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Socialism and the Church

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1849

Art. IV.  England the Civilizer; her History developed in its Principles ; with Reference to the Civilizational History of Modern Europe (America inclusive), and with a View to the Denouement of the Difficulties of the Hour. By a Woman. London. Simpkins, Marshall, & Co. January, 1848.    12mo.    pp. 470.

This handsomely printed volume, written in a gibberish which is neither French nor English, has been sent us "from the author," and we can do no less than acknowledge its reception. It is filled with the wild speculations and demoralizing theories to be expected from "a Woman" who has cast off religion, and, as a necessary consequence, the modesty and delicacy of her sex. In a literary point of view, it is beneath criticism, but it bears the marks of some reading, and even of hard, though ill-directed, thinking. Nature has treated the authoress liberally, and she will have much to answer for. The work could have proceeded only from a strong mind and a corrupt heart.

The work itself pertains to the Socialistic school, and, substantially, to the Fourieristic section of that school. According to it, the human race began its career in ignorance and weakness, and established a false system of civilization. Modern society, dating from the fall of the Western Roman empire, has been engaged in a continual struggle to throw off that system, and to establish a true system in its place. It has been engaged, thus far, in the work of demolition, which it has finally terminated. It has prepared the ground for true civilization, and the human race now stand waiting, or did stand waiting on the first of last January, the signal to introduce it, and to put an end for ever to all evils, moral, social, and physical.The old civilization, now effete, committed the capital error of recognizing religion,  in the language of the authoress, superstition,- government, property, and "the ascendency of the male sex," or family,  for the family cannot subsist without that ascendency ;  the new civilization will correct this error, and for religion substitute science ; for government, federation ; for law, instinct; for property, communal wealth ; for family, love ; and for the ascendency of the male sex, the administration of women. Consequently, the new civilization is to be a petticoat civilization, in which we must include the human race in those genera which are named after the female, as cows, geese, ducks, hens, &c.

Into the details of this new civilization, or the means by which it is to be introduced and preserved, we need not enter. Some things may be assumed to be settled ; if not, the human race can settle nothing, and it is idle to examine the claims of a new theory. If any thing can be settled, it is that the man is the head of the woman,  that she is for him, not he for her ; and that religion, government, family, property, are essential elements of all civilization. Without them man must sink below the savage, for in the lowest savage state we find, at least, some reminiscences of them. Any system which proposes their abolition or essential modification is by that fact alone condemned, and proved to deserve no examination. We do the Socialists too much honor when we consent to hear and refute their dreams. We have not at this late day to resettle the basis of society, to seek for unknown truth in religion or politics, in relation to public or domestic, private or social life ; we have no new discoveries to make, no important changes to introduce ; and all that we need attempt is to ascertain the truth which has been known from the beginning, and to conform ourselves to it.Nevertheless, the work before us is a pregnant sign of the times, and may afford food for much useful reflection to those prepared to digest it. People who attend to their own business, tread the routine their fathers trod, and attempt to discharge in peace and quiet the practical duties of their state, little suspect what is fermenting in the heated brains of this nineteenth century. They know next to nothing of what is going on around them. They look upon the doctrines contained in works like the one before us as the speculations of a few insane dreamers, and are sure that the good sense of mankind will prevent them from spreading, and confine their mischief to the misguided individuals who put them forth. They regard them as too ridiculous, as too absurd, to be believed. They can do no harm, and we need not trouble our heads about them. This is certainly a plausible view of the subject, but, unhappily, there is nothing too ridiculous or too absurd to be believed, if demanded by the dominant spirit or sentiment of an age or country ; for what is seen to be demanded by that spirit or sentiment never appears ridiculous or absurd to those who are under its influence.

Nothing, to a rightly instructed mind, is more ridiculous or absurd than the infidelity which so extensively prevailed in the last century, and which under another form prevails equally in this. Yet when the philosophy which necessarily implied it first made its appearance, few comparatively took the alarm, and even learned and sound Churchmen were unable to persuade themselves that there was any serious danger to be apprehended.    When the philosophers and literary men  went farther, and, developing that philosophy, actually made free with the Scriptures, and even the mysteries of faith, the majority of those who should have seen what was coming paid little attention to them, jested at the incipient incredulity with great good humor, felt sure that no considerable number of persons would proceed so far as to deny not only the Church, but the very existence of God, and flattered themselves that the infidelity which was manifest would prove only a temporary fashion, a momentary caprice, which would soon become weary of itself, and evaporate.  Nevertheless, all the while, the age was virtually infidel, and thousands of those who had persisted in believing there was no danger were themselves but shortly after driven into exile, or brought to the guillotine by its representatives. The  same thing occurs now in regard to   Socialism. The great body of those who have faith and sound principles look upon it as the dream of a few isolated individuals, as undeserving a moment's attention, and think it a waste of time and breath even to caution the public against it. Yet in one form or other it has already taken possession of the age, has armed itself for battle, made the streets of Paris, Berlin, Frankfort, Vienna, and other cities, run with blood, and convulsed nearly the whole civilized world, it is organized all through Europe and the United States ; scarcely a book, a tract, or a newspaper is issued from a constantly teeming press, that does not favor it, and there is scarcely any thing else going that can raise a shout of applause from the people ; and yet we are told, even by grave men, that it is a matter which need excite no apprehension.Nor is this the worst aspect of the case. Not a few of those who shrink with horror from Socialism, as drawn out and set forth by its avowed advocates, do themselves, unconsciously, adopt and defend the very principles of which it is only the logical development; nay, not only adopt and defend those principles, but denounce, as behind their age, as the enemies of the people, those who call them in question. Have we not ourselves been so denounced? If you doubt it, read the criticisms of The Boston Pilot on our review of Padre Ventura's Oration, or The New York Commercial Advertiser's notice of our censure of the Italian Liberals for their persecution of the Jesuits. Of course, these papers have no authority of their own, but they echo public opinion, and tell, as well as straws, which way the wind blows. If the public condemned in no measured terms the "horrible doctrines" we a few years since put forth in an Essay on the Laboring Classes, it has not condemned, but through some of its leading organs commended, an article on The Distribution of Property, published in The North American Review for last July,  the most conservative periodical, except our own, in the country,  which defends at length, and with more ability than we ordinarily expect in that Journal, the very principles from which we logically derived them. We hold in utter detestation the doctrines of the Essay referred to, and which raised a terrible clamor against us throughout the country ; but we proved, in our defence, and no one has yet, to our knowledge, ventured to maintain the contrary, that those doctrines were only legitimate conclusions from the Protestant and democratic premises held by the great body of our countrymen, and by what they do and must regard as the more enlightened portion of mankind. In fact, a very common objection to us was, that we were ahead of the age, that is, drew the conclusions before the people were ready to receive them. We did but reason logically from the principles we had imbibed from public opinion, from general literature, and the practical teachings of those we had been accustomed from our childhood to hear mentioned with honor, and had been required to revere, principles which we had never heard questioned, and never thought of questioning, till we undertook to explain to ourselves the universal outcry which had been raised against us. As we found our countrymen saying two and two, we thought we might innocently add, two and two make four, and complete the proposition. We were wrong, not in our logic, but in our principles. We had trusted the age ; we had confided in its maxims, and received them as axioms. As the mists cleared away, as the gloss of novelty wore off, and the excitement of self-defence subsided, we saw the horrible nature of the doctrines we had put forth, and recoiled, not only from them, but from the principles of which they were the necessary logical development. But the age has not followed our example. The great body of the people continue to adhere to those principles, and will not suffer them to be questioned.

No doubt, the majority of numbers are as yet unprepared to adopt Socialism as developed by Owen, Fourier, Saint-Simon, Cabet, Proudhon, or by " A Woman" in the work before us; but no man who has studied the age can, if he have any tolerable powers of generalization, doubt that Socialistic principles are those now all but universally adopted. They are at the bottom of nearly all hearts, and at work in nearly all minds; and just in proportion as men acquire courage enough to say not only two and two, two and two, but that two and two make four, the age rushes to their practical realization,  accepts their logical developments, however horrible, however impious. There is an invincible logic in society which pushes it to the realization of the last consequences of its principles. In vain do moderate men cry out against carrying matters to extremes ; in vain do practical men appeal to common sense ; in vain do brave men rush before the movement and with their bodies attempt to interpose a barrier to its onward progress. Society no more- nay, less- than individuals recoils from the conclusions which follow logically from premises it holds to be sound and well established. It draws practically those conclusions, with a terrible earnestness, and a despotism that scorns every limitation. On it moves, heedless of what or of whom it may crush beneath the wheels of its ponderous car. Woe to him who seeks to stay its movement! Social evils grow as it advances, and these it lays to the charge of those who would hold it back, and maintains result only from the fact that it has not yet reached its goal. The reform is not carried far enough. Put on more steam, carry it farther, carry it farther, is the loud cry it raises.

We see this in the Protestant Reformation. The reformers did not fulfil their promises, did not secure to the people the good they had led them to expect. Everybody saw this, everybody felt it; for everybody found himself distracted and unsatisfied. What was the inference drawn ? That the Reformers had erred in principle, and that the Reformation could not secure the good promised ? By no means. The people had accepted its principle. The Reform, said they, is good, is just and true ; but it has not been carried far enough ; the reformers were only half reformed ; they stopped short of the mark. The Reform must not stop with Luther and Calvin ; we must carry it farther. This is what the children of the Reformation said, as we all know ; and they have been from the first struggling to carry it farther and farther, and have at length carried it to the borders, if not into the regions, of nihility. The evils remain, nay, every day increase, and each day a new party rises up in the bosom of the most advanced sect, and demands a further advance.

In the political world we see the same thing. Revolution has followed revolution, and no political reform goes far enough to satisfy its friends. In the last century, revolutions were political, and had for their object the establishment of political equality, or democracy.  It was soon seen that political equality answers no purpose where there is social inequality.  A writer who could speak with as much authority on this subject as any of our contemporaries, thus expressed himself in 1841:

 "But democracy as a form of government, political democracy, as we call it, could not be the term of popular aspiration, regarded in itself, without reference to any thing ulterior, it is no better than the aristocratic form of government, or even the monarchical. Universal suffrage and eligibility, the expression of perfect equality before the state, and which with us are nearly realized, unless viewed as means to an end, are not worth contending for. What avails it, that all men are equal before the state, if they must stop there ? If under a democracy, aside from mere politics, men may be as unequal in their social condition as under other forms of government, wherein consist the boasted advantages of your democracy ? Is all possible good summed up in suffrage and eligibility? Is the millennium realized, when every man may vote and be voted for ? Yet this is all that political democracy, reduced to its simplest elements, proposes. Political democracy, then, can never satisfy the popular mind. This democracy is only, one step  a necessary step in its progress. Having realized equality before the state, the popular mind passes naturally to equality before society. It seeks and accepts political democracy only as a means to social democracy; and it cannot fail to attempt to realize equality in men's social condition, when it has once realized equality in their political condition."  The Boston Quarterly Review., January, 1841, pp. 113, 114.

Political democracy leaves the principal social evils unredressed, and the causes which led the reform thus far remain in all their force to carry it still farther. Hence we see in the present century the same party which in the last demanded political democracy attempting throughout nearly the whole civilized world a series of revolutions in favor of social democracy. The leaders in the late French Revolution tell you that it was a social revolution they sought, and that it was this fact which distinguished it from the Revolution of 1789. In Italy and Germany two revolutions are going on at once, a political revolution and a social revolution. Young Italy is Socialistic ; so is Young Germany ; and it was its socialistic character that gave to the movement of Ronge and his associates its significance and its moderate success. The race, modern philosophers tell us, is progressive, and in a certain sense we concede it. It tends invariably to reach the end implied in the principles it adopts or the impulse it has received, and that tendency is never self-arrested. Its progress towards that end is irresistible ; and when it happens to be downward, as at present, it is fearfully rapid, and becomes more fearfully rapid in proportion to the distance it descends.The only possible remedy is, not declamation against the horrible results, the pernicious conclusions, at which the popular mind arrives, the resource of weak men, but the correction of the popular premises and recalling the people to sound first principles. Once concede that even political equality is a good, an object worth seeking, you must concede that social equality is also a good ; and social equality is necessarily the annihilation of religion, government, property, and family. The same principle which would justify the Moderate Republicans of France in dethroning the king would justify M. Proudhon in making war on property, declaring every rich man a robber, and seeking to exterminate the Bourgeoisie, as these have already exterminated the nobility. There is no stopping-place between legitimacy- whether monarchical or republican legitimacy- and the most ultra socialism. Once in the career of political reform,- we say political, not administrative, reform,- we are pledged to pursue it to its last results. We are miserable cowards, or worse, if we shrink from the legitimate deductions from our own premises. There is not a meaner sin than the sin of inconsequence,  a sin against our own rational nature which distinguishes us from the mere animal world. If we adopt the socialistic premises, we must go on with the socialists in their career of destruction ; nay, we shall be compelled to do so, or strew the battlefield with our dead bodies. If we recoil from the socialistic conclusions, we must reexamine our own premises, and reject distinctly, unreservedly, and heroically every socialistic principle we may have unwittingly adopted, every Socialistic tendency we may have unintentionally cherished. The people, it is well known, do not discriminate, do not perceive, until it is too late, the real nature and tendency of their principles.    They mix up truth and falsehood, and can hardly ever be made to distinguish the one from the other. They adopt principles which appear to them sound and wholesome, and which under a certain aspect are so, and, unconscious of aiming at what is destructive, they place no confidence in any who tell them they expose themselves to danger. They see no connection between their principles and the conclusions against which we warn them, and which they at present, as well as we, perhaps view with horror ; they therefore conclude that the connection we assert is purely imaginary, that we ourselves are deceived, or have some sinister purpose in asserting it; that we are wedded to the past, in love with old abuses, because, perhaps, we profit, or hope to profit, by them ; that we do not understand our age, are narrow and contracted in our views, with no love or respect for the poorest and most numerous class. In a word, they set us down as rank conservatives or aristocrats. No age ever comprehends itself, and the people, following its dominant spirit, can never give an account of their own principles. They never trace them out to their last results, and are unable to follow the chain of reasoning by which horrible consequences are linked to premises which appear to them innocent. They never see whither they are going. Democratic philosophers themselves tell us as much, and defend their doctrine on the ground that the people are directed by divine instincts, and obey a wisdom which is not their own. To this effect we may quote the writer already cited, and who, on this point, was among the more moderate of his class. In an article on Philosophy and Common Sense, which had the honor to be commended by Victor Cousin, he says :

" Philosophy," he says, "is not needed by the masses: but they who separate themselves from the masses, and who believe that the masses are entirely dependent on them for truth and virtue, need it, in order to bring them back and bind them again to universal Humanity. And they need it now, and in this country, perhaps, as much as ever. The world is filled with commotions. The masses are heaving and rolling, like a mighty river, swollen with recent rains, and snows dissolving on the mountains, onward to a distant and unknown ocean. There are those among us, who stand awe-struck, who stand amazed. What means this heaving and onward rolling ? Whither tend these mighty masses of human beings ? Will they sweep away every fixture, every house and barn, every mark of civilization? Where will they end? In what will they end? Shall we rush before them and attempt to stay their progress ? Or shall we fall into their ranks and on with them to their goal ? 'Fall into their ranks ; be not afraid ; be not startled ; a divine instinct guides and moves onward that heaving and rolling mass ; and lawless and destructive as it may seem to you, ye onlookers, it is normal and holy, pursuing a straight and harmless direction on to the union of Man with God.'    So answers philosophy, and this is its glory.  The friends of Humanity need philosophy, as the means of legitimating the cause of the people, of proving that it is the right, and the duty, of every man to bind himself to that cause, and to maintain it in good report and in evil report, in life and in death. They need it, that they may prove to these conservatives, who are frightened almost out of their wits at the movements of the masses, and who are denouncing them in no measured terms, that these movements are from God, and that they who war against them are warring against truth, duty, God, and Humanity.    They need it, that they may no longer be obliged to make apologies for their devotion to the masses, their democratic sympathies and tendencies. They who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, who are loaded with reproach for their fidelity to truth and duty, who are all but cast out of the pale of Humanity, because they see, love, and pursue Humanity's true interests,  they need it, that they may comprehend the cause of the opposition they meet, forgive their enemies, silence the gainsayer, and give to him that asks it a reason for the hope that is in them.    The friends of progress, here and everywhere, need it, that, having vindicated, legitimated progress, as philosophers, they may go into the saloons, the universities, the halls of legislation, the pulpit, and abroad among the people, and preach it, with the dignity and the authority of the prophet."  The, Boston Quarterly Review, January, 1838, pp. 104, 105.

It is necessary to take this ground, or give up democracy, which Mr. Bancroft defines as "Eternal Justice ruling through the people," as wholly indefensible ; for it cannot be denied that popular movements are blind, and that in them the people are borne onward whither they see not, and by a force they comprehend not. Hence it is easy to understand, that, retaining in their memories traces of former instructions, they may recoil with horror from the last consequences of Socialism, and yet be intent only on developing Socialistic tendencies, and crushing all opposition to them.Socialism is, moreover, presented in a form admirably adapted to deceive the people, and to secure their support. It comes in a Christian guise, and seeks to express itself in the language of the Gospel. Men whom this age delights to honor have called our blessed Lord " the Father of Democracy," and not few or insignificant are those who tell us that he was " the first Socialist." In this country, the late Dr. Channing took the lead in reducing the Gospel to Socialism ; and in France, the now fallen Abbe de la Mennais, condemned by Gregory the Sixteenth, of immortal memory, was the first, we believe, who labored to establish the identity of Socialism and Christianity. We gave in another place, in 1840, a brief notice of his views on this point, which it may not be uninstructive to reproduce: "The most remarkable feature in the Abbe de la Mennais's doctrine of liberty is its connection with religion. It is well known, that for some time the friends of freedom in Europe have been opposed to the Church, and in general to all religion. The privileged orders have also taken great pains to make it widely believed, that religion requires the support of existing abuses, and that no one can contend for social meliorations without failing into infidelity. This has created a false issue, one which M. de la Mennais rejects. He has endeavoured, and with signal success, to show that there is no discrepancy between religion and liberty ; nay, more, that Christianity offers a solid foundation for the broadest freedom, and that, in order to be true to its spirit, its friends must labor with all their might to restore to the people their rights, and to correct all social abuses. He proves that all men are equal before God, and therefore equal one to another. All men have one Father, and are therefore brethren, and ought to treat one another as brothers. This is the Christian law. This law is violated, whenever distinction of races is recognized ; whenever one man is clothed with authority over his equals; whenever one man, or a number of men, are invested with certain privileges, which are not shared equally by the whole. As this is the case everywhere, everywhere therefore is the Christian law violated. Everywhere therefore is there suffering, lamentation. The people everywhere groan and travail in pain, sighing to be delivered from their bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. To this deliverance the people have a right. For it every Christian should contend ; and they wrong their brethren, deny Christianity, and blaspheme God, who oppose it.


"This is a new doctrine in France. It is something new since the days of the philosophes, to undertake to show that Christianity is the religion which favors not kings and privileged orders, but the people, the poor and needy, the wronged and downtrodden. Hitherto the few have made the many submit to the grievous burdens under which they groaned, by representing it as irreligious to attempt to remove them. They have enlisted the clergy on their side, and made religion, the very essence of which is justice and love, contribute to the support of oppression. They have deterred the pious from seeking to better their condition, by denouncing all who seek the melioration of society as infidels. But the Abbe has put a stop to this unhallowed proceeding. He has nobly vindicated religion and the people. He has turned the tables upon the people's masters, and denounced their masters, not the people, as infidels. He has enlisted religion on the side of freedom; recalled that long forgotten Gospel, which was glad tidings to the poor, and dared follow the example of Jesus, whom the common people heard gladly, and whom the people's masters crucified between two thieves. He speaks out for freedom, the broadest freedom, not in the tones of the infidel scoffer, but in the name of God, Christ, and man, and with the authority of a prophet. His ' Words of a Believer' has had no parallel since the days of Jeremiah. It is at once a prophecy, a curse, a hymn, fraught with deep, terrible, and joyful meaning. It is the doom of the tyrant, and the jubilee-shout of the oppressed. We know of no work in which the true spirit of Christianity is more faithfully represented. It proclaims, 'Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'; and woe unto the rich oppressor, the royal spoiler, the scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who bind heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, while they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."The Boston Quarterly Review, January, 1840, pp. 117-119.

It may not be amiss to place by the side of this bold commendation of the Words of a Believer, the judgment pronounced upon that book and its doctrines by the Sovereign Pontiff, in his Encyclical Letter, dated June, 1834, which we find in the Pieces Justificatives published by M. de la Mennais at the end of his volume entitled Jlffaires de Rome, Bruxelles, 1337.

" Horruimus sane, venerabiles Fratres, vel ex primo oculorum obtutu, auctorisque caecitatem miserati intelleximus, quonam scientia prorumpat, quae non secundum Deum sit, sed secundum mundi elementa. Enimvero contra fidem sua illa declaratione solemniter datam, captiosissimis ipse ut plurimum verborum, fictionumque involucris oppugnandam, evertendamque suscepit catholicam doctrinam, quam memoratis nostris litteris,* (FOOTNOTE * Epistola EncycHca, August 15, 1832.) tum de debita erga potestas subjectione, tum de arcenda a populis exitiosa indiferentissimi contagione, deque frenis injiciendis evaganti opinionum sermonumque licentiae, tum demum de damnanda omnimodo conscientiae libertate, teterrimaque societatum, vel ex cujuscumque falsae religionis cultoribus, in sacrae et publicae rei perniciem conflatarum conspiratione, pro auctoritate humilitati nostrae tradita definivimus.

"Refugit sane animus ea perlegere, quibus ibidem auctor vinculum quodlibet fidelitatis subjectionisque erga principes disrumpere conatur, face undequaque perduellionis immissa qua publici ordinis clades, magistratuum contemptus, legum infractio grassetur, omniaque, et sacrae, et civilis potestatis elementa convellantur. Hinc novo et iniquo commento potestatem principum, veluti divinae legi infestam, imo opus peccati et Satanae potestatem in calumniae portentum traducit, praesidibusque sacrorum easdem, ac imperantibus turpitudinis notas inurit ob criminum molitionumque foedus, quo eos somniat inter se adversus populorum jura conjunctos. Neque tanto hoc ausu contentus omnigenam insuper opinionum, sermonum, conscientiaeque libertatem obtrudit militibusque ad eam a tyrannide, ut ait, liberandam dimicaturis fausta omnia ac felicia comprecatur, coetus ac consociationes furiali aestu ex universo qua patet Orbe advocat, et in tam nefaria consilia urgens atque instans compellit, ut eo etiam ex capite monita praescriptaque nostra proculcata ab ipso sentiamus.

" Piget cuncta hic recensere, quae pessimo hoc impietatis et audaciae foetu ad divina humanaque omnia perturbanda congeruntur. Sed illud praesertim indignationem excitat, religionique plane intolerandum est, divinas praescriptiones tantis erroribus adserendis ab auctore afferri, et incautis venditari, eumque ad populos lege obedientiae solvendos, perinde ac si a Deo missus et inspiratus esset, postquam in sacratissimo Trinitatis augustae nomine praefatus est, Sacras Scripturas ubique obtendere, ipsarumque verba, quae verba Dei sunt, ad prava hujuscemodi deliramenta inculcanda callide audacterque detorquere, quo fidentius, uti inquiebat S. Bernardus, 'pro luce lenebras offundat, et pro melle vel potius in melle venenum propinet, novum cudens populis Evangelium, aliudque ponens fundamentum praeter id quod positum est.'

"Verum tantam hanc sanae doctrinae illatam perniciem silentio dissimulare ab eo vetamur, qui speculatores nos posuit in Israel, ut de errore illos moneamus, quos Auctor et consummator fidei Jesus nostrae curae concredidit.

"Quare auditis nonnullis ex venerabilibus fratribus nostris S. R. E. cardinalibus, motu proprio, et ex certa scientia, deque Apostolicae potestatis plenitudine memoratum librum, cui titulus: Paroles d'un Croyant, quo per impium Verbi Dei abusum populi corrumpuntur ad omnis ordinis publici vincula dissolvenda, ad utramque auctoritatem labefactandam, ad seditiones in imperiis, tumultus, rebellionesque excitandas, fovendas, roborandas, librum ideo propositiones respective falsas, calumniosas, temerarias, inducentes in anarchiam, contrarias Verbo Dei, impias, scandalosas, erroneas jam ab Ecclesia praesertim in Valdensibus, Wiclefitis, Hussitis, aliisque id generis haereticis damnatas continentem, reprobamus, damnamus, ac pro repvobato et damnato in perpetuum haberi volumus, atque decernimus.

"Vestrum nunc erit, venerabiles Fratres, nostris hisce mandatis, quae rei et sacrae et civilis salus et incolumitas, necessario efflagitat, omni contentioni obsecundare, ne scriptum istius modi e latebris ad exitium emissum eo fiat perniciosius, quo magis vesanae novitatis libidini velificatur, et late ut cancer serpit in populis. Muneris vestris sit, urgere sanam de tanto hoc negotio doctrinam, vafritiamque novatorum patefacere, acriusque pro Christiani Gregis custodia vigilare, ut studium religionis, pietas actionum, pax publica floreant et augeantur feliciter. Id sane a vestra fide, et ab impensa vestra pro communi bono instantia fidenter sperimus, ut, eo juvante qui pater est luminum, gratulemur (dicinius cum S. Cypriano) fuisse intellectum errorem, et retusum, et ideo prostratum, quia agnitum, atque detectum." 

We hope the judgment of the Holy Father will weigh as much with our readers as that of the Editor of The Boston Quarterly Review, We had for a time the unenviable honor of being ranked ourselves among those who attempted here and elsewhere to translate Christianity into Socialism. There are, perhaps, yet living, persons who remember the zeal and perseverance with which we preached, in the name of the Gospel, the most damnable radicalism. We cite a few paragraphs from an essay entitled Democracy of Christianity, published in The Boston Quarterly Review, October, 1838. The general doctrine asserted in this last extract was not peculiar to the writer cited. He was never remarkable for his originality. He was remarkable, if for any thing, only for the care with which he studied the movement party of our times, seized its great principles, and abandoned himself to their direction. He accepted that party, and followed it, with a courage and a perseverance worthy of a better cause. The views he put forth were those of his party. They were not peculiar to him then, and they are far less so now.    During the last ten or twelve years they have made fearful progress, both at home and abroad. Affecting to be Christian, their advocates invoke the name of Jesus, and appeal to the Holy Scriptures, the texts of which, with a perverse ingenuity, they accommodate to their Socialistic purpose. May Almighty God forgive us the share we had in propagating what we called the Democracy of Christianity! We have nothing to palliate our offence or to hide our shame ; for, if we knew no better at the time, we might have known better, and-our ignorance was culpable. All we can say is, we followed the dominant sentiment of the age, which is a poor excuse for one who professed to be a preacher of the Gospel. Veiling itself under Christian forms, attempting to distinguish between Christianity and the Church, claiming for itself the authority and immense popularity of the Gospel, denouncing Christianity in the name of Christianity, discarding the Bible in the name of the Bible, and defying God in the name of God, Socialism conceals from the undiscriminating multitude its true character, and, appealing to the dominant sentiment of the age and to some of our strongest natural inclinations and passions, it asserts itself with terrific power, and rolls on in its career of devastation and death with a force that human beings, in themselves, are impotent to resist. Men are assimilated to it by all the power of their own nature, and by all their reverence for religion. Their very faith and charity are perverted, and their noblest sympathies and their sublimest hopes are made subservient to their basest passions and their most grovelling propensities. Here is the secret of the strength of Socialism, and here, too, is the principal source of its danger.

The open denial of Christianity is not now to be dreaded ; the incredulity of the last century is now in bad taste, and can work only under disguise. All the particular heresies which human pride or human perversity could invent are now eflete or unfashionable. Every article in the Creed has been successively denied, and the work of denial can go no farther. The attempt to found a new sect on the denial of any particular article of faith would now only cover its authors with ridicule. The age laughs at Protestantism, and scorns sectarism. The spirit that works in the children of disobedience must, therefore, affect to be Christian, more Christian than Christianity itself, and not only Christian, but Catholic. It can manifest itself now, and gain friends, only by acknowledging the Church and all Catholic symbols, and substituting for the divine and heavenly sense in which they have hitherto been understood a human and earthly sense. Hence the religious character which Socialism attempts to wear. It rejects in name no Catholic symbol; it only rejects the Catholic sense. If it finds fault with the actual Church, it is because she is not truly Catholic, does not understand herself, does not comprehend the profound sense of her own doctrines, fails to seize and expound the true Christian idea as it lay in the mind of Jesus, and as this enlightened age is prepared to receive it. The Christian symbol needs a new and a more Catholic interpretation, adapted to our stage in universal progress. Where the old interpretation uses the words God, Church, and Heaven, you must understand Humanity, Society, and Earth ; you will then have the true Christian idea, and bring the Gospel down to the order of nature and within the scope of human reason. But while you put the human and earthly sense upon the old Catholic words, be careful and retain the words themselves. By taking care to do this, you can secure the support of the adherents of Christianity, who, if they meet their old familiar terms, will not miss their old, familiar ideas ; and thus you will be able to reconcile the old Catholic world and the new, and to go on with Humanity in her triumphant progress through the ages.

Since it professes to be Christian, and really denies the faith, Socialism is a heresy; and since by its interpretation it eviscerates the Catholic system of its entire meaning, it is the resume of all the particular heresies which ever have been or can be1. The ingenuity of men, aided by the great Enemy of souls, can invent no further heresy. All possible heresies are here summed up and actualized in one universal heresy, on which the age is proceeding with all possible haste to erect a counterfeit Catholicity for the reception and worship of Antichrist as soon as he shall appear in person.

" Descend," says De la Mennais, " to the bottom of things, and disengage from the wavering thoughts, vain and fleeting opinions, accidentally mingled with it, the powerful principle which, without interruption, ferments in the bosom of society, and what find you but Christianity itself? What is it the people wish, what is it they claim, with a perseverance that never tires, and an ardor that nothing can damp ? Is it not the abolition of the reign of force, in order to substitute that of intelligence and right? Is it not the effective recognition and social realization of equality, inseparable from liberty, the necessary condition and essential form of which, in the organization of the state, is election, the first basis of the Christian community. "What, again, do the people wish ? what do they demand ? The amelioration of the lot of the masses, everywhere so full of suffering; laws for the protection of labor, whence may result a more equitable distribution of the general wealth; that the few shall no longer exercise an exclusive influence for their own profit in the administration of the interests of all; that a legislation which has no bounds, the everlasting refuge of privilege, which it in vain attempts to disguise under lying names, shall no longer, on every side, drive the poor back into their misery ; that the goods, destined by the Heavenly Father for all his children, shall become accessible to all; that human fraternity shall cease to be a mockery, and a word without meaning. In short, suscitated by God to pronounce the final judgment upon the old social order, they have summoned it to appear, and recalling the ages which have crumbled away, they have said to it,' I was hungry, and ye gave me not to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me not to drink ; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and ye did not visit me.' I interrogate you on the law. Respond. And the old social order was silent, for it had nothing to answer; and it raised its hand against the people whom God has appointed to judge it. But what can it do against the people, and against God ? Its doom is registered on high, and it will not be able to efface it with the blood which, for a brief period, it is permitted to shed.

"We cannot, then, but recognize in what is passing under our eyes the action of the Christian principle, which, having for long ages presided almost exclusively over individual life, seeks now to produce itself under a more general and perfect form, to incarnate itself, so to speak, in social institutions,  the second phase of its development, of which only the first labor as yet appears. Something instinctive and irresistible pushes the people in this direction. The few have taken possession of the earth; they have taken possession of it by wresting from all others even the smallest part of the common heritage; and the people will that men live as brothers according to the Divine commandment. They battle for justice and charity; they battle for the doctrine which Jesus Christ has come to preach to the world, and which will save it in spite of the powers of the world." Affaires de Rome, pp. 319-321.

This is as artful as it is bold. It wears a pious aspect, it has divine words on its lips, and almost unction in its speech. It is not easy for the unlearned to detect its fallacy, and the great body of the people are prepared to receive it as Christian truth. We cannot deny it without seeming to them to be warring against the true interests of society, and also against the Gospel of our Lord. Never was heresy more subtle, more adroit, better fitted for success.    How skilfully it flatters the people ! It is said, the saints shall judge the world. By the change of a word, the people are transformed into saints, and invested with the saintly character and office. How adroitly, too, it appeals to the people's envy and hatred of their superiors, and to their love of the world, without shocking their orthodoxy or wounding their piety ! Surely Satan has here, in Socialism, done his best, almost outdone himself, and would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect, so that no flesh should be saved. What we have said will suffice to show the subtle and dangerous character of Socialism, and how, although the majority may recoil from it at present, if logically drawn out by its bolder and more consistent advocates, the age may nevertheless be really and thoroughly Socialistic. We know that the age seeks with all its energy, as the greatest want of mankind, political and social reforms. Of this there is and can be no doubt. Analyze these reforms and the principles and motives which lead to them, which induce the people in our days to struggle for them, and you will find at the bottom of them all the assumption, that our good lies in the natural order, and is not attainable by individual effort. All we see, all we hear, all we read, from whatever quarter it comes, serves to prove that this is the deep and settled conviction of the age. If it were not, these revolutions in France, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere, would have no meaning, no principle, no aim, and would be as insignificant as drunken rows in the streets of our cities.But the essence of Socialism is in this very assumption, that our good lies in the natural order, and is unattainable by individual effort. Socialism bids us follow nature, instead of saying with the Gospel, Resist nature. Placing our good in the natural order, it necessarily restricts it to temporal goods, the only good the order of nature can give. For it, then, evil is to want temporal goods, and good is to possess them. But, in this sense, evil is not remediable or good attainable by individual effort. We depend on nature, which may resist us, and on the conduct of others, which escapes our control. Hence the necessity of social organization, in order to harmonize the interests of all with the interest of each, and to enable each by the union of all to compel Nature to yield him up the good she has in store for him. But all men are equal before God, and, since he is just, he is equal in regard to all. Then all have equal rights , an equal right to exemption from evil, and an equal right to possession of a good. Hence the social organization must be such as to avert equal evil from all, and to secure to each an equal share of temporal goods. Here is Socialism in a nutshell, following as a strictly logical consequence from the principles or assumptions which the age adopts, and on which it everywhere acts. The systems drawn out by Owen, Fourier, Saint-Simon, Cabet, Proudhon, or others, are mere attempts to realize Socialism, and may or may not be ridiculous and absurd ; but that is nothing to the purpose, if you concede their principle. These men have done the best they could, and you have no right to censure them, as long as you agree with them in principle, unless you propose something better.

Now we agree with De la Mennais, that Christianity has a political and social character, and with the editor of The Boston Quarterly Revieio, that Christianity seeks the good of man in this life as well as in the life to come. We say with all our heart, " On the earth was he [our Lord] to found a new order of things, to bring round the blissful ages, and to give to renovated man a foretaste of heaven. It was here the millions were to be blessed with a heaven, as well as hereafter." No doubt of it. But mi the new order and by it,  not out of it and independently of it. Out of the new order and independently of it, the millions are, to say the least, no better off than if it did not exist, and have no right to any portion of its blessings. The Socialists, when they attempt to press Christianity into their service, are bad logicians. They are right when they tell us that our Lord came to found a new order of things, for he certainly did come for that purpose ; they are right when they tell us that it is Christian to seek a heaven on earth for the millions, for there is a Christian heaven here for all men, if they choose to accept it; but when they say this, they are bound to add that this heaven is in the new order established, and is to be sought in it, and by obedience to its principles. It is Christian to seek that order of happiness which Christianity proposes, by the means it prescribes ; but to seek another order of happiness, and by other means, is not therefore necessarily Christian, and may even be antichristian. Here is the point they overlook, and which vitiates all their reasoning.

Let no one say that we allege that man must forego any good while in this world in order to gain heaven hereafter. It would be no great hardship, even if it were so; but our God deals much more liberally with us, and requires us to give up, in order to secure heaven hereafter, only what makes our misery here. The Socialist is right in saying that there is good for us even in this world ; his error lies in placing that good in the natural order, and in making it unattainable by individual effort. Our good lies not in the natural order, but in the supernatural order, in that new order which Our Lord came to establish. In that order there is   all the good we can conceive, and attainable by simple voluntary efforts.   Out of that order there is no good attainable either by the efforts of individuals or by association, because out of it there is no good at all. Temporal goods, giving to the term the fullest possible sense, are not good, and, sought for themselves, are productive only of evil. Here is the first error of the Socialists. No evil is removable, no good is attainable, as long as any earthly or merely natural end is held to be, for its own sake, a legitimate object of pursuit. There is and can be good for no one, here or hereafter, save in seeking, exclusively, the end for which Almighty God has intended us, and by the means and in the way he himself has appointed. Now this end is neither in this world nor of this world, neither in nature nor of nature, and therefore can be gained, can be promoted, by no natural effort, by no natural means,  neither by political changes nor by social changes, neither by political democracy nor by social democracy. These things have and can have no necessary connection with it. It is a mistake, then, to regard them, in themselves, as ever in any degree desirable.

The Socialists are right when they say that the Christian law is the law of liberty, but not therefore necessarily right when they term the movements of the people for what they call liberty Christian movements, originating in Christian principle. Undoubtedly, the Christian law is the law of liberty. Our Saviour came to free us from bondage, and whom he makes free is free indeed. In the order he establishes, our highest good, our only good, whether for time or eternity, is entirely independent of the world. Nothing in the universe can hinder us, against our will, from attaining to it. We have only to will it and it is ours, and we are always and everywhere free to will. No one depends on nature or other men for the power to fulfil his destiny,  to gain the end for which he was intended. Here is the Christian doctrine of liberty, the glorious liberty which our religion reveals, and which we know by divine faith is no deception. But the liberty the Socialists commend, and which the people are seeking, is not Christian liberty, for it is not liberty at all. Socialism, by its very principle, enslaves us to nature and society, and subjects us to all the fluctuations of time and sense. According to it, man can attain to true good, can gain the end for which he was made, only in a certain political and social order, which it depends on the millions, whom the individual cannot control, to construct, and which, when constructed, may prove to be inconvenient and inadequate, and require to be pulled down and built up again. The individual, it teaches us, can make no advance towards his destiny but in proportion as he secures the cooperation of his race. All men must be brought down or brought up to the same level before I can go to the end for which my God made me ; each man's true good is unattainable, till all men are prepared to take " a pull, a strong pull, a long pull, and a pull altogether," to attain theirs ! This is slavery, not liberty. Nay, it denies the possibility of liberty, and makes slavery the necessary condition of all men. Is not he a slave who is chained to nature for his good, or to a social organization which does not exist, and which depends on the wisdom, the folly, the passions or instincts, the whims or caprices of other men to create or to destroy ? Who can deny it ? He only is free, he only knows what freedom is, who tramples the world beneath his feet, who is independent of all the accidents of time and space, of all created beings, and who has but to will and all heaven is his, and remains his, though the entire universe fall in ruins around him.

Undoubtedly, Christianity requires us to remove all evil, and in seeking to remove evil we follow the Christian principle ; but what the Socialists call evil, and the people in revolt are seeking to remove, is not evil. Nothing is evil but that which turns a man away from his end, or interposes a barrier to his advance towards it. Nothing but one's own sin can do that. Nothing, then, but sin is or can be evil, and that is evil only to him who commits it. Take all these things which Socialists declaim against,' monarchy,aristocracy, inequalities of rank, inequalities of riches, poverty, want, distress, hunger, starvation even,  not one of them, in itself considered, is necessarily evil; not one of them, nor all of them combined, can harm the just man, or prevent, except by his own will, any one from the fulfilment of his destiny. If one is prepared to die, he may as well die in a hovel as a palace, of hunger as a fever. Nothing can harm us that does not separate or tend to separate us from God. Nothing but our own internal malice can so separate us, and it is always in our power, through grace, which is never withheld, to remove that at will.

Undoubtedly, also, Christianity requires us to seek not only to remove evil, but to promote good, and good in this world. Good is the object of the will, and we are always to propose it. But the things the people in their insurrectionary movements are seeking after, and which Socialists commend, are not necessarily good.    As there is no evil to the just, so is there no good to the sinner, while he continues in his sinful state.    If the Socialists could secure to all men every thing they promise or dream of, they would secure them nothing to their advantage. Place every man at the highest social level that you can conceive ; give him the most finished education you can devise ; lavish on him in profusion this world's goods ; lodge him in the most splendid palace that genius can construct, furnished in the most tasteful and luxurious manner ; let him be surrounded by the most beautiful scenes of nature and the choicest specimens of art; and let him have ample leisure and opportunity for travel, for social intercourse, and for the fullest and most harmonious development of all his natural faculties ;you advance him not the millionth part of a hair's-breadth towards his destiny, avert from him no evil, secure him no conceivable good.    It will be no consolation to the damned to recollect, that, while here, they were clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day ; and your rich men, your great and renowned men, your fine gentlemen and ladies, with their polished manners and fashionable dresses, their soft complexions and gentle speech, your accomplished artists, your brilliant poets, your eloquent orators, your learned scholars, your profound and subtile philosophers, as well as coarse artisans, ragged beggars, cross-grained old hags, and country bumpkins, will be damned, eternally damned, if they die without the grace of God ; and that grace is as likely to find its way to the hovel as to the palace, to dwell beneath the beggar's gabardine as the embroidered mantle of the rich and refined.    The bulk of the strong-minded and thrifty citizens of this republic, with all their political franchises, social advantages, universities, academies, common schools, meeting-houses, external decorum, and material prosperity, are infinitely more  destitute than those Neapolitan lazzaroni whose lot they deplore, and are in no rational sense one whit better off than the miserable miners and degraded populace of Great Britain.    Their possessions will add nothing to the fulness of their joy, if, by a miracle of mercy, they gain heaven, and will only render fiercer the flames of their torment, if they are doomed to hell, as they have every reason to fear will be the case.

The Socialists fall into the fallacy of passing, in their reasoning, from one species to another. Nothing they call evil is evil ; nothing they call good is good ; and hence, because Christianity commands us to remove evil and seek good, it does not follow that we must associate with the disaffected populations to bring about political and social reforms. All that is in any sense good or worth having the individual can always, under any political or social order, secure by a simple effort of his will. Forms of government and forms of social organization, then, are at best indifferent; Socialism is a folly, and Socialists fools. The Creator is good, and Providence is wise and just. All external events take place by the express appointment of God. If, then, a single event were evil or the occasion of evil to a single individual, save through that individual's own fault, the goodness of the Creator would be denied, and the wisdom and justice of Providence could not be asserted. No doubt, there is evil in the world, far more heart-rending, far more terrific, than Socialists depict, or even conceive ; but to no man is there or can there be evil, but his own sin, which is purely his own creation. Since no man is obliged or compelled to sin, since sufficient grace is given unto every man to enable him to break off from sin and to become just, every man can, as far as himself is concerned, put an end to all evil, and secure all good, even the supreme good itself, at any moment he pleases.

Nothing, then, is more idle than to pretend that political and social reforms  touching the organization of the state or of society, we mean, not those which touch administration  are or ever can be necessary as the condition of averting any evil or procuring any good.We agree, as we have said, that our Lord came to found a new order of things,  new in relation to that which obtained among the heathen,  and that he contemplated the good of the millions here as well as hereafter ; we agree, nay, we hold, that he did propose the amelioration of the lot of man even while in this world,  and not of one class only, but of all classes. But how ? By his new order, or, irrespective of it, merely by calling upon the people themselves to do it through political and social organization ? If you say the latter, you place him in the old order, and class him with the old heathen philosophers. If he asserts simply man's dependence on nature and social organization, he founds no new order, for this dependence was the precise basis of the old order. Mankind always had nature and social organization, and to tell them to look to these for their good was to tell them nothing new ; for this was precisely what they had done, and were doing. The evil which oppressed the millions was in this very dependence, and what was needed was deliverance from it,  some method, so to speak, of attaining our true good in spite of nature and of social organization,  then, he retains that dependence, and does not provide this method, what did he do, or what can he do, which a heathen philosopher might not have done ? and wherein is what you call the Christian order different from Heathenism ? You say, he came to found a new order for the amelioration of mankind ; but how can you say this, if you are to look for the amelioration, which you say he authorizes you to seek, not from any new order, but from nature and social organization, which is precisely what the heathen themselves did ?

If you say, on the other hand, as you must, if you assert the new order at all, that our Lord ameliorates the lot of mankind hy his new order, then you must concede that it is only in and through that order that the amelioration is to be effected. Then you are to look for it only as you come into and conform to that order. Now, according to that order, the millions are to be blessed, are to find their true happiness, not in following nature, but in resisting it,  not in possessing temporal goods, but in renouncing them,  not in pride and luxury, but in humility, poverty, and mortification,  not in being solicitous for what we shall eat, or what we shall drink, or wherewith we shall be clothed, " for after all these things do the heathen seek" (St. Matt, vi. 31 -34),in a word, not in seeking any of these things, but in seeking first, that is, as the end of all seeking, the kingdom of God, and his justice, and then " all these things shall be added unto us." This is the order which our Lord has established. He gives us all needed grace to come into this order and to comply with all its demands, and, if we come in and so comply, he promises us all good, a hundred fold in this world, and everlasting life in the world to come.Now, as you concede that our Lord came to establish a new order of things, and must concede, that, if he blesses the millions at all, it must be in and by this new order, you are bound to admit that it is only by complying with its requisitions and placing ourselves under its influence, that our good in this world, as well as in the next, is attainable. Then all your efforts by political and social changes, which imply a recurrence to the old order, a reliance on the principles of the heathen world, can only remove you farther and farther from your true God. The only way to attain that good must be to begin by an act of renunciation, the renunciation of heathenism, of the world, of self, or, what is the same thing, an act of unconditional surrender of ourselves to God. This, if you admit Christianity at all, is the indispensable condition of all good. The heathen sought their good from nature and social organization, and found only evil. We are to seek not even our own good, that is, for the reason that it is our good, but God himself, and God alone, and then we shall find our good in Him who is the sovereign good itself. No doubt, this complete renunciation of self is any thing but pleasing to self; but we are never required to do it in our own strength. God always gives us grace to make it easy, if we will accept it. Moreover, we are required, in this, to do, at least, no more for God than he has done for us. We are required to give up all for him. But he gave up all for us. He made himself man, took upon himself the form of a servant, became poor, and obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross, for us ; and can we not, therefore, give up ourselves for him, especially when what we give up it were an injury to us to hold back ? If we give ourselves to him, he gives himself to us. He can give no more than himself, and can we ask or expect more than an infinite God can give ? Here is the condition, and it is only, under the order God has established, by complying with this condition that there is good for us here or hereafter ; and we know, also, that, by complying, all evil is removed, and all conceivable and more than all conceivable good is obtained. The true course to be taken, then, is perfectly plain, and may be taken without hesitation ; for He who has promised is able to fulfil, and will keep his word.

Of course we do not pretend, that, by conforming to the Christian order, the political and social equality contended for will be obtained ; we do not pretend that there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more poverty, no more hunger or thirst. These things will remain, no doubt, as facts ; but we have shown that they are not necessarily evils, and that their removal is not necessarily a good. These things have their uses in this world, or they would not be suffered to exist. To the just they are mercies, salutary penance, or occasions of merit,   purging the soul from stains of past transgressions, or giving it   an occassion to rise to higher sanctity and a higher reward.   To the sinner they may be the occasion of evil; but, if so, only because he does not receive them in a proper disposition, and because by his malice he refuses to profit by them. But even to him they are no more hurtful than their opposites,  often not so hurtful. By conforming to the Christian order, all so-called temporal evils, in so far as evil, are removed, and all so-called temporal goods, in so far as good, are secured ; and this is all that can be asked.

But we are told, this is all, no doubt, very well, very true, very pious *, but the age does not believe it, the people will not receive it. The people demand political and social reforms ; and we must conform ourselves to their state of mind, or we can have no influence with them. Let the Church sanction them in their movements for liberty, equality, and brotherhood, and then they will listen to her teaching, and profit by it.If there is any truth in this, it proves what we have all along been endeavouring to establish,  that the age is Socialistic, and that Socialism is unchristian, nay, antichristian. Those, then, who urge the Church to make an alliance with the people in their movements, to baptize Socialism, and even give it Holy Communion, or who suppose they can without detriment to religion sympathize with these movements, we leave to defend themselves, as best they may. We have no skill to frame an apology for them, unless it be that they cherish the spirit of the age instead of the spirit of the Church, which is only a condemnation.But suppose the sanction involved no violation of principle, and suppose the Church should make common cause with the so-called movement party, and enable it to effect the reforms it attempts,  what would be gained ? These reforms, if effected, would content nobody, and a new series of reforms would be attempted, in their turn to be found equally unsatisfactory, and thus on in infinitwn,  reforms giving birth to new reforms, bringing no relief, producing and perpetuating endless confusion, to the contentment, the satisfaction of nobody, but the arch enemy of mankind.

The Church is not of this world, and her principles are not those which govern the princes or the people of this world. She is the Spouse of God in this world, the mother of the faithful, the teacher of truth, and the dispenser of the Bread of Life to all who will receive it. They who are nursed with the milk from her bosom, who receive the Bread of Life from her hands and eat thereof, shall never hunger or thirst, shall never die, but shall live for ever. All she asks of governments and social institutions is that they leave her free, that is, violate in their administration no law of God. If the people grow discontented with the material order they find existing, she expounds to them the law; if in violation of the law, as she expounds it, they still persevere, and introduce a new order, be it what it may, she does not desert them ; she continues to present herself in her divine character before them, and to discharge for them her sacred mission. She has truly a maternal heart, and seeks always and everywhere the true good of the people for time and for eternity ; but she knows that Almighty God has made their good possible only on one condition, and therefore on that one condition she must insist. She explains it to the people, she exhorts and entreats them with divine tenderness to comply with it; but if they regard themselves as wiser than she, refuse to comply with the indispensable condition proposed, and will return to the old heathen order and seek their good from nature and human society, instead of seeking it from God and his Church, she grieves over them as our Lord grieved over Jerusalem devoted to destruction, but she can do no more. Their sin is on their own head, and they must reap the fruit of their own sowing. Themselves they may destroy,  her they cannot harm.

Here the discussion of our subject properly closes; but we fear that without additional remarks we may be misapprehended. These are times of jealousy, suspicion, and great uncharitableness, when men's passions are inflamed, and their heads more than ordinarily confused. What we say on one subject we are in danger of having understood of another ; and because we oppose certain popular tendencies, they who cherish them will allege that we are the enemies of the people, opposed to political and social amelioration, and solicitous only to maintain the reign of injustice and brute force,  than which nothing is or can be farther from the truth. Because we assert that our good lies solely in the Christian order and is always and every where attainable at will, and therefore deny the necessity or the utility of political and social changes as a means of bettering our condition, the same persons will endeavour to bring us into conflict with the Holy Father, who, according to them, is a Liberal Pontiff, a sort of Socialistic Pope, opposed to monarchy, in favor of popular institutions, taking the side of the people against their rulers, and sanctioning the principle of their movements, by granting a constitutional government to his immediate temporal subjects. A few words to clear up this matter will not be unnecessary.


We have no occasion to make a profession of our respect for the Papal authority ; for the doctrine of this journal on that subject is well known. If that authority is in any instance against us, it is sufficient to convince us that we are wrong ; and it is against us in the present instance, if the view given of Pius the Ninth be the just one. But that view has no authority, except the childish fears of one party and the unhallowed wishes of another. Pius the Ninth is a noble-minded and generous-hearted man, an enlightened prince, an humble and devout Christian, an uncompromising Catholic, a tender and vigilant shepherd, the spiritual Father of Christendom, the visible Head of the Church, the Vicegerent of God on earth ; and he can be no Liberal, no Socialist, no political and social reformer, in the sense of this age,  no prince to deserve the sympathy of a De la Mennais or a Horace Greeley, any more than of a Ledru Rollm or a Proudhon. We know beforehand that he cannot sanction what we have presented as the principles and motives of the popular movements of the day; for the Church in General Council and through her Sovereign Pontiffs has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned them ; and he himself has condemned them, in condemning Communism, only another name for Socialism, and in enjoining respect and obedience to princes,  as any one may see who will read his Epistola Encyclica copied into this journal for April, 1847, or the several Allocutions in which he has explained his policy.

No man has been more grossly misrepresented by pretended friends and real enemies than Pius the Ninth. The admirers of the old order,  few in number, however, alarmed at the magnitude of his proposed changes in the government and administration of his temporal dominions, perhaps offended because he did not ask or follow their advice, very naturally opposed him and sought to make him appear to be carried away by the spirit of the age, and pursuing a policy which must hurry the world into the abyss of Radicalism ; on the other hand, Radicals, Socialists, Freemasons, and Carbonari claimed him as one of themselves, because they wished to use the authority of his name and position to stir up the Catholic populations to rebellion, and to cover their own revolutionary and anarchical purposes. We share neither in the alarm of the former nor in the wish of the latter. We form our judgment of Pius the Ninth neither from Greeley's Tribune^ nor from the Roman correspondence of the London Morning JVeios; but from well-known Catholic principles, his obvious position, and his own official documents.    Interpreted by these, he has only followed, with singular fidelity and firmness, the policy uniformly pursued by his predecessors.As to his having sanctioned the principles and motives of the popular movements of the day, there is nothing in it. The thing, in hac providentia, is simply impossible. The Church, it is certain and undeniable, is wedded to no particular form of government or of social organization. She stakes her existence neither on imperialism nor on feudalism, neither on monarchy nor on democracy. To no one or other of them does she commit herself, and she declares each of them to be a legitimate form of government when and where it exists with no legal claimant against it. But the principle of these movements is exclusive democracy;not that democracy is a legitimate form of government, which is true; not that in these times, the views of the age being what they are, it is, with some restrictions, the best form of government, which we do not deny; but that the democratic is the only legitimate form of government, that all other forms are illegitimate, usurpations, tyrannies, to which the people owe no allegiance, and which they may, when they please, or believe it will be for their interest, conspire to overthrow. This is the principle implied in these movements, and which the Liberals pretend that Pius the Ninth has sanctioned. But he has done no such thing. The Church cannot accept this principle, because it would bind her to democracy, as her enemies a few years ago alleged that she was bound to monarchy, and compel her to declare all other forms of government illegal, and their acts null and void from the beginning. It would erect democracy into a dogma of faith. If the people now establishing democracies should hereafter become tired of them, and wish to reestablish monarchy,  not an impossible supposition,  they would be obliged to renounce their religion before they could do it. The Church could make no concession to them, and would be compelled, by the invariable nature of faith, to command them to return to democracy, on pain of losing their souls. She would then not only be herself enslaved to democracy, but would be obliged to enslave the people to it also, and to prohibit them under any circumstances and in every country from ever adopting any other form, how much soever they might desire it. Forms of government, like all things human, are changeable, and it is impossible to keep the people always and everywhere satisfied with any one form. What more unreasonable and more impolitic, then, than to bind them by religion always and everywhere to one and the same specific form ?

We are opposing, we are advocating, no particular form of government. In themselves considered, forms of government are matters of indifference. The wise and just administration of government is always a matter of moment,  the form, abstractly considered, never. Man's true good is as attainable under one form of government or social organization as another ; for it is obtained, if obtained at all, from a source wholly independent of the temporal order. That good the Church does and must seek, and its necessary condition is true liberty. To assume, as these social movements do, that this liberty is possible only under a given form of government and social organization would be to maintain that the Church can discharge her mission only where that particular form of government and social organization exists. The first thing her missionaries to a country where that form does not exist must attempt would then be to revolutionize the state and reorganize society. The American people, to a very considerable extent, suppose this to be the fact; and, supposing monarchy to be the favorite form, maintain that the spread of Catholicity here must essentially destroy our popular form of government, and introduce forms similar to those which the people in the Old World are now laboring to throw off. Substitute democracy for monarchy, and the doctrine we oppose is precisely that which our adversaries allege against us. Are we to adopt it ? Are we to believe that Pius the Ninth adopts it, and requires us to understand that all but democratic nations are out of the way of salvation, placed out of the condition of attaining to any good here or hereafter ?

Since we hold that forms of government are indifferent, that there is evil only in sin, and that our good comes exclusively from the Christian order, we deny the necessity of political and social changes ; and since, to seek our good from them is to seek it from the temporal order instead of the spiritual, which is in principle a rejection of Christianity and a return to heathenism, we censure them. But the minds of the people may be perverted and their hearts corrupted, and we, in consequence, unable to make them see where their true good lies, or to induce them even to give us their attention while we point it out to them. They may be intent on certain political changes, mad for them, and have ears, eyes, hearts, and hands for nothing else. We may condemn their state of mind, the moral disposition in which we find them, but it is a fact we have to meet, and deal with as a fact. In such cases, if the concession of the changes demanded involves no departure from faith or morals, it is wise to make it, in some sense, necessary, as a means of removing the prohibens, as we use logic with an unbeliever in order to remove the obstacles he finds in his mind to the reception of the faith. When political or social changes for this purpose become necessary, it is never the part of wisdom to resist them ; authority should always be free to concede them ; and that it may be is one reason why it cannot and should not be bound to any particular form of government or social organization.

Pius the Ninth has evidently acted on the principle we here commend. He found, on his accession to the pontifical throne, his own immediate temporal subjects and the European populations generally mad for popular institutions, and not to be satisfied with any thing else. They were ripe for revolt, and prepared to attempt the acquisition of popular government in some form, at all hazards,  if necessary, by insurrection, violent and bloody revolution. They had lost all respect for their rulers, and would no longer listen to the voice of their pastors,  would listen to nothing, in fact, that was opposed to their dominant passion. What was to be done ? There were but two alternatives possible. Authority must either repress them by the strong arm of physical force, or attempt to tranquillize them and save them from civil war and anarchy by the concession of popular institutions. The former had been adopted, had been tried, was in actual operation, and it was evident to the casual observer that it only aggravated the evil, only alienated still more and more the hearts of the people from their sovereigns, and from the Church, in consequence of her supposed sympathy with monarchy, and it was clear that it could not last much longer. Nothing was left that could be tried with any hopes of a favorable issue, but the latter alternative. Pius the Ninth saw this,indeed, most statesmen saw it,  and, anxious for the peace and order of his dominions, and to remove from the minds of all whatever accidental obstacles there might be to their listening to the lessons of religion, he resolved to adopt it; and accordingly proceeded to give his subjects a constitutional government, and, by his example at least, recommended to the European sovereigns to do as much for theirs, and to do it cheerfully, ungrudgingly, and in good faith. The policy came, indeed, too late to effect all the good that was hoped, and to avert all the evil that was threatened ; yet that, under the circumstances, it was wise and prudent, nay, even necessary, there really seems, to us no room to doubt. We may have regretted the circumstances which called for it, but we have never for a moment doubted, or thought of doubting, its wisdom or its necessity, although from the first we apprehended the consequences which have followed, and that it would hasten the outbreak of the European populations, which we knew the ill-disposed were preparing; and we have never believed its immediate effect in pacifying the excited multitudes would be as great as some of our friends, whose confidence in the people is greater than ours, expected it would be.

The adoption of this policy, the policy of concession to the exigencies of the times, implies no sanction by the Holy Father of the principles and motives of those popular movements and demands which made it necessary or advisable, nor of the political and social changes we have spoken against. We have been addressing the people and endeavouring to show them what is proper for them to seek, not attempting to point out to authority what it should do ; for we have no vocation to instruct authority in its duties. We are of the people, and we only point out what our religion enjoins upon them and us. It may be very just, very wise, nay, very necessary, at times, for authority to concede what it is very wrong, very foolish, on the part of the people to demand. The children of Israel, in the time of Samuel, afford us a case in point. They demanded of the Lord a king, that they might be like other nations. The Lord rebuked them, told them they knew not what they asked, and unrolled before them the oppressions to which a compliance with their request would subject them. Nevertheless, he complied with it, and gave them a king. The question before Pius the Ninth was not the question we have been discussing. The movements existed, the people demanded popular institutions, and were resolved, come what might, to attempt them. The simple question for him was, How shall this state of things be treated ? He said to the princes in answer, " Give the people what they ask." This he was free to do, because the Church is wedded to no political or social order, to monarchy no more than to democracy, is as independent of the throne as of the tribune, and can be as much at home in a republic as anywhere else.What is to be the result of the movements of the day we know not. The old monarchies may be swept away, or they may partially recover, and linger on for ages to come ; but that does not disturb us. Old Imperial Rome and old Roman civilization were broken down by the irruption of the Northern barbarians, and the world was deluged with barbarism, but the Church remained standing, and did not become barbarian ; the feudalism of the Middle Ages, a system, as somebody has said, too perfect for its time, fell beneath the combined attacks of kings and people, but the Church survived, and beheld undismayed its funeral pile; modern monarchy may follow, and all the world become democratic, still the Church will survive, and remain in all her integrity, shorn of none of her glory, and deprived of none of her resources. Over no changes of this sort do we weep. We have no fears for the Church ; we fear only for men. If we saw the people making war on the old political system in consequence of its wars on religion, and struggling for popular institutions in order to rescue the Church from her bondage, and to secure her an open field and fair play for the future", we should hear the volleys of musketry and the roar of cannon, and  witness the charge, the siege  and sack of cities, with tolerable composure ; for then the war would be one of vengeance on the old governments for the insults they have offered to the Immaculate Spouse of God, and for the freedom of worship, the only war in which real glory ever is or can be acquired. But, alas ! we see nothing of all this.

These enraged populations are moved by no regard for religion, they are to a fearful extent the bitter enemies of religious freedom, and governed by a malignant hatred of the Church. They are seeking only an earthly end, and they loathe the Christian order. Here is the source of our anxiety, the ground of our fears,  not for the Church, not for ourselves, but for them. They threaten to be more violent enemies to religion than any kings have been since the persecuting emperors of pagan.  Rome and the conduct of the Swiss radicals, the imprisonment of the noble Bishop of Lausanne and Geneva in the castle of Chillon, and the persecution of the children of St. Alphonsus by the people of Vienna, reveal but too plainly the spirit which animates them, and tell us but too distinctly what, at least for a time, we are to expect from the triumph of the popular party. Nevertheless, a wise and just Providence rules, and these things are permitted only as mercies or judgments upon the nations. It is ours to humble ourselves and adore ; and always have we this consolation, that no evil can befall us against our will, and that always and everywhere may we secure every good by unreserved submission to God in his Church.