"Brownson on the Church and the Republic," Jan., 1857 (Brownson answers a Universalist minister)

“Brownson on the Church and the Republic,” Brownson’s Quarterly Review for Jan 1857


It is not often that the secular or Protestant periodicals of the country make any formal attempts to refute our arguments or to show the inconclusiveness of our reasoning in behalf of the Church; and when they do make some such attempt, they ordinarily do it with so much levity, violence, or ignorance of the subject, that we cannot, without derogating from the dignity of our position, offer them any reply.  The Universalist Quarterly Review, a respectable Protestant periodical published in Boston, and conducted with a fair share of learning and ability, offers, in its issue for last October, an exception to the general rule, and presents, upon the whole, an able and interesting criticism on the article, entitled The Church and the Republic, in this Review for July, 1856.  We know not the author, but, though not perfectly master of his subject, he writes with a certain degree of courtesy and candor, and apparently with an earnest love of truth and justice.  He opens his essay with some remarks on the influence of our writings, which cannot fail to be gratifying to our friends, and which will prove to them that, notwithstanding many discouragements and unfavorable appearances, our Review is silently doing its work, and making its mark even on the mind of non-Catholic Americans.  Our readers will pardon us for reproducing them.

“Few American readers need to be told who or what is O.A. Brownson.  Perhaps no man in this country has, by the simple fort of the pen, made himself more conspicuous, or has more distinctly impressed the peculiarities of his mind.  Other writers, may have a larger number of readers, but no one has readers of such various character.  He has the attention of intelligent men of all sects and parties- men who read him without particular regard to the themes on which he spends his energies, or the sectarian or partisan position of which he may avow himself the champion.  The extraordinary ingenuity of his logic, the vigor of his thought, and the clearness and directness of his style, will attract attention, regardless of the particular opinions which prove the occasion of bringing out these fascinating qualities.” P. 400.

This is generous; but the writer thinks there is, however, a grave defect in our mind.

“Mr. Brownson, however, is wanting in the highest characteristic of eloquence – he does not convince.  He may puzzle and perplex those whose convictions differ from his own, but he will make few converts.  His Protestant readers find in his productions a sort of intellectual gymnasium, for whatever may be the intrinsic merit of his argumentation, it will not be denied that it stimulates thought; but, of the many whom we know to be among his constant readers, we cannot name one who has been forced thereby into a change of conviction.” – pp. 400, 401

The author probably means that we fail to persuade.  To convince is the province of logic, in which few even of our enemies regard us as deficient; to persuade is the province of eloquence, and to eloquence we lay no claim.  A man may be persuaded by the eloquence of the writer or speaker without being logically convinced, and he may be convinced by reasoning without being persuaded.  His understanding may be convinced, and yet his prejudices, mental habits, interests, feelings, passions, or affections may prevent him from following his convictions.  His intellect is mastered, but his feelings and will are not persuaded.  We may not have had great success in making converts, for converts are not made by human efforts alone; but there is a respectable number of persons, whose lives adorn their Catholic profession, who have assured us that they owe their conversion, under God, to our writings and lectures.  The writer himself seems also to concede that we have not been wholly unsuccessful.

“The secret of his apparent success in maintaining the claims of the Catholic Church will, if we mistake not, be found in the unwarrantable readiness with which Protestant readers accede to the premises of his argumentation.  Protestantism does not claim infallibility; and certainly, in the form in which it has thus far been most popular, most egregious error has gone under its name.  Those who have been reared under its Calvinistic phase, are little aware of the mongrel character of their beliefs – the arbitrary mingling of truth and error, which to them has the force of pure doctrine.  And even those who have reached what we must deem a higher form of faith, still retain the impressions of early education, and unconsciously accede to notions wholly incompatible with the convictions which they formally avow.  From the mass of men, thus unconsciously under the influence of principles which their awakened judgment would repudiate, an ingenious disputant can easily elicit premises of argument, the logical sequence of which is revolting to their sensibilities.

“We have long been convinced that Protestants are to blame for whatever is perplexing in the argument by which it is attempted to maintain the dogmas of Catholicism.  Indeed, if we must admit the principles of which the Calvinistic interpretation of Protestantism is predicated, we see no way by which to resist the inference which the Catholic logician finds it easy to educe.  Not one protestant in ten will hesitate to admit the proposition, that God has revealed to mankind a perfect and complete system of religious truth; and the further proposition, that men are morally obliged to receive, and practically act up to, this revelation of truth, will find an equally prompt admission.  Yet, out of these propositions, Mr. Brownson will construct an argument for the ‘infallible interpreter,’ which no skill of controversy can possibly resist.  For, it will be asked, is it not prosperous to claim, that the just God has obligated his rational creatures to receive and practice a truth, without providing them with a sure means of ascertaining what that truth is?  Would it not be to tantalize his children, to require their belief in the truth, and at the same time to leave them, even after their most conscientious efforts to find it, in a state of uncertainty as to whether they had attained it?  If God has made it the duty of man to believe the truth, and nothing but the truth, he must, if justice is one of its attributes, have furnished them an ‘infallible interpreter,’ whereby they may know for a certainty what the truth is, and when they have received it!  We must add, that the existence of an infallible interpreter admitted, the presumption that the Catholic Church is that interpreter, though not logical, is, nevertheless, unquestionable.  It is certain, that the Church or institution on which this marvelous gift has been bestowed will be aware of the fact that it possesses it, and will claim to exercise it; and as the Catholic Church is the only institution which professes to have such knowledge, and presumes to exercise such prerogative, it alone can be infallible interpreter!  And such essentially, in various forms of statement and application, is the reasoning with which Mr. Brownson opposes Catholicism to Protestantism,- a method of argument which Calvinistic theologians find it no easy matter to confront.” – pp. 401-403.

We commend this explanation of our apparent success to the attention of our readers, which, as indicating the state of mind of a large class of our countrymen, is not without significance.  It justifies the hopes for them we have so often expressed.  Even the writer himself can hardly be prepared to maintain that Almighty God has not “revealed to mankind a perfect and complete system of truth,” and that men are not “morally obligated to receive and practically act up to this revelation of truth.”  If God has made us a revelation at all, he must have revealed perfect and complete truth, and all truth on the points intended to be covered by the revelation; and if he has revealed this truth, he must require us to receive and practically conform to it, since he must reveal it for a purpose, and there is no other purpose conceivable for which he could have revealed it.  If he requires it, we are morally obliged to obey, for certainly we are morally bound to comply with all the requirements of God.  To deny either of these propositions is tantamount to denial that God has made us a revelation at all; and hence we have always maintained that no man who admits revelation can stop short of the Catholic Church, save at the expense of his logic.  We wish, however, to remind our author, in passing, that to be an infallible interpreter of the revelation is not the only office of the Church, nor the only thing for which her existence is held by Catholics to be necessary in the order of salvation. 

Our readers are aware that in our article on The Church and the Republic, we were not offering an argument for the Church herself, or assigning a reason why men should become Catholics.  We have never fallen into the absurdity of urging men to become Catholics for a temporal motive, or of urging that the Church must be the Church of God, because she is what is needed to sustain our Republic.  We have never identified her with any particular political theory, form of government, order of society, or earthly cause whatever.  All we have aimed at has been to remove the prejudices of our non-Catholic countrymen, and to answer the objections of those who allege that she is incompatible with republicanism in the State.  From the fact that abroad we see Catholicity, for the most part, apparently associated with monarchical forms of government, and from the further fact that eminent Catholic writers have opposed all movements in favor of republicanism, and defended monarchy on principle, there is in many minds, both out of the Church and within her pale, an impression that she is unfavorable to popular governments.  This impression is an obstacle to the spread of Catholicity among the middle and lower classes of the American people, who are all staunch republicans; and we have, therefore, deemed it not improper or useless to attempt to remove it, and to do it, not by showing that the Church is compatible with republicanism, or adapted to a republican state of society, but by showing that republican institutions, maintaining at once the just rights of society and the imperceptible freedom of the individual, are impracticable without her.  We do not conform our religion to our politics, we aim to conform our politics to our religion; that is, we do not set up any political theory or form of government as a test of religion; but we hold that any political theory of liberty or despotism repugnant to religion is for that reason false, and not to be maintained.  Yet knowing that the Church is not incompatible with republicanism, and that the republican, as every other form of legal government, has need of her to secure the common good of society, we have believed that it would be doing a service to religion as well as to politics, to make it evident.

The argument in our article, not for the Church, but to prove the necessity of the Church as an element in the social system, is what our Boston friend criticizes and undertakes to prove incomplete.  The proposition we defended is, Catholicity is essential to the maintenance of the republic according to the thought of its founders, by mediating between the authority of society and the freedom of the individual, and restraining each from encroaching on the just rights of the other; that is, the Church is necessary to restrain authority from becoming social despotism, and individual freedom from becoming anarchy.  In supporting this thesis, we maintained that it is only religion that can mediate between the two elements, and religion only as a power resting on its own basis, independent of both, higher than either, and strong enough to restrain.  Up to this point the critic goes with us, “To all this,” he says, p. 407, “we readily accede, and we may add,” he says, “that we have never met with a man stupid enough to aver the contrary.” 

But having proved this, we conclude that the religion which will answer our purpose must be the Christian Church, or religion as an organization, that is, as we explained ourselves, religion organized, or as an organism.  Here the Reviewer refuses to go with us.  He concedes, however, and our readers will bear the concession in mind, that if religion as an organization is necessary, Protestantism cannot, and Catholicity can answer our purpose.  We let him speak for himself.

“Those who have been constant readers of Mr. Brownson’s effusions in support of his present faith, must have noticed the circumstance, that he usually passes hastily over the vital point of his argument.  That part of his argument which is obvious, and really needs little more than a distinct statement, he amplifies and fortifies with the greatest patience and caution.  The feature about which doubts will arise, if anywhere, and which demand the most labored treatment, he glides over or perhaps assumes, as if the point he would urge were too evident to justify proof!  This eccentricity (to call it by no severer term) is singularly glaring in the article we have now under consideration.  The points of his argument we have already presented, and which, as we have seen, will be readily admitted as soon as distinctly stated, he labors, and amplifies, and illustrates through several solid pages of his periodical.  We come, however, to the vital point – the point where the Protestant reader finds, for the first time, in the article, a necessity for great proof and ample illustration – the point where it is to be shown, that religion, the authoritative element in society,  conceded by most every reader not to depend on the individual or the State, is dependent on the Catholic Church, and we find the whole matter disposed of in the following summary style:

“‘This you will willingly concede me.  Then you must concede that religion, to answer our purpose, must be the Christian Church, or religion organized.  Religion without the Church, without an organization, is not a power, is only an idea, a simple opinion, and therefore nothing but individualism.  Unorganized, existing not as a Church, or as an organism, with no organs through which it can speak, it is nothing but the private conviction of the individual, and adds to the individual nothing beyond the strength of his conviction.  If it be a church, an organism, and yet dependent on the individual for its organization, the individual can make or unmake it at his will, and though he may exercise power over it, it can exercise none over him.  If it be a Church, and dependent on the State, and under its control, as is the Russian Church, the Prussian Church, and the English Church, it is simply a function of the State itself.  It must be what the civil power chooses to make it; and its ministers, instead of being independent in face of the State, and free before the magistrate, will be simply a part of the constabulary.  Religion must then be religion organized, and as religion organized, or as the Church, it must be independent alike of the State and the individual, or it will not answer the purpose.’ – p.287

“And this is all the proof we are furnished with in support of the only questionable point in the proposition which Mr. Brownson purposes to maintain!  Following the paragraph which we have just quoted, we have a succession of pages to prove what no one disputes, that Protestantism does not comply with the conditions put forth in the paragraph- to prove what to many minds will be considered evident at a glance, that such conditions being assumed, Catholicism, and not Protestantism, is the authoritative medium in adjusting the rival claims of the state and the individual.  Mr. Brownson gives us twenty solid pages to prove that the Catholic Church is necessary to the republic, in that it has the prerogative of restraining the element of individualism from rushing into anarchy, and the element of the state from becoming despotic – that it has this prerogative, in that it is independent both the individual and the state, and is the infallible interpreter of their respective duties and rights.  Fourteen of these pages are employed in setting forth the several elements of a well-regulated society, and in explaining their several relations; and in these fourteen pages we find nothing to which we can materially object – what he states is obvious, and needs statement rather than proof.  Five of these pages are also given to demonstrate, what nobody will dispute, that Protestantism does not, and that Catholicism does, comply with certain conditions, and is in conformity with certain principles.  The only question in the mind of a Protestant relates to the justness of those conditions and the soundness of those principles.  Here, and only here, we need to be convinced; here, and only here, we need argument, illustration, amplification.  And here we have the paragraph last quoted, and this is all that we have!  He gives page on page to convince us of that which we are prepared to believe without proof; he gives little over half a page on the point where alone proof is indispensable.  Rereading the article, we cannot restrain a smile as we pause over the paragraph alluded to.  It is amusing to see our intellectual giant putting forth his herculean efforts where they are not needed; it is provoking to see with what complacency he disposes of the only particular where his exertions can be of some service to us.  We must, however, presume that he has done the best he could do – we may add, the best that anyone can do, in support of such a position; for, surely, the impression is not to be tolerated, that though argument exists, Mr. Brownson is not competent to find it.  What we have to say, therefore, in confronting his reasoning is necessarily confined to the extract last made from his article.

“We have complained that Mr. Brownson’s labors in on indisputable points are out of all proportion to what he expends on the vital point in his argument – that he gives pages where a simple statement would be sufficient – that he gives a brief paragraph where the bulk of his efforts should be directed.  We feel justified in another complaint- that what little he does give us on the essential point is not argument but assumption.  He burdens us with proof where we really need no proof; where proof is needed, he gives naked assertion.  Possibly, it is susceptible of proof, that religion, to be of any use, must be organized, and that, without organization, that is, without a visible Church, it is nothing but individualism, and therefore powerless; but, what proof does our author give us?  Here it is in his own words: ‘You must concede’ it!  He does not even pretend to argue it.  He does not put forth even a form of proof.  He makes no show of trying to convince us.  Nothing of the kind – we ‘must concede’ it.  We come to a point where alone the whole controversy between Catholicism and Protestantism is virtually to be decided – the point, above all others, where we are curious to see what argument can be introduced, and we are complaisantly assured, that we ‘must concede’ the point!  True, the words ‘you must concede,’ are grammatically related to the statement, that religion, to be of any use, must be organized – must have a visible Church; but the remainder of the paragraph is merely an explanation of what is meant by this, and it gives nothing in the form of argument in support of what we must concede.” – pp. 407-410.

The fault found with us is that we prove at great length what nobody doubts, and adroitly slip over the turning-point of the question, the only point in the controversy which Protestants want proved, without proving it, nay, without even offering so much as a show of proving it.  This charge, if founded, would prove us no better than a logical trickster.  We are glad, however, to learn that the point we are said to have adroitly hustled in without even a show of proof, is all in the whole controversy that Protestants want proved.  It narrows the controversy down within manageable limits, and presents a single issue not difficult to dispose of.  We hope the author is right.

With the author’s leave we must tell him that he is mistaken in saying that we leave this point without proof, or without offering any reason why it must be conceded.  The point is given as a logical conclusion from what we had previously established, and which the author of the criticism himself concedes.  It is proved in proving the premises, and the author should object, if he objects at all, not that it is a naked assertion left without a show of proof, but that it does not necessarily follow from these premises.  In what immediately precedes, as he himself cites us, we say, “It – religion – must rest on a basis independent of both -the state and the individual, - and higher than that of either, and be a power which neither the national authority nor the individual authority can control, but strong enough to restrain them both.  This you will willingly concede me.  [The author does concede it.]  Then you must concede that religion to answer our purpose must be the Christian Church, or religion as an organization.”  Why so?  Because, “religion without the Church, without an organization, is not a power, is only an idea, a simple opinion, and therefore nothing but individualism.  Unorganized, existing not as a Church, or as an organism, with no organs through which it can speak, it is nothing but the private conviction of the individual, and can add to the individual nothing but the strength of his conviction.”   Surely this is not adroitly to slip over the point, and to leave it without even a show of proof.  This is not simple naked assertion, as alleged, but argument, at least an attempt at argument, whether successful or unsuccessful.

If religion, in order to meet the wants of society, must be a power resting on a basis independent of the nation and the individual, and a power strong enough, as occasion demands, to restrain either from encroaching on the rights of the other, it must be the Christian Church, religion organized, or religion as an organism, because religion without the Church, religion unorganized, or which is not an organism, is only an idea, and therefore not a power.  Here is in substance our argument, and it is conclusive, an unanswerable argument, if, as we allege, it be true, that religion unorganized, religion without the Church, is only an idea, and religion as an idea is not a power.  That religion without the Church, religion unorganized, is only an idea, our universalist friend does not deny, nay concedes, as he must, if he speaks not merely of natural religion, or the law of nature, for it is impossible to conceive it to be any thing else.  We do not say or imply that religion with non-Catholics or with no-Chruchmen is only an idea, for we hold that the Church exists, that there is an organized religion actually existing in the world, from which even those who are not within her communion, and who even deny her to be the Church of God, derive many truths and religious convictions to which they would be absolute strangers were it not for her presence and influence.  There is in fact an objective religion actually existing in the world; and hence the actual notions or convictions of all men who live and are brought up in Christendom, are not purely subjective, are not pure ideas, or merely private convictions, for they have their source, and their objective basis in the actually existing Church.  What we say is, that religion, on the supposition that there were no Church, no religious organism in existence, is only an idea, and this cannot be successfully denied.

Nobody denies that religious convictions derived indirectly from the Church have a certain influence on the conduct even of non-Catholics; but experience proves them to be insufficient, because they are more or less subject to individual or popular passion and caprice, and are never strong enough to resist the despotism of either.  We of course do not look upon Protestants, or reason with them as we should, if there were no Church in the world.  The Church is a city set upon a hill, that cannot be hid, and her light sends out its rays far and wide beyond her walls.  The nations that reject her never do, and while she exists never can, sink so low as did ancient Pagan nations, or find themselves enveloped in a moral darkness so think as was theirs.  We concede that the presence of the Church in our country keeps alive the sense of religion in multitudes who are not within her pale, and exerts a conservative influence even on many who deny her claims, or war against her.  But this proves nothing in favor of the efficiency of religion as a pure idea, or in favor of the position that religion unorganized, uninstituted, will serve the purpose of harmonizing authority and liberty; because religion even with these is not a pure idea, as it would be if there were no such thing as an actually existing Church.  It is this fact that deceives so many non-Catholics, and induces them to suppose that what of religion they have does not derive its efficacy, so far as efficacy it has, from the Church or an actually existing religious organism, but that it is efficacious simply as an idea.

Religion to answer our purpose, it is conceded, must be a power, capable on the one hand of restraining or resisting authority when it tends to become despotic, and on the other of restraining or resisting individualism when it tends to anarchy.  Then it must be a power distinct from both, and capable of a distinct and separate action of its own, now with, now against, one or the other, as the occasion demands.  When the state would encroach on personal freedom, it throws itself on the side of the individual against the state; when individualism would encroach on the just prerogatives of authority and introduce anarchy, it throws itself on the side of authority, and upholds or defends it against individualism, or personal freedom pushed to license.  It must, then, be a power resting on a basis independent of both the other social elements, and able to act not only without them, but even against them, and so act as to control them, and compel each to return to its own province, and keep within it.   But religion as idea, opinion, or private conviction, cannot be such a power, for it is included in the individual taken in the concrete, and has ne separate or distinct activity.  When you deny religion all organic existence of its own, when you deny it to be a Church or organism, you deny it all substantive existence, and make it a predicate either of the state or of the individual,- not a subject, but the attribute of a subject, subsisting only in the subject of which it is the attribute.  If you predicate it of authority, the subject, agent, or power that acts is society, and you have nothing to interpose between society and the individual; if you predicate it of the individual, the subject agent or power that acts is the individual, and you have no third element or power to interpose between the individual and the government.   In either case you have only the two social elements, the state and the individual, while you concede that a third is essential.  The religion you assert is not a third element, for it resolves itself into an attribute or function either of the  state or of the individual, and as such answers not the purpose conceded.  To be a power, distinct from the other two elements, and capable of mediating between them, religion must, in the necessity of the case, be a substantive existence, be an agent with a will and activity of its own which can act irrespective of the activity of either of the others, as much so as one man can act irrespective of another man.  It must act from its own center, its own inherent life and energy, which it cannot do, if it is only an attribute or function of the individual or of the state,- if it is not an organic existence, as much so as the state or the individual,- if it is not an organism, that is to say the Church, as we alleged in the article to which our Universalist friend takes exception.

The author seems not to have felt the force of the reason we assigned why religion, to answer the purpose assumed, must be the Christian Church, or religion as an organism.  That reason is, that religion without the Church is only an idea, and, therefore, not a power.  If he had remarked the sense in which we habitually use the word idea, of had consulted his philosophy, we think he could hardly have failed to perceive that what we really alleged was that religion, which is not an organism or Church, which is only an idea, cannot answer our purpose, because such religion is not an actual, but only a possible religion.  Ideas are not substantive existences, as Plato according to Aristotle taught, and can exist only in some intelligence, without which they are absolute nullities.  They must be regarded as existing either in the Divine mind, or as existing in the human mind.  In the Divine mind, ideas are the eternal types or possibilities of things, not things actually existing, but which God may create or cause to exist; if he chooses; in the human mind, ideas are the apprehension of actual or possible existences.  In neither case are they the existence or the thing itself.  Religion as a simple idea in the Divine mind is merely possible religion, or the possibility of religion; in the human mind it is the intuition or apprehension of that possibility, or the power of God to give us a religion, if he chooses.  In neither case is it actual religion, or the intuition or apprehension of an actual religion.  Nothing is apprehended or asserted, but the possibility of religion, or a possible religion, and we need not undertake to prove that what is merely possible is not a power.  The possible is something which may but does not actually exist, and what does not actually exist is incapable of acting, or of producing any effect whatever.  Had our Boston friend considered this, or allowed himself to reflect for a moment on the point, for he unquestionably knows all this well enough, we cannot doubt that he would have seen that the reason we assigned why religion to be a power must be the Church or an organism was a solid reason, and very much to the purpose.  He could not have failed to perceive that religion must be an organism, or the Church, for if not, it is no actual religion at all, no actual existence, as we had explained in our article on The Constitution of the Church, in this Review for January, 1856, and which the author might have had under his eyes, but which he appears not to have remarked.

Although the Reviewer cannot be unacquainted with the teachings of philosophy with regard to ideas, he seems not to have grasped the Catholic conception of the Church, and his own views of religion appear to have prevented him from clearly apprehending the reason why Catholics maintain that Christianity to be efficacious, must be the Christian Church.  We must let him speak once more for himself.

“We have said that the whole controversy between Protestantism and Catholicism finds its turning-point in the position so unceremoniously assumed by Mr. Brownson, that religion, to be of any use in adjusting the conflicting tendencies of the individual and the State, must be the Christian Church, or religion organized.  Unless it has a visible organization, it is nothing  but individualism, and so subject to the caprice of the individual, altered at his will, and instead of ruling him, ruled by him.  Now, as it seems to us, the first mistake – and we will show it to be an egregious one – in his argument, is in this unsupported assumption.  Does religion get its efficacy from organization?  The assertion is most preposterous, for the truth is precisely the contrary.  Organization gets its efficiency from religion; religion by no means gets its efficacy from organization.  We do indeed believe in organization.  Truth, as it operates on the minds of men, brings them together; and systematic action is found to be natural and convenient.  But the fountain of force is in the truth itself.  In fact, organization is powerless except as held together by the adhesive force of the idea which calls it into being.  That religion can do its work better though organization- that it finds in this an instrumentality, a convenience, will be conceded by most Protestants; but the notion, that the efficiency of religion is in the instrumentality – that it is powerless and useless except as it has this, is philosophically absurd.

“We take the ground, that a religious organization has power, and that it gets this power from religion itself.  This we are safe in terming a Protestant position.  But how does religion communicate its power to the organization?  We are prepared to answer: through the individual.  In a visible Church there is just as much of power as the several members thereof bring into it.  Religion manifests itself through the individual conscience and heart.  It exerts the power as it enlightens the mind, warms the affections, and stimulates the sense of rectitude.  All the religion there is or ever was in the world reached the world in this way.  Mr. Brownson objects to this, and calls it individualism.  We shall not quarrel with him about terms.  We admit that, so far as regards the method whereby religion becomes a power among men, the Protestant view may be called individualism.  But why object to individualism in this qualified application of the term?  Mr. Brownson’s objection involves the essential fallacy in his argument to prove that the Catholic Church is necessary to the republic.” – pp. 412, 413.

This, unquestionably, would be very conclusive against us, if we held or were obliged to hold the view our learned friend supposes.  He very quickly assumes that we do and must make Christianity depend for its efficacy on the Church, or the organization; but in doing so he ascribes to us his views instead of taking ours.  We derive neither the efficacy of Christianity from organization, nor the efficacy of the organization from Christianity, simply because we do not distinguish between them, and hold that Christianity and the Church are identically one and the same thing.  Christianity is efficacious as the Church, because it is only as the Church that it exists, or that there is any Christianity.  This is the point in our argument which our learned author has been prevented by his own no-Church views from distinctly apprehending, perhaps, even from suspecting, and by his supposing that we speak only of the outward or visible organization, when by the Church we mean always the entire organism, external and internal, visible and invisible, which are no more separable than body and soul without death.

The able and philosophical writer supposes, what we deny, that there is an actual, living, efficacious Christianity prior to and independent of the Church.  He makes the Church a secondary affair, and regards her as a simple voluntary or instinctive association of individuals, who are brought together by common sympathies, convictions, and purposes.  She is not only a simple, but a very small matter, hardly worth troubling one’s head about.  She has no more mystery in her than a debating club, a literary or scientific institute, or a temperance society.  He recognizes in her no mystic union of the members with Christ the head, and through him, with one another.  If this were really the fact, it were indeed absurd to contend that Christianity is a power only as organized.  The Church, as the author maintains, would and could have only “so much of power as the several members thereof bring into it.”  But though this is all he sees in the Church, it is safe to conclude, therefore, that it is all that there is to be seen?  Has he the right to infer, because he understands no more, that there is nothing more to be understood?  When sober-minded men in all nations and ages, men before whose genius, ability, and knowledge of the subject, even he may bow with reverence, tell him that his view falls short of the reality, that they see in the Church something far deeper, higher, and more significant than he recognizes, something which tasks their minds, moves their will, and fills their hearts, why can it not occur to him that there really is something more in the Church than he perceives or even dreams of, and that a refutation of the Catholic so easy as the one he offers, only betrays its author’s want of depth or penetration?  Can he, after all, really suppose that matters lying so plain and obvious on the very surface of things as those he alleges, escaped even our observation, especially since we were bred in his school and knew his doctrine as well as he can be presumed to know it, perhaps even before he was born?  He alleges nothing against us of which we were ignorant, or which we had not ourselves alleged years and years ago.  He must permit us to tell him that if he wishes to offer any thing to the purpose against even our reasoning, he must dive deeper, and rise higher.  What we assert is not that Christianity depends on organization for its efficacy, but that unorganized, it is not actual religion, is no actual existence.  God gave us Christianity as a living organism, and abstracted from the Church, like all abstractions, it is a nullity.  He gave us Christianity not as an ideal entity, as a mere possibility, but as an actual living religion, therefore as an organism, as is and must be every living creature, whether of the natural or of the supernatural order.

This organism is the Christian Church, and the Church is identically Christianity itself.  There is no Christianity outside of the Church, before it, after it, above it, or below it.  Christianity has not formed or organized the Church, as the author supposes; it does not use the Church as its organ or instrument, as he pretends; it is the Church,- indissolubly and indistinguishably the Church herself.  Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, do not, as he imagines, make or constitute the Church, any more than the molecules of matter assimilated from the blood and converted into flesh make or constitute the human body, and which may be totally changed several times over without changing the body or in the least affecting its identity.  They are officers, instruments, organs, servants of the living organism, performing their appointed functions; but though used by her are not the Church.  The Church is a living body, as literally and as truly so as the human body itself,- a real, actual, living existence, as much so, at the least, as any other creature of God:- a mysterious existence, indeed, before which we may lose ourselves in wonder and admiration, but which in this life we shall never fully comprehend; for her type, as her fountain of life, is the mysterious union of God and man in our Lord,- the hypostatic union of two distinct natures, the human and the Divine, in the one Divine Person of Christ the Son.  She is in some sense the continuation, or rather, a representation or copy of the Incarnation.  It is not by a figure of speech merely that we call her the bride, the immaculate Spouse of the Lamb.  It is not by a mere figure of speech that we speak of her as a person, call her a mother, the joyful mother of all the faithful, our own dear and affectionate mother, on whose bosom we lay our head, and from whose breasts we draw our spiritual nourishment.  We mean all we say, for she is in the spiritual order as truly and as literally our mother as she of whom we were born naturally is our mother in the natural order.  The Church lives, moves, and acts.  Her life is the life of unity in variety, and her personality is the unity of person in the variety of individuals, each retaining his own personality.  Whoever meditates profoundly her existence will find copied or imitated in her all the mystery of God and man,- all the ineffable mystery of the ever-adorable Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Word or Second Person of the Godhead.  She is the most wonderful work of God, in which he, as it were, exhausts his wisdom, power, and goodness, and reveals his own ineffable Essence.  It is to this grand, sublime, and even awful as well as endearing conception, that our critic must rise before he can say any thing to the purpose against our view of the Church; and when he does, he will wonder at the marvelous simplicity which led him to question our assertion that religion to be a power must be the Christian Church.

The author fancied that we left the turning point of the question without proof or even an attempt at proof, simply because he did not permit himself to rise to the Catholic conception of the Church, and because he recognizes no religion in the Catholic sense.  He did not give to our terms the full meaning we gave them, and concluded that they have no deeper meaning than he himself had been in the habit of giving them.  The mental position in which he is placed by his Protestantism, has prevented him from conceiving or Christianity as the new creation or supernatural order, lying above, but in some sense parallel to, the natural order.  We do not suppose that he would formally deny that God has made a revelation of truth to mankind, but he does not admit that God has created and revealed to us a supernatural order.  He may possibly believe that God has communicated, in an extraordinary manner, to the world a knowledge of Christianity, but the Christianity of which he holds a knowledge has been thus communicated is not a supernatural religion,- is simply the law of nature, or so-called natural religion.  He believes in no order of existence above nature, save God himself.  God and nature are for him all that is or exists.  He has no conception of Christianity as a substantive existence or second cause.  He does not view it as a supernatural order of existence, but simply as a republication of the law of nature.  There is for him no spiritual humanity proceeding, by generation, from Christ, as there is a natural humanity, proceeding by natural generation from Adam,- no line of Christ, which is the Church, as there is a line of Adam which is natural society.  He recognizes only the line of Adam, and no Church, save as a form of natural society itself,-  never the Church as supernatural society under the supernatural providence of God.  This is evident from the following reply to an objection which we urged against Protestantism as the religion needed. 

“Mr. Brownson finds an apt illustration of the absence of uniformity and of independence on the part of Protestantism, in the sectional character of the Protestant denominations in this country:

“ ‘We see this strikingly proved every day, especially in our own country.  Public opinion acts on the sects, and the strongest and most numerous sects in the land are obliged to yield to it.  Have we not methodists South and Methodists North, Baptists North and Baptists South, and have we not come very near having Presbyterians South and Presbyterians North, that is, sects dividing geographically, according to public opinion, and holding on one side of an imaginary line, that to be a mortal sin, which, on the other, is almost counted a Christian virtue?  What can a religion that divides in this way, that is pro-slavery in one section of the Union, because there public opinion is pro-slavery, and abolitionist in another, because there public opinion is against slavery,- what can such a religion do in those emergencies, when, to maintain the right, public opinion must be resisted, not followed?’

“To unreflecting minds, the argument implied in this complaint of the vacillating character of Protestant creeds, seems plausible, and no doubt operates with much effect.  And we admit, that Protestantism does vary with different individuals and with different communities.  At the same time, we are confident, that its want of uniformity is not as essential and as marked as a superficial view would lead one to imagine.  There is, in fact, but little difference of conviction with reference to what all must concede to be the fundamental principles of religion.  That there is a just and benevolent God, that human beings are subject to his government, and are imperatively required to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before him, and that this accountability is sustained by rewards and punishments,- these things really comprise the essential principles in every form of Christian faith.  Difference of opinion concerns rather the relations and logical forms in which different individuals present these principles.  We do indeed believe that it is important  that men hold the essentials of religion in their true forms; but the essence is vastly more important than the form, for the essence of religion is the root of its regenerating power.  And particularly, as regards the great rules of rectitude, individualism shows a degree of uniformity quite as emphatic as anything Catholicism can boast.  It is matter of fact, that any departure from these rules, on a great scale, is matter of wonderment.  A nation of thieves, conscientiously taught to be such, is looked upon as a monstrous exception to the general character of mankind.  Reverence is almost universally felt to be a religious duty; and a teacher whose avocation it has been to inculcate lessons of wanton cruelty, is the abhorrence of every civilized community.  We are confident, that if regard is had to the fundamentals of religion and morality, Protestantism is as marked for its uniformity, as a truthful history of Catholicism will claim to present.” – pp.417, 418.

The essential or fundamental principles of Christian faith here enumerated, and in regard to which the author contends that Protestants are substantially agreed, contain nothing distinctively Christian nothing but the law of nature, and in fact not the whole even of that, for the enumeration leaves out the immortality of the soul, a future state of existence, and rewards and punishments of some sort, in the life to come, for the deeds done in this,- an integral part of natural religion, and believed by the ancient Pagans as well as by modern Christians.  He recognizes no supernatural order of life, no supernatural end of man, and no more, even as amended by us, than can be and is admitted by men who deny the Chrisitan revelation.  Lord Herbert, Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and not a few of the Deists of the last century admitted more than he holds to be essential.  He includes in his essentials no distinctly Christian doctrine, and does not so much as mention the name of Christ, the Author and Finisher of the Christian’s faith.  Evidently then, his religion, his Christianity, does not rise above the law of nature or natural religion.  It is the natural law, nothing more,- in his particular case something less,- and it is only by an abuse of terms that it can be called Christianity.

Undoubtedly Christianity presupposes and accepts the natural law.  We recognize and assert natural religion as fully and as earnestly as any one can.  It indeed is not Christianity, but it is its preamble, and the magazine from which we draw our arguments to remove the obstacles in the minds of unbelievers to yielding a rational assent to the revelation of the supernatural.   Christianity accepts it, republishes it, and gives it a supernatural sanction, but is itself an order above it, and to which it can never rise.  We do not say that this natural religion without the Christian Church is a pure idea, an opinion, or mere private conviction.  God has incorporated it into our very nature, made it integral in reason, and without it reason would not be reason, any more than is the rudimental intelligence manifested by animals.  It is natural reason itself, the common sense of mankind, and has its organization in natural society and the individual.  It operates not as a naked idea, but as a principle inherent in our natural organism.  Its power is the power of natural reason itself, which is at once universal and individual, that which constitutes the individual a man, gives to the human race its unity, and founds natural society, which is in the natural order, what the Church is held by Catholics to be in the supernatural.

Natural religion, of the natural law, is the basis of all natural society, and if it were of itself sufficient to mediate between the state and the individual, and to preserve the just balance of liberty and authority, the author could easily make out his case against us.  He thinks that it is, and so think many of our countrymen; so thought the men who made the French Revolution, and so think Kossuth, Mazzini, and all our modern revolutionists who are seeking the melioration of society and the individual by the subversion of the Church.   But happily here we are not left to speculation.  We have before us the instructive examples of history.  The Gentile nations have for we know not how many years tried the experiment, and failed.  Of course, since society is founded in the natural order, nothing more is needed to its perfection than the perfect observance and fulfillment of the natural law; but all history proves that the natural law with only its natural organization in society and the individual has never sufficed for itself.  Except with the Jews, who had a gracious and divinely sustained organization of the natural law, you find in no ancient nation the recognition of personal freedom, what we call the rights of man, and no genuine respect for human life.  The history of the whole Gentile world, of its most polite, cultivated, and enlightened nations, is the history of unmitigated cruelty and oppression.  No rights of man were known, no tenderness for life was cultivated or enjoined; the exposure of infants was allowed in them all, as it is in China in our own days.  In Rome, in the most virtuous period of the Republic, the paterfamilias had the power of life and death over his wife, his children, and his slaves.  The new-born infant must wait his permission to live, and if refused must be consigned to death.  But why recall the cruelty, inhumanity, and barbarism of the old Gentile world?  We gave a sketch of that world so far as necessary for our present purpose in the article our Boston friend is criticizing, and he pronounces our sketch “admirable.”

“It will be of assistance in apprehending the distinction between these two elements, to quote our author’s admirable statement of the State-element, as represented in the ancient republics of Greece and Rome.

“‘The ancient Greeks and Romans recognized the city, or State, and asserted its authority.  But with them it was supreme and exclusive.  They were great statemen; and so far as organizing the city or State for its own protection, and the maintenance of its supremacy, I can conceive nothing more admirable than the Gaeco-Roman Republic.  It was absolute, it was strong, it was majestic, and its majesty is everywhere traceable even in its ruins.  But under the Graeco-Roman civilization there was no such thing as individual liberty.  There were rights of the citizen, but no rights of the man.  The city was everything, the man was nothing.  The man was absorbed in the citizen, and the citizen in the State.  Whatever the state commanded, the individual must do, and it was free to command whatever it pleased.  No higher law was known, no higher law was admitted, than the decrees of the State.  Rome commands, Athens ordains, and each individual must obey, whether in accordance with justice, or against it.  Under that order of civilization, both religion and the individual were entirely subjected to the State; and when it reached its complete development in Imperial Rome, the Emperor assumed to himself all the majesty of the State, all the elements of liberty and authority, and was recognized by the enslaved nations subjugated by Roman arms, as at once, Emperor, Supreme Pontiff, and God.  There was no law, no power above him; and though there was freedom for him as the State, there was none for the individual.” – p. 404.

Yet the Gentiles had the law of nature with its natural organization, all that our Protestant friend holds to be essential to religion, for all men and nations have it, and cannot be without it, since it is human nature itself.  If any doubt could arise on the sufficiency of this law, we need but consult the nations even now lying outside of Christendom.  These nations, without exception, are barbarians; and barbarism, which is the domination of passion, in opposition to the dominion of reason, is only another name for violence, disorder, oppression, tyranny, and slavery.  If natural religion with its natural organization has sufficed for the maintenance of the just relations between liberty and authority, how happens it that we never find them maintained in non-Christian nations, and that the limits of Christendom are the limits of civilization?  Will you tell me the cause is in the ignorance which these nations have of the law of nature?  Whence that ignorance, when the law of nature is their own reason, and is to them all that it alone is to us?  Will you refer me to their abominable superstitions, and tell me the cause is to be found in them?  But whence these superstitions themselves?  I concede them, but they are terrible arguments against you.  They obtain in all heathen lands, and were found in their worst forms in the ancient Gentile nations, and that too when those nations were at the culminating point of their power, their greatness, their cultivation, and refinement.  They obtained in Rome, in the Augustan Age.  A Roman Emperor sacrifices ten thousand slaves to the manes of a murdered friend.  The gladiatorial shows, the courses of the circus, the prostitutions of the temples of Venus and Cybele, and the frightful orgies of those of Isis and Bacchus were all religious observances, parts of the solemn worship of the Gods, even in the polite city of Rome, under the greatest and most enlightened Pagan Emperors.  Yet the Romans had the law of nature.  But passion obscured their understandings, hardened their hearts, and made them deaf to the voice of nature.  If natural religion in its natural state is all we need, how explain the origin and persistence of those obscene, cruel, savage, and abominable superstitions, which we invariably find in the heathen nations, and which, even in the Roman Empire, slowly and reluctantly retire before the advancing light of the Gospel?

What has been may be again.  If Egypt and Assyria, if Greece and Rome, if the whole ancient and modern world abandoned to natural religion with its natural organism alone, but never for one moment without it, have been able to fall so far below it, and to yield themselves up so completely to their passions and lusts, what can be more idle than to look to it alone for support, and to pretend that it can effectually mediate between the state and the individual?  Something more is clearly necessary, and the reason why so many of our countrymen do not see it, is that they live in Christendom, where the natural law has a supernatural organization in the Catholic Church, and is not found in its purely natural state.  They deceive themselves, and ascribe to nature more than belongs to her.  The nature on which they rely is not nature abandoned to herself, but nature as she is after ages of Christian training,- nature, in some sort, Christianized.

But our Boston friend is precluded by his own concessions from pleading the sufficiency of natural religion.  He complains that we devote fourteen pages out of twenty to proving what he and all Protestants are prepared to admit without proof.  He must then stand by what we labored so hard, and so unnecessarily as it seems, to prove.  In those fourteen pages we labored to prove, and did prove, the necessity of the Christian religion as a third element in society to mediate between the state and the individual.  We proved this historically by appeals to nations, who were assumed to have been simple natural religion with only its natural organization, for no nation has ever even for a moment been without that.  We proved also that the dangerous tendencies which we need religion to protect us from, threaten the stability and orderly working even of our own republic.  The author himself cites us with approbation:

“What then is indispensable?  The answer is, a third element, independent of the other two, having power over both, and competent to mediate between them and adjust their conflicting tendencies’.  On this point, it strikes us that our author’s words are as trustful as they are energetic:

“‘Here, then, we are, exposed to two powerful and dangerous tendencies, rushing, on the one hand, into social despotism, and on the other,  into anarchy.  What, in this state of things, do we need in order to escape them?  We need, it is evident, a power alike independent of the State and of the individual, to step, as it were, in between them and harmonize them,- a power strong enough to restrain the State when it would become despotic, and the individual when he would become disloyal and rebellious.  Without such a power we cannot save our republic, and have that security for individual and social liberty, it was instituted to protect and vindicate.  With only the State and the individual we have, and can have, only antagonism.  The two elements are, and will be, pitted one against the other, each struggling for the mastery.  They cannot be made to move without collision one with the other, unless there is between them a mediating term, the third element I mentioned as essential to the constitution of society.  That term, power, or constituent element, is religion, and I need not add, the Christian religion.”  - pp. 405, 406.  

As we were describing society as it had existed, and as it exists without the element of religion, we evidently must, unless an egregious blunderhead, have meant by that element, the Christian religion as we said, and by the Christian religion something more than the law of nature, with only its natural organism.  As the author concedes all we are contending for in those “fourteen pages,” and assures us very distinctly and emphatically that he and all Protestants are prepared to admit it all without proof, he is barred from asserting now the sufficiency of the natural law alone.  Perhaps, after all, we did not devote an undue proportion of our article to proving what needs no proof, for we must suspect the real matter to be proved is not what he calls the turning-point of the question, but that the third element demanded must be the Christian religion; the other point follows as a matter of course, as we have seen, for the Christian religion has no existence without the Church.

If we are right in our views of the Gentile world and of the need of religion to mediate between the state and the individual, as it is conceded we are, this religion must be a power independent alike of the national authority and the individual authority, and therefore religion organized, or a religious organism above simple natural religion in its natural state.  The Christian Church is, as a fact, the only religious organism of the sort that is or can be alleged.  The religious organism to which we must look is then the Christian Church; and as the Protestant Reviewer concedes, that if a religion organized or a Church be necessary, Protestantism cannot serve our purpose, we must add that the Christian Church to which we must look is the Catholic Church.  Taking what our opponent concedes and what we have proved as our premises, this conclusion is logical and inevitable.  It is, moreover, the conclusion to which all intelligent and reflecting minds amongst our countrymen are rapidly coming.  They understand that the great danger to which we are exposed is that of lawless or irresponsible will, and that institutions which are based on simple will, whether that of the people collectively or individually, are no sure protection, because at every moment liable themselves to be swept away. They feel the want of some institution that rests on a solid and permanent basis, that can stand like the shock of popular fury and of individual license.  Such an institution they are beginning to recognize in the Catholic Church, and hence they relax a little in their hostility to her, and become less and less indisposed to investigate her claims.  They see that she is the only conservative institution in the country, the only one that is the same North and South, at the East and the West, that speaks with one and the same voice, and teaches one and the same morality throughout the whole extent of the Union.  This commands their respect, and is fast winning their love.  We have shown, we think, that as a conservative institution, she merits their support, for we have shown that she is alike conservative of liberty and of authority.

But while the arguments we have used prove the necessity of the Catholic Church to the maintenance of our Republic, and therefore refute the popular charges that she is hostile to republican governments, they, of course, do not prove her to be the Church of God, or the supernatural order we prove her to be.  Because she is, as we have shown, conservative and answers the wants of our Republic as a mediating power between authority and liberty, it by no means follows that she is supernatural in the Catholic sense,  the supernatural order under the supernatural providence of God.  To prove that a very different line of argument is necessary.  But we have proved the necessity of some religious organization above the natural law even to secure the ends of the natural law, and as the Catholic Church is the only organization of the sort, that can be alleged since the abolition of Judaism, we may conclude not only that she is necessary to the preservation of the Republic, but that she is the medium through which God makes provision for our higher social wants, if he makes any, and that we must look to her, or not find naturally or supernaturally that provision. 

In our article we did not institute any formal argument to prove that the religion needed must by the Christian religion, for we were addressing those who profess to be Christians, and we took for granted that if we proved any religion to be necessary, all would concede that it must be the Christian religion.  The Protestant Reviewer raises no objection to our assumption that the religious element needed is the Christian religion; he objects only to our assumption that it must be the Church, or religion organized.  If we have proved, as we think we have, that, if it is the Christian religion at all, it must be that religion organized, or the Church, we have answered his objection, and said all that is necessary to reply to those who profess to be Christians.  If he chooses to shift the ground, and allege that some organization above the natural organism of the law of nature, and yet below the supernatural order which we have explained the Church to be, would be sufficient for the special purpose agreed to, we shall not dispute him, but insist on his proving that there is, as a fact, some such organization, before proceeding to conclude against us.  We know none such, and none such can be named.  That God could, if he had pleased, have provided for society and the individual by such an organization, we concede, but that he has, we deny; for Christianity, if it is anything, is the supernatural order.  The necessity for a religion above natural religion in its natural state for even natural society is not of God’s but of man’s creation.  Man has no right to claim of God as his due any thing more than the natural law, and it is man’s sin that has made any thing more than that necessary for the attainment of natural good.  But God having compassion on man, did not leave him to the natural consequence of his sin, but resolved to repair it, and to make it the occasion of a higher good than was lost by it.  The grace is more abundant than the sin.  Hence it is the Catholic belief that,  in providing for the reparation of the damage done by sin, God does not stop with its simple reparation, but goes farther, and repairs it by a supernatural order, and by lifting man out of the natural order under his natural providence into the supernatural order under his supernatural providence.  Hence the extraordinary provision needed to save man from the consequences of his own sin is not to be found in natural religion, but in the supernatural, and the cause of past and present failures at social organization come from the fact that we seek from the natural what is really supplied only by the supernatural providence of God. 

Assuming now that the aid we need is furnished us only by a supernatural religion, which also furnishes us things of infinitely more value, the question raised by our Protestant critic deserves no more attention that we gave it.  A supernatural religion once conceded as the medium through which God enables us to secure the good of society, as well as the supernatural end to which he in his supernatural providence destines us, very few will hesitate to say that that religion must be the Christian religion, and if the Christian religion, the Catholic Church.  The question between Protestantism, when Protestantism is assumed to be a supernatural religion, and Catholicity, is not in the minds of our countrymen generally a grave question.  The real question with the great body of intelligent and reflecting Americans lies not between Protestantism and Catholicity, but between supernatural religion and the simple law or religion of nature.  They adhere to Protestantism from habit, fashion, because it is decorous to be so, because they may think that a religion that splits up into a multitude of sects is less to be feared than a grand consolidated Church strong enough to exclude all rivalry, but chiefly because it leaves them virtually to natural religion, and makes no demands on their faith or practice not made by the law of nature.  But for Protestantism claiming to be really a supernatural religion, they have no respect.  They ridicule its pretensions, and treat its ministers with a superb disdain.  Once convinced that there is a supernatural order, a really supernatural religion, they cannot long be detained by Protestantism.  If Christianity is to be taken in a supernatural sense, they have no difficulty in identifying it with Catholicity.  So taken, Christianity and Catholicity are for them one and the same thing; and hence when any sect approaches any thing distinctively Christian in doctrine or practice they accuse it of “popery,” or of “Romanizing.”

It may not be amiss, however, to remark in conclusion, that in contending for the necessity of Catholicity to preserve our free institutions, or asserting the power of Catholicity to protect them, we do not contend that to this end it is necessary that every man, woman, and child in the country should become Catholic, or that the Catholicity of the majority must be of that pure and sublime character which in no country is found except with the few.  We indulge a hope that the American will ultimately become a Catholic people, and yet we are far from indulging those extravagant expectations as to their conversion which are sometimes ascribed to us.  There never has yet been on earth a whole people thoroughly Catholic in faith and practice.  In the best of times, in the most pious of nations, there has always been a large number of what are called “Hickory Catholics,” that is, of men who will fight to the death for their faith, and die sooner than live it.  We never expect the time when there will be none but Catholics in the land, or when all who are Catholics will be good Catholics.  Nor is it necessary for the security of our institutions.  To this end it is only necessary that the Church should be here, with her faith, her morality, and the example of her faithful children, and that she have a predominating influence on the ruling mind and heart of the country.  She will affect it by diffusing catholic life, and keeping fresh and living those old Catholic doctrines and traditions of authority and liberty which form the basis of modern civilization, and especially of the civil and political institutions of this country.  These doctrines and traditions may and do operate in minds out of the Church; they were vigorous in the minds of the founders of our Republic; but without the Church they become obscure and gradually lose their force, as we see now in all non-Catholic nations.  Protestant nations brought them away from the Church with them when they separated from her; but they have used them up, or lost sight of them.  Hence the decay of patriotism, of public spirit, and personal and political integrity, the growing dishonesty, and increasing vice and profligacy in public and private life, which are everywhere now so threatening.  They need to be revived and re-invigorated by fresh draughts from their source.  But all we need for their revival in force, and to enable Catholicity to protect us, is that they be restored to their dominion, and become the public thought and conscience of the majority of the American people.  We want them to form the governing mind of the country, and be acknowledged as the rule of our conduct, whether as individuals or as the state.  This may be effected without everybody in the Republic being converted, and without any direct intervention of the Church in secular affairs, even while a very considerable portion of the people remain non-Catholic.  In this way the Church is doing a great deal even now to protect us from anarchy and despotism, and would, even with our present numbers do a great deal more, if Catholics would exert the moral and intellectual influence of which they are capable.

In the remarks we have made we have aimed chiefly to answer the objection raised by our Protestant Reviewer.  The proofs that the Catholic Church is God’s Church, it has been no part of our purpose to adduce.  We have simply vindicated our article on The Church and the Republic, and await now the response of our Boston Reviewer.