Page images
PDF
EPUB

one of the ablest and most enlightened men of the times. Such a man cannot fail to leave his mark on his age. Of the first Lecture, we can speak, at present, no further than to say, that our own investigations, carried on with a becoming hostility to Popery and the Romish Church, brought us, some years since to the same conclusions, as to the influence of the Catholic Church in advancing civilization, in the long period from the irruption of the barbarians of the North, to the time of Luther and Calvin, which the Bishop so clearly, so ably, and so eloquently sets forth in this lecture. The ground he takes is impregnable, and the more thoroughly we explore the period in question the more deeply shall we be impressed with the services of the Church, and the salutary influence exerted, even by what we choose to call Popery. The Church was always in advance of the age, and she struggled without relaxation to carry the race forward. To speak, as some of us do, of the “dark ages," and the “middle ages,” proves nothing but our own ignorance.

The second lecture is one of peculiar interest and importance at the present moment. The Industrial System, which has transformed the serf into the operative, and prepared the way for Modern Feudalism of the Middle Ages, is beginning to attract the attention, not only of radicals and socialists, but of politicians and statesmen. Its effect in reducing labour to a state of complete servitude to capital, and, therefore, the operative to the proprietor, is beginning to be seen, and to be felt, in the unspeakable misery and distress of the labouring classes. The great fact can be no longer concealed or denied, that the present economical system of what are called the more advanced nations of Christendom, places labour at the mercy of the capitalist, and every increase of wealth on the part of the few is attended by a more than corresponding increase of poverty and distress on the part of the many. Here is the fact. Men may gloss it over as they will, ascribe it to this cause or that; but here is the fact. The richest nation in the world is the poorest ; abundance superinduces want, and with the general increase of wealth, the mass of labourers find themselves reduced to the starving point, and rapidly falling below it. This is the fact our social reformers see, and seek to remedy. Our own labours for twenty years have been devoted almost exclusively to the great work of ascertaining the means by which labour may be emancipated, and the acquisition of wealth prevented from becoming a public curse. The conclusions to which we have come may be inferred from the article in the foregoing part of this Journal, headed “ No Church, no Reform.” We have been fully satisfied, for some time, that the present deplorable condition of the labouring classes is due to the rejection, in the sixteenth century, by nearly one half of Europe, of the authority of the Catholic Church. The rejection of that authority lest men without the necessary moral restraints on their natural selfishness, free to regulate all individual and social matters according to the dictates of the self-interests of individuals and governments, instead of the dictates of Christian duty and love. During the Middle Ages, and prior to the Reformation, the Catholic Church, by insisting on Gospel charity, on the merit of good works, and especially on the merit of voluntary poverty, and self-denial, had confined within some bounds the accumulative propensity of our nature, modi. fied and restrained the empire of capital, and compelled it, through considerations drawn from a future life, to make rich and ample provision for the poor. The great wealth of the Church was, to no inconsiderable extent, a Fund for the poor. No poor law was then needed. The Reformation changed all this, and, for the system of Gospel charity, voluntary poverty, good works, and self-denial, substituted self-interest, and sought to neutralize excessive selfishness by putting the selfishness of one against the selfishness of another. The result has been precisely what ought to have been expected,—the reduction, in the more industrial and enterprising nations, of labour to a complete dependence on capital, and the operatives to the minimum of human subsistence ; in some cases blow it. The remedy, we are convinced,—and we have devoted over twenty years of investigation to the subject,-can be found only in a return, if not to the Catholic Church, at least to a system of political economy similar to the one always insisted on, and enforced to a greater or less extent by that Church. The great evil is, that Mammon reigns in modern society without a rival, and we cannot remedy this evil without some power stronger even than the money-god. This power can be obtained only in and from the Church of Christ.

Such is the conclusion to which we have come, and right glad are we, to find this conclusion set forth in a striking light, and its truth demonstrated beyond the possibility of a reply, by Bishop Hughes, in this profound, able, and eloquent discourse. We commend it to the careful study of our political economists. It may go far to show them, what has often been said, that they have omitted the most important chapter of their science, that which treats of the distribution of wealth in relation to the moral and social well-being of the operative, They have considered the operative merely as a machine in the hands of the capitalist, for the production of wealth ; it is perhaps, time to consider him as a moral and religious being, something more than a spinning jenny, and of an innate worth and nobleness equal to those of his employer, and surpassing all the material wealth of the universe.

We return our thanks to the Bishop of New York for these two able and seasonable productions. We thank him in the name of truth and Christian charity; in the name of the poor oppressed, the starving widows and orphans; in the name of our country and humanity. So long as the prelates of his Church shall teach the doctrines we find here, and use their authority to realize them, he may be assured the cry of “ No Popery” will be of little avail in checking its progress.

0. A. BROWNSON-CATHOLICISM. The following is the conclusion of an eloquent article in the New Review, edited by 0. A. Brownson, by which it will be perceived that the author's religious opinions have at last settled down in favour of Catholicism :

“ This result obtained, the Church no longer obliged, as in the first three centuries, and in these last three, to struggle for her very existence, would resume her work of social amelioration-interrupted by the rise of Protestantism, and delayed by the obstacles thrown in its way by infidelity and the supremacy of the temporal authority-and devote new and unsuspected energies to the moral, intellectual, and physical elevation of the poorer and more numerous classes. Then the kingdom of God will come, and really, and confessedly, dwell with men ; then will be in very deed fulfilled this scripture, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bound.”

"Is this an idle dream? O, no! God has promised it, and all Christendom is crying out for it. The angel, with his roll flies through the midst of the heavens preaching the everlasting gospel, and men are every where falling into their ranks. The great question comes up, Catholicism, or Individualism; which becomes again Church or No-Church; which in the last analysis, is Religion or Infidelity. Disguise the matter as we will, we must all rally at the one or the other of these battle cries. Can there be a question, to which the great mass of the Christian world will respond ? Protestantism, in all it has peculiar to itself, in all that distinguishes it from genuine Catholicism, no longer responds to the religious, or even the social wants of the soul. It is weighed in the balance and found wanting. Through all our souls, have we, who have been educated under its influence, felt its utter insufficiency. We have sought to supply its defect in Mysticism with the Quaker, in Rationalism with the modern Lutheran, in Naturalism with the old English and French Deists, in Pantheism with modern Philosophers, in Socialism with Owen and Fourier ; but all in vain. Let loose, like Noah's dove from the ark, ere the waters had abated, we have found no resting place for the soles of our feet ; and, weary with our endless flight over the wild and weltering chaos, produced by the deluge of rationalism and infidelity, we return, and beat against the windows of the ark, impatient till the patriarch reaches forth his hand and takes us in. Struck with the perpetual miracle of the church, some among us bow down and worship; others find their way back through history and tradition ; others again, like ourselves, find, when the least expecting it, their philosophy reproducing, and the wants of the soul, suffering from the ravages of sin, redemanding unity and Catholicity. In one way or another, thank God, we shall all finally get back, and the new will become old, and the old will become new. There will be one fold and one shepherd; one faith, one bap

vol. 2.

[ocr errors]

tism, one heart and one mind; and it will be as the second coming of the Lord, to reign with men, and to make the salvation of God appear unto the ends of the earth, when all flesh shall behold his glory, and rejoice together. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and let the whole earth say, Amen."

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Sir Edwin SANDEYS, (a Protestant) in his Relation of the Western Religions, says:—“Of all probable proofs, the Catholic Church testimony is the most probable: what madness, then, it is for any man to tire out his soul, and to waste away his spirits, in tracing out all the stormy paths of the controversies of those days, wherein to err is no less easy than dangerous! Why not rather betake himself to the right path of truth, whereunto God and nature, reason and experience, do all give witness? That is, why not associate himself to that church, whereunto the custody of this heavenly and supernatural truth hath been from heaven itself committed? Why not weigh discreetly, which is the true church: and having once found it, why not receive faithfully and obediently what it delivers ?

The Catholic Church was founded by the Apostles, with promise, that the gates of Hell should not prevail against it. It has continued on now till the end of 1600 years, with honourable and certain line, of near two hundred and forty popes, successors of St. Peter,—both tyrants, traitors, pagans and heretics in vain wrestling, raging and undermining it. All the general Councils that ever were in the world, have approved and honoured it. God hath miraculously blessed it from above: so many learned doctors have enriched it with their writings; armies of saints have embelished it with their holiness; martyrs, with their blood: virgins with their purity. Even at this day, amid the difficulties of unjust rebellions, and the unnatural revolts of her nearest children, she yet stretches out her arms to the utmost corners of the world : newly embracing whole nations into her bosom. In all opposite churches, there are found inward dissensions, contrariety: change of opinions: uncertainty of revolutions: with robbing of churches : rebelling against governors and confusion of order. In the Catholic Church there is undivided unity : resolutions unalterable: the most heavenly order, reaching from the height of all power to the lowest of all subjection : all with admirable harmony, and undefective correspondence, bending the same way to the effecting of the same purpose."

St. Louis. On the 14th of April, took place the ceremony of laying the corner stone of a new Catholic Church, in the north-western part of this city, destined for the use of the German Catholics. The imposing rites of the occasion were witnessed by a great concourse of people, who had assembled on the ground, or accompanied the solemn procession of ecclesiastics from the Church of St. Francis Xavier. The Hibernian Society attended with their banners, badges, and music, and also the children of the various Catholic free schools. The following is the inscription on the parchment deposited in the corner stone. It was in the Latin Language, a translation of which into English we subjoin:

banners, badge following is Latin Languag

For the greater glory of God,
The honour of the Catholic Religion,
And the benefit of the faithful of this Diocese,

Gregory the XVI, being Sovereign Pontiff,
John Tyler, President of the United States,
M. M. Marinaduke, acting Governor of

the State of Missouri,
In the MDCCCXLIV year of our Redemption,

The LXVII of our Independence,

On the first Sunday after Easter,
The day after the Ides of April,

At the request of
The Very Rev. James Vandevelde,

Provincial of the Soc. of Jesus,
The Right Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick,

Bishop of St. Louis,
solemnly and canonically laid and blessed

the corner-stone of this Temple
to be dedicated to the Tri-une God,
under the invocation of St. Joseph;

The Very Rev. John Timon,
Visitor Congr. of Miss. being Assistant Priest,

and the Rev. Joseph Irissarri and
John B. Druyts, Soc. Jesu, Assistant Deacons,

The clergy of the city,

the Catholic Societies,
and a vast concourse of the people

assisting at the celebration.

The plan of the edifice was furnished by Mr. Geo. Purvis, Architect. It is to be of the Ionic order, with a portico supported by four fluted columns, and with an octagonal turret and spire of beautiful design and correct proportions. The foundations are already laid. The size of the building will be 107 feet by 60, and when completed, it will furnish accommodation for a large congregation, and be an ornament to the city. The Rev. Father Cotting, S. J. delivered the sermon on the occasion, in German, and paid an eloquent tribute to the generosity of Mrs. Ann Biddle, who presented to the Society, the valuable lot on which the church is to be erected.

There are now four Catholic churches in progress of erection in this city:

St. Mary's, under the title of “Our Lady of Victory,” corner of Third and Mulberry streets; St. Patrick's, corner of 6th and Biddle streets; St. Vincent of Paul's, on Decatur street, near Park Avenue ; and St. Joseph's, corner of 11th and Biddle streets.

« PreviousContinue »