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Protestant Journalism

 From Brownson’s Quarterly Review for October, 1875
An English publishing house, some time since, gravely announced that "My Clerical Friends" was not written by its real author, but by his younger brother, author of "The Old Catholics at Cologne." It was a bookseller’s trick. Only one man living could have written that remarkable work, whose style is unmistakable and inimitable; as only one man living could have written the wonderful series of essays that go to make up the goodly volume before us. The papers here collected were originally contributed to the London Tablet, decidedly the ablest and most purely Catholic journal published in our language, and, as to that matter, as far as our knowledge goes, in any language. The author of these papers, we understand, still continues his contributions to the London Tablet, and we hope he will long continue to do so. As a writer, he has hardly an equal among his contemporaries. He ranks, in our judgment, for high culture and varied learning, in native ability and masculine courage, with a Newman or a Manning, while the keenness and delicacy of his wit are unequalled by any writer of our acquaintance.

Never was Protestant journalism more perfectly characterized, or the unveracity, the ignorance, inconsistencies, and radical dishonesty of the Protestant press, both high church and low, more thoroughly exposed than in these papers, and that, too, without the slightest departure from perfect gentlemanly bearing, a discourteous, or even uncharitable expression. We will only add, that the accomplished author need not have confined his remarks exclusively to Protestant journals, even including under that term secular journalism, but might have extended them to certain so-called Catholic journals of this country, which, as far as we can judge, are as uncandid, as unfair, as untruthful, in regard to those who differ from them in opinion, especially on national or political questions, as any Protestant journals we know of, and far less courteous and gentlemanly, as well as more violent and abusive. They can fawn around and toady rich or influential Protestants; but when it concerns a Catholic who refuses to ride their hobbies, they can only vituperate and blackguard him. When his hand was in, the author might have given these intensely patriotic journals a tap of the shillelah, for, if not professedly Protestant, they are decidedly anti-Catholic in their spirit and influence, and do more than the most decided Protestant journals to lessen the respectability of the Catholic population of the country.

We distinguish between the journal and the newspaper. The newspaper originated some three hundred years ago, if we are not mistaken, in the commercial city of Venice, and was designed chiefly to communicate such intelligence as was of special interest to merchants and bankers, or, as we say now, to the business classes. Gradually it enlarged its scope, especially when transferred to England, and gave political intelligence, as well as banking and mercantile information; but it confined itself to giving current news, and avoided all political and other discussions. It grew naturally out of the invention and general adoption of the art of printing, and simply superseded the intelligence which had been, from time immemorial, communicated by written instead of printed letters. The newspaper was not only a harmless, but a useful invention.

The journal may indeed publish news, but it is not by any means a newspaper. It is of recent origin, and owes its birth to the French revolution of 1789, that fountain of so many evils, and, to human eyes, of no good. The design of the journal is to influence and control public opinion, and, through public opinion, to influence and control public action. The public to which it is addressed may be a party, a faction, a coteric, or a sect, but its design is always to influence and control the thought and action of its public, whether its public be larger or smaller; and it seeks to do this by discussion, by arguments addressed to reason or prejudice, and by declamation, or inflammatory appeals to passion. The so-called independent journalism, represented by such journals as the N. Y. Herald, the N. Y. Tribune, and the N. Y. Sun of this city, professes to be independent of all parties, sects, and cliques, and to set forth the views and convictions of its management alone, or what its management believes, or pretends to believe, is for the public interest. But it must have popular support, a wide popular circulation, and, to gain this, it must court popular opinion, and study not to outrage popular prejudice. It can afford to have no unpopular principles, nor to support an unpopular cause. Indeed it cannot afford to have any principles, especially any religious principles, for any decided principles are sure to be unpopular with one or another section of the public. It, in fact, has no positive religion of any sort; and whatever religion it favors, is so vague and indeterminate that it is as good as none at all. Its influence in regard to religion is either to encourage infidelity pure and simple, or perfect indifferentism. Its religions is secularism, and it is less really independent and more fatal to all the great interests of society than even the partisan or sectarian press.

Satan never made a better hit than when he invented independent journalism; and the New York Herald, which so admirably represents the spirit of the age, should be, as we have no doubt it is, a great favorite with him. None but a renegade or bad Catholic could ever have founded and sustained such a marvellous journal; nor could even a bad Catholic have done it without extraordinary satanic assistance. The very design of the journal is satanic. It throws the forming and directing of public opinion and action into the hands of men who are responsible only to the laws, and hardly to them; who have and can give no guaranty of their wisdom, who scout all authority but their own, and proceed always on the assumption of their own infallibility, and that of the public to which they appeal. Independent journalism is Protestantism raised to its highest power, the deification of private judgment, and a fitting forerunner of Antichrist. Its power is immense, and its despotism is in proportion to its power. In France, in 1830, it overthrew the government and extemporized the monarchy of July; in 1848, it expelled the citizen-king, and proclaimed the democratic republic; in 1851, it overturned the democratic republic, and reestablished the Napoleonic empire. Making itself the organ of the secret societies, it has, for the last hundred years, kept all Europe in a chronic state of insurrection, and rendered all government, but that of sheer force, impossible. It is everywhere a disturbing element, and five millions of armed men in Europe are found necessary to maintain some semblance of order against the passions it stirs up and inflames. And yet is it vociferated in our ears, "A free press is the palladium of our liberties"!

The governments for a time established and maintained a rigid censorship of the press, but without much salutary effect. Secular governments are no safer directors of thought and opinion than the journals themselves. The government censors, for the most part, sought only to protect the secular authority, and left religion and morality, the spiritual authority of the church, and all the higher and more important interests of society, to protect themselves. This was especially the case in Austira, Prussia, and the smaller German states. If they looked after the interests of religion at all, it was the national religion, as a function of the civil government, as it is is England, and in France, where the parliaments, judicial not legislative bodies, were for centuries almost uniformly anti-Catholic, and not seldom anti-monarchical. They in general treated the church in France as a national, rarely as the catholic, church. In such cases the censorship of the press could be little else than an impertinence or an unmixed evil. We doubt if what is called preventive censorship has ever been efficient for good. The church divinely commissioned and protected is the only authority competent to exercise the censorship of the press, or the supervision of thought and opinion; and she can do it only through her own pastors, who, in our times, since secular governments no longer hold themselves amenable to the law of God, can exercise it only as directors of the consciences of the faithful.

Our Holy Father Pius IX., gloriously reigning, though a prisoner in the Vatican, is said to have recommended the bishops to encourage laymen of piety, learning, and ability to labor to counteract the evil tendency of Protestant and infidel journalism, by establishing and conducting Catholic journals. We have seen no specific recommendation of the sort from the Holy See, though the pope has undoubtedly urged the bishops to encourage Catholic laymen, eminent for their faith and piety, learning and ability, to devote themselves, by writing or through the press, to the defence and advancement of Catholic interests. The natural remedy would seem to be to meet the evil by Catholic journalism, and thus oppose the truth to the error; and something of this sort is no doubt effected by such journals as the London Tablet, the Weekly Register, the Paris Univers and Le Monde, and such periodicals as La Civilta Cattolica and the Catholic World, but, after all, very little. Journalism being of revolutionary, that is, of Protestant and infidel origin, does not readily lose all trace of its original nature, even in the hands of Catholics; and we see very few so-called Catholics journals that are conducted in a truly Catholic spirit. We can name not more than two or three in our own country, and they of very limited circulation. Those that have a large circulation, like the Irish World and the Boston Pilot, are national rather than Catholic journals, and in tone and temper are more Protestant or secular than Catholic. It is yet to be proved that the English-speaking Catholic population of this coutry, though liberal to the church, will support a purely Catholic journal. Thus far it has never done so, and the only successful papers among us have had to appeal to other than Catholic interests and affections.

Then, again, the "eminent laymen" do not seem to be very abundant with us; and such as we have, if known to be approved by the bishops and clergy, are pretty sure not to be acceptable to the people, who have a strong inclination to assert their independence of the church in all cases where they think it is at all permissible. There has been with us, thus far, little or no encouragement to eminent laymen to devote themselves to the promotion, through the press, of Catholic interests. We ourselves stand almost alone in the coutry, and we have been only moderately successful, but we are not a layman eminent for learning and ability, for we have very little of either. The fact is, our Catholic population are not a reading nor a thinking people, and have a horror of such reading as requires a mental effort. They hold that it is for the clergy to take care of the interests of religion, and that it is not for the laity to trouble their heads about them. It is little that you eminent laymen can do to neutralize Protestant journalism, unless backed up by the support and generous sympathy of their Catholic brethren: and, to gain that, it is not enough to be a sound and zealous Catholic, even of learning and ability.

We doubt if matters go much better in the Old World. Catholics, for a long time, have been desposed, perhaps from a mistaken or exaggerated asceticism, to give up the government of this world and the management of public affairs to Satan and his representative, Caesar. A mere handful of Protestants, Jews, and infidels, have more than once proved themselves able to govern and tyrannize over a whole nation of Catholics. Of the twenty-five millions of souls who constituted the population of France at the outbreak of the revolution of 1789, it is said less than one million were active revolutionists, and the terrorists were even a less proportion. The great body of the English nation were Catholic even at the accession of Elizabeth, the termagant daughter of Anne Boleyn. Italy is still, as to the immense majority of her population, Catholic; and yet a pitiable minority is suffered to oppress the nation, to tyrannize over church and state, to confiscate the goods consecrated to religion, to exile bishops and priests, expel religious from their houses, to despoil and imprison the vicar of Christ, the recognized chief of their religion, and to revel in robbery and sacrilege. What in the meantime are the Catholics doing, numerous enough to eat up the governing minority at a single meal? They are consoling themselves with the promise that the church cannot fail, and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Certainly, the church cannot fail, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her; but you, miserable imbeciles, may fail, and the gates of hell prevail against you.

Whenever, in any Catholic country, heretics, Jews, infidels, or mere seculars get the upperhand, oppress Catholics, and despoil and enslave the church, it is always due to the fault of Catholics; not because they refuse to use the sword against their enemies, or to fight for their liberty and the rights of God, the basis of all true liberty, but because they have lacked due vigilance and strict fidelity to the Catholic cause. Hd the Italian Catholics placed their religion before all other considerations, as was their duty, refused to listen to the siren song of Italian unity sung by the enemies of their faith, and set their faces resolutely against any and every measure hostile to the rights of the papacy, they could without any fighting have prevented the infidel minority now oppressing themm from iver acceding to power. The minority won their victory while the Catholic majority went to sleep. Luther would have made no head-way if the Catholics of Germany in his time had better understood their religion, been more devoted to it, and more vigilant and earnest in guarding against innovations. It was because Catholics were careless and failed ot watch and pray, and were not thoroughly attached to the head of the church, that they fell a prey to the so-called reformers. The same, or nearly the same, may be said of England, which was never, from the Norman conquest, whatever it had been previously, thoroughly papal. The main cause of the apostasy of England was, however, its intense nationalism and dread of foreign influence. In France, it was Gallicanism that caused the disasters to the church in that Catholic kingdom. We are far from pretending that, ineither France or Germany, especially in Germany, the bishops and clergy, who wielded immense civil power, never forgot the meekness of the Gospel and the fraternity of all Christians, and governed as lords, not as pastors. We are by no means disposed to defend the proud and arrogant prince-bishops of th empire, who were at once pastors of the church and feudal lords. It must be admitted, we think, that, with the majority, the baron or the prince got the better of the pastor, and was no less oppressive to his subjects than a simple temporal lord, and sometimes even more so. We find also, that, holking their temporality from the secular prince, the prince-bishops, so long as he respected their temporality, were usually disposed to side with him against the pope. We are far from regretting the disappearance of that mixture of civil and ecclesiastical power which obtained in the middle ages under the feudal regime, and that spiritual benefices no longer carry with them civil functions. In this sense we are strenuous advocates of the separation of church and state. Yet, had Catholics understood themselves, been faithful to the spiritual power, or the papacy, and been vigilant, the evil could have been redressed without any convulsion or social outbreak; and we lay it down as a rule that when, in any Catholic country, the enemies of the church get the upper hand, Catholics are in fault.

The Catholic laity, until recently, have not been accustomed to take an active part in the defence or advancement of the public interests of religion, especially through the press, and are little fitted to do it with effect. They lack the training, the profound and accurate theological knowledge, and, where the public interests of religion are concerned, the necessary enterprise. In old Catholic countries the laity have in general been taught very little of their religion; their instruction seldom going beyond a few prayers, a brief catechism, and the practices observed in the church. Of the principles of religion, of the relation of the natural and the supernatural and of the several doctrines and dogmas of the church to one another, they have in general been taught nothing. Nothing is more common than to find highly educated Catholic gentlemen, well versed in the classics and the sciences, men of real scientific and literary distinction, utterly ignorant of the principles of their religion, and incapable of defending it against any class of its enemies. Indeed, there is an old law of the church that forbids laymen from writing and publishing any thing on religion without the permission of the ordinary. Among even educated laymen brought up Catholics from their childhood , it is difficult to find a man with the qualifications necessary to a successful Catholic author or journalist. The elder Lenormant, founder of Le Correspondant, was a man of rare culture, profound learning, and respectable at least for his scientific attainments, yet his writings proved that he knew very little of theology. Chateaubriand never learned his catechism. Even the learned, illustrious, and chivalric Montalembert, a most devoted Catholic, and one of the most distinguished men of his time, was far from being a profound or an accurate theologian. Louis Veuillot was not brought up a Catholic, but is, if we have not been misinformed, a converted Voltairian, who defends Catholic interests, as the Abbe Gaduel, we think it was, said, in the tone and spirit of Voltaire. He is able, zealous, for the most part orthodox, but narrow-minded, and ignorant of what is most needed in these times,--what we trust we may be permitted to call the philosophy of relgion, or supernatural philosophy.

Ireland has no lack of eminent laymen, but they are mostly engrossed with plitical and national questions, and seem to regard it as impossible, or at least undesirable, to separate the Catholic question from them. We doubt if purely Catholic journalism could subsist in Ireland any more than in this country. It is not necessary to speak of Germany, for there the government allows Catholic journalism no freedom. England, owing to conversions from Anglicanism of large numbers of Anglican ministers, many of whom, in consequence of having wives living, remain in the ranks of the laity, has a large body of eminent laymen, highly educated, and of competent theological knowledge, who are able to serve the Catholic cause through the press, whether as journalists or authors, in that country; and first among them stands the truly Catholic author of the work before us. Catholic journalism meets at present a fuller development in England than elsewhere; and the English Catholics are making daily rich contributions to our Catholic literature, while the Dublin Review and the Month rank high among our very best contemporary Catholic periodicals.

The difficulties in the way of neutralizing by Catholic journalism the destructive influence of Protestant journalism, are, that we lack the Catholic public to sustain Catholic journalism and purely Catholic publications; and also, to a great extent, eminent laymen who are competent to the work that needs to be done, and are able and willing to devote themselves to the defence of purely Cahtolic interests through the press. But even supposing these difficulties are successfully overcome, a greater and more serious difficulty remains behind. The public, controlled by Protestant journalism, do not, and will not, as a general thing, read Catholic journals or Catholic publications. No matter how ably we write in defence of the faith, or how thoroughly and even eloquently we refute the sects and secularism, what we write will not reach those for whom it is specially designed. The Protestant and secular journals, knowing that they are in possession of the field, refuse all fair and serious argument with us, study as far as possible to ignore us, to deep our publications from their people, and, if compelled to notice us at all, to prefer some false charge against us, some accusation which has no foundation, and which can only serve to deep up the prejudice against us, and render us odious to the public. We confess, therefore, that we see little that can be done through the press, to neutralize the effects of Protestant journalism, except to protect, to a certain extent, our own Catholic population against those effects. Satan has too strong a foothold for any human means to dislodge him. It is probable that the Holy Father in his recommendation only contemplated the protection of Catholics against the corrupting influence of the non-Catholics themselves. Even so much would be a great thing, and worthy of our most strenuous efforts. It is our firm conviction that if all who nominally belong to the church could be protected from the corrupting influences of those without, properly instructed in the principles as well as the practice of their religion, and induced to live according to the requirements of the church, heresy and all the various forms of infidelity would gradually disappear, and the entire race be gathered within the fold, and the kingdoms of this world become in very deed the kingdoms of God and his Christ.

But to return to the work before us. That Protestant journalism should be unprincipled, untruthful and unscrupulous in its treatment of Catholic questions, is nothing to surprise one, or to excite one’s indignation. "Men do not gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles." How can we expect truth and honesty, candor and fair-dealing, from a movement conceived in malice, born of falsehood and sustained only by calumny and misrepresentation? Catholic journals have no excuse when they are uncandid, unfair, and knowingly or carelessly pervert the truth. We expect, and have a right to expect, better things from them. But we have no right to expect from Protestant journalism any thing better than we get. To be honest and truthful, it must cease to be Protestant, for Protestantism in its very essence is a protest against truth and honesty. There are Protestants—we should hope not a few—who, are rich in the natural virtues, and, in some respect, successful imitators of the Christian virtues; but Protestantism is of satanic origin, and Protestants when acting under its inspiration, that is, when acting as Protestants, are filled with satanic malice, as were those carnal Jews who rejected our Lord for a noted robber, and crucified him by the hand of Pontius Pilate between two thieves. The persecution of Catholics in England under Elizabeth more than matched, in perfidy and cruelty, the persections under any of the pagan Caesars; and the Protestants of North Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, were no whit less cruel and barbarous towards all who adhered to the Catholic Church. In our days Protestants are less fanatical and cruel, because less in earnest, and because they think themselves victors, and that the church can never recover her former ascendency; but they are at bottom just as bitter towards the truth as they were in the sixteenth century.

We Catholics often complain of the falsehood and dishonesty of Protestants when treating of Catholic matter, and seem to demand of them virtues to be expected only from those who believe in the Gospel, and take Jesus Christ for their Lord and Master. We should remember, as our Lord said to the Jews, that they are of "their father the devil, and his works they will do." It is idle, when it is a question of relgion, to expect from Protestants the fruits of the spirit. Satan, the better to deceive, may preach benevolence, turn a philanthropist, a liberalist, or a tolerationist, but he remains ever the same old serpent and arch-enemy, who is a liar from the beginning, and the father of lies. We Catholics are too reluctant to look upon Protestantism as an invention of Satan; and though recognizing it as false, heretical, we are unwilling to treat it as antichristian, and wholly opposed to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have generally regarded Protestants as members of the Christian family, though disobedient and disorderly members. This in the beginning was natural and proper enough, indeed was in some snese the fact. Through the whole of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, nearly all Protestants had been validly baptized, and it was generally supposed that Protestantism confined itself to the denial of certain specific Catholic doctrines, and was far from pretending to cast off the authority of Jesus Christ. So long as this was the case, or held to be the case, Protestants could be treated only as heretics, not as apostates: and heretics in come sense pertain the the Christian family, though, of course, they are out of the way of salvation. But now, when the presumption is that very few Protestants have been baptized, and the developments of Protestantism show that it is in its essence apostasy, not simply heresy or a congeries of heresies, we can no longer treat the great body of Protestants as belonging in any sense to the Christian family. Protestantism is not heresy, but apostasy—a real falling away from Christ the Lord.

No doubt, in the various Protestant communities or sects, there are individuals who have been validly baptized, who really believe they are, and mean to be, Christians. These are heretics indeed, certainly material, if not formal heretics, not apostates; but we apprehend that they are a small minority of the body, and are sooner or later carried away by the dominant spirit of the main body. Speaking generally, we may say the various Protestant sects have lapsed into gentilism, and are as far from the kingdom of God as were the gentiles of Greece and Rome, when the apostles went forth after the day of Pentecost to conquer the world to their divine Master. It is no evidence that Protestants are not gentiles, that they do not worship images. The ancient Persians did not worship images, and condemned image-worship as strenuously as any Protestants; and yet they were gentiles and idolaters, for they worshipped the sun, while they regarded fire as the symbol of the eternal Light. The term gentile comes from the gens, house, race, family, tribe, or nation, and is best rendered to the modern mind by the word nation. The essential principle of gentilism is nationalism, to which patriotism, never mentioned in the Gospel as a virtue, is very nearly related. Patriotism was the first of heathen virtues, but we do not find that Christianity recognizes it as a virtue at all. But more of this further on. The gentile nations apostatized from the patriarchal or Catholic religion, and each fromed to itself a national religion, with national gods of its own, who, the Scriptures teach us, were devils:-- "All the gods of the heathen are devils." The highest authority recognized by the gentiles was the national; that of the gens, tribe, or nation, what we call the civil authority, was the authority of the city or state with the republican Greeks and Romans, who regarded themselves as the only civilized people, the chief, king, or basileus, with all barbarous nations, and who, as succeeding to the patriarch, was held to be absolute lord and proprietor of the kingdom, as was the father of the family till the Christian law limited his authority, and gave the family, the wife, children, and servants, some rights which he was bound to respect.

Now we do not say that Protestants retain nothing of the provisions of the Christian law under which their ancestors were trained and christianized, any more then we say the ancient gentiles retained nothing of the patriarchal or Catholic religion. What we maintain is that they, with individual exceptions, have adopted the essential principle of gentilism, that of nationalism; and for the Catholic religion, which is superior to all family, tribal, or national distinctions, substitute purely national religions,--for each nation a religion, a creed, a worship of its own. Even those who still pretend to assert some sort of a church, place it, or suffer it to be placed, under the national authority, which is held to be, in all genuine Protestant nations, supreme alike in spirituals and tmeporals. You cannot shock even an American Protestant more than by asserting the catholicity and supremacy of religion, and the superiority of the church to the state, or her independence of the national authority. The standing objection to the church, here as in all Protestant countries, is, that she, by her claims of catholic authority, conflicts with the national authority or civil power, and asserts for herself, as a spiritual kingdom, an authority superior to that of the nation itself. This is the gist of Mr. Gladstone’s "Espostulation," so promptly met by Dr. Newman, by Cardinal Manning, and other distinguished prelates of the church in England and the United States. Doctrinal controversy has virtually ceased, and the church is opposed now, wherever opposed at all, on national and political grounds, that is, in the name of the nation or civil power.

Dr. Dollinger, fallen like Lucifer from heaven, appeals to nationalism, to the civil powers against the decrees of the Vatican; and it is as favoring nationalism, or the supremacy of the civil power, that the German imperial government favors the so-called Old Catholics, condemned heretics as they are; and it is in the name of the civil power, as opposed to secular supremacy, that it abridges the independence of the church, suppresses freedom of worship, imprisons and fines Catholic bishops and priests, exiles the religious orders from the empire, and wages a most bitter persecution against the noble Catholic Church in Germany. We see the same thing in Switzerland where the cantons have lost their state independence, and become subject in their internal affairs to federal authority. The Italian government in the hands of the infidel minority, obeying the directions of Protestant Europe, is not a whit behing Protestant Germany in persecuting Catholics. Nothing is more evident than that Protestantism is in its essence a protest against Catholicity, a return to the nationalism of the gentiles, that is, to heathenism, or the gentile apostasy. Indeed, it was on a charge of anti-secularism, or anti-nationalism, that, is, of conspiring against Caesar, the civil power, that Pilate, the representative of Caesar in Judea, condemned and crucified our Lord; and it was as alleged enemies of Caesar, or the civil power, that the early Christians were sent to the lions. They refused to worship the national gods, and therefore were treated as enemies of Caesar and the empire.

It is not carelessly, nor without due deliberation, and weighing well our words, that we term Protestantism a return to nationalism or gentilism, and therefore not simply a heresy or a congeries of heresies, but a real apostasy. The true religion is necessarily catholic, for there is but one God, who is always and everywhere the same: the human race in all ages and nations, in spite of modern lying scientists, is one: the relation between this one human race and one God is always and everywhere the same: consequently, religion, which is founded in, and expresses, this relation, and prescribes the rights and duties which grow out of it, must be always and everywhere the same, that is to say, catholic. With no change in the factors, there can be none in the result. Hence there never has been, and there cannot be, but one religion. Religion has never varied, but has been the same from the beginning. Our Lord taught no new religion, made, in fact, no new revelation. He came not to teach, or to introduce and establish a new religion, but to do and suffer those things necessary in the divine decrees; to fulfill the promises made to the fathers, to perfect their faith, and to secure to men their eternal beatitude, deification, or union with God. Those wise Germans, who sought to overthrow Christianity by proving that nearly all its principles, doctrines, and moral maxims were known and taught here and there before the birth of Christ, have only labored to confirm it, by giving proofs of its catholicity. Nothing is more false or absurd than the pretence that religion varies from age to age, and from nation to nation: a purely gentile or heathen notion.

Nationalism stands opposed to catholicity, and has been in all ages the chief weapon wielded by Satan against religion. It is, in fact, the deadly enemy of catholicity, for it not only has its root in affections natural to the human heart, but has physical force at its command to be used against its enemies, as well as wealth and honors with which to reward its friends. Moreover, to love and serve one’s nation within certain limits is not reprehensible, but a natural virtue. To honor the king, obey the civil authority, or the public authorities of one’s own country, within the limits of the law of God, is a duty, and Christianity condemns disobedience to rulers as a sin against God. Hence Satan is able to use the civil authority in a manner to confuse and bewilder the conscience, and to make people believe that they are obeying religion, when, in fact, they are acting directly against it. Most people do not discriminate, and it is not easy for people left to their private judgment to define the boundaries of the jurisdiction of the civil power, and to say where its right to command ends, and obedience ceases to be a duty, or even lawful. The only safe rule is, to understand that the spiritual authority, commissioned to keep and interpret the law of God, defines alike its own powers and those of the state or nation. But this is precisely what nationalism will not concede. Claiming to be independent and supreme in its own sphere, it insists on judging for itself, defining its own powers, which it cannot do without at the same time defining the powers of the spiritual authority; thus, in effect, asserting the supremacy of nationalism as against catholicity. In this way Satan confuses men’s minds, and accomplishes his object, the denial of the catholicity of religion, or, in other words, the universal sovereignty of God.

If we analyze Protestantism, or study it in its historical developments, we shall be at no loss for proofs that is is essentially a protest against the catholicity of religion, and an effort to render religion national, subject to the national authority, and following the national movements and variations. One of the great objections urged against the Catholic Church is her immobility, and her absolute refusal to follow opinion, or tendency. She is semper eadem. Was not the syllabus decried as behind and contrary to the age? Protestantism rests on a movable foundation; and Protestants seem to have come to the conclusion that whatever introduces an element of fixedness, permanence, or unchangeableness in the government of human affairs, is evil, opposed to the progress of society, and manifestly satanic, and not divine. They seem not to be aware that there is no motion where there is nothing at rest, and no real progress but by the aid of progress. They are as shallow and unscientific as the Greek sophist, who taught that all things are in a perpetual flux and reflux: a doctrine substantially revived and elaborately defended under the head of evolution, by that grand philosophic charlatan, Herbert Spencer, honored by some as the great light of the age.

Unity and catholicity go together, and neither is, nor can be, of human origin. Man cannot create unity, nor universality. They come and can come only from God, who is Himself one and universal. They can be introduced and maintained, in the visible order, only by a divinely commissioned, assisted, and protected vicar of Christ, who is authorized to teach and govern all men and nations in his name, as his representative on earth. The basis and necessary condition of unity and catholicity in the visible order, that is to say, the visible church, is unquestionably the papacy, as its powers are defined by the Vatican decrees. Yet all the world knows that the special object of attack by all classes of Protestants is the papacy. The Protestant instinct assures them that is it only by breaking down the papacy that they can rid of catholicity, and bring religion, in their respective nations, under the national authority, and substitute for the church of God, a national, and, therefore, a purely human or man-made church, which is all the Protestant churches so-called are or can pretend to be, if not really synagogues of Satan. We need adduce no further proofs that Protestantism is a protest against catholicity, and a revolt in favor of nationalism, that is to say, gentilism. As the church of Christ is founded on Peter, Protestants, in rejecting the papacy in which Peter survives, teaches, and governs, necessarily reject the Christian church, therefore the Christian religion itself; and hence, we rightly treat Protestantism as apostasy from Christ, and essentially anit-Christian, therefore as satanic, begotten of hatred of God and all good, and fatal alike to society and the souls of those who adhere to it against the light of the Gospel and the teachings of the church.

Of course, we do not expect to influence Protestants by those remarks, very few of whom will read them, and still fewer will appreciate them. We make them for the benefit of Catholics alone, to put them on their guard against encouraging a too intense nationality, or even a too intense patriotism. Nationalism stands, as we have said, opposed to catholicity, as sectarianism does to unity; and patriotism is a virtue, or even not censurable, only when subordinated to the law of God and Catholic charity. From the beginning, nationalism, as we have defined it, has been the most constant, the most formidable, and the most subtle enemy the popes have had to contend against in maintaining Catholic authority. It was nationalism, in the form of caesarism, that crucified our Lord, as we have already remarked, and it was their nationalism and intense hatred of catholicity that induced the Jews, who had themselves degenerated into naionalists, to stir up the people in nearly every province of the empire against the early Christians; and it was nationalism, the pretended vindication of the gods of Rome, who were no gods, but devils, that instigated the cruel persecutions of the Christians in the martyr ages, drove the Catholics to the catacombs, and gave every pope for the first three centuries the crown of martyrdom. It was the same old enemy in a doctrinal guise the popes had to encouter in the Arian emperors, and without disguise in Julian the Apostate. Arianism was an attempted return to gentilism, and even to pagan idolatry, for while it maintained the Son was not God, but a creature, it paid him divine honors.

To the same spirit of nationlism we must attribute the troulbes of the popes in the East. Acting mainly through an imperial court, Caesar, representing the national authority, would be supreme in spirituals, make religion national and not catholic, and thus caused the Greek schism, which ruined the Christendom of the East. Nothing but inveterate nationalism keeps Russia in schism and separated from the church of Christ. In the East we find even Catholic churches separated according to their nationalities, and in the same city a patriarch or metropolitan for Catholics of one nationality, and another for Catholics of another nationality. In every age, in the West as well as in the East, the popes have had their chief difficulties from kings, emperors, and petty princes representing the national or secular authority, who insisted on governing the church in their respective dominions, or on retaining old national customs and usages, incompatible with the purity of Catholic doctrine and worship. It was the spirit of nationalism that was at the bottom of the war between the popes and emperors about investiture; and all the world knows that it was the intense nationalism of the French that created the great schism of the West, and which was never wholly extinguished till the publication of the Vatican decrees in 1870. Its spirit survived in the Gallicanism of the fout articles, and appeared in all its force in the civil constitution of the clergy, adopted by the French revolutionists.

It is unnecessary to continue this line of argument. Nothing is more evident than that nationalism, only another name for secularism, is the deadliest foe of Catholicity. In some of its forms and disguises it is constantly finding its way, in spite of the utmost vigilance of pastors of the church, into the Catholic camp, and weakening the devotion of Catholics to the Holy See, and giving more or less occasion to Satan to seduce them from their fidelity. It finds its way under the form of something good and desirable, without its real character being seen or suspected, and men yield to it with the best and honestest intentions in the world. Yet, so sedulous is the Holy See to guard the faithful against it, that it would not allow council of the archbishops and bishops of all the provinces of the Union to call itself a national council, but itself changed the term national to that of plenary. Hence we have had two plenary councils, but no national coumcil, and we trust we never shall have. The term national has no application to any thing Catholic:-- "God has made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth." In Christ there is neither Greek nor barbarian, neither bond nor free, and, let us add, neither black nor white, neither red nor yellow. The Gospel recognizes none of these distinctions of race or nation, of which gentilism makes so much. We have heard some Catholics say, "We want a native clergy." We have never sympathized with them. We might as well say, We want a native, that is, a national God. We want an educated, learned, intelligent, and devoted clergy, who know and faithfully perform their duties as priests and spiritual directors: but where born or trained, of what nation or race they spring, or of what complexion they are, is to us a matter of perfect indifference. It suffices for us that they are men and priests of the Most High God, and servants of Christ, our Lord and Master. Poland wellnigh lost her faith, because she would tolerate only a native clergy, and Mexico struck almost a fatal blow to her catholicity, when she expelled from her territory all priests and religious not of Mexican birth. Far distant be the day when Catholics in America insist on national distinctions in the priesthood. These have always been the views presented in the Review. That the contrary is very extensively believed by and honest portion of our Catholic people, especially of Irish birth or descent, is no doubt true; for the Irish national journals published in this country take the rebuked the Review sometimes administers to them for obtruding their nationality and forever parading "our element," as the expression of an anti-Irish feeling on our part, and the assertion of an exclusive "Native Americanism," or "Know-nothingism." This is both silly and unjust. No man has more ably defended the Irish than we did in our review of Father Thebaud’s "Irish Race in the Past and the Present," for which more than one Irish journal roundly abused us. Our warmest and most intimate friends are, and always have been, among the Catholic Irish, especially priests of Irish birth or descent. Our quarrel is not with the irish, but we sometimes feel it necessary to rebuke some Irish journalists who are perpetually obtruding their nationality upon us, and, in doing so, we do but remind them that it is they, not we, who are making national distinctions.

The great body of the Catholic Irish in this country, as far as we know them, hold their religion to be supreme, as the first thing to be provided for; and they either do, or intend to, subordinate their Irish politics to their church. They have never received, and never will receive, any opposition or disrespect from us for their nationality. We honor and love them for their faith and fidelity to religion; but neither more nor less because they are irish by birth or descent. Their Irish nationality counts for nothing with us, and we should be glad never to hear it alluded to. People are to be judged by what they are, not by their race or nation. This, as we have learned it, is the Catholic rule; the contrary is the gentile rule. This Catholic rule is especially necessary to be scrupulously observed in a cosmopolite nation like our, made up as it is of emigrants from every race and nation of the globe; and our complaint of some Irish-American journals is, that they are perpetually violating it, unconsciously, it may be, in favor of their own race and nation.

We cut the following paragraph from an article in the most widely circulated Irish-Catholic jounal in the country, and one which now and then contains an able and well-written article on Catholic subjects, and deserving Catholic approval:--

"Dr. Brownson says he takes no interest in anything but Catholic politics and Catholic leaders. In the name of God he is preaching the devil’s own doctrine—the old English doctrine of dissension. Are the Catholic citizens of this country to repudiate the deeds of all Protestant Americans, and scout the memory of the Protestant Washington? Are Irish Catholics, at Dr. Brownson’s bidding, to forget the name and fame of such Protestant Irishman as Edmund Burke, who was addressed by Pope Pius VI as a ‘noble man’ and a benefactor to the world? Dr. Brownson, we suppose, would reject the services of Warren and Putnam at Bunker Hill, because they were Protestants; he would depose Washington, Clay, Henry, and the others, from their high place in the national memory; he would reject Grant, Sherman, and Thomas, because they were Protestants, and fling Sheridan after them because he was only a middling Catholic. Dr. Brownson mixes too much religion in his politics. His intolerant meddling can bring nothing but discredit on catholicity."

The charge that "Dr. Brownson mixes too much religion in his politics," is especially edifying in a professedly Catholic journal. The whole article goes to prove the incompatibility of intense nationalism and catholicity: and that Catholics who allow themselves to be governed by it soon lose their Catholic integrity, and glide insensibly, and without suspecting it, into virtual Protestantism, and therefore into gentilism. It shows how dangerous it is for Catholics to allow themselves to be absorbed in national and political questions, independent of the interests of religion. Of course, Dr. Brownson never said what the journalist alleges, for, though he may be an "old hypocrite," as the same journalist, in a subsequent number, courteously calls him, he is not a downright fool. He said that Irish Protestants were no more to him than Protestants of any other nationality, that his interest was in Catholic Ireland, and in Irish politics only so far as they affected the church and Catholic interests. This may be "preaching the devil’s own doctrine," but, we think, a less poetic imagination than is possessed by the editor of the journal referred to, would hardly have discovered it. We never bid or urged Irish Catholics to forget the name and fame of Irish Protestants. We only said, "Irish Protestants are no more to us than Protestants of any other nationality." We, as a Catholic, recognize the natural virtues, and we hold, as St. Augustine teaches, that the ancient gentiles had many of them, for which God gave them a reward in this world. We know no reason why as much should not be ascribed to Protestants and infidels, their successors in the present.

Dr. Brownson has never said that "he takes no interest in any thing but Catholic politics and Catholic leaders." This is a poetical gloss; and the essence of poetry, it has been said, is fiction. In our own country we take no interest in mere party politics, which are little else than a struggle between the ins and the outs; and in Irish politics we take an interest only in their bearing on the church and Catholic questions, of which we believe the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland are more competent judges than Protestant lawyers and infidel "Head-Centres," or the chiefs of secret societies reprobated by the Holy See. What we say of Irish politics, we say of English politics, of Spanish, French, German, Russian, or Italian politics. We believe with the late Frederic Schlegel, that God orders universal history in reference to and for the glory of the Word, or ad Incarnationem. Christ, the incarnate Word, creates the church, as God creates the universe or cosmos. All politics must in the last resort be judged by their bearing on the glory of the Word or the church: a doctrine, of course, passing the understanding of all intense nationalists, to whose dense theological ignorance it has no meaning. Nature herself is in order to grace, and, detached from the end for which it exists, is worthless. Natural or gentile virtues are not sins, as Jansenists and Calvinists, in their exaggeration of the effects of the fall, maintain when they assert that "all the works of infidels are sins;" but they do not advance us a single step towards heaven, our final cause, which is supernatural, and are rewarded only with temporal goods in this life. Yet, for Catholics who have been regenerated, elevated by the Holy Ghost in baptism to the supernatural order, the order founded by the incarnate Word, to forget that all their acts are to be performed in reference to the Incarnation and for the glory of the Word, and to fall back "to the beggardly elements of this world," and to live and act as simple natural men, is in them practical apostasy, and they are fearfully guilty, even though they abound in the natural or gentile virtues.

In the divine economy, though grace supplements nature without destroying it, the natural is subordinate to the supernatural, for which it is created and exists; and detached from the supernatural, and considered in itself alone, the Catholic cannot live for it, or make it the end of his acts. If he does so he ceases to be a Catholic, and becomes a gentile or heathen. Thus says our Lord: "Be not solicitous, therefore, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathen seek. For your Father knoweth ye have need of all these things. Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." The need of natural goods is not to be denied; but to make them the direct object of out solicitude, is to do as the heathen do. We are to live, not for them, but for the kingdom of God and His justice, or the supernatural godd, or the honor and glory of the incarnate Word and union with God, for which we are created; and if we do so, these things, as far as necessary or useful, will follow. These principles will solve for us our entire relation to the natural order, and, therefore, the relation of Catholics to national and political questions. It is not pretended that Catholics are and take no interest in national or political affairs. We have complained of them in this very article for not doing so, especially where the interests of their religion are involved. What we maintain is, that we are to seek national and political objects, as every other species of temporal goods, not for their own sake, but for the sake of the kingdom of God and His justice, or the spiritual and eternal destiny of man and nature, as already stated. We are to seek them, or to labor for them, only in subordination and subserviency to the interests of religion. We live in society, and men have social relations, and therefore, social duties. We must love our neighbor as ourselves, but in God. When called upon by the public authorities, Catholics are bound, as all men are, to defend their country against foreign invasion, against an unjust war and internal rebellion, at the expense of their lives. We are bound to be vigilant in guarding and resolute in defending the freedom and independence of the church, and, when authorized by the sovereign pontiff, to do battle against the tyrant who would oppress the Catholic conscience, and abridge or suppress the rights of religion, which are the rights of God, without which the rights of man are a mockery and a delusion. The popes have often intervened in national and political questions, in some few instances even to the deposition of the tyrannical prince, and the absolution of his subjects from their oath of fidelity; but, as far as we can discover, only for freedom and independence of the spiritual order, in no instance for the sake of the temporal order itself, although their intervention in behalf of the rights of religion or the church not seldom redressed great temporal evils and secured great temporal good.

We are apt to forget that the Catholic Church represents the divine authority on earth, as well as the divine goodness, love, and mercy. Secure her liberty, her perfect freedom and independence in any country, and you secure, no matter what the form of government, all practicable or desirable individual, social, and political liberty. Secure this first, and all other true liberty will be added or follow:--"If the Son makes you free, ye shall be free indeed." What right have Catholics to doubt the word, or to distrust the promises of our Lord? We are ready to take our part in politics, so far as necessary, for the purpose of emancipating the Catholics oppressed by the state, to secure to Catholics freedom of the Catholic faith and worship, and to the church her right to educate the child of Catholic parents: for the education of the young is a function of the church, and provided for the in sacrament of orders. But where no Catholic interest is involved, where the church is free and measurably secure in her freedom, where no spiritual end is to be gained, we doubt the lawfulness, and certainly deny the utility, of political agitation. An agitation, like that headed by O’Connell in Ireland, for the relief of Catholics suffering from unjust, most iniquitous Protestant legislation, we can understand, and hold it to be eminently Catholic; for so long as Catholics were denied, on account of their religion, the common rights of citizens or subjects, excluded from office, and from seats in parliament, their religion was not free, and their church was abridged of her rights. His subsequent agitation for the repeal of the union had not the same sacredness for us, for we have never been able to see that any Catholic interest was to be promoted by it. With the Irish agitation for national independence of England, carried on chiefly in this country, we have had no sympathy, either as a Catholic or as an American citizen. Catholics have as little to complain of in Ireland as in England. Indeed, Catholics are as free in all the British isles and in the British colonies, to say the least, as they are in the United States, and enjoy not a few advantages that we have not. The national-school system in Ireland may have its objectionable features, but we should jump with delight if we had here a system of public education one-half as liberal to Catholics as it is. We may be very wrong, but, as long as Great Britain respects the religious rights of Catholics, as she has shown in these last few years a disposition to do, Irish Catholics have as little reason to be discontented with the government as have English Catholics; and in these times of great centralized empires, and when small states hold their separate existence only at the mercy of their more powerful neighbors, it is doubtful if the Irish would gain in security and consideration by having their country severed from all connection with Great Britain, the freest and most powerful of modern states. Time, patience, and perseverance can secure to Irish Catholics what is still lacking to place them on a footing of complete equality before the state with their Protestant fellow-subjects; while their connection with the empire, and representation in the imperial parliament, serve or might serve as a powerful protection, encouragement, and support to Catholics in the rest of the British dominions. It seems to us that Catholic interests throughout the world require Catholics everywhere to do all in their power to strengthen the Catholic element in the British empire. Ireland, if she gained her independence, might have great difficulty in maintaining it. The Irish republic, organized on our soil, very soon found itself torn by intestine divisions, and finally divided into two separate and not friendly organizations. The Irish are a gifted race, but they have too many able men aspiring to be "head-centres," to be a united race.

But, be all this as it may, one thing is certain, that the constant agitation of any people for national and political objects, no matter under what name, has a deleterious effect on Catholics, and tends to diminish faith and fervor, especially in the younger class. We have shown that the essential principle of Protestantism is nationalism, that is gentilism; and that gentilism, or nationalism, stands directly opposed to catholicity, and in all ages and nations is the most persistent and formidable enemy of the church, or the city of God. Men cannot, then, become absorbed in national and political objects for their own sake, where no Catholic interests are involved, which require to be defended, protected, or promoted, without losing in a measure their Catholic integrity, and assimilating themselves to Protestants. Your intense national journals may publish from time to time able Catholic articles, and valuable Catholic intelligence; but their tone and spirit, their silent and unsuspected influence, is to protestantize, that is, secularize their readers, and to make them feel that religion does not cover the whole duty of man; and ends by subordination religion to secular interests, that is to the world.

We have illustrated our doctrine by reference to the Irish national and political agitation at home and abroad, because the great body of our English-speaking Catholics are Irish either by birth or descent; but we hold that similar agitation for American national and political objects is no less to be deprecated. To put up American nationality against Irish nationality would be as objectionable as to put up Irish nationality against American nationality; and it is no more in accordance with catholicity for Americans to be absorbed in American politics, than it is for Irishmen at home and abroad to be absorbed in Irish politics. It is not Irish politics, or Irish political agitation as such, that we oppose, but nationalism, whether Irish or English, German or American, and one not more than the other; because nationalism stands always opposed to catholicity, and is of the essence of Protestantism, gentilism, or paganism. In our country there is and can be no agitation for national independence, for we are politically subject to no foreign power; but, as the people here are virtually the government, it is, no doubt, the duty of every citizen, as far as practicable, to master the science of government and its administration, and to take part in the election of representatives and rulers. But we are always to remember that the government does not exist for its own sake; it exists for the common good. The temporal order itself does not exist for itself, but for the spiritual and eternal, for the honor and glory of the incarnate Word. Politics are, therefore, always to be subordinated to religion, and cultivated, if at all, for a spiritual or religious end, which Catholics are never at liberty to forget, as those do who say, "My religion has nothing to do with my politics:" as if in political action men are emancipated from the divine sovereignty!

We know of nothing that has or can have a more deleterious effect on the moral and religious character of the people than the ceaseless political agitation which our demagogues and journals keep up, and in which the American people are constantly absorbed, when not still more deeply absorbed in the pursuit of riches. Even the well-disposed have little time for meditation and prayer. The moral standard with us is probably lower than with any other civilized people; and our politicians, unless grossly belied, are as corrupt as men well can be. It would seem that there is among them neither honesty nor honor. The sense of justice, fidelity to trust, whether public or private, would seem to be obsolete. The elected guardians of the public interests would seem to be chiefly intent upon public plunder, or, in slang phrase, pickings and stealings, and sometimes on a gigantic scale. The very police, maintained to protect private citizens in their person and property, and to restrain vice and immorality and maintain the peace, are said to connive at crime, and to be not seldom the accomplices of the criminals they should arrest. In no other country in the world does the government, either directly or indirectly, take to itself so large a portion of the earnings of the people; and the larger portion of what the government leaves is gathered up by the huge corporations that cover the land, and goes to support the luxury and extravagance of their officers, and to pay the interest on their borrowed capital, or borrowed credit rather. In no other country does the government effect so little for the common good, set so bad an example to the people, or do so much to corrupt them. This is what comes of the absorption of the American people in politics, and what they gain by their devotion to the world and the acquisition of sensible goods, or by living and acting for the natural emancipated from its subordination to the supernatural order, that is to say, religion. Yet, says the Boston Pilot, "Dr. Brownson mixes too much religion with his politics; and his intolerant meddling can only bring discredit on catholicity." The present state of Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain, is a striking comment on the political atheism which that journal, perhaps unwittingly, defends, and abuses us for the opposing.

The greatest difficulty a Catholic reviewer encounters is in convincing Catholic laymen and journalists that catholic means catholic. The difficulty is almost as great as that of convincing certain routinist philosophers that nothing is nothing, not something. If religion is catholic, it is supreme and universal, the supreme law in every department of life, extending to every species of human activity. Whether we eat or drink, whether we sleep or wake, whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God. The goods of this life, whether national or political, social or economical, are never secured, or, if secured, cease to be goods,