Imatges de pÓgina

sistible, all-powerful, and can command any honors or emoluments that i ightly belong to her; but in the measure that she forsakes the spiritual, the supernatural ministry of Christ's truth and salvation, and shows herself an ambitious seeker after the powers of the State, of the temporal princes or kings, the world despises Her—not on account of her virtues; no man despises virtue or spiritual power—but on account of her aping the ambitions of the world while pretending, and by her very nature being simply a servant of Christ the Son of God.

Another fearful error and its accompanying catastrophes growing out of this ambition for temporal power, and the mix-up with the kings, the princes, the statesmen, and diplomacies of the nations, are to be found in the fiscal relationships of Church and State, in all the so-called Christian States and nations of the old world, whereby the Church, the altar, the priesthood, have been the paid servants of the State, and hence its slaves, and not exclusively and absolutely the servants of Christ and of His Church alone. As we said in opening this article, repeating only the wisdom of St. Paul, whoso hires you, his servant ye are!

I would rather the Church had been a barefoot beggar on the barren mountains of past history, receiving such gifts from the faithful, as the faithful were inspired to give, and living accordingly, than that she should have been the pampered and purple slave of the nations that have paid her bills; still more and more would I love her and serve her with joy and without questioning, had she never pretended to act the grotesque farce of being the temporal ruler of her subjects, and of the kings that have opposed Her. For the anathemas that she, in her pride of supposed power, has hurled against statesmen and kings the merest puppets of statesmen—as Lubet, Roosevelt & Co., are now making war even upon her monasteries and convents, and stealing States and peoples from such power as God has still left in her hands. Jesus never made war on law, or prince, or priests, or kings—He came to reveal the Father's light and love, and to do the Father's will. He held in abeyance the God-head that shone in His being, in order to make more effulgent and beautiful the spirit of redeeming love, to manifest which, he came into the world. He never pretended to be the equal of princes and kings in their own sphere. He knew that even in His prophetic life as a teacher, and in His priestly life as mediator between God and man, He was infinitely greater than a. CHURCH AND STATE 375

rs.*^^.*" Cyrus that ever lived; and so He founded the king

*<Sl Kin« of Kings.

^0>** tiim, and the world is yours; follow the poor ambitions Vq-^^1" 0l»n Romanized souls, and you miss the glory of His Pq^ a**cl His rule. In a word, while the temporal and spiritual OT trie powers of Church and State were often mixed and n^ent trie one upon the other, and so, frequent conflict existed T111? all the peoples of the old dispensations of God, Christ "° ^as God-with-us, emphatically ended that relationship and founded a kingdom, His Church, so far above it in spirit and in Vtulh, that the marvel is, any priest or bishop or pope of His Church should ever have been deluded into accepting as a gift itom any earthly king, a position or title that could by any possibility have dwarfed the spiritual for the sake of making sure of a poor, beggarly and slavish temporal power. I do not blame any priest, bishop, or pope for having fallen into the pit of old time darkness and confusion of authority; nor do I blame any bishop or pope for having accepted the emoluments of office from the temporal rulers and powers of the nations. It was the most natural thing to do in either case, but that it has wrought all the mischief that I here attribute to such action, I am as sure as that I live and breathe.

With this, we may conclude our second chapter, and take up the working-out of these same phases of ecclesiastical thought and action in the modern life of the nations since the Reformation, and so come naturally to our final conclusions.

All the world knows how the powers of Church and State became mixed in Great Britain and Germany, on account of what Protestants call the "Reformation" in England and Germany, and what Catholics call the recreancy, apostacy and rebellion of Henry VIII & Co., in England, and of Martin Luther & Co., in C3ermany. ,

My position in regard to all that, is, that while Henry VIII was a libertine and wrong in his legal position as regards his wife, Catherine, he was at the same time, an educated, scholarly man, and a king of no mean kingdom; that, as civilization has since concluded, and for fiscal and several reasons, the marriage relationship is a question to be decided by the temporal power or the laws of the land; further, that as Catholic princes and kings time out of mind, had and have been allowed a good deal of license in their relations with women, and especially as the fate of a whole people was involved, the case of Henry VIII might, with propriety and without injury to anybody, or any article of faith, have been treated with more leniency, with less public denunciation and excommunication, and especially in view of the fact that the Pope had prevously dubbed the "Merry Monarch" as "Defender of the Faith" and so had been responsible for the elevation of said monarch's pride; that in view of all the personalities and interests involved at Rome and in England, Henry VIII and the Church ruling on the abstract question of divorce, were not together, and multiplied a hundred times, worth, or to be considered for a moment with the spiritual interests of the millions of the faithful then concerned, and for future ages to be involved in the Roman ruling. I condemn Henry VIII, Cranmer, and the whole time-serving sycophants that went with him; but I think that had the Pope and the Hierarchy been less mindful of, and less loyal to their own notion of temporal importance, since, so sadly fallen into decline, Henry VIII might have been condemned, if necessary, or perhaps saved, and that the millions of English Catholics lost to the Church by the action taken, the blood and the souls of kings and queens, and saints innumerable might have been saved, the world made less brutal, and the Church triumphant, had Rome minded less the sense of her own cock-sure authority and her temporal power, and had minded more the divine charity, the forgiving power, the gentleness, the sweetness of her Divine Master in all cases that came under his notice where the action of palpable and public sinners was concerned.

As it was all England, spiritual and temporal, was thrust into the slavery of State authority—a church run by Parliament—and then a hundred foolish sects, run by ambitious and more or less disgruntled persons who had too much faith and too much real piety to allow their souls to be ruled and ruined by Parliament of England. The true Church does not live by the autocratic sacrificing of her millions on the point of, or for the sake of upholding what she calls her divine authority. She lives in the hearts of the faithful, by the perpetual exercise of the divine charity of forgiveness, gentleness and truth. "These tilings should ye have done, and not have left the other undone."

It is a horror of horrors to traverse the Islands of Britain today, to see the ruins and ravages wrought by the "Reformation"; CHURCH AND STATE 377

^ S^^1^**1*" tlie stealings of her kings, the robberies of her preset ^ ^^Viurch, to recall the untold millions of anguished souls *^ns ^r*ed to keep the faith, but who lost it because of bur

trutYy - ^*Sht and of falsehood hurled upon them in the name of Of Q-^ yet it is the sublimity of the immortal and divine spirit

» . T"l^t> t:o find that in all this muck heap and confusion of belief "^es out in the faces and lives of heroes and heroines in every *^ Qi. tV\e empire and the world.

«\ *egaxd to Luther and Germany, the case is still more mixed ^.tv^. Questionable. Beyond question, and no matter how often, by "wYvom, or with what prejudice the story is told, Father Martin \-\itV\er, already Doctor Luther, and a scholar, was at the outset a good, an earnest and devout Catholic priest: a little too conceited, a little over-assertive, a little visionary, etc., etc., but he had the power of the keys back of him or thought he had, and he had already many true Catholic friends; and to my mind, it is also beyond question that at the start he was sincere in his belief that Tetzel and others were making too free with the Church's general notion of indulgences, and that he, Dr. Martin Luther, was called upon to rebuke the plausible saints.

Beyond question again, as the case lays in my mind, the entire mix-up of Church and State in Germany gave a touch and a taint of worldly ambition to Luther's action and to the action of the papal authority that summoned him and finally condemned him. Luther was a true son of the Church, as a power that has so often made too much of her temporal power and not half enough of her spiritual power; and when the test came, what more natural than that he should appeal to the temporal princes for protection, or that the Church should appeal for the help of temporal princes to deliver him into her hands?

In truth, the question becomes one of authority again, and not one of true belief, or of true and divine mercy and charity. What has Rome gained by this perpetual assertion of her Apostolic authority? She has gained the name, orthodox and apostolic, which nobody grants to her but herself, and she has held a few millions of rather slavish followers, who follow often at a distance and not always because their minds and hearts are satisfied, but for a thousand reasons known only to each soul, not one of whom must be judged by priest, or man, or woman, but by God alone; and she has lost nation upon nation, and millions upon millions of souls just as Christ-like and truly Christian as those that she has held. These ought ye to have held, and not to have driven the others away. "In My Father's house are many mansions," and while the Roman mansion may be the most orthodox as to exact dogma, is she also the most orthodox in her loyalty to the loving, forgiving, simple and divine spirit of Her Master? I think mat Pius IX was perhaps as good a man as Leo XIII, but he was far more eager to increase the points on account of which the Church could hurl her anathemas at those who were not ready to kneel and obey. It is very puzzling to me to hear so much about obedience toward persons who were better thinking of their own obedience toward the very persons they would condemn.

The conflict between Luther and Rome was revived during the last generation of the nineteenth century, between Bismarck and Rome. Here again, as I have over and over again asserted, all my sympathies and convictions are against the man of blood and iron, and, of course, with the Church that he so foully persecuted: but at the same time, I repeat, whosoever pays your salary, his servants you are; and on all principles of commercial equity, so long as the Church accepts pay of the State, the State has a right to interfere in her teaching and government. But absolutely and intrinsically and essentially, by all the light of revelation, by the example of the prophets of Christ and His apostles and by the example of every highest saint and teacher of God, no State, no temporal authority has any right to touch the ark, the altar or the mind of a priest or teacher of truth, who is wedded to God and to God alone, and whom he must obey rather than man. Therefore if you would be free servants of God in Christ Jesus, keep yourselves free of all the directions of princes, kings or statesmen who do their bidding. I see no way out of the slavery of the Church to the State— now sixteen hundred years old—but to cut the gordian knot, and cut it clean and entire forever and forever; and I see of no way to use the sword of the spirit (which is the word of God) but to cut out and lop off and cast away as so much useless freight or baggage all and whatsoever the Church calls her temporal power and pretensions, immediately, and in all nations; to cut it clean and hurl it into hell fire, that it may be burned forever. Look into it again and again, my friends. I would lift the Pope to the throne of heaven and make him king of kings,- as his Master was, hi very fact and being, but not yet, and when the day comes for such

« AnteriorContinua »