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and they retired in triumph. “There was beside being novel, seemed based on a phionly one doubt among the audience,” says losophical system ; the adherents of the Lacordaire, in a letter which he soon after- Orleans dynasty, and the partisans of Leward addressed to the pope on the subject of gitimacy equally regarded the democratic the “ Avenir;" “ is it really true, they asked “Avenir” as dangerous, the one because it each other, that such is the Catholic reli- attacked monarchy in the abstract, the other gion ?” A most natural doubt we shall because it assailed their visionary “best of resoon see how it was resolved.
publics ;” while the mass of the people were This first success emboldened the party. mute with astonishment, and could no more They determined on a new trial of strength understand the advocacy of liberty of conwith their opponents. Lacordaire, who had science and liberty of the press than Ananias already been advocate, priest, and journalist, could at first believe in the conversion of the was to figure in the new character of school- persecuting Saul. master. Liberty of instruction had been in- Things at last came to a crisis. Rome was scribed in the charter of 1830, but no law to entreated, and that by both sides, to give a regulate and define its exercise had yet been decision on the subject; but Rome at first promulgated ; to open a school without the refused. She neither approved nor conauthorization of the government, was therefore demned. The opposition of the senior clerat the time illegal. Nevertheless, in the spring gy to the “Avenir” waxed hotter. The of 1831, De Coux, Montalembert, and Lacor- position of its editors became at last untenadaire opened one without such authorization, ble. The temporary suspension of the jourafter having boldly and publicly announced nal, which had existed only a year, was retheir intention of doing so. A few days
solved upon; and in November, 1831, three after, when Lacordaire was in the midst of of its chiefs, Lamennais, Montalembert, and his instructions to the some twenty children Lacordaire set out for Rome, to ascertain in who had been recruited among the poorer person in what light their principles were reclass, a commissary of police made his ap- garded at head-quarters. It is plain they pearance, summoned the unlawful education- had their misgivings. ist to retire, and on his refusal to obey, Before the suspension of the “ Avenir,'' tuined him and his pupils out of door, with its editors had published in it a declaration of the aid of some sergens de ville. This, of their principles ; at Rome they presented to course, led to another prosecution ; but Mon- the pontiff a memorial from the pen of Latalembert being called to the peerage by the cordaire, expletive of this declaration. This death of his father, the case, this time, was done, and their views thus clearly explained, brought before the Chambre des Paris. they waited for a judgment on them. There, in the highest court of the realm, La- But in vain. Rome was then sufficiently cordaire, as well as De Coux, and the young hostile to the Orleans dynasty, but she feared count, had the satisfaction of delivering fine to compromise her authority in France by speeches on their favorite topics ; but the any very open countenance of its assailants; noble assembly, less intelligent, or more so she was ready enough to assault the spirit of than the jury, pronounced their condemna- independence which the Gallican Church had tion, and imposed a fine upon them. so long displayed, but she doubted if a prin
This was a trifle ; the “Avenir” would ciple struggled for by Gerbert, asserted by have survived all similar prosecutions, and Saint Louis, formerly ratified in 1682, and doubtless some new move in advance would ever since fully acted on, were to be best athave been made, when dangers of a different tacked by a war of newspapers, particularly kind assailed the intrepid journal. It had when the zeal-devoured journalists were in raised a division among the clergy in France, her own eyes far from being beyond suspiand had made no small commotion among cion. Farther
, the critical position of politithe people at large. The episcopate and the cal affairs in Europe, and more particularly the older members of the priesthood were furi- state of Italy itself, threatened as it was both ous at seeing a pretended Catholic publica from within and from without, not to speak tion attack their reverend Gallican Church, of the traditional and natural horror which and those institutions which she had declar- she entertained for such doctrines as liberty
were to remain for ever unshaken ;" of conscience and of the press, rendered it many of the younger clergy, on the other completely impossible for her to reply aphand, admirers of the masterly works of La- provingly. But on the other hand, however mennais, and fond, beside, of any new thing, she might be dissatisfied with the Liberalism were enchanted with speculations which, of the “ Avenir" and its injudiciously open attack on the Gallican Church, she was too | esced in words which qualified liberty of the much pleased with the crusade of her strange press as “a most pernicious, never-to-be-sufauxiliaries on her own especial behalf, and ficiently execrated and detestable thing". saw too well the importance of retaining the deterrima illa ac nunquam satis execranda services of such men in case of need, to run et detestabilis libertas artis librariæ." They the risk of extinguishing their ardor by a who had striven so hard for the promotion of direct condemnation. What she really had papal sovereignty, who had endeavored so wished was that the “Avenir” should con- zealously to connect it with what they continue, but without her sanction, so that at ceived to be the rising cause of democracy, any time she might have been able to dis- and to detach it from the sinking fortunes of avow and sacrifice it. This desire the un- kings, in the firm conviction that so they welcome appearance of the three pilgrim were doing their church some service, now editors disappointed ; nevertheless, hinting humbly submitted to be characterized by its disapprobation without saying what she dis- supreme head as “arrogant,” as “ madmen,” approved, she pursued her policy of gaining as“ troubled with a wild lust of forming time. It was only after Lamennais and Mon- opinions for themselves," and as guilty of talembert had set out on their return to most “ base machinations,” not to speak of France, the former proclaiming loudly that, the insinuation, that it was “only a desire of since the pontiff would decide nothing, he novelty and of promoting universal sedition was about to resume his journal, that Rome which lay concealed--simulato in religione piepronounced a decisive censure. Fearing, tate-under the mask of a pretended piety." probably, that the re-appearance of the Lamennais, defeat on his brow and bitter“Avenir,” after the visit of its chiefs to the ness in his heart, retired to the shady woods Vatican, might give rise to the suspicion that of La Chesnaie, his favorite retreat in his nathey had met with secret, if not with open tive Brittany ; Lacordaire returned to his encouragement there, the pope made up his former humble position in the convent of the mind at last, and issued his famous encycli- Visitation, where he prepared himself for cal letter of 15th August, 1832. Lacordaire, preaching, and “ read St. Augustin with all who had anticipated such a result, had left his might.” In the winter of 1833-34, he Rome four months before his companions, preached at the College Stanislas; his“ Conexpressing his resolution to take no part in ferences” were very popular, but they were the resurrection of the “ Avenir,” and al- not altogether to the taste of his superiors, ready somewhat estranged from his master, and he was even severely censured for them. whose discomfiture he foresaw. Possibly Nevertheless, as his fidelity to the holy see with a view to avoid him, he took a journey was beyond suspicion, while his fame as into Germany, but Lamennais and Montalem a preacher was already very considerable, bert were returning to Paris by a circuitous he was regarded as a afe as well as a valuaroute, and Lacordaire met them accidentally ble instrument, whose remaining errors would at Munich. It seemed as if they had en- disappear if he were allowed time. countered each other expressly, that they With Lamennais it was very different. While might receive conjointly the thunders launch- all thought him subdued and silenced, he was ed against them, for it was while they were recruiting his strength at La Chesnaie, distogether at Munich that they heard of the missing his scruples, and preparing to come encyclical letter. The thunder was thunder forth as the champion of philosophy and indeed ; aghast they hastened back to Paris, democracy. And accordingly, in May, 1834, and the day after their arrival they published despite of the remonstrances of M. de Quélen, in the newspapers a distinct and formal de the then archbishop of Paris, he published claration of their submission.
his “Paroles d’un Croyant,” and cried in a This was as complete and humbling as their voice that rung through Europe, that there enemies could have wished. They who had his gauntlet lay. This remarkable work, defended liberty of conscience with so much which, were it only for the poetry of its conzeal, now gave in their adhesion to the papal ceptions and the energy of its style, deserves declaration, that liberty of conscience was “an a place amongst the highest productions of absurd and erroneous idea,” which “flows modern literature, terrified the one party and from that most stinking source, Indiferent produced unbounded enthusiasm in the other, ism”_"ex hoc putidissimo indifferentismi by its popular, undisguised, and vigorous fonte"—if it it be not rather an insane raving Liberalism. Rome, of course, very speedily
- deliramentum.” They who had so stoutly took cognizance of the “ Scriptural Maradvocated liberty of the press, now acqui- seillaise," and it being intolerable that suc things should be uttered with impunity, more general reason, that is, by the united and especially by a priest, the little work of a consistent reason of the wbole human race, few score pages was honored with a spe- has an absolute certainty, by which the reacial anathema. In an encyclical letter of 7th son of each individual becomes possessed of July, the pope declared to his “venerable a sure guide and rule for the appreciating brethren” that he was “struck with horror and testing of its own proper workings. at the very first glance he cast on this book, When, as he thinks satisfactorily, Lamenso small in size but so immense in its perver- nais has thus shown the true and only grounds sity, that his heart sunk within him as he on which reason rests, in trying to demonstrate read on, and that it would be too painful, that it begins by faith, and depends on the therefore, to pass in review all that this wiek- common and perpetual consent of mankind, edest offspring of impiety and audacity heaped he goes on to maintain that faith in its turn together, with a view to the disturbance of must to a certain extent be subject to reason, all things human and divine.”
and that in all our belief a rational judgment And so the Abbé Lamennais, whose por- must be exercised, the rational judgment of trait Leo XII. had placed in his oratory, the individual being, however, always depenwhom he had called the last Father of the dent upon and responsible to the principles Church, and on whom he would have conferred of infallible common sense. The elucidation the cardinal's hat if the disinterestedness and of the proper relations between reason and modesty of the simple man had not made him faith thus constitutes his whole end and aim. decline the offer, was deposed from his priest- At this philosophy he had arrived in the hood and excommunicated by Gregory XVI. effort and hope to prop up Romanism. Ex
Beside all this from Rome, the “ Paroles asperated at the attacks so long and so vigord'un Croyant" brought against their author ously made on his church by the arms of an attack from his old disciple. Lacordaire, reason, he had accepted the combat and whom anathema had convinced and marana
defied his adversaries at their weapons ; the tha converted, seemed to think it necessary concluding part of his argument is therefore for his own justification to give some reason devoted to an attempted proof of the harmofor his change of opinion. The “Paroles,” ny he discovers between the Romanist dogmas which he probably regarded as a defiance to and the dictates of reason or the voice of his church, afforded him an opportunity, and common sense. Here, however, we do not he published his “ Considerations on the Phi- follow him, as the controversy between him losophical System of M. de Lamennais." and Lacordaire turns entirely on the doctrines This work was intended to refute the system we have endeavored to sketch above. developed in the “ Essay on Indifference.” Lacordaire will, as regards his church,
Lamennais had argued with great effect in have nothing to do with reason. He rests favor of common sense. Starting from the her claims on other grounds. The general point " that the first act of reason is necessa- reason of the human race he, therefore, will rily an act of faith,” and that no ereated be- by no means admit to be the source, as Laing is in a position to say I am, unless he mennais says, of all authority. “To pretend begin by saying I believe, inasmuch as con- to prove the authority of the church by the sciousness itself is not an act of reason but of authority of the general reason of the human faith ; and having shown from this that the race, in making this general reason the source individual reason of any one man can only of certitude, is to adopt Protestantism on a conduct him to profound and universal doubt, greater scale, for, according to such a system, seeing that "he cannot even prove himself" every belief whatever will depend originally -cannot by reasoning establish even to him- on general reason ; which seems contradictory self his own existence--and that he is able of the existence of an authority out of, beyond, at most to say, “it is probable that I exist” and superior to it.” -he goes on to establish that“ the unbroken This is the essence of all Lacordaire's reatradition, the universal agreement of mankind, soning. He thought he had demonstrated is the seal of truth,” that (we have already a fatal contradiction in the system of his old quoted the dictum) “what all men agree in master. Lamennais would deduce the aubelieving to be true is true," and that “the thority of the Roman Church both from her reason of any one man is only the reason of own traditions, and from the general tradithe human race of which he forms a part.” tionary reason of mankind; he held that her
He thus first insists on the weakness and tradition was to be believed for and by itself, insufficiency of individual reason, and then and yet maintained that all belief whatever goes on to assert that what is admitted by I flowed from something else. “If general
reason,” asked Lacordaire, in triumph, “ be on the pontiffs themselves, which, were their as you say the source of all belief, how can real history lost, would lead men to suppose belief in the church's authority be indepen- that they had constituted an unbroken sucdent of it?"
cession of meek beings, distinguished by their To this Lamennais retorted that, accord- learning and virtues, by the absence of worlding to his antagonist, “Catholicism is radi- ly ambition and the purity of their love for the cally out of the pale of human reason, that truth, he comes to what is the real argument thus we should believe in it-believe in the of the letter, and propounds it by proclaiming Scriptures—believe in the church-without his discovery "that there is war in Europe !" any reason for so believing; that, in the The seat of this war, however, and who second place, these truths henceforth rest on the belligerent parties are, it is apparently nothing, or only on an internal impression not so easy to find out; for a long time Laproduced by God himself, who thus forms in cordaire looks about him in vain, and puts the soul, by his omnipotence, that faith which every possible case of contention before he he demands of men that they render.”
arrives at the true one.
There is no war beSuch was the debate. It is evident that tween the peoples; there is no war between the opponents have not detected the ambigui- the monarchs; there is no war between ty of the term belief. There are two kinds the peoples and the monarchs—between of belief. There is an intellectual belief-monarchy and republicanism, that is to say, the belief of which Lamennais speaks—the there is no war between tyranny and liberty. belief which forces itself even on the devils Nor is the sought for war to be found be-the result of reason, be that derived from tween opposed ideas, between particular common sense or elsewhere; but there is points of doctrine. “In France,” says Laanother belief, on which Lamennais only cordaire, contemptuously, authors stumbles, which is not an intellectual, belief, write dramas and romances, our journalists which may be wanting where intellectual articles for and against every possible minisbelief exists, and which mere intellectual try, but no one troubles himself about ideas. belief can never produce. This latter was At last, he tells us where the war is carthe belief which Lacordaire, a passion- ried on, and between whom :-" It is in a ate admirer of St. Augustin, would fain have higher region than those of ideas, kings, and elucidated, but which, as his principles un peoples; it is nothing less than a war befortunately forced him to connect it with faith tween the two forms of human intelligencein Romanism, he was far from showing in its it is between faith and reason, between true light. But as our object is merely to the power of Catholicism and that of state the controversy, on this subject we of Rationalism-both as old as the world, but course do not enter.
contending now on a grander scale, because Lacordaire had renounced deism, he had both have arrived at a point which will no recanted his former philosophic opinions, he longer admit of a war of outposts, but dehad shown unqualified submission to Rome. mands a decisive issue. All know the hishe had declared “he belonged only to the tory and the doctrine of Catholicism ; it dechurch and to the archbishop, his natural su- scends from God by the patriarchs, by the perior”-still he was not yet entirely to be de- Jewish people, and by Jesus Christ; it pended upon. It was thought by those in au- teaches that human reason does not suffice of thority over him, that the air of Rome would itself in any order of things. Rationalism, do him good. To Rome, accordingly, he went, too, is of long descent; it comes from the or was sent, the effects of which we now will devil, through all those who have imitated trace.
his pride, and its doctrine is, that human reaIn December, 1836, Lacordaire wrote his son suffices for itself in every order of things, letter Sur le Saint-Siége,' a work which both for living and for dying. To arrive at we shall shortly notice here, for, though it being, in the intellectual world, the absolute was not published till two years later, it is the sovereign of its own ideas in the moral composition and not the publication which world the last judge of its own actions in marks the era in the author's principles. the social world to recognise no other au
After a fine description of Rome, and a thority than that which it has directly electpoetical glance at the position of Italy, geo- ed—in the material world to conquer the elegraphically and politically considered ; after ments, and to draw from them the only real paying his tribute of gratitude to Charle- happiness; such is the aim of Rationalism, * magne, as being the “founder of pontifical
* It will, of course, be observed that the term Rationliberty,” by his confirmation of the pope's alism is here employed in its most extended sense, and temporal power; and after some panegyrics i not in the comparatively restricted one in which it is
commonly used in Germany and elsewhere.
and the charter it destines to the human race. his former political creed, which Lacordaire Its success is evidently possible only by the makes in it. The quondam republican writes destruction of Catholicism, which professes thus:-—" It might even be said that none but doctrines diametrically opposite.'
monarchical parties exist in France, did we Such was the new declaration of Lacor- not discover in the sink of society a factiondaire. It is evidently nothing more than a I scarce know how to name it—which befollowing out of the controversy with Lamen- lieves itself republican, and of which we nais. The latter tried to harmonize reason want the courage to speak ill, only because and faith. Lacordaire declares that the it has the chance of cutting our heads off in struggle between them shall be one for life the interval between two monarchies. The and death. Their harmony, indeed, is what papacy has not to choose between the cause he dreads the most, for in its essence it is of the kings and that of the peoples. Would nothing else than Protestantism, which he to Heaven the question were reduced to so considers even ' worse than Rationalism, and simple terms, and that Europe were divided more dangerous than the Greek schism." A into two so clearly defined parties, the party Romanist like Lacordaire cannot, of course, of the good and the party of the evil.' see that while we trust to faith as the sure As Lacordaire was a royalist when he and only "evidence of things not seen,” we wrote these words, it is easy to determine must at the same time “be able to give a which is his good and which his evil, howevreason for the faith that is in us."
er differently he may have spoken and acted Any one attempting to refute Lacordaire both before and since. But how shall we would be obliged, in the first place, to de explain this passage ?—“France is the most stroy his assumptions that Romanism and monarchical country in the world ; the one Christianity are identical, that the terms “the which in the last thirty years has given her Church, and “the Church of Rome,” are monarchs the most numerous marks of affecsynonymous, that those who will not entirely tion.” Is he laughing at our beards ? exclude reason from religion are Rationalists, The truth is, that Lacordaire was
now at and that those who will not admit the “ de- his aphelion from philosophy and democracy, scent from the devil,” of which he speaks, and, as was to be expected from the very are Materialists, and seek in the elements eccentric orbit in which he moves, the extheir sole felicity. All such points have, tremity to which he had shot away was of however, been discussed over and over again, the remotest. It is probable, also, that very and will continue to be so while such men as strong language was necessary, completely Lacordaire exist. We cannot, however, re- to clear himself from any remaining suspifrain from here quoting a passage from Bour-cions as to his politics, and that it was from daloue, aptly cited by a critic before us :- this cause that the democrat student of Di“ Thus to think”-Bourdaloue was combating jon, the ex-editor of the “ Avenir," and the principles such as Lacordaire's—" is to be former friend of Lamennais, was led to speak wanting in faith, for faith—I speak of Chris- of republicanism being discernible only in tian faith—is not a mere acquiescing in be- the “sink of society." But the expression lieving, nor a simple submission of the mind, was unfortunate, for whence had his own but a reasonable acquiescence and submis- previous republicanism risen ? and whence sion ; but how shall it be a reasonable ac- was to rise his republicanism of 1848 ? From quiescing and submission if reason have no the exhalations of the “sink of society.” share in the operation ?”
Though Lacordaire might now justly hope So writes the most logical divine the French that he would for the future be no more an church boasts ; but as Lacordaire rails at the object of suspicion to his superiors, it was to Gallican spirit of Bossuet, so, perhaps, he place himself, it is said, to a certain degree may despise the argumentation of Bour- beyond their control that he resolved upon daloue; there remains, however, a dilemma an important step, which he carried into exwhich is applicable to the present subject as ecution in 1839. As a Dominican he would well as to his attack upon the philosophy of be dependent chiefly on the head of his orLamennais, and from which we do not see der. Accordingly, with the view of joining how he can well escape.
“ If faith," we
we that religious body, he entered the Monastery would ask him, “be all, and reason here be of La Minerva, at Rome, as a novice. Here nothing, why then reason? Is it not absurd he wrote his “Memoir in Favor of the Reto reason against reasoning ?”
establishment of the Order of Preaching "Before leaving the letter “Sur le Saint-Friars," a remarkable work in many respects. Siege,” we must not omit the recantation of The memoir is an attempt, first, to clear