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him. It is the anger of none but noble
spirits that increases our affection for
them. Once only I saw Dumortier
swell with just indignation, and I
seldom witnessed a spectacle more
sublime.

Ducpdiaux was the soul of the
congresses at Malines. To singular
talent for organization he joins a burn-
ing zeal for the interests of Catho-
licity, and to them he devotes every
day and hour of his life. No sacrifice
is too great, no labor too exhausting,
if it is needed to further the Catholic
cause. As general secretary, he is in
communication with the leadiiig men.
of Catholic Ettrope. At his call
Catholics from every country fiocked
to Malines. Ducpetiaux was the rul-
ing mind of the congress, for the pres-
ident had intrusted him, to a great
extent, with its management Cau-
tious, subtle, and quick, he is prompt
in action, though no great speak-
er. The most numerous assembly
would be obedient to his nod. Duc-
petiaux is no stranger to Germany,
for he was among us at Aix-la-cha-
pelle in 1862, and at Wtirzbuigin
1864, and the whole-souled remarks
made by him on the latter occasion
will long ring in our memory. He is
an international character, a type of
the nineteenth century. By the inter-
est a man takes in the movements
and ideas of his age, and by his inter-
course with prominent characters, we
may easily estimate his infiuence.
To Germany a general secretary like
Ducpetiaux would be of inestimable
advantage.

Viscount da Kudckofoe vxoAt not be
passed over in silence. A thorough
well bred gentleman, he is familiar
with the natiras and languages of



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Europe. He is a man of mind, en«
ergj, and prudence, and of a dazzling
appearance. He seemB the embodi-
ment of elegance. His speeches
sparkle with delicate touches and are
distinguished for refinement His
voice is somewhat shrill and sharp,
but melodious withal. In Belgium the
viscount ranks as an orator equal to
Dechamps and Dumortier. His fa«
vorite scheme, to the promotion of
which he gives his entire energies, is
the closest union among Catholics
of aU countries. At times he ex-
presses this idea so forcibly that he
is misunderstood, but in itself the
scheme is pnuseworthj, and has been
more or less realized in the age of
Pius IX.

Baron van Gerlaehe now demands
our attention. He was president iji
the congress both in 1863 and in
18iS4. If I were writing his biogra-
phy, how eventful a life would it be
my lot to portray I Baron Gerlaehe
is identified with Belgian history since
1830 ; for more than forty years he has
been acknowledged by the Catholics
in Belgium as their head. In 1831
he had no mean share in forming the
Belgian constitution, a constitution
based on political eclecticism, which
at that time satisfied all parties, and
which promised even-handed justice to
alL Gerlaehe has ever been tiie loyal
defender of this constitution ; Belgium
has not a more devoted son. He is a
historian and a statesman. But the
Church too claims his affection, the
great and holy Catholic Church. All
Belgium listens to his voice, and his
words sometimes beKsome decrees. He
speaks with dignity and moderation,
with caution and prudence; he is al-
ways guided by reason, and never
loses sight of &cts. His energies
spent in the course of a life of seventy-
two years, he is no longer understood as
well as formerly ; his voice has become
too weak to address an assemblage of
six thousand persons ; but there is in
it something so solemn, so moving, that
his hearers seem spell-bound. His lan-
guage is appropriate, and at times ap-



proaches sublimity. Baron Gerlaehe
is as much the idol of the Catholics of
Belgium as O'Connellwas of the Irish:
he is as respected as Joseph von
Grorres was in Germany; he is the
Godfrey de Bouillon of the great Bel-
gian crusade of the nineteenth oto-
tury. Great men seldom appear
aliHie; around them are grouped many
minor characters, well worthy of a
niche in the temple of fame. The
most prominent of those who have
fought side by side with Baron von
Gerlaehe are the Count de Theux, a
veteran in political warfare, generous,
able, and experienced in the art of
governing ; the Baron della Faille, a
man distinguished for the dignity of
his demeanor and the nobility of his
character; his manners are captivat-
ing, and his features bear the impress
of calmness, moderation, and judg-
ment; the Viscount Bethune,of Ghent,
a venerable old man, whose counte-
nance beams with piety, and who in
the course of a long career has gath-
ered a store of wisdom and experi-
ence; General Capiaumont, a man
immovable as a rock, and full of chiv-
alrous sentiments. These venerable
men were seated on each side of the
President von Gerlaehe. But the
other members are no less worthy of
notice. To hear and see such men
produces a profound impression.

Dechamps, the mighty Dechamps,
the lion of Flanders and Brabant,
must not be forgotten. He stands at
the head of the Belgian statesmen,
brave as Achilles, the terror of the so-
called liberals. Dechampt was one
of the pearls of the last congress ; his
mere appearance had a magic effect ;
the few words he addressed to the as-
sembly before its organization called
forth a storm of applause ; he electri-
fies his hearers by his bold and spark-
ling ideas.

We must next call attention to Jo-
seph de Hemptinne. The owner of
immense factories, he employs thou-
sands of laborers, and freely devotes
his fortune to the cause of the Church.
He also contributed to the success of



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the congress of Malines. His em-
ploy^ ovre ium a debt of gratitude.
like a fieUher, he cares for their cor-
poral and spiritual wel&re, accompan-
ies them when going to assist at mass,
and with them he sajs the beads and re-
ceives the sacrament. Do Hemptinne
is entirelj devoted to his country and
his faith ; his countenance is a mirror
that reflects a pure and guileless soul,
deeply imbued with religious feeling.
It has seldom been my good fortune to
meet as amiable a man as Joseph de
Hemptinne.

Perin next demands our notice. He
fills a professorship at Louvain, and
is well known to the public by his
writings. In the congress be was no-
ted as an adroit business man. Pos-
sessing a refined mind, stored with
manifold attainm^its, he exerts a pe-
culiar, I might almost say magic, in-
finence on those with whom he deals.
His fine piercing eye beams with
knowledge, not mere book learning,
but the ^lowledge of men, whilst his
noble forehead is stamped with the
seal of uncommon intellectual power.
In his language as well as in his ac-
tions Perin is extremely graceful ; he
might not inaptly be styled the doC'
tor degcaUisnmus. Count ViUermont
of Brussels is well known in Grer-
many, and respected for his historical
researches. At Malines he displayed
cxtraordinaiy activity. True, he seems
to be no favorite of the graces — the
warrior appears in all his actions. On
seeing him, I imagined I beheld the
colonel of one of Tilly's Walloon regi-
ments. This circumstance must sur-
prise us all the more, as the count is not
only a diligent student of histoiy and
a generous supporter of the Catholic
press in Belgium, but also a man who
takes a lively interest in every charit-
able underUbking and in the social
amelioration of his country. Would
to Crod that Germany bad many
Counts Yillennontl Monsignor ds
JSoMy the rector magnificus of the uni-
▼ersity of Louvain, was the represen-
tative of Belgian science at Malines.
£ver since its establis^Mnent, he has



been at the head of that institution,
which he has governed with a firm and
steady hand. He is the pride of Bel«
gium, eminent, perhaps the most emi-
nent, among all her sons. His author-
ity is most ample, and to it we must
probably trace tihe majestic calmness
that distinguishes his whole being, for
to me de Ram appears to be the per-
sonification of dignity. At the proper
moment, however, he knows how to
display the volubility and affable man-
ners of the Roman prelate.

Many illustrious Belgian names
might still be mentioned, but we will
speak of them in a more appropriate
place.

The Belgian congresses differ in
some respects from the Catholic con-
ventions in Germany, for the latter
are by no means so weU attended as
the former. At the German meetings,
the number of members never ex-
ceeded fifteen hundred ; only six hun-
dred representatives were present at
the convention of Frankfort in 1863,
whilst that of Breslau in 1849 mus-
tered scarcely two hundred members.
In 1863 four thousand, and in 1864 no
less than five thousand, were present
at the Malines congress. The sight of
this army, full of fervor and of zeal to
do battle for the faith, involuntarily
reminds us of the warriors who were
marshalled under the banners of God-
frey for the purpose of achieving the
conquest of Jerusalem and the Holy
Land. Or it recalls to our mind the
great council of Clermont (Nov., 1095),
at which the entire assembly, hurried
away by the eloquent appeals of Ur-
ban IL, shouted with one accord ^^Detu
lo vok,*' " God wills it,'* and swore to
deliver Jerusalem from the tyranny of
the Moslems. The members of the
Catholic congresses are the crusaders of
the nineteenth century, for in their own
way they too battle for Christendom
against its enemies, fiadsehood and
malice,

Belgium is a small kingdom, Ma-
lines the central pomt where all its raU-
roads converge; it is a Catholic coun-



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try, boasting of a numerous clergy
both secular and regular ; it is an inter-
national country, the Lombard/ of the
north. Its position has made it the con-
necting link between the Bomanic and
Teutonic races, between the continent
and England. Thus situated, Bel-
gium is a rendezvous equally conve-
nient for the German, the Frenchman,
and the Briton. Moreover, Belgium
has ever been the battle ground of
Grennan J and France : where can be
found a more suitable spot on which
to decide the great struggle for the
freedom of the Church? This ex-
plains sufficiently the numerous at-
tendance of the Belgium congress.
In addition to the foreign element,
the congress at Malines calls forth the
entire intellectual strength of Belgium,
both lay and clerical No one re-
mains at home ; all are brethren
fighting for the same cause ; all wish
to imbibe new vigor, to gather new
courage for the struggle, for the con-
gress acts like the spiritual exercises
of a mission.

Very different is the situation of
Germany. Much larger than Bel-
gium, its most central point is at a
considerable distance from its extrem-
ities. Beside, the conventions do not
even meet at the most convenient
point, but change their place of meet-
ing every year. Suppose, therefore,
/ the convention is held in some city on
the French border, say Freiburg, or
Treves, or Aix-la-chapelle, this ar-
rangement will render it very difficult
for the delegates from the opposite ex-
tremity of the empire to attend, the
more so since it is not likely that the
German railroad companies will re-
duce their fares to half price, as was
done by the Belgium government
roads. Lastly, our language, difficult
in itself, and especially so to the Bo-
manic races, who are not distinguished
for extensive philological learning, will
prevent many £ix)m attending our
meetings.

For these reasons, the German re-
unions are hardly an adequate repre-
sentation of the Church militant; com-



paratively few can attend, the major-
ity must remain at home. For the
most part, our conventions are chiefly
composed of delegates from the dis-
trict or diocese in which they are
held. Nevertheless, every German
tribe has its representative, and Ger-
many, with its many tribes and states,
is by no means an inappropriate em-
blem of the European £unily of na-
tions.

The hall of the Petit Seminaire at
Malines, where the Belgian congress
meets, is spacious and well fitted for its
purpose; it will seat six thousand
persons. Nevertheless, only such as
have admission tickets, which cannot
be obtained except at extravagant
prices, can assist at the sessions.
The public in general are excluded,
and but few seats are reserved for la-
dies. On the other hand, the German
convention, which meets now in one
city, then in another, desires and .en-
courages, above all things, the attend-
ance of the inhabitants of the dly
where it meets. In every city it has
scattered fruit-producing seed. At
one place, the convention called into
existence a society for the promotion
of Christian art ; at another, an altar
society, a conference of St. Vincent
de Paul, or a social club; and in
many cities it inspired new religious
life and activty. In fact, if the city
for some reason cannot assist at the
meetings, as was the case in WUrz-
burg, one of the most important ends
of tiie convention is defeated. The
congress at Malines is too numerous
to travel from place to place ; more-
over, its meetings are not annual,
as are those of ti^e German conven-
tions.

The congress of Malines, like the
German convention, claims to be a con-
gress of laymen. But though here,
too, the principal committee is mainly
composed of laymen, the assembly has
almost lost its lay character. Among
the laymen, however, who attend the
Belgian congress, there are many ex
cellent speakers, in fact these are
more numerous than in Germany.



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AH the Belgian bishops were pres-
ent at Malines. Whilst in Germany
but one or two bishops assist at the
coQTention, the daily meetings of the
Malines congress were attended bj
the primate of Belgium, Cardinal Ste-
rez, and the bishops of Brages, Na-
mar, Ghent, Liege, and Doomik. The
bishops took part in the debates, and
in 1864 the speech of Monseigneur
Dnpanlonp was the event of the day,
whilst the congress of 1863 had been
distingaished by the presence of the il-
Instrious archbishop of Westminster,
Oardinal Wiseman. Whenever the
bishops appeared, they were welcomed
with bursts of enthusiasm. For a
ftill week might be witnessed the
most friendly intercourse between the
bishops and the other members of the
ocmgress, and thus the bonds of affec-
tionate love already existing between
the hierarchy, the clergy, and the laity
were drawn still closer.

The nobility too of Flanders and
Brabant, nay of all Belgium, ^as well
and worthily represented. On the
rolls of the Malines congress we meet
the most illustrious Belgian names,
names pregnant with historic interest.
The Grerman nobles, on the contrary,
have thus far paid little attention to
what is nearest and dearest to man-
kind, the interests of humanity and re-
ligion. True, the Rhenish- Westpha-
lian nobility appeared in considerable
numbers and displayed praiseworthy
aeal at the conventions of Aiz-la-cha-
pelle, Frankfort, and Wilrzburg, never-
tiieless there is still room for improve-
ment. Thus far the Bavarian and
Franconian nobles have taken' no part
in furthering the restoration of the
Church in Germany, and of the same
indifference the Austrian nobility were
accused by Count Frederick von Thun,
of Vicmna. Still, what a blessing for
the nobility if they devoted their in-
fluence to the service of the Church I
The consequence would be the regen-
eration of the German nobility. May
God grant that the Grerman nobles,
like those of Belgium, will join in cor-
dially promoting our great and sacred



cause. Leaders are not wanting, men
of talent, energy, and devotion, such as
the Prince Charles of Lowenstein,
Werthheim, and Prince Charles of
Isenburg-Birstein.

The professors of the university at
Louvain were not only present at Ma '
lines, but worked with their usual en-
.ergyand ability in the different sec-
tions of the congress. They present-
ed to the world the noble spectacle of
laymen uniting learning with zeal for
religion and devotion to the Church,
a spectacle seldom witnessed in Ger-
many. Of the two thousand profes-
sors and fellows of the twenty-two
German universities, how many are
there who, untainted by pride and
self-sufficiency, call the Church their
mother ? It is the union of knowledge
and piety that produces genuine men,
worthy of admiration, and at Malines
such men were not scarce.

At Malines the foreigners were weU
represented; in the German conven-
tions but few make their appearance.
Twice did France send her chosen
warriors to the congre^ — the first time
in 1863, led by Montalembert, at pres-
ent the most brilliant defender of the
Church, and again in 1864, under
the Bishop of Orleans, called by some
the Bossuet of our day. In August,
1863, the Tuileries were anxiously oc-
cupied with the speeches held in the
Petit Seminaire at Malines, for in
France despotism has gagged free
speech, and there a congress of Cath-
olic £urope is an impossibility; the
CsBsar's minions would tolerate no
such assembly.

Next to the French delegation, the
Grerman, led by A. Reichensperger, of
Cologne, was the most numerous.
There might also be seen a noble
band of Englishmen, and their speaker,
Father Herman the convert, seemed
another St Bernard preaching the
crusade. Spain, Italy, Ireland, Hun-
gary, Poland, Brazil, the United
States, Palestine, the Cape of Good
Hope, almost every country on the
globe, were represented at Malines.
True, the assembly was by no means



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as large as the muldtude that met in
Borne on June 8, 1862, when Pius
IX. saw gathered around him in St
Peter's church three hundred pre-
lates, thousands of priests, and fotfj
to fifty thousand laymen, representing
every nation of the earth. Still, the^
congress at Malines brings to recollec-
tion those immense gatherings of by-
gone times, where princes and bishops,
nobles and priests, met to provide for
the wel&re of the nations committed
to their ^^harge.

The Malines congress is in its in-
fancy, still the general committee has
displayed rare ability. All business
matters are intrusted to a few, whilst
in Geimany there is a great want of
order, owing partly to the inexperi-
ence of the local committees, and part-
ly to the scarcity of men versed in
parliamentary proceedings. At the
Mayence convention in 1848, want of
preparation might be excused; the
subsequent meeting had not the same
claims on our indulgence. The
Frankfort reunion in 1863 attempted
to remedy the evil and partly succeed-
ed, but until an efficient general com-
mittee be established, many irregular-
ities must be expected. At Malines
the delegates are furnished with a pro-
gramme of the questions to be dis-
cussed in the different sections; at
Wurzburg, on the contrary, the conven-
tion seemed at first Scarcely to know
the purpose for which it had been
convened. In Germany, the bureau
of direction is composed of three pres-
idents and sundry honoraiy members
and secretaries ; at Malines it cx>nsi6ts
of fifty to sixty officers of the congress,
and the list of honorary vice-presidents
is at times very formidable. In Bel-
gium secret sessions are unknown,
whilst in Germany it often happens
that the most important proceedings
are decided, upon in secret session,
whereas the pubhc meetings are
mainly devoted to the delivery of bril-
liant speeches. At Malines the reso-
lutions adopted by the different sec-
tions are passed upon in a short ses-
sion, seldom attended by more than



one-fifth of all the delegates. One
evil at the Belgium congress is the
imperfect knowledge of the German
character and of the religious status of
Germany. As the Romanic nations
will never learn our language, it re-
mains for us to supply the deficiency.
We must go to Malines, and expound
our views in French both in the sec-
tions and before the full congress. A«
Beichensperger pursued the proper
course in the section of Christitm art.
With surpassing ability he defended
the principles of the Church, triimiph-
antly he came forth from the contest,
and many were prevailed upon to
adopt his views. No doubt men like
Beichensperger are not found every
day, nevertheless we might easily send
one or two able representatives to
every section of the congress. If some
one were to do for Germany what
Cardinal Wiseman did for England
in 1863, when he set forth in dear
and forcible language the state of
Catholicity in that country, he would
deserve the everlasting gratitude of
the Romanic races.

Leaving these considerations aside
for the present, one thing is certain,
we must profit by each other's wisdom
and experience. Whatever may be
the defects of the Belgian congresses
or of the Grerman conventions, they
mark the beginning of a new era for
Belgium and Germany. For when
in the spring of 1848 the storm of
revolution swept away dynasties built
on diplomacy and police regulations,
the Catholics, quick to take advantage
of the liberty granted them, made use
of the freedom of assembly, of speech,
and of the press to defend the inter-
ests of religion and of the Church. To
Germany the liberty t^us acquired
for the Church has proved a blessing.
This liberty, attained after so many
years of Babylonian captivity, acted
so forcibly, that many called the day
on which the first general convention
met a '^ second Pentecost, revealing
the spirit, the force, and the charity of
Catholicism." We Catholics have
learned the language of freedom, we



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know the power of free speech.' Next
to the Uberfy of speech, it is their
publicitj that gives a charm to these
ooaventioiis. Whoever addresses
these assemblies speaks before the
whole Qmrch, and his words are re-
echoed in every countiy. There the
prinee and the mechanic, the master
and the journeyman, the refined gen-
tleman and the child of nature, all
alike have the right to eatress their
opinions. They afibrd a general in-
sight into the social and religions con-
dition <£ onr times, disclosing at once
their defects and their fair side* How
inspiring it ia to see men, thorough
men, with sound principles, full of
vital energy, and of experience ac-
qoired in public life, men of intellect-
ual vigor and mental refinement 1
Hence arise great and manifold ac-
tivity, unity of sentiment, and zeal for
the weal of all, in short, feelings of true
brotherly love. Great events arotise
deep feelings, and the glory of one
casts its radiance ovj^r many. There
is something beautiful and grand in
these Catholic reunions. They tend
to awaken society to a consciousness
of its nobler feelings and to spread
Catholic ideas ; they give strength and
unity to the exertions of all who en-
deavor seriously to promote the inter-
ests oi Catholicity; they are, as it
were, a mirror that reflects an exact
image of the life of the Church. Be-
fore their influence narrow-minded-
ness withers ; we take an interest in
men and things that had never before
come within the scope of our mental
vision, and on our return from the
congress to the ordinary pursuits of
life, we foiqget fossil notions and take
np new ideas. As we feel the heat of
the sun afle^ it has set, so long after
the adjournment of each convention do
we feel its influence. The eloquent
words of the champion of their fiuth
kindle in the hearts of Catholic youth
a giowingardor which joomises a bright



and glorious future. All are impressed
with the conviction that it is only by un-
flinching bravery that victories are won.
^As in nature," s^iys Hergenrother,
^ individuals are subordinate to species,
species to genera, and these again to a
general unity of design, thus in the
Catholic Church all submit freely to
the triple unity of faith, of the sacra-
ments, and of government Whether
they come from the north or the
south, from beyond the Channel or
from the banks of the Ehine, from the
Scheldt or the Danube, from the
March or the If itha, all Catholics of
eveiy country and every clime are
brethren, members of the same family,
all speak but one language, the lips of
all pronounce the same Gttholic pray-
er, and all ofi*er to their Heavenly Fa-
ther the same august sacrifice. Ev-
ery Catholic convention is a symbol
of this great, this universal society.
And as in nature we admire the most
astonishing variety, and the wonderful
display of thousands of hues and tints,
so in ihe Church we behold a gathering
of countless tribes and nations, difler-



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