History of the Conflict
Between
Religion and Science




 

Chapter XII.

The Impending Crisis.

Indications of the approach of a religious crisis. -- The predominating Christian Church, the Roman, perceives this, and makes preparation for it. -- Pius IX convokes an Œcumenical Council -- Relations of the different European governments to the papacy. -- Relations of the Church to Science, as indicated by the Encyclical Letter and the Syllabus.

Acts of the Vatican Council in relation to the infallibility of the pope, and to Science. -- Abstract of decisions arrived at.

Controversy between the Prussian Government and the papacy. -- It is a contest between the State and the Church for supremacy -- Effect of dual government in Europe -- Declaration by the Vatican Council of its position as to Science -- The dogmatic constitution of the Catholic faith. -- Its definitions respecting God, Revelation, Faith, Reason. -- The anathemas it pronounces. -- Its denunciation of modern civilization.

The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and its acts.

General review of the foregoing definitions, and acts. -- Present condition of the controversy, and its future prospects.
 

 

No one who is acquainted with the present tone of thought in Christendom can hide from himself the fact that an intellectual, a religious crisis is impending.

In all directions we see the lowering skies, we hear the mutterings of the coming storm. In Germany, the national party is arraying itself against the ultramontane; in France, the men of progress are struggling against the unprogressive, and in their contest the political supremacy of that great country is well-nigh neutralized or lost. In Italy, Rome has passed into the hands of an excommunicated king. The sovereign pontiff, feigning that he is a prisoner, is fulminating from the Vatican his anathemas, and, in the midst of the most convincing proofs of his manifold errors, asserting his own infallibility. A Catholic archbishop with truth declares that the whole civil society of Europe seems to be withdrawing itself in its public life from Christianity. In England and America, religious persons perceive with dismay that the intellectual basis of faith has been undermined by the spirit of the age. They prepare for the approaching disaster in the best manner they can.

The most serious trial through which society can pass is encountered in the exuviation of its religious restraints. The history of Greece and the history of Rome exhibit to us in an impressive manner how great are the perils. But it is not given to religions to endure forever. They necessarily undergo transformation with the intellectual development of man. How many countries are there professing the same religion now that they did at the birth of Christ?

It is estimated that the entire population of Europe is about three hundred and one million. Of these, one hundred and eighty-five million are Roman Catholics, thirty-three million are Greek Catholics. Of Protestants there are seventy-one million, separated into many sects. Of Jews, five million; of Mohammedans, seven million.

Of the religious subdivisions of America an accurate numerical statement cannot be given. The whole of Christian South America is Roman Catholic, the same may be said of Central America and of Mexico, as also of the Spanish and French West India possessions. In the United States and Canada the Protestant population predominates. To Australia the same remark applies. In India the sparse Christian population sinks into insignificance in presence of two hundred million Mohammedans and other Oriental denominations. The Roman Catholic Church is the most widely diffused and the most powerfully organized of all modern societies. It is far more a political than a religious combination. Its principle is that all power is in the clergy, and that for laymen there is only the privilege of obedience. The republican forms under which the Churches existed in primitive Christianity have gradually merged into an absolute centralization, with a man as vice-God at its head. This Church asserts that the divine commission under which it acts comprises civil government; that it has a right to use the state for its own purposes, but that the state has no right to intermeddle with it; that even in Protestant countries it is not merely a coördinate government, but the sovereign power. It insists that the state has no rights over any thing which it declares to be in its domain, and that Protestantism, being a mere rebellion, has no rights at all; that even in Protestant communities the Catholic bishop is the only lawful spiritual pastor.

It is plain, therefore, that of professing Christians the vast majority are Catholic; and such is the authoritative demand of the papacy for supremacy, that, in any survey of the present religious condition of Christendom, regard must be mainly had to its acts. Its movements are guided by the highest intelligence and skill. Catholicism obeys the orders of one man, and has therefore a unity, a compactness, a power, which Protestant denominations do not possess. Moreover, it derives inestimable strength from the souvenirs of the great name of Rome.

Unembarrassed by any hesitating sentiment, the papacy has contemplated the coming intellectual crisis. It has pronounced its decision, and occupied what seems to it to be the most advantageous ground.

This definition of position we find in the acts of the late Vatican Council.
 

Predominance of Catholicity.

Pius IX., by a bull dated June 29, 1868, convoked an Œcumenical Council, to meet in Rome, on December 8, 1869. Its sessions ended in July, 1870. Among other matters submitted to its consideration, two stand forth in conspicuous prominence -- they are the assertion of the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, and the definition of the relations of religion to science.

But the convocation of the Council was far from meeting with general approval.

The views of the Oriental Churches were, for the most part, unfavorable. They affirmed that they saw a desire in the Roman pontiff to set himself up as the head of Christianity, whereas they recognized the Lord Jesus Christ alone as the head of the Church. They believed that the Council would only lead to new quarrels and scandals. The sentiment of these venerable Churches is well shown by the incident that, when, in 1867, the Nestorian Patriarch Simeon had been invited by the Chaldean Patriarch to return to Roman Catholic unity, he, in his reply, showed that there was no prospect for harmonious action between the East and the West: "You invite me to kiss humbly the slipper of the Bishop of Rome; but is he not, in every respect, a man like yourself -- is his dignity superior to yours? We will never permit to be introduced into our holy temples of worship images and statues, which are nothing but abominable and impure idols. What! shall we attribute to Almighty God a mother, as you dare to do? Away from us, such blasphemy!"
 

The Œcumenical Council.

Eventually, the patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, from all regions of the world, who took part in this Council, were seven hundred and four.

Rome had seen very plainly that Science was not only rapidly undermining the dogmas of the papacy, but was gathering great political power. She recognized that all over Europe there was a fast-spreading secession among persons of education, and that its true focus was North Germany.

She looked, therefore, with deep interest on the Prusso-Austrian War, giving to Austria whatever encouragement she could. The battle of Sadowa was a bitter disappointment to her.

With satisfaction again she looked upon the breaking out of the Franco-Prussian War, not doubting that its issue would be favorable to France, and therefore favorable to her. Here, again, she was doomed to disappointment at Sedan.

Having now no further hope, for many years to come, from external war, she resolved to see what could be done by internal insurrection, and the present movement in the German Empire is the result of her machinations.

Had Austria or had France succeeded, Protestantism would have been overthrown along with Prussia.

But, while these military movements were being carried on, a movement of a different, an intellectual kind, was engaged in. Its principle was, to restore the worn-out mediæval doctrines and practices, carrying them to an extreme, no matter what the consequences might be.
 

Expectations of the Papacy.

Not only was it asserted that the papacy has a divine right to participate in the government of all countries, coördinately with their temporal authorities, but that the supremacy of Rome in this matter must be recognized; and that in any question between them the temporal authority must conform itself to her order.

And, since the endangering of her position had been mainly brought about by the progress of science, she presumed to define its boundaries, and prescribe limits to its authority. Still more, she undertook to denounce modern civilization.

These measures were contemplated soon after the return of his Holiness from Gaeta in 1848, and were undertaken by the advice of the Jesuits, who, lingering in the hope that God would work the impossible, supposed that the papacy, in its old age, might be reinvigorated. The organ of the Curia proclaimed the absolute independence of the Church as regards the state; the dependence of the bishops on the pope; of the diocesan clergy on the bishops; the obligation of the Protestants to abandon their atheism, and return to the fold; the absolute condemnation of all kinds of toleration. In December, 1854, in an assembly of bishops, the pope had proclaimed the dogma of the immaculate conception. Ten years subsequently he put forth the celebrated Encyclical Letter and the Syllabus.

The Encyclical Letter is dated December 8, 1864. It was drawn up by learned ecclesiastics, and subsequently debated at the Congregation of the Holy Office, then forwarded to prelates, and finally gone over by the pope and cardinals.

Many of the clergy objected to its condemnation of modern civilization. Some of the cardinals were reluctant to concur in it. The Catholic press accepted it, not, however, without misgivings and regrets. The Protestant governments put no obstacle in its way; the Catholic were embarrassed by it. France allowed the publication only of that portion proclaiming the jubilee; Austria and Italy permitted its introduction, but withheld their approval. The political press and legislatures of Catholic countries gave it an unfavorable reception. Many deplored it as likely to widen the breach between the Church and modern society. The Italian press regarded it as determining a war, without truce or armistice, between the papacy and modern civilization. Even in Spain there were journals that regretted "the obstinacy and blindness of the court of Rome, in branding and condemning modern civilization."

It denounces that "most pernicious and insane opinion, that liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of every man, and that this right ought, in every well-governed state, to be proclaimed and asserted by law; and that the will of the people, manifested by public opinion (as it is called), or by other means, constitutes a supreme law, independent of all divine and human rights." It denies the right of parents to educate their children outside the Catholic Church. It denounces "the impudence" of those who presume to subordinate the authority of the Church and of the Apostolic See, "conferred upon it by Christ our Lord, to the judgment of the civil authority." His Holiness commends, to the venerable brothers to whom the Encyclical is addressed, incessant prayer, and, "in order that God may accede the more easily to our and your prayers, let us employ in all confidence, as our mediatrix with him, the Virgin Mary, mother of God, who sits as a queen upon the right hand of her only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in a golden vestment, clothed around with various adornments. There is nothing she cannot obtain from him."
 

Encyclical Letter and Syllabus.

Plainly, the principle now avowed by the papacy must bring it into collision even with governments which had heretofore maintained amicable relations with it. Great dissatisfaction was manifested by Russia, and the incidents that ensued drew forth from his Holiness an allocution (November, 1866) condemnatory of the course of that government. To this, Russia replied, by declaring the Concordat of 1867 abrogated.

Undeterred by the result of the battle of Sadowa (July, 1866), though it was plain that the political condition of Europe was now profoundly affected, and especially the relations of the papacy, the pope delivered an allocution (June 27, 1867), confirming the Encyclical and Syllabus. He announced his intention of convoking an Œcumenical Council.

Accordingly, as we have already mentioned, in the following year (June 29, 1868), a bull was issued convoking that Council. Misunderstandings, however, had now sprung up with Austria. The Austrian Reichsrath had adopted laws introducing equality of civil rights for all the inhabitants of the empire, and restricting the influence of the Church. This produced on the part of the papal government an expostulation. Acting as Russia had done, the Austrian Government found it necessary to abrogate the Concordat of 1855.

In France, as above stated, the publication of the entire Syllabus was not permitted; but Prussia, desirous of keeping on good terms with the papacy, did not disallow it. The exacting disposition of the papacy increased. It was openly declared that the faithful must now sacrifice to the Church, property, life, and even their intellectual convictions. The Protestants and the Greeks were invited to tender their submission.
 

Convocation of the Council.

On the appointed day, the Council opened. Its objects were, to translate the Syllabus into practice, to establish the dogma of papal infallibility, and define the relations of religion to science. Every preparation had been made that the points determined on should be carried. The bishops were informed that they were coming to Rome not to deliberate, but to sanction decrees previously made by an infallible pope. No idea was entertained of any such thing as free discussion. The minutes of the meetings were not permitted to be inspected; the prelates of the opposition were hardly allowed to speak. On January 22, 1870, a petition, requesting that the infallibility of the pope should be defined, was presented; an opposition petition of the minority was offered. Hereupon, the deliberations of the minority were forbidden, and their publications prohibited. And, though the Curia had provided a compact majority, it was found expedient to issue an order that to carry any proposition it was not necessary that the vote should be near unanimity, a simple majority sufficed. The remonstrances of the minority were altogether unheeded.

As the Council pressed forward to its object, foreign authorities became alarmed at its reckless determination. A petition drawn up by the Archbishop of Vienna, and signed by several cardinals and archbishops, entreated his Holiness not to submit the dogma of infallibility for consideration, "because the Church has to sustain at present a struggle unknown in former times, against men who oppose religion itself as an institution baneful to human nature, and that it is inopportune to impose upon Catholic nations, led into temptation by so many machinations, more dogmas than the Council of Trent proclaimed." It added that "the definition demanded would furnish fresh arms to the enemies of religion, to excite against the Catholic Church the resentment of men avowedly the best." The Austrian prime-minister addressed a protest to the papal government, warning it against any steps that might lead to encroachments on the rights of Austria. The French Government also addressed a note, suggesting that a French bishop should explain to the Council the condition and the rights of France. To this the papal government replied that a bishop could not reconcile the double duties of an ambassador and a Father of the Council. Hereupon, the French Government, in a very respectful note, remarked that, to prevent ultra opinions from becoming dogmas, it reckoned on the moderation of the bishops, and the prudence of the Holy Father; and, to defend its civil and political laws against the encroachments of the theocracy, it had counted on public reason and the patriotism of French Catholics. In these remonstrances the North-German Confederation joined, seriously pressing them on the consideration of the papal government.

On April 23d, Von Arnim, the Prussian embassador, united with Daru, the French minister, in suggesting to the Curia the inexpediency of reviving mediæval ideas. The minority bishops, thus encouraged, demanded now that the relations of the spiritual to the secular power should be determined before the pope's infallibility was discussed, and that it should be settled whether Christ had conferred on St. Peter and his successors a power over kings and emperors.
 

The Vatican Council.

No regard was paid to this, not even delay was consented to. The Jesuits, who were at the bottom of the movement, carried their measures through the packed assembly with a high hand. The Council omitted no device to screen itself from popular criticism. Its proceedings were conducted with the utmost secrecy; all who took part in them were bound by a solemn oath to observe silence.

On July 13th, the votes were taken. Of 601 votes, 451 were affirmative. Under the majority rule, the measure was pronounced carried, and, five days subsequently, the pope proclaimed the dogma of his infallibility. It has often been remarked that this was the day on which the French declared war against Prussia. Eight days afterward the French troops were withdrawn from Rome. Perhaps both the statesman and the philosopher will admit that an infallible pope would be a great harmonizing element, if only common-sense could acknowledge him.

Hereupon, the King of Italy addressed an autograph letter to the pope, setting forth in very respectful terms the necessity that his troops should advance and occupy positions "indispensable to the security of his Holiness, and the maintenance of order;" that, while satisfying the national aspirations, the chief of Catholicity, surrounded by the devotion of the Italian populations, "might preserve on the banks of the Tiber a glorious seat, independent of all human sovereignty."

To this his Holiness replied in a brief and caustic letter: "I give thanks to God, who has permitted your majesty to fill the last days of my life with bitterness. For the rest, I cannot grant certain requests, nor conform with certain principles contained in your letter. Again, I call upon God, and into his hands commit my cause, which is his cause. I pray God to grant your majesty many graces, to free you from dangers, and to dispense to you his mercy which you so much need."
 

Infallibility of the Pope.

The Italian troops met with but little resistance. They occupied Rome on September 20, 1870. A manifesto was issued, setting forth the details of a plebiscitum, the vote to be by ballot, the question, "the unification of Italy." Its result showed how completely the popular mind in Italy is emancipated from theology. In the Roman provinces the number of votes on the lists was 167,548; the number who voted, 135,291; the number who voted for annexation, 133,681; the number who voted against it, 1,507; votes annulled, 103. The Parliament of Italy ratified the vote of the Roman people for annexation by a vote of 239 to 20. A royal decree now announced the annexation of the Papal States to the kingdom of Italy, and a manifesto was issued indicating the details of the arrangement. It declared that "by these concessions the Italian Government seeks to prove to Europe that Italy respects the sovereignty of the pope in conformity with the principle of a free Church in a free state."
 

The Italian Government.

In the Prusso-Austrian War it had been the hope of the papacy, to restore the German Empire under Austria, and make Germany a Catholic nation. In the Franco-German War the French expected ultramontane sympathies in Germany. No means were spared to excite Catholic sentiment against the Protestants. No vilification was spared. They were spoken of as atheists; they were declared incapable of being honest men; their sects were pointed out as indicating that their secession was in a state of dissolution. "The followers of Luther are the most abandoned men in all Europe." Even the pope himself, presuming that the whole world had forgotten all history, did not hesitate to say, "Let the German people understand that no other Church but that of Rome is the Church of freedom and progress."

Meantime, among the clergy of Germany a party was organized to remonstrate against, and even resist, the papal usurpation. It protested against "a man being placed on the throne of God," against a vice-God of any kind, nor would it yield its scientific convictions to ecclesiastical authority. Some did not hesitate to accuse the pope himself of being a heretic. Against these insubordinates excommunications began to be fulminated, and at length it was demanded that certain professors and teachers should be removed from their offices, and infallibilists substituted. With this demand the Prussian Government declined to comply.

The Prussian Government had earnestly desired to remain on amicable terms with the papacy; it had no wish to enter on a theological quarrel; but gradually the conviction was forced upon it that the question was not a religious but a political one -- whether the power of the state should be used against the state. A teacher in a gymnasium had been excommunicated; the government, on being required to dismiss him, refused. The Church authorities denounced this as an attack upon faith. The emperor sustained his minister. The organ of the infallible party threatened the emperor with the opposition of all good Catholics, and told him that, in a contention with the pope, systems of government can and must change. It was now plain to every one that the question had become, "Who is to be master in the state, the government or the Roman Church? It is plainly impossible for men to live under two governments, one of which declares to be wrong what the other commands. If the government will not submit to the Roman Church, the two are enemies." A conflict was thus forced upon Prussia by Rome -- a conflict in which the latter, impelled by her antagonism to modern civilization, is clearly the aggressor.
 

Affairs in Prussia.

The government, now recognizing its antagonist, defended itself by abolishing the Catholic department in the ministry of Public Worship. This was about midsummer, 1871. In the following November the Imperial Parliament passed a law that ecclesiastics abusing their office, to the disturbance of the public peace, should be criminally punished. And, guided by the principle that the future belongs to him to whom the school belongs, a movement arose for the purpose of separating the schools from the Church.
 

Action of the Prussian Government.

The Jesuit party was extending and strengthening an organization all over Germany, based on the principle that state legislation in ecclesiastical matters is not binding. Here was an act of open insurrection. Could the government allow itself to be intimidated? The Bishop of Ermeland declared that he would not obey the laws of the state if they touched the Church. The government stopped the payment of his salary; and, perceiving that there could be no peace so long as the Jesuits were permitted to remain in the country, their expulsion was resolved on, and carried into effect. At the close of 1872 his Holiness delivered an allocution, in which he touched on the "persecution of the Church in the German Empire," and asserted that the Church alone has a right to fix the limits between its domain and that of the state -- a dangerous and inadmissible principle, since under the term morals the Church comprises all the relations of men to each other, and asserts that whatever does not assist her oppresses her. Hereupon, a few days subsequently (January 9, 1873), four laws were brought forward by the government: 1. Regulating the means by which a person might sever his connection with the Church; 2. Restricting the Church in the exercise of ecclesiastical punishments; 3. Regulating the ecclesiastical power of discipline, forbidding bodily chastisement, regulating fines and banishments, granting the privilege of an appeal to the Royal Court of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the decision of which is final; 4. Ordaining the preliminary education and appointment of priests. They must have had a satisfactory education, passed a public examination conducted by the state, and have a knowledge of philosophy, history, and German literature. Institutions refusing to be superintended by the state are to be closed.

These laws demonstrate that Germany is resolved that she will no longer be dictated to nor embarrassed by a few Italian noble families; that she will be master of her own house. She sees in the conflict, not an affair of religion or of conscience, but a struggle between the sovereignty of state legislation and the sovereignty of the Church. She treats the papacy not in the aspect of a religious, but of a political power, and is resolved that the declaration of the Prussian Constitution shall be maintained, that "the exercise of religious freedom must not interfere with the duties of a citizen toward the community and the state."
 

The Church a Political Power.

With truth it is affirmed that the papacy is administered not œcumenically, not as a universal Church, for all the nations, but for the benefit of some Italian families. Look at its composition! It consists of pope, cardinal bishops, cardinal deacons, who at the present moment are all Italians; cardinal priests, nearly all Italians; ministers and secretaries of the Sacred Congregation in Rome, all Italians. France has not given a pope since the middle ages. It is the same with Austria, Portugal, Spain. In spite of all attempts to change this system of exclusion, to open the dignities of the Church to all Catholicism, no foreigner can reach the holy chair. It is recognized that the Church is a domain given by God to the princely Italian families. Of fifty-five members of the present College of Cardinals, forty are Italians -- that is, thirty-two beyond their proper share.

The stumbling-block to the progress of Europe has been its dual system of government. So long as every nation had two sovereigns, a temporal one at home and a spiritual one in a foreign land -- there being different temporal masters in different nations, but only one foreign master for all, the pontiff at Rome -- how was it possible that history should present us with any thing more than a narrative of the strifes of these rival powers? Whoever will reflect on this state of things will see how it is that those nations which have shaken off the dual form of government are those which have made the greatest advance. He will discern what is the cause of the paralysis which has befallen France. On one hand she wishes to be the leader of Europe, on the other she clings to a dead past. For the sake of propitiating her ignorant classes, she enters upon lines of policy which her intelligence must condemn. So evenly balanced are the two sovereignties under which she lives, that sometimes one, sometimes the other, prevails; and not unfrequently the one uses the other as an engine for the accomplishment of its ends.
 

Dual Government in Europe.

But this dual system approaches its close. To the northern nations, less imaginative and less superstitious, it had long ago become intolerable; they rejected it summarily at the epoch of the Reformation, notwithstanding the protestations and pretensions of Rome. Russia, happier than the rest, has never acknowledged the influence of any foreign spiritual power. She gloried in her attachment to the ancient Greek rite, and saw in the papacy nothing more than a troublesome dissenter from the primitive faith. In America the temporal and the spiritual have been absolutely divorced -- the latter is not permitted to have any thing to do with affairs of state, though in all other respects liberty is conceded to it. The condition of the New World also satisfies us that both forms of Christianity, Catholic and Protestant, have lost their expansive power; neither can pass beyond its long-established boundary-line -- the Catholic republics remain Catholic, the Protestant Protestant. And among the latter the disposition to sectarian isolation is disappearing; persons of different denominations consort without hesitation together. They gather their current opinions from newspapers, not from the Church.

Pius IX., in the movements we have been considering, has had two objects in view: 1. The more thorough centralization of the papacy, with a spiritual autocrat assuming the prerogatives of God at its head; 2. Control over the intellectual development of the nations professing Christianity.

The logical consequence of the former of these is political intervention. He insists that in all cases the temporal must subordinate itself to the spiritual power; all laws inconsistent with the interests of the Church must be repealed. They are not binding on the faithful. In the preceding pages I have briefly related some of the complications that have already occurred in the attempt to maintain this policy.
 

Intentions of the Pope.

I now come to the consideration of the manner in which the papacy proposes to establish its intellectual control; how it defines its relation to its antagonist, Science, and, seeking a restoration of the mediæval condition, opposes modern civilization, and denounces modern society.

The Encyclical and Syllabus present the principles which it was the object of the Vatican Council to carry into practical effect. The Syllabus stigmatizes pantheism, naturalism, and absolute rationalism, denouncing such opinions as that God is the world; that there is no God other than Nature; that theological matters must be treated in the same manner as philosophical ones, that the methods and principles by which the old scholastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of the age and the progress of science; that every man is free to embrace and profess the religion he may believe to be true, guided by the light of his reason; that it appertains to the civil power to define what are the rights and limits in which the Church may exercise authority; that the Church has not the right of availing herself of force or any direct or indirect temporal power; that the Church ought to be separated from the state and the state from the Church; that it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion shall be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other modes of worship; that persons coming to reside in Catholic countries have a right to the public exercise of their own worship; that the Roman pontiff can and ought to reconcile himself to, and agree with, the progress of modern civilization. The Syllabus claims the right of the Church to control public schools, and denies the right of the state in that respect; it claims the control over marriage and divorce.

Such of these principles as the Council found expedient at present to formularize, were set forth by it in "The Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Faith." The essential points of this constitution, more especially as regards the relations of religion to science, we have now to examine. It will be understood that the following does not present the entire document, but only an abstract of what appear to be its more important parts.
 

The Syllabus.

This definition opens with a severe review of the principles and consequences of the Protestant Reformation:

"The rejection of the divine authority of the Church to teach, and the subjection of all things belonging to religion to the judgment of each individual, have led to the production of many sects, and, as these differed and disputed with each other, all belief in Christ was overthrown in the minds of not a few, and the Holy Scriptures began to be counted as myths and fables. Christianity has been rejected, and the reign of mere Reason as they call it, or Nature, substituted; many falling into the abyss of pantheism, materialism, and atheism, and, repudiating the reasoning nature of man, and every rule of right and wrong, they are laboring to overthrow the very foundations of human society. As this impious heresy is spreading everywhere, not a few Catholics have been inveigled by it. They have confounded human science and divine faith.

"But the Church, the Mother and Mistress of nations, is ever ready to strengthen the weak, to take to her bosom those that return, and carry them on to better things. And, now the bishops of the whole world being gathered together in this Œcumenical Council, and the Holy Ghost sitting therein, and judging with us, we have determined to declare from this chair of St. Peter the saving doctrine of Christ, and proscribe and condemn the opposing errors.

"Of God, the Creator of All Things. -- the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church believes that there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of Heaven and Earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible, Infinite in understanding and will, and in all perfection. He is distinct from the world. Of his own most free counsel he made alike out of nothing two created creatures, a spiritual and a temporal, angelic and earthly. Afterward be made the human nature, composed of both. Moreover, God by his providence protects and governs all things, reaching from end to end mightily, and ordering all things harmoniously. Every thing is open to his eyes, even things that come to pass by the free action of his creatures."

"Of Revelation. -- The Holy Mother Church holds that God can be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason, but that it has also pleased him to reveal himself and the eternal decrees of his will in a supernatural way. This supernatural revelation, as declared by the Holy Council of Trent, is contained in the books of the Old and New Testament, as enumerated in the decrees of that Council, and as are to be had in the old Vulgate Latin edition. These are sacred because they were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They have God for their author, and as such have been delivered to the Church.

"And, in order to restrain restless spirits, who may give erroneous explanations, it is decreed -- renewing the decision of the Council of Trent -- that no one may interpret the sacred Scriptures contrary to the sense in which they are interpreted by Holy Mother Church, to whom such interpretation belongs."

"Of Faith. -- Inasmuch as man depends on God as his Lord, and created reason is wholly subject to uncreated truth, he is bound when God makes a revelation to obey it by faith. This faith is a supernatural virtue, and the beginning of man's salvation who believes revealed things to be true, not for their intrinsic truth as seen by the natural light of reason, but for the authority of God in revealing them. But, nevertheless, that faith might be agreeable to reason, God willed to join miracles and prophecies, which, showing forth his omnipotence and knowledge, are proofs suited to the understanding of all. Such we have in Moses and the prophets, and above all in Christ. Now, all those things are to be believed which are written in the word of God, or handed down by tradition, which the Church by her teaching has proposed for belief.

"No one can be justified without this faith, nor shall any one, unless he persevere therein to the end, attain everlasting life. Hence God, through his only-begotten Son, has established the Church as the guardian and teacher of his revealed word. For only to the Catholic Church do all those signs belong which make evident the credibility of the Christian faith. Nay, more, the very Church herself, in view of her wonderful propagation, her eminent holiness, her exhaustless fruitfulness in all that is good, her Catholic unity, her unshaken stability, offers a great and evident claim to belief, and an undeniable proof of her divine mission. Thus the Church shows to her children that the faith they hold rests on a most solid foundation. Wherefore, totally unlike is the condition of those who, by the heavenly gift of faith, have embraced the Catholic truth, and of those who, led by human opinions, are following, a false religion."

"Of Faith and Reason. -- Moreover, the Catholic Church has ever held and now holds that there exists a twofold order of knowledge, each of which is distinct from the other, both as to its principle and its object. As to its principle, because in the one we know by natural reason, in the other by divine faith; as to the object, because, besides those things which our natural reason can attain, there are proposed to our belief mysteries hidden in God, which, unless by him revealed, cannot come to our knowledge.

"Reason, indeed, enlightened by faith, and seeking, with diligence and godly sobriety, may, by God's gift, come to some understanding, limited in degree, but most wholesome in its effects, of mysteries, both from the analogy of things which are naturally known and from the connection of the mysteries themselves with one another and with man's last end. But never can reason be rendered capable of thoroughly understanding mysteries as it does those truths which form its proper object. For God's mysteries, in their very nature, so far surpass the reach of created intellect, that, even when taught by revelation and received by faith, they remain covered by faith itself, as by a veil, and shrouded, as it were, in darkness as long as in this mortal life.

"But, although faith be above reason, there never can be a real disagreement between them, since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has given man's soul the light of reason, and God cannot deny himself, nor can one truth ever contradict another. Wherefore the empty shadow of such contradiction arises chiefly from this, that either the doctrines of faith are not understood and set forth as the Church really holds them, or that the vain devices and opinions of men are mistaken for the dictates of reason. We therefore pronounce false every assertion which is contrary to the enlightened truth of faith. Moreover, the Church, which, together with her apostolic office of teaching, is charged also with the guardianship of the deposits of faith, holds likewise from God the right and the duty to condemn 'knowledge, falsely so called,' 'lest any man be cheated by philosophy and vain deceit.' Hence all the Christian faithful are not only forbidden to defend, as legitimate conclusions of science, those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, especially when condemned by the Church, but are rather absolutely bound to hold them for errors wearing the deceitful appearance of truth.
 

Constitution of Catholic Faith.

"Not only is it impossible for faith and reason ever to contradict each other, but they rather afford each other mutual assistance. For right reason establishes the foundation of faith, and, by the aid of its light, cultivates the science of divine things; and faith, on the other hand, frees and preserves reason from errors, and enriches it with knowledge of many kinds. So far, then, is the Church from opposing the culture of human arts and sciences, that she rather aids and promotes it in many ways. For she is not ignorant of nor does she despise the advantages which flow from them to the life of man; on the contrary, she acknowledges that, as they sprang from God, the Lord of knowledge, so, if they be rightly pursued, they will, through the aid of his grace, lead to God. Nor does she forbid any of those sciences the use of its own principles and its own method within its own proper sphere; but, recognizing this reasonable freedom, she takes care that they may not, by contradicting God's teaching, fall into errors, or, overstepping the due limits, invade or throw into confusion the domain of faith.

"For the doctrine of faith revealed by God has not been proposed, like some philosophical discovery, to be made perfect by human ingenuity, but it has been delivered to the spouse of Christ as a divine deposit, to be faithfully guarded and unerringly set forth. Hence, all tenets of holy faith are to be explained always according to the sense and meaning of the Church; nor is it ever lawful to depart therefrom under pretense or color of a more enlightened explanation. Therefore, as generations and centuries roll on, let the understanding, knowledge, and wisdom of each and every one, of individuals and of the whole Church, grow apace and increase exceedingly, yet only in its kind; that is to say, retaining pure and inviolate the sense and meaning and belief of the same doctrine."

Among other canons the following were promulgated:

"Let him be anathema" -- 

"Who denies the one true God, Creator and Lord of all things, visible and invisible.

"Who unblushingly affirms that, besides matter, nothing else exists.

"Who says that the substance or essence of God, and of all things, is one and the same.

"Who says that finite things, both corporeal and spiritual, or at least spiritual things, are emanations of the divine substance; or that the divine essence, by manifestation or development of itself, becomes all things.

"Who does not acknowledge that the world and all things which it contains were produced by God out of nothing.

"Who shall say that man can and ought to, of his own efforts, by means of, constant progress, arrive, at last, at the possession of all truth and goodness.

"Who shall refuse to receive, for sacred and canonical, the books of Holy Scripture in their integrity, with all their parts, according as they were enumerated by the holy Council of Trent, or shall deny that they are inspired by God.

"Who shall say that human reason is in such wise independent, that faith cannot be demanded of it by God.

"Who shall say that divine revelation cannot be rendered credible by external evidences.

"Who shall say that no miracles can be wrought, or that they can never be known with certainty, and that the divine origin of Christianity cannot be proved by them.

"Who shall say that divine revelation includes no mysteries, but that all the dogmas of faith may be understood and demonstrated by reason duly cultivated.

"Who shall say that human sciences ought to be pursued in such a spirit of freedom that one may be allowed to hold as true their assertions, even when opposed to revealed doctrine.

"Who shall say that it may at any time come to pass, in the progress of science, that the doctrines set forth by the Church must be taken in another sense than that in which the Church has ever received and yet receives them."

 

The Vatican Anathemas.

The extraordinary and, indeed, it may be said, arrogant assumptions contained in these decisions were far from being received with satisfaction by educated Catholics. On the part of the German universities there was resistance; and, when, at the close of the year, the decrees of the Vatican Council were generally acquiesced in, it was not through conviction of their truth, but through a disciplinary sense of obedience.

By many of the most pious Catholics the entire movement and the results to which it had led were looked upon with the sincerest sorrow. Pere Hyacinthe, in a letter to the superior of his order, says : "I protest against the divorce, as impious as it is insensate, sought to be effected between the Church, which is our eternal mother, and the society of the nineteenth century, of which we are the temporal children, and toward which we have also duties and regards. It is my most profound conviction that, if France in particular, and the Latin race in general, are given up to social, moral, and religious anarchy, the principal cause undoubtedly is not Catholicism itself, but the manner in which Catholicism has for a long time been understood and practised."

Notwithstanding his infallibility, which implies omniscience, his Holiness did not foresee the issue of the Franco-Prussian War. Had the prophetical talent been vouchsafed to him, he would have detected the inopportuneness of the acts of his Council. His request to the King of Prussia for military aid to support his temporal power was denied. The excommunicated King of Italy, as we have seen, took possession of Rome. A bitter papal encyclical, strangely contrasting with the courteous politeness of modern state-papers, was issued, November 1, 1870, denouncing the acts of the Piedmontese court, "which had followed the counsel of the sects of perdition." In this his Holiness declares that he is in captivity, and that he will have no agreement with Belial. He pronounces the greater excommunication, with censures and penalties, against his antagonists, and prays for "the intercession of the immaculate Virgin Mary, mother of God, and that of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul."
 

Of the various Protestant denominations, several had associated themselves, for the purposes of consultation, under the designation of the Evangelical Alliance. Their last meeting was held in New York, in the autumn of 1873. Though, in this meeting, were gathered together many pious representatives of the Reformed Churches, European and American, it had not the prestige nor the authority of the Great Council that had just previously closed its sessions in St. Peters, at Rome. It could not appeal to an unbroken ancestry of far more than a thousand years; it could not speak with the authority of an equal and, indeed, of a superior to emperors and kings. While profound intelligence and a statesmanlike, worldly wisdom gleamed in every thing that the Vatican Council had done, the Evangelical Alliance met without a clear and precise view of its objects, without any definitely-marked intentions. Its wish was to draw into closer union the various Protestant Churches, but it had no well-grounded hope of accomplishing that desirable result. It illustrated the necessary working, of the principle on which those Churches originated. They were founded on dissent and exist by separation.

Yet in the action of the Evangelical Alliance may be discerned certain very impressive facts. It averted its eyes from its ancient antagonist -- that antagonist which had so recently loaded the Reformation with contumely and denunciation -- it fastened them, as the Vatican Council had done, on Science. Under that dreaded name there stood before it what seemed to be a spectre of uncertain form, of hourly-dilating proportions, of threatening aspect. Sometimes the Alliance addressed this stupendous apparition in words of courtesy, sometimes in tones of denunciation.
 

The Evangelical Alliance.

The Alliance failed to perceive that modern Science is the legitimate sister -- indeed, it is the twin-sister -- of the Reformation. They were begotten together and were born together. It failed to perceive that, though there is an impossibility of bringing into coalition the many conflicting sects, they may all find in science a point of connection; and that, not a distrustful attitude toward it, but a cordial union with it, is their true policy.
 

It remains now to offer some reflections on this "Constitution of the Catholic Faith," as defined by the Vatican Council.

For objects to present themselves under identical relations to different persons, they must be seen from the same point of view. In the instance we are now considering, the religious man has his own especial station; the scientific man another, a very different one. It is not for either to demand that his co-observer shall admit that the panorama of facts spread before them is actually such as it appears to him to be.

The Dogmatic Constitution insists on the admission of this postulate, that the Roman Church acts under a divine commission, specially and exclusively delivered to it. In virtue of that great authority, it requires of all men the surrender of their intellectual convictions, and of all nations the subordination of their civil power.

But a claim so imposing must be substantiated by the most decisive and unimpeachable credentials; proofs, not only of an implied and indirect kind, but clear, emphatic, and to the point; proofs that it would be impossible to call in question.

The Church, however, declares, that she will not submit her claim to the arbitrament of human reason; she demands that it shall be at once conceded as an article of faith.

If this be admitted, all bar requirements must necessarily be assented to, no matter how exorbitant they may be.

With strange inconsistency the Dogmatic Constitution deprecates reason, affirming that it cannot determine the points under consideration, and yet submits to it arguments for adjudication. In truth, it might be said that the whole composition is a passionate plea to Reason to stultify itself in favor of Roman Christianity.

With points of view so widely asunder, it is impossible that Religion and Science should accord in their representation of things. Nor can any conclusion in common be reached, except by an appeal to Reason as a supreme and final judge.

There are many religions in the world, some of them of more venerable antiquity, some having far more numerous adherents, than the Roman. How can a selection be made among them, except by such an appeal to Reason? Religion and Science must both submit their claims and their dissensions to its arbitrament.

Against this the Vatican Council protests. It exalts faith to a superiority over reason; it says that they constitute two separate orders of knowledge, having respectively for their objects mysteries and facts. Faith deals with mysteries, reason with facts. Asserting the dominating superiority of faith, it tries to satisfy the reluctant mind with miracles and prophecies.

On the other hand, Science turns away from the incomprehensible, and rests herself on the maxim of Wiclif: "God forceth not a man to believe that which he cannot understand." In the absence of an exhibition of satisfactory credentials on the part of her opponent, she considers whether there be in the history of the papacy, and in the biography of the popes, any thing that can adequately sustain a divine commission, any thing that can justify pontifical infallibility, or extort that unhesitating obedience which is due to the vice-God.

One of the most striking and vet contradictory features of the Dogmatic Constitution is, the reluctant homage it pays to the intelligence of man. It presents a definition of the philosophical basis of Catholicism, but it veils from view the repulsive features of the vulgar faith. It sets forth the attributes of God, the Creator of all things, in words fitly designating its sublime conception, but it abstains from affirming that this most awful and eternal Being was born of an earthly mother, the wife of a Jewish carpenter, who has since become the queen of heaven. The God it depicts is not the God of the middle ages, seated on his golden throne, surrounded by choirs of angels, but the God of Philosophy. The Constitution has nothing to say about the Trinity, nothing of the worship due to the Virgin -- on the contrary, that is by implication sternly condemned; nothing about transubstantiation, or the making of the flesh and blood of God by the priest; nothing of the invocation of the saints. It bears on its face subordination to the thought of the age, the impress of the intellectual progress of man.
 

The Vatican Constitution Criticised.

Such being the exposition rendered to us respecting the attributes of God, it next instructs us as to his mode of government of the world. The Church asserts that she possesses a supernatural control over all material and moral events. The priesthood, in its various grades, can determine issues of the future, either by the exercise of its inherent attributes, or by its influential invocation of the celestial powers. To the sovereign pontiff it has been given to bind or loose at his pleasure. It is unlawful to appeal from his judgments to an Œcumenical Council, as if to an earthly arbiter superior to him. Powers such as these are consistent with arbitrary rule, but they are inconsistent with the government of the world by immutable law. Hence the Dogmatic Constitution plants itself firmly in behalf of incessant providential interventions; it will not for a moment admit that in natural things there is an irresistible sequence of events, or in the affairs of men an unavoidable course of acts.

But has not the order of civilization in all parts of the world been the same? Does not the growth of society resemble individual growth? Do not both exhibit to us phases of youth, of maturity, of decrepitude? To a person who has carefully considered the progressive civilization of groups of men in regions of the earth far apart, who has observed the identical forms under which that advancing civilization has manifested itself, is it not clear that the procedure is determined by law? The religious ideas of the Incas of Peru and the emperors of Mexico, and the ceremonials of their court-life, were the same as those in Europe -- the same as those in Asia. The current of thought had been the same. A swarm of bees carried to some distant land will build its combs and regulate its social institutions as other unknown swarms would do, and so with separated and disconnected swarms of men. So invariable is this sequence of thought and act, that there are philosophers who, transferring the past example offered by Asiatic history to the case of Europe, would not hesitate to sustain the proposition -- given a bishop of Rome and some centuries, and you will have an infallible pope: given an infallible pope and a little more time, and you will have Llamaism -- Llamaism to which Asia has long, ago attained.

As to the origin of corporeal and spiritual things, the Dogmatic Constitution adds a solemn emphasis to its declarations, by anathematizing all those who bold the doctrine of emanation, or who believe that visible Nature is only a manifestation of the Divine Essence. In this its authors had a task of no ordinary difficulty before them. They must encounter those formidable ideas, whether old or new, which in our times are so strongly forcing themselves on thoughtful men. The doctrine of the conservation and correlation of Force yields as its logical issue the time-worn Oriental emanation theory; the doctrines of Evolution and Development strike at that of successive creative acts. The former rests on the fundamental principle that the quantity of force in the universe is invariable. Though that quantity can neither be increased nor diminished, the forms under which Force expresses itself may be transmuted into each other. As yet this doctrine has not received complete scientific demonstration, but so numerous and so cogent are the arguments adduced in its behalf, that it stands in an imposing, almost in an authoritative attitude. Now, the Asiatic theory of emanation and absorption is seen to be in harmony with this grand idea. It does not hold that, at the conception of a human being, a soul is created by God out of nothing and given to it, but that a portion of the already existing, the divine, the universal intelligence, is imparted, and, when life is over, this returns to and is absorbed in the general source from which it originally came. The authors of the Constitution forbid these ideas to be held, under pain of eternal punishment.

In like manner they dispose of the doctrines of Evolution and Development, bluntly insisting that the Church believes in distinct creative acts. The doctrine that every living form is derived from some preceding form is scientifically in a much more advanced position than that concerning Force, and probably may he considered as established, whatever may become of the additions with which it has recently been overlaid.

In her condemnation of the Reformation, the Church carries into effect her ideas of the subordination of reason to faith. In her eyes the Reformation is an impious heresy, leading to the abyss of pantheism, materialism, and atheism, and tending to overthrow the very foundations of human society. She therefore would restrain those "restless spirits" who, following Luther, have upheld the "right of every man to interpret the Scriptures for himself." She asserts that it is a wicked error to admit Protestants to equal political privileges with Catholics, and that to coerce them and suppress them is a sacred duty; that it is abominable to permit them to establish educational institutions. Gregory XVI. denounced freedom of conscience as an insane folly, and the freedom of the press a pestilent error, which cannot be sufficiently detested.

But how is it possible to recognize an inspired and infallible oracle on the Tiber, when it is remembered that again and again successive popes have contradicted each other; that popes have denounced councils, and councils have denounced popes; that the Bible of Sixtus V. had so many admitted errors -- nearly two thousand -- that its own authors had to recall it? How is it possible for the children of the Church to regard as "delusive errors" the globular form of the earth, her position as a planet in the solar system, her rotation on her axis, her movement round the sun? How can they deny that there are antipodes, and other worlds than ours? How can they believe that the world was made out of nothing, completed in a week, finished just as we see it now; that it has undergone no change, but that its parts have worked so indifferently as to require incessant interventions?
 

The Passage of Europe to Llamaism.

When Science is thus commanded to surrender her intellectual convictions, may she not ask the ecclesiastic to remember the past? The contest respecting the figure of the earth, and the location of heaven and hell, ended adversely to him. He affirmed that the earth is an extended plane, and that the sky is a firmament, the floor of heaven, through which again and again persons have been seen to ascend. The globular form demonstrated beyond any possibility of contradiction by astronomical facts, and by the voyage of Magellan's ship, he then maintained that it is the central body of the universe, all others being in subordination to it, and it the grand object of God's regard. Forced from this position, he next affirmed that it is motionless, the sun and the stars actually revolving, as they apparently do, around it. The invention of the telescope proved that here again he was in error. Then he maintained that all the motions of the solar system are regulated by providential intervention; the "Principia" of Newton demonstrated that they are due to irresistible law. He then affirmed that the earth and all the celestial bodies were created about six thousand years ago, and that in six days the order of Nature was settled, and plants and animals in their various tribes introduced. Constrained by the accumulating mass of adverse evidence, he enlarged his days into periods of indefinite length -- only, however, to find that even this device was inadequate. The six ages, with their six special creations, could no longer be maintained, when it was discovered that species, slowly emerged in one age, reached a culmination in a second, and gradually died out in a third: this overlapping from age to age would not only have demanded creations, but re-creations also. He affirmed that there had been a deluge, which covered the whole earth above the tops of the highest mountains, and that the waters of this flood were removed by a wind. Correct ideas respecting the dimensions of the atmosphere, and of the sea, and of the operation of evaporation, proved how untenable these statements are. Of the progenitors of the human race, he declared that they had come from their Maker's hand perfect, both in body and mind, and had subsequently experienced a fall. He is now considering how best to dispose of the evidence continually accumulating respecting the savage condition of prehistoric man.

Is it at all surprising that the number of those who hold the opinions of the Church in light esteem should so rapidly increase? How can that be received as a trustworthy guide in the invisible, which falls into so many errors in the visible? How can that give confidence in the moral, the spiritual, which has so signally failed in the physical? It is not possible to dispose of these conflicting facts as "empty shadows," "vain devices," "fictions coming from knowledge falsely so called," "errors wearing the deceitful appearance of truth," as the Church stigmatizes them. On the contrary, they are stern witnesses, bearing emphatic and unimpeachable testimony against the ecclesiastical claim to infallibility, and fastening a conviction of ignorance and blindness upon her.

Convicted of so many errors, the papacy makes no attempt at explanation. It ignores the whole matter. Nay, more, relying on the efficacy of audacity, though confronted by these facts, it lays claim to infallibility.
 

The Errors of Ecclesiasticism.

But, to the pontiff, no other rights can be conceded than those he can establish at the bar of Reason. He cannot claim infallibility in religious affairs, and decline it in scientific. Infallibility embraces all things. It implies omniscience. If it holds good for theology, it necessarily holds good for science. How is it possible to coordinate the infallibility of the papacy with the well-known errors into which it has fallen?

Does it not, then, become needful to reject the claim of the papacy to the employment of coercion in the maintenance of its opinions; to repudiate utterly the declaration that "the Inquisition is an urgent necessity in view of the unbelief of the present age," and in the name of human nature to protest loudly against the ferocity and terrorism of that institution? Has not conscience inalienable rights?

An impassable and hourly-widening gulf intervenes between Catholicism and the spirit of the age. Catholicism insists that blind faith is superior to reason; that mysteries are of more importance than facts. She claims to be the sole interpreter of Nature and revelation, the supreme arbiter of knowledge; she summarily rejects all modern criticism of the Scriptures, and orders the Bible to be accepted in accordance with the views of the theologians of Trent; she openly avows her hatred of free institutions and constitutional systems, and declares that those are in damnable error who regard the reconciliation of the pope with modern civilization as either possible or desirable.
 

Separation of Catholicism and Civilization.

But the spirit of the age demands -- is the human intellect to be subordinated to the Tridentine Fathers, or to the fancy of illiterate and uncritical persons who wrote in the earlier ages of the Church? It sees no merit in blind faith, but rather distrusts it. It looks forward to an improvement in the popular canon of credibility for a decision between fact and fiction. It does not consider itself bound to believe fables and falsehoods that have been invented for ecclesiastical ends. It finds no argument in behalf of their truth, that traditions and legends have been long-lived; in this respect, those of the Church are greatly inferior to the fables of paganism. The longevity of the Church itself is not due to divine protection or intervention, but to the skill with which it has adapted its policy to existing circumstances. If antiquity be the criterion of authenticity, the claims of Buddhism must be respected; it has the superior warrant of many centuries. There can be no defense of those deliberate falsifications of history, that concealment of historical facts, of which the Church has so often taken advantage. In these things the end does not justify the means.

Then has it in truth come to this, that Roman Christianity and Science are recognized by their respective adherents as being absolutely incompatible; they cannot exist together; one must yield to the other; mankind must make its choice -- it cannot have both.
 

Science and Protestantism.

While such is, perhaps, the issue as regards Catholicism, a reconciliation of the Reformation with Science is not only possible, but would easily take place, if the Protestant Churches would only live up to the maxim taught by Luther, and established by so many years of war. That maxim is, the right of private interpretation of the Scriptures. It was the foundation of intellectual liberty. But, if a personal interpretation of the book of Revelation is permissible, how can it be denied in the case of the book of Nature? In the misunderstandings that have taken place, we must ever bear in mind the infirmities of men. The generations that immediately followed the Reformation may perhaps be excused for not comprehending the full significance of their cardinal principle, and for not on all occasions carrying it into effect. When Calvin caused Servetus to be burnt, he was animated, not by the principles of the Reformation, but by those of Catholicism, from which he had not been able to emancipate himself completely. And when the clergy of influential Protestant confessions have stigmatized the investigators of Nature as infidels and atheists, the same may be said. For Catholicism to reconcile itself to Science, there are formidable, perhaps insuperable obstacles in the way. For Protestantism to achieve that great result there are not. In the one case there is a bitter, a mortal animosity to be overcome; in the other, a friendship, that misunderstandings have alienated, to be restored.
 
 

Science and Faith.

But, whatever may be the preparatory incidents of that great impending intellectual crisis which Christendom must soon inevitably witness, of this we may rest assured, that the silent secession from the public faith, which in so ominous a manner characterizes the present generation, will find at length political expression. It is not without significance that France reenforces the ultramontane tendencies of her lower population, by the promotion of pilgrimages, the perpetration of miracles, the exhibition of celestial apparitions. Constrained to do this by her destiny, she does it with a blush. It is not without significance that Germany resolves to rid herself of the incubus of a dual government, by the exclusion of the Italian element, and to carry to its completion that Reformation which three centuries ago she left unfinished. The time approaches when men must take their choice between quiescent, immobile faith and ever-advancing Science -- faith, with its mediæval consolations, Science, which is incessantly scattering its material blessings in the pathway of life, elevating the lot of man in this world, and unifying the human race. Its triumphs are solid and enduring. But the glory which Catholicism might gain from a conflict with material ideas is at the best only like that of other celestial meteors when they touch the atmosphere of the earth -- transitory and useless.

Though Guizot's affirmation that the Church has always sided with despotism is only too true, it must be remembered that in the policy she follows there is much of political necessity. She is urged on by the pressure of nineteen centuries. But, if the irresistible indicates itself in her action, the inevitable manifests itself in her life. For it is with the papacy as with a man. It has passed through the struggles of infancy, it has displayed the energies of maturity, and, its work completed, it must sink into the feebleness and querulousness of old age. Its youth can never be renewed. The influence of its souvenirs alone will remain. As pagan Rome threw her departing shadow over the empire and tinctured all its thoughts, so Christian Rome casts her parting shadow over Europe.
 

Civilization and Religion.

Will modern civilization consent to abandon the career of advancement which has given it so much power and happiness? Will it consent to retrace its steps to the semi-barbarian ignorance and superstition of the middle ages? Will it submit to the dictation of a power, which, claiming divine authority, can present no adequate credentials of its office; a power which kept Europe in a stagnant condition for many centuries, ferociously suppressing by the stake and the sword every attempt at progress; a power that is founded in a cloud of mysteries; that sets itself above reason and common-sense; that loudly proclaims the hatred it entertains against liberty of thought and freedom in civil institutions; that professes its intention of repressing the one and destroying the other whenever it can find the opportunity; that denounces as most pernicious and insane the opinion that liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of every man; that protests against that right being proclaimed and asserted by law in every well-governed state; that contemptuously repudiates the principle that the will of the people, manifested by public opinion (as it is called) or by other means, shall constitute law; that refuses to every man any title to opinion in matters of religion, but holds that it is simply his duty to believe what he is told by the Church, and to obey her commands; that will not permit any temporal government to define the rights and prescribe limits to the authority of the Church; that declares it not only may but will resort to force to discipline disobedient individuals; that invades the sanctify of private life, by making, at the confessional, the wife and daughters and servants of one suspected, spies and informers against him; that tries him without an accuser, and by torture makes him bear witness against himself; that denies the right of parents to educate their children outside of its own Church, and insists that to it alone belongs the supervision of domestic life and the control of marriages and divorces; that denounces "the impudence" of those who presume to subordinate the authority of the Church to the civil authority, or who advocate the separation of the Church from the state; that absolutely repudiates all toleration, and affirms that the Catholic religion is entitled to be held as the only religion in every country, to the exclusion of all other modes of worship; that requires all laws standing in the way of its interests to be repealed, and, if that be refused, orders all its followers to disobey them?
 

Inadmissible Claims of Catholicism.

This power, conscious that it can work no miracle to serve itself, does not hesitate to disturb society by its intrigues against governments, and seeks to accomplish its ends by alliances with despotism.

Claims such as these mean a revolt against modern civilization, an intention of destroying it, no matter at what social cost. To submit to them without resistance, men must be slaves indeed!

As to the issue of the coming conflict, can any one doubt? Whatever is resting on fiction and fraud will be overthrown. Institutions that organize impostures and spread delusions must show what right they have to exist. Faith must render an account of herself to Reason. Mysteries must give place to facts. Religion must relinquish that imperious, that domineering position which she has so long maintained against Science. There must be absolute freedom for thought. The ecclesiastic must learn to keep himself within the domain he has chosen, and cease to tyrannize over the philosopher, who, conscious of his own strength and the purity of his motives, will bear such interference no longer. What was written by Esdras near the willow-fringed rivers of Babylon, more than twenty-three centuries ago, still holds good: "As for Truth it endureth and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore."
 

Issue of the Conflict.