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which, as I am no prophet, I will not attempt to

In any case they would do well to give up com-
plaining of each and all, and being haunted by the

to go back to the Gospel (the teaching of Christ and of his Apostles)
to attach itself to what is most primitive and therefore purest in
Christianity ; and which, on the other hand, recognises no other
authority than the free individual conscience and, consequently,
rejects all other authority, especially that of tradition and of the


notion that they are unappreciated. 1 As soon as a
voice is raised among them which speaks the language
of life, and not that of sectarianism, Free-thinkers
and Catholics listen without asking him to disguise
his flag; I need wish for no other proof than the
apostolate and success of Charles Wagner. And
beside the name of the author of Youth, The Simple
Life, and a score of other little masterpieces impreg-
nated with the purest religious feeling, I would like
to set that of a member of the Catholic clergy who
has had no difficulty in winning respect for his
cassock in open Parliament the Abbe Lemire : he
also is loved and admired because, without yielding
anything of the prerogatives of his faith, he has
always shown himself full of a respectful delicacy
for the opinions of others, and because each of his
addresses seems to be introduced by the evangelical
proclamation, " Peace to men of good-will.' 5 2

The eager welcome given to Pastor Wagner by
Catholics and Free-thinkers is not an altogether
isolated instance. It may be said that a great part

1 Protestants are frequently calumniated, but in our days who
is not ? They think they are caricatured in clerical journals,
and also in anti-clerical ones ; but do they spend much time in
verifying their own sources of information ? Their journals are
written in the same haste and in the same spirit of ill-will as those
of which they complain so vigorously. Yet those who make so
great a profession of criticism ought really to give the example of
introducing it a little into their daily judgments.

2 There is, again, a resemblance between Pastor Wagner and
the Abbe Lemire, in that while both men have found ardent
affection in their respective Churches, they have also met there
with distrust, difficulty and opposition which would have wearied
men less strong than they. It was not of his own choice that
Wagner, most conciliatory of Protestants, was led to build a
church of his own.


of the importance assigned by Protestantism to the
works of Dean Auguste Sabatier is due to the
radiance they have shed on the world outside.

This Huguenot by race, " whose blood, 5 ' as he
himself said, making use of a Languedocian expres-
sion, " had to make but one turn" (ne faisait qtfun
tour) to recall the past, found himself after a few
years known, appreciated and beloved in many a
country priest's house and Catholic seminary, because,
showing himself the proud, uncompromising Pro-
testant that he was, he had allowed his warm, vibrat-
ing heart to speak, and had not lowered himself to
the wretched polemics, based upon pride, want of
understanding and errors of fact, which too often
impair the works of his co-religionists.

With him the old anti-popery, since we must call
things by their proper names, was indeed not dis-
guised; but this negative, corrosive sentiment was no
longer the soul and inspiration of his whole action.
His Outlines of a Philosophy of Religion * gave one
a sudden sensation of being in the presence of a
religious feeling which asserted itself above contro-
versy and hatred, of a renewed Protestantism, setting
forth with unexpected strength to unforeseen con-

And soon, outside of Protestantism, applause broke
out, cries of joy echoed on every hand. It was life
greeting life across the frontiers, heralding and pre-
paring the unum ovile after which the present genera-
tion sighs confusedly still, but with greater longing
than ever.

The warmest encouragement came to its author

1 Esquisse d'une philosophie de la religion d'apres la -psychologie
et Fhistoire.


from the Catholic clergy encouragement which,
without being in any way an adhesion, 1 while remain-
ing on a critical basis, 2 is a communicated strength, a
higher communion communion not in results, but
in an equally sincere labour, a labour equally inspired
by love.

Already stricken by the illness which was to carry
him off, Sabatier made a journey into Italy.

In a little town which he visited by chance an
unexpected pleasure was reserved for him. With his
Southern abruptness and caressing voice, he said to
the friend who met him at the station, " Understand,
I want to see no antiquities. You make vast promises
for Italy; one would suppose you owned it. If you
know two or three intelligent young fellows here
who can speak French, I should like to make their
acquaintance and try to find out what they think,
believe and hope." "Very well," said his com-

1 There were such, absolute and enthusiastic. Some priests
came to him as to a saviour. It is greatly to be desired that this
ephemeral movement a movement so dramatic on certain sides
(one cannot but think of the unhappy Abbe Philippot) might be
studied with serenity.

2 I will only cite a study by the illustrious Archbishop of Albi,
Monsignor Mignot. It is included anew in a recent volume,
UEglise et la critique, Paris, 1910, pp. 3-87. For others, one
would have to cite nearly all the volumes of the Revue du clerge
francais for these last years.

To this review, to the works of Monsignor Mignot, e. g. Lettres
sur les Hudes eccUsiastiques, Paris, 1908, and to the Annales dc
philosophic chretienne, edited by the Abbe Laberthonniere, those
inquirers should turn who have no time to waste and yet are
anxious to get a fairly calm and exact idea of the Catholic intel-
lectual movement. A forthcoming volume of this Library
(Bibliotheque du mouvement social contemporain, Armand Colin,
Paris), will show the wealth of the Church's effort to win back its
scientific place.


panion; "I will take you to the Seminary." "To
the Seminary ? " " Why, yes; to the Catholic, Apos-
tolic and Roman Seminary. There it is in front of
you." " Is this a joke or a trap? Do you forget
you are speaking to the Dean of the Paris Faculty
of Protestant Theology?" And his small, short-
sighted eyes, still entirely young and somewhat mock-
ing, laughed with astonishment. " No, you will only
find friends there ; adversaries perhaps, but adversaries
one can love." " Well, let us go to the Seminary! "
We rang loudly. A grating was half opened, and
the porter's head passed quickly behind it. He flung
open the half-door, gave a vague smile, and without
a word preceded the visitors. " Why does this fellow
suddenly remind me of the salads my mother used
to whiten in our cellar when I was a youngster?"
And answering himself, " Because it smells of the
cellar. Look ! all the windows are barred ! " We
followed, indeed, a labyrinth of entangled corridors
and staircases bearing witness to hasty and provisional
arrangements which had lasted for centuries.

A key grated in a lock, the porter disappeared, and
the two visitors were in a large room flooded bv the
setting sun. Close beside us were the roofs of .the
cathedral, with their population of statues; beyond,
but still quite close, a Capuchin hermitage with its
cypresses cut out sombrely against the luminous sky.

"How beautiful! " cried Au^uste Sabatier. And
it seemed to the guide that his old master experienced
a beneficent and ineffable aesthetic emotion.

A priest came in. His face shone with pleasure.
"Is it possible? You here! You, author of The
Apostle Paul and the Outlines ! " And he grasped
the hands of his visitor, still utterly surprised at so


warm a welcome, mingled together French and Italian
words, gazed at him, and drew him nearer with
infinite respect and yet with familiarity, till suddenly
a shadow of sadness came into his gaze : he had
divined the malady which was undermining Sabatier's
health. Running to the door, he called : " To the
library, all of you ! "

"All" were five or six other priests, teachers in
the seminary. Forms of discipline unusual in Fran-
ciscan customs were presented there; but Sabatier's
amazement redoubled when, the first curiosity ap-
peased, it was the Professor of Physics and Chemistry
who questioned him as to the differences between
the exegesis of certain passages in the two editions
of The Apostle Paul. The conversation was lengthy.
The Ave had sounded from the cathedral campanile,
and it still went on. But it was time to separate.
All rose to accompany the guest : all, and he as they,
assailed by sad thoughts : to love one another so
warmly, almost without knowing it, then to meet,
and to part for ever! They had been enjoying one
of the rarest of delights; now they paid for it in a
grief they could not express. Silent, by no choice
of theirs, they descended, preceded by a young pro-
fessor who, in his haste, had lit a large processional
candle. He put it out at the door, but still went
forward, and it was only at the other side of the
square that Auguste Sabatier, returning to actuality,
realised he must take leave of the Professors of the
Seminary of X. " Gentlemen," he said, " I owe you
one of the best hours of the evening of my life."

I must ask pardon for relating an anecdote at such
length. It seems to me important as symptomatic of
feelings which rarely gain expression in books. It


shows also that certain prepossessions tend to dis-
appear in highly evolved Catholic circles.

The miscarriage of Protestant propaganda is only
the more remarkable; and what renders that mis-
carriage still more significant is the notable intellectual
advantage of the Protestants over other groups. 1

Their attempts to " conquer France for the
Gospel" are obviously disinterested; I mean they
endeavour to rob them of any narrow ecclesiasticism.
It is no rare thing in ministerial gatherings, when,
for the hundredth time, the causes for the unpopu-
larity of Protestantism are being sought out, and the
means to remedy this unpopularity, to hear some
generous "social Christian" exclaim: "Let Pro-
testantism perish, so only Jesus be proclaimed."
But such meetings are undoubtedly ill-situated for
inquiries of this kind.

If we were to interrogate those of our fellow-
countrymen who are hostile to Protestantism, we
should perhaps find that many of them had been
shocked by the negative element in its propaganda :
to a superficial gaze it may often enough appear as
a rather vulgar anti-clerical effort. Reference to the
crimes of the Popes excite too-ready applause. One
need not be a furious Papist to feel that certain
blustering lecture tours undertaken by Capuchin
converts to Protestantism have a disagreeable taste.

A more important and deeper element in some
" evangelising campaigns," which shocks the best of

1 To be convinced of this, one has but to examine the entrance
lists of the large public schools, admission to which depends upon


their hearers, is the want of reticence with which the
most intimate and private matters of the inner life
are spoken of.

Protestants have wounded France by their theolo-
gism, their critical turn of mind, and an iconoclastic
zeal that seeks everywhere for idols to destroy. 1 She
reproaches them, above all, with having failed to see
that she has long had her own religion : a religion
to which she was not converted, and which she did
not accept, for the good reason that this religion is
flesh of her flesh, her creator and her creature; that
she lives it and lives by it; that she has made it, and
is making it every day; and that this Catholicism
for such it is is not an administrative Catholicism
fabricated in the offices of the Curia, but a living
tradition wherein Roland and Charlemagne, St. Louis
and Joinville, St. Genevieve and Joan of Arc, Pascal
and St. Vincent de Paul, the principles of '89 and
social dreams perhaps chimerical meet and live
side by side. " I believe in the Holy Universal
Church," says the French believer; and the French
unbeliever and revolutionary, who has not learnt

1 This eccentricity is fortunately recognised and consequently
half-corrected by some very representative Protestants, e. g. the
Rev. J. E. Roberty, Pastor of the Oratory of the Louvre in Paris :
" Something anti-social and consequently anti-Christian, of
extremely little spirituality, and I would also say of an anti-French
character, this indefinable something which is called the Protestant
morgue, still exists." Vers Ftvangile social, Paris, 1904, p. 15.

All the innumerable periodical campaigns for the evangelisation
of France, from the efforts of individuals to those of the most
general character e. g. that of the " Commission of Protestant
Evangelical Action in the moral and social sphere " are inspired
by one and the same idea : " We, Protestants, possess the truth.
You, France, have it not. You have everything to learn from us,
and we have nothing to learn from you."


these words, says the same thing in other words.
And speaking thus, neither employs some theological
formula; they chant their joy in belonging to a society
which has neither beginning nor end, which plunges
beyond the historic ages into the first awakening of
intellect, the foolish stammerings of conscience and
of will; they feel they belong to this society, but they
desire more than this: they give themselves to it;
with it and by it they seek to realise a dream of
nobility, of beauty, of freedom, of holiness. 1

It would be unnecessary to recount the incapacity
of Protestantism to effect any continuous relation to
our generation, if this aloofness were a phenomenon
unconnected with the religious movement of to-day;
but it illustrates and defines the orientation of the
new thought. This, so far from moving in the
direction of Protestant individualism, does not merely
flee from it, but ignores it.

The springtime manifested in the heart of the
Catholic Church has, here and there, awakened
memories of the Reformation; but they alone who

1 " For those who reject the very hypothesis of a God and only
admit a Universe governed by immutable laws, prayer gives place
to the patient study of these laws, and to meditations on the
situation of man in the totality of things. It joins these with
a fervent hope that this Universe, seemingly so indifferent to human
destiny, is in process of evolution towards greater intelligence and
greater justice. Prayer is the firmly taken resolve to be an agent
of voluntary evolution." Jules Payot : Cours de morale, Paris,
1909, p. 206. " To become a voluntary agent of the Unknowable
Energy, in process of evolution toward a consciousness, toward
a spiritual life, more and more intense, more and more lofty,
more and more universal, this is our destiny ; and our happiness
will be proportionate to our efforts fully to realise it." Ibtd. 9
P- 233.


only see a few episodic details have thought of
establishing a parallel between the two movements.

Catholic thought tends to renew and vivify the
old ideas of authority and dogma by contact with
history and life. Protestantism, on the contrary,
remaining on purely intellectual ground, sacrifices one
dogma and then another till sometimes only one
remains; 1 but just as it accomplishes this retreat, the
doctrines it allows to remain become for it more and
more dull and intangible, while itself becomes more
foreign to that labour of reintegrating the whole
spiritual life of the past which is being accomplished
by the thought of to-day. Thus it appears like some
semi-rationalist, at once inconsistent and shamefaced,
who, placed in the dilemma of going as far as free-
thought or of retracing his steps, abruptly stands still,
and will not admit it. 2

1 Dean Auguste Sabatier, in his Esquisse d*une philosophic de la
religion, p. 83, compares the history of miracle to that " ass's
skin," imagined by Balzac, which shrank as its possessor grew
older. The history of dogma in Protestantism is entirely

The Protestant imagines he advances in degree as the list of
his dogmas decreases. When it is empty, he fancies himself a
free-thinker, without perceiving that he has been brought thither
by an unbroken series of defeats. He is a vanquished man.

2 Here, by way of documentation, is the declaration of principles
voted in the Synod of Montpellier (1905) by the advanced
Protestants :

" Faithful to that spirit of faith and freedom for which our
ancestors both lived and suffered :

We assert for every member of the Church, the right and duty to
draw for himself, from the Holy Scriptures and from the experience
of the pious, his faith and beliefs :

We are filled with joy at the thought that we possess in Jesus Christ
the supreme gift of God, the Saviour who, by his person, his teachings,


Many Protestants have imagined that if the best
qualified representatives of the new spirit in Catholi-
cism have shown but little eagerness in drawing
nearer to them, this was merely precautionary and
tactical. That is a gross error. Protestantism counts
for nothing in the rise of the present Catholic move-
ment; nor does this movement follow in the least the
ways broken and trodden by that.

We do not say there is not here and there some
ill-humour in regard to the Protestants. It would be
most natural for such to exist. It is not pleasant to
meet upon the road travellers of a somewhat unyield-
ing appearance whom you do not know, but who,
with fine condescension, declare themselves your
relations, and do you the great honour of holding
you to be their illegitimate children. Even when
they find it is useless to attempt to monopolise you
for their particular group, they follow you at least
with their disdain! l

his holy life, his sacrifice and his victory over death, constantly
communicates to the children of the Heavenly Father the necessary
strength to cause justice and love to prevail even now upon the earth
over every form of individual and collective evil :

And to all who seek of God in communion with Jesus Christ, pardon
for their sin, the strength of the moral life, consolation in affliction
and eternal hope, we fraternally open our Churches, on whose pediment
we maintain the true Protestant device: THE GOSPEL AND

1 In 1910, the Protestant papers published numerous articles
on Modernism, in which the almost constant conclusion was that
it lacked religious value, loyalty, logic and scientific originality.

It is an unpleasant error in facts to see in the flight taken by
Catholic exegesis a sort of borrowing from Protestant, and espe-
cially German, science. Those who have given this judgment show
that they are scarcely cognisant of the circumstances in which
the Catholic scientific stream had its source, nor the new needs to


Lofty spirits can doubtless overlook these un-
pleasant episodes; but they still feel, in respect to
Protestantism, a regret that it seems unable to under-
stand that, by separating itself from the Church of
the sixteenth century, it condemned the authority of
Rome to become such as it became, and was itself
condemned to be what it has never succeeded in
ceasing to be, a sort of anti-Church. 1

Far indeed from being a disguised Protestantism,
the movement which has manifested itself in the
heart of Catholicism is an effort of the very soul of
the Church to realise its own fruitful energies, newly
to live its own life, and to become once more for
civilisation that living synthesis wherein science,
philosophy and art, every thought and every labour,

which it answered. After a century of toil, Protestant exegesis
still remains somewhat academic. Catholic exegesis, on the
contrary, has not only given birth to a whole procession of con-
siderable scientific works, it has had immediate practical results :
the edition of the Gospels and the Acts of the Pia societa di S.
Girolamo, at Rome, whereof 880,000 copies have been sold in
a few years, is a little masterpiece which might be offered as a good
model to the Bible Societies.

Half-way between the labour of purely scientific criticism and
that of the popular edition, but taking account of duly acquired
conquests, there is another Catholic work, the most capable of
guiding intellectuals who are not specialists amid the labyrinth
of questions, and of putting back the whole of the Bible, as well
as each of the books of which it is composed, into its historic
framework; I mean the work entitled Che cos 1 e la Bibbia, by
Monsignor Umberto Fracassini, Rome, 1910.

1 " Who knows if the greatest complaint of the Modernists
against Protestantism is not that it made possible by its separation,
and inevitable as a result of reaction, that regime of theological
and ecclesiastical absolutism from which they are the first to suffer
and which they have exerted themselves to amend ? " A. Loisy,
Revue d'histoire et de litter ature religieuses, Vol. I, p. 584.


may find their goal; in which each may lose itself,
commingle, unite, communicate and consecrate itself,
and thus prepare new resting-places for humanity.
The Letter to a Professor of Anthropology, and the
other writings of Father Tyrrell, were not Protestant
works. They were the very reverse : they were the
heralding token that the Church is on the point of
coming out of the long nightmare which has obsessed
her, during which her only purpose has been the
dressing of her wounds and replying to her adver-

In these works, for the first time for centuries,
Catholic thought affirms itself as calm and serene,
sure enough of itself to be no more preoccupied with
its foes, certain that it has but to reveal its nature
to find itself as fully in harmony with the science as
with the conscience of to-day.

This chapter has run already to an immoderate
length, yet I do not wish to close it without drawing
attention to the very noble effort " to come forth
from the cemeteries" made by M. W. Monod in his
book, To Believers and Atheists.^

Here the eminent pastor will be found proclaiming
from the outset that if the Church of to-day " pre-
tends to fulfil the mission laid upon it in the twentieth
century, it must begin with an act of hope in the
modern spirit." 2

Presenting himself as " an obscure pioneer of the

1 Aux croyants et aux atkees, Paris, 1906. (What is to be done ?
How is the Gospel to be read ? Is modern atheism irreligious ?
An Atheist. The Problem of God.) The first page of the book
associates two names hitherto rarely seen together, those of St. Paul
and Guyau. 2 Ibid., p. 27.


future religion 5 ' perhaps it would have been more
accurate to say, pioneer of religious evolution, or of
the religion which goes on creating itself- M. W.
Monod has shown at once that in Protestantism also
there is something astir. Has he truly " only said
aloud what others think in their hearts"? 1 We
would fain believe it, and hope that his views will
spread not to become the programme of a new sect
M. Monod would be the first to regret that but
to be like an open window from Protestantism on
the world without. 2

Drawing nearer by degrees to the thoughts which
stir in undenominational hearts, this minister has had
the courage to conclude his book with the following

" Definitively, if I dare so express myself, I would
say that it is a mistake to put the Almightiness of
God at the beginning instead of at the end of things.
There is a God who shall be, but is not yet, mani-
fested : there is a God c who comes ' according to the
formula of the Apocalypse." 3

1 Aux croyants et aux athtes, Paris, 1906, p. 5.

2 The Rev. W. Monod's effort seems to invalidate what we said
at the beginning of this chapter as to Protestantism's lack of touch
with the religious movement of to-day. I would I might be
wrong ; but the greater the moral position of the Minister of the
Oratory the more striking it is to note how entirely his voice has
hitherto remained isolated in Protestantism. It is, indeed, a
different note which is raised by a more recent work from the pen
of a young Liberal minister, the Rev. A. N. Bertrand, Problemes
de la libre-pensee, Paris, 1910.

As to the attempts which have been made to open the mind of

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