The Greatest Writer of the 19th Century » Brownson's Writings » Lacordaire and Catholic Progress

Lacordaire and Catholic Progress

Brownson's Quarterly Review July, 1862

(A review of Le Pere Lacordaire.  Par Le Comte De Montalembert, l'un des Quarante de l'Academie Francaise. Paris: 1862)

M. DE MONTALEMBERT, in this small volume, has paid a most graceful, elegant, and well-deserved tribute to his lately deceased friend, the world- renowned Pere Lacordaire, the reviver of the Order of Preachers in France. The volume is written with the grace and fervor which characterize all the works of its distinguished author, and with all the tenderness and pathos of the most true, confiding, and beautiful friendship. It was in early life, while yet a youth, fired with the generosity and enthusiasm of a noble soul, before any of its illusions have been dispelled, or its ardor damped by experience of the selfishness, the calculating prudence, the cold-hearted indifference, or the falsity of the world, that the author was brought into intimate relations with the Abbe Lacordaire a few years his senior, and formed with him those ties of friendship, of sympathy, and a disinterested devotion to the same great and noble cause, which only death has been able to sever, and which not even death has severed, for they were ties formed in the Lord, binding them to each other, because binding them alike to Him who dies not, is immortal .and eternal. No man knew, no man could know Pere Lacordaire better, for no man did or could hold a more intimate communion with his soul, since no one did or could more closely sympathize with him, or better interpret him by his own love and aspirations. The volume is written from the heart, and is the author's own heart revealing the heart and soul of his friend. It is tender, affectionate, but appreciative and manly. The friendship between these two gifted souls was strong, robust, and a friendship in which mind united with mind as well as heart with heart. The volume is instructive; it is inspiring, and in the present state of the Catholic mind, one of the best books that can be read and meditated, especially by our generous and noble-hearted young men, who wish for a great cause, and are not repelled by the prospect of labor and sacrifice.

We have seldom in these pages referred to Pere Lacordaire, and we confess to having never been among his warm admirers. We heard him spoken lightly of by men whom we highly esteemed, and whose judgment on any subject we did not at the time permit ourselves to question, and not finding his published works fuIIy sustaining the reputation he evidently had as an orator, we were led to regard him as much overrated by his friends, and never took the pains to make ourselves acquainted with his real worth. When we came into the church the great danger to religion and society seemed to us to come from the side of revolutionism, or liberalism; and the democratic tendencies so apparent in Pere Lacordaire made us distrust and look upon him as a man whose influence could not fail to be hurtfuI.

Our readers are weIl aware that we started our public career as a radical, an extreme liberal, with great faith in man, but with little faith in God. We accepted as they were given us, the democratic and humanitarian premises, furnished us by our age and country, and sought to carry them out theoretically and practically to their last logical consequences. Our first acceptance of Christianity, after our dark period of religious doubt and unbelief, was on its social or humanitarian side, and our effort after that acceptance was to combine religion and liberalism, and to find a principle on which we could reconcile stability and progress, conservatism and reform. For years, our great theme was the democracy of Christianity and the progress of man on earth as the means of arriving at heaven, or of attaining to his final destiny. Gradually, as our view of Christianity became larger and more firm, we discovered that we were attempting to make "bricks without straw," that the system we had adopted was sheer humanism and the interpretation we had given to the purpose and end of the Gospel was that given by the old carnal Jews to the promises and prophecies of the Messiah. We recoiled from the abyss we saw yawning before us, reexamined our premises in the light of a profounder philosophy and a higher theology, and found as we thought, both the necessity and the truth of the Catholic Church, and also the medium of reconciliation between her and our modern world. We consequently became a Catholic, and were received into the bosom of the Catholic Church.

When once in the church, having accepted her as our teacher, and her pastors as our guides and directors, we thought it necessary to break with our whole past, and to think, speak, and write only as we should learn of her. We held in abeyance all our former thoughts and reasonings, and repressed all our previous aspirations and tendencies; we tried to make our mind as far as possible a tabula rasa, and to begin as a new-born babe to learn our Catholic faith and theology, ac-cepting nothing not taught us, and accepting every thing that was taught us in her name, or that logically followed from what was taught us. Having experienced the need of authority, having suffered more than we care to repeat for the lack of some infallible teacher, we thought, and could think, only of asserting authority in season and out of season.  We had had enough of speculation, enough of liberty without authority, enough of democracy and private judgment, and were deafened with the declamations which had been ringing in our ears from early childhood about "popular sovereignty," "the people," "the rights of the people," "the rights of man," "the nobility of reason," and the "deathless energies and god-like tendencies of human nature," and consequently when we found a man using any of these terms, speaking of "humanity," "the irrepressible instincts of the human race," the "greatness," "dignity," or "worth" of human nature, we at once suspected either his orthodoxy or his understanding.  We had had an excess of liberty, and feared the evils that come from that side far more than those that come from the side of despotism. The former we knew by experience; the latter we had never so known.

We are now satisfied that, however natural our course, however much there was of edifying humility and docility in it, it was a mistake, the commission of which separated us much further than was necessary from our own age and country, and lost us a large number of non-Catholic friends, whom we prejudiced both against ourselves and our church, while we are losing a large number of Catholic friends by our efforts to correct it, and to resume the work we should never have abandoned. It was our misfortune to be under the necessity of assuming the position of a Catholic periodical writer while we were but imperfectly acquainted with Catholic theology, and before we had had time and opportunity to examine how far we could retain as a Catholic the philosophy of religion we had attained to before received into the church. We felt the inconvenience and awkwardness of such a position, and believed it -perhaps, were encouraged so to believe- the best and shortest way to throw overboard our whole past, and to preserve the memory of it only as a warning, and take not only Catholic faith, but Catholic theology as we learned it from books and professors. Thus we wrote in 1845:

"Our life begins with our birth into the Catholic Church. We say this, because we wish no one to be led astray by any of our former writings, all of which, prior to last October, unless it be the criticisms on Kant, some political essays, and the articles in our present Review on Social Reform and the Anglican Church, we would gladly cancel if we could. We have written and published much during the last twenty years; but a small duodecimo volume would contain all that we would not blot, published prior to last October."

There was in this an excess of self-abnegation, and an ungrateful denial of the value of the long discipline we had received from the merciful and paternal hand of divine Providence. But we felt our incompetency to discuss from our own knowledge and personal convictions the great questions proper to discuss in a Catholic review, and we relied almost solely on others. We used our own logic and language, but we ventured to utter no thought of our own. We wrote the best we could from the premises given us, and as a matter of course adopted the views of the theological school in which we happened to be placed, and labored to give them their full and complete logical expression. It was our study even to obliterate ourselves, to suppress our own personality, and to let Catholicity as we received it speak through us, and establish its own conclusions. This very fact explains the air and tone of dogmatism the Review was charged with assuming on becoming Catholic; and what was set down to pride, to an over-weening confidence in our own judgment, was due to an excess of self-abnegation, and to an undue distrust of what may be called our own thoughts and personal convictions.

But as time went on, as our acquaintance with Catholic theology extended, and as we found it necessary to meet objections which we could not find met in any of the theological works within our reach, and which we could not ourselves meet on theological or philosophical systems our Catholic teacher had given us, we began to look deeper into the received scholastic theology and philosophy, and, indeed, to think for ourselves, and to ask, if, after all, Catholicity might not be a personal conviction, and not merely a system of truth having no intrinsic relation to human reason, and resting solely on external authority. We soon discovered, or thought we discovered, that there was in reality no such disruption between the true Catholic life and the intellectual life we had attained to prior to our  conversion, as we had too hastily assumed. Doubtless, there were many errors in what we had previously written, but we had always, even in the days of our greatest darkness, held great Catholic principles, and our errors were less errors of principle than errors of fact, and were the result in the main of defective knowledge, chiefly of historical information. Catholicity then rested for us, as it does yet, on external authority, but not on external authority alone. It became a personal conviction, and we attained to that intellectual freedom which we had from the first asserted the church allows, demands, and secures. We thus recovered the broken link of our life, reunited our present life with our life prior to our conversion, and resumed, so to speak, our personal identity.

The process of this resumption of our own identity, especially in the sphere of philosophy, has been going on slowly, timidly, hesitatingly since January, 1850, and with more rapidity, steadiness, and firmness since our removal from Boston to New York, and may now be regarded as complete. We accept all in our writings before we became a Catholic that we had arrived at by the free and independent action of our own mind. What were really our own personal convictions then are our personal convictions now. Errors we then had, as errors we may now have, and may have as long as we live, but we dare maintain that we had true catholic principles, true catholic thoughts, catholic aspirations and tendencies, long before we had the happiness of being received into the church, and permitted to feast on the body and blood of our Lord, though, no doubt, the reach of the principles was not always seen, and the thoughts were incomplete. We had not truth in all its clearness and explicitness, but we had embraced it in its synthesis, and seen the process by which that synthesis is reached and verified. We were not mistaken as to the principle which conducted us to the church of God, as we were afterward led to believe,-an error which has caused us so much trouble, and lost us so much time; and if we had known better how to interpret the analytic language of scholastic theology, we should never have been induced to lay aside, or hold in abeyance, our original conviction.

In point of fact, the disruption we speak of was never so complete as it appeared, or as we ourselves supposed. We troubled ourselves little about the matter, because we early adopted the maxim that no man should be a slave to his own past. But no honest man can wholly unmake himself, or, if true to himself, ever become wholly another man. In our most ultra-liberal days, in our wildest radicalism, we always retained a conservative element, and recognized and asserted the necessity of authority; and in our most conservative epoch, when opposing with all our might revolutionists and revolutionism, and defending the legitimate authority in the state, we never defended autocracy, or absolutism of any sort. From 1843 to 1850, we opposed the ultra-democracy rapidly gaining a foothold in our own country, and the revolutionary and socialistic tendencies of European liberalism, because we believed, then, and believe now, that the dangers to religion and society were then on that side, and our rule of conduct is always to attack the danger where it is, not where it is not. But in January, 1850, we assured our friends that we had carried the work of combating liberalism far enough and that we should soon have to combat the reaction against it to prevent it from crushing out liberty, and establishing despotism. A writer in these pages, not the Editor, indeed exulted over the coup d'etat of December, 1851, and defended it, but not with our approbation, and for seven long years we stood alone in this country, almost in the world, among Catholic publicists, in warning Catholics against any entangling alliance with the new-fangled caesarism of Napoleon III. From the first we assured our bishops and clergy that, though the new emperor of the French might seek to use the church he would never consent to be her servant, or to allow her full freedom as a corporation in his dominions. They believed us not, and we were represented as sharing the spite and tendencies of a "disappointed tribune," as the illus-trious champion of Catholicity, Count de Montalemhert was sneeringly called, against Louis Veuillot and Louis Napoleon. Unhappily time and events have vindicated the noble French champion of Catholicity and liberty, and justified our warnings. They who, without reason, threw the church at the feet of the "new Charlemagne," or the "new St. Louis," as the new emperor was called, are  now in danger of going to the opposite extreme, and offering hIm an opposItion equally without reason. France is not ripe for a republic, and better the Bonapartes than the restored Bourbons, of either the elder or the younger branch. In all this there is evidence of the love of authority on the one hand, and of liberty on the other, and of a conviction of the necessity of reconciling with each other both liberty and authority. We waged no war for despotism, and none against liberty as such. If we opposed the alliance of the church with democracy, we opposed with equal firmness her alliance with despotism. In 1838, before our conversion, we wrote and can repeat now, with only
slight modifications:

"But if the church, both here and in Europe, does not desert the cause of absolutism, and make common cause with the people, its doom is sealed. Its union with the cause of liberty is the only thing which can save it. The party of the people, the democracy throughout the civilized world, is every day increasing in numbers and in power. It is already too strong to be defeated. Popes may issue their bulls against it; bishops may denounce it; priests may slander its apostles, as they did and do Jefferson, and appeal to the superstition of the multitude; kings and nobilities may collect their forces and bribe or dragoon; but in vain; IT IS TOO LATE. . Democracy has become a power, and sweeps on resistless as one of the great agents of nature. Absolute monarchs must be swept away before it. They will fail in their mad attempt to arrest the progress of the people, and to roll back the tide of civilization. They will be prostrated in the dust, and rise no more for ever. Whoever or whatever leagues with them must take their fate. If the altar be supported on the throne, and the church joined to the palace, both must fall together. Would the church could see this in time to avert the sad catastrophe. It is a melancholy thing to reflect on the ruin of that majestic temple which has stood so long, over which so many ages have passed, on which so many storms have beaten, and in which so many human hearts have found shelter, solitude, and heaven. It is melancholy to reflect on the condition of the people deprived of all forms of worship, and with no altar on which to offer tbe heart's incense to God the Father. Yet assuredly churchless, altarless, with no form or shadow of worship will the people be, if the church continues its league with absolutism. The people have sworn deep in their hearts, that they will be free. They pursue freedom as a divinity, and freedom they will have, -with the church if it may be, without the church if it must be. God grant that they who profess to be his especial servants may be cured of their madness in season to save the altar!"

     The church is indefectible, and cannot fail save with individuals and nations, and so far as the contrary is implied in expressions here used, the extract needs correction; but in all other respects it may be endorsed by the most rigidly orthodox CathoIic. The church, indeed, always remains, for the idea she is realizing in time and space, the Word incarnate whose life she lives, cannot fail, but she may yet fail with individuals and nations, as she often has failed. We have in reality been always the same man we were when we wrote these words, and we cannot, if we would, make ourselves over into another man. The true Catholic life can be lived only in an element of freedom. The innumerable martyrs in all ages prove it; for martyrdom is the strongest assertion of liberty, and protest against despotism and tyranny it is possible for man to make. It was the desire to be free, to live in free and open communion with God that in the primitive ages peopled the deserts of Thebais and Palestine with hermits and anchorets, and in later ages the monasteries and convents with monks and nuns. The church herself can fulfil her mission only in an element of freedom, and wherever her interests become complicated with those of despotism, the love of liberty common to all men breaks away from her, and makes war against her as the accomplice of the despotism they would annihilate. The church must not only be free herself, but she must, in order to flourish in the modern world, support liberty without, and allow it within. It is not that authority should be withdrawn, denied, resisted, or made little account of, but that it should not be asserted as alone sufficient, or the liberty and the necessity in cultivated minds of personal conviction cast aside as a matter of no consequence. Men in our day demand personal conviction,-to appropriate, to assimilate to themselves the truth which authority teaches, so that they may have in them-selves as Catholics unity of thought and life, and speak from their own thoughts, convictions, and experience as living men, and not merely repeat a lesson learned by rote, and to which they attach no more meaning than the parrot does to her scream of "pretty pol." It is not, in speaking thus, that we value less the external authority of the church than we did formerly, or that we are less indisposed to resist it, but that we value personal conviction more, and feel more deeply the necessity of incorporating the truth the church teaches, into the life, the intellect, the soul, the very being of the believer, -of making it our own, an integral part of ourselves, so that when we speak freely, spontaneously, we shall give it expression. We would think, and speak what we think, without being obliged to stop and ask, whether or not some father or doctor has thought or said the same before us. We would have Catholic truth as a part of ourselves, have it our reason, our conscience, our common sense, not merely something put on, and held on by a foreign hand.

In coming to this conclusion, in resuming the continuity of our own intellectual life, and thus becoming a Catholic from personal conviction as well as from submission to simple external authority, we cannot believe that we have become less Catholic; we think we have become more Catholic, and now for the first time really and understandingly a Catholic.

Catholicity has now become a part of ourselves, and we no longer regard it as something taken up or put on, or separate it, or distinguish it in thought from the rest of our intellectual and moral life. In resuming the connecting link between our present and past life, we are only bringing up a phase of thought that at first we did not dare trust, or feared might turn out to be uncatholic, and are only divesting our Catholicity of all sectarian incrustations and medieval accumulations not in harmony with what is true and good in our age. Dogmatically considered, the Catholicity that was taught us was orthodox, but the philosphy and the political and social ideas, in a word, the civilization given us along with it belonged to an age that has passed away, and is impossible to be recalled.  Impossibile defunctos revocare.   We are in our labors, so strangely misunderstood and so cruelly denounced, only asserting ourselves a man of the nineteenth century, and doing our best to show the ground of the real harmony between the Catholic Church and modern civilization. We had discovered this ground before we came into the church, but for some time after we came in we did not dare confide in it. We were afraid to rely on our own convictions, and unnecessarily broke with our age and our country. It was a blunder, innocent in its motives, and the result not of pride, but its opposite. Still it was a blunder, and has prevented us from serving the cause of Catholicity as effectually as we might have done, caused us to waste much strength, and to lose much time. But what has been has been, and cannot be helped, and there is no use in whining or whimpering over it. He who has sinned should confess his sin, and forsake it, and hasten to practise the virtue still within his reach. He who has blundered need not paralyze himself in useless regrets, but should, as soon as he discovers his blunder, correct it, and seek to avoid similar blunders in future. No man, not a downright fool, ever claims exemption from error, or pretends to be infallible. He who thinks will sometimes err, but it is better to err, than never to think, and better is it now and then to fail than never to attempt. It is of far more impor-tance what we are to day than what we were yesterday. We make no moan over our past. We simply explain it, and dismiss it. We are none the worse, but the wiser for it. But with our present views and from our present position, we are able to appreciate, to some extent, the character, and to recognize the services of such a man as Pere Lacordaire.

We have been his contemporary, really engaged, though in a different sphere, and under circumstances widely different from his, in the same great work to which he devoted his life, and can honor ourselves by claiming to have been in many respects his disciple, and to have pertained to his school. No man in this country watched with more interest the beginning of the great movement in France, commenced in 1831, and of which he was the master-spirit, or has been more affected by it in his whole intellectual life and destiny, than we. It was that movement that more than any thing else brought us back to Christianity, inspired us with belief in the possibility of reconciling religion and modern society, and finally prepared us for the recognition and acceptance of the church. We had, in appreciating that movement, overlooked the claims of Pere Lacordaire, for we took him to be simpy a disciple of the once distinguished and eminent Abbe de La Mennais. We learn now for the first time that Pere Lacordaire was never his disciple, that he never shared his peculiar views either in philosophy or theology, but was really himself the master-mind of the movement in what was sober, reasonable, just, and Catholic in it. The movement, resulting in what M. Montalembert calls the Catholic Renaissance, as La Mennais understood it, was based on a false and mischievous system of philosophy, and if it could have prevailed, it would have subverted the very foundations of our Catholic faith. On the one hand, it would have confounded regeneration with generation, or, on the other, resolved humanity into divinity, and proclaimed not only people-prophet, and people-priest, but with Mazzini, people-king, and people-god, as any one may collect from his Paroles d'un Croyant, the legitimate development of his system.

Lacordaire during his college days, like so many of his generation, was without faith in Christianity, a deist, as they said then; but after having finished the study of his profession as a lawyer, while still young, he recovered his faith in the Gospel, and immediately entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice, and was ordained priest in 1827. From his conversion to Christianity he never for a moment up to the hour of his death wavered in his faith, or relaxed his labors in the cause of religion and civilization. His faith was sincere, firm, and orthodox, his zeal pure, enlightened, and disinterested, and his submission to the proper authorities of the church was prompt and unreserved, though never blind or servile. He was bold, at times to the verge of imprudence, if not of rashness, a man of strong personal convictions, we may also say, of an intense individuality, who, having taken his ground, adhered to it with firmness and constancy, and shrunk from no obstacles, from no misapprehension or misrepresentation, no obloquy or reproach, in maintaining it. He had unbounded and unshakable confidence in truth, or, more strictly speaking, in God whose word is truth, and he never doubted that the truth would sustain him, and in the end crown his works with success. He was inherently a brave man, what we call a manly man, the hero of the pulpit, and the champion of free speech, free education, free thought, and free discussion. In him was no guile, no cunning, no trickery, no artifice, no seeking to compass his ends by intrigue, by craft, by indirect means, or by crooked or zigzag paths. His soul was as open as the day, and his means were as straightforward and just as his ends were pure, lofty, and noble. He was simple, tender, affectionate, but one of the most intrepid of men in defence of truth, justice, liberty. He was a bold, energetic, and vigorous writer, of remarkable facility, and in modern times at least, unrivalled as a pulpit orator, and the echoes of his voice which rang out so clear, so strong, so sympathetic, and so winning, in the old cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, and throughout all France, have not yet died away, and will not for many generations to come.

In 1831, Pere, then the Abbe, Lacordaire became associated with La Mennais and Count Montalembert not yet of age, in conducting that remarkable journal, the Avenir. In that journal he soon eclipsed, the illustrious count tells us, the elder and more distinguished Abbe de La Mennais. With his associates he set on foot a movement which has not been without its influence on the subsequent history of the world, and to which he remained true to the hour of his death. To understand that movement, and to appreciate the service it rendered for over twenty years to Catholicity in France, as well as in a large portion of the Catholic world, we must recur to what at the time was the state of Catholic minds, of the general opinion of Catholics in France and elsewhere. The violence of the old French revolution, the infidelity of its chiefs, the persecution it inaugurated against Catholics, its legal suppression of the Catholic worship, and its murder, imprisonment, or deportation of Catholic priests, had not, unnaturally, turned the whole Catholic mind against republicanism, and linked the cause of the church with that of monarchy; and the military despotism of Napoleon, his imprisonment of the Holy Father, and his efforts to subject the church to his will and to use her in forwarding his ambitious projects of conquest and universal dominion, had wedded the Catholic cause to that of the Bourbons, and the party of legitimacy throughout Europe represented by the so-called Holy Alliance. Catholics were almost universally in 1830 united with the party of repression, the party of absolutism, the oscurantisti, and opposed to all movements in favor of popular liherty. The word liberty itself was suspect, and he who spoke in its favor was looked upon as a bad Christian and a worse subject.

The revolution of 1830 came and proved that the oscurantisti were not invincible, and that the Catholic cause, if not separated from the sovereigns, would fail. That revolution proved to all men who had eyes in their heads that the people were mightier than their sovereigns, at least too powerful and too imbued with a sentiment of their strength, too earnest in their love of liberty, ever to become again the quiet, peaceable, and orderly subjects of a despotic rule. It was clear that the repressive policy of the sovereigns must fail, and the Catholic cause, if linked to that policy, must itself fail with it. The church everywhere shared the prejudices and resentments of the people against their temporal sovereigns, and the more she preached to them submission, and the more she labored to reconcile them to the old regime, and to make them quiet, docile, and obedient subjects, the more embittered they became against her as the enemy of progress, as the accomplice of despotism and tyranny. In point of fact, the liberal party, the party of progress, the believers in modern civilization were estranged from her communion, were unbelieving, and were making war on her as the chief supporter of a political and social order they wished to make an end of once for all. In this state of feeling the church could not discharge her mission of winning souls to Christ, or of rearing up the modern world in the Christian faith. She had become odious to the modern world, and impotent to govern or direct it.

Under the existing circumstances, what has to be done? Why had the thinking, active, energetic portion of the people in modern times become the enemies of the church, and disbelievers in her dogmas? Evidently because they found, or thought they found, the church on the side of the sovereigns against the people, and sustaining an order of things which they held to be hostile to intelligence, to progress, and the political and social interests of mankind, not because they had outgrown the Catholic faith, or had any grave objections to her dogmas or her worship in themselves considered. Their quarrel with the church was political and social, not dogmatical, and what they opposed in her was not her assertion of the divine, but her real or apparent suppression of the human. To them she seemed to have forgotten that the Saviour was "perfect Man," as well as "perfect God." The true course was, then, for the church to cease to make common cause with the people's masters, to sever her cause from that of the Holy Alliance, to accept liberty and bless it, to take up the cause of the people, hallow the irrepressible instincts of humanity, place herself at the head of the modern world, and aid and direct it in the great work of scientific, social, and political evolution. This was the thought of the Avenir, and of the men grouped with Lacordaire and Montalembert around the Abbe de La Mennais. It required the complete separation of church and state, the church to give up all pecuniary support from the state, and to throw herself on the voluntary contributions of the faithful. Her liberty was no longer to be secured by concordats with the state, but by securing the liberty of the people, and obtaining a safeguard for her liberty in the general liberty of the citizen, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.

The change recommended would have deprived the church as a spiritual commonwealth of all political power, of all power derived from the state, all political right of censorship, and of all civil power to enforce her sentences against heresy, error, or schism, and consequently would have abolished the whole of that system of mixed civil and ecclesiastical government which had grown up in the middle ages, and was continued to some extent in all Catholic Europe, and have placed the church on precisely the footing on which she stands in the United States, where she is free in the freedom of the citizen, and powerful by her intellectual and moral influenee. It would have placed the church on the side of liberty, and made it the interest as well as the duty of all churchmen to resist absolutism, and to sustain the freedom and equal rights of the citizen. It would have enabled the church to resume her civilizing work, baptized modern civilization, and healed the schism between her and the modern world. The thought was grand and noble, and, what is more, was eminently Catholic.  We well remember the enthusiasm and joyous hope with which we heard its enunciation, all Unitarian as we were, and Christian in a mystic sentiment and vague longing rather than in any well-defined thought or intellectual conviction. It was the first thing that attracted our regards towards the old church, and gave us a glimpse of her grandeur, as a social institution. Unhappily we knew the movement only as the work of La Mennais, and when we learned his con-demnation and excommunication, we hastily, rashly concluded that the old church was dead, and her resuscitation no longer possible. We wept as a child over the death of his mother, made honorable mention of her memory, and followed away the Saint-Simonian dreamer, the fallen priest,
and wasted a dozen years of our life in the endeavor to lay
the foundation of a new church.

We read with intense interest the description M. Montalembert gives of the enthusiasm of the noble youth, the true chivalry of France, that were grouped around the great thought, and threw the whole force of their souls, their pure zeal and disinterestedness into the Catholic movement.  We read with a new confidence in divine grace and the dignity of human nature, his account of their labors, their sacrifices, their trials, and the obstacles they overcame, or could not at the time overcome; and we can in our own heart sympathize with that sorrow which must have oppressed them when their chief was condemned, when he fulfilled to the letter the predictions of his enemies, and their noble cause seemed to have failed, and failed for ever. Men never feel but once in life what they must have then felt. But the brave Count Montalembert, and the equally brave and heroic Lacordaire never for a moment faltered, never for a moment "lost heart or hope," or deserted the cause so dear to them, or despaired of the divine mercy for the church and the world. To the hour of his death Lacordaire remained faithful to his first love, and amid a life of vicissitudes the noble Montalembert seems to have abated nothing of his youthful passion, and amidst the wreck of society, obloquy, reproach, the desertion of friends, the treachery of associates, the cowardice of those who should have stood by him, and bodily infirmity, has maintained his fidelity and his honor. His heart, if touched with sadness, if it has something of the unction of sorrow, is as young, as ardent, as enthusiastic as it was thirty years ago. All in all, the history of the movement is to us the brightest, the purest, the noblest, the most inspiring and consoling chapter in the
history of Catholic France.
There were, as M. Montalembert admits, some imprudences, and some things premature to be noted. The logic of the individual leaps more rapidly the distance from the premises to the conclusion than that of the community. None of the Catholic nations of Europe were in 1831 prepared to accept at once so great changes as La Mennais and his friends proposed. The merit of all great changes is in their opportuneness, and the most desirable reforms are injurious rather than beneficial, if attempted out of season, or so as to cause too violent a shock to old prejudices, habits, and usages. To be useful, they must not be new creations, nor violent changes, but should grow out of the past, and be its natural evolution. Unhappily, this rule, so true, and so just, is oftener abused by the conservative party, than forgotten or disregarded by the reform party. It is made the excuse for doing nothing, for opposing all reform, all progress, and is translated into the maxim, quieta non movere, make no disturbance, keep quiet, and leave things as they are. This abuse on the one side provokes a corresponding abuse on the other, and pushes the reform party into a violence that it would never otherwise have dreamed of; yet, better motion than stagnation, better even the storm than the long calm, in which not a ship can move, nor a sail flap, under which even the ocean rots. Better life than death. It was only when troubled that the waters of the pool of Bethsaida possessed a healing virtue. If no shock is ever given to men's prejudices, they can never be removed; if no strong hand be laid upon old habits and usages, and if no one is suddenly started from his sleep of the" Seven Sleepers," no progress can ever be made, and no old abuses ever be corrected. Somebody must take the lead, and for the moment be in advance of the multitude, whether learned or unlearned, and he who takes the lead will to the many seem imprudent, rash, violent, and a disturber of the peace and quiet of society or of the church. For our part, separating what pertained to La Mennais personally, and taking the movement as represented by Lacordaire, we see nothing in it not true and good, and nothing really rash or premature as a subject of public discussion.

No doubt the great body of the French prelates and clergy were unprepared for the sweeping changes proposed, but the changes were desirable, and of the greatest importance to the interests of religion and society. The error on the part of the friends was not in proposing them, but in demanding that they should at once be practically adopted; in being too impatient; and in not allowing the well-disposed men, cleric or laic trained in the old system, attached to the old regime, and not much disturbed by its defects, which had not disturbed their predecessors, sufficient time to examine the questions involved, and to form an enlightened judgment respecting them. Our young friends did not make sufficient allowance for the slowness with which the majority of minds act, and the difficulty the majority of men have in changing their point of view, or of letting any new ideas get into their heads. They did not consider the bulk of mankind, and especially of those who have the direction of affairs, are, for the most part, made up of prejudices and habits, creatures of routine, who believe and act as they do only because so believed and acted their fathers and predecessors; and therefore they were too unmeasured, too violent in their attacks upon the French prelacy, and could expect only denunciation in return. They, too, erred by seeking a decision at the time from Rome. Under the circumstances, in the actual state of public opinion, and with the relations of the church with the state such as they still were, Rome, even if not opposed to the views of the Avenir party in themselves considered, if compelled to decide the question, must decide against them. But this forcing Rome to a decision was the work of La Mennais himself, against the advice and judgment of his friends, and proves, we fear, that he was more intent on gaining a victory over his enemies, than on securing the triumph of the cause in which he had enlisted so many of the noble youth of France.

We have been told the movement was condemned by Pope Gregory XVI., in his famous Encyclical, dated at Rome, August 15th, 1832, but we cannot find that its principle was condemned, or that the movement itself was censured as un-catholic. It was censured as one the church could not officially sanction at the time, one which demanded changes at the time impracticable, and incompatible with the existing relations and interests of the church, and likely to favor the false notions of liberty, of the freedom of conscience and opinion, as well as the religious indifference, then so rife in the revolutionary European world. This did not necessarily touch the great principle for which Lacordaire contended, that, if we may so speak, of associating liberty with religion, and effecting a reconciliation between the church and modern civilization. We know he held fast to that principle during his whole life, and did so with the full knowledge of Rome, and without the least censure. He held fast to it as a secular priest, as a monk, and as the reviver of the Dominican order in France. Our present Holy Father appears to have approved it, and to have acted on it in the beginning of his pontificate. It will not, there-fore, do to say it has been condemned, and that the church has bound herself for all time to come to her old political alliances, interdicted modern civilization, and thus denied her own catholicity in time. The church has not stultified herself.

La Mennais, we think, might have been saved, had the French prelates treated him somewhat differently, and not enlisted his pride and his vindictive temper on the side of his errors; and he certainly would not, as it was, have been lost, if he had had a less proud and arrogant disposition, a less intense personality, and had engaged with more disinterestedness in his movement. We have heard much of the wisdom, tact, adroitness of the clergy, of their patience, forbearance, and tenderness, and not more than is true, when they deal individually with one who comes to them avowing himself a sinner. But we have not found them always all that is pretended, when they have to deal publicly with a man whom they suspect of erroneous tendencies. Such a man they seldom spare. They seem to suppose that they.have a perfect right to denounce him, and to enlist public opinion against him. It is enough for them to say he errs, and to persuade others that he errs, without taking any pains in a liberal spirit, to convince him, without unnecessarily wounding his self-love. No doubt they are moved by zeal for the purity and integrity of faith, and a just horror of heresy; but there may be an indiscreet zeal, a zeal that overshoots itself. The opinions which we judge unsound we are free to combat, and ought, if important, to combat; but we should spare the man till we have good evidence that he is determined to persist in error.

In combating a man's opinion, it is never wise or kind to do it by alleging public opinion, or even external authority, against him. To enlist public opinion against my opinions, is not to prove me in the wrong, it is only to prove or to make me unpopular; and external authority should not be alleged till all the resources of reason are exhausted, for authority sometimes silences without convincing, and it is possible, too, that the man may have a way satisfactory to himself of reconciling his opinions with the decisons of authority. As far as we have read the controversy, very little to the purpose was alleged against La Mennais. His obvious meaning was often misapprehended; his own defences treated with wrath or superciliousness. We read the publications of the bishop of Toulouse against him with great pain. The best things and least objectionable were said by Father Rozaven; but the good father begins by assuming that he is right, and that his opponent has not a word to say, and does not permit him to say a word, in his own defence. This is not the best way of proceeding, for it gives a man no chance but to prostrate himself at your feet, and give you a personal triumph over him, or doggedly to dose his mind and heart against even the truth. By such proceeding, if the man is not a heretic when you find him he is very likely to be one when you leave him. You adopt it successfully against the multitude, not against an individual. Nevertheless there can be no doubt that La Mennais lacked true humility and the forgiving disposition of the Gospel.

But though La Mennais failed, the movement did not fail. Lacordaire, Montalembert, and their friends remained true to it. Its powerful and excellent influence was seen in the revolutions of 1848. These revolutions nowhere, out of the papal states, assumed an anti-Catholic character, and they gave to the church in France and Germany a degree of freedom that she had never before enjoyed since the memory of man. Never since France became Catholic did French Catholics conduct themselves more like freemen; show more the qualities that best befit the patriot, the citizen, and never did the church in France assume a nobler attitude, occupy a more independent position, speak with a freer, a more energetic, a more inspiring, or a more consoling voice, than under the republic of 1848. She saved the country from anarchy, and French society from dissolution, by the prompt and frank acceptance of the republic by the majority of her prelates and clergy, with the archbishop of Paris at their head, and their ready and hearty espousal of the cause of liberty. Then we saw that Pere Lacordaire and his noble band of liberal Catholics, as they were called, had not labored in vain. They had infused a confidence in political and civil liberty into the Catholic body, and had disarmed the honest and intelligent liberals of their former hostility to the church and made Catholics themselves feel that the liberty of the church would receive its strongest guaranty in the freedom of the citizen.

We need not say that a lamentable change has since come over the Gallican church. An exaggerated fear of socialism, defeated on the 13th of June, 1848, a pusillanimous dread of seeing reenacted the horrors of the republic of 1792, of which there was really no serious danger, and a secret longing for the support and favors of the prince, the result of old habits, or of the reminiscences of old times, led her prelates with the majority of the parish priests to sacrifice her independence, to deliver her over bound hand and foot to Caesar, in the fallacious hope of deriving greater advantages to religion from power than from liberty. They thought it better for the church to be a courtier, than a free citizen, and in con-sequence compelled her to serve as a slave, or to make herself a frondeur.  We will not suffer ourselves to speak of their uncalled for surrender to power in the terms that best befit it. If, on the morrow of the revolution of February, the noble attitude they assumed attracted the admiration and kindled the hopes of the world, their weakness, to use no harsher term, after the coup d'etat of December 1851, and before the proclamation of the empire in December, 1852, was fitted only to grieve the hearts of sincere Catholics who understood the position of things, and to excite the contempt and disgust of the liberally minded non-Catholics who had begun to turn with respect and affection towards the old church. It was lamentable, and tended only to confirm the objections that had been so long and so confidently urged against us; it proved but too evidently that goodness is not always accompanied by wisdom, and that the simplicity of the dove may be possessed without the prudence of the serpent. The clergy, especially of the first order, throughout the world, taking their cue from the clergy of France, at least from those who by favoring power could speak, supposing very naturally that they were the best judges in the case, hailed the reestablishment of the Napoleonic empire as the commencement of a golden age for the church.

Our readers will bear us witness that we warned them against committing themselves in favor of the new regime; but they will also bear witness that we did so only at our peril. It was regarded as gross impudence on our part to presume to differ from the French clergy and their trusted organ, sustained even at Rome, the Paris Univers. Were not the bishops and clergy of France better judges of what was for the interests of the church, than an American, or rather, a Yankee layman? And could he pretend to be more devoted to those interests than they whom the Holy Ghost had entrusted with their management? Does he, a Yankee convert and a convert of recent date, presume not only to instruct old Catholics, those who have been Catholics from infancy, and have never followed Tom Paine, Fanny Wright, Saint--Simon, been infidels, socialists, Presbyterians, Universalists, Unitarians, or any thing of the sort, but even to teach our consecrated bishops what is or is not for the interests of religion, and to arraign them as not knowing or not performing their duty? Out upon his intolerable pride, his Yankee impudence! So, for seven long years we stood alone, in our own country, uttering our warnings in vain, and nothing we have said or done has had so much effect in impairing the confidence of Catholics in us as our opposition to the tendency among them to applaud the new-fangled caesarism introduced by Louis Napoleon, defended by Louis Veuillot, and endorsed apparently by the French episcopacy. We feel no gratification in finding events justifying our warnings, and it was with real pain we heard a noble-hearted bishop say to us, a few weeks since, "You were right, and we were wrong." We could enjoy no personal triumph which had been gained only by events deeply injurious to the Catholic cause, dearer to us than our own reputation, far dearer to us than our own life.

Religion has been put back perhaps half a century or more by the abandonment of the cause of political liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of discussion, and publicity in France; but the glorious cause to which Lacordaire devoted his well-spent life is not lost. True he is gone, and his eloquent voice can no longer be heard in the French churches, by thousands of French youths with palpitating hearts; but it is not wholly silent. It has at least left an echo, and his whole life, his heroic example will speak for him. Ozanam, that prince among erudites, the true scholar, the really learned man, the devout Christian, the founder with Lacordaire of the great and glorious association of St. Vincent de Paul, and now spread through nearly all Christian lands, is gone, but he lives, speaks, and moves men's minds and hearts in his works. These are gone, yet not all are gone. Montalembert, De Falloux, the bishop of Orleans, the learned and eloquent Dupanloup, and hosts of others whose names deserve honorable mention, yet remain and are sure to leave a posterity. The army of Catholic progress has suffered losses, has received a temporary check, a defeat, if you will, but not annihilation, nor a rout. It is weakened for a moment but not demoralized.  New recruits will flock to fill its thinned ranks, and this New World will soon send her full contingent. Our own personal race is, no doubt, well-nigh run, and we shall probably be placed on the retired list, as past service, if not dishonorably dismissed; but our country lives, and will live, in spite of the formidable rebellion that threatens her life, and rise to a position in the world's estimation she has never yet held, and here Catholicity and political liberty will walk hand in hand together. Here sooner than elsewhere will the schism between the church and modern civilization be healed, and it be possible for a man to be a Catholic without warring against the progress of the age, or laboring to restore a dead past. Our civil war will correct many notions, remove many doubts, and confirm confidence in the principle of free government. Our bishops and our clergy will acquire it, and will break from the bonds which bind them to a political and social order which the triumph of the loyalists in the republic will for ever render obsolete. Our young and educated Catholics will drink in a love for liberty with the love for religion, will feel themselves freemen as they bow at the foot of the altar, assert in the same breath their manhood and their Christian docility, and with ever increasing numbers, courage, and discipline swell the Catholic army of progress.  We have no fears or misgivings as to ultimate success.

But the great change we look for in the mutual relations of the church and society, demanded by the progress of events, is not to be expected in a day. The old mixed civil and ecclesiastical government of society is that under which most Catholics have been trained, that to which in old Catholic countries they are still habituated, and that which almost everywhere the regular official instruction they receive presents as the beau-ideal of Catholic organization. All see and know that that order has been violently shaken, that it has in many places been overthrown, and is menaced everywhere; but probably the majority regard this as a fact to be deplored, and still cherish the hope of one day restoring the relations which have been disturbed or broken. Many may suspect the change threatened cannot be successfully resisted, but, regarding it as an evil, think it their duty to resist it as long as they can, -to put off the evil day to the remotest future possible. They who think with us that the change is not only inevitable, but desirable, and that it will prove not only a change, but a progress, are only a minority, and those not at the head of ecclesiastical affairs. The laity are much better prepared for it, and much more favorable to it, than the clergy; but it is not fitting that the laity should array themselves against the clergy, and in matters of this sort there is little good that can be accomplished without the cooperation of the hierarchy. The great cvil, and that which delays the change, is the attempts of the laity to accomplish it without this cooperation, and in spite of it. These attempts are im-politic, and even uncatholic. They are in their nature revolutionary, and therefore always to be deprecated. If the clergy are not the whole church, there is no church without them, any more than there are children without parents. Much of the backwardness, slowness, and hesitancy of the clergy grows out of the impatience of the people, their disorderly demands, their revolutionary tendencies, creating in their minds the suspicion that the moving cause in the people is doubt of religion, and unwillingness to submit to its restraints, and to practise its precepts. The complete separation of church and state, leaving the church to find protection for her liberty in the general liberty secured to the citizen, we hold to be the only practicable solution of the problems of our age with equal advantage to civil and religious society; we believe that this solution is the one to which the whole progress of the world is tending; but we are not ourselves prepared to adopt it against the church, or without the consent of the hierarchy.

What we claim for ourselves is the right to urge it,, the right to discuss it, to show its utility, its desirableness, and its inevitableness; to convince if we can, even the hierarchy of its utility, and persuade them to consent to it. The right to do this much, we maintain, is the right of every Catholic, whether cleric or laic, simply holding himself bound in the sphere of action to obey the constituted authorities. I am bound to obey the pontificate, and to venerate the sacerdocy, both of which are from God, but I am not bound to take no thought for the interests of religion and society, or, in this country at least, to refrain from expressing my honest convictions, when they in no sense impugn Catholic dogma, or what is unchangeable in the constitution of the church. There is a mission of genius, of intelligence in the church, which is not necessarily restricted to the clergy, and may be committed to laymen, or to clergymen in a sense outside of their sacerdotal character, for the church has a right to the service of the genius, the intelligence, the learning, the good-will, and the zeal of all her members, of laymen as well as of clergymen.  We see nothing uncatholic in this non-hierarchical mission, any more than there was under the Old Law in the mission of the prophets, which was distinct from that of the ordinary priesthood, and, as we may say, extra-hierarchical. Indeed, in asserting it, we assert only what always has been and always will be. We claim no more for the laity than they have always done, except we claim publicity for what they do, or that what they do they do openly, before the whole world, not simply by private communication, by secret diplomacy, and sometimes by private intrigue. In discussion the layman, under responsibility, we hold, may take the initiative, and not await it from authority. He may open such questions as he deems important, and the business of authority is not to close his mouth, but to set him right, when and where he goes wrong. This is no more than princes and nobles have always been allowed, or assumed un-rebuked the right to do, and princes and nobles are only laymen. What a crowned or a titled layman may do, a free American citizen, though uncrowned and untitled, may also do. I have as much right to make my suggestions, and offer my advice to the bishops or to the supreme pontiff as had Charlemagne and St. Louis, or as has Louis Napoleon or Francis Joseph to offer theirs. Before the church, if not before the state, all laymen are equal.

But this, though undeniably true, is so far removed from past usage, that to any but an inborn republican, it seems almost false, almost satanic, and it will need to be iterated and reiterated from many mouths and for a long time, before it will be generally accepted and practically conformed to. The memory of old systems and of the old relations between the temporal and the spiritual is too vivid for even Catholics who have not imbibed republican sentiments, and, as to that matter for many who have imbibed them, to see in the assertion that the people in relation to the ecclesiastical society, stand on a footing of perfect equality with princes and nobles, kings and kaisers, nothing uncatholic or disrespectful to the hierarchy. All the old relations of church and state presup-pose the state to have for its basis not right and equality, but inequality and privilege. The greater part of our ascetic literature or works designed especially for spiritual instruction and edification, presuppose monarchy tempered or not tempered with aristocracy, as the constitution of society, and are filled with allusions, illustrations and comparisons that are neither apt nor edifying to a republican mind. The general tone of our theological literature, whether scholastic or popular, speculative or polemical, produces an impression on the reader that the church is confined to the government, and really consists only of the clergy, hierarchically organized under their chief, the supreme pontiff. The people seem to count for nothing in the church, as formerly they counted for nothing in the state. He who ventures to assert that the clergy are only functionaries in the church and for the church, that the laity are an integral part of the church, and not mere "hewers of wood and drawers of water" to the hierarchy, with neither voice nor souls of their own, is at once sus-pected of wishing to democratize the church, of having Congregational predilections or reminiscences, if not of being animated by an unavowed hostility to the hierarchical constitution of the church herself. It is hard to protest against an extreme in one direction, without being suspected of wishing to run to an extreme in another. Hence it is that they who propose changes or ask for changes demanded by the progress or changes in civilization, are sure to be misunderstood, misrepresented, and suspected of disloyalty to Catholicity.

No man ever lived who could more effectually bear witness to the truth of what is here asserted than Pere Lacordaire. He was sincere, earnest, and firm in his faith, simple and docile as a child, clear, distinct, and reverential in his expres-sion, unbounded in his charity, full of tenderness of heart, gentle in his manners, eminent for his prudence, his sobriety, and for his earnestness, his singleness of purpose, and his disinterestedness, and yet he had his enemies, enemies who persevered in being his enemies during his life, who misunder-stood him, misrepresented him, distrusted him as a Catholic, and did all in their power to lessen his influence, and defeat his purposes. How often have we heard him traduced, denounced as a radical, a Jacobin, a socialist, concealing the bonnet rouge, under the friar's hood. Yet he persevered, held fast to his integrity, held fast to his convictions, and continued on in the line of duty marked out for him, unshaken and unrufIied, calm and serene, till he laid him down gently, and slept his sleep of sweet peace in the Lord who so tenderly loved him, and whom he so tenderly loved and has so heroically served. His example is full of inspiration and consolation, and proves that God is as near us today as of old, and has not abandoned our age. Great souls may be born now as well as aforetime, and great and heroic deeds remain for the Christian today, not inferior to the greatest and most glorious performed by our fathers. Not in vain did Pere Lacordaire live, toil, suffer, and die, and nothing better proves it than the touching words in the Albigensian patois uttered by a poor woman in the immense multitude that flocked to his obsequies at Soreze Abion un rey, l' aben perdut, "We had a king, we have lost him." No, my good woman, we have not lost him. He lives in the world; he lives in that free, manly spirit he quickened in the Catholic youth of France, in the souls he formed to take up his work, and carry it on to the glory of God, the honor of Jesus Christ, God made man, the redemption of souls and the revival of Catholic society.

We know the weakness and miseries of human nature; we know that principles, dogmas of faith are immutable; we know the government. of the church is hierarchically constituted; and we recognize our duty to believe what God teaches us, and to obey those whom the Holy Ghost has commissioned to govern us; but we cannot persuade ourselves that he who for our sakes assumed our nature, made himself man that man might become God, requires us to suppress our nature, or that he ever intended to exclude from his religion all exercise of reason, all the living convictions of our own minds, all the warm affections and gushing tenderness of our own hearts. "Whom God has joined together let no man put asunder." In our Redeemer and Lord the divine nature and the human nat-ure are joined together in one person for ever, to be separated nevermore; and he who would separate them, that is, dissolve Christ, is not of God, but is antichrist. In the Incarnation, human nature, that nature which is equally the nature of all men, is elevated to be the nature of God, is, in the language of Pope St. Leo, "deified" actually and completely so in the Son of man, and potentially so in all men. How long shall we be in learning that this mystery of mysteries, in which the wisdom, the love, the mercy, and the creative power of God are, so to speak, exhausted, is not a mere isolated dogma, with no intimate relation to our practical and everyday life? In our religion there is the divine, but the divine with the human, and the human, but not the human without the divine; and we are as untrue to it when we take the divine without the human, as we are when we take the human without the divine. The religion that neglects civilization is in principle as uncatholic, as the civilization that neglects religion. He departs from the Gospel who asserts the divine authority to the exclusion of human freedom, as he who asserts human freedom to the exclusion of the authority of God. The Jesuits rendered the cause of orthodoxy a valuable service in their defence of nature and human liberty against the Jansenists. They might render it a still further service by reforming our ascetic literature, and placing modern spiritual direction in harmony with the principles they in their controversy with the Jansenists so vigorously, heroically, and successfully defended.

The cause of religion has suffered deeply from the schism between it and civilization, we may say, between it and humanity. The friends of religion seem to be more oppressed  with a sense of the weakness and degeneracy of human nature, than encouraged by a sense of its innate greatness and dignity. Our spiritual directors are afraid to place a generous confidence in nature, and think it necessary to keep it always in leading-strings. They do not, indeed, maintain that all our instincts are corrupt, and that every spontaneous motion of the soul is satanic. They admit that in themselves they are good, but fear the consequences of giving them a free and open field. They thus begin at the earliest moment to restrain, prune, trim, and train them to the stiffness, and artificiality of a French parterre. They render the heart and soul constrained and artificial, and consequently weak and helpless when the moral storm or tempest comes to sweep over them. We know that even what is good in our nature, if left to itself, runs wild, and that everywhere the garden of nature needs the gardener to dress it. But in dressing it he should not destroy it. He should follow the principle of all true landscape gardening, that of preserving the plan or the idea of nature, and only prune away the excesses or excrescences, which only obscure that idea, and hinder its free and full development. We have too much direction, and not enough of self confidence and self-growth.  We are too tenderly nursed, too carefully guarded, and, in a word, governed too much.  We grow up in religion weak and timid, not strong and courageous. We are greenhouse plants, and fade and melt away, when removed from the conservatory to the open air and light of heaven. We thrive only by artificial heat, and can bear the light only as it comes to us through glass cases. We yield ever so innocently to nature only with a feeling that we are doing wrong, or at least are falling into an imperfection. If we have looked with a high degree of pleasure on a lovely landscape, a gorgeous sunset, or a masterpiece of art, we feel, if we are striving after Christian perfection, that we should go and ask our director, if the pleasure was not a sin or an imperfection. God forbid that we should in any respect undervalue, or lead others to undervalue spiritual direction, a thing which the wisest and best of our race need. It is not that we speak against direction, but against the want of self-reliance, of self-help, and the feeling that in nothing which belongs to relig-ion can we think for ourselves, and follow our own honest convictions. We can confess only to the priest, we can have the holy sacrifice, and receive holy communion only from the hands of the priest; but we may have thought, good sense, understanding, knowledge of our religion by the exercise of our own faculties, and the assiduous study of the principles of our religion as taught in the catechism, without running every moment to trouble our ghostly father with questions which every moderately instructed mind is capable of deciding for itself.

There is no doubt that all or nearly all Catholics in this country believe and firmly hold that the Catholic religion and republicanism in the state can coexist in perfect harmony. We do not recollect to have ever heard a single Catholic express a serious opinion to the contrary. But, we apprehend, very few amongst us are able to give a clear and distinct statement of the principle which harmonizes them. To one who denies it, they point to San Marino, the oldest republic in the world, to the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, to the opinions of some Catholic doctors, and to the general devotion of Catholics here to our democratic institutions. This is all very well as far as it goes, but that is not far, and by no means reaches the heart of the question. It only proves that men who are Catholics do sometimes support republicanism, and are not condemned by the church for so doing. But it does not show on what principle the church and the republic are harmonized, and therefore gives no scientific solution of the problem. It is not seldom that Catholics act on one set of principles in their religion, and on a different, if not a contradictory, set of principles in their politics. It is not every man who brings his whole intellectual life into dialectic harmony, and we apprehend that the majority even of Catholics in our own country feel that there is more or less discrepancy between the principles of their religion and their political convictions which they get over by saying to themselves, either that religion has nothing to do with politics, or that politics have nothing to do with religion. If they thought much of the matter, and analyzed their own intellectual state, they would perceive that there is a schism in their intellectual life, and that in point of fact their religion tends to detach them from their politics, and their politics tend to detach them from their religion. Pious, devout Catholics with tender consciences keep clear of the political arena, and Catholics who engage deeply in politics soon become of little worth in the church. This shows that they have not found or do not understand the principle which makes them both parts of one whole.

Republicanism should be taken in a liberal sense, as the government of law, not of men. Under a republic the obedience is not rendered to the man, but to the law he represents. Carry this principle into religion, and the church and the republic are harmonized without a compromise on either side. Republican-ism stands opposed not necessarily to monarchy, but to despotism, and the difference between the two is that in the despotism the man is obeyed as the living law, and in the republic as its minister or representative. Obedience to man is servility, is slavery, utterly subversive of all true manhood; obedience to law is, on the contrary, freedom, true liberty, and no more repugnant to true manliness than is obedience to God himself. The characteristic of republican freedom is not in the absence of obedience or even subjection, but in the absence of all obedience or subjection to men as such. This principle is as applicable in the church as in the state.  Undoubtedly in the church obedience is and must be exacted, but not to men. The pontificate and the sacerdocy are divine, inherent in the Word made flesh, and men are only their ministers, so to speak, their representatives. The priest when ordained receives the priesthood, which we must reverence and obey as sacred and divine, but the man himself we reverence only for the sake of his office, as we reverence the fragile vase in which a precious treasure is deposited. No doubt great reverence and honor should be paid to the man for sake of the priest, and to avoid all disrespect to the sacred and divine treasure of which he is the depositary, even in case he is personally unworthy; but our obedience is due only to the law of which he is the organ. Thus we show honor and respect in the state to the governor or president, for the sake of his office, or the high trusts with which he is invested; but we owe him and pay him obedience only in his official capacity, as the minister of the law. The principle, therefore, is the same in the church and in the state, and we are not obliged to leave our republican principles at the door, when we enter her temple.

Now what we want, and what we suspect Pere Lacordaire wanted and labored to effect, is to bring the whole Catholic public up to this principle, and to harmonize in their conceptions, feelings, and habits, manliness and obedience, submission to authority with conscious freedom. He as well as we ,would wipe out the last vestiges of that old servility generated not by the obedience the church exacts, but by the sub-mission insisted on by political despotism, and which was trans-ferred from the world of politics to the sacred sphere of religion. As long as the state remains despotic in its constitution, and the prince is not the representative of the majesty of the state, but the state itself, the living law, the people will remain servile in their dispositions, and will want the manliness, the energy to assert and maintain the freedom and in-dependence of the church. The church will in her turn be affected, impeded in her operations, and shorn of her civilizing power by the same despotism that weighs upon the people, and be forced to speak only in the tones of consolation, to preach patience and resignation, and bid the poor suffering millions to be contented with what they suffer here, in view of the joys and glory of heaven hereafter, to which they may, if faithful, hope finally to attain. The people thus become before the church what they are before the state. The remedy for the evil is only in crushing the despotism of the state, in instituting a free state, and creating free citizens. Hence it is that we maintain that the freedom of the church is secured only in the freedom of the state. It is only in freeing the state that you can free men, and it is only free men that can yield a free, enlightened, and voluntary obedience, or have the strength, the energy, the courage to assert the freedom of the church.

But till the faithful throw off their servile habits, and understand their freedom and its conditions, they cannot be either good republicans or good Catholics. As long as they retain them, the practical influence of the clergy will for the most part be on the side of despotism, and unfavorable to the introduction of republicanism where it is not, or to its preservation and development where it is. What is now most necessary to be done is, in our republican country, not to republicanize the church, but to republicanize Catholics, and harmonize them in their religious character with their character as republicans in the state; and, in despotic states, to imbue them with a sincere love of liberty in the interest both of religion and civilization. This is the significance, as we understand it, of what Montalembert calls the Catholic renaissance in France. Our own country presents a fair and open field for this renaissance, for the union of religion with civilization, and that new Catholic development which will restore to the church the nations she has lost, give her back the leadership of human intelligence, and secure her the willing obedience and love of mankind.

It was to this end that the eloquent Dominican devoted his entire life, and set an example worthy of our imitation. Those who follow his example must expect to be misapprehended, misinterpreted, and opposed by men high in place, distinguished for their abilities, and worthy of respect for their many virtues. But let not this move them, or sadden their hearts. Above all, let them do justice to the motives and the real worth of those who opposed them, and never suppose because God has given them a special mission, or because under the operations of divine providence they have been led to see things not given to all to see, that they are necessarily intellectually or momlly superior to their enemies. Let them do their work freely, faithfully, bravely, utter the truth they see, do the good they are called to do, but with love to all, without acrimony to any, and without attempting to forestall the judgments of Almighty God. They who differ from us may often deserve as much respect and affection as we, even though we are right and they wrong.