Catholic University of America.

American ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 online

. (page 36 of 78)
Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 36 of 78)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

whole proceeding which bears the Waldeck- Rousseau stamp of
opposition to any form of religion, has been published in a brochure
entitled '*Le projet de loi sur Us Associations, Publications du
Comite," etc.

But let the reader judge for himself why a number of the
Congregations should, as soon as they became cognizant of the
character of the Law, have preferred to take the road to exile ;
while others who wished to try the experiment of applying for
authorization, have lived a precarious life with the sword hanging
over their heads, and with no means of knowing whether they have
not, as Father Gerard, S.J., says, by their submission placed them-
selves more helplessly in the hands of their enemies and facili-
tated the work of their spoliation.

It must be understood at the outset that there are in France
as elsewhere certain Religious Congregations which, for one reason
or another, have thought it wise to obtain an official incorpora-
tion for the purpose of holding property or pursuing their special
avocation under the nominal protection of the law. Thus Hos-
pitals, Technical Schools, Protectories and similar institutions are
enabled to transact their affairs as business men do who combine
as a corporation with financial responsibilities.

Other religious communities, whose members simply desire to
labor for themselves, combine as a family for private ends and by
their own private means, just as any number of persons might unite
on a charitable project and live together under a common rule for
the purpose of carrying out their pious aims. These latter unions,
basing their action on that universally conceded freedom of aggre-
gation for a good or useful end, so long as they abide by the laws
of the land, have been proscribed by the new Associations Law,
under the plea that they furnish a political danger to the State,
inasmuch as they might conceal enemies of the Republic who are
under control of a foreigfn potentate, a Pope, and a Greneral of the
Order, whom they are bound to obey, yet who is not himself
chargeable before the courts of France. It is clear that this
allegation might be made against any Catholic who professes alle-
giance to the Roman Pontiflf, if he associate with others of his faith

Digitized by



pledging himself to the defence of the interests of his Church.'
There are other no less arbitrary possibilities of disloyalty alleged
against the Orders taking the triple vow of Religion, as a pretext
to justify the action of the French Government, into which it is
needless to enter here. Let us, however, briefly review the Law
itself and sec if it do not bear the mark of hateful discrimination
and partisan opposition to the Religious against whom it is directed.
We shall quote simply from the requirements of the Law as
summarized by Father Gerard, editor of the London Month, in a
pamphlet recently published by the Messrs. Longmans, Green and
Company on this particular subject, in which he appeals with fact
and date to the fair judgment of Englishmen against the misrepre-
sentations of the metropolitan press.

What has to be done by a Congregation which desires to
obtain authorization? The conditions are laid down by the
Council of State :

<'In the first place, an application for authorization must be
addressed to the Minister of the Interior ; it must be signed by the
official representatives of the applicant body, with vouchers for the
authenticity of their signatures ; and it must be accompanied by two
copies of the statutes of the congregation. There must be supplied at
the same time a fiill list of all the property of the congregation, movable
or immovable, and of all its establishments. Should authorization be
granted, it will cover only the establishments thus specified; per-
mission to found a new one must be sought in the same manner as
the original authorization of the body. The financial condition of the
institute must be annually reported to the Government of the State.
There must likewise be a full and searching report of tYit personnel.
In the case of associations which are not religious in character, it is
sufficient to supply the names of the directors, — but by no means will
this suffice in our case. Every individual member must be enumer-
ated, his family name, Christian name, and name in religion, his
age, place of birth, and nationality. If he should formerly have
belonged to another religious congregation, full information as to it
must be furnished, its style and title, the object for which it is designed,
and its geographical situation, the dates at which he entered and \th
it, and the name by which he was known in it. There must be a com-
plete record up to date of the history of each individual since he

Digitized by



joined the congregation to which he actually belongs — how he has
been employed at each successive period, in what function and in
what place. There must also be a statement of his pecuniary relations
with the congregation. Any ^lure to supply accurate information
upon these subjects will be a criminal offence, and whereas in the
case of other associations the maximum penalty for such a transgression
is a fine of 200 francs, for religious that maximum is raised to 5,000
francs, or a year's imprisonment. It is perfectly obvious that a con-
gregation which is not destined to obtain authorization, by supplying
all these particulars simply commits the happy despatch, for it must
effectually secure its own extinction, by enabling its destroyers to lay
their hand at once upon every stick or straw of its property, and by
marking out every individual belonging to it, as a person to be ex-
cluded from every species of work which those in power do not wish
religious men to do.

''The application must likewise contain a declaration on the part
of the congregation and all its members that they submit themselves
to the jurisdiction of the local ordinary, and another from the said
Bishop, engaging himself to receive them as his subjects.

"Should it be found duly en rigie^ the application is next to be
referred to the municipal council of the locality in which the con-
gregation desires to be established, as also the prifet of the district,
in order to obtain the opinion of these functionaries, both as to the
merits of the congregation itself, its institute and its purposes, and as
to the desirability of allowing it to settle in their neighborhood.
Should this double ordeal be safely passed, all must again come up for
the judgment of the Cabinet, and, finally, should the Ministry also
prove propitious, it will go before the chambers, with whom rests the
final decision of the whole affair. ' '

To what length persecution can be pushed in the name of a
law which inaugurates simply a system of espionage and personal
tyranny, has been already proved by numberless instances of
attempted application in the provinces. Petty magistrates and
prefects have sought to vindicate their ofHdal prerogatives ; for
the Prefect of a Department has, as Fr. Gerard points out (p. 61),
the right " at any hour of the day or night to demand admittance"
to a religious house and " to every room within it He must be
at full liberty to see every inmate, putting to him or her what
questions he sees fit/' Is it any wonder that the Religious, many

Digitized by



of them highly educated and refined, and possessed of the delicate
sense of modesty which their mode of living cultivates, should
resent this sort of intrusion and resist ? We who know what most
Religious are, would take up their personal defence, as do the
good French people in the Catholic districts.

Father Gerard sums up his analysis of the French Associations
Law in the following points :

"I. It originated with the extremist section of the Radicals, who
forced it upon the Ministry of M. Waldeck-Rousseau as a condition
of their support, who regard it as a first step in their campaign against
Christianity, or even religious belief in any form.

"2. It constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental principles
of liberty, depriving men and women of rights common to all, with-
out any excuse ; for although there have been accusations brought
against those whom it affects, there has been no attempt to substan-
tiate such charges.

"3. Those of the party now in power who wish in any form to
tolerate the Church or institutions belonging to her, are manifestly
determined to do so only on condition of making her to the fullest
extent the vassal of the State, and stamping her as a mere human in-
stitution for State purposes : that is to say, they will endure her on
condition that she will renounce the only claim upon which her ex-
istence can be justified.'*

Digitized by


Cntici9iii9 and JVotes*

Thomae et S. Alphonsi, hodiemis moribos aooommodata. De Poeniten-
tia, de Matrimonio et Ordine. Anotore Ad. Tanqnerej, S.S. Tomaoi :
Desolee, Lefebyre et Soo. ; PaiiBiis : Letonsey et Ane ; Heo Eboiaoi et
Ohioagii : Benziger Brothers ; Baltimore : St. Mary's Seminary. 1902.
Pp. 628-34.

To those who have become femiliar with the eminently practical
and timely edition of Father Tanquerey's Course of Dogmatic The-
ology y it is superfluous to recommend a volume on the Moral and Pas-
toral disciplines from the same gifted author. He has the feculty of
seizing what is of real and present use, and of discarding mere specu-
lation or historical reference which, whilst serving as illustration of a
principle, does as often obscure its ready application to modem actu-
alities. This consideration has been recognized of late years as an
important item in the preparation of theological text-books, especially
for those who, being obliged to devote themselves entirely to the pas-
toral care, find little leisure for speculative study and the discussion
of theoretical positions or purely hypothetical cases of conscience.
Father Tanquerey adheres to the teaching of St. Thomas, and estab-
lishes his scientific groundwork in the admirably formulated principles
which the Angelic Doctor lays down in the chapters of the Summa
regarding morality and virtue. St. Alphonsus is, of course, the high
court of appeal, where sagacity and prudence determine the just appli-
cation of scholastic dictates of reason and faith to moral action.

The special value of our author's attempt to supply a timely text
for students of moral theology in missionary countries, notably in
England and the United States, is apparent, particularly in the treat-
ment of the second part, De Matrimonio, Here we have not only
constant reference to sources of information, such as a complete sum-
mary of the laws on divorce in the different States, which we miss in
other text-books, but we find very explicit guidance for removing diflft-
culties which a parish priest is apt to meet with in marriage com-
plications. This is of great service to a pastor who is expected to
straighten out matrimonial troubles both before the public and in con-
science, and generally at short notice. Thus the reason, character.

Digitized by



and form of various dispensations are given in their pertinent connec-
tion and in continuous paragraphs, so that together with the solution
of a case requiring dispensation the method of obtaining the latter is
placed within a student's reach. In like manner the scheme of con-
saguinity and affinity is worked out with elaborate detail, making
immediate location of an impediment and its degree comparatively

It is needless to say that beyond the manner of emphasizing what
is of present importance in the treatment of moral questions by means
of the fundamental principles viewed in the light of recent legislation,
ecclesiastical and civil, our author does not greatly deviate from his
predecessors in the same field. His aim was to render service to the
clergy who presently labor in the care of souls, and this object he has,
we think, attained in a marked degree. The style of his writing is
clear even in parts where prolixity has been hitherto considered in-
separable from the subject-matter. Here and there the phrasing might,
indeed, be criticized, as when, for example, the author speaks of the
obligation to have the Ccesarean section performed by a physician
and not by a priest : '' propter periculum scandali quod multi exinde
paterentur; nam minus est malum in&ntem sine baptismate mori,
quam scandalum multis adultis dari." (Supplem., p. 32, n. 69.)
The bald statement minus est malum in this case might, if taken in its
obvious sense, be easily construed to supply a general pretext for neg-
lecting the duty of saving souls when the method of doing so is liable
to rouse serious misunderstanding; a happier phrase implying *'ad
tale remedium (pro sacerdote extraordinarium) non tenetur cui jactura
&mae ex eo adhibito eventura esset,** would accomplish the intended
end without coining a maxim suggesting that the salvation of a soul is
of minor importance and apt to work mischief in the pastoral field, since
it could be applied to other instances where it would not hold good.

A BOOK OF OBATOBIOS. Oompiled by the Bev. Bobert Eaton, of the
Birmingham Oratory. With Disoonises by the Very Bev. H. I. D*
Byder, D.D., the Very Bev. F. W. Keating, D.D., the Bev. Balph
Blakelook, and the Bev. Basil Matorin ; and a Fre&oe by the Bishop
of Birmingham. London : Published by the Oatholio Truth Sooiety.
1902. Pp.148.

The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have for some years past
made efforts to introduce into the devotional services at their church that
particular form of musical prayer which owes its origin to St. Philip

Digitized by



Neri and is as the Sacred Oratorio. The present generation
knows only the later and considerably secularized form of this style of
sacred music, as we have it in ''The Passion*' and "Christmas
Oratorio" by Sebastian Bach, or Handel's '* Messiah,'* Haydn's
"Creation," Beethoven's "Mount Olivet," Mendelssohn's "Elias,"
and Gounod's "Redemption," or "Mors et Vita." But these
charming and elevating works are merely artistic developments of the
Laudi written by Palestrina and Animuccia to accompany the spiritual
exercises introduced by St. Philip. The lovable patron saint of the
Roman youth was fond of music and knew how to employ its sweet
enticements, because he felt that through it " ineffable gladness and
gentleness and grace" could be imparted to piety. "Take away
from the saint his delight in music, ' ' writes Cardinal Capecelatro in
his biography, " and you leave his image despoiled of much of its
winning beauty."

That this spirit of sacred joy peculiar to the school of St. Philip
may be effectually revived through the same means which he employed
to draw it forth, has been in great part demonstrated at the English
Oratory ; and the work of Father Eaton is not only a proof of this,
but at the same time shows the way in which it may be done by others.
The plan presented in the manual before us is to describe, by a series
of motets strung together and selected from various sources, some sub-
ject or mystery of feith in its various aspects, leaving to the preacher
who presides over the exercises the task of driving home the lesson
of music.

Let us take by way of illustration one of the twelve Oratorios
which are here furnished, libretti and sermons accompanying. For
instance, the Oratorio on the House of God, In the first part of this
Oratorio an attempt is made to describe the chief features of the
interior of a Catholic church. On entering we at once feel that this
is " no other but the House of God," conscious as we are of the Real
Presence, and we exclaim with the Psalmist, " How lovely are Thy
tabernacles, O Lord ! * *

The organ prelude ends in an intonation of Guilmant's Quam
dilecta tabernacula tua Domine (motet for four voices). Then the
Christian is reminded of the principal features with which he is
familiar within the House of God. As our attention is fixed on the
Baptismal Font near the entrance of the Church where we were re-
generated and received into the Church of Christ, the choir takes up
the elevating strains of Sewell's Vidi aquam egredientem. We then

Digitized by



move along toward the front, and as we pass the Stations of the Cross,
symbolic expression of the Christian's sorrowful pilgrimage on earth,
a tenor solo with alternating chorus chants Fac me tecum pU flere^ from
the Cantata of the Stabat Mater by Dwrak. Reaching the pulpit,
we are reminded of Isaias' words : ** How beautiful upon the hills are
the feet of him that bringeth good tidings and preacheth peace ! '' by
the singing of the motet Quam pulchri sunt pedes, from Gounod's
" Redemption.'* Thus the devotion continues, halting at the altar
of our Blessed Lady and of St. Joseph, stopping for a moment at the
Confessional to reflect on its saving power in Hummel' s consoling
strains Quodquod in orbe revinxerisy until we reach the high altar,
where the Centre of our worship dwells. Here the choir or the whole
congregation chant the Tantum Ergo, Then follows the sermon on
the subject of The Beauty of God's House , or some kindred topic.

The remaining eleven themes which Father Eaton has selected for
illustration of this work are on The Creator and Creature, The Incar-
nation of our Lord, The Life of our Lord, The Passion, The Church,
The Blessed Sacrament, Our Blessed Lady, The Kingdom of Christ,
Life after Death, The Virtue of Charity, The Life and Virtues of
St. Philip Neri, A printed sheet serving as libretto is given to those
attending the devotions, so that they may easily become familiar with
the train of thought that leads the devotion.

It will readily be admitted that this sort of devotion is not only
attractive, but is also of great practical and instructive value if properly
conducted. **To produce an Oratorio in this fashion," says the
author in the Preface, '* has many advantages. It enriches the
repertoire of the choir ; it stimulates the zeal and interest of its mem-
bers ; and the occasion brings together a large number of people. ' '
The Bishop of Birmingham, who attended these devotions, testifies to
their impressive character. ** My own feeling," he writes, ''was that
we were assisting, not at a musical entertainment, but at a religious
function. The mysterious truths of faith were set before us in the
inspired words of Holy Scripture and of the Church's Liturgy ; and
classical music, as expressive and appropriate as could be found, was
selected and composed for the setting. But the theme dominated, as
it was meant to do ; the music was subsidiary, and served as a medium
of expression to the theme ; thus our minds were lifled heavenwards,
and our hearts were stirred with unearthly emotions by turns of joy
and praise, of thanksgiving and supplication. This was a marked
feature of those Oratories at which I had the good fortune to assist.

Digitized by



So much so, that when the music ceased and gave place to the spoken
word, one felt that the preacher's task was half done : for the mind
had been withdrawn from the outer world, and occupied with spiritual
things, and thus was better disposed to attend to the central truth to
be propounded by the preacher."

THE DANGEBS OF SFIBITTTALISH. Being Beoords of Personal Ez-
perienoeSi with Hotes and Oomments and Hlnstrations. By a member
of the Society for Fsyohical Besearoh. With the Approbation of the
Most Bev. Ajohbishop of St. Louis, Mo. London ; Sands & Oo. ; St.
Louis, Mo. : B. Herder. 1902. Pp. 153.

A member of the Society for Psychical Research, who from motives
of scientific study has earnestly devoted himself for years to the inves-
tigation of the reality of spiritualistic manifestations, expresses in this
volume the conviction that spiritualism as a cult is one of the greatest
dangers that beset the religious and curious mind in modem society.
He believes that this cult is not a merely passing phase of human in-
quisitiveness, but that it shows signs of a permanent hold, furnishing
as it does food for the inborn craving after the mysterious, and promis-
ing to answer the questions of those who believe in the immortality
of the soul without accepting the saving restraints imposed by a
dogmatic faith. There is, too, as the author says, a manifest reaction
from that crude materialistic creed of the last century which is too
strongly opposed to our normal instinct to form a permanent system
of philosophy ; and this fact also favors the tendencies of spiritualistic

The author's object, in view of this fact, is to add his own testi-
mony to the reality and objectivity of many of those abnormal phe-
nomena which have in recent years been frequently the subject of
inquiry and discussion among the representatives of psychical science
at our leading schools and universities. His conclusion is not only
that the manifestations which men experience at times of a spirit-
world, are an unquestionable reality, but also that they constitute a
grave danger to those who from a sense of curiosity or mistaken duty
attempt to meddle with them. "It is a fact universally acknowledged
and admitted even by experienced spiritualists, that the influence of
the siance-TOom is on the whole debasing, and that it tends to banish
all true devotional feeling and true religion.'* Of the truth of this
we should hold ourselves convinced from the occasional glimpses that

Digitized by



reach the public of the transactions of spiritualistic assemblies and the
open advertisements of the mediums. It is true, no doubt, also that
at tiroes individuals of sceptical disposition have found in these mani-
festations some awakening of their dormant spiritual &culty ; and that
in a few cases honest inquirers have been thus led back to a belief in
the supernatural, and even to the true Church. For as soon as they
realized that this spirit-world, of which they had experienced a sense
of reality, had alternate spheres ; that there was evil and apparent
good strangely commingled ; that human fraud supplemented the fitful
agency of the unevenly controlled spirit manifestations, — ^their minds
brought them logically to the causes of these things and to the recog-
nition of the one supreme Spirit on whose power all natural and pre-
ternatural operations depend. But such results as these latter are rare
exceptions, and most of the unsuspecting persons who are drawn into
the maelstrom of spiritualism become its victims.

So far as the general public is concerned, the author believes that
it is of the utmost importance that the action upon us of the unseen
spiritual universe (which the spiritualistic phenomena go to demon-
strate) should be fully known and realized; for, according to his
observations, it is in the denial of the reality of these fects, which
attributes them simply to trickery and delusion, that the chief danger
lies. ''A person who believes, or who at least thinks it probable, that
intelligent agencies, external to the inquirer, may be at work in pro-
ducing the phenomena in question, is &r more likely to proceed with
caution and circumspection, than he who imagines that they may be
attributed to some unknown occult force, or to the action of his own
submerged and hitherto but little understood personality."

If it be asked what are specifically the dangers arising out of
spiritualistic experiences or experiments, we should answer in one
word that it brings us back to the pagan cult of pre-Christian times ;
for it fosters a sort of modernized demon worship with its oracles, as
at Delphi, on the one hand, and its orgies, as at Olympus, on the
other. The volume before us gives the actual experiences of one who
took up the inquiry as a scientist, but who felt the moral responsi-
bility devolving upon him throughout, and thus found himself enabled
to draw salutary lessons fi-om the things he witnessed and tested. The
book has the Imprimatur of the Archbishop of St. Louis, which is an
attestation of its moral purpose and freedom from whatever might
offend Catholic sensibility.

Digitized by



II. A nanatiye of Sir John and Lady Warner's so-mnoh-wondered-at

Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 36 of 78)