A Monthly Journal
TALES, BIOGRAPHY, EPISODES IN IRISH AND AMERICAN HISTORY, POETRY, MISCELLANY, ETC.
AN EXTREMELY INTERESTING VOLUME.
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JANUARY, 1886, TO JULY, 1886.
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THOMAS B. NOONAN & COMPANY.
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Transcriber's note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes have been moved to the end of the chapters. This issue only contains January, 1886.
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An Affecting Incident at Sea, 32. Alone, 42. A Midnight Mass, 42. Abolishing Barmaids, 80. A Valiant Soldier of the Cross, 132. A Child of Mary, 144. A Christmas Carol, 165. A Silly Threat, 173. A Chapter of Irish History, 223. About Critics, 256. A Thought for Easter, 460.
Bay State Faugh-a-Ballaghs, 229, 347. Blaine on Britain, 438. Before the Battle, 550.
Crown and Crescent, 79. Christianity in China, 81. Capital and Labor—Strikes, 232. Columbus and Ireland, 368. Chanson, 406. Canossa at Last, 522. Chinese Labor, 505.
Dead Man's Island: The story of an Irish Country Town, 33, 145. Drunkenness in Old Times, 351. Deaths of the Apostles, 460. Decrees of the Third Plenary Council, 529. Death of Rev. Father Ryan, 570.
Encyclical Letter of Our Most Holy Lord Leo XIII, by Divine Providence, Pope, 1. Encyclical Proclaiming the Jubilee, 259. England and her Enemies, 264. Echoes from the Pines, 310. Emmet's Rebellion, 335. Emmet's Love, 435. Early Irish Settlers in Virginia, 523. Etoile du Soir, 501.
Four Thousand Years, 80. Faro's Daughters, 82. Frau Huett: A Legend of Tyrol, 308. Farewell, my Home, 345. Father Matt, 497.
Gladstone at Emmet's Grave, 61. Gerald Griffin, 62, 139. George Washington, 142. Give Charity while you Live, 333. Gladstone, 536.
His Eminence John Cardinal McCloskey, with Portrait, 18. Harvard College and the Catholic Theory of Education, 31. Honor to the Germans, 57. Historical Notes of Tallaght, 405. Hancock and the Irish Brigade, 411. Heroism, 542. Home Rule, 565.
Interest Savings Banks, 228. Ireland: A Retrospect, 266. Ingratitude of France in the Irish Struggle, 277. Instances of Divine Vengeance, 445. Ireland our Mother Land, 447.
Juvenile Department, 83, 179, 270, 373, 469, 552. John Scotus Erigena, 306. John C. Schayer, 568.
Knights of Labor, 433.
Low-necked Dresses, 367. Leo the Great, 466.
Mary E. Blake, 139. Musings from Foreign Poets, 312. Much-a-Wanted, 339. Mixed Marriages, 344. Miss Mulholland's Poems, 369. Major-General John Newton, 401. May Ditty, 465. "My Victim:" A Tale, 506.
Notes on Current Topics, 97, 193, 289, 385, 481, 573. Notices of Recent Publications, 105, 205, 301, 381, 397, 487, 585.
Order of the Buried Alive, 30. Obituary, 107, 207, 302, 398, 496, 586. Our Neighbors, 168. Our Gaelic Tongue, 222. O'Connell and Parnell, 278. Our New Cardinal, 359. Orders of Knighthood, 366. Our Saviour's Personal Appearance, 414.
Private Judgment a Failure, 72. Priests and People Mourning, 74. Personal, 104, 300, 396, 493, 584. Parnell's Strength, 172. Pen Sketches of Irish Litterateurs, 209. Pneumonia, 462.
Rev. Father Fulton, S. J., 71. Rapidity of Time's Flight, 178. Reminiscences of the Battle of Kilmallock, 503. Rev. Father Scully's Gymnasium, 537. Rabies (Hydrophobia), 543.
Sing, Sing for Christmas, 32. Southern Sketches, 125, 215, 113, 440, 516. Senator John J. Hayes, 235. Saints and Serpents, 237. Seeing the Old Year Out, 370. Sir Thomas Grattan Esmond, Bart., 415. St. Rose, 434. Shamrocks, 440. Sorrowing Mother, 515. Science and Politics, 502.
The Pope and the Mikado, 29. The Hero of Lepanto, 44. The Church and Progress, 49. Tracadie and the Trappists, 59. The Humorist, 96, 210, 306. The Columbian Army of Derry, 113. The Penitent on the Cross, 120. The Celt on America, 121. The Late Father Tom Burke, 166. The Old Year's Army of Martyrs, 170. The Pope on Christian Education, 174. Te Deum, 176. The Poems of Rosa Mulholland, 248. The Celts of South America, 258. The Welcome of the Divine Guest, 305. The Ursuline Convent of Tenos, 316. The Church and Modern Progress, 328. The Annunciation, 339. The Ten-Commandment Theory, 346. The Paschal Candle, 352. The Irish as Conspirators, 362. The National Catholic University, 407. Thot's of Ireland, 423. The Middogue, 424. The Passion, 430. The Holy Mass, 446. The Instruments of the Passion, 464. The New Era, 465. Terrence V. Powderly, 561. The Keegan Challenge Fund, 564. The Providence Cathedral, 546. Three Decisions, 551.
Useful Knowledge, 95, 209, 305.
What English Catholics are Contending For, 276. William J. Onahan, 467.
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BOSTON, JANUARY, 1886.
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"THE future of the Irish race in this country, will depend largely upon their capability of assuming an independent attitude in American politics."—RIGHT REV. DOCTOR IRELAND, St. Paul, Minn.
OF OUR MOST HOLY LORD LEO XIII., BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE POPE,
CONCERNING THE CHRISTIAN CONSTITUTION OF STATES.
TO ALL THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES, ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC WORLD, IN THE GRACE AND COMMUNION OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE,
LEO PP XIII.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The work of a merciful God, the Church looks essentially, and from the very nature of her being, to the salvation of souls and the winning for them of happiness in heaven, nevertheless, she also secures even in this world, advantages so many and so great that she could not do more, even if she had been founded primarily and specially to secure prosperity in this life which is worked out upon earth. In truth, wherever the Church has set her foot she has at once changed the aspect of affairs, colored the manners of the people as with new virtues and a refinement unknown before—as many people as have accepted this have been distinguished for their gentleness, their justice, and the glory of their deeds. But the accusation is an old one, and not of recent date, that the Church is incompatible with the welfare of the commonwealth, and incapable of contributing to those things, whether useful or ornamental, which, naturally and of its own will, every rightly-constituted State eagerly strives for. We know that on this ground, in the very beginnings of the Church, the Christians, from the same perversity of view, were persecuted and constantly held up to hatred and contempt, so that they were styled the enemies of the Empire. And at that time it was generally popular to attribute to Christianity the responsibility for the evils beneath which the State was beaten down, when in reality, God, the avenger of crimes, was requiring a just punishment from the guilty. The wickedness of this calumny, not without cause, fired the genius and sharpened the pen of Augustine, who, especially in his Civitate Dei, set forth so clearly the efficacy of Christian wisdom, and the way in which it is bound up with well-being of States, that he seems not only to have pleaded the cause of the Christians of his own time, but to have triumphantly refuted these false charges for all time. But this unhappy inclination to complaints and false accusations was not laid to rest, and many have thought well to seek a system of civil life elsewhere than in the doctrines which the Church approves. And now in these latter times a new law, as they call it, has begun to prevail, which they describe as the outcome of a world now fully developed, and born of a growing liberty. But although many hazardous schemes have been propounded by many, it is clear that never has any better method been found for establishing and ruling the State than that which is the natural result of the teaching of the Gospel. We deem it, therefore, of the greatest moment, and especially suitable to our Apostolic function, to compare with Christian doctrine the new opinions concerning the State, by which method we trust that, truth being thus presented, the causes of error and doubt will be removed, so that each may easily see by those supreme commandments for living, what things he ought to follow, and whom he ought to obey.
It is not a very difficult matter to set forth what form and appearance the State should have if Christian philosophy governed the commonwealth. By nature it is implanted in man that he should live in civil society, for since he cannot attain in solitude the necessary means of civilized life, it is a Divine provision that he comes into existence adapted for taking part in the union and assembling of men, both in the Family and in the State, which alone can supply adequate facilities for the perfecting of life. But since no society can hold together unless some person is over all, impelling individuals by efficient and similar motives to pursue the common advantage, it is brought about that authority whereby it may be ruled is indispensable to a civilized community, which authority, as well as society, can have no other source than nature, and consequently God Himself. And thence it follows that by its very nature there can be no public power except from God alone. For God alone is the most true and supreme Lord of the world, Whom necessarily all things, whatever they be, must be subservient to and obey, so that whoever possess the right of governing, can receive that from no other source than from that supreme chief of all, God. "There is no power except from God." (Rom. xiii. 1.) But the right of ruling is not necessarily conjoined with any special form of commonwealth, but may rightly assume this or that form, provided that it promotes utility and the common good. But whatever be the kind of commonwealth, rulers ought to keep in view God, the Supreme Governor of the world, and to set Him before themselves as an example and a law in the administration of the State. For as God, in things which are and which are seen, has produced secondary causes, wherein the Divine nature and course of action can be perceived, and which conduce to that end to which the universal course of the world is directed, so in civil society He has willed that there should be a government which should be carried on by men who should reflect towards mankind an image as it were of Divine power and Divine providence. The rule of the government, therefore, should be just and not that of a master but rather that of a father, because the power of God over men is most just and allied with a father's goodness. Moreover, it is to be carried on with a view to the advantage of the citizens, because they who are over others are over them for this cause alone, that they may see to the interests of the State. And in no way is it to be allowed that the civil authority should be subservient merely to the advantage of one or of a few, since it was established for the common good of all. But if they who are over the State should lapse into unjust rule; if they should err through arrogance or pride; if their measures should be injurious to the people, let them know that hereafter an account must be rendered to God, and that so much the stricter in proportion as they are intrusted with more sacred functions, or have obtained a higher grade of dignity, "The mighty shall be mightily tormented." (Wisd. vi. 7.)
Thus truly the majesty of rule will be attended with an honorable and willing regard on the part of the citizens; for when once they have been brought to conclude that they who rule are strong only with the authority given by God, they will feel that those duties are due and just, that they should be obedient to their rulers, and pay to them respect and fidelity, with somewhat of the same affection as that of children to their parents. "Let every soul be subject to higher powers." (Rom. xiii. 1.)
Indeed, to contemn lawful authority, in whatever person it is vested, is as unlawful as it is to resist the Divine will; and whoever resists that, rushes voluntarily to his destruction. "He who resists the power, resists the ordinance of God; and they who resist, purchase to themselves damnation." (Rom. xiii. 2.) Wherefore to cast away obedience, and by popular violence to incite the country to sedition, is treason, not only against man, but against God.
It is clear that a State constituted on this basis is altogether bound to satisfy, by the public profession of religion, the very many and great duties which bring it into relation with God. Nature and reason which commands every man individually to serve God holily and religiously, because we belong to Him and coming from Him must return to Him, binds by the same law the civil community. For men living together in society are no less under the power of God than are individuals; and society owes as much gratitude as individuals do to God, Who is its author, its preserver, and the beneficent source of the innumerable blessings which it has received. And therefore as it is not lawful for anybody to neglect his duties towards God, and as it is the first duty to embrace in mind and in conduct religion—not such as each may choose, but such as God commands—in the same manner States cannot, without a crime, act as though God did not exist, or cast off the care of religion as alien to them or useless or out of several kinds of religion adopt indifferently which they please; but they are absolutely bound, in the worship of the Deity to adopt that use and manner in which God Himself has shown that He wills to be adored. Therefore among rulers the name of God must be holy, and it must be reckoned among the first of their duties to favor religion, protect it, and cover it with the authority of the laws, and not to institute or decree anything which is incompatible with its security. They owe this also to the citizens over whom they rule. For all of us men are born and brought up for a certain supreme and final good in heaven, beyond this frail and short life, and to this end all efforts are to be referred. And because upon it depends the full and perfect happiness of men, therefore, to attain this end which has been mentioned, is of as much interest as is conceivable to every individual man. It is necessary then that a civil society, born for the common advantage, in the guardianship of the prosperity of the commonwealth, should so advance the interests of the citizens that in holding up and acquiring that highest and inconvertible good which they spontaneously seek, it should not only never import anything disadvantageous, but should give all the opportunities in its power. The chief of these is that attention should be paid to a holy and inviolate preservation of religion, by the duties of which man is united to God.
Now which the true religion is may be easily discovered by any one who will view the matter with a careful and unbiassed judgment; for there are proofs of great number and splendor, as for example, the truth of prophecy, the abundance of miracles, the extremely rapid spread of the faith, even in the midst of its enemies and in spite of the greatest hindrances, the testimony of the martyrs, and the like, from which it is evident that that is the only true religion which Jesus Christ instituted Himself and then entrusted to His Church to defend and to spread.
For the only begotten Son of God set up a society on earth which is called the Church, and to it He transferred that most glorious and divine office, which He had received from His Father, to be perpetuated forever. "As the Father hath sent Me, even so I send you." (John xx. 21.) "Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world." (Matt. xxviii. 20.) Therefore as Jesus Christ came into the world, "that men might have life and have it more abundantly" (John x. 10), so also the Church has for its aim and end the eternal salvation of souls; and for this cause it is so constituted as to embrace the whole human race without any limit or circumscription either of time or place. "Preach ye the Gospel to every creature." (Mark xvi. 15.) Over this immense multitude of men God Himself has set rulers with power to govern them; and He has willed that one should be head of them all, and the chief and unerring teacher of truth, and to him He has given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. "To thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. xvi. 19.) "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep." (John xxi. 16, 17.) "I have prayed for thee that thy faith may not fail." (Luke xxii. 32.) This society, though it be composed of men just as civil society is, yet because of the end that it has in view, and the means by which it tends to it, is supernatural and spiritual; and, therefore, is distinguished from civil society and differs from it; and—a fact of the highest moment—is a society perfect in its kind and in its rights, possessing in and by itself, by the will and beneficence of its Founder, all the appliances that are necessary for its preservation and action. Just as the end, at which the Church aims, is by far the noblest of ends, so its power is the most exalted of all powers, and cannot be held to be either inferior to the civil power or in any way subject to it. In truth Jesus Christ gave His Apostles unfettered commissions over all sacred things, with the power of establishing laws properly so-called, and the double right of judging and punishing which follows from it: "All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth; going, therefore, teach all nations;... teaching them to keep whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, 20.) And in another place He says: "If he will not hear, tell it to the Church" (Matt. xviii. 17); and again: "Ready to punish all disobedience" (2 Cor. x. 6); and once more: "I shall act with more severity, according to the powers which our Lord has given me unto edification and not unto destruction." (2 Cor. xiii. 10.)
So then it is not the State but the Church that ought to be men's guide to heaven; and it is to her that God has assigned the office of watching and legislating for all that concerns religion, of teaching all nations; of extending, as far as may be, the borders of Christianity; and, in a word, of administering its affairs without let or hindrance, according to her own judgment. Now this authority, which pertains absolutely to the Church herself, and is part of her manifest rights, and which has long been opposed by a philosophy subservient to princes, she has never ceased to claim for herself and to exercise publicly: the Apostles themselves being the first of all to maintain it, when, being forbidden by the readers of the Synagogue to preach the Gospel, they boldly answered, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts v. 29.) This same authority the holy Fathers of the Church have been careful to maintain by weighty reasonings as occasions have arisen; and the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased to defend it with inflexible constancy. Nay, more, princes and civil governors themselves have approved it in theory and in fact; for in the making of compacts, in the transaction of business, in sending and receiving embassies, and in the interchange of other offices, it has been their custom to act with the Church as with a supreme and legitimate power. And we may be sure that it is not without the singular providence of God that this power of the Church was defended by the Civil Power as the best defence of its own liberty.
God, then, has divided the charge of the human race between two powers, viz., the ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine, and the other over human things. Each is the greatest in its own kind: each has certain limits within which it is restricted, and those limits defined by the nature and proximate cause of each; so that there is, as we may say, a world marked off as a field for the proper action of each. But forasmuch as each has dominion over the same subjects, since it might come to pass that one and the same thing, though in different ways, still one and the same, might pertain to the right and the tribunal of both, therefore God, Who foreseeth all things, and Who has established both powers, must needs have arranged the course of each in right relation to one another, and in due order. "For the powers that are ordained by God." (Rom. xiii. 1.) And if this were not so, causes of rivalries and dangerous disputes would be constantly arising; and man would often have to stop in anxiety and doubt, like a traveller with two roads before him, not knowing what he ought to do, with two powers commanding contrary things, whose authority however, he cannot refuse without neglect of duty. But it would be most repugnant, so to think, of the wisdom and goodness of God, Who, even in physical things, though they are of a far lower order, has yet so attempered and combined together the forces and causes of nature in an orderly manner and with a sort of wonderful harmony, that none of them is a hindrance to the rest, and all of them most fitly and aptly combine for the great end of the universe. So, then, there must needs be a certain orderly connection between these two powers, which may not unfairly be compared to the union with which soul and body are united in man. What the nature of that union is, and what its extent, cannot otherwise be determined than, as we have said, by having regard to the nature of each power, and by taking account of the relative excellence and nobility of their ends; for one of them has for its proximate and chief aim the care of the goods of this world, the other the attainment of the goods of heaven that are eternal. Whatsoever, therefore, in human affairs is in any manner sacred; whatsoever pertains to the salvation of souls or the worship of God, whether it be so in its own nature, or on the other hand, is held to be so for the sake of the end to which it is referred, all this is in the power and subject to the free disposition of the Church: but all other things which are embraced in the civil and political order, are rightly subject to the civil authority, since Jesus Christ has commanded that what is Caesar's is to be paid to Caesar, and what is God's to God. Sometimes, however, circumstances arise when another method of concord is available for peace and liberty; we mean when princes and the Roman Pontiff come to an understanding concerning any particular matter. In such circumstances the Church gives singular proof of her maternal good-will, and is accustomed to exhibit the highest possible degree of generosity and indulgence.
Such, then, as we have indicated in brief, is the Christian order of civil society; no rash or merely fanciful fiction, but deduced from principles of the highest truth and moment, which are confirmed by the natural reason itself.
Now such a constitution of the State contains nothing that can be thought either unworthy of the majesty of princes or unbecoming; and so far is it from lessening its imperial rights, that it rather adds stability and grandeur to them. For, if it be more deeply considered, such a constitution has a great perfection which all others lack, and from it various excellent fruits would accrue, if each party would only keep its own place, and discharge with integrity that office and work to which it was appointed. For in truth in this constitution of the State, which we have above described, divine and human affairs are properly divided; the rights of citizens are completely defended by divine, natural, and human law; and the limitations of the several offices are at once wisely laid down, and the keeping of them most opportunely secured. All men know that in their doubtful and laborious journey to the ever-lasting city they have at hand guides to teach them how to set forth, helpers to show them how to reach their journey's end, whom they may safely follow; and at the same time they know that they have others whose business it is to take care of their security and their fortunes, to obtain for them, or to secure to them, all those other goods which are essential to the life of a community. Domestic society obtains that firmness and solidity which it requires in the sanctity of marriage, one and indissoluble; the rights and duties of husband and wife are ordered with wise justice and equity; the due honor is secured to the woman; the authority of the man is conformed to the example of the authority of God; the authority of the father is tempered as becomes the dignity of the wife and offspring, and the best possible provision is made for the guardianship, the true good, and the education of the children.
In the domain of political and civil affairs the laws aim at the common good, and are not guided by the deceptive wishes and judgments of the multitude, but by truth and justice. The authority of the rulers puts on a certain garb of sanctity greater than what pertains to man, and it is restrained from declining from justice, and passing over just limits in the exercise of power. The obedience of citizens has honor and dignity as companions, because it is not the servitude of men to men, but obedience to the will of God exercising His sovereignty by means of men. And this being recognised and admitted, it is understood that it is a matter of justice that the dignity of rulers should be respected, that the public authority should be constantly and faithfully obeyed, that no act of sedition should be committed, and that the civil order of the State should be kept intact. In the same way mutual charity and kindness and liberality are seen to be virtues. The man who is at once a citizen and a Christian is no longer the victim of contending parties and incompatible obligations; and, finally, those very abundant good things with which the Christian religion of its own accord fills up even the mortal life of men, are acquired for the community and civil society, so that it appears to be said with the fullest truth: "The state of the commonwealth depends on the religion with which God is worshipped, and between the one and the other there is a close relation and connection." (Sacr. Imp. ad Cyrillum Alexandr, et Episcopus metrop. ef Labbeum Collect Conc., T. iii.) Admirably, as he is accustomed, did Augustine in many places dilate on the power of those good things, but especially when he addresses the Catholic Church in these words: "Thou treatest boys as boys, youths with strength, old men calmly, according as is not only the age of the body, but also of the mind of each. Women thou subjectest to their husbands in chaste and faithful obedience, not for the satisfaction of lust, but for the propagation of offspring, and participation in the affairs of the family. Thou settest husbands over their spouses, not that they may trifle with the weaker sex, but in accordance with the laws of true affection. Thou subjectest sons to their parents in a kind of free servitude, and settest parents over their sons in a benignant rule.... Thou joinest together, not merely in society, but in a kind of fraternity, citizens with citizens, peoples with peoples, and in fact the whole race of men by a remembrance of their parentage. Thou teachest kings to look for the interests of their peoples. Thou admonishest peoples to submit themselves to their kings. With all care thou teachest to whom honor is due, to whom affection, to whom reverence, to whom fear, to whom consolation, to whom admonition, to whom exhortation, to whom discipline, to whom reproach, to whom punishment, showing how all of these are not suitable to all, but yet to all affection is due, and wrong to none." (De Moribus Eccl. Cath., cap. xxx., n. 63.) And in another place, speaking in blame of certain political pseudo-philosophers, he observes: "They who say that the doctrine of Christ is hurtful to the State, should produce an army of soldiers such as the doctrine of Christ has commanded them to be, such governors of provinces, such husbands, such wives, such parents, such sons, such masters, such slaves, such kings, such judges, and such payers and collectors of taxes due, such as the Christian doctrine would have them. And then let them dare to say that such a state of things is hurtful to the State. Nay, rather they could not hesitate to confess that it is a great salvation to the State if there is due obedience to this doctrine." (Epist. cxxxviii., al. 5, ad Marcellinum, cap. ii., 15.)
There was once a time when the philosophy of the Gospel governed States; then it was that that power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had penetrated into the laws, institutions and manners of peoples—indeed into all the ranks and relations of the State; when the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, firmly established in that degree of dignity which was befitting, flourished everywhere, in the favor of rulers and under the due protection of magistrates; when the priesthood and the government were united by concord and a friendly interchange of offices. And the State composed in that fashion produced, in the opinion of all, more excellent fruits, the memory of which still flourishes, and will flourish, attested by innumerable monuments which can neither be destroyed nor obscured by any art of the adversary. If Christian Europe subdued barbarous peoples, and transferred them from a savage to a civilized state, from superstition to the truth; if she victoriously repelled the invasions of the Mohammedans; if civilization retained the chief power, and accustomed herself to afford others a leader and mistress in everything that adorns humanity; if she has granted to the peoples true and manifold liberty; if she has most wisely established many institutions for the solace of wretchedness, beyond controversy is it very greatly due to religion under whose auspices such great undertakings were commenced, and with whose aid they were perfected. Truly the same excellent state of things would have continued, if the agreement of the two powers had continued, and greater things might rightfully have been expected, if there had been obedience to the authority, the sway, the counsels of the Church, characterized by greater faithfulness and perseverance, for that is to be regarded as a perpetual law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II.: "When the kingdom and the priesthood are agreed between themselves, the world is well ruled, the Church flourishes and bears fruit. But when they are at variance, not only does what is little not increase, but even what is great falls into miserable decay." (Ep. ccxxxviiii.)
But that dreadful and deplorable zeal for revolution which was aroused in the sixteenth century, after the Christian religion had been thrown into confusion, by a certain natural course proceeded to philosophy, and from philosophy pervaded all ranks of the community. As it were, from this spring came those more recent propositions of unbridled liberty which obviously were first thought out and then openly proclaimed in the terrible disturbances in the present century; and thence came the principles and foundations of the new law, which was unknown before, and is out of harmony, not only with Christian, but, in more than one respect, with natural law. Of those principles the chief is that one which proclaims that all men, as by birth and nature they are alike, so in very deed in their actions of life are they equal and each is so master of himself that in no way does he come under the authority of another; that it is for him freely to think on whatever subject he likes, to act as he pleases; that no one else has a right of ruling over others. In a society founded upon these principles, government is only the will of the people, which as it is under the power of itself alone, so is alone its own proper sovereign. Moreover, it chooses to whom it may entrust itself, but in such a way that it transfers, not so much the right, as the function of the government which is to be exercised in its name. God is passed over in silence, as if either there were no God, or as if He cared nothing for human society, or as if men, whether as individuals or in society, owed nothing to God, or as if there could be any government of which the whole cause and power and authority did not reside in God Himself. In which way, as is seen, a State is nothing else but a multitude, as the mistress and governor of itself. And since the people is said to contain in itself the fountain of all rights and of all power, it will follow that the State deems itself bound by no kind of duty towards God; that no religion should be publicly professed; nor ought there to be any inquiry which of many is alone true; nor ought one to be preferred to the rest; nor ought one to be specially favored, but to each alike equal rights ought to be assigned, with the sole end that the social order incurs no injury from them. It is a part of this theory that all questions concerning religion are to be referred to private judgment; that to every one it is allowed to follow which he prefers, or none at all, if he approves of none. Hence these consequences naturally arise; the judgment of each conscience is without regard to law; opinions as free as possible are expressed concerning worshipping or not worshipping God; and there is unbounded license of thinking and publishing.
These foundations of the State being admitted, which at the time are in such general favor, it easily appears into how unfavorable a position the Church is driven. For when the conduct of affairs is in accordance with the doctrines of this kind, to the Catholic name is assigned an equal position with, or even an inferior position to that of alien societies in the State; no regard is paid to ecclesiastical laws; and the Church, which, by the command and mandate of Jesus Christ, ought to teach all nations, finds itself forbidden in any way to interfere in the instruction of the people. Concerning those things which are of mixed jurisdiction, the rulers of the civil power lay down the law at their own pleasure, and in this manner haughtily set aside the most sacred laws of the Church. Wherefore they bring under their own jurisdiction the marriages of Christians, deciding even concerning the marriage bond, concerning the unity, and the stability of marriage. They take possession of the goods of the clergy because they deny that the Church can hold property. Finally, they so act with regard to the Church that both the nature and the rights of a perfect society being removed, they clearly hold it to be like the other associations which the State contains, and on that account, if she possesses any legitimate means of acting, she is said to possess that by the concession and gift of the rulers of the State. But if in any State the Church retains her own right, with the approval of the civil laws, and any agreement is publicly made between the two powers, in the beginning they cry out that the interests of the Church must be severed from those of the State, and they do this with the intent that it may be possible to act against their pledged faith with impunity, and to have the final decision over everything, all obstacles having been removed. But when the Church cannot bear that patiently, nor indeed is able to desert its greatest and most sacred duties, and, above all, requires that faith be wholly and entirely observed with it, contests often arise between the sacred and the civil power, of which the result is commonly that the one who is the weaker yields to the stronger in human resources. So it is the custom and the wish in this state of public affairs, which is now affected by many, either to expel the Church altogether, or to keep it bound and restricted as to its rule. Public acts in a great measure are framed with this design. Laws, the administration of States, the teaching of youth unaccompanied by religion, the spoliation and destruction of religious orders, the overturning of the civil principality of the Roman Pontiffs, all have regard to this end; to emasculate Christian institutes, to narrow the liberty of the Catholic Church, and to diminish her other rights.
Natural reason itself convinces us that such opinions about the ruling of a State are very widely removed from the truth. Nature herself bears witness that all power of whatever kind ultimately emanates from God, that greatest and most august fountain. Popular rule, however, which without any regard to God is said to be naturally in the multitude, though it may excellently avail to supply the fires of many blandishments and excitements of many forms of covetousness, yet rests on no probable reason, nor can have sufficient strength to ensure public security and the quiet permanence of order. Verily things under the auspices of these doctrines have come to such a pass that many sanction this as a law in civil jurisprudence, to wit, that sedition may rightly be raised. For the idea prevails that princes are really nothing but delegates to express the popular will; and so necessarily all things become alike, are changeable at the popular nod, and a certain fear of public disturbance is forever hanging over our heads.
But to think with regard to religion, that there is no difference between unlike and contrary forms, clearly will have this issue—an unwillingness to test any one form in theory and practice. And this, if indeed it differs from atheism in name, is in fact the same thing. Men who really believe in the existence of God, if they are to be consistent and not ridiculous, will, of necessity, understand that the different methods of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict, even on the most important points, cannot be all equally probable, equally good, and equally accepted by God. And thus that faculty of thinking whatever you like and expressing whatever you like to think in writing, without any thought of moderation, is not of its own nature, indeed, a good in which human society may rightly rejoice, but, on the contrary, a fount and origin of many ills.
Liberty, in so far as it is a virtue perfecting man, should be occupied with that which is true and that which is good; but the foundation of that which is true and that which is good cannot be changed at the pleasure of man, but remains ever the same, nor indeed is it less unchangeable than nature herself. If the mind assent to false opinions, if the will choose for itself evil, and apply itself thereto, neither attains its perfection, but both fall from their natural dignity, and both lapse by degrees into corruption. Whatever things, therefore, are contrary to virtue and truth, these things it is not right to place in the light before the eyes of men, far less to defend by the favor and tutelage of the laws. A well-spent life is the only path to that heaven whither we all direct our steps; and on this account the State departs from the law and custom of nature if it allows the license of opinions and of deeds to run riot to such a degree as to lead minds astray with impunity from the truth, and hearts from the practice of virtue.
But to exclude the Church which God Himself has constituted from the business of life, from the laws, from the teaching of youth, from domestic society, is a great and pernicious error. A well-regulated State cannot be when religion is taken away; more than needs be, perhaps, is now known of what sort of a thing is in itself, and whither tends that philosophy of life and morals which men call civil. The Church of Christ is the true teacher of virtue and guardian of morals; it is that which keeps principles in safety, from which duties are derived, and by proposing most efficacious reasons for an honest life, it bids us not only fly from wicked deeds, but rule the motions of the mind which are contrary to reason when it is not intended to reduce them to action. But to wish the Church in the discharge of its offices to be subject to the civil power is a great rashness, a great injustice. If this were done order would be disturbed, since things natural would thus be put before those which are above nature; the multitude of the good whose common life, if there be nothing to hinder it, the Church would make complete, either disappears or at all events is considerably diminished, and besides, a way is opened to enmities and conflicts—how great the evil which they bring upon each order of government the event has too frequently shown.
Such doctrines are not approved by human reason, and are of the greatest gravity as regards civil discipline, the Roman Pontiffs our predecessors—well understanding what the apostolic office required of them—by no means suffered to go forth without condemnation. Thus Gregory XVI., by Encyclical Letter, beginning Mirare vos, of August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against those doctrines which were already being preached, namely, that in divine worship no choice should be made; and that it was right for individuals to judge of religion according to their personal preferences, that each man's conscience was to himself his sole sufficient guide, and that it was lawful to promulgate whatsoever each man might think, and so make a revolution in the State. Concerning the reasons for the separation of Church and State, the same Pontiff speaks thus: "Nor can we hope happier results either for religion or the government, from the wishes of those who are eagerly desirous that the Church should be separated from the State, and the mutual good understanding of the sovereign secular power and the sacerdotal authority be broken up. It is evident that these lovers of most shameless liberty dread that concord which has always been fortunate and wholesome, both for sacred and civil interests." To the like effect Pius IX., as opportunity offered, noted many false opinions which had begun to be of great strength, and afterward ordered them to be collected together in order that in so great a conflux of errors Catholics might have something which, without stumbling, they might follow.
From these decisions of the Popes it is clearly to be understood that the origin of public power is to be sought from God Himself and not from the multitude; that the free play for sedition is repugnant to reason; that it is a crime for private individuals and a crime for States to observe nowhere the duties of religion or to treat in the same way different kinds of religion; that the uncontrolled right of thinking and publicly proclaiming one's thoughts is not inherent in the rights of citizens, nor in any sense to be placed among those things which are worthy of favor or patronage. Similarly it ought to be understood that the Church is a society, no less than the State itself, perfect in kind and right, and that those who exercise sovereignty ought not to act so as to compel the Church to become subservient or inferior to themselves, or suffer her to be less free to transact her own affairs or detract aught from the other rights which have been conferred upon her by Jesus Christ. But in matters however in complex jurisdiction, it is in the highest degree in accordance with nature and also with the counsels of God—not that one power should secede from the other, still less come into conflict, but that that harmony and concord should be preserved which is most akin to the foundations of both societies.
These, then, are the things taught by the Catholic Church concerning the constitution and government of the State. Concerning these sayings and decrees, if a man will only judge dispassionately, no form of Government is, per se, condemned as long as it has nothing repugnant to Catholic doctrine, and is able, if wisely and justly managed, to preserve the State in the best condition. Nor is it, per se, to be condemned whether the people have a greater or less share in the government; for at certain times and with the guarantee of certain laws, such participation may appertain, not only to the usefulness, but even to the duty of the citizens. Moreover, there is no just cause that any one should condemn the Church as being too restricted in gentleness, or inimical to that liberty which is natural and legitimate. In truth the Church judges it not lawful that the various kinds of Divine worship should have the same right as the true religion, still it does not therefore condemn those governors of States, who, for the sake of acquiring some great good, or preventing some great ill, patiently bear with manners and customs so that each kind of religion has its place in the State. Indeed the Church is wont diligently to take heed that no one be compelled against his will to embrace the Catholic Faith, for as Augustine wisely observes: "Credere non potest homo nisi volens." (Tract. xxvi., in Joan., n. 2.)
For a similar reason the Church cannot approve of that liberty which generates a contempt of the most sacred laws of God, and puts away the obedience due to legitimate power. For this is license rather than liberty, and is most correctly called by Augustine, "libertas perditionis" (Ep. cv., ad Donatistas. ii., n. 9); by the Apostle Peter, "a cloak for malice" (1 Peter ii. 16), indeed, since it is contrary to reason, it is a true servitude, for "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." (John viii. 34.) On the other hand, that liberty is natural and to be sought, which, if it be considered in relation to the individual, suffers not men to be the slaves of errors and evil desires, the worst of masters; if, in relation to the State, it presides wisely over the citizens, serves the faculty of augmenting public advantages, and defends the public interest from alien rule, this blameless liberty worthy of man the Church approves, above all, and has never ceased striving and contending to keep firm and whole among the people. In very truth, whatever things in the State chiefly avail for the common safety; whatever have been usefully instituted against the license of princes, consulting all the interests of the people; whatever forbid the governing authority to invade into municipal or domestic affairs; whatever avail to preserve the dignity and the character of man in preserving the equality of rights in individual citizens, of all these things the monuments of former ages witness the Catholic Church to have always been either the author, the promoter, or the guardian.
Ever, therefore, consistent with herself, if on the one hand she rejects immoderate liberty, which both in the case of individuals and peoples results in license or in servitude; on the other she willingly and with pleasure embraces those happier circumstances which the age brings; if they truly contain the prosperity of this life, which is as it were a stage in the journey to that other which is to endure everlastingly. Therefore what they say that the Church is jealous of, the more modern political systems repudiate in a mass, and whatever the disposition of these times has brought forth, is an inane and contemptible calumny. The madness of opinion it indeed repudiates; it reproves the wicked plans of sedition, and especially that habit of mind in which the beginnings of a voluntary departing from God are visible; but since every true thing must necessarily proceed from God, whatever of truth is by search attained, the Church acknowledges as a certain token of the Divine mind. And since there is in the world nothing which can take away belief in the doctrines divinely handed down and many things which confirm this, and since every finding of truth may impel man to the knowledge or praise of God Himself, therefore whatever may happen to extend the range of knowledge, the Church will always willingly and joyfully accept; and she will, as is her wont in the case of other departments of knowledge, studiously encourage and promote those also which are concerned with the investigation of nature. In which studies, if the mind finds anything new, the Church is not in opposition; she fights not against the search after more things for the grace and convenience of life—nay, a very foe to inertness and sloth, she earnestly wishes that the talents of men should, by being cultivated and exercised, bear still richer fruits; she affords incitements to every sort of art and craft, and by her own virtue directing by her own perfection all the pursuits of those things to virtue and salvation, she strives to prevent man from turning aside his intelligence and industry from God and heavenly things.
But these things, although full of reasonableness and foresight, are not so well approved of at this time, when States not only refuse to refer to the laws of Christian knowledge, but are seen even to wish to depart each day farther from them. Nevertheless, because truth brought to light is wont of its own accord to spread widely, and by degrees to pervade the minds of men, we, therefore, moved by the consciousness of the greatest, the most holy, that is the Apostolic obligation, which we owe to all the nations, those things which are true, freely, as we ought, we do speak, not that we have no perception of the spirit of the times, or that we think the honest and useful improvements of our age are to be repudiated, but because we would wish the highways of public affairs to be safer from attacks, and their foundations more stable, and that without detriment to the true freedom of the peoples; for amongst men the mother and best guardian of liberty is truth: "The truth shall make you free." (John viii. 32).
Therefore at so critical a juncture of events, Catholic men, if, as it behooves them, they will listen to us, will easily see what are their own and each other's duties in matters of opinion as well as of action. And in the formation of opinion, whatsoever things the Roman Pontiffs have handed down, or shall hereafter hand down, each and every one is it necessary to hold in firm judgment well understood, and as often as occasion demands openly to declare. Now, especially concerning those things which are called recently-acquired liberties, is it proper to stand by the judgment of the Apostolic See, and for each one to hold what she herself holds.
Take care lest some one be deceived by the honest outward appearance of these things; and think of the beginnings from which they are sprung; and by what desires they are sustained and fed in divers places. It is now sufficiently known by experience of what things they are the causes in the State; how indiscriminately they bring forth fruit, of which good men and wise rightly do repent. If there should be in any place a State, either actual or hypothetical, that wantonly and tyrannically wages war upon the Christian name, and it have conferred upon it that character of which we have spoken, it is possible that this may be considered more tolerable; yet the principles upon which it rests are absolutely such that, of themselves they ought to be approved by no man.
Now action may be taken in private and domestic affairs, or in affairs public. In private life, indeed, the first duty is to conform one's life and manners to the precepts of the Gospel, and not to refuse, if Christian virtue demands, something more difficult to bear than usual. Individuals, also, are bound to love the Church as their common mother; to keep her laws obediently; to give her the service of due honor, and to wish her rights respected, and to endeavor that she be fostered and beloved with like piety by those over whom they may exercise authority. It is also of great importance to the public welfare diligently and wisely to give attention to the duties of citizenship; in this regard, most particularly, with that concern which is righteous amongst Christians, to take pains and pass effective measures so that public provision be made for the instruction of youth in religion and true morality, for upon these things depends very much the welfare of every State. Besides, in general, it is useful and honorable to stretch the attention of Catholic men beyond this narrower field, and to embrace every branch of public administration. Generally, we say, because these our precepts reach unto all nations. But it may happen in some particular place, for the most urgent and just reasons, that it is by no means expedient to engage in public affairs, or to take an active part in political functions. But generally, as we have said, to wish to take no part in public affairs would be in that degree vicious, in which it brought to the common weal neither care, nor work; and on this account the more so, because Catholic men are bound by the admonitions of the doctrine which they profess, to do what has to be done with integrity and with faith. If, on the contrary, they were idle, those whose opinions do not, in truth, give any great hope of safety, would easily get possession of the reins of government. This, also, would be attended with danger to the Christian name, because they would become most powerful who are badly disposed towards the Church; and those least powerful who are well disposed. Wherefore, it is evident there is just cause for Catholics to undertake the conduct of public affairs; for they do not assume these responsibilities in order to approve of what is not lawful in the methods of government at this time; but in order that they may turn these very methods, as far as may be, to the unmixed and true public good, holding this purpose in their minds, to infuse into all the veins of the commonwealth the wisdom and virtue of the Catholic religion—the most healthy sap and blood, as it were. It was scarcely done otherwise in the first ages of the Church. For the manners and desires of the heathen were divergent as widely as possible from the manners and desires of the Gospel; for the Christians had to separate themselves incorrupt in the midst of superstition, and always true to themselves, most cheerfully to enter every walk in life which was open to them. Models of fidelity to their princes, obedient, where lawful, to the sovereign power, they established a wonderful splendor of holiness everywhere; they sought the advantage of their neighbor, and to all others to the wisdom of Christ; bravely prepared to retire from public life, and even to die if they could not retain honors, nor the magistracy, nor the supreme command with unsullied virtue. For which reason Christian customs soon found their way, not only into private houses, but into the camps, into the senate, even into the imperial palace. "We are of yesterday and we fill your everything, cities, islands, castles, municipalities, councils, the very camps, the rank and file of the army, the officerships, the palace, the senate, the forum," (Tertullian Apol., n. 37), so that the Christian faith, when it was unlawful publicly to profess the Gospel, was not like a child crying in his cradle, but grown up and already sufficiently firm, was manifest in a great part of the State.
Now, indeed, in these days it is as well to renew these examples of our forefathers. For Catholics indeed, as many as are worthy of the name, before all things it is necessary to be, and to be willing to be, regarded as most loving sons of the Church; whatsoever is inconsistent with this good report, without hesitation to reject; to use popular institutions as far as honestly can be to the advantage of truth and justice; to labor, that liberty of action shall not transgress the bounds ordained by the law of nature and of God; so to work that the whole of public life shall be transformed into that, as we have called it, a Christian image and likeness. The means to seek these ends can scarcely be laid down upon one uniform plan, since they must suit places and times very different from each other. Nevertheless, in the first place, let concord of wills be preserved, and a likeness of things to be done sought for. And each will be attained the best, if all shall consider the admonitions of the Apostolic See, a law of conduct, and shall obey the Bishops whom "the Spirit of God has placed to rule the Church of God." (Acts xx. 28). The defence of the Catholic name, indeed of necessity demands that in the profession of doctrines which are handed down by the Church the opinion of all shall be one, and the most perfect constancy, and from this point of view take care that no one connives in any degree at false opinions, or resists with greater gentleness than truth will allow. Concerning those things which are matters of opinion, it will be lawful, with moderation and with a desire of investigating the truth, without injurious suspicions and mutual incriminations. For which purpose, lest the agreement of minds be broken by temerity of accusation, let all understand: that the integrity of the Catholic profession can by no means be reconciled with opinions approaching towards naturalism or rationalism, of which the sum total is to uproot Christian institutions altogether, and to establish the supremacy of man, Almighty God being pushed to one side. Likewise, it is unlawful to follow one line of duty in private and another in public, so that the authority of the Church shall be observed in private, and spurned in public. For this would be to join together things honest and disgraceful, and to make a man fight a battle with himself, when, on the contrary, he ought always to be consistent with himself, and never, in any the least thing or manner of living, decline from Christian virtue. But, if inquiry is made about principles, merely political, concerning the best form of government, of civil regulations of one kind or another, concerning these things, of course, there is room for disagreement without harm. Those whose piety, therefore, is known on other accounts, and whose minds are ready to accept the decrees of the Apostolic See, justice will not allow accounted evil because they differ on these subjects; and much greater is the injury if they are charged with the crime of having violated the Catholic faith, or are suspected, a thing we deplore done, not once only. And let all hold this precept absolutely, who are wont to commit their thoughts to writing, especially the editors of newspapers. In this contention about the highest things, nothing is to be left to intestine conflicts, or the greed of parties, but let all, uniting together, seek the common object of all, to preserve religion and the State.
If, therefore, there have been dissensions, it is right to obliterate them in a certain voluntary forgetfulness; if there has been anything rash, anything injurious, to whomsoever this fault belongs let compensation be made by mutual charity, and especially in obedience to the Apostolic See. In this way Catholics will obtain two things most excellent; one that they will make themselves helps to the Church in preserving and propagating Christian knowledge; the other that they will benefit civil society; of which the safety is gravely compromised by reason of evil doctrines and inordinate desires.
These things, therefore, Venerable Brethren, concerning the Christian constitution of States and the duties of individual citizens, we have dwelt upon; we shall transmit them to all the nations of the Catholic world.
But it behooves us to implore, with most earnest prayers, the heavenly protection, and to beg of Almighty God these things which we desire and strive after for His glory and the salvation of the human race, whose alone it is to illumine the minds and to quicken the wills of men and Himself to lead on to the wished for end. As a pledge of the Divine favors, and in witness of our paternal benevolence to you, Venerable Brethren, to the Clergy, and to all the people committed to your faith and vigilance, we lovingly bestow in the Lord the Apostolic Benediction.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on the first day of November, in the year of Our Lord MDCCCLXXXV., of Our Pontificate the Eighth.
LEO PP. XIII.
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VENERABLE BEDE records: "It was customary for the English of all ranks to retire for study and devotion to Ireland, where they were hospitably received, and supplied gratuitously with food, books and instruction."
His Eminence John Cardinal McCloskey.
ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK, CARDINAL PRIEST OF THE TITLE OF SANCTA MARIA SUPRA MINERVAM.
The waning days of the year 1885 witnessed the peaceful decline, and the happy Christian death, of one of the most remarkable men of the Irish race in this country. His glorious obsequies in the magnificent Cathedral which he completed and dedicated, produced a deep impression on all classes, nor was there ever witnessed a greater and more unanimous concord than pervaded the tributes of respect from the press and pulpit of the land to this prince of the Catholic Church.
In a modest dwelling on Fort Greene, Brooklyn, fronting the road that led to Newtown Turnpike, John McCloskey was born on the 10th of March, 1810, while deep snow covered the fields far and wide, and ice choked the rapid current of the East River. His father, George McCloskey, had emigrated to this country from the county Derry, some years before, with his wife, and by industry, thrift and uprightness was increasing the little store of means which he had brought to the New World. The boy was not endowed with a rugged frame, and few could promise either mother or child length of days. Yet she lived to behold him a bishop.
Brooklyn was then but a suburb of the little city of New York; it did not number five thousand inhabitants, and the scanty flock of Catholics had neither priest nor shrine. The child of George McCloskey, was taken to St. Peter's Church, New York, to be baptized, by the venerable Jesuit Father Anthony Kohlmann. As he grew up he crossed the East River on Sundays with his parents to attend that same church, then the only one in New York; it has just celebrated the centenary of its organization, as a congregation, and the life of the great Cardinal, which faded away just before that event, covers three quarters of its century.
George McCloskey was one of the few energetic Catholics, who, about 1820, started the movement which led to the erection of St. James on Jay Street, and gave Brooklyn its first Catholic Church and future Cathedral. Meanwhile, his son carefully trained at home, was sent to school at an early age; gentle and delicate, he had neither strength nor inclination for the rough sports of his schoolmates; but was always cheerful and popular, studying hard and winning a high grade in his classes. Till the church in Brooklyn was built, the boy and his mother made their way each Sunday to the riverside to cross by the only conveyance of those days, in order to occupy the pew which the large-hearted George McCloskey had purchased in St. Peter's, for in those days pews were sold and a yearly ground rent paid. When St. Patrick's was opened, an appeal was made to the liberal to take pews in that church also, and again the generous George McCloskey responded to the call, purchasing a pew there also.
This whole-souled Irish-Catholic built great hopes on the talents of his son, and intended to send him to Georgetown College, of which Father Benedict Fenwick, long connected with St. Peter's, had become president. But in the providence of God he was not to see him enter any college; while still in the prime of life, he was seized with illness, which carried him to the grave in 1820. Mrs. McCloskey was left with means which enabled her to carry out the plans of her husband; but as Father Fenwick had left Georgetown, she acted on the advice of friends, and sent her son to the College of Mount St. Mary's, which had been founded near Emmittsburg, by the Rev. John Du Bois, a French priest, who, escaping the horrors of the Revolution in his own country, and the sanguinary tribunals of his old schoolmate, Robespierre, had crossed the Atlantic to be a missionary in America.
Mount St. Mary's College, when young McCloskey entered it after the summer of 1821, consisted of two rows of log buildings; "but such as have often been in this country, the first home of men and institutions destined to greatness and renown." Humble as it was externally, however, the college was no longer an experiment; it had proved its efficiency as an institution of learning. Young McCloskey entered on his studies with his wonted zeal and energy, and learned not only the classics of ancient and modern times, but the great lesson of self-control. Blessed with a wonderfully retentive memory, a logical mind that proceeded slowly, not by impulse, his progress was solid and rapid; his progress in virtue was no less so; every natural tendency to harsh and bitter judgment, or word, was by the principles of religion and faith checked and brought under control. If, in after life, he was regarded universally as mild and gentle, the credit must be given to his religious training, which enabled him to achieve the conquest.
A fine stone college was rising, and with his fellow-students he looked forward with sanguine hope to the rapidly approaching day, when the collegians of Mount St. Mary's were to tread halls worthy of their Alma Mater, their faculty and themselves. Its progress was watched with deep interest, when, in the summer of 1824, the students were roused one Sunday night by the cry of fire. An incendiary hand had applied the torch to the new edifice. No appliances were at hand for checking the progress of the flames; professors, seminarians, and collegians labored unremittingly to save their humble log structures destined to be for some time more the scene of their studious hours.
McCloskey joined in the address of sympathy which the pupils of Mount St. Mary's tendered to their venerated president. He beheld the energy and faith of that eminent man in the zeal with which he began the work anew, and completed the building again before the close of another year. Thus the talented young Catholic boy from New York State learned not only the lore found in books, but the great lessons of patience, self-control, correspondence to the will of God. Before he closed his college course, he saw Dr. Du Bois, called away from the institution he had founded to assume, by command of the successor of St. Peter, the administration of the diocese of New York. The good work continued under Rev. Michael De Burgo Egan as President, and John McCloskey was graduated, in 1828, with high honors. At that time Mount St. Mary's had in the seminary twenty-five or thirty aspirants to the priesthood, and in the college nearly one hundred students. The early graduates of the Mount are the best proof of the thorough literary course followed there, as well as the thorough knowledge and love of the faith inculcated.
Young McCloskey returned to the home of his mother in Westchester County, N. Y., and looked forward to his future career in life. As often happens, a family bias, or wish, rather than the judgment of the young man himself, induces the first step. John McCloskey was to become a lawyer. We are told that he began the study of Coke and Blackstone, of the principles of law and the practice of the courts, in the office of Joseph W. Smith, Esq., of New York. But the active mind was at work solving a great problem. A fellow-student at college, his senior in years, brilliant, poetic, zealous, had resolved to devote his life and talents to the ministry, and had more than once portrayed to young McCloskey the heroism of the priestly life of self-devotion and sacrifice. The words of Charles C. Pise and his example had produced an impression greater than was apparent. McCloskey meditated, prayed and sought the guidance of a wise director. Gradually the conviction became deep and firm that God called him to the ecclesiastical state. He closed the books of human law, renounced the prospects of worldly success, and resolved to prepare by study and seclusion, by prayer and self-mastery, for the awful dignity of the priesthood.
The next year he returned to Emmittsburg to enter the seminary as a candidate for holy orders from the diocese of New York. He was welcomed as one whose solid learning, brilliant eloquence, deep and tender piety, studious habits and zeal made it certain that he must as a priest render essential service to the Church in this country. As a seminarian, and, in conjunction with that character, as professor, he confirmed the high opinion formed of him, and at an early day Bishop Du Bois fixed upon him as one to fill important positions in his diocese.
From the moment that he took possession of his See the Rt. Rev. Dr. Du Bois had labored to give New York an institution like that which he had brought to so successful a condition in Maryland, reckoning as nought the advance of years and the heavy duties of the episcopate. It was not till the spring of 1832, that he was able to purchase a farm at Nyack, in Rockland County, as the site for his seminary and college. To preside over it, he had already selected his seminarian, John McCloskey, whom he summoned from Emmittsburg. The visitation of the cholera, however, prevented the progress of the undertaking, although the school was opened. The corner-stone was laid on the 29th of May, 1833, and the erection of the main building was carried on till the second story was completed, when the bishop appealed to his flock to aid him by their contributions.
On the 24th of January the old Cathedral in New York witnessed the solemn ceremony of an ordination, and the Rev. John McCloskey was raised to the dignity of the priesthood. The young priest was stationed at Nyack; but his eloquent voice was heard and appreciated in the churches of New York City. The first sermon which the young priest preached after his ordination is an index of the piety and devotion which guided him through life. It was on devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and was delivered in the church reared in New York in honor of the Mother of God.
In the summer of 1834, the little chapel at Nyack, adjoining the rising college, was ready for dedication; but before the institution could be opened, the virulent declamations of a Brownell had inflamed the minds of the ignorant peasantry in that neighborhood with religious hatred, and the college was denounced as an evil to be prevented. The torch of the incendiary soon laid the edifice in ashes.
The project of a seminary and college was thus indefinitely deferred, although Bishop Du Bois, with characteristic determination, resolved to rebuild the blackened ruins and raise the college anew. So confident was he of success, that he would not appoint Rev. Mr. McCloskey to any parochial charge, reserving him to preside over the diocesan institution on which he had set his heart. In order to fit himself for the position, the young priest begged his bishop to permit him to proceed to Rome in order to follow for two years the thorough course of theological studies in the Gregorian University, thus profitably employing the time that would necessarily be required to fit the institution for the reception of pupils.
As Bishop Du Bois saw the wisdom of the suggestion, he consented, and early in 1835 Rev. John McCloskey reached the Eternal City, and enrolled himself among the distinguished pupils like Grazrosi, Perrone, Palma, Finucci, who were then attending the lectures of Perrone, Manera, and their associate professors. One who knew Rome well, and knew the late Cardinal well, wrote: "What advantage the young American priest drew from them has ever since been seen in the remarkable breadth and correctness and lucidity of his decisions in theological matters, whether coming before him in his episcopal duties, or brought up for discussion in the episcopal councils which he has attended. His words, calm and well considered, have ever been listened to with attention, and generally decided the question. But, beyond the mere book learning, so to speak, of ecclesiastical education, he gained a knowledge of the ecclesiastical world, nowhere else attainable than in Rome. Brought in contact with the students of the English College, under Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, of the Irish College under Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Cullen, of the Propaganda under Monsignor (afterwards Cardinal) Count de Reisach, of the Roman Seminary, and of other colleges, he came to know many brilliant young students of various nationalities, alike in faith and in fervent piety, yet dissimilar in the peculiar traits of their respective races. He formed friendship with many who have since made their mark in their own countries. The young American priest, so polished and gentlemanly in his address, so modest and retiring, and yet so full of varied learning, so keen of observation, and so ready, when drawn out, with unexpected and plain, common-sense, home thrusts, was fully appreciated among kindred minds of the clergy of Rome, and of other countries visiting Rome. Though avoiding society as far as he could, and something of a recluse, he was welcome in more than one noble Roman palace. But it was especially in the English-speaking circle of Catholic visitors each winter to Rome, that he was prized. Cardinal Weld, ever an upholder of Americans, anticipated great things yet to be done by this young priest, and loved to present him to the Cliffords, the Shrewsburys, and other noble English-speaking Catholics, as a living refutation of the accounts of Americans and American manners, just given to the English world by Mrs. Trollope."
Among this English-speaking colony in Rome he found abundant occasion for the exercise of his ministry, such was the confidence inspired by his piety and learning. Among those placed under his direction was Mrs. Connolly, an American convert, who, in time, founded in England a teaching community of high order, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, which has now many houses in England and the United States.
At the expiration of the time assigned for his studious sojourn in Rome, Rev. Mr. McCloskey left the Eternal City, well fitted, indeed, to assume the directorship of the seminary. He travelled with observant eye through Northern Italy, Austria, Germany and France, then crossed to the British Isles, visiting England and Scotland. His tour enabled him to meet old friends and to win new ones; as well as to learn practically the condition of the church in all parts of Europe.
When he returned to New York in 1838 he found that Bishop Du Bois had, overcome by difficulties and trials, finally abandoned his projected seminary; and now desired to assign him to parochial work. With the well-trained priest to hear was to obey. Yet the position of the bishop was one of difficulty. An uncatholic national feeling had been aroused some years before in New York, assuming under Bishop Connolly all obsequiousness to that prelate and zeal for his honor; under Bishop Du Bois its whole power was wielded against him; and as few of the leaders in the movement were practical Catholics, appeals to their religious sense fell unheeded.
The parish offered to Rev. Mr. McCloskey presented difficulties of its own. The last pastor, his old friend and brother-collegian, Rev. Charles C. Pise, had indiscreetly aroused a deep and bitter feeling against himself, and the hostile party in the congregation was led by a man of learning and real attachment to his religion, though of little self-control. For the Rev. Mr. McCloskey to assume the pastorship of St. Joseph's required no little courage. He was as obnoxious on some grounds as his predecessor, being like him American by birth, trained at Emmittsburg under Bishop Du Bois. In this conjuncture the Rev. John McCloskey displayed what must be recognized as the striking virtue of his character, the highest degree of Christian prudence, and with it and through it, courage, firmness and self-control. He repaired to the post assigned to him by his bishop, and entered upon the discharge of his duties. The Trustees ignored his appointment utterly, made no appropriation for his salary, took no steps to furnish his house, so that he had not even a table to write upon. "But," as His Grace Archbishop Corrigan well says, "the young priest was equal to the emergency. He discharged his duties as sweetly, as if there never had been a suspicion of dissatisfaction; he prepared his sermons as carefully, as if the best audience New York could afford were there to listen." His parish extended up to the line of Harlem; but he complained neither of his treatment, nor of the labor of the day and the heat; and men ready and anxious to complain, found that they had to do with a priest who gave them not a tittle to bear before the people as a grievance to complain about. The clouds vanished so completely that the people forgot there had ever been any. In a few years one of those who had received him with the greatest distrust, had grown to appreciate him so highly as to address him as a priest "whose unaffected piety as a Christian Divine, splendid talents as an effective preacher, extensive acquirements as an elegant scholar, and dignified, yet amiable, manners as an accomplished gentleman, have long been the admiration, the ornament and the model of his devoted flock."
The project for which Bishop Du Bois had summoned his young seminarian from the Mount was at last carried out in 1841 by the vigorous head and hand of Bishop Hughes. The diocese of New York had its Seminary and College at Fordham. It was a remarkable tribute to the merit and ability of the Rev. John McCloskey, that Bishop Hughes, though the diocese had been joined by many able and learned priests, still turned to him to fill the post for which Bishop Du Bois had selected him when but a seminarian. Yet he was now a parish priest, and the tie between him and his flock had grown so close that both feared that it might be sundered.
He undertook the organization of the Seminary and College, retaining his pastoral charge to the consolation of his flock. The result justified the selection. His power of organization, his knowledge of the wants of the times, of the duties of teacher and pupil, were thorough. The institution was soon in successful operation, and the seminarians were edified by the piety, regularity and unalterable calmness of the Superior, who was always with them at their morning meditation, and always with them at exercises of devotion, his perfect order and system preventing all confusion, foreseeing and providing for all.
After placing the new institutions on a firm basis, he resigned the presidency to other hands, and resumed his duties at St. Joseph, to the delight of his flock. It was, however, really because Bishop Hughes already determined to solicit his elevation to the episcopate, that he might enjoy his aid as coadjutor in directing the affairs of the diocese, which were becoming beyond the power of one man to discharge. In the Fifth Provincial Council, of Baltimore, held in May, 1843, Bishop Hughes laid his wishes before the assembled Fathers, and the appointment of Rev. John McCloskey, as coadjutor of New York, was formally solicited from the Sovereign Pontiff by the Metropolitan of Baltimore and his suffragans. At Rome there was no hesitation in confirming the choice of a clergyman whose merit was so well known, and on the 30th of September, Cardinal Fransoni wrote announcing that the Rev. John McCloskey had been elected by the Holy Father for the See of Axiere, and made coadjutor to the Bishop of New York.
The consecration took place in old St. Patrick's Cathedral on the 10th of March, 1844, and the scene was the grandest ever till then witnessed in New York, The Rt. Rev. John Hughes, Bishop of New York, assisted by Bishop Fenwick, of New York, once administrator of the diocese, and Bishop Whelan, of Wheeling, consecrated three bishops, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Byrne, Bishop of Little Rock, the Rt. Rev. William Quarter, Bishop of Chicago, and the Rt. Rev. John McCloskey, Bishop of Axiere, and coadjutor of New York.
From the pulpit of the Cathedral, the venerable Dr. Power, addressing the newly consecrated coadjutor, said: "One of you I have known from his boyhood. I have seen the youthful bud of genius unfold itself; and I have seen it also in full expansion; and I thank God I have been spared to behold it now blessing the house of the Lord. Rt. Rev. Dr. McCloskey! it must be gratifying to you to know, that if the choice of a coadjutor of this diocese had been given to your fellow-laborers in the vineyard, it would certainly have fallen upon you."
It was surely no ordinary merit, that won the Rev. John McCloskey such universal esteem. To have been chosen for the same responsible post by men so different in mind and feelings as Bishops Du Bois and Hughes, to be at once the choice of Bishop Hughes and a body of priests among whom great divisions had existed, and great differences of nationality, education and inclination prevailed, was something wonderful and unparalleled.
His elevation to the episcopate did not withdraw Bishop McCloskey from the church of his affection, that dedicated to the Spouse of Mary. Here his throne was erected, and the congregation rejoiced in the honor and dignity conferred upon him, and through him on their church. He then began the discharge of the episcopal duties devolved upon him by the Rt. Rev. Bishop of the See. The earliest was the dedication of the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in New York City. From that we can mark his course confirming in all parts of the diocese, dedicating churches, and ordaining to the priesthood, two of the six first ordained by him on the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady in 1844, still surviving hoary with long years of priestly labor, Rev. Sylvester Malone and Rev. George McCloskey. But the weightier and important duties connected with the administration are unrecorded. The most Rev. Archbishop of Baltimore in his funeral sermon on Cardinal McCloskey said truly: "The life of the Cardinal has never been written and never can be. And this is true of every Catholic prelate. He can never have his Boswell. The biographer may relate his public and official acts. He may recount the churches he erected, the schools he opened, the institutions of charity and religion which he established; the priests he ordained, the sermons he preached, the sacraments he administered, the laborious visitations he made, but he can know nothing of the private and inner life which is 'hidden with Christ in God.' That is manifest to God's recording angel only. The biographer knows nothing of the bishop's secret and confidential relations with his clergy and people, and even with many who are alien to his faith. He is the daily depository of their cares and anxieties, of their troubles and afflictions, of their trials and temptations. They come to him for counsel in doubt, for spiritual and even temporal assistance. Were a bishop's real life in its outward and inward fulness published, it would be more interesting than a novel."
Even with the aid of so untiring a coadjutor as Dr. McCloskey, Bishop Hughes found the diocese too large to be administered with the care that all portions required. When the Sixth Provincial Council convened at Baltimore, in May, 1846, which he attended with his coadjutor, he urged a division of his diocese, the necessity of which Bishop McCloskey could attest. New Sees were proposed at Albany and Buffalo. Pius IX., yielding to the request of the Fathers of the Council of Baltimore, erected the dioceses of Albany and Buffalo. Bishop McCloskey was translated from the See of Axiere to that of Albany, and the diocese committed to his care comprised the portion of New York State north of the forty-second degree, and lying east of Cayuga, Tompkins and Tioga counties.
He took possession of his diocese early in the summer, making St. Mary's his pro-cathedral, till the erection of his cathedral, of which he laid the corner-stone soon after his arrival. A visitation of his diocese followed, and then began the work of developing the Catholic interests in the portion of the State. His diocese contained forty-four churches, and about as many clergymen, with but few institutions of education or charity. Its progress was steady, solid and effectual. He added new priests, well chosen and trained, introduced the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Christian Brothers, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. His Cathedral was completed and was recognized as one of the greatest ornaments of the city; but all extravagance was avoided and discouraged. Churches were reared suited to the means of the flock, and the tepid, careless and indifferent were recalled to their Christian duties, till the diocese assumed a new spirit. None but those who lived there, and witnessed the progress, can form a conception of what Bishop McCloskey accomplished while he gave the best period of his life to the diocese of Albany.
More than a hundred churches, and nearly a hundred priests, with schools, academies, hospitals, asylums, were the fruits of the Catholic life aroused by his zeal.
As Bishop of Albany he took part in the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1849; the first Plenary Council, in 1852; and the first of New York, 1854. In all these his prudence and wisdom deeply impressed his associates, as many of them have testified. In his diocese his relations to his clergy in his Synod, and in occasional directions, showed a gentle consideration for others, which overcame all obstacles.
On the death of Archbishop Hughes, to whom he had long since been named successor, the voice of the bishops of the Province, as well as the desire of the clergy and people of the diocese, solicited from the Holy See the promotion of Bishop McCloskey, and the successor of St. Peter soon pronounced the definitive word. He returned to New York just as the terrible civil war came to a close; and the paralyzed country could look to its future. Under his impulse the new Cathedral was completed and dedicated with a pomp never yet witnessed in the Western World. The State of New York for some years had suffered from a want of churches; but amid a war draining the wealth and blood of the country, it would have been rash to attempt to erect them when all value were fictitious. Now, under the impulse of the quiet and retiring Archbishop, old churches were enlarged; new parishes were formed and endowed with churches; schools increased in number and efficacy. While increasing the number of his parochial clergy both in numbers and in the thorough education he so highly esteemed, Archbishop McCloskey gave the religious orders every encouragement, and introduced others. Communities of religious women, for various forms of charity, also found a hearty support from him. In the administration of the diocese, and the direction of these communities, he displayed his wonted wisdom in selecting as his Vicar General, the Rev. William Quinn, whose ability of a remarkable order had already been tested.
Archbishop McCloskey took part in the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore, in 1866, whose acts are such a code of doctrine and discipline. "Of it he was a burning and a shining light," said Archbishop Gibbons. "He was conspicuous alike for his eloquence in the pulpit, and for his wisdom in the council chamber. I well remember the discourse he delivered at the opening session. The clear, silvery tones of his voice, the grace of his gestures and manner, the persuasive eloquence and charm of his words are indelibly imprinted on my memory and imagination. Just before ascending the pulpit, a telegram was handed to him, announcing the destruction by fire of his Cathedral. He did not betray the slightest emotion, notwithstanding the sudden and calamitous news. Next morning I expressed to him my surprise at his imperturbable manner. "The damage," he replied, "is done, and I cannot undo it. We must calmly submit to the will of Providence.""
The decrees of the Plenary Council, with those of the Council of New York, were promulgated by him in a Synod held by him at New York, in September, 1868.
The next year he was summoned to attend a General Council at Rome, the first held in the church since the Synod of Trent. The Council of the Vatican had been equalled by but few in the number of bishops, by none in the universality of the representation. Before modern science had facilitated modes of travel and communication, the area including those who attended was comparatively limited. To the Vatican Council, however, they came not from all parts of Europe only, but from Palestine, India and China; from the Moslem States of Africa; the European colonies; the negro kingdoms of the interior; America sent her bishops from Canada and the United States; the Spanish republics, Australia and the islands of the Pacific even had their bishops seated beside those of the most ancient Sees. Here Archbishop McCloskey was a conspicuous figure, respected for learning, experience, the firmness with which he held the opinion he mildly but conclusively advanced. In the committee on discipline his wisdom excited the highest admiration of the presiding cardinal.
When the impious seizure of Rome made the sovereign Pontiff a prisoner in the Vatican, the proceedings of the council were deferred to better days, which the Church still prayfully awaits. Archbishop McCloskey returned to his diocese; but the malaria of the Campagna had affected his health, never rugged, and shattered some years previously by a railroad accident, on a journey required by his high office. But he resumed his accustomed duties, inspiring good works, or guiding and supporting them like the Catholic Protectory, the Catholic Union of New York, and its branch since developed to such wide-reaching influence, the Xavier Union.
The impression which he had produced at Rome, from his early visit as a young priest to his dignified course in age as a Father of the Council of the Vatican, led to a new and singular honor, in which the whole country shared his honor. In the consistory held March 15, 1875, Pope Pius IX. created Archbishop McCloskey a Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, his title being that of Sancta Maria supra Minervam, the very church from which Rt. Rev. Dr. Concanen was taken to preside over the diocese of New York as its first bishop. The insignia of the high dignity soon reached the city borne by a member of the Pope's noble guard and a Papal Ablegate. The berretta was formerly presented to him in St. Patrick's Cathedral, April 22, 1875. According to usage he soon after visited Rome and took possession of the church from which he derived his title. He was summoned to the conclave held on the death of Pope Pius IX., but arrived only after the election of Pope Leo XIII., to whom he paid homage, receiving from his hands the Cardinal's hat, the last ceremonial connected with his appointment.
After his return he resumed his usual duties, but they soon required the aid of a younger prelate, though all his suffragans were ever ready to relieve their venerated Metropolitan by officiating for him. He finally solicited the appointment of the young but tried Bishop of Newark as his coadjutor, and Bishop Michael Augustine Corrigan was promoted to the titular See of Petra, October 1, 1880. Gradually his health declined and for a time he was dangerously ill; but retirement to Mount St. Vincent's, where in the castellated mansion erected by Forrest, he had the devoted care of the Sisters of Charity, and visits to Newport seemed to revive for a time his waning strength. His mind remained clear, and he continued to direct the affairs of his diocese, convening a Provincial Council, the acts of which were transmitted to Rome. "The Cardinal's fidelity to duty clung to him to the end. He continued to plead for his flock at God's altar, as long as he had power to stand. Even when the effort to say Mass would so fatigue him that he could do nothing else that morning, he continued, at least, on feast days, to offer the Holy Sacrifice. He said his last Mass on the Feast of the Ascension, 1884." At the Plenary Council in Baltimore, at the close of that year, the diocese was represented by his coadjutor.