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She has her own method, and will not learn of them ; they must learn of her.
But is her method adequate? Let us see. The men who have manifested, under their highest forms, the virtues which are required to remove all real evils and to procure every true good of which men in this world are capable, are undeniably to be found in the Catholic Church, and nowhere else. If all men were like, for instance, St. Raymond of Pennafort, St. John of God, St. Vincent de Paul, or even Fénelon, a great and good man, yet far below the standard of a Catholic saint, there could and would be no lack of the good desirable, and no real evil could exist. There is not a form of evil in society, a single ill that flesh is heir to, which some one or more of our saints have not made provision for removing or solacing, and which they would not have removed or solaeed, if they had been duly seconded, as you must know, if you have made yourselves but passably acquainted with the charitable institutions of the church. Yet these saints did not go out of the church, and did but come up to that standard of perfection which she proposes to all, and exhorts all her children to aspire to, and to which all may attain, by the grace of God, and that, too, without any change of the existing political, social, or industrial order. All may have, in the bosom of the church, whatever the external order, all the means needed for attaining to the highest perfection of which they are capable; and by attaining to that perfection, all is secured that is or can be desired for society.
But you say, all are not saints. True; but whose is the fault? It is not the fault of the political, social, or industrial order, otherwise, these of whom we speak could not have become saints; not the fault of the church, for she proffers to all the same means and assistance she extended io these ; nor precisely the fault of human nature, for these were no better by nature than others; and many of the saints have even been wild and disssolute in their youth.. All may not be called by Almighty God to the same degree of heroic sanctity, nor is it necessary; but all are called to Christian perfection, and the means which have proved effectual in the case of those who have attained to it are extended to all, and must needs be, if adopted, equally effectual in the case of all. The fault, whenever any one falls below the standard of perfection, is his own, is in the fact that he refuses to comply with all the church commands
and counsels. The church cannot take away free will; and as long as men retain it, they will, to a greater or less extent, abuse it. Do the associationists propose to take it away, and reduce men to mere machines? We do not understand them to propose any such thing; and if they should, it would be an additional objection to their scheme. God himself respects our free will, and governs us only according to our choice. He gives us, naturally or supernaturally, the ability to will and to do as he wills, and motives sweet and attractive as heaven and terrible as hell to induce us to will as he wills; but he does not will for us; the will must be our own act. If the church proposes perfection to all, exhorts all to aspire to it, furnishes them all the assistance they need to gain it, and urges them by all the motives which can weigh with them to accept and use them, the fault, if they do not, is theirs, not hers, and she is not to be accused either of inefficiency or insufficiency; for she does all that, in the nature of the case, it is possible to do.
But even a far lower standard of Christian worth than we have been speaking of, and which is possible in the bosom of the church to all, will suffice for the purpose of the associationists. Suppose every one should do, not all the church counsels, but simply what she commands, enjoins, as of precept, and which every one must do, or fall under her censure, what real evil could remain, or what desirable social good would be wanting! There wonld be no wars, no internal disorders, no wrongs, no outrages, no frauds or deceptions, and no taking the advantage one of another. There would be no unrelieved poverty, no permanent want of the necessaries or even comforts of life; for the church makes almsgiving a precept, and commands all her children to remember the poor. There would remain no ruinons competition; for no one would set a high value upon the goods of this world. The real cause of all the social and industrial evils the associationists deplore, so far as evils they are, is covetousness, which is said to be the root of all evil; and covetousness the church condemns as a mortal sin. Eradicate covetousness from the heart, and your reform, so far as desirable, is effected; and it is eradicated, or held in subjection, by every obedient Catholic. Hence, all that is needed is in the church ; let every one submit to her und follow her directions; nothing more will be wanting. All can submit to her; for God, in one way or another, gives to every one sufficient grace for that, if it be not voluntarily resisted ; and she herself is the inedium through which is communicated all the strength any one needs to do all she commands. The way to destroy the tree of evil is, to lay the axe at the root; and this the church does. She seeks always to purify the heart, out of which are the issues of life, and she never fails to do it in the case of any one who submits himself to her discipline.
But, you reply, there are evils in Catholic countries, and the result promised is as far from being attained to there as elsewhere. This is too strongly expressed. There are evils in Catholic countries, but they are fewer and of a more mitigated character than in other countries, and, moreover, diminish always in proportion as the country is more truly Catholic and more exclusively under Catholic influence. This is evident by contrasting Italy with England, Protestant England with Catholic England, or Spain and Portugal, as they now are, with what they were, when thoroughly Catholic, before they were prostrated by the prevalence of revolutionary and infidel ideas. M. Briancourt virtually admits as much, when he contrasts the present state of things with that which formerly existed, before infidel governments, philosophers, and reformers had detached modern society from the control of the church. Besides, all in Catholic countries are not good Catholics ; and the evils complained of undeniably spring from the acts of those who do not faithfully comply with the requirements of the church. If all complied, the evils would be removed. The church is to be tested, not by the effects of non-compliance, but hy the effects of compliance. She is answerable only for those who comply with her demands and follow her directions. She cannot force men against their will to comply; and you would be among the first to cry out against her tyranny, were she even to attempt it. The objection implied in the existence of evils in Catholic countries is, therefore, of no weight. Men who reject the church, or refuse to obey her, must not complain" that she does not make all men good Catholics.
The church, then, offers an easy and effectual method of removing all real evils, and of securing all that is really good in relation even to our present existence. She offers a feasible and an effectual way of serving our fellow-men, of acquiring and of giving practical effect to the most unbounded charity. Submit to the church, follow her directions, and you will need nothing more. You can secure all you desire, so far as wise in your desires, whatever be the form of the government or the social or industrial order under which you live. The internal can be rectified in every state and condition of life; and when the internal is right, you need have no fears for the external. This is a speedy way, and within the power of each individual, without his being obliged to wait for the co-operation of his brethren; for each can individually submit himself at any moment he chooses. It is an effectual way; for the reliance is not on human weakness and instability, but on the infinite and unchangeable God.
Let not our friends scorn this way, because it is old, simple, and easy. God's ways are not ours. David, to slay the giant, chose a simple sling and a smooth stone from the brook, not the armor and sword of the king. The prophet bade the Syrian simply, “Go wash and be clean.” God'sways are always foolishness to human pride and human prudence; but whoso enters them finds them leading to life. Let not our friends scorn this way through pride. Others as learned, as philosophic, as high in station, as proud as: they, and who once looked upon it with as much distrust and contempt as they can, have, through grace, entered it; and they have found “hidden riches which they did not look for, and which make all that iş promised from Association, multiplied a thousand times into itself, appear poor, mean, and despicable.
VENTURA'S FUNERAL ORATION.*
(From Brownson's Quarterly Review for April, 1848.]
Of the illustrious subject of Padre Ventura's Oration, which everybody has read, it cannot be necessary that we should speak. We could not say more than the learned and eloquent Theatine has said, were we to try; and we have no disposition to say less. Nor can it be necessary to speak of the general character and merits of the Oration itself,a political manifesto addressed by an eminent tribune of the people to all Christendom, and intended to have an immediate bearing on the movements for political reforms in Rome and Italy. Padre Ventura is a distinguished man, and perhaps one of the most popular and effective pulpit orators of the day. With his general tone, doctrines, and aims we should be sorry not to sympathize. We go with him, heart and soul, in his love of liberty, his hatred of oppression, and his war against tyrants and tyranny: But if he has been correctly translated,
of which we cannot judge, not having seen the original Italian,-he makes use of some expressions in his oration, and especially in the preface to his second edition, in which he defends its doctrines and makes his own eulogium, to which, as at present advised, we are far from being prepared to assent. As we understand him, he contends, that in the present posture of affairs in Europe, the true policy of the church is to abandon the governments, appeal to the people, and form an alliance between religion and liberty. Such a policy, he appears to maintain, is necessary to the preservation of the church, and will be to the advantage of both liberty and religion,—the former gaining sacredness, order, and stability, and the latter an infusion of popular energy, which will enable the church to bring once more under her influence the populations now disaffected with their rulers, and with her, because they believe her to be leagued with them to oppress. This seems to us to be his general doctrine, and we are unable to distinguish it from the policy contended for with so much zeal
*Oraison Funèbre d'O'Connell, prononcée à Rome, par le R. P. VENTURA, Théatin. New Orleans: 1847.