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against us in the present instance, if the view given of Pius IX. be the just one. But that view has no authority, except the childish fears of one party and the unhallowed wishes of another. Pius IX. is a noble-minded and generous-hearted man, an enlightened prince, an humble and devout Christian, an uncompromising Catholic, a tender and vigilant shepherd, the spiritual father of Christendom, the visible head of the church, the vicegerent of God on earth; and he can be no liberal, no socialist, no political and social reformer, in the sense of this age, -no prince to deserve the sympathy of a La Mennais or a Horace Greeley, any more than of a Ledru Rollin or a Proudhon. We know beforehand that he cannot sanction what we have presented as the principles and motives of the popular movements of the day; for the church in general council and through her sovereign pontiffs has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned them; and he himself has condemned them, in condemning coinmunism, only another name for socialism, and in enjoining respect and obedience to princes,—as any one may see who will read the several Allocutions in which he has explained his policy.
No man has been more grossly misrepresented by pretended friends and real enemies than Pius IX. The admirers of the old order,—few in number, however,—alarmed at the magnitude of his proposed changes in the government and administration of his temporal dominions, perhaps offended because he did not ask or follow their advice, very naturally opposed him and sought to make him appear to be carried away by the spirit of the age, and pursuing a policy which must hurry the world into the abyss of radicalism; on the other hand, radicals, socialists, freemasons, and carbonari claimed him as one of themselves, because they wished to use the authority of his name and position to stir up the Catholic populations to rebellion, and to cover their own revolutionary and anarchical purposes. We share neither in the alarm of the former nor in the wish of the latter. We form our judgment of Pius IX. neither from Greeley's Tribune, nor from the Roman correspondence of the London Morning News ; but from well-known Catholic principles, his obvious position, and his own official, documents. Interpreted by these, he has only followed, with singular fidelity and firmness, the policy uniformly pursued by his predecessors.
As to his having sanctioned the principles and motives of
the popular movements of the day, there is nothing in it. The thing, in hac providentia, is simply impossible. The church, it is certain and undeniable, is wedded to no particular form of government, or of social organization. She stakes her existence neither on imperialism nor on feudalism, neither on monarchy nor on democracy. To no one or other of them does she commit herself, and she declares each of them to be a legitimate form of government when and where it exists with no legal claimant against it. But the principle of these movements is exclusive democracy ;not that democracy is a legitimate form of government, which is true; not that in these times, the views of the age being what they are, it is, with some restrictions, the best form of governinent, which may not be false ; but that the democratic is the only legitimate form of government, that all other forms are illegitimate, usurpations, tyrannies, to which the people owe no allegiance, and which they may, when they please, or believe it will be for their interest, conspire to overthrow. This is the principle implied in these movements, and which the liberals pretend that Pius IX. has sanctioned. But he has done no such thing. The church cannot accept this principle, because it would bind her to democracy, as her enemies a few years ago alleged that she was bound to monarchy, and compel her to declare all other forms of government illegal, and their acts null and void from the beginning. It would erect democracy into a dog.
a ma of faith. If the people now establishing democracies should hereafter become tired of them, and wish to reestablish monarchy,—not an impossible supposition, they would be obliged to renounce their religion before they could do it. The church could make no concession to them, and would be compelled by the invariable nature of faith, to command them to return to democracy, on pain of losing their souls. She would then not only be herself enslaved to democracy, but would be obliged to enslave the people to it also, and to prohibit them under any circumstances and in every country from ever adopting any other form, how much soever they might desire it. Forms of government, like all things human, are changeable, and it is impossible to keep the people always and everywhere satisfied with any one form.
What more unreasonable and more impolitic, then, than to bind them by religion always and everywhere to one and the same specific form?
We are opposing, we are advocating, no particular form of government. In themselves considered, forms of government are matters of indifference. The wise and just administration of government is always a matter of moment, —the form, abstractly considered, never. Man's true good is as attainable under one form of government or social organization as another; for it is obtained, if obtained at all, from a source wholly independent of the temporal order. That good the church does and must seek, and its necessary condition is true liberty. To assume, as these social movements do, that this liberty is possible only under a given form of government and social organization would be to maintain that the church can discharge her mission only where that particular form of government and social organization exists. The first thing her missionaries to a country where that form does not exist must attempt would then be to revolutionize the state and reorganize society. The American people, to a very considerable extent, suppose this to be the fact; and, supposing monarchy to be the favorite form, maintain that the spread of Catholicity here must essentially destroy our popular form of government, and introduce forms similar to those which the people in the Old World are now laboring to throw off. Substitute democracy for monarchy, and the doctrine we oppose is precisely that which our adversaries allege against us. Are we to adopt it? Are we to believe that Pius IX. adopts it, and requires us to understand that all but democratic nations are out of the way of salvation, placed out of the condition of attaining to any good here or hereafter?
Since we hold that forms of government are indifferent, that there is evil only in sin, and that our good comes exclusively from the Christian order, we deny the necessity of political and social changes; and since to seek our good from them is to seek it from the temporal order instead of the spiritual, which is in principle a rejection of Christianity and a return to heathenism, we censure them. But the minds of the people may be perverted and their hearts corrupted, and we, in consequence, unable to make them see where their true good lies, or to induce them even to give us their attention while we point it out to them. They may be intent on certain political changes, mad for them, and have ears, eyes, hearts, and hands, for nothing else. We may condemn their state of mind, the moral disposition in which we find them, but it is a fact we have to meet and deal with as a fact. In such cases, if the concession of the
changes demanded involves no departure from faith or morals, it is wise to make it; in some sense, necessary, as a means of removing the prohibens, as we use logic with an unbeliever in order to remove the obstacles he finds in his mind to the reception of the faith. When political or social changes for this purpose become necessary, it is never the part of wisdom to resist them; authority should always be free to concede them; and that it may be is one reason why it cannot and should not be bound to any particular form of government or social organization.
Pius IX. has evidently acted on the principle we here commend. He found, on his accession to the pontifical throne, his own immediate temporal subjects and the European populations generally mad for popular institutions, and not to be satisfied with any thing else. They were ripe for revolt, and prepared to attempt the acquisition of popular government in some form, at all hazard,-if necessary, by insurrection, violent and bloody revolution. They had lost all respect for their rulers, and would listen no longer to the voice of their pastors,—would listen to nothing, in fact, that was opposed to their dominant passion. What was to be done There were but two alternatives possible. Anthority must either repress them by the strong arm of physical force, or attempt to tranquillize them and save them from civil war and anarchy by the concession of popular institutions. The former had been adopted, had been tried, was in actual operation, and it alienated still more and more the hearts of the people from their sovereigns, and from the church, in consequence of her supposed sympathy with monarchy. Nothing was left that conld be tried with much hope of a favorable issue, but the latter alternative. Pins IX. saw this,-indeed, most statesmen saw it, and, anxious for the peace and order of his dominions, and to remove from the minds of all whatever accidental obstacles there might be to their listening to the lessons of religion, he resolved to adopt it; and accordingly proceeded to give his subjects a constitutional government, and, by his example at least, recommended to the European sovereigns to do as much for theirs, and to do it cheerfully, ungrudgingly, and in good faith. The policy came, indeed, too late to effect all the good that was hoped, and to avert all the evil that was threatened; yet that, under the circumstances, it was wise and prudent, nay, even necessary, there really seems to us no room to doubt. We may have regretted the circumstances which called for it, but we have never for a moment doubted, or thought of doubting, its wisdom or its necessity, although from the first we apprehended the consequences which have followed, and that it would hasten the outbreak of the European populations, which we knew the ill-disposed were preparing; and we have never believed its effect in pacifying the excited multitudes would be as great as some of our friends, whose confidence in the people is greater than ours, expected it would be.
The adoption of this policy, the policy of concession to the exigencies of the times, implies no sanction by the Holy Father of the principles and motives of those popular movements and demands which made it necessary or advisable, nor of the political and social changes we have spoken against. We have been addressing the people and endeavoring to show them what is proper for them to seek, not attempting to point out to authority what it should do ; for we have no vocation to instruct authority in its duties. We are of the people, and we only point out what our religion enjoins upon them and us. It may be very just, very wise,
, nay, very necessary, at times, for authority to concede what it is very wrong, very foolish, on the part of the people to demand. The children of Israel, in the time of Samuel, afford us a case in point. They demanded of the Lord a á king, that they might be like other nations. The Lord rebuked them, told them they knew not what they asked, and unrolled before them the oppressions to which a compliance with their request would subject them. Nevertheless, he complied with it, and gave them a king. The question before Pius IX. was not the question we have been discussing. The movements existed, the people demanded popular in-stitutions, and were resolved, come what might, to attempt them. The simple question for him was, How shall this state of things be treated ? He said to the princes in answer, “Give the people what they ask.” This he was free to do, because the church is wedded to no political or social order, to monarchy no more than to democracy, is as independent of the throne as of the tribune, and can be as much at home in a republic as anywhere else.
What is to be the result of the movements of the day we know not. The old monarchies may be swept away, or they may partially recover, and linger on for ages to come ; but that does not disturb us. Old imperial Rome and old Roman civilization were broken down by the irruption of the