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“Although the Christians of Abyssinia profess the error of Dioscorus, a great number of them live in utter ignorance of the matter, and think that their bishop, or the Abuna, sent to them by the schismatic patriarch of Cairo, is in communication with the pope.” *
In fact, the extreme impatience shown by the Abuna of the action of Catholic missionaries in the country, their recent expulsion, and the severe persecution sustained by those who hold to them, clearly show that a powerful movement exists in that direction. We find that, in 1849, while Mgr. de Jacobis received episcopal consecration as bishop of Nilopolis, and by an extraordinary exception passed over from the Latin to the Ethiopian, Monsignor Massaia, V.A. of the Gallas, ordained at the same time twenty-five native priests. About the same time, Teclafa, the superior of one thousand monks, was converted, with his whole monastery, to the Catholic Church, and afterwards formed three congregations in the true fold. Some years previously, in 1842, Krapf, the Protestant missionary, speaks of Ubie, the chief of Tigré, as “working so strenuously in the interests of Rome, that the Abuna could not prevail upon the prince to cherish the Abyssinian Church to which he belonged.” For the moment, no doubt, the prospects of Catholicism in this country are under a cloud, in spite of the truly apostolic labours and sufferings of the excellent Mgr. de Jacobis, to whose virtues the Protestant traveller Parkyns renders a generous tribute. The strong and newly constituted ruler of Abyssinia backs the Abuna in his hostility to the Catholic faith, and as the good Abyssinian priest, to whom we have been indebted for so much curious information, writes (on Oct. 8th, 1853), “they are both of the same lump (della stessa farina) and purpose, the one in religion, and the other in government, to have the world sub ditione unâ. But let us hope after the tempest will succeed a calm.” In this aspiration we heartily unite ; and, improbable as it is that these words will ever make their way to those distant regions, we should be glad to imagine that the Abyssinian Catholics, pining in dungeons under a rude tyranny, yet preserving the flame of pure religion burning in their bosoms, could know that they have the deep sympathy and fervent prayers of many widely removed from them in blood and in all earthly associations, yet indissolubly one with them in the faith of Christ and the communion of His vicar upon earth.
*“Annals of the Propagation of the Faith,” vol. xiv. p. 370. For many interesting details relating to Catholic missions in Abyssinia, see Marshall's “ Christian Missions," vol. ii. ch. vii.
VOL. 1.—NO. I. [New Series.]
ART. III.-INTRINSIC END OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
Du Spirituel et du Temporel dans l'Eglise. Lettre de Monseigneur (Parisis]
l'Evêque d'Arras à Son Excellence M. Thouvenel. Paris, 1860. “A
RECIPROCAL benefit,” says M. Thouvenel, as quoted in
this most telling little work—"a reciprocal benefit has irrevocably accrued to modern societies in the separation which has been accomplished in the two domains of the religious and political order." The expression, indeed, in itself is somewhat vague; but, as used by M. Thouvenel and other politicians of his school, it has a most definite and intelligible meaning.
The State, as such, has no religion ; has no concern with revelation ; nor any obligation of listening to the Church's voice : political science is wholly independent of theological.” There is no principle which the revolutionary party throughout Europe regards as more fundamental than this; and there is none which more gives to that party its distinctive character.*
On the other hand, if we would know what judgment has been pronounced on this principle by the highest earthly authority, let us study the allocution delivered by the reigning Pontiff in June, 1862. In that allocution, the Holy Father describes at some length the tenets of those evil men who are now banded together against every high and holy interest. And what is it which he places at the very head of those errors ? “They blush not,” he says, “to assert that the knowledge of philosophical and moral truth, and also that the laws of a nation, may and ought to withdraw themselves from (the jurisdiction of j Divine revelation and the Church's authority." + “That philosophical and moral study should be independent of the Church's authority :" here is rationalism. That nation's laws should be thus independent:" here is revo
* Après avoir d'âge en âge triomphé successivement des sanglantes persécutions du glaive, des sophismes acharnés de l'hérésie, et de l'effroyable dépravation de ses propres enfans, l'Eglise s'est trouvé en présence d'un ennemi nouveau qu'on peut appeller la politique des gouvernmens. Cette politique ... c'était au fond la cause des intérêts matériels et de l'orgueil humain luttant contre l'intérét des âmes et le régne de Dieu.—De l'Eglise et l'Etat, par Mgr. Parisis, p. 4.
+ Haud erubescunt asserere philosophicarum rerum morumque scientiam, itemque civiles leges, posse et debere à Divinâ revelatione et ecclesiæ auctoritate declinare.
lutionism. What rationalism is in the intellectual order, that is revolutionism in the political ; and from these two poisonous sources flows forth that pestilential stream of speculation and action which is the misery of our time. The Catholic reviewer, then, can have no more important duty than to grapple with this two-headed hydra; and it is under a sense of that duty that we propose, in our present article, to investigate the nature and extent of a State's legitimate functions in promoting the spiritual welfare of its members. Our task is rendered more delicate, but at the same time more important, by the circumstance that we are not acquainted with any modern Catholic work which occupies this precise ground; and both the delicacy and the importance of our undertaking are still further increased by two great difficulties which meet us at the very outset.
The first of these difficulties is the danger of an opposite and still worse extreme. Detestable as is the doctrine that a civil governor (as such) has no concern with Divine revelation and the Church's voice, the doctrine is still more detestable that he possesses supreme authority in spirituals; and we must watch therefore carefully, lest, in contending against political atheism, we give any kind of colour to a tyrannical and usurping Erastianism. It might be thought, indeed, on the first blush, that all our danger from revolutionists is on the side of licence; but the most cursory survey of facts will teach us better. They begin, no doubt, with laying down, as a broad axiom, that the spiritual and political can never clash : they are obliged to do so, for the purpose of maintaining that the Church has no right to interfere with what they call the proper work of the State. But having affirmed this proposition in general, they proceed to deny it in every particular instance: they discern always and everywhere some (supposed) political consequences in the Church's most purely spiritual action. Having started, then, by inferring from one premiss that the Church has no right of interfering with the “proper office of the State,” they end by inferring, from precisely the opposite premiss, that the State has a full right of interfering, and that almost in every detail, with the proper office of the Church. And, accordingly, the Holy Father, in the very passage from which we have just quoted, after having censured their licence, proceeds to censure their usurpation and tyranny.* Indeed, it is surely no exag
* Hinc perversè comminiscuntur, civilem potestatem posse se immiscere rebus quæ ad religionem, mores, et regimen spirituale pertinent; atque etiam impedire, quominus sacrorum antistites et fideles populi, cum Romano Pontifice, supremo totius ecclesiæ pastore divinitus constituto, liberè communicent, &c.
geration to say that their tyranny is in principle far more monstrous even than that of our Henry VIII. or James I. ; against which latter Suarez felt himself called on so vigorously to protest. Henry VIII., in claiming spiritual dominion, at least claimed it as God's vicegerent, as entrusted by Him with the care of his people's eternal welfare. But these men are avowedly endeavouring that purely secular considerations may reign supreme; that the spiritual may be sacrificed to the material, and the eternal to the temporal.
This, then, is the first difficulty which meets us : the necessity of avoiding Scylla no less than Charybdis, and the great need for accuracy of vision in discerning the true middle
Our second difficulty is hardly less serious, but of a totally different kind. Certain very eminent theologians, of whom Suarez may be taken as a representative instance, seem, on thesurface, to maintain an opinion tending at least to the error which we combat; the opinion, namely, that civil government, as such, is exceeding its prescribed limits if it labour to promote directly spiritual good. We are perfectly certain, indeed, that these theologians not only are not inclined, but are in the extremest degree opposed, to any such opinion; and it will be one object of this article to vindicate our conviction on this head. Still it cannot be denied that certain expressions used by them may be plausibly alleged against us; and we cannot be surprised, therefore, that certain Catholic writers of the present day, and writers who justly claim our deep respect and admiration, occasionally use expressions which we regret. These writers, indeed, fully admit that no civil law can be binding on the conscience which is contrary either to the natural or the Divine positive law, or to any law of the Church acting within her own sphere; and they admit, accordingly, that a civil ruler (so far as he has means of knowing these various higher laws) violates his duty in putting forward any such enactment. But they seem to hold that, within these limits, the only legitimate end of the civil governor's legislation and administration is his country's temporal good; that if he attempts to promote directly her spiritual interests, he is transgressing the province allotted to him by God.
We greatly doubt whether, when both sides come to explain themselves, there will be found any essential difference between these writers and ourselves. Yet we would with great respect entreat them to consider whether they are not sanctioning a mode of speech which in other times may have been comparatively harmless, but which is now full of peril. We would entreat them to consider whether their statement be not such that an acute and logical anti-Catholic, who should take it nakedly and in the abstract, might carry it forward into consequences from which they themselves would recoil in horror.
For ourselves, as the text of our discussion and the warrant of our doctrine, we start with a passage from Gregory XVI.'s well-known Encyclical, “ Mirari vos.” It is difficult to imagine words which shall be more explicit and unmistakable :
But in regard to those good wishes which we put forth for the common safety both of Church and State, may the princes, our most dear children in Christ, forward those wishes by their power and authority ; which power and authority let them regard as conferred on them, not only for the world's government, but most of all for the Church's protection. Let them carefully consider that whatever labour is expended for the Church's welfare tends really to their own power and tranquillity ; and let them esteem it a great privilege (we say with Pope St. Leo) if to their diadem there be also added from the Lord's hand the crown of faith. Placed as they are in the position of parents and guardians to their peoples, they will procure for those peoples true, permanent, and profitable rest and tranquillity, if they apply themselves chiefly to this care ; viz., that religion and piety towards God may be securely preserved. *
It will conduce to the reader's convenience, if, before we begin our argument, we state briefly the conclusions to which that argument will be directed. They are substantially these. The Church was founded exclusively for a spiritual end, and her province is the administration of spirituals; civil government was instituted immediately for a certain temporal end, and its province is the administration of temporals : but the Catholic ruler will act more laudably in proportion as he shall more earnestly endeavour to administer temporals in the way
most conducive to his subjects' moral and spiritual welfare. It is always to be understood, indeed, that his labours for that welfare must be carried on throughout in profound deference and subordination to the Church's guidance. Yet we do not base our conclusion on any theory concerning the Church's direct temporal power, and concerning any delegation on her part of
* Cæterùm communibus hisce votis, pro rei et sacræ et publicæ incolumitate, charissimi in Christo filii nostri viri principes suâ faveant ope et auctoritate ; quam sibi collatam considerent, non solùm ad mundi regimen, sed maximè ad Ecclesiæ præsidium. Animadvertant sedulò, pro illorum imperio et quiete geri, quicquid pro Ecclesiæ salute laboratur ; immo pluris sibi suadeant fidei causam esse debere quàm regni; magnumque sibi esse perpendant, dicimus cum S. Leone pontifice, "si ipsorum diademati de manu Domini etiam fidei addatur corona." Positi quasi parentes et tutores populorum, veram, constantem, opulentam iis quietem parient et tranquillitatem, si in eam potissimum curam incumbant, ut incolumis sit religio et pietas in Deum, qui habet scriptum in femore, Rex regum et Dominus dominantium.