Various Objections Answered (October, 1861 *Brownson answers his Catholic objectors and answers questions about hell)

The following Letter is from a highly revered friend, and really one of the ablest and most learned theologians in our country, whose disapprobation cannot be otherwise than extremely painful.

It was written for our private admonition, and by no means intended for publication; but, as it expresses in a brief and summary manner the objections to our views which have reached us from some other quarters, we take the liberty to lay it before our readers, simply suppressing the name of the writer, the place from which it was written, and its date:

"Doctor: I have not very good news to send you today. I am not pleased. Your philosophy as a system can be maintained. But when you endeavor to make all truths, even the first and clearest principles of reason dependent and resting on it, on your intuition of God, on your primum philosophicum, Ens creat existentias, this is too much. A priori, the attempt to ground whatever we know for certain on a system, which, by the very fact that it is a system, and that it is contradicted by many, is uncertain, such an attempt cannot be successful. Is it not wiser to start from those simple, general principles, which have always been admitted by human reason, and leave room to no doubt or hesitation whatever; and then, as far as we can, connect our systems with them; so that, if we fail, yet those principles remain unshaken, but simply our system is more or less injured by that want of connection? This seems to be more or less advisable. But enough on that.

About your Home Politics, you are perfectly free to think just as you choose: and what you choose may be the best. Also about 'schools, public schools, Catholic schools,' though I did not lean to your side, yet my knowledge of the country, of the state of public schools, of the resources of Catholics, was too limited to enable me to be either way very positive on the matter; especially, as bishops themselves are divided on that question. And furthermore, as you conceded that if we could get up Catholic schools well supported and managed, it would be highly desireable; and as it was only an affair of opportunity, circumstances, etc., I had not much to say against it.

"About the temporal principality of the Holy Father, you maintained that it was a serious inconvenience, in modern times, to religion itself; that the pope could do well enough, if not better, without it; that Italians were incensed against the Church itself, as a spiritual and divine institution, on account of that temporality, etc. You maintained, also, that notwithstanding these considerations, no power on earth had a right to deprive the Holy Father; you condemned in the strongest terms the sacreligious invasion of the Roman states by the Sardinians; you hoped for the church far better times and nobler triumphs, etc. I said again, at the time, that an honest man can entertain all these notions.

"But since then, I have taken a wholly different view of the case. The atrocities commited by Piedmontese, and of which I sent you some instances from the Civilta, and the reaction which burst out from every part of the kingdom of Naples, etc., have convinced me that in poor Italy, there is to be seen now, what we enjoyed in France, during the blissful years of 1789, et seq., namely, the unmitigated reign of terror, and the domination of murderers. I regret deeply having at any time said a word in favor of these basest rabble. I have been thoroughly deceived, and I believe now firmly that, in Italy, the pope is now more than ever the true friend and defender not only of right, but especially of liberty; and that, if he is driven away from Rome, liberty will go with him, and disappear from where he is not. So I think now, after closer examination. Errare aut errasse humanum est. I should like to know if this be to your taste. I fain persuade myself that you cannot be very far from the same conviction.
In fact, I see now in Italy, on the part of the pretended liberals, nothing but falsehood, hypocrisy, iniquity, abominable tyranny and cruelty, which cry to Heaven. And perhaps you yourself do not see much more, as a phrase, or rather the whole page 416 (Brownson's Works Vol. 18 p. 444) seems to indicate.

"Also you have spoken several times against the scholastics, and in your last number, pgs. 287 and 288 (vol. 2, pp. 146 and 147) you say things rather harsh. Of course, I do not admit that. It would afford me the great pleasure to know even one of these 'subtler errors of the day,' save those based on geology and modern discoveries, any speculative or metaphysical error, the solution or the principle of solution of which is not to be found in the books of the scholastics.

"But the article I regret most, and which is the cause of this letter of mine, is the one headed 'Catholic Polemics.' Assuredly, we must present truth in such a way as to be understood by those whom we address; and who ever denied it? But if we must proceed, as you do yourself when speaking on hell, this is another thing.

"Really, my dear Doctor, I have been horrified at it. What then becomes of the Ite in Ignem Aeternum, of the several passages where this fire is called Inextinguibilis, of this well known text of Isaias: Quis habitabit ex vobis cum adoribus sempiternis? and of so many others, and of all catechisms together? To say that the reprobate can be restored to the natural beatitude they might have enjoyed in statu naturae purae is a heretical proposition. Besides, if they undergo the loss of God, as you concede, and if this be a punishment, how can they feel any amount of happiness; unless you contend that the loss of God is a trifling affair; or unless you put them on the same level as children who have not been baptized; neither of which can be held consistently with the teaching of the Catholic Church? But I have no time to argue at length. It would take me a month to explain what came to my mind while reading that article. My dear Doctor, I tell you again I feel a great deal of pain on account of it.

"Besides how can you with justice, 'page 358, that 'we must be content to repeat the arguments stereotyped for our use, although those arguments may rest on historical blunders, metaphysical errors, etc.' and a few lines before, that 'it is the duty of Catholic publicists never to take any deeper, broader, or loftier views than are taken by the most ignorant or uncultivated of Catholic believers, etc.'

"I have just done reading the Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England, by Dr. Newman. Nothing can be more original, more deep, and more orthodox, and not only no ignorant Catholic, but even very few among the most learned, could go so deep, and explain so philosophically the origin and causes, etc., of Protestantism in England; and you, yourself, were you shackled and fettered, when formerly you wrote so beautifully and vigorously in behalf of the church? If you were, indeed it is a fact I never suspected in the least. I cannot account for the change. But change there is, and a striking one. Assuredly, you have still admirable passages. But you have taken the habit of mixing up with them passages of quite a different nature, which grate terribly on the ears of your friends.

"I object also to the beginning of the aliena: 'In our historical reading,' p. 360 It contains a real offense to the bishops, and also especially to the last five pages, from the aliena,'p. 373 to the end; except the last lines, which breathe a noble spirit, a truly Catholic heart. Ah, Doctor, if your excellent qualities could be cleared from some little defects, which impair them and lessen the fruits they can produce, you would be an accomplished man. I have no time to write any more, and this is even too long.
"Be assured that there is in my remarks, much less in my heart, not the slightest degree of bitterness against you. Nothing will ever make me forget the good you have done to the Catholic cause, and till the end I will remain Your most affectionate and devoted friend."

To this letter we subjoin an article from The Catholic published at Pittsburgh, July 13th, 1861, because it is, with the exception of the last paragraph, written with more candor and fairness, and with a graver attempt at argument than we usually meet in the columns of the so-called Catholic papers when referring to our Review:

"Towards the end of the third article of the July number of his Review, Dr. Brownson throws out some suggestions as to the real Catholic doctrine on certain points, which are combated by the rationalists of the day. He us anxious apparently to reduce the teaching of the church within as narrow limits as possible, in order the better to recommend it to unbelievers. Whatever may be said of the merits of this system in general, we are afraid that in the particular instances he has selected, the reviewer has gone too far.

"He first offers the following explanation of the Catholic doctrine of hell: 'THough only the elect can be saved, we know of no authority for denying that all men may attain to as great a degree of good as is foreshadowed in the state of pure nature.' The authority for denying this view is plain enough. All theologians assert that it is rash (and some go farther) to deny that the fire of hell is not metaphorical, but real, though no doubt, different in many respects from the fire which we have on earth. The foundation for this assertion is the frequent use in the Scripture of the word fire, to express the sufferings ofthe damned, under circimstances that entirely preclude any but a literal meaning. Add to this the following words of the Athanasian Creed, which every Catholic must receive as an authoritative exposition of faith, 'qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est Fides Catholica.' And although these last words did not refer exclusively to the sufferings of the damned, yet they include this point, as well as the others explained in the symbol. Now, if the fire which torments the damned be a real fire, and be eternal, it is manifest that the explanation suggested in the Review cannot be maintained.

"Again the reviewer overlooks another well-defined doctrine of the church. The Council of Florence defined,
and the definition is repeated in every profession of faith proposed to the original schismatics that the souls of those who die in actual, as well as those who die only in original sin, 'mox in infernum descendunt, poenis tamen disparibus puniendae.' Now, the mildest doctrine that a Catholic can defend in regard to infants who die in original sin, is that they are excluded from the beatific, or supernatural vision of God, but enjoy that which would have been alloted to the state of pure nature. Then, according to the definition that the punishment of those who die in actual sin, is different than of those who depart with original sin, the punishment of the first class of sinners must necessarily be something more than what the reviewer represented it to be. Nor is this reasoning unsupported by positive authority. Innocent IV (lib. 3. Decretal Tit. 42 cap. 3 Majores), lays down as a principle that the punishment of original sin is the privation of the vision of God, (carentia visionis Dei) and the punishment of actual sin consists in the torments of an everlasting hell, (gehennae perpetuae cruciatus). This authoritative declaration prevents us from limiting the punishment of actual sin to the privation of the beatific vision and clearly indicates that besides this the damned have to suffer perpetual torments. And from this wethink we can conclude the reviewer's question whether we can hold and defend the view he proposes 'compatibly with our faith as a Catholic,' must be answered in the negative.

"Dr. Brownson next introduces various questions in regard to the Holy Scriptures, in the settlement of which he thinks he can improve on the solutions given in 'popular theology.' The Council of Trent (Sess. IV) has defined that God is the author of the Old and New Testaments; it gives a list of the sacred and canonical books, and anathematizes those who refuse to receive for sacred and canonical the entire books, with each of their parts,' as they are commonly read in the Catholic Church, and as they are to be found in the Old Vulgate edition.' To say that a book is sacred and canonical, is to say that it is inspired, or that God is its author, and this certainly forces us to defend that 'every historical statement made therein is strictly exact.' The sacred writers no doubt, "followed their own reason, judgment, and taste in their forms of expression, in the selection of the imagery and illustrations which they adopt, and in the arguments which they use or put forth in defence of the truth revealed;' but in all this they were guarded from error by the infallible assistance of the Holy Ghost, and the same Holy Spirit moved them to write what they did write. This is the view of the inspiration of the sacred book, which must be held to make good the assertion that God is the author of the entire book and each of its parts. We do not know whether the reviewer counts the Jesuit Patrizi among 'popular' theologians; at all events he has, we think, settled conclushe defends the view which we have briefly stated.

"Again, the Council of Trent, ad coercenda petulantia ingenia, decreed that no one relying on his own learning should interpret the Sacred Scriptures, in the matter of faith and morals, pertaining to the establishment of Christian doctrine, contrary to the sense which has been holden and is held by our mother the church, or contrary to the unanimous interpretation of the fathers. This decree is more than a sufficient answer to the question put by the reviewer in relation to traditionary interpretation. A full explanantion may be found in any 'popular' theology.

"Lastly, the reviewer complains that scholastic theology represents the supernatural as isolated and arbitrary. This, we must confess, is a novel view of scholastic theology. This theology follows closely the definitions of the church, and if there is any obscurity on the question of the supernatural, it is because the more difficult and abstruse points, as Pope Celestine I long ago remarked, have not been defined by the competent authority. The reviwer must pardon us if we still prefer the teaching of scholastic theology to any unintelligible jargon about methexis and mimesis, and palingenesia, and cosmic cycles. There is no use of attempting to improve on the simplicity of faith, and as Gregory XVI complains in his brief against Hermes, 'besides the evil wrought by those who openly defend rebellion against the church, great harm is done by those who through love and desire of ways learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, become masters of error, having never been the disciples of truth, and while boasting that they defend, in reality, attempt to corrupt the sacred deposit of faith."

We add also the following paragraph, which we clip from the Catholic Mirror, published at Baltimore, as before we get through, we shall make it the subject of remark:

"Messrs. Editors:- Let me call your attention and that of the readers of Brownson's Review, to the page 371 of the last number, where the former champion of the church calls in question an article of Catholic faith, namely, the eternity of the pains of hell. This point was solemnly defined in the fifth general council, held at Constantinople, in the year 553. Qui stat, videant ne cadat. "A Priest"

The writer of the letter says: "Now your review is no more the same as before. I do not know why. I cannot account for the change. But change there is, and a striking one."
The change can hardly be great or striking, it seems to us if it cannot be told wherein it consists. Of this alleged change we ourselves are not aware. We have, we confess, for the last few years endeavored to write in our own natural style rather than in a style formed in imitation of the scholastics, in which we were never at home or at out ease. We have also taken up other questions, and have endeavored to address ourselves more to the general comprehension of the American mind, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, than we did in the beginning of our Catholic career. We labored at first to bring out and vindicate what may be called the extrinsic authority of the church; but, having said all that we had to say on that point, we have since labored more especially to bring out and vindicate what may be called her intrinsic authority, in order to show that the extrinsic is not arbitrary, mechanical, or isolated in its character and operation, but has its basis in the intrinsic, in the very nature and constitution of things. In lthe earlier volumes of our Review we labored to develop and apply to the various relations of life, social, domestic, and individual, the admonition of Our Lord, Quaerite primum regnum Dei et iustitiam ejus: et haec omnia adjicientur vobis. In the later volumes we have been endeavoring to develop and apply to the various questions that come up the theological maxim Gratia supponit naturam, grace supposes nature. In this, indeed, there is a change of subject very allowable and very necessary, unless we would be continually repeating ourselves, but no change of doctine or purpose, tone or spirit.

If there has been any change of purpose or of doctrine in our Review during the seventeen years of devotion to Catholicity, we are unconscious of it. As far as we know ourselves we are the same man that we were at first, only trusting that we may have profited somewhat by our experience; we are, to say the least, as firm in our Catholic faith as we were seventeen years ago, as deeply devoted to the church, as anxious to serve the cause of truth, and as earnes to secure the salvation of our own soul. The only changes we are conscious of are such changes as invariably take place in every convert when his fervor has passed away, when the novelty of his position has worn off, and he has become acquainted with the stern realities of the new world into which he has entered.

From our entrance into the church up to the present moment, those outside have consoled themselves with the constant prediction that we should change and abandon the Catholic religion, as we had abandoned the several forms of Protestantism to which we had been previously momentarily attached; and we fear that these predictions have had some influence on a certain number of our Catholic friends, and disposed them from the first, if we failed to repeat our profession of faith, to suspect us of having changed or being on the point of changing back to our old misbelief or no-belief. Now we wish to say, once for all, that when we entered the Catholic Church we did it deliberately and from full conviction; we knew what we were about; we then made our solemn profession of faith and pledged ourselves to God and to man to abide by it; we then pledged ourselves to submit to the authority and hold to the doctrines of the church. We consider this pledge sufficient, and do not consider it necessary for us to repeat it in every number and every article of our Review. In a worldly point of view, we had nothing to gain by becoming a Catholic; in a worldly point of view, we have nothing to gain by remaining a Catholic. We came into the church because thoroughly convinced and firmly persuaded that she is God's church and out of her communion there is no salvation; we remain in the church because we retain the same conviction, the same persuation, and know that if we were to leave her we could never save our soul, see God, or enjoy the happiness of heaven. What she teaches us, we believe; what she commands, we are prepared to do without question or hesitation. Let us know she teaches a doctrine, we ask nothing further; let us know that she declares such or such to be our duty, and we at once admit that we are bound to do it, and that if we do not, we are wanting not only in our fidelity to her, but in our obedience to God. What more can be asked of us, or what more can we say? Do you believe us? Then this is enough. Do you not believe us? Do you believe that we lie, lie to you and lie to God? Then nothing that we could say would be of any avail. But till we persist in maintaining some condemned doctrine, or in defining things prohibited by the church, you are bound to believe us and to be satisfied with our Catholic disposition and intentions.

That we may err, that we have erred in our writings in regard both to doctrine and opinion, is very possible; to this the best of men are liable, for, as says our reverend friend in his letter, Errare aut errasse humanum est. But can any one, however hostile to us, charge us with persisting in an error of any sort after it has been clearly shown to us that it is an error? Have we ever resisted authority in either doctrine or practice? We may have been ignorant of some definitions of the church, and unwittingly said things contrary thereto, but when those definitions were brought to our knowledge, have we ever refused to accept them or to retract any thing we might have said not in accordance with them? Have we ever set, or ever shown a disposition to set ourselves above authority and to write or teach any thing contrary to the teachings of the church? No enemy can say that we have. We have for seventeen years conducted a Catholic review, and no bishop or any archbishop can say that we have ever persisted in any doctrine or opinion which he informed us was contrary to our Catholic faith or Catholic duty.

Our reverend friend says: "Your philosophy as a system can be maintained," that is, maintained compatibly with faith as a Catholic, we suppose he means. This is all we need to ask, and we may pass over his criticisms, the more especially, since they do not happen to bear upon either our method or our principles. In point of fact, we have no system of philosophy, defend no system, and are opposed to all attempts to construct a system; for all systems of philosophy are abstract, and therefore lack reality. They are at best only logical representations, not of reality, or things as they are, but of our mental conceptions of things. Our philosophy, so far as philosophy we have, is realism, that is, deals with things as they really are, and not as they may exist in our abstract conceptions. When we assert Ens creat existentias as the ideal formula embracing all truth, we assert the real order; and we assert real being and real existences in their real relation. Our reverend friend must concede to us, that in the beginning God created the heavens and earth, all things visible and invisible; he must also concede, that what is not God, and yet exists, is creature; that what is not creature, and yet is, is God, and that the relation between God and creature, or between being and existences, is expressed by the creative act; therefore he must concede that all truth, whether truth of being, truth of existences, or truth of relation, is embraced in the ideal formula. Furthermore, as Ens, or God, is real and necessary being, and includes in himself all real and necessary being, he must concede that, whatever is contingent, depends upon the creative act, and exists only by virtue of that act. How, then, can he object to our formula as the primum philosophicum?

We thank our reverend friend for informing us, that we are perfectly free to think as we choose about Home Politics, and also for admitting that he had not much to say against our views on the subject of Education, especially, as he says, as the bishops themselves were divided on that question. With regard to our views of the temporal principality of the Holy Father, he says, he said and believed, when they were put forth they were such as an honest man might entertain; but he now, it would seem, thinks differently, and claims the benefit of the proverb, Errare aut errasse humanum est. That proverb, we suppose, may be available for us as for him; and in all cases, and on all subjects, we trust we shall ever be as ready as he to retract any views we have expressed, the moment we are satisfied they are erroneous. The subject, however, is one which cannot be re-opened, at least for the present, in our pages. We will only say, that our friend will find in our Review the conviction, as strongly expressed as he expresses it, that the pope is more than ever the true friend, not only of right, but especially of liberty. Our views on the whole question, especially on the conduct of the Sardinians and the revolutionists of Italy, have been given as fully in our pages as it is necessary to give them; and we have nothing futher to say on the subject, only that if we have said any thing untrue, or inconsistent with our faith or loyalty as a Catholic, we are ready to make such explanations, modifications, or retractions, as the Holy See may require us.

Our reverend friend complains that we have several times said things rather harsh against the scholastics. This is possible; but he might have added, that we have several times said things very much in their favor. Does he forget that the scholastics have said much harder things themselves of each other, than we have ever said of any of them? Does he hold that we are bound, as Catholics, to maintain every doctrine, every opinion, every form of expression, which may be found in the scholastics, either as philosophers or as theologians? Does he maintain that the human mind has henceforth nothing to do, but to repeat, in a diluted form, the schlastics, and that it is never lawful for a Catholic to go beyond the compendiums of their speculations furnished by our modern theologians? Did not the scholastics in method, in form, and in expression, depart widely from the fathers? Wherefore, then, should it be unlawful for us, provided we hold fast to the faith, to depart in like respects from them? Am I, as a Catholic of the nineteenth century, bound to follow, in my method of philosophizing, St. Thomas, any more than St. Thomas was bound to follow the method of St. Augustine? St. Thomas, as a philosopher, simply reproduces Aristotle, and departs from him only when forced to do so by his faith as a Christian. Is it unlawful for me, as a Catholic, to dissent from Aristotle? Must I, too, take that pagan philosopher as Magister, as Philosophus, whose dictum is authority in every matter pertaining to the province of human reason? If so, what say you of St. Augustine, St. Bonaventura, Thomassin, Bossuet, Fenelon, and Cardinal Gerdil, not to name others hardly less eminent in philosophy and theology, who were very far from swearing by the words of the Stagirite? We have always understood, that in philosophy the church leaves us free, so long as we do not contravene her dogmas, or depart from the Catholic faith.

The writer of the letter says: "It would afford me great pleasure to know even one of those 'subtler errors of the day,' save those based on geology and modern discoveries, and speculative or metaphysical error, the solution, or the principle of solution of which, is not to be found in the books of the scholastics." The term scholastics is rather vague, and our friend allows himself a very wide margin. By the scholastic philosophy we, in our remarks referred to, meant not merely that of the medieval scholastics, but that generally taught officially in our schools and colleges, such as we find it in our more commonly used textbooks. With this philosophy, which professes to follow in the main St. Thomas, and is of the peripatetic species, we have maintained, it is impossible to refute the subtler objections of our day urged against the Catholic Church. There are many of these subtler errors; but as our friend asks for only one, we will name modern pantheistic rationalism, as held and defended by recent German authors. We find in this philosophy neither the refutation, nor the principle of refutation of this subtle form of rationalism. Taking the principle of the peripatetics, Nihil est in intellectu, quod non prius fuerit in sensu, it is impossible to refute modern sensism. Denying, with what we call scholastic philosophy, or the philosophy of the schools, intuition of God, it is impossible, by any logic we are acquainted with, to prove the existence of the supreme being as distinct from the universe; and denying, with the same philosophy, all intution of the creative act, it is equally impossible to prove the existence of a universe distinct from God or the supreme being. It would be easy for us to show the truth of these assertions; but as we could not do it without scandalizing many worthy people, we let then stand as simple assertions, leaving it for our friend to refute them, by refuting on the recognized principles, and by the approved methods of the scholastic philosophy - Schleiemacher, Schelling, Hegel, Bauer, or even the Ethics of Spinoza.

We do not say that it is impossible to refute these subtler errors to which we allude by the scholastic philosophy, to the satisfaction of those who are ignorant of them, or even as they may be reproduced by our professors; what we mean is, that it is impossible with that philosophy, according to its systematic principles and method, to refute them, to the conviction of those who hold them, and as they hold them. German rationalism, which in its later forms is a much more subtle pantheism than that of oriental emanationism, is, so far as we are informed, met and refuted by no official philosophy, or philosophy suffered to be taught in our schools, as it is conceived and held by the German rationalists themselves. No doubt our professors prove clearly enough, that it contains many errors and even absurdities; but we refute no doctrine for its adherents, till we distinguish its truth from the error they mix up with it, and show them that truth freed from its accompanying error, and integrated in our own doctrine. Men embrace an erroneous system, and adhere to it, not for the sake of the error, but for the sake of the truth it contains; and they hold the error, either because they do not distinguish it from the truth, or because it seems to them impossible to hold the truth without holding it. We should all remember that the intellect can never be false, and, therefore, that in every doctrine which the intellect may embrace, there is and must be an element of truth. That truth the Catholic, if he understands his own religion, accepts, and shows to exist, in its unity and integrity, in the doctrine of his church. This is the fact which he must make evident to every non-Catholic in order really to refute him. Now, how can you tell me, on your scholasticism, what is the truth the German rationalist holds, and which, to his mind, consecrates the error of that rationalism; or how will you show him that in your own doctrine you avoid his error, and accept and integrate his truth?

We repeat here what we have said in our Review, that we do not refute false doctrines simply by pointing out their falsehood; we must do it by distinguishing between the true and the false, and showing that we accept the true, and integrate it in a higher unity. This is an important consideration for all who seek the conversion of non-Catholics. In the earlier volumes of our Review we wrote not a few articles against Protestants and unbelievers in favor of Catholicity, which were perfectly satisfactory and conclusive to our Catholic friends, but which had little or no effect upon those who held the errors we labored to refute, except to puzzle and bewilder them. There was something not unjust in their reply: "Your arguments are logical; they are well put; they silence, but they do not convince." They did not convince any who needed to be convinced, for the simple reason, that we did not distinguish their truth from their error, and show them that we held the very truth they in their own minds saw, and held it in its unity and integrity from from their error.

This is the mistake of most controversialists with their opponents. They begin by denouncing their errors, and passing over, without recognition, the very important, the very essential truths which, notwithstanding those errors, they may hold, and then attributing their failure to be convinced to the perversity of their wills, the hardness of their hearts, or their love of error. No man hates truth or loves error, and no man is ever unwilling to give up error for truth, when he is convinced that it is only error that he gives up, and only truth that he is required to accept. Why is it that the Protestant adheres to his Protestantism? Because his Protestantism is a pure, unmixed falsehood. No. But because he has in its certain elements of truth which he loves and prizes, and which he erroneously supposes he would be required to give up, were he to become a Catholic. To induce him to become a Catholic it is not necessary, nor is it profitable to insist, in season and out of season, on his error, but to show him that his truth is ours, is held by us as firmly as by him, in a higher unity than he has, in its true place and relation in the whole body of truth.

The hardest thing for us Catholics to conceive of, is, that they who are not Catholics may have, and in fact do have much truth, and that we do no harm to the Catholic cause, and in no sense deny the catholicity of our religion by recognizing and frankly accepting the truth they have. In fact, we hardly believe practically, that our religion can be regarded as catholic if we admit those outside are yet destitute of some portions of the truth. We are apt to think that whatever truth we concede to them is so much subtracted from our stock. Yet the concession implies no deficiency on our part, or that the truth which we concede to them to hold is sufficient for their intellectual and moral life and fecundity. The Catholic Church embraces the whole truth and nothing but the truth; in her alone is truth to be found in its unity and its universality as a complete and living whole. Out of the church truth is indeed held, but held in fragments, isolated from its proper relations, without unity or integrity, and therefore without life, vigor, or unfruitfulness. No people in any age has been so degraded, so completely dishumanized, so absolutely severed from God as to have no truth; for to be absolutely destitute of truth, to be reduced to pure falsehood would be absolute intellectual death and annihilation. It is because those outside of the church are not destitute of all truth, because they have some elements of truth that we are able to hope for their conversion, for it is only on the truth which they have that we can base our arguments or our reasoning designed to bring them to the truth which they have not. Bearing this in mind, our labors would be much more successful, because we should proceed in our controversies with non-Catholics with more respect for their understanding, and more readily win their sympathy and affection.

Perhaps, after all, the suspicion that we have changed, which some of our Catholic friends seem to entertain, grows out of the fact that we really have changed our method of dealing with those outside of the church, and, instead of laboring primarily and chiefly to prove that they are wrong and on the road to destruction, we have labored to make them understand that we recognize what they have that is true and by no means wish them to abandon any truth they have. We have sought latterly to defend Catholic interests and to win the ears and the hearts of those separated from us, by showing them, on the one hand,that Catholicity repels nothing which they hold affirmatively, or most value in their own doctrines, and, on the other hand, that what they really object to in the Catholic Church and is practically effective in keeping them out of her communion, has no real foundation in Catholic doctrine, in the constitution, discipline, teachings, or practices of the church, although some of it may be true of the notions and practices of many Catholics. Here, we apprehend, is the cause of much of that distrust of us which some have latterly entertained. It has led us necessarily into a style of remark and to the adoption of a line of argument not unusual with Catholic controversialists- or, as to that matter, with any class of controversialists, Catholic or non-Catholic. It has led us to acknowledge and accept much that is true in our opponents, and to acknowledge and rebuke not a few notions and practices we find among our own Catholic brethren. It has had the effect not of diminishing our intolerance of error, but of making us less intolerant to those separated from the Catholic communion. It has also led us to seek to present Catholic truth, under those relations and in those forms which would render it intelligible to the non-Catholic American mind, and prevented us from adopting as the rule of action: "See no faults in a friend, and no good in an enemy." But whether right or wrong in this, we have believed that we were proceeding upon a truly Catholic principle, and laboring in the most effectual manner in our power for the advancement of Catholic interests. It is for the authorities of the church to decide whether we have adopted an un-catholic principle, an un-catholic method, or whether, supposing our principle and method be true, we have erred in our development and application of them or not. If they say we are wrong under either head, we are ready to make the correction or the modification that shall be exacted of us.

A due consideration of what we have just said will explain, if it does not justify, what appears to our reverend friend as objectionable in our article on Catholic Polemics, and which he says is the cause of his letter to us. "Assuredly," he says, "we must present truth in such a way as to be understood by those whom we address; and who ever denied it? But if we must proceed, as you do yourself when speaking on hell, this is another thing." This concedes the principle we contend for; but the reverend author, we trust, will permit us to say that to present truth in such a way to be understood by those whom we address, is to present it in such a way that it shall be seen to be consistent with, and to include the truth they already hold. This is all we have aimed at in any thing we have written, or insisted upon as necessary to be done. Whether in attempting to do it we have ourselves fallen into error or not, we leave to others to decide.

Our reverend friend says "he has been horrified" at what we say when speaking of hell. We very frankly admit and we shall by and by explain wherein, that some expressions escaped us which are inexact and may lead to the inference that we hold in regard to the punishment of the wicked in hell, a doctrine which we do not hold and had no intention of suggesting. But our friend should bear in mind that we were in fact laying down and defending no doctrine on the subject; we were simply stating certain problems of very great importance in the present state of religious controversy in our own country, in regard to which further definitions of the church seem to us to be needed. We did not attepmt to dictate what those definitions should be, nor did we give anybody the slightest reason to suppose that we were unprepared to accept them, let them be what they might. We thought and we still think, that there are questions which are asked in relation to the future condition of the reprobate that have not been answered by any formal and express definitions of the church, and on which therefore opinion is as yet free.

Our friend cites agianst us some passages of Scripture and refers us to all the catechisms; the writer in the Catholic Mirror refers us to the fifth general council for a solemn definition of the church against us; The Catholic refers us to the words of the Athanasian Creed, qui bona egerunt ibunt in vitam aeternam; qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est fides Catholica, to the defintion of the Council of Florence, which declares a difference of punishment between those who die guilty of actual sin and those who die only in original sin, and to the Decretals which assert that the punishment of actual sin is gehennae perpetuae cruciatus. Conceding these authorities to be definitions, they do not touch the problem we proposed to be defined, for we have never questioned, or thought of questioning the fact that the reprobate are punished eternally in hell. Our questions, which, let it be understood, we did not answer- related not to the fact or duration of punishment, but to its nature and to the principles on which it is inflicted.

In regard to the reference of the writer in the Catholic Mirror, we can only say that we have been unable to find any thing of the sort in the acts of the fifth general council held at Constantinople in 553, or even in the acts of a synod held by the archbishop of the same city a short time previous at the request of the emperor, against the Origenists, and which are sometimes included with those of the council itself. There is in them not the slightest reference to the subject. It is true Denziger in his Enchiridion refers us to the acts against the Origenists, but the acts as he gives them are wholly silent on the questions. A friend, quite competent to the task, whom, in consequence of our continued inability to make much use of our eyes, we requested to examine the acts of the council in question as given by Hefele in his History of the Councils, the fullest and most recent authority on the subject, assures us that he can find no reference in them to the question of the punishment of the wicked. Hefele also maintains, and very conclusively, it has seemed to our friend and to us, that the name of Origen even, if not the whole of the 11th Canon inserted in the acts of the council as we now have them, is an interpolation. St. Gregory the Great tells us expressly that the only subject treated in the fifth general council was that of the Tria Capitula. It would be well for our newspaper writers to consult the original authorities before citing them

The definition of the Council of Florence adduced is not in point, for we did not question that it had been defined, that there would be a difference of punishment between those who die in only original sin and those who die in actual sin. The theologian in The Catholic reasons well as he understands our question, but not as we understand it ourselves. The passage from the Decretals, is referred by The Catholic to Innocent IV; Denziger refers it to Innocent III, and we find it in the Decretals of Gregory IX referred to the same pope, which seems the more probable as Innocent IV was not pope until some time after the death of Gregory IX. The sentence quoted can hardly be regarded as a definition, because it was not the point in question before the pontiff. It appears in a letter from Pope Innocent to the archbishop of Arles against the Albigenses and other heretics, who contended that baptism is uselessly conferred on infants. The letter contains a condemnation of this heresy and argument against it, and the particular passage cited comes incidentally in the course of the pontiff's reasoning.

But let this be as it may, the dictum of the pontiff is given substantially in the language of Scripture, and leaves the sense of the text referred to undefined. The same may be said of the passage in the Athanasian Creed. The text adduced by our friend from the Scriptures are not definitions, for the questions we ask relate precisely to the sense in which these texts are to be understood. That the wicked "descend into hell," that they go in ignem aeternum, that they dwell cum adoribus sempiternis, are points which we did not, and, as a Catholic or believer in the Holy Scriptures, could not question, or represent as undefined. In what sense are these expressions to be taken? The writer of the letter as well as the theologians of the Mirror and The Catholic seem not to have perceived the real character of the questions we raised, or the points that we considered as in need of further definition. The main points we had in view were set forth in two questions which were asked, raised by the book we were reviewing.

1. Does the church teach that the punishment of the wicked in hell is vindictive or simply expiative? 2. Does she teach that the punishment is everlasting because the reprobate continue everlastingly to sin? In development of these questions, we say:-

"Certainly the church teaches that they who die unregenerate shall never see God in the beatific vision, that is, be united with God by the ens supernaturale. This loss or deprivation of heaven is a penalty of sin, and is undoubtedly everlasting. But has she defined that the wicked in hell are continually committing new sin, that they continue through eternity uttering new blasphemies against God, which will call down upon them new showers of divine wrath? Are their hearts devoured by a literal worm that never dies? Are they subjected to a material fire that is never quenched? Are they doomed to those sensual tortures which the imaginations of our preachers so often attempt to depict? If they continue to commit sin, how can we say that Christ has triumphed over sin, that he has overcome Satan and destroyed his works? If their punishment is purely vindictive, not expiative, how can you reconcile it with the love, the mercy, or the goodness of God? Would the worst man that ever lived, animated by the most vindictive passion that ever raged in the human breast, not recoil from inflicting anything like so severe suffering upon his most bitter and most hated enemies? Is there not a point here in which popular belief needs to be modified? Can the everlasting existence of evil be by any means reconciled with the universal dominion of good? Has the church really defined, and does Catholic faith really require us to believe, that any thing is everlasting in the punishment of the wicked except the exclusion from the supernatural beatitude? May we not hope that the sins of this life may in some sense be expiated, and that the reprobate, though they can never receive any part or lot in the palingenesia, may yet find their suffering gradually diminishing and themselves attaining to that sort of imperfect good that is called natural beatitude? We know nothing in the definitions of the church opposed to this, and therefore only the elect can be saved, we know no authority for denying that all men may attain to as a great a degree of good as is foreshadowed in the state of pure nature. If this view may be taken, or if this theological explanation of the Catholic doctrine of hell is admissible, many of the most serious objections urged by thinking men against the church would be removed. are or are we not at liberty to take this view and offer this explanation? Can we hold and defend this view compatibly with our faith as a Catholic?"

Here it will be perceived that the questions we put had reference, not to the duration of punishment, but to the principle on which it is inflicted, and to its nature and intensity:- 1. Are the wicked everlastingly punished because they are everlastingly sinning? 2. Is the punishment vindictive or simply expiative? 3. Does it necessarily include any thing more than is implied in the loss of heaven or supernatural good? 4. Does it necessarily, though none but the elect can receive any supernatural good, exclude the reprobate from all diminution of their suffereings under the expiation eternally going on, or from gradually attaining to that degree of imperfect good foreshadowed in what theologians call the state of pure nature? What we really say is, that we know nothing in the definitions of the church that forbids us to hold the milder view indicated in these questions. Our critics adduce no definitions of the church to the contrary; they seem to have fastened upon one or two expressions which are not exact, and which are only incidental, and to have passed over what was the real intent and meaning it is evident to the candid and careful reader we must have had.

No doubt we indicated, clearly enough, that we should like to concede, if we would do so compatibly with Catholic faith, that the punishment of the damned is not everlasting because they are everlastingly sinning, that is, committing new sin; and that it is expiative, and not, at least in the popular sense of the word, vindictive. Our critics have overlooked this point, which was the great point with us, and assumed that our intention was to maintain that the expiation would ultimately end, and the reprobate be finally restored to natural beatitude. The phraseology we used, perhaps, justifies this assumption, for we say, "May we not hope that the sins of this life, may, in some sense, be expiated, and that the reprobate may attain to as great a degree of good as is foreshadowed in the state of pure nature, or to that sort of imperfect good which is called natural beatitude?" This phraseology is not sufficiently exact, and does not precisely express the meaning that was in our mind when using it, and we thought we had sufficiently guarded ourselves against any erroneous interpretation, by the different phraseology which we used in connection with it, namely, that "though they can never receive any part or lot in the palingenesia, may yet find their sufferings gradually diminishing and themselves attaining," not attain, to the sort of imperfect good in question. we ought to have been more explicit, and to have stated more fully and more distinctly our meaning, or to have left that particular point untouched, as with us it was not of primary importance.

It was far from our intention to imply, or in any manner to indicate, that the punishment of the wicked could ever absolutely end, or that they could ever fully attain to natural beatitude, in the sense that term is taken by theologians. We knew perfectly well that, as a Catholic, we were bound to maintain that the reprobate descend to hell, and that hell is eternal; that all the reprobate go in ignem aeternum, and that the punishment of those who die guilty of actual sin, is termed gehennae perpetuae cruciatus, and we never thought of calling that in question, or of asking if we might lawfully concede any thing incompatible with it. There was no intention of intimating that the expiation could ever be completed, or that the natural beatitude could ever be perfectly realized. Consequently there was nothing in our meaning to militate against the eternal punishment of the wicked, or in favor of the notion of their ultimate redemption from hell, or even complete restoration to natural beatitude.

Our reverend friend tells us, that to assert that "the reprobate can be restored to the natural beatitude they might have enjoyed in statu naturae purae, is a herietical proposition." We wish he had told us on what authority this rests, or when and where this proposition has been declared to be heretical. Yet we have said nothing that implies that it is or can be compatible with Catholic faith, for we did not assert any restoration to that beatitude. The most that can be made out of what we said is, that we thought it not contradictory to any definition of the church to concede that the sufferings of the damned may be eternally diminishing, without ever absolutely terminating, and that they may be eternally approaching that sort of imperfect good, foreshadowed in what theologians call the status naturae purae, without ever fully attaining to it. But it must be borne in mind, that we did not mean by the natural beatitude, to which we supposed them to be approaching, the beatitude implied in the state of pure nature, on the supposition that man had originally been created, and left in that state; but as implied in the present decree of Providence, according to which man was created for supernatural beatitude, and exists in a state of pure nature only as that nature has been despoiled by sin of its supernatural endowment and the original gift of integral nature; whence it follows that the natural beatitude possible in the present decree of Providence, is necessarily far below what theologians understand by that term, that is, the beatitude man might have enjoyed, had he been created in the state of pure nature, and always maintained in it. We meant, and could mean only the natural beatitude that is foreshadowed in that state, taken as it exists, and must exist, in the present order of Providence.

There is and must be a great difference between what may be called pure nature, originally endowed with the gifts of integrity, and raised to the plane of a supernatural destiny, and violently despoiled by sin of these gifts and the supernatural elevation, and the same nature originally created without these gifts and this elevation, and for a purely natural destiny alone, because the latter would never be exposed to the pain or regret of the loss of a good which never existed for it, and for which it was never designed, while in the former case, it must suffer eternally not only the absence of supernatural beatitude, but, in the case of adults, the pains of feeling and knowing that it suffers by its own faul, t. Created and endowed as we originally were, the reprobate not only do not attain to supernatural beatitude, but suffer eternally its loss; while, had we been created in a state of pure nature, there would have been no loss of that beatitude, and, consequently, no pain, mental or sensible, consequent upon such loss. Very different, then, must be the state of the reprobate, even supposing them to attain to the degree of natural good foreshadowed by pure nature, as that nature actually exists, from what it would have been had they been created in pure nature alone, for a purely natural destiny.

Our friend asks us: "If the reprobate undergo the loss of God, which you concede, and if this be a punishment, how can they feel any happiness, unless you count the loss of God a trifling affair, or unless you put them on the same level as children who have not been baptized,- neither of which can be held, consistently with the teaching of the Catholic Church?" We hold neither. The loss of God is no trifling affair, for it is the loss of our supreme good, and of the supreme good itself; and we do not place those who die in actual sin on the same level with infants dying unbaptized, for infants so dying are punished for no actual fault of their own, and the others suffer not only what these infants suffer, but also punishment for their actual sins. The infants suffer simply the penalty of original sin, which is carentia visionis Dei, the absence or privation of the beatific vision, while the others suffer the torture of a perpetual hell, or loss, through their own fault, of that vision, or their supreme good. The difference between the two must be great, because, in the one case, there must necessarily be the eternal tortures of remorse and regret, while, in the other, there can only be the simple absence of a good which had not been lost, but never possessed or refused. The difference between not having and having lost, and that through our own fault, is not, and cannot be small, and is, perhaps, all the difference between carentia visionis Dei and gehennae perpetuae cruciatus.

Happiness, in any full or adequate sense of that word, we do not suppose the damned enjoy, or even can enjoy; but between happiness, in its full and perfect sense, and the possession of some sort of imperfect natural good, there is, in our mind, a difference. Being and good are identical; and as all existence, by virtue of the fact that it is existence, participates of being, all existence must in some sense be good: and since all exostence proceeds from Being, and by the very law of its nature tends to return to being as its final cause, there can be no existence absolutely without good, in either its first cause or its final cause. To be absolutely severed from good, either in the first cause or in the final cause, would not be its eternal misery, but its absolute annihilation. Evil is never positive, but always negative. The only evil there is for any existence, is in not returning or attaining to its final cause, or to God, as the end for which it was created. Evil, then, can never be anything more or less than the imperfect return of the existence to its final cause. As every existence does and must return in some degree to its final cause, there must always be for it some degree of good. This good, however imperfect or incomplete, however far short of that for which man was created it may fall, since it relates to the end, participates of the nature of beatitude, and so far may be called a degree of happiness; but in the damned it never can be so called, in any full or adequate sense of that term, and is always more appropriately called misery than happiness.

We asked: "Has the church really defined, and does Catholic faith really require us to believe, that anything is everlasting in the punishment of the wicked, except their exclusion from supernatural beatitude?" None of our critics, in public or in private, have brought forward any such definition. Heaven, we had supposed, was understood by all Catholics to consist in the full and complete realization of our destiny, that is, the full and complete enjoyment of God in the beatific vision, or union with God in what theologians call the ens supernaturale, or lumen gloriae. This is what we understood by supernatural beatitude; and it is only in the possession of this, that man attains to the end for which he was created, to his supreme good, which consists, and can consist, only in his union, through the incarnate Word, with the supreme good itself. This is man's supreme good. Hell, therefore, as man's supreme evil, must, since all evil is negative, never positive, consist and can consist, only in the negation, absence, or loss of supernatural beatitude.

All that is positive is good, as all that is positive is true. Error is in not knowing, in the absence of intelligence; for to err with regard to any particular thing, is simply, so far as we do err, not to know. This follows, necessarily, from the doctrine of St. Thomas, that "the intellect is never false." This our critics know and concede. They know also, that the will refers to good only, and according to the same St. Thomas, we do and can will only good. Evil being negative, can no more be an object of the will, than falsehood can be an object of intelligence.

If we suppose hell to be complete and absolute evil, we must suppose it to be pure and absolute negation, therefore a simple nullity, nothing at all, and the damned in hell not to suffer, but to be annihilated. There must be, then, something good even in hell, and good either of the natural or the supernatural order. Hell, then, cannot be instituted for justice alone, or for simple condign punishment, for all good is God, or in attaining to God as final cause. Justice is not God, but only a divine attibute in a secondary sense, having relation simply to created existences, and it is itself exercised never for its own sake. It proceeds from, and must be exercised in subordination to good, the supreme good. Hence, St. Thomas says, hell is ordained for good and not for justice alone. How, then, can we regard hell as a condition in which all melioration of the damned is impossible? Or understand by its eternity any thing but the eternal impossibility under which the damned are placed of ever attaining to their true destiny, which is in the supernatural order alone? If this be so, is there any error in supposing that hell is simply the absence or the loss of the supernatural, or in further supposing that this absence or loss does not necessarily exclude the damned from all good or amelioration of their condition?

We have already seen that all existence is good in relation both to first cause and the final cause, and that its complete serverence from good in either would be not its complete misery, but its absolute annihilation. Hence, St. Augustine argues that simple existence is itself good, and says that it is better for the damned "to exist than not to exist," or that no conceivable suffering can make it better not to be than to be. If hell were the negation of all good, it would be a simple nullity, and therefore inconceivable, for negations are conceivable only by virtue of the positive. Hell can be something real, actual, only in the respect that it participates of good, we might, perhaps, say, of heaven. Hence, some writers place hell itself in paradise, and the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel would seem to indicate that those in hell can converse with those in paradise. But be this as it may, hell cannot be the absolute contradictory of heaven. It can be its contradictory only as the finite is the contradictory of the infinite, and, therefore, must participate of heaven or beatitude, as the finite does of the infinite, or else it could not exist at all.

The good of which even those in hell participate, and in relation to which their condition can be eternally meliorating or growing better, must be either in the natural order or the supernatural. If, with the Augustinians, we maintain that status naturae purae was never an actual, or even a possible condition, and, therefore, that there is and can be no natural beatitude, we must maintain that this good pertains to the supernatural order, and is an initial palingenesia which can never be completed. But, if we maintain with the theologians of the Society of Jesus and those who follow them, that such state was possible, we may deny it all supernatural character, and maintain that it is good only in the natural order. Our critics take this latter view, and hold that natural beatitude, to a certain extent, is possible, and may be asserted for all who descend into hell with only original sin. This is the doctrine in accordance with which our questions were framed, and we are disposed to adhere to it, because we cannot understand how any one can even be initiated into the supernatural order without regeneration, or the new birth, which is a birth by the election of grace, and not by natural generation. But whether we are at liberty to hold one or the other, is not the point in question, for we affirm neither. We have no doctrine of our own on the subject, and we are prepared to accept the real doctrine of the church, on this, as on all other points, the moment we know what it is.

The mistake of our critics has been in supposing that in what we said, we were dogmatizing, and under the form of questions, insinuating what we believed Catholic doctrine ought to be, not simply asking what, on the points indicated, it really is, or what it permits us to concede to those whom we would convince of the truth of our religion. We were not advancing opinions to be held, but stating problems to be solved, and whose solution might lead to important modifications, not of Catholic faith, or Catholic doctrine, strictly so called, but of theological systems, and forms, or modes of expression, intended to harmonize revealed truth and the truths of reason. Suppose all the points which it has been assumed we asserted, or denied, as to the future punishment of the wicked, are untenable, and would be in fact heretical, as well as unreasonable, it would make nothing against our orthodoxy, for we did not, in point of fact, either assert or deny any of them; the most that could be said, would be that we confessed ourselves ignorant of some things which we ought to have known, and therefore did discredit to our understanding, not to our faith. We insist on this, because all our critics treat us as if we were dogmatizing, laying down Catholic doctrine, not merely proposing problems to be solved.

We have no difficulty with the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked. We believe firmly that the wicked go into an eternal hell, in which they suffer eternally for the sins of this life. We see, not only in the special definitions of the church, but in the very philosophy of our religion itself, an invincible and necessary reason why is should be so. There is no injustice in excluding the finally impenitent from heaven; and their external exclusion from heaven is their eternal hell. There is no injustice, nothing at which our reason revolts, in excluding from an inheritance those who never had any title to it, or, having had a title, have voluntarily forfeited it. Heaven, presented as a reward, necessarily implies merit, and consequently where the merit it wanting, it cannot be bestowed. Nor is their any difficulty in believing that the wicked who have failed to merit heaven, and for their demerit descend into hell, are left to suffer the inevitable consequences of their demerit. Remaining as they must forever below the line of their supreme good, they must forever remain with their destiny unfulfilled, their supreme good unattained and unattainable. Being below their destiny, with their existence uncompleted, they remain inchoate existences, grovelling forever in the darkness of the senses, and consequently suffer the poena sensus, as well as the poena damni.

Thus far there is no conflict with reason; and the common sense of mankind in all ages and nations justifies the Catholic doctrine of hell. The difficulty is not here. The difficulty commences the moment you assert the vulgar doctrine of an eternal positive hell, in which the wicked are doomed to inconceivable tortures in addition to those which follow logically and necessarily from their non-conformity to the divine order, and their voluntary failure to attain to the end for which they were created. This hell revolts our natural sense of justice, and the supposition that the church teaches it, is perhaps, in our times and country, the gravest obstacle to the acceptance of the claims of our religion, that the Catholic polemicist has to encounter. Now, the point we raised was, does the church anywhere assert such a hell, a hell which must be purely vindictive in its character, and exist from no necessity that we can see in the laws of divine Providence, and for no end beyond that of pure vindictive justice itself, which is not and never can be a supreme end either with God or man, since justice is ordained to good; Is there any defintion of the church which requires us to believe this? We ask not what theologians may say on the point; but we ask what the church herself says, for it is precisely the agreement or non-agreement of popular theology, or we might better say, popular preaching, on the subject with the real teachings of the church, or strictly Catholic doctrine, that we wish to know. Must we on our faith as a Catholic assert this arbitrary, artificial, additional, and supernatural hell, or not? This is the question we want answered. Is the hell with which the church threatens the wicked any thing more or less than the loss of heaven? This is the question we want answered, and we want it answered so that we may know how to govern ourselves in meeting the objections of a large class of non-Catholics to the doctrine with regard to future punishment of the wicked, or the eternal penalties of sin.

We certainly accept the definition of the Council of Florence, that there is a difference between the punishment of simple original sin and the punishment of actual sin, and we accept fully the definitions, if definitions they are, of Innocent III, that the penalty of original sin is carentia visionis Dei, and that of actual sin is gehennae perpetuae cruciatus. But this is not the question. What are we to understand by this gehennae perpetuae cruciatus? 1. Are we to understand by it any other punishment than that which, according to the divine constitution of things, or the universal cosmic laws, sin unrepented of and unredeemed necessarily brings with itself, implied in that very common saying with regard to the sinner, he has already "hell within him," or he already suffers the "misery of hell"? With regard to the first question, we have already said all that seems to us proper or necessary; it remains for us to say a few words in regard to the second.

The Catholic says "that all theologians assert that it is rash (and some go further) to deny that the fire of hell is not metaphorical, but real, though no doubt different in many respects from the fire which we have on earth." But if it be conceded that the fire of hell is different, or even different in many respects from the fire which we have on earth, it is no longer fire in the literal sense of the word, but something else; if a fire of a different sort, it is no longer what we mean by fire, and the word fire can apply to it only in an analogical or a metaphorical sense. We cannot, then, say that the fire of hell is literal material fire. If we say it is literal material fire, how can it operate upon an immaterial and indissoluble spirit, save through the medium of a material body, since it operates only by disintegration? In such a case we should be obliged to deny, contrary to what the church has defined, that the wicked dying descend immediately into hell, and maintain that they do not receive the punishment of hell until after the resurrection and the reunion of soul and body. Furthermore, if the body raised from the dead and reunited to the soul be a material body and subject as now to the action of fire, it would be shortly consumed, and there would be an end of the punishment by fire. If we suppose the body to rise differently constituted so as to resist the action of fire, so that the fire could not disintegrate it, then the fire could cause no suffering, and there would and could be no punishment by fire. The punishment of the damned, then, by material fire, that is, by the element which we on earth call by that name, would be inexplicable without the constant miraculous interposition of the Creator. Are we required to believe in such interposition? After all, do not these expressions of the Holy Scriptures and the theologians, relating to the corporal sufferings of the damned and their punishment by material fire, pertain, like those which represent God as being angry, as repenting, and as having hands, arms, feet, sides, and nostrils, to the mimesis of religion, true as addressed to the senses and to the imagination, but not to be taken literally when addressed to the intellect, or the noetic faculty?

All language is mimetic or symbolic and is borrowed from the imagination and senses, and its true sense for the intellect is that which in it is copied or symbolized. Every word, we might almost say is an allegory, at least a metaphor, and has a meaning deeper than what appears. We act always on this principle in interpreting those passages of Holy Scripture, which represent God with human passions and feelings, and acting under human forms; why are we not to observe it equally when interpreting those passages which speak of the punishment, the sufferings, the tortures of the damned? The holy pontiff uses the word, in speaking of the punishment of hell, cruciatus, derived from crux, a cross, but he does not, we presume, and cannot take the word in its literal sense, for we cannot suppose that he means to teach us that the damned are literally crucified in hell. He uses the word in a figurative sense, and borrows an image from the sufferings on the cross to represent in a vivid and striking manner the extreme suffering of hell. May it not be that the inspired writers have borrowed an image from the action of material fire on bodies and the extreme pain which follows such action to express the great or extreme pain of those doomed to a perpetual gehenna? The word gehenna itself is taken figuratively, for literally it means the Valley of Hinnom, which was just outside of Jerusalem, where were cast the offal of the city, and the dead bodies of malefactors. Nothing is more common than to use the word fire in a figurative sense. We speak of the "fires of passion," the "fires of wrath," the "fires or flames of desire," and surely we can conceive of no greater suffering than a soul consumed by an eternal desire which can never be satisfied, devoured by a burning thirst which can never be quenched, and everlasting craving for something which it has not and cannot have, and without which its destiny is not and cannot be satisfied.

Consider what must be the condition of those who have lost heaven, who have lost forever their supreme good, the complement of their being, the fulfillment of their nature, who must always remain, as it were, dishumanized, incomplete, unfinished, inchoate existences, devoured by a sense of their own incompleteness, by a want of what they have not, a hungering and thirsting after which they cannot get, after that which they can never hope to attain, all increased and intensified by the knowledge that it has been through their own fault, their own folly, their own perverseness, that they have been reduced to their deplorable condition. Will the addition of any image drawn from the effects of literal fire heighten their sufferings, or represent their tortures in a clearer, more striking or more apalling light? Suppose a soul to have lost heaven, what greater wretchedness or greater evil can you suppose it possible to befall it? What greater evil can you suppose, after all, it possible for the wicked to endure than the loss of the supernatural, which is the true end, the true good of man?

If the theologians asserted that it is de fide that the gehennae perpetuae cruciatus, or what they call the poena sensus is punishment by literal and material fire, and that the ignis aeternus or inextinguibilis must, according to the teachings of the church, be taken in a literal sense, we, of course, should not dare to controvert them. Their unanimous or general assertion as to what is of faith, is conclusive in all cases, for it is through them, through her doctors, that the church herself teaches. But they nowhere assert, as we have been able to discover, that it is de fide. They indeed defend the literal interpretation as the more probable or the most probable, and argue strenuously in its defence; still, that this interpretation must be adopted is only a theological opinion, and, if it be rash without very strong reasons to differ from them, we can never be bound to insist on that opinion as Catholic faith, when settign forth or defending our religion in our controversies with non-Catholics. In these controversies we have the right to adopt the principles of probabilism and no right to insist on their acceptance as Catholic doctrine any thing not strictly de fide. The question here is not what is the more probable opinion, or what is the safer opnion for a man to adopt for himself, but what he is absolutely bound to accept and insist on as Catholic faith. Nor are we in these controversies debarred from offering to our opponents interpretations which appear to them and to us more reasonable or less objectionable than the commonly-received theological opinion, in case we can do so without contradicting the definitions of the church, or running athwart the principles or analogies of faith. We do not say the opinion of the theologians is false or erroneous, but we think we have a right to maintain that no definition of the church requires us to accept it, or forbids us to adopt a different opinion, providing we have stong and urgent reasons for so doing; we think we have a right to examine the arguments or reasons the theologians adduce in defence of their interpretation, and to exercise our own judgment in accepting or rejecting them. Do we here misunderstand or mistake the liberty allowed by the church to the Catholic polemist? If we do, we wish to be set right.

It is generally agreed, we believe, that the gehennae perpetuae cruciatus, which is the special punishment of those who die in actual sin, is identical with the punishment by fire, and also the punishment in which the body participates, if indeed it be not purely a corporal punishment. But if it be so understood, it is a punishment which the wicked cannot suffer until the resurrection of the body and its reunion with the soul. But is this reconcilable with the constitution Benedictus Deus of Benedict XII, which defines, "Quod secundum Dei ordinationem communem animae decedentium in actuali peccato mortali, mox post mortem suam ad inferna descendunt, ubi poenis infernalibus cruciantur," or with the definition of the Council of Florence already cited, "Illorum animas, qui in actuali mortali peccato, vel solo originali decedunt mox in infernum descendere, poenis tamen disparibus puniendas"? These authorities seem to us to define that those dying in actual sin descend immediately to hell, and immediately suffer the infernal pains, from which those who die only in original sin are exempt, and which Innnocent III terms gehennae perpetuae cruciatus. If the tortures of hell understood by the poena sensus be by literal fire or corporal, how can we say that the wicked begin to undergo them immediately after death? As between death and the resurrection the damned must be regarded as disembodied spirits, how can they during that period suffer corporal pains? This difficulty we have not seen cleared up, and, till it is, we see not how we can understand by the poena sensus and the gehennae perpetuae cruciatus either corporal pains or a punishment by literal fire, which can affect the soul only through the medium of the body.

We are told on very high authority that infants dying unbaptized, go not only in infernum, but in ignem aeternum, ad tormenta, and actually suffer the pains of hell. The Ite in ignem aeternum of the Gospel is said to all who are found on the left or not found on the right. As none are found on the right except those who enter the kingdom of heaven, and as those who die in infancy unbaptized do not enter into the kingdom of heaven, they must be on the left, and therefore sent away into everlasting fire.

This St. Augustine appears to us to teach; for he says:(Herein is an extended quote: Sermo CCXCIV (294) c. 3. De Bap. Parvul. *There are also three other Latin quotes by St. Fulgentius, St. Gregory the Great and St. Robert Bellarmine.

These passages (Brownson continues) would seem very claerly to indicate that infants dying without baptism suffer the poena sensus as well as the poena damni, are punished not merely with the loss of the beatific vision, but with the fires of hell, yet Innocent III says expressly that the penalty of original sin is simply carentia visionis Dei, and all, or nearly all our theologians agree in maintaining that, though such infants can never see God in the beatific vision, they yet do not suffer the tortures of the damned or punishment by literal fire, and they explain away the force of such passages as we have cited, with St. Thomas, by saying: "Quod nomen tormenti, supplicii, gehennae, et cruciatus, vel si quid simile in dictis sanctorum inveniatur, est large accipiendum pro poena, ut ponatur species pro genere." (De Malo, q. 5, art. 2, ad. 1) But if they have a right to understand these strong expressions in a figurative or metaphorical sense, so as to exclude the poena sensus and the literal fire of hell when applied to infants, taking them simply as implying punishment in general, why may not we, in like manner, understand them in a figurative or metaphorical sense when applied to those who die in actual sin? If, notwithstanding the assertion that unbaptized infants are said to go into "eternal fire," to "torments," and to suffer the "tortures of hell," we may still maintain that their punishment is simply carentia visionis Dei, and that they enjoy a certain degree of natural good, why must we maintain that those guilty of actual sin, because they are said to go in ignem aeternum, and their punishhment is dexcribed as gehennae perpetuae cruciatus, suffer material fire and are excluded from every degree of the same good? Even supposing this, there would still be, as we have already seen, the disparity between those in original sin alone and those guilty of actual sin, asserted by the Council of Florence and Innocent III, for in the former, there would be only the simple absence of the supernatural good, while, in the latter, there would be not only the absence, carentia, but the loss accompanied by the eternal regret, the eternal remorse, the eternal consciousness of having lost it by their own sin and folly, which would add to want eternally unsatisfied the gnawing of a worm that never dies.

It is very evident from all the authorities on the subject that those who die with original sin alone and those who die with actual sin in addition, are alike excluded "from the face of God," alike "under his wrath," alike are "damned," alike "go to hell," alike "go into eternal fire," and alike "dwell with the devils in the prison of hell and the regions of eternal darkness." The difference, then, between them would seem to be confined to the difference in their internal state, not to their external condition. Their punishment may differ and must differ in degree: but degrees are said only in reference to the same order; between different orders there is no relation of degrees, for no comparison can be made between them; the one class may suffer more or less, but the sufferings of all must be of the same kind. If, then, it is maintained that the one class may be said to go to hell, into eternal fire, and to be tortured, and yet to suffer no corporal pain, but to enjoy natural beatitude, or at least a very high degree of natural good, it would seem to be necessary to maintain that the other class are not doomed to any positive corporal punishments, but may yet have some degree, though a far less degree, of that same good.

When we speak of hell as a place, locus, a region, we speak mimetically not methexically, to the senses and imagination, not the reason and understanding. Hell is a state or condition to which they are doomed who have not attained, and never can attain, to the end for which they were created, which is in the supernatural order, the palingenesia whose completion is glorification. All who enter not into the kingdom of heaven, regnum caelorum, are doomed to this state or condition, as is implied in the authorities which speak of all classes of sinners as alike going to hell. All classes of sinners are doomed to this state or placed in this condition, the generic character of which is the want or loss of the supernatural, in which, and in which alone, is the complete fulfillment or realization of the end for which we exist. We see, then, no reason why we may not say, as we said in our last Review, that the only thing eternal in the punishment of the wicked is the loss of the supernatural. Our error, as we understand it, was not in assuming that the damned might be gradually attaining, under the continual expiation of their sins, to some degree of natural good, but in using language which seems to imply that they might ultimately attain to the full and complete enjoyment of what our theologians understand by natural beatitude, something far higher than any good which we suppose ever to have been foreshadowed by pure nature as it exists, or can exist, in the present decree of Providence. But we have dwelt too long on this subject; we pass to another.

Our reverend firends asks: "How can you say with justice, that 'we must be content to repeat the arguments stereotyped for our use, although those arguments may rest on historical blunders, metaphysical errors, etc.,' and a few lines before, that 'it is the duty of Catholic publicists never to take any deeper, broader, or loftier views, than are taken by the most ignorant and uncultivated of Catholic believers, etc.?" If our highly esteemed and reverend friend will have the goodness to recur to our Review and mark what we actually say, he will find that we do not assert that we are required by our Catholic faith, by our church, or her authorities, but "by those who affect to give tone and direction to Catholic thought and action," by whom we, of course, mean not the bishops, or those who have the right by divine appointment to direct Catholic thought and action. We speak of those who affect to give tone and direction, by whom it needs no extraordinary sagacity to discover we meant simply our so-called Catholic newspapers. We spoke also of a very general understanding in the Catholic community, whose understanding we are very seldom in the habit of confounding with the understanding of the church. What we complained of was not any thing Catholic, or authorized by Catholic authority, but of an opinion very widely adopted at the present moment by Catholics, and sustained and defended by or Catholic journals. The church herself allows us all the liberty of thought and discussion we ask; but we maintain in our article, and very justly, we think, that there is in the Catholic community, at the present time, a fear of free thought and bold utterance, which tends to cramp, and hamper, and discourage those who really would and who really could do something to win back the intelligence now alienated from the church within the bosom of her communion; a fear which is fostered by our press into an unjust intolerance, to the great detriment of the Catholic cause.

Our friend also asks, "And you, yourself, were you shackled and fettered when formerly you wrote so beautifully and vigorously in behald of the church?" Of course not. We asserted, and always assert, all the liberty we find necessary to defend the cause of Catholic truth, and are and will be "in bonds of no man." But, then, does our reverend friend forget at what expense we have done and still do it? Does he forget the clamor that was raised against those very articles to which he refers, both in private conversation, and in the so-called Catholic press? Does he forget that, from first to last, we have had a much more difficult task to maintain ourselves against the mistrust, the complaints, the fault-finding, not to say the calumnies and vituperations, of some of our Catholic friends, than against the objections and arguments of our non-Catholic opponents? We are sorry that the reverend author of the letter should appeal to our own experience, for that affords but too strong a confirmation of the assertions we made. There have been many Catholics, both cleric and laic, true-hearted Catholics, who have stood by us from the first, and nobly sustained us; but there have been, from the first to the last, not a few, both cleric and laic, who, like our friend, have been horrified at what we have said, and like him could say, "My dear Doctor, I tell you again, I feel a great deal of pain on account of it," if not a great deal of indignation and absolute hostility.

The writer of the letter says again: "I object also to the beginning of the aliena: 'In our historical reading,' p.360. It contains a real offence to the bishops."

But in the passage referred to it will be perceived that there is at least no direct reference to the bishops and prelates of the church: We speak not of the directors of the Catholic Church, but of the directors of the Catholic world, who are laymen, princes and nobles, as well as ecclesiatics. We should be sorry to be found wanting in reverence to the bishops and prelates of the church, yet, we presume, it is no irreverance to say that they are infallible only in teaching faith and morals. No man who has read the history of the church can say, that large numbers of them, in particular countries and particular epochs, have not often been mistaken in their human policy, and failed in their vigilance and in the performance of their pastoral duties. No man can honestly deny it, and to attempt to enforce silence by the argumentum ad verecundiam is neither wise nor honorable. The Catholic Church has and can have no dread of facts, and, St. Gregory the Great says, the scandal of hushing up iniquity is greater than that of publishing it.

The only question that should be asked with regard to the statements in the passages we have quoted, is, are they true? are they correct statements of facts? If they are not, then let it be shown that they are false, and us be condemned for publishing falsehood. If they are true, if they are facts, it is idle to war against us for telling them, for facts they are and will be, whether we tell them or not. If we simply state what is true, and state it for a good and lawful purpose, in a Catholic spirit, you have no right to complain of us or to censure us for stating it. The most you could do would be to show that we had stated it unnecessarily, and might have gained the good we seek without doing it. In reply to this last supposition, however, we would say that it often becomes necessary to say things which we might and ought otherwise to pass over in silence, in consequence of what is said bearing on them by others. Let non-Catholics keep silent with regard to the matters touched upon in these passages, and let the so-called Cartholic press also keep silent iwth regard to them, and we, we readily grant, should have no occasion to introduce them, and might, with some justice, be required to keep silence also; but, so long as non-Catholics do not keep silence in regard to them, and so long as your so-called Catholic journals are permitted to discuss them, and in a false and injurious sense, misleading both Catholics and non-Catholics, we think it unfair to insist on keeping silence, and unjust to blame us for stating the case as it actually is.

The writer says, he objects "also especially to the five last pages, except the last lines, which breathe a noble spirit, a truly Catholic heart," and he adds: "Ah, Doctor, if your excellent qualities could be cleared from some little defects which impair them, and lessen the fruits they can produce, you would be an accopmlished man." Our friend should remember, as says the Lion in the fable, "it is a universal remark that we great beasts have generally certain little defects and therefore be not too severe upon us." We have never set up to be a perfect man, and nobody is more aware of our defects than we are ourselves; we labor constantly to supply them, but, we fear, not with much success, and it is no doubt idle to expect us ever to be an "accomplished man,"-by which we suppose our friend means un homme complet.

We have no room to enter further into the explanation or defence of the contents of the pages last referred to, and in fact no disposition to add any thing to what we have already said. The article on Catholic Polemics was forced from us by a deep sense of the defects of our more generally adopted method of Catholic controversy, and by our earnest desire to place that controversy on higher ground, to give it more earnestness, depth, and comprehensiveness, and to adapt it more directly to the wants of the higher intelligence of our age and country. That we have been in some respects unjust to our Catholic contemporaries, that we have not been sufficiently careful to specify their good intentions and their good deeds, or sufficiently attentive to their susceptibilities, amour propre, is very possible, and, so far as such may be the case, we regret it. That, in our earnestness to elevate the Catholic community, to quicken intelligence in our Catholic people at home and abroad, and to gain for the Catholic population of our own country that moral weight to which they are entitled by their numbers, and that intellectual and scientific superiority to which they are entitled by the truth and sublimity of their faith, we have used in some instances too strong expressions and gone too far, is also possible; but, if we have really done so, it has been unconsciously and unintentionally.

We know that many very worthy people, let it be permitted us to say in conclusion, are strongly opposed to the discussion or agitation of such questions as several which we have treated or touched upon in our pages. The design of the article on Catholic Polemics, was to meet and answer their objections, by showing that these are great and practical questions, not raised indeed, by us, but by modern intelligence itself, or that they are forced upon the Catholci polemist by the present state of theological and philosophical controversy. The great objection to discussing them has been urged against us, is the danger of unsettling the minds, if not the faith, of the unlearned and the simple, who are incapable of comprehending the questions themselves, or o feven understanding the solutions that may be offered. This objection, certianly, has some weight, and no one should wantonly or unnecessarily raise or provoke discussions which might tend to unsettle the simple, or to scandalize the weak, but it is no less necessary to avoid scandalizing the intelligent and the strong, and it will never do to let the question raised by the learned and intelligent, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, go unanswered, for fear of injury to the weak and the illiterate. The church looks to the welfare of the former, no less than to the peace and quiet of the latter.

It is no doubt true that, since controversies in our day must be carried out before the public at large, and all classes take more or less part in them, there is a serious difficulty in entering into those profounder discussions, in solving those more abtruse questions, and in meeting those intellectual difficulties demanded by the educated and cultivated classes, whether in or out of the church, without more or less disturbing a very large class of simple unbelievers, who have been instructed only in the nakedest elements of their faith. But this only proves, what we have always insisted upon, that in our age and country the faithful must be educated, must be instructed, and that our only reliance, under God, for the preservation and progress of religion, is in elevating and enlarging the intelligence, not merely of a few, but of the mass of the people. You cannot, if you would, carry back the discussion of the graver and more difficult questions to the cloister, or confine it within the walls of a seminary; our enemies have brought it before the public, and it i sbefore the public, not in our cloisters and schools alone, we must accept and meet it. Of the very last importance, then, it is, that, instead of being gratified or pleased with the ignorance of a large portion of the people, and studying to keep them unacquainted with every thing not strictly necessary, necessitate medii ad salutem, we should labor to overcome that ignorance, to enlighten the people to the greatest degree possible, and thus prepare them for the new position in which the changes in modern society have placed them. Instead of studying to keep the people ignorant of the objections raised either to Catholic doctrine or to Catholic practice, we must labor to prepare them to meet those objections, or, at least, to appreciate the answers which our learned theologians and philosophers may give. If we fail to do this, and seek to supress all discussion, or to prevent the agitation of any question in public which is above the knowledge or comprehension of the illiterate and simple, we shall fail to win back intelligence to the Catholic cause, and confine our church only to the ignorant and the weak, who will be constantly leaving her communion, in proportion as they acquire a taste for intelligence, and find a little mental activity quickened within them. It is this fact, or supposed fact, that we have wished to bring out, and force upon the attention of the Catholic public.

We confess, it has seemed to us, that the leading public opinion of Catholics neglects this fact, and proceeds on the assumption, that the more ignorant we can keep our people, the more effectually we can restrain curiosoty and supress inquiry in regard to the living and practical questions of the day, the more effectually we shall serve the interests of religion. We do not believe this is true. We believe ignorance is a vice, and the most fruitful mother of vice; and that the ignorance of a very large mass of our Catholic population in this, and all other countries, is the greatest obstacle to their own virtue, and to the diffusion and conquests of the Catholic faith that we have to overcome. It is with this conviction that we have written. It is with this conviction that we have said those things which have so grievously offended not a few worthy Catholics. It was no wish of ours to offend them, and we assure them we have never caused them pain without causing ourselves still greater pain. But the Catholic Church does not constitute a mutual admiration society, and it is no part of the duty of a Catholic publicist to follow the public opinion of even Catholics, unless he is satisfied that that public opinion is sound, and in accordance with the best interests of Catholicity.

We may be told, as we have been told more than once, that to correct this public opnion, to look after what is the true interests of religion, and to determine what will be best promote them, here or elsewhere, is not the business of the Catholic publicist, but solely of those to whom the Holy Ghost has committed the authority to teach and to govern the church. It certainly is not the business of the publicist to decide, as one having authority, what is or is not best fitted to promote the interests of religion, nor has he any right to go or to protest against the decision the legitimate authority comes to and officially proclaims on the subject; but where there is no decision of authority - where authority has not pronounced, or within the limits of its decision, he has the full and unquestionable right to express his convictions, and to give plainly and strongly the facts and reasonings on which those convictions are founded, not, indeed, as acts of authority which must not be questioned, but as arguments addressed to reason, and, if you choose, to the reason of ecclesiastics as well as to the reason of laymen; for we are not to suppose that men, in becoming ecclesiatics, abandon reason, or are placed beyond its reach. No men have, or ought to have, reason in a higher degree than ecclesiastics, or to become more within or under its influence. If the publicist undertakes to dictate to them on his own authority, or to bring the pressure of an unresoning public opinion to bear on them, they have a right to be offended, and to exert, not only all their reason, but all their ecclesiatical authority against him. But if he seeks merely to influence them by reason, by his facts and arguments,- to convince them by an appeal to their reason, that this course is better than that, and that this policy is safer than that, we see not wherein he offends their dignity, fails in his reverence to them, or transcends his own legitimate sphere. We yield to no man in our reverence for the ecclesiatical character, in our respect for authority, or in our readiness to submit to its decisions; but we know something of our own age, and we know very well that people in our age do not, will not, and cannot be made to submit to authority on the principle of simple blind obedience. The clergy must not merely insist that it is all over with religion when reverence for the clergy is gone, but they must command that reverence by their own personal worth and character; they must magnify their office, as well as depend on their office to magnify them; they must show a real, as well as an official superiority, and lead us by showing their intrinsic, as well as their extrinsic authority to be our chiefs and guides.

In saying this, what say we that can offend any ecclesiatic, or in what respect do we encroach upon his office, or take his business out of his hands? Do you say it implies that ecclesiatics have not always understood and adopted the best possible course for the advancement of religion? Suppose it does; what then? Does not the church operate more humano, and does not our friend say, Errare aut errasse humanum est? The clergy in what is human may, because generally better instructed, be less liable to err than laymen, but they are not, nor do they claim to be personally inerrable. The most that what we say implies is, that the clergy, or a portion of the clergy, continue a policy, once good and proper no doubt, after the various social and intellectual changes that have been going on have rendered it advisable to adopt a new and different policy. This may happen to the best of men without implying any reproach; nay, it may happen in consequence of what in them is really laudable, that is, the dread of change and innovation.

Confining our remarks to our own country, we think that a very considerable number of our clergy, we by no means say all, for it is not true of all, have not duly considered the changed position of Catholics in the Unitied States from what it was when the good Dr. Carroll was consecrated the first bishop of Baltimore. Then little could be contemplated by the bishop or his clergy but the simple preservation of the faith, and ministration to the spiritual wants of the few Catholics then in the country; then the chief duty evidently was to keep Catholics Catholic, and to give them the sacraments, and wait for time to soften prejudice and conciliate opposition; no great impulse could be given, or be expected to be given, to the work of conversion, and very little thought was necessary to be given to the social position and action of Catholics, save so far as nececessary to prevent them from cimmitting the church to one politcal party or another, or exciting the hostility of non-Catholics against them.

But since then great changes have taken place. Catholics by natural increase, by immigration, and by conversion, have increased from thousands to millions, and we are now numerically a very considerable portion of the American population, for we number more communicants than any one Protestant denomination amongst us. Our position has changed; our wants have changed; and, in some respects, our duties have changed. Our duty is not now merely to keep our people quiet in the faith, and protect them from the attacks of non-Catholics, but to endeavor to extend our faith, to convert unbelievers and misbelievers, and to catholicize the country. Our clergy are not now merely chaplains to a foreign immigration or an isolated colony, but belong to a hierarchy which embraces the nation, and hold the position, have the duties, and, we say it with all reverence, should have the aspirations of a national clergy, in the good, not the exclusive sense of that term. They have now imposed upon them the great work of bringing the whole country into the bosom of the Catholic Church, so that our bishops shall be recognized as bishops, and submitted to as such, by the whole population of their respective sees. The work, then, which the clergy have to do for religion at the present time in this country, seems to us twofold: first, to administer to the spirtual wants of those already within the fold, and, second, to labor to prevent the loss of educated, intelligent, and aspiring sons of Catholic parents, and to recover to the faith those who are now in heresy or infidelity.

It is only in this latter work that a Catholic publicist, as such, can perform any important part, or be an auxilary of the clergy. If he is to render any essential service in the performance of this work, the clergy, we have maintained, and still maintain, must allow him to deal frankly and freely with the great practical questions which are uppermost in the minds of these two classes of our countrymen, and to meet the various objections in their minds alike to Catholic doctrine and practice, and to the opinions and practices of Catholics, whether these objections are theological or philosophical, political or moral. To understand and answer these objections does not necessarily demand the sacrament of Orders; and so long as the publicist keeps within the limits of faith and sound doctrine, there should be, in our judgment, no interference with his freedom, though he should treat many questions which, if we looked only to the peace and quiet of the simple and illiterate among Catholics, it would be far better not to agitate at all.

Such are the views which we have entertained of our rights and duties as a Catholic publicist, and we have supposed we could entertain and act on such views without going beyond our province as a layman, or showing any want of reverence for the sacerdotal character and office. That we have done our part in the work well, or with any degree of success, we do not pretend; nobody is, or can be, more aware of our shortcomings and of our failure to realize in execution our own ideal, than we are. To have done our part in this work as we conceive it should be done, would require qualities, an ability, and philosophical and theoloigcal attainments to which we lay no claim. We have done, however, what we could, and being what we are and likely to remain as long as we live, in the best way we could. We have never felt ourselves competent to solve all the questions raised by the age; but we have felt the importance of the questions themselves and the necessity of meeting them. The most that we have done, for it is the most we were able to do, has been to call attention to them, to fix the mind of intelligent Catholics on them, and to make some suggestions, perhaps not useless, in the attempt to solve them. No doubt there are hundreds and thousands amongst us able to do the work far better than we have done it; and, if we have had the presumption to engage ourselves in it, it has not been thorough any overweening confidence in our learning and ability, of which we think very lightly, but because we saw here in our country no others engaged in it, who seemed likely to do any better than we could. Here are our answers to the various objections brought by our Catholic reviewer. It is for others to judge whether these answers are satisfactory or not, and to acquit or condemn us as they see proper.