Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

DEALERS SUPPLIES BY THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY. PERSONS SUBSCRIBING TO BOOKSELLERS, MUST LOOK TO TIEM, AND NOT TO US, FOR THE MAGAZINE. WRATH

HO VIVE CATHOLIC WORLD" to Great Britain 18

182 Lance, 18 cents; to Belgium, 24 cenis; to

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

THE

CATHOLIC WORLD.

VOL. XX., No. 117.-DECEMBER, 1874.

THE PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH IN THE GERMAN

EMPIRE.

The Catholics are suffering to- ner of dealing with all the great day, in the very heart of Europe, a problems which concern man in his persecution which, if less bloody, is relations with both the visible and not less cruel or unjust, than that the unseen world; and it looms up which afflicted the Christian Church before us, in palpable form and giin the beginning of the IVth century, gantic proportions, in the whole atunder the reign of the brutal old titude of the state toward the church. emperor, Diocletian. The prisons There has never lived on this earth of Germany are filled with confes- a more thorough pagan than Goethe, sors of the faith, who, in the midst the great idol of German literaof every indignity and outrage, bear ture, to whom the very sign of the themselves with a constancy and cross was so hateful that in his noheroism not unworthy of the early torious Venetian Epigram he put martyrs. And it is strange, too, that it side by side with garlic and verthis struggle should be only a renew- min. The thought of self-sacrifice al of the old conflict between Christ and self-denial was so odious to his and Cæsar, between the Son of lustful and all-indulgent nature that Man and the prince of this world. he turned from its great emblem In fact, anti-Christian Europe is with uncontrollable disgust, and using every exertion to re-create openly proclaimed himself a decisociety on the model of Grecian dirter Nichtchrist.”

“ Das Ewig and Roman paganism. This ten- Weibliche "-sensualism and sexudency is manifest in all the various alism-were the gods of his heart, in realms of thought and action. whose praise alone le attuned his

We perceive it-and we speak lyre. And Schiller, in his Gods of now more particularly of Germany, Greece, complained sorrowingly that in literature, in science, in the man- all the fair world of gods and god

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of

the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.

desses should have vanished, that and therefore the duality of ends, one (the God of the Christian) aims, and results which underlies might be enriched; and with ten- the Christian conception of the der longing he prayed that “na- universe must necessarily disappear. ture's sweet morn might again There is no longer God and the return.

world, spirit and matter, good and Both the religion and the philoso- evil, heaven and hell; there is not phy of paganism were based upon even man and the brute. There is the deification of nature, and were only the cosmos, which is one; and consequently pantheistic. Now, from this it necessarily follows that this pagan pantheism recrudescent the distinction between the spiritis the one permanent type amid ual and the temporal power is unthe endless variations of modern real and should cease to be recogGerman sophistry. It underlies nized, the theorizing of Schelling, Fichte, Now, here we have discovered and Hegel, as well as that of

the very germ from which the whole Feuerbach, Büchner, and Strauss. Prussian persecution has sprung. They all assume the non-exist. In the last analysis it rests upon the ence of a personal God, and trans- assumption that the spiritual power fer his attributes to nature, which has no right to exist, since the is, in their eyes, the mother of all, truths upon which it was supposed the sole existence, and the supreme to be based-as God, the soul, and a good. This pantheism, which con- future life—are proven to be myths. fuses all things in extricable chaos, Hence the state is the only autospirit with matter, thought with nomy, and to claim authority not sensation, the infinite with the finite, derived from it is treason. Thus destroying the very elements of the struggle now going on in Prussia reason, and taking from language is for life or death. It rages around its essential meaning, has infected the very central citadel of the soul all non-Catholic thought in Ger- and of all religion. The Catholics many. When we descend from the of Germany are to-day contending misty heights of speculation, we find for what the Christians of the first pantheistic paganism in the idola- centuries died--the right to live. try of science and culture, which To understand this better it will be have taken the place of dogma and well to consider for a moment the morality. It is held to be an axiom attributes of the state in pagan that man is simply a product of Greece and Rome. nature, who knows herself in him Hellenic religion, in its distincas she feels herself in the animal. tive forms, had its origin in the

The formulas in which the thought deification of nature and of man is clothed are of minor importance. as her crowning work, and both In the ultimate analysis we find in were identified with the state. all the conflicting schools of Ger- Hence religion was hero-worship; man infidelity this sentiment, how- the good man was the good citizen, ever widely its expression may vary: the saint was the successful warrior that nature is supreme, and there who struck terror into the enemies is no God beside. The cosmos, in- of his country, and thus the relistead of a personal God, is the ulti- gious feeling was confounded with mate fact beyond which science the patriotic spirit. To be a true professes to be unable to proceed; citizen of the state, it was necessary to profess the national reli- obligation, even though the whole gion; and to be loyal to the state world should oppose him. was to be true to its protecting This teaching of Christ at once gods. The highest act of religion lifted religion above the control of was to beat back the invader or to the state, and, cutting loose the die gloriously on the battle-field. bonds of servitude which had made Indeed, in paganism we find no it national and narrow, declared it idea of a non-national religion. catholic, of the whole earth and The pagan state, whether imperial, for all men. He sent his apostles, monarchical, or republican, was es- not to the Jew, or the Greek, or sentially tyrannical, wholly incom- the Gentile, but to all the nations, patible with freedom as understood and in his church he recognized no in Christian society. To be free distinction of race or social condiwas to be, soul and body, the slave tion—the slave was like the freeof the state. Plato gives to his man, the beggar like the king. ideal Republic unlimited power to This doctrine, the most beneficontrol the will of the individual, cent and humanitarian that the to direct all his thoughts and ac- world has ever heard, brought forth tions, to model and shape his whole from the oblivion of ages the alllife. He merges the family and its forgotten truth of the brotherhood privileges into the state and its of the race, and raised man to a rights, gives the government abso- level on which paganism was not lute authority in the education of able even to contemplate him; proits subjects, and even places the claiming that man, for being simply propagation of the race under state man, irrespective of race, nationsupervision.

ality, or condition, is worthy of The pagan state was also es- honor and reverence. Now, it was sentially military, recognizing no precisely this catholic and non-narights except those which it had tional character of the religion of not the power to violate. Now, the Christ which brought it into conpreaching of Christ was in direct flict with the pagan state. The contradiction to this whole theory Christians, it was held, could not of government. He declared that be loyal citizens of the empire, beGod and the soul have rights as cause they did not profess the reliwell as Cæsar, and proclaimed the gion of the empire, and refused to higher law which affirms that man sacrifice to the divinity of Cæsar. has a destiny superior to that of They were traitors, because in those being a citizen of any state, how- things which concerned faith they ever glorious; which imposes upon were resolved not to recognize on him duties that transcend the the part of the state any right to sphere of all human authority. interfere; and therefore were they Thus religion became the supreme cast into prison, thrown to the wild law of life, and the recognition of beasts in the Amphitheatre, and dethe indefeasible rights of voured under the approving eyes science gave to man citizenship in of the worshippers of the emperor's a kingdom not of this world. It, divinity. This history is repeating in consequence, became his duty itself in Prussia to-day. as well as his privilege to obey first Muy causes have, within the the laws of this supernatural king- present century, helped to strengthdom, and to insist upon this divine en the national feeling in Germany.

CON

« VorigeDoorgaan »