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agreeable to them, whether in God's word or not. This insolence, this arrogant assumption, applauded by the universal sectarian and secular press, if submitted to, would make the church the mere tool of the secular authority, and destroy all confidence in her teaching.
We know not how these difficulties on either side are to be overcome. The church cannot continue to be shorn of her freedom by the secular governments, and made to conform to their ambitious or timid politics, without losing more and more her hold on the European populations. Nor can she side with the revolution without perilling the interests of society from which her own cannot be separated. We see no way out of the dilemma but for her, trusting in the divine protection, to assert simply and energetically her independence of both parties alike, and confide in the faithful, as she did in the martyr ages, and as she does now in every heathen land.
We do not assume the propriety or necessity of trying to introduce the American system into the Old World, nor do we urge the church to break either with the governments or with the people; but we may, we hope, be permitted to say that what seems to us to be needed is, for the church to assert her independence of both so far as either attemptsto control her in the free discharge of her functions as the church of God; and we think the faithful should be prepared for the consequences of such assertion, whatever they may prove to be. The church cannot fulfil her mission, which is not confined to the Catholic nations of Europe, but embraces the whole world, if she is thus denied her inde pendence and crippled in her freedom of action. If the assertion of her independence in face of the temporal order deprives her of her legal status, and places her out of the protection of the civil law, it perhaps will, in the end, prove to be no serious calamity, or at least a less evil than her present cramped and crippled condition. She has held that position heretofore, and, aided by Him whose spouse she is, and who hath purchased her with his precious blood, she in that very condition conquered and subdued the world against the hostility of the most powerful empire that ever existed. What she has done once, she is no less able to do again. The worst that the state can do is to strip her of her temporalities, and forbid her to preach in the name of Jesus. The worst the revolution can do is the same, and in its fury to massacre bishops and priests, monks and nuns, men and women, because they choose to obey God rather than men. Well, all this has been more than once. We have seen it in Ireland, where the church was despoiled of her revenues, the people of their churches, schools, colleges, and religious houses, and only not of the use of the graveyard; where Catholic worship was prohibited under pain of death, and armed soldiers hunted and shot down as a wild beast the priest who ventured to say mass in a private house, in a remote morass, or a cave in the mountain, and the faithful were slaughtered as sheep by fiery zealots or the graceless myrinidons of power; where not only the church was despoiled and left naked and destitute, but her children were also despoiled of their estates and reduced to poverty, while laws were devised with satanic ingenuity and enforced with savage ferocity to degrade and debase them, and to prevent them from escaping from their poverty or their enforced secular ignorance. Yet we have seen the faith in spite of all live and gain on its enemies, the church survive and even prosper; and only the last year, when offered freely a government subsidy for her clergy and her services, we have seen the noble Irish hierarchy, without a dissenting voice, refuse it, and prefer to rely on the voluntary offerings of the faithful to coming under any obligation to the temporal power.
In this country the people were, in the outset, as hostile to the church as they could be anywhere or in any age, and they are not even yet converted, very generally, into warm and eager friends; yet without any public provision, relying solely on the alms of the faithful at home and abroad, principally at home, the missionaries of the cross have been sustained, the widow's handful of meal and cruse of oil have not failed; and yet we have founded and sustained schools, colleges, universities, erected convents for men and for women, and are erecting throughout the whole country churches, the finest in it, and some of which may be regarded as architectural ornaments; and nearly all this has been achieved within a single lifetime.
Men who sit at their ease in Zion, and find their most engrossing occupation in solving an antiquarian problem, or disserting on some heathen relic just dug up, though the world is breaking up and falling to pieces around them, may be frightened at the prospect of being deprived of comforts they are used to; but let governments and peoples do their worst, they cannot do worse than heathen Rome did, worse than France did in the revolution of 1789, or England has been doing in Ireland for three hundred years. Fear! What is there to fear? If God be for us who can be against us? The danger seems great, no doubt, to many; but let Catholics have the courage of their faith, and they will no longer fear him who can kill the body, and after that hath no more power. The danger before men of Christian courage will disappear as the morning mist before the rising sun. Can a Catholic fear poverty, want, labor, suffering, torture, or death in His cause who for our sakes became poor, and had not where to lay his head ; who took the form of a servant, and obeyed unto death, even the death of the cross? Know we not that Catholic faith and Catholic charity can weary out the most cruel and envenomed persecutors, and in the end gain the victory over them? If the church finds it necessary, then, in order to maintain her independence, to incur the hostility of kings or peoples, and the loss of her goods, there need be no fear; God will not forsake her, and the charity of the faithful never faileth.
UNIFICATION AND EDUCATION.*
[From the Catholic World for April, 1871.]
MR. HENRY WILSON recently reëlected senator in congress from Massachusetts, may not be distinguished as an original thinker or as a statesman of commanding ability, but no man is a surer index to his party or a more trustworthy exponent of its sentiments and tendencies, its aims and purposes. This gives to his article in The Atlantic Monthly, indicating the policy to be pursued by the Republican party, a weight it might not otherwise possess.
Mr Wilson is a strong political partisan, but he is above all a fervent Evangelical, and his aim, we presume, is to bring his political party to coincide with his Evangelical party, and make each strengthen the other. We of course, as a Catholicorgan, have nothing to say of questions in issue
* New Departure of the Republican Party. By Henry Wilson. The Atlantic Monthly. Boston: January, 1871.
between different political parties so long as they do not in volve the rights and interests of our religion, or leave untouched the fundamental principles and genius of the American system of government, although we may have more or less to say as American citizens; but when either party is so ill-advised as to aim a blow either at the freedom of our religion or at our federative system of government, we hold ourselves free, and in duty bound, to warn our fellow citizens and our fellow-Catholics of the impending danger, and to do what we can to avert or arrest the blow. We cannot, without incurring grave censure, betray by our silence the cause of our religion or of our country, for fear that by speaking we may cross the purposes of one party, and seem to favor the views and policy of another.
Mr. Wilson's New Departure is unquestionably revoluztionary, and therefore not lawful for any party in this country to adopt. It is expressed in two words, NATIONAL UNIFICATION and NATIONAL EDUCATION—that is, the consolidation of all the powers of government in the general government, and the social and religious unification of the American people by means of a system of universal and uniform compulsory education, adopted and enforced by the authority of the united or consolidated states, not by the states severally each within its own jurisdiction and for its own people. The first is decidedly revolutionary and destructive of the American system of federative government, or the division of powers between a general governirent and particular state governments; the second, in the sense proposed violates the rights of parents and annihilates the religious liberty secured by the constitution and laws both of the several states and of the United States.
The general government, in our American political system, is not the national government, or any more national than the several state governments. The national government with us is divided between a general government having charge of our relations with other powers and internal matters of a general nature and common to all the states, and particular state governments having charge of matters local and particular in their nature, and clothed with all the powers of supreme national governments not expressly delegated to the general government. In the draft of the federal constitution reported by the committee to the convention of 1787, the word national was used, but the convention finally struck it out, and inserted wherever it occurred the word general, as more appropriately designating the character and powers of the government they were creating. It takes under our actual system both the state governments and the general government to make one complete national government, invested with all the powers of government. By making the general government a supreme national government, we make it the source of all authority, subordinate the state governments to it, make them hold from it, and deprive them of all independent or individed rights. This would completely subvert our system of government, according to which the states hold their powers immediately from the political people, and independently of any suzerain or overlord, and the general government from the states or the people organized as states united in convention. A more complete change of the government or destruction of the federative principle, which constitutes the chief excellence and glory of our system, it would be difficult to propose, or even to conceive, than is set forth in Mr. Wilson's programme.
Mr. Wilson, however, is hardly justified in calling the revolution he proposes a “New Departure.” It has been the aim of a powerful party, under one name or another, ever since 1821, if not from the origin of the government itself. This party has been steadily pursuing it, and with increasing numbers and influence, ever since the anti-slavery agitation seriously commenced. At one time, and probably at all times, it has been moved chiefly by certain business interests which it could not advance according to its mind by state legislation, and for which it desired federal legislation and the whole power of a national government, but which it could not get because the constitution and the antagonistic interests created by slave labor were opposed to it. It then turned philanthropist and called in philanthropy to its aidphilanthropy which makes light of constitutions and mocks at state lines, and claims the right to go wherever it conceives the voice of humanity calls it. Under the pretext of philanthropy, the party turned abolitionist, and sought to bring under the action of the general government the question of slavery manifestly reserved to the states severally, and which it belonged to each to settle for itself in its own way.
A civil war followed. The slaves were emancipated, and slavery abolished, professedly under the warpower of the Union, as a military necessity, which nobody regrets. But the party did not stop here. Forgetful that