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would still exist if the understanding between the powers had continued, and if the sixteenth century, after throwing confusion into the Christian faith, had not laid the foundations of the new law, by which each man thinks as he pleases, and acts as it pleases him to act. society founded on the new principles, the pontiff says, public authority is but the will of the people; 1 and it is evident that the hardest fact which the papacy has to face is the constant spread of liberty, liberty to worship or not to worship, unlimited license of thought and of publicity. This is a condition inimical to the ideal of life which the Church has always loved to form, a life in which society is under the direct influen of its guidance, paternal to the sub 3sive, but disciplinarian to the indepen dent. The Church cannot resign itself to become what the modern tendencies towards specialization are forcing it to be, an organization existing solely for the spiritual wants of its adherents.
The Church, pursues the Encyclical, always consistent, has extended its patronage to every movement which contributes to the common good, and has never been opposed to progress. But- and here we find the constant claim for the right of veto - it is necessary for Catholics to abide by what the pontiffs teach, especially in all that appertains to human liberty, though they must not refrain from interference in politics, so that a check may be placed on anarchy.
Continuing the theme of liberty, which of all themes would appear to be the most difficult of definition by the Church, the Encyclical Libertas (1888) is meant to prove, by an elaborate process of a somewhat Aristotelian character, that moral liberty flows from natural liberty, which is the attribute of those who possess intelligence to discriminate between various kinds of good. The abuse of
1 It is curious to contrast with this the saying of Confucius: "What Heaven sees and hears is but what the people sees and hears. What the
liberty, we are told, is equivalent to a desertion of the laws of reason; and the option of sinning is not a liberty, but a slavery. The conclusion is that human liberty needs the protection of religion. As regards the liberty of society, the arguments converge towards the same centre around which all the reasonings are grouped, obedience to ecclesiastical guidance. One of the concluding passages of this Encyclical indicates its tone, and we quote it for that reason: "It is by no means lawful to ask, defend, or concede promiscuous liberty of thought, writing, teaching, and religion, as if these were so many rights which nature had given to man.' Thus we see that, no matter how ingenious the reasoning or how secular its form may be, the conclusions revert to the same point as inevitably as the magnet to the pole. Liberty, however, is a principle which as admitted so many interpretations in history that this bull, which conveys the Church's definition of it, is a human document of interest. Liberty of thought and speech, with which the Church unfailingly associates license, offends that inherent sensitiveness which Christianity, always apt to apprehend disrespect or disregard, has displayed since its origin, and which is accentuated in Catholicism.
We pass by the Sapientiæ Christianæ, concerning the duties of Catholics in society, because it possesses little of an extra-Catholic nature. The case is different with the Rerum Novarum (1891), the long and exhaustive Encyclical on the condition of the working classes and the social question. Its style is simple, and compares favorably with the complexity, bordering on obscurity, of the Libertas. A difficult problem, the Pope admits, is that of adjusting the respective rights of capital and labor. The ancient corporations have disappeared, religion has no place in legislation, the la
people judges worthy of reward or punishment is what Heaven wishes to punish and reward."
borers are isolated and under an almost servile yoke (prope servile jugum). The socialists take advantage of the situation to foster enmity between the two classes, and the solution they propose of the division of property is unjust, because (as an illustration) it is evident that if a laborer, by his economy, has succeeded in becoming the proprietor of a field which he has rendered fertile by his labor, he has an undoubted right to own it. This principle of property is a natural and human law. It is the basis of the family, whose chief must needs possess the substance necessary to maintain and educate his children. As children are the image of their parents, it is the parents' duty to assure the children's future and to create for them a patrimony. Has not the Church always advocated just relations between masters and their men, and has it not defined the respective rights of each, teaching the rich to use their wealth wisely, and the poor to respect their labor? On the subject of charity the principle of St. Thomas is adopted, and we are told that only the surplus of individual fortunes is to be distributed to alleviate the condition of the poor, nullus enim inconvenienter vivere debet, a precept clearly necessary to the present constitution of society, but of somewhat doubtful concordance with Christian tenets. The state, we are told, should be unfailingly just towards the working classes; it should maintain the respect for property, prevent the occurrence of strikes by a wise regulation of wages and conditions of labor; it should favor economy and Sunday rest. This important Encyclical refers favorably to the associations of workmen, which the state, it says, cannot prohibit, because they are founded on the human principle of sociability. With regard to the religious corporations despoiled of their rights, notably in France, the Encyclical contains a passage the logic of which is irresistible, whatever social democrats may say. That which is refused to Catholic societies of peaceable men, it
remarks, who have the welfare of mankind at heart, is conceded to those who entertain subversive designs against religion and the state.
The Encyclical Au Milieu des Sollicitudes, addressed to the Catholics of France, and written in French (by a rare exception to the rule) with the same choiceness of expression that pervades the series, is of the greatest political importance, and its effect has been to spread dismay in the monarchical party, which, from long association, had, naturally, considered itself the representative of the only form of government agreeable to the Vatican. Several warnings had been given of the change, but the French. nobility, less far-sighted than the Pope, who scrutinizes so narrowly the tendencies of men, were unable to reconcile themselves to the new attitude. A vast plot, the Pope thinks, is on foot to annihilate Christianity in France, in that France whose "noble people have increased their affection for the papacy since they have seen it abandoned." All Frenchmen are invited to unite for the pacification of their country, for the maintenance of religious feeling and morality, of which latter virtue we have the following definition: "The idea of morality carries with it, above all things, a dependence towards truth which is the light of the mind, and towards righteousness which is the aim of the will." The Church does not desire a political domination over the state, and all forms of government are good which tend towards the common weal. That is the lesson of this epoch-making Encyclical, to the terms of which the Pope adheres, in spite of the many overtures which have been made to him to change them. All individuals, it says, are bound to accept governments founded on just principles, and to do nothing to alter them (de ne rien faire pour les renverser ou pour en changer la forme). By this phrase the disappointment of the royalists was completed.
To the objection that the French republic is animated by anti-Christian sentiments, and is therefore incompatible by its nature with the Church, the Pope's answer is far from clear, and has given rise to a variety of interpretations. It rests chiefly on the assertion that there is a distinction between constituted and legislative power, but its statements are contradictory. The clearest of its deductions is that the respect due to the men in office does not imply obedience to the anti-religious laws they may originate. "Atheism is so monstrous an error that it can never, be it said to the honor of humanity, annihilate the conscience of the rights of God, to substitute for it the idolatry of the state." The separation of Church and State, advocated by some Catholics, is weighed and found wanting, because it is at variance with the eternal claims of the Church to retain a voice in the conduct of human affairs. To wish for separation, says the Encyclical, would, by a logical consequence, be to wish that the Church should be reduced to the liberty of living common to all citizens. In Catholic France this system is inadmissible; it is the negation of the Church's existence.
The French Encyclical has offered many opportunities of noticing the application of the papal precepts. Its text has given rise to the most divergent of interpretations, and it has many times. been found in the highest degree difficult to steer an even course between such obstinate opponents as capital and labor. The least concession made to one is soon resented by the other, and the conciliatory and prudent language of the pontiff is often irksome to the Catholic orators who use it. If a Catholic royalist side too openly with democratic claims, he is accused of raising discord and sedition. If he favor capital and order solely, he does not then fulfill the Pope's intentions. The part he has to play is full of opportunities for error, because the teaching of the French Encyclical is delicate and
brittle. It is too subtle for the artisan, and too elastic for the cultured sophist. It is, of course, assumed that these political Encyclicals are published in the interest of peace and justice; not, as has been lately said, exclusively in furtherance of combinations to advance the Church's welfare. Were it thought otherwise, whatever power of conviction they may be considered to possess would be seriously impaired.
Besides these notable Encyclicals there are many others, on the propagation of faith, the veneration of saints, the practice of dueling, and the question of sla- all of minor importance.
After this too brief examination of the papal bulls, the question may naturally be asked, What has been their influence on modern thought and on the policy of governments? The pontiff has attempted to solve the problems which affect the welfare of society; he has given his Encyclicals a dialectic rather than an imperative form, seeking to convince the mind by argument; but though in every sense an innovator, he has not found a novel weapon to combat the new developments of reason. His undisputed talent is continually confined within the limits of the Roman dogma; and, as a natural result, he is induced to seek an aid in retrogression, in the patristic and the Aquinasian writings, whose reasonings were so far unlike the Greek models they sought chiefly to imitate that they added mystical assumptions to what were but the early efforts of the human mind to elucidate the secrets of the universe.
Undoubtedly, it is the duty of the pontiff to raise his voice against the various expressions of combative liberalism, and were he to be silent his silence would certainly be attributed, by the critics of the papacy, to the weakness of his cause; but a system of theological argument which has lost its force before the progress of historical research is doomed to negative results, and although it has been made use of largely
in recent pulpit oratory, it is doubtful whether it does not furnish a dangerous subject of discussion, even for believers, rather than act as a preservative of doctrine. A new enthusiasm cannot thus be established; the vitality of faith cannot thus be restored.
What is the pervading lesson of the Pope's Encyclicals? What does the pontiff mainly seek to urge upon his readers? It is that the Church he governs is the true possessor of reason, wisdom, charity, and justice; that all peoples should turn to her for guidance, as to a wise, far-seeing mother.
That is the desire, the claim, put forward by Leo XIII.; but if we glance around we do not see that it has been granted. Socialism and its variants are far beyond the reach of bishops, whose power to uproot them is infinitesimal; freemasonry is not less flourishing than previously; the divorce laws have nowhere been repealed, and strikes of workmen have not grown less frequent. The jus novum is as violently preached as heretofore, and the condition of the artisan has in no way been affected. Everywhere the socialistic element gains ground in politics, and the dictates of the Pope are so distant from the sphere of stern reality that few statesmen would attempt to quote them as arguments against the steadily advancing wave which threatens to transform society. The publication of an Encyclical, it may be contended, has far less weight in the scale of current thought than that of a remarkable or brilliant social essay which finds its way into the hands of readers in all classes, of all creeds.
It must be borne in mind, however, that the interests of Catholics are first considered in these letters, and that their influence on Catholic opinion is theoretically supreme. Authority and infallibility both conspire to make it so; although it must not be inferred that, for this reason, the Pope is absolutely free, because
his authority, like that of all others, rests upon the submission of the governed to the governing.
The practical results of the Encyclicals are thus obtained within the Church itself, but they are not seen to have appreciable effects on modern politics. In his last two letters the Pope has befriended two causes which did not claim his championship, that of the proletariat
and of the French republic. Neither of these wisely conceived measures in the interests of peace and of the papacy has changed existing things. The letter on the proletariat, doubtless, has apprised the artisans that a mediator is at hand, should they ever bring themselves to place their confidence, not in his conscientiousness, but in his competency to negotiate for them; and the second epistle has contented those Republicans (and they are many) who suffered in their conscience that their political persuasions should be open to the Church's censure. On the other hand, it has occasioned a strange phase in the relations between the clergy (who were at first unable or unwilling to understand the bull, but who have since assimilated its teaching) and the laity, some of whom have organized a secret movement hostile to it.
These are the facts which must be faced in an impartial notice; and the inference they lead to seems to be that the influence of the papal writings on the collective activity of modern tendencies is very slight. If, however, the theistic and political efficacy of the Encyclicals is unapparent, there still remains their moral side, in which resides a great part of their merit. Moral good retains a leading place throughout their pages. The reader feels that it is advocated by an author who is himself its best exponent, and whose existence in the world is a safeguard for the maintenance of restraint in a society which already feels the subversiveness of half-enlightened doctrinarians.
POETRY IN GENERAL AND IN PARTICULAR.
THERE is no brief maxim so incontrovertible as that poeta nascitur, non fit; but we suspect the force of the maxim is weakened by an insistence upon the second member of the phrase. It is the spontaneity of poetry which is its essential quality; the ever fresh miracle of poetic efflorescence obeys, doubtless, some spiritual law, but to the common mind transcends law. There is an uneasy sense that a school of poetry is a contradiction in terms, and that as a school of the prophets intimates an evaporation of prophecy, so the moment we seek to reduce poetry to a system of laws we have suffered the essential quality to escape. If all this were designed to make poets, the apprehension might have some foundation, but in truth we may almost say that lector fit, non nascitur ; for, however one may be more sensitive than another in response to poetry, the cultivation of a taste for poetry certainly is possible, and a very great service is done when one gives hints of that higher freedom in poetry which moves along the lines of necessary law, so that the reader is not at the beck of his own caprice, nor led astray by the vagrant whims of a lawless poetic magic. Such a service is rendered by Mr. Stedman in the book which contains the first series of lectures delivered upon the new and important foundation at Johns Hopkins University of the Percy Trumbull Memorial Lectureship of Poetry. Mr. Stedman well says, in his Introduction, that in poetry "the simplest laws and constitutents, those most patent to common apprehension, are also the most profound and abiding;" and he justifies his right to seek for the very nature and elements of poetry by discarding in advance the 1 The Nature and Elements of Poetry. By
EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1892.
treacherous notion that a great work loses its power as time goes on. In truth, there is nothing more enduring than great poetry, and no subject of human endeavor offers a fairer field to the philosophic inquirer after fundamental laws of the spirit. The reason for this is evident when one considers the enormous advantage which poetry has over the fictile arts in the fact that the instrument which poetry uses is, in its lowest terms, common to all who attend it; but although every one has thought and speech, not every one has thought and the art, even rudely, of expression through line and form.
It is for this reason, also, that there are so many futile attempts at poetic expression, and another service which Mr. Stedman renders is in steadily presenting poetry in its large and universal forms, so that he furnishes not petty measures, but great principles by which to try the spirit; for many false poets are gone out into the world. It is not enough to recognize in general terms the worth and dignity of poetry, but one needs to make such spectrum analysis as will disclose those elements of beauty, truth, imagination, passion, insight, genius, and faith, which make up the glory of the whole; and as this book is an inspiration to the genuine lover and to the creator of poetry, so it offers no superficial tests to the idle reader of verse, nor mechanical guide to the wouldbe manufacturer. It would be a most wholesome exercise for those young students of either sex who are tempted to write poetry if they would first make a survey of the subject by means of this treatise, to see how a poet who has made a study of poetry speaks of his art not only in its nature, but through the exponents of the art in all time.
Yet, after all, the volume, as we have