canon.” In p. 625, line 8, “cry of recall” stands absurdly as "cry of wrath.In p. 629—“We need not assume the existence of a double Creator, of a Demiurge or an Ahriman”-the word “knowable” is substituted for “double”; as though F. Dalgairns were himself an agnostic. Manifold are the inconveniences—the present writer speaks with keen fellow-feeling-of writing an illegible hand.

The Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers related by Themselves. First Series.

Edited by John Morris, Priest of the Society of Jesus. Burns & Oates. 1872.

THE

THE readers of Father Morris's last work will eagerly welcome another

volume from his hands. The present book contains nine separate papers of varied and deep interest ; and although none of them are equal in Jength and continuity of narrative to Father Gerard's account, several of them will be found to throw so much light upon the English religious foundations, the habits of the time, and the relentless persecutions--not only external--and cruelties to which they were exposed, that each of these papers has a distinct value of its own. Mother Margaret Clement, whose life is first on the list, was the daughter of Margaret Giggs (married to Thomas Clement), who was brought up as a daughter in the household of the great Chancellor and martyr Sir Thomas More. Margaret Clement, the younger daughter, was for thirty-eight years Prioress of the Augustinianesses of S. Ursula's at Louvain, and afterwards helped to found the colony-house of S. Monica's, in the same city. In Holbein's great picture of Sir Thomas More and his family, of which there is a duplicate or contemporary copy in the possession of his lineal descendant, Charles Eyston, Esq., of Hendred, in Berkshire, Margaret Giggs is placed beside the famous Margaret Roper, the Chancellor's daughter. It was to her that Sir Thomas in his last letter wrote, “I send now to my good daughter Clement her algorism-stone (for arithmetic), and serd her and my godson (her husband), and all her's, God's blessing and mine.' Young Margaret was sent to school at S. Ursula's, at Louvain, where there was a famous English nun, Elizabeth Woodford, who had been driven out of this country when the convents were suppressed. She is represented as “a substantial woman, solid in sense and judgment, very exact herself, and severe, as they used in old time to be towards youth in England. This nun, who had no doubt had her own experience of women's love of power, and whose sagacious mind had stored it up to much profit, advised Margaret the younger if she should ever found convents in England, to admit of prioresses but no abbesses, as she had seen “great abuses enter into religion thereby.” Mother

VOL. XIX.--NO. XXXVIII. [New Series.]

2 L

a

Margaret had no opportunity of carrying out this counsel in England, but when she died there were twenty-two English nuns at S. Ursula's. At S. Monica's, where, as we shall see, most of them migrated, there were many nuns whose family naines will always occupy the first place in the lists of English sufferers for religion. The earliest mentioned are the two nieces, Helen and Mary, of Cardinal Allen ; Bridget Wiseman, Margaret Garnet (sister of Father Garnet), and Dorothy Rookwood. Then come the names of Eleanor Garnet, Anne Cletherow (or Clitheroe ?), daughter of the martyr at York, and Elizabeth Shirley, who wrote Mother Margaret's life. Mrs. Clement, her mother, is well known as having fed the Charterhouse monks (Carthusians) imprisoned by Henry VIII. She had come disguise l as a milkmaid with her pail filled with food, and afterwards had removed the tiling and fed the prisoners from the roof ; but when the gaoler had been afraid, and refused her all means of admittance, these Fathers had slowly starred to death, bound hand and foot to posts or wooden pillars in the wretched prison. In the reign of Edward VI. the Clements migrated to the Low Countries, being the first to leave England to secure the practice of religion after its fall into schism. A beautiful custom is mentioned incidentally at Mechlin [Malines), where the Clements had removed from Bruges, of singing the anthem of Corpus Christi every Thursday in the cathedral, at which Mrs. Clement never failed to be present with her children. Just before her death she called her husband and told him that the martyred Charterhouse monks had come about her bed and had called her to come away with them; and the next day being Thursday, she bade her son make ready her apparel to go to the anthem in the cathedral. He soothed her, trying to put the idea out of her mind, but she still persisted that by God's gra e she would be present at the anthem, which came to pass.

“ And so it fell out, that she from that moment, drawing more and more to her end, as soon as the bell of S. Rumold's began to toll to the anthem of Corpus Christi, she gave up her happy soul into the hands of God, thereby showing to have foretold the hour of her death, and that she departed with that blessed company to Heaven, who had so long expected her, to be partaker of their glory, as no doubt but she is. Her body was buried in the Cathedral Church of S. Rumold, behind the high altar, before the memory of our Blessed Saviour lying in His grave, where also her husband was laid by her within two years after.”

The minority in the community at S. Ursula's appealed against Mother Margaret's election to Rome, because she and Elizabeth Woodford were the only English nuns in the house ; but the commissioners who were sent to inquire into the facts confirmed the election, and thus the youngest and least considered of Thomas Clement's eleven children became the superior of eighty persons. [In 1566.]

The first thing the new prioress did was to reform the house, which perhaps the minority had foreseen, for inclosure seems to have been very imperfectly kept. Mother Margaret's strictness was carried out to the letter of the rule, and to all; for she refused leave to Mrs. Allen to see her daughter when sick, even when the archbishop had given her a written permission or "licence.” She assigned as her reason that the community was mixed of Flemish and English,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »