George F Dillon.

War of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 online

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" world, is confided to it by the Vicars of Christ, to the
" exclusion of any other organ whatsoever, and this with
" such solemnity, that Urban VIII., on the 2nd of August,
" 1634, and Innocent X. on the 3rd of July, 1652, ordered
" that the authentic decrees of the Propaganda should have
" the force of Apostolic Constitutions."

In this way the Congregation started into existence.

The number of Cardinals, which in the beginning was
fixed at thirteen, has been since, from time to time, increased.
A Prefect was appointed over them as over other congrega-
tions, and subsequently a Cardinal was appointed specially
over the finance department. A secretary — subsequently
two, one for the Eastern branch, and one for the Western —
and writers were added, together with many consulters
taken from the foremost religious and secular ecclesiastics
residing in Pome. The whole formed a distinct Corporation
capable of sueing and being sued. It at once commenced
the work confided to it ; and the world has, from that day
to this, experienced the benefits of its zealous and always
prudent administration. The whole Church, except in the
purely Catholic kingdoms of Europe, passed under its con-
trol ; and its ministry has become not only valuable, but, in
fact, absolutely necessary for the due exercise of the solici-
tude of the Vicar of Christ in such an immense area of the
world committed to his keeping.

In the Bull by which Gregory XV. instituted the
Sacred Congregation, we find it clearly laid down that it
should be all this. Moreover, the help which he anticipated
from the faithful, came almost immediately. This appears
specially in the foundation of the celebrated seminary now
known as- —




Through the zeal of John Baptist Vives, one of its consult-
ing prelates, the Sacred Congregation came into possession
of the necessary property and the buildings which are now
occupied by offices attached to Propaganda and by a college
for the education of missionaries destined to carry out its
principal aim in evangelizing the nations. The immediate
successor of Gregory XV. was the celebrated Urban VIII.,
a member of the illustrious Barberini fjimilv. This areat
Pontiff" earnestly resumed the work of his predecessor in the
matter of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda Fide.
To him, Monsgr. John Baptist Vives, acting, as Moroni tells
us, under the direction of his own confessor, Michael
Ghisheri, of the Order of Tlieatines, offered his place in the
Piazza di Spagna. This residence previously belonged to
Cardinal Ferratini, from whom the street called Via
Fratina, wdiich at present leads dii'ectly from the Corso to
the Propaganda, takes its name. Urban VIII. gladly
accepted the offer; and with further aid from Vives, estab-
lished the famous college to which he gave his own name — a
name it bears to this day — Collegio Urbano de Propa-
ganda Fide. Moroni thus speaks of this gift : — "Matters
" progressed so far that Monsignor Vives decided to devote
" all he had to this purpose (the foundation of the college),
" and he employed Father Ghislieri to draw up a plan for
" changing his palace into such a college. With these
" admirable sentiments the Prelate Vives made an offer of
"■ the Palace to Urban VIII. (Barheriiii). This illustrious
" Pontiff" being animated with the livehest interest for the
" augmentation of the Catholic religion and for the greater


" glory of God, approved of the gift of the good Prelate,
" and with the authority of the Bull ' Tmmortalis Dei ' given
''on the Kalends of August, 1627, canonically instituted in
" the same palace an Apostolic College or Seminary for
" youths of every nation who should be promoted to orders
'' after one year, and afterwards to the Priesthood, and he
'placed the College under the invocation and patronage of
" SS. Peter and Paul. He put it moreover under the
" protection of the Apostolic See, and under the rule and
" laws which he and his successors should be pleased to
"make for its government. He assigned to it perpetually
"the oblation of the well-deserving Vives, consisting of
"one hundred and three places on the mountain and other
" estates, yielding yearly about seven hundred scudi in
"rent, besides other revenues which that Prelate left it at
"death. On the principal facade of the building was
"placed the following inscription : —

" Collegium de Propaganda Fide Per Universum

"And afterwards the same Urban VIII. caused to
" be substituted for this another, which was placed beneath
"his own arms, and still subsists, and which runs as
" follows : —

" Collegium Urbanum de Propoganda Fide."
The palace of Monsignor Vives was greatly improved
by Urban VIII. , who employed the celebrated Bernini to
construct the offices of the Comimtisteria, or finance
department, on the ground floor ; the Segretaria, or
business portion, on the first floor ; and the Siamperia, or
printing office, on the upj^er floor. Alexander VIL,
the next successor but one of Urban VIII., carried the
buildings on towards the Church of St. Andrea dei Frati.
He also built the beautiful College Chapel in the form in


wliieli it is to be found to-day. He employed in both
works the rival of Bernini, Francesco Borromini. Leo XII.
removed the printing offices to the ground floor, at the end
of the building ; and in the part where these were placed
before, he formed apartments for the Cardinal Prefect, so
that the latter might be always on the spot for watching
over the many important interests of the Congregation.
On the highest story were also provided the apartments of
the Secretary of the Pro23aganda, and the famous INIuseum
connected with the Institution.

Besides the gift of the site and the Palace, Monsigiior
Vives provided also ten places in the College for students
destined to carry the Gospel wherever the Sacred Congre-
gation might send them. Almost at the same time with this
gift, came another valual^le donation from Cardinal Antonio
Barberini, the brother of Urban VIII. This was the
perpetual foundation of twelve places for as many students,
who should be taken in the proportion of two from each
one of the Persian, Georgian, Coptic^ Nestorian, Jacobite,
and INIelchite rites or nations. The zealous Cardinal,
elevated the number of students to three of each nation,
soon afterwards, making eighteen in all, of his own founda-
tion. And from that to this, these far-off peoples have been
supplied with a constant stream of well-educated pastors
from the centre of Christendom by the zeal of this good
Prince of the Church, who was in his lifetime also one of
the Cardinals attached to the Sacred Congregation of the
Propaganda. His zeal did not finish here. Before his
death, Moroni tells us, that he founded thirteen places in
the Urban College for the nations of Ethiopia, Abyssinia,
and Brackmania. Wise regulations were in all cases laid
down for the giving of these places, and for the discharge
of the obligations of those who profited by them. Urban


VIII. attached this College perpetually to the Sacred Con-
gregation of the Propaganda, and Innocent X. increased it
by the funds and the alumni of a small Maronite College
previously established in Bologna. So the College con-
tinued to advance in its sphere of Church utility ; and with
it arose and progressed institutions necessary for its own
work and for the work of the Sacred Congregation, which,
Avith pinidence and zeal, continued to direct the whole of
the missionary responsibility of the Holy See from the
days of Gregory XV. to those of Leo XIII.

I will here quote for you a remarkable document
furnished me by Monsignor Conrado, the present, erudite,
zealous, and greatly beloved Eector of the Propaganda
College. It is interesting, and manifests the sources
from which the educational funds of the C'ollege were
derived. Translated from the original Italian, it is as
follows : —


Befoee commencing to speak of the institution of the Urban College,
from whence have gone forth so many personages illustrious for the pro-
fundity of their knowledge, for the sanctity of their lives, and for their zeal
for religion, it is necessary to give an idea of the origin of the Sacred
Congregation destined for the propagation of the Faith. Because, however
divided one from the other, these two pious establishmeuts were in the
beginning, the College owes its existence, certainly, to the Sacred Congrega-
tion. The immortal Gregory XV., called to the consideration of the duties
of the supreme authority of the Church, saw amongst the very first that of
carrying the Gospel light amidst the darkness of the Gentiles, that of
uniting in the bond of charity those who lived disjoined from it, and that
of bringing back to the true belief those who found themselves immersed
in error ; he, therefore, in the second year of his pontificate, instituted this
Sacred Congregation, to which he confided the propagation of the Faith
throughout the universe. It was composed of thirteen Cardinals, two
Prelates, and one religious <klla Scala. The Cardinals met together for the
first time on the 6th of December, 1622. In this first meeting the Cardinal
Ludovisi having mentioned the motive of its creation, asked his collegues
to manifest openly their sentiments regarding the best manner of propaga-


ting the Faith. It was resolved that all the Nuncios of the Holy See should
be written to, in order that they should send information regarding the
state of religion in the provinces and kingdoms committed to them ; also,
that the heads of Eeligious Orders should receive instructions to send
accounts of the state of the missions conducted by them amongst heretics
and infidels. And first of all it was resolved that the Bishop of Cozentino
should be written to for the papers which he held in charge regarding the
propagation of the Faith in the time of Clement VIII.

The Bull of the erection, the revenues necessary, the purchase of a palace
which should be an asylum for the converted, the residence for the alumni
destined for the service of the missions, and the material foundation of the
Congregation itself, were also matters of deliberation in that first session.
Monsignor Yives of Valencia in Spain, Ambassador of Isabella, the
illustrious Infanta of Spain and Governor of the Belgian Provinces, a
personage of singular piety, offered for the purposes of the Congregation
the Ferratina Palace, where even at present the most eminent Cardinals
meet to decide upon religious questions which arise in different parts of the
world. On the 4th of February following, the second Congregation was
held. The principal things then considered were the faculties, the relations
to be made to the Pope after each Congregation, and the manner by which
a revenue might be created for that pious establishment. Amongst other pro-
jects the Cardinal of Saint Susannah proposed the application of the Cardinal's
rings. This project was pleasing to all, and the Pope by inserting it in his
Bull approved of it, and it still subsists. The same Gregory, at the canoniza-
tion of Saint Ignatius and Saint Isidore, gave two thousand five hundred
golden crowns ; also when he prescribed that the Congregation should meet
once a month before the Pope he offered ten thousand scudi. Nor did this
limit his pious liberality, since other acts are found of his munificence.

The Bishops of Christendom also received impulses to collect alms for the
promotion of this holy work in the Lenten times. A certain obligation, it
appears, arose, since by reason of the pious contributions, great acquirements
were made for the work. In consequence, regulations were drawn up regard-
ing the administration. Two Cardinals, with the Cardinal's Secretary, were
elected every year to superintend the temporal interests of the Congregation.
Fmally, there was besides instituted a special judge, an agent, and a notary.
Matters thus progressed until, on the 8th July, Gregory XV. passed to a better
life. The Cardinal Barberini succeeded him, and took the name of Urban VIII.
On the 4th September the first Congregation was held under the new Pontiff.
Urban VIII. by his Bull, ImmortaUs, ordained the erection of the Congregation
on the 1st of August, 1627. The spirit of the Bull is as follows : — The holy
Pontiff first mentions the grave burden which he feels in the government of the
Universal Church. He mentions the supplication of Monsigr. Vives, by which
the intended College is reduced to some form, and by which the latter gives his
palace and all its annexes, together with all the rest of his goods, with the
reserve of the use only during his natural life. He institutes the College on
the condition that if it does not become a reality during his own pontificate ; it
should obtain it in that of his successors. He speaks of the instance of Monsigr.


Vives, and the confimiation accorded with the condition expressed in the
instrument. He then institutes after the acceptation of the donation, after the
confirmation of the conditions, and after the making good of any defects, the
Pontifical College or Apostolic Seminary, under the invocation of SS. Peter and
Paul, by the name of the Urban College, for the defence and Propagation of
the Faith, called the Propaganda. (By the form of the Bull, iV^e nova, of the
13th of March, 1640, it is forbidden to every college or seminary to take that
designation.) He orders that the alumni from the secular state can be
taken from every nation. They should be of sound maxims, of pure
morals, and of sound piety. They should serve throughout their whole lives,
encounter dangers, sufferings, and, if need be, martyrdom. He assigns the
dotation for the maintenance of the econome, of the rector, of the masters, and
of the students, deputing as administrators three Canons of the three patri-
archal basilicas, at the death of whom he reserves to himself the nomination of
their successors, to be taken from that basilica to which the deceased belonged.
He accords to these ample faculties to elect and remove rectors, economes,
officials, and masters ; to make rules and give orders conformable to the canons
and apostolic constitutions ; to change these, to correct them and interpret them.
He exempts all the individuals of the College from every jurisdiction of the
vicar, senator, conservator, and rector of studies, as well as from whatsoever
tax whether of land or sea. He takes the college under his own immediate
protection and awards to it every privilege conceded to the German,
English or Greek Colleges. He inhibits any one from molesting either the
college or the officials. He wishes that no one should regard as defective,
tight against, suspend, call in judgment for vice of nullity or intention,
Avhomsoever should be there found residing, and declares null all that which
could be attempted, knowingly or unknowingly, against his constitution.
He orders the Bishops of Ostia, the Vicar, and the Auditor of the Apostolic
Camera to execute this Bull, so that no one under whatsoever pretext could
molest it. He threatens censures and the secular arm against its contra-
veners. He finally terminates his Bull with the most ample derogatory forms.
The College remained divided from the Sacred Congregation until 1641.
But on the 16th of lln.y of that year the same Urban VIII. gave another
Bull — Romanus Pontifex. In this he revoked and annulled the faculties
given to the three Canons of the Patriarchal basilicas. He unites the
College to the Sacred Congregation, but leaving the adminstration, govern-
ment and direction of it to the Cardinal of St. Onefrius "having taken
counsel, as we hope," says the Bull, " with the Congregation of the before-
mentioned Cardinals, and with the approbation of the Eoman Pontiff in affairs
of greater importance."


The first foundation for students was made by Monsgr. Vives for the
alumni, priests or secular clergyman of whatever nation destined for the
Propagation of the Faith througiiout the universe.

The second foundation was made by Cardinal Antonio Barberini with the
ju3 patro7iatus reserved, so far as nomination was concerned, to his family.

Till-: uiinAN C()Lij:(iE. 29

This wus destined for six nations, each one of which ouj^ht to supply two
students. These nations were the Georgian, Persian, Chaldean, Melchite,
Jacobite and Copt. Urban VIII. gave a JiuW^Altitudo Divini — erecting these
foundations, on the 1st of April, 1G37. In this he subjected the alumni to the
rule of the College, and to the oath conceding to them all the privileges,
faculties and exemptions already enjoyed by the other collegians.

The third foundation Wfis also by the same Cardinal Barberini. It was for
seven Ethiopians or Abyssinians, and for ex-Brahmins in Eastern India.
Urban VIII. gave a Bull erecting these in 1639 — Onorosa pastoralis Officii.
In this he added that if young men could not be found in one of these nation.s
they should bo taken from the others; and if in neither, they should be taken
from the Armenians in this order, that they should be first those of Poland,
then those of Constantinople, then from Tartary, Pericop, Georgia and
Armenia the Greater, and Armenia the Less, and finally from Persia. The
examination of these also belonged to the family of the Barberini. These
students were also placed under the same oath, privileges, etc., as the others.
The dotation was assigned for maintaining them, the protector and his faculties.
As a crown to such great beneficence the same Cardinal gave in 1646 to the
Sacred Congregation the houses which constitute the Island of the College
valued at 56,233 scudi. In order to bring the fabric to its present form the
same Sacred Congregation spent 96,496 scudi. He died the same year, and left
heir to all his estate the Sacred Congregation, to which he also left 1000 scudi
of pension which he had from certain episcopal sees.

In 1701 Monsgr. Scanegatti, Bishop of Avellino, left the Sacred Congrega-
tion his heir, with the obligation of maintaining five students, reduced to four
in 1733.

In 1704 Cardinal Barberini founded a new place to be added to the others of
his house.

In 1708 Clement XI. gave 4000 scudi for the maintenance of a student.

In 1715 an Albanian Catholic gave to the Sacred Congregation an offering of
1600 scudi for the education of an alumnus^ with the right of alternative

In 1719 Cardinal di Adda left the Sacred Congregation his heir, with the
obligation of maintaining as many students as it could support by his income.
All these being free, the Sacred Congregation assigned one to the Basilian and
one to each, of the four Irish Archbishops. But so far as it concerned the
Irish, in 1726, the Sacred Congregation, having been requested if these places
were conceded perpetually, replied affirmatively, until the Sacred Congregation
shoidd decide otherwise. It is to be here borne in mind that in this cor.-
cession there is a derogation from a decree of 1644, which laid down that no
students should be received from nations which had colleges either in Pome or
outside of Pome.

In 1743 the Sacred Congregation, with 100 LL. M. M., given by John
Dominic Spinola, assigned two places to the Bulgarians and one to the Servians,
as was found in the College of Fermo, re-united to the Urban College in 1746.

There were also two supernumerary, one Swedish, and another Algerine.
The post maintained by Cardinal Albani, the second by Cardinal San Clemen te.


The piety of the Emperor Charles YI., in order to provide for the spiritual
■welfare of the Greek Wallachians of Transylvania, in the year 1736, ordered
that the chamber of that province should pay annually the sum of 432 scudi
for the purpose of maintaining three alumni in this College. This assignment
was accepted and confirmed by the Pope. The first alumnun was Monsgr.
Avon, afterwards Bishop of . Biaritz. To this bishop was afterwards assigned
certain funds with the obligation of maintaining twenty alumni in the pro-
vince, and to pay for the support of the three to the Propaganda. In the end
negotiations were opened in order to diminish such expense, but the issue of
them is unknown.

In 1772 two Scotch foundations were instituted, with funds given by Car-
dinal di Burnis, and coming from the legacy Montesisto of the codex.

1772. In the College the monks sent by the Patriarch of Cilicia were

1754. The Chaldeans of Mossul obtained two places. For ten years the
alumni were reduced to thirty-four.

By the reunion of the College of Fermo, and by the places having been
brought up to the ancient number, the alumini were sixty-four in 1759. Of
these foundations some are of free oollation, and others oi the jus pair onat us of
the Barberini family. The Monsignor Secretary presents to the said family
the students, and they forward the diplomas. They cannot, however, be
admitted without the previous approbation of the Sacred Congregation. In
the absence of ecclesiastics, even a lady — as was done by Cornelia Costanza —
can use the right acquired. For the rest, that illustrious family beiug rendered so
well meriting of the College, it enjoys the right to have a copy of all the works
which issue from its printing office. In what pertains to the admission of the
students, no one can be received if he has not been previously admitted by
the Sacred Congregation. Therefore, Bishops and Vicars-Apostolic do not
use arbitrary means in sending them, as happened on other ocuaiions.

But if they do not receive them from the Sacred Congregation, the Congre-
gation is bound to accept them for compassion, and with its own loss.

The alumni ought to be sound, without defect of body, of good disposition
and morals, of Catholic family, civil, and with the credit of having goods of
fortune, sufficient to pay the expenses of the voyage to Europe.

There are the following recent foundations : — Six places were founded by
Father Michael Doyle, of Dublin, an ex-student, about the year 1850.

Foundations for Scotland by the Cardinal of York, who left for that purpose
the Eoman suburban tenement called the Loazzo.

On the 25th of June, 1853, Don Armando Heljen, ex-alumnus, left two
foundations to the Propaganda for Belgium.

One was left in 1879 for the Diocese of Port Main, in the United States.

One place was founded by Monsignor O'Bryen, for America, in 1883.

Dr. Backhouse also left, for Sandhurst in Australia, as much as will
perhaps sustain three students. He was an Alumnus of Propaganda, and left
considerable means for the benefit of the diocese in which he laboured long and
successfully, and of which he was the first Vicar-Qeueral.

THE uniLV>N culle(;e. 31

From the College here described, thousands of apos-
tolic men have gone forth to distant lands, and not a few
of these have won the crown of martyrdom. Tlie visitor
to Rome now meets with representatives of every race
under heaven who come to that Urban Colleii:e for an
ecclesiastical education to fit them for the ministry in their
several nations. Amidst the various bands of young
students bearing the Propaganda uniform he sees the Red
Indian of the American Forests, the dark son of Central
Africa, the islander of the Southern Seas, the young China-
man destined for one of the provinces of his Emperor's
Celestial Kingdom, the native of Corea, the child of the
Arabian Desert, the soft-featured Circassian, the swarthy
Syrian, and occasionally a fair-haired son of Albion ; but
never can he miss from the camerate of the Propaganda
the tall, muscular forms of that wonderful Celtic race,
which from the very opening of the Urban College, has
never ceased to form a part, and even a great part of its
aluiiini. The Irish come to it from their island home,
although no less than three distinctive colleges for their
nation exist in Rome. A mitigation in their favour was
made in a rule permitting no nation which had a special
College of its own in Rome to send alumni to the Propa-
ganda. Notwithstanding this rule the four Archbishops
of Ireland obtained places for students. And then the
same missionary race sent alumni as Irish as the Irish at
home, from America, Canada, Australia, India, and other
lands which the vast migrations of its people had evangel-

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Online LibraryGeorge F DillonWar of antichrist with the Church and Christian civilization : lectures delivered in Edinburgh in October 1884 → online text (page 20 of 26)