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Montalembert, for reconciling the Church with civil freedom.
In the United States, Catholics cannot form a political party. There, too, as an American bishop has assured us, their situation is most unfavourable as regards political influence and admission to office, because it is always cast in their teeth by Protestants that they find their principles in Papal pronouncements, and cannot therefore honestly accept the common liberties and obligations of a free State, but always cherish an arrière pensée that if ever they become strong enough they will upset the Constitution.
In Italy, the Papal Government has used every effort to deter Austria and the other Italian sovereigns from granting parliamentary and free municipal institutions. The documents proving this are to be seen in print. The Roman Court declared that it could not suffer even the very mildest forms of parliamentary government in its neighbourhood, on account of the bad example.
1 Prince Schwarzenberg reported this in 1850 to Baron Hügel in Flo
As the document is not well known north of the Alps, we give the passage. The whole letter will be found in a book printed by Gennarelli at Florence in 1862—" Le Dottrine civili e religiose della Corte di Roma," p. 72. It says, in reference to the Tuscan Constitution of 1848, “Le gouvernement pontifical avoue, que ses repugnances à cet égard se fondent aussi sur des motifs, qui lui sont plus particuliers. Il ne cherche nullement à dissimuler, que, forcé comme il est, à devoir reconnoître et proclamer tout régime parlementaire comme directement menaçant pour le libre exercice du pouvoir spirituel, il ne sauroit voir sans alarme se propager et se consolider autour de lui non seulement des principes constitutionnels imposés originairement par la révolution, mais encore des formes représentatives plus mitigées, dont la contagion lui semble non moins inévitable et désastreuse dans l'intérieur des états,” etc. In other words, “Our absolutist system, supported by the Inquisition, the strictest censorship, the suppression of all literature, the privileged exemption of the clergy, and arbitrary power of bishops, cannot endure any other than absolutist governments in Italy.”
The mild and just Grand-Duke Leopold of Tuscany was compelled against his will, under pressure from Rome, to abolish that article of the Constitution which asserted the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of religion, because the Pope declared that it could not be promulgated “tutà conscientia."1 Under the same influence the Jewish physicians in Tuscany were first in 1852 forbidden to practise, as they had long been allowed to do. Who can wonder, after this, at the hatred of the Italians towards the Papacy as it now is, or think any permanent peace possible between Italy and such a hierarchy as this?
That the Bavarian Constitution, with its equality of religious confessions, and of all citizens before the law, is looked on with an evil eye at Rome, is sufficiently shown by the constant reproaches of the Curia since 1818.1 And finally, the Austrian Constitution has drawn on itself the curse of the Vatican. In the Allocution of 22d June 1868 we read
1 Gennarelli, ut supra, pp. 78, seq.
“By our apostolic authority we reject and condemn the above-mentioned (new Austrian) laws in general, and in particular all that has been ordered, done, or enacted in these and in other things against the rights of the Church by the Austrian Government or its subordinates ; by the same authority we declare these laws and their consequences to have been, and to be for the future, null and void (nulliusque roboris fuisse ac fore). We exhort and adjure their authors, especially those who call themselves Catholics, and all who have dared to propose, to accept, to approve, and to execute them, to remember the censures and spiritual penalties incurred ipso facto, according to the apostolical constitutions and decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, by those who violate the rights of the Church."
By this sentence the whole legislature and executive of Austria is placed under ban, with the Emperor Francis Joseph at its head, and the Austrians may be thankful that the whole territories of the empire are not placed under interdict, according to the earlier precedent put in practice the last time against Venice (1606).
i See, for these, Concordat und Constitutions Eid der Kathol. in Bayern (Augsburg, 1847), pp. 244 seq.
Pius IX. condemns the Austrian Constitution for making Catholics bury the bodies of heretics in their cemeteries where they have none of their own, and he considers it “abominable” (abominabilis), because it allows Protestants and Jews to erect educational institutions. He seems to have quite forgotten that similar laws have long prevailed elsewhere without opposition from Rome.
If the will of the Civiltà is accomplished, the Bishops will solemnly condemn, by implication, next December, the Constitutions of the countries they live in, and the laws which they, or many of them, have sworn to observe, and will bind themselves to use all their efforts for the abolition of those laws and the overthrow of the Constitutions. This will not, of course, be so openly stated; the Civiltà and its allies will say, what has often been said since 1864, that the Church must observe for a time a prudent economy, and must so far take account of circumstances and accomplished facts, , as, without any modification of her real principles, to pay a certain external deference to them. The Bishops do well to endure the lesser evil, as long as open resistance would lead to worse consequences, and prejudice the interests of the Church. But this submission, or rather silence and endurance, is only provisional, and simply means that the lesser evil must be chosen in preference to a contest with no present prospect of
As soon as the situation changes, and there is a hope of contending successfully against free laws, the attitude of the bishops and clergy changes too. Then, as the Court of Rome and the Jesuits teach, every oath taken to a Constitution in general or to particular laws loses its force. The oft-quoted saying of the apostle, that we must obey God rather than man, means, in the Jesuit gloss, that we must obey the Pope, as God's representative on earth, and the infallible interpreter of His will, rather than any civil authority or laws. Therefore Innocent x., in his Bull of 20th November 1648, “ Zelus domus Dei," which condemns the Peace of Westphalia as “ null and void, and of no effect or authority for past, present, or future,” expressly adds, that no one, though he had sworn to observe the Peace, is bound to keep his oath." It was chiefly those conditions
1 The passage referred to runs as follows :—"Motu proprio, ac ex certâ scientiâ et maturâ deliberatione nostris, deque Apostolicæ potestatis