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Introduction to the Last Series

 Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1873.

WHEN, at the conclusion of the volume for 1864, I sus-pended the publication of Brownson's Quarterly Review, my Catholic loyalty was widely distrusted; and in many Catholic, as well as non-Catholic circles, I was regarded as on the point of abandoning the church and returning to some form of Protestantism or infidelity. The distrust was unmerited, and though I have written enough during the last six or seven years in the Catholic World and the New York Tablet to dissi-pate it, and to prove the sincerity of my Catholic faith, and devotion to the Holy See; yet as my articles in those period-icals have been published without my name, very few, except those who never distrusted me, know that they are mine. Up to this time, hardly a Catholic organ in the country has even attempted any vindication of my Catholic reputation; and for the public at large the cloud that hung over me in 1864 hangs, I apprehend, over me still, so far as I am not forgotten, or thought of as already dead and buried.

I am not willing that my name should go down to poster-ity with the slightest suspicion resting on it of disloyalty to the church; not, indeed, that I care mnch for it on my own personal account, but for the sake of the Catholic cause, which I hold dearer than life, and which I would not have suffer the least detriment through me or my ill reputation; and also for the sake of my surviving children, to whom I can leave no inheritance, but that of an untarnished name. It was al-most the last wish expressed to me by my late wife, whose judgment I never found at fault, that I should revive my Re-view, if only for a single year, and prove to the world that my faith has never wavered; that I am still an humble but de-voted son of the church; and that I am, as I always pro-fessed to be, an uncompromising Catholic and a thorough-go-ing papist. These considerations have weighed with me; and, combined with the conviction, well or ill founded, that I have a few more words to say, not inappropriate to the times, -and which I can say only in a periodical under my own con-trol; and the urgent request of a large number of clerical friends, have finally, after much hesitation and many misgiv-ings, induced me to revive the Review, and to appear once more before the public in my own name and character as a Catholic reviewer.

I have no palinode to sing; I enter on no explanations of the causes of the opposition I encountered from some of my own brethren: such explanations would be mistimed and mis-placed, and could edify nobody. I willingly admit that I made many mistakes; but I regard as the greatest of all the mistakes into which I fell during the last three or four years that I published my Review, that of holding back the stronger points of the Catholic faith, on which I had previously in-sisted; of laboring to present Catholicity in a form as little repulsive to my non-Catholic countrymen as possible; and of insisting on only the minimum of Catholicity, or what had been expressly defined by the Holy See or a general council.

I am not likely to fall into that mistake again. My exper-iment was not very successful; and, besides, the syllabus and the decrees of the eouncil of the Vatican, published since, would protect me from it, if nothing else would. I have no ambition to be regarded as a liberal Catholic. A liberal Catholic I am not, never was, save in appearance for a brief moment, and never can be. I have no element of liberal Catholicity in my nature or in my convictions, and the times, if I read them aright, demand Catholicity in its strength, not in its weakness; in its supernatural authority and power, not as reduced to pure rationalism or mere human sentimentality.

What is most needed in these times-perhaps in all times--is the truth that condemns, point-blank, the spirit of the age, and gives no quarter to its dominant errors: and nothing can be more fatal than to seek to effect a compromise with them, or to form an alliance with what is called liberalism,-a po-lite name for sedition, rebellion, and revolutionism. I con-fess I was not highly pleased even with the notice, in the Cath-·olic World, of my  "Liberalism and the Church," kind, gen-erous, flattering, and well meant, as it certainly was. It represented me as holding firmly to the syllabus, and as being at the same time thoroughly American. The first is true; the second is a misapprehension. Time was when I paraded my Americanism, in order to repel the charge, that an Amer-ican cannot become a convert to the church without ceasing to feel and act as an American patriot. I have lived long enough to snap my fingers at all charges of that sort. I love my country, and, in her hour of trial, I and my two sons, Catholics like myself, did our best to preserve her integrity and save her constitution; and there is no sacrifice in my power that I would not make to bring "my kinsmen after the flesh" to Christ; but, after all, the church is my true country, and the faithful are my real countrymen. Let the American people become truly Catholic and submissive children of the Holy Father, and their republic is safe; let them refuse and seek safety for the secular order in sectarianism or secularism, and nothing can save it from destruction.

I do not think my respect for my American countrymen is so great as it was some years ago. They seem to me to have wonderfully deteriorated during the last third of a century, both intellectually and morally, and with a rapidity unequall-ed in any other people whose history is known. Their relig-iousness seems to have wellnigh become extinct, and their minds to be turned outward and downward. They have lost all spiritual conceptions, and have no longer any spiritual as-pirations. Their sectarian religion has ceased to be either spir-itual or intellectual, and lapses into a puny sentimentalism or pure emotionalism. Methodism is their highest and most cherished form of religion, and Methodism is a compound of sentimentalism and animalism. Nearly all the sects are more or less tainted with it, and rely on animal excitement instead of rational conviction, and a free and deliberate submission of the will to the law of God. Sectarianism ceases to be dogmat-ic, and places religion primarily and almost exclusively in feeling, or an affection of our emotional nature. It makes little or no demand on the intellectual powers of the soul. What of intellectual activity there is among my countrymen is turned in the direction of business, mechanical inventions, or the physical sciences.

It fares no better with morality, always separated by Prot-estantism from religion; it becomes with the bulk of the Ameri-can people either external decorum, or simply thrift,-the art of getting on in the world. It inquires not "what is true, what is right?" but "what is popular? what will the people approve? or what will succeed?" No heathen people ever more devoutly worshipped the fickle goddess Fortune, than do the American; or more strictly maintained success to be the test of merit. They place, even in their best moods, the ground of moral obligation in a natural sentiment called philantrophy, which atones in their estimation for a lifetime spent in transferring by fraud, chicanery, overreaching, and stock-gambling, the money of others into one's own pockets, by founding professorships in sectarian or secular colleges, for promoting a false theology, or false science; or in erecting seminaries, houses of refuge for the reformation of juvenile of-fenders, or Magdalen asylums destined to be simply nurseries of error, vice, and crime.

We have politicians, shrewd, adroit managers of elections, and manipulators of parties; but I look in vain for a states-man in office, or a candidate for office, whether state or federal. A man, to be elected, must carry light weight, and be one whom the politicians and business men can use for the promo-tion of their private interests or personal ambition. Nobody, who wants office, whether legislative or executive, cares to study the principles of civil polity, or the science of states-manship. It would only make him carry weight, and impede his chances of success. The popular vote will supply any conceivable lack of brains, or want of moral character. I wrote in the Democratic Review, thirty years ago, that never again would a first-class man be elected to the presidency of the Union; and experience, thus far, has done justice to the assertion. Mr. Van Buren was the last man of superior ability, and with some statesmanlike attainments, that has filled the presidential chair. Since his defeat, in 1840, by the election of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," there has been a continual descent, each successive president proving inferior to his predecessor.

I confess therefore, though my interest in my country and countrymen is as great as ever, I do not consider it a high compliment to be credited with an intense Americanism.
Where the people are Catholic and submissive to the law of God, as declared and applied by the vicar of Christ and su-preme pastor of the church, democracy may be a good form of government; but combined with Protestantism or infidelity in the people, its inevitable tendency is to lower the standard of morality, to enfeeble intellect, to abase character, and to retard civilization, as even our short American experience amply proves. Our republic may have had a material expansion and growth; but every observing and reflecting American, whose memory goes back, as mine does, over fifty years, sees that in all else it is tending downward, and is on the de-clivity to utter barbarism.

No; I am by no means wedded to Americanism as under-stood and practised by my non-Catholic countrymen. It may be destined to "make the tour of the globe," but I do not look to it or to any other possible political system for the regeneration of modern society, or the salvation even of my own country. God may overrule evil for good, but no political constitutions, changes, revolutions, arrangements, or adjust-ments whatever, if taken alone, can do any thing for the prog-ress of man and society. Without the Catholic Church, they are, to use a threadbare illustration, "the play of Hamlet with the part of the prince of Denmark left out;" they lack the light, the warmth, and the life-giving power of the sun, and are what our material world would be, were there no sun in the heavens.

I place little value on what is called material progress, and I regard the boasted progress of modern civilization, in all other respects, as a deterioration. Modern civilization is substan-tially that of the gentile world before its conversion to Chris-tianity. The "glorious reformation" of the sixteenth century was an apostasy from Christ, as was gentilism from the patri-archal religion, and, in principle, a return to pure heathenism. The sects have nothing of Christ but the name, to which they have no just title, as but few of their members are even bap-tized. They are as much in the dark as to the origin and end of man as were the heathen themselves, and just as uncertain and anxious about the future. They are as unsettled about the principle of duty or moral obligation; they are equally wedded to the earth; and equally with them worship MIGHT and adore SUCCESS. Indeed Christendom has become heathen-ized, and Protestantism is only carnal Judaism revived. Hence I can have no disposition to concede any thing to it, or sympathy with those who demand an alliance of the church with modern civilization. The syllabus tells us what we are to think of those who advise the church to sanction and bless it, and seek strength in calling to her aid the spirit of the age, or, rather, the "prince of this world."

There is, and always will be, enmity between Christ and Satan, and consequently between the church and the world. The Christian cannot follow or conform to the spirit of this, or any other age, without betraying his Lord and going over to the enemy. They who object to the church, because she re-sists the spirit of the age or the popular tendencies of the times, prove the spirit that moves them is the spirit of Satan, not by any means the spirit of Christ the Lord. The damning error of Gioberti was not in his speculative philosophy or theology, but in his effort to effect a union or concord between Chris-tian civilization and gentilism ; which is like seeking to estab-lish concord between Christ and Belial. Hence the Jesuits, though perhaps not always justified in their criticisms on his speculative philosophy, felt instinctively the antichristian tendency of his writings, and opposed him a outrance: for, whatever may be said of the children of St. Ignatius, it must be conceded that they have truly Catholic instincts, and a remark-able gift of almost unerringly detecting, through any and every disguise, the real enemies of the church of God. They may be oscurantisti, but only in relation to the false lights of the age or of modern liberalism, to which the Holy Father has justly attributed the calamities of modern society, espcially in France.

For myself, I accept the statement of the anticatholic, sectarian, and secular press, that the syllabus condemns all the distinctive features of what is called "modern civilization;" and draws the line between Catholicity and the world in bond-age to Satan, so clearly and distinctly, that there is no mis-taking it. It presents the true issue; and those who are not with the pope are against God, and therefore against the rights and interests of men and nations. The Review, as long as I am able to continue it, will, to the best of my knowledge and ability, defend the issue which the Holy Father has made, without any compromise with the world, without seeking its favor, or shrinking from its wrath. The age, as I have said, needs Catholicity in its strength, not in its weakness; in the sense that it condemns its errors, exposes its false prin-ciples and maxims, and offers a barrier to its destructive tendencies. Nobody must expect from the Review any soothing words for the enemies of the church, any effort to conciliate the despoilers and revilers of St. Peter. Those who desire such words must seek them elsewhere than in its pages.

These remarks sufficiently indicate the spirit and tendency of the Review in the future. It will aim, above all things, to be thoroughly Catholic-papistical, if the reader prefers; it will study to conform to the syllabus and the decrees of the Coun-cil of the Vatican, and will insist on the supremacy of the suc-cessor of Peter in the see of Rome in governing, and on his infallibility in teaching the universal church, as integral and essential dogmas of the Catholic faith. It will not go out of its way to offend the sects, but it will not recognize them as having any part or lot in the church of Christ; but will, what-ever their pretensions, treat them as aliens from the kingdom of God, and as rebels to their rightful sovereign. It will hold them to be separated from the church, therefore from Christ, and therefore, again, out of the way of salvation. It will not judge their individual members, but it will hold out to them no hope of salvation, unless they desert their heretical or schis-matic communions, and become reconciled to the one holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church, for, as St. Cyprian says:
"He who has not the church for his mother cannot have God for his Father:" and none, who are not children of God, can be joint heirs with Christ, or reign with him in glory. Invin-cible ignorance excuses from sin in that of which one is invin-cibly ignorant; but unless "a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." There is no salvation without faith, hope, and charity; and these are supernatural virtues, not attainable by our natural powers, or without the assistance of divine grace; and charity, the great-est of these, without which the others avail nothing, cannot, as says St. Augustine, "be kept out of unity." Heresies and schisms are deadly sins; and though the state, may, and often must, tolerate them, the church, representing the divine order on earth, does not and cannot.

I have not sought anew the approbation of my own or any other bishop in resuming the publication of my Review, and no one but myself, is responsible for it. If it meets the ap-proval of the ecclesiastical authorities, and if, in their judg-ment, it is likely to serve the cause of truth, they will permit its publication; if it should incur their disapprobation, or be judged by them more likely to do harm than good, its publication will be discontinued the moment I am made aware that such is the fact. I cannot in any case, old as I am, be expected to continue it through many years, and nobody is likely to continue it after I am gone. I think-and many highly esteemed clergymen have expressed the same convic-tion-that there is just now a vacant niche into which none of our periodicals, learned, able, and excellent as they are, can be exactly filled; and yet it is a niche my Review once filled, and perhaps for a brief time may fill again: at least such is my hope.

The Review will certainly interfere with no existing period-ical or journal, and with no new enterprise that any Cath-olic writer or publisher, may contemplate. It will have a character of its own, which will be borne by no other peri-odical, though others may be far abler, more important and more popular. It will not have a large circulation, for it will not be addressed to a numerous public. It will be ad-dressed only to the cultivated and thoughtful few, the rever-end clergy and educated laymen; and will be confined al-most exclusively to the discussion of the first principles of philosophy, theology, ethics, and civil polity. Its aim will be to oppose Catholic principles to the false principles and errors of the proud and arrogant non-Catholic world, which flatters itself that it is on the eve of triumphing over the in-vincible church of God. I shall find, I trust, "a fit audience, though few."

With these remarks, I commit this last series of the Re-view with filial submission to divine providence; to the patron-age of my old friends, who have not forgotten me: and to the fresh young minds and hearts, just from our colleges and sem-inaries, who have never known me, but whom I hope to make my friends, at least to assist, however feebly, in their efforts to serve our holy mother, the church.