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have not justified all our fears, and the national honor has been far less compromised than we thought it might be. With the President's last annual Message we have no serious fault to find. It is a calm, dignified, and statesmanlike document, well written and well reasoned, generally just in its remarks and sound in its principles. As far as we can judge, it has given very general satisfaction to the sober men of all parties.

We have no room for an analysis of the Message, or remarks on any of the important questions it treats; for our present purpose is simply to use the occasion to offer some observations on certain recent political manifestations in the country, in their bearing upon Catholics and the Catholic interests in the United States. It may readily be conjectured that we refer to the success in the late elections, in a large number of the States, of the Know-Nothing, or socalled American party.

We consider ourselves bound, as a Catholic journal, encouraged and supported by the bishops and clergy for our devotion to the interest of Catholicity, to abstain, as a general rule, from all intermeddling with party politics. We do not think it fair or honorable to use the influence we may acquire among Catholics, as a religious journalist, against or in favor of any political party. We have no right to commit, or to try to commit, the bishops and clergy who support us to one party or another. They in their official capacity do not enter into the political conflicts of the day, and tell the people of their charge with what party they must or must not vote, in order to discharge their duties as Catholics. We have had good opportunities of knowing their views on this subject, and we do them only simple justice when we say that they wish to keep the Church and Catholic interests in the country free from the passions, conflicts, and interests of political parties.

Believing such to be the policy of the ecclesiastical authority, and believing it the only wise or prudent policy for Catholics in this country, we have always set our faces against the formation of a Catholic party in politics, and studied to make it manifest, as far as our Review could be regarded as an organ of the Catholic body, that Catholics are as free as any other class of citizens to belong to which of the great parties of the country they see proper, and that it is no more nor less a mark of Catholicity to support the

Democratic party than the Whig, or the Whig than the Democratic. We have felt ourselves at liberty to discuss the great principles of government and administration, to treat of the morality or the philosophy of politics, but not to take sides for or against any party, which recognized loyalty to the Constitution as a duty. In this the recognized organs of the Catholic body have, with scarcely an exception, fully agreed with us. No Catholic journal, recognized officially as an espicopal organ, has suffered itself to be a partisan journal; and we may say that it is and has been the settled policy of the Church in America, and of all who in any way may be regarded as expressing her views and wishes, to keep Catholic interests independent of the conflicts of political parties, and to leave all Catholics in their quality of citizens free, saving loyalty to the Constitution, to vote for such party as they in their conscientious convictions think best. As a matter of fact, though the majority of foreign-born Catholics, for reasons very distinct from their Catholicity, have usually voted the Republican or Democratic ticket, Catholics, like other citizens, have always been more or less divided in their political preferences.

In Ireland, and some countries on the Continent, we have seen a Catholic party in politics; but there have been reasons for such a party there which have not existed with us. There Catholicity has been connected in some way with the state, either as the object of its patronage or of its hostility, and Catholics have been obliged to enter the arena of politics, not as citizens only, but as Catholics, in order to defend the freedom and independence of their Church, to repeal or prevent the passage of persecuting statutes, and to defend or to obtain equal civil rights with non-Catholics. Such was the case in the struggle for Catholic emancipation in Great Britain and Ireland; such was the case in the long struggle in France for the freedom of Catholic education, and such will always be the case where the government undertakes to legislate in reference to Catholic interests, either for or against them. this country the government professes to let the Church alone, and not to legislate on religion at all. So long as it does let the Church alone, and leaves her in her own sphere, and in regard to her own children, free to follow her own constitution and laws, and protects Catholics in

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their equal rights, as men and citizens, there is and can be no justification of a Catholic party in politics. To attempt to make it a Catholic duty to support one party and oppose another, would be little less than madness, for it would make, not unreasonably, bitter enemies of the party opposed, without securing the friendship of the party supported. Besides, it would be a sort of secularizing of the Church. Undoubtedly, there have been journals circulating chiefly amongst Catholics, and regarded as Catholic by outsiders, and demagogues enough, nominally Catholic perhaps, that have talked in a boastful way of a Catholic party and the great things it would do, and have endeavored to make use of the influence they exerted to commit the Catholic body as such, and to turn over the socalled "Catholic vote to one party or another. There has been, no doubt, too much of this, and Catholics and Catholic interests are suffering not a little from it. But the Church is not responsible for it, for she never inspired it, and they who have done it have acted without her authority and against her wishes. Her wish is to pursue her spiritual mission in peace, and keep aloof from politics, so long as they leave her the opportunity. Even in Ireland, where the clergy have been obliged, in order to protect their flocks, to assume, in some measure, the position of political leaders, we see, as things settle down into a less abnormal state, a decided disposition manifested by the Hierarchy to withdraw Catholic interests as far as possible from the action of political parties, and thus render them independent of party successes or party failures.

But this wise, just, and prudent policy, which needs only to be stated in order to be approved by every sensible man, is threatened to be disturbed by the new party that has recently sprung up, under the pretence, wholly unfounded, that the Catholic Church has entered the field of politics, and is laboring to control the politics of the country. The Know-Nothings are endeavoring to make the Catholic question a political question, to be decided by the action of political parties. Unhappily, we cannot deny that a few Custom-House Catholics, that is, Catholics who are so only in name, or in the hopes of using Catholicity to help them into some petty office, and some journals that look upon the Catholic body as their stock_in trade, have said some foolish things, and done what they

could to make the appointing power believe that there is a "Catholic vote," and that they command it; but these do not represent the Church, and have not, as non-Catholic politicians sometimes imagine, the confidence of the Catholic community. They are so little considered by us that we have not, perhaps, taken sufficient pains to disavow them. But in spite of all these may say or do, we repeat it, the Church has not in this country entered at all into the field of secular politics, and has in no instance instructed her children as to the party they should or should not vote for. Catholic citizens are citizens as much as any other class of citizens, and have the right to vote according to their political preferences. If they have been more subjected to the influence of leaders than others, — a fact which we do not concede, it has not been by their clergy, nor by appeals to their Catholicity. As a body, whether foreign-born or native-born, they are without exception the most conscientious and independent class of voters in the country. Nevertheless, the Know-Nothings, seizing upon a few isolated facts, which prove nothing against the Church, will have it that she interferes in our elections, and is seeking, by Catholic votes cast under priestly dictation, to get control of the civil power, and massacre all the Protestants and non-Catholics, reduce them to slavery, or compel them at the point of the bayonet to embrace the Catholic faith. They abound in frightful stories about "secret conclaves," "Popish plots," and " Papal conspiracies"; and some men, who ought to know enough to laugh at such things, really run away with a notion that our liberties are in danger, and that our republican institutions are all doomed. Poor men! they never stop to think that liberty is as dear to us as it is to them, and that we cannot destroy the republican institutions of the country without involving ourselves in the same ruin that we should bring upon our non-Catholic fellow-citizens. But the panic is produced, people are alarmed out of their propriety by the "rapid spread of Popery," "the growing influence of Rome," and the Know-Nothings, taking advantage of the excitement which they themselves have fanned, appear resolved to force our religion into politics, and to make it a direct subject of legislation. Let them turn, or attempt to turn, the government against us, and, as little as they know, they must see that they bring Cath

olic interests into party politics, and force us, if we vote at all, to vote in reference to our own interest as Catholics, and compel the Church, in defence of her own freedom and independence, to do the precise thing they so falsely accuse her of having done.

We regard this as a most grave objection to the KnowNothing movement. It brings into our politics the very elements which, by recognizing the equal rights of all professedly Christian denominations, and granting special favors to none, it was the intention of our statesmen to exclude from them. The American principle is to leave religion to itself, and each religious community to the voluntary support of its own members, and free to follow with regard to them its own laws and discipline. The intention was to leave to the state, or the members of each religious denomination in their quality of citizens, in which all were equal, only secular affairs to deal with. All being free in their religion, and having all their religious rights protected, it was hoped the citizens might discharge their civil duties, and exercise their civil rights, without introducing into party politics their religious differences. Whether this truly American policy is, abstractly considered, the most desirable or not, it obviously is the only practicable policy in a country like ours, cut up as it is into a multitude of religious sects and denominations. The only sensible rule is either to exclude all religions but one, or to recognize the equal rights of all, and to grant them all equal protection, as involved in the protection of their equal rights as citizens. The former was wholly out of the question with us, and not to be thought of. The latter was the rule adopted, and is the American policy. No class of persons in the country has more cheerfully accepted this policy, or more scrupulously conformed to it than Catholics. It is this policy that the new party, if we understand it, proposes to subvert. It proposes to make religion an affair of state, and the religious differences of American citizens an element in our party contests. In this it is not only not American, but anti-American.

Why

But we are told that the movement is not directed against Catholics as Catholics, but as foreigners. The aim is, that "Americans shall govern America." then introduce Catholics at all? All foreigners are not Catholics, nor are all Catholics foreigners. If Catholics

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