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The partisanship displayed here makes the writer, despite his experience and reputation, an unreliable judge in the matter we are about to consider.
We propose to place before the reader, in these remarks, what may enable him to form his own judgment on the question of the necessity of the temporal power of the pope, free from all undue influence. To effect this we must clearly give adequate reasons to make it evident that, if the church is to be free and untrammeled, and not under "hostile domination," the temporal power is a necessity. There is no need to go into details as to the origin of the temporal power. It is enough to know that no one can dispute the legitimate claims of the temporal dominion of the popes in the past, which was the outcome of the circumstances of the times. The subject is narrowed down just now to this: Is the restoration of the temporal power advisable, in view of the greatly increased influence of the papacy since September 20, 1870? Is it a necessity to the church? If we succeed in showing that it is necessary, its advisability becomes a matter of course.
What is this Catholic Church, for which we are claiming something so incompatible with modern ideas as the possession of temporal sovereignty for its head? An answer sufficient for the case is, that the Catholic Church is a necessary union of the people of the earth ; necessary because the church is a body under one visible head, the successor of the Apostle Peter, as is the fundamental teaching; and for all nations, because Christ gave the command to the apostles, with Peter at their head, “Go teach all nations;" and for these reasons it is the strongest, the most compact and necessary moral organization on the face of the earth, embracing over two hundred millions of the most enlightened men, and with all the moral force that such an organization means. It follows that every individual of this vast multitude is directly concerned in the welfare, the relations, and the position of the head of the church. It is a vital question with the members of the body whether the head is in good condition. The office of the pope is to teach and to rule his spiritual subjects, and temporal sovereignty is a secondary and accidental adjunct to this, though one that is morally necessary. Why? Because it is necessary that his power to teach and rule be so free from pressure as to be above suspicion, and, we may add, so unhampered as to give in his immediate surroundings the model of that ecclesiastical economy which is to be copied by others elsewhere in the world.
It does not seem a difficult thing to impress every one with the absolute necessity of the freedom of the pope from all undue influence. Is it not, in fact, the universal answer to the complaint about the want of freedom of the pope, that he is free, that the Italian Government does not interfere with the pope, that he can do what he pleases, hold consistories, give audiences, celebrate canonizations, and say mass in St. Peter's? “So the pope is free "-such is the refrain. It proves one thing, that those who so speak recognize, from the nature of the case, the necessity of such freedom. Whether they believe or not the faith he teaches, they see that one whose lightest word is treasured up by millions of every clime who look upon him as the guide of their conscience, must be above suspicion of any controlling influence; must be, not in word, but in fact, supreme. This cannot be ctherwise than by a perfect temporal independence, to be brought about only through the possession of territorial dominion. Let us see if this assertion can be substantiated.
The popes have often been dispossessed. Every time this has happened social conditions have been disturbed, and order has been restored only by the restoration of the pope to his dominions. History records some forty such vicissitudes. It has thus come to be, as it were, an axiom among statesmen that the Bishop of Rome must be a temporal sovereign. This may sound strange to an American ear; but we, who at the outset of
ur country's history disfranchised the District of Columbia for the good of all the States, should not object to Rome and its dependencies remaining under regal rule, even should Italy become a republic, which it is not. While the church bolds that, "justice being observed,” the republican is a good form of government, she also takes the common-sepse view that the monarchical form is not to be condemned as bad. That statesmen should see the need of temporal sovereignty for the pope, we can appreciate from a few facts.
What happened to the Roman pontiffs under the Roman emperors and till the time of Charlemagne is generally well known. They were made to feel, time and again, the power of the sovereign; imprisonment and death too often waited on the conscientious performance of duty; and it is impossible to think of these historic facts without admiration of the heroism the popes displayed, and astonishment that the church could have been able to survive. At times all the engines of imperial hate and tyranny were brought to bear on the one man who dared to brave, in the name of God, the fury of a despot. The barbarian rulers of Italy, who succeeded each other after the fall of the Western Empire, treated the Bishop of Rome with baughty contempt. The reigns of Odoacer and of Theodoric are most instructive in this respect; the former, asserting for himself, through pretended concession of Pope Simplicius, the right of consent to the succession of the next pope, was the first to interfere with the freedom of election. Theodoric, the Arian king of the OstroGoths, not only interfered with the succession, but threw Pope John I. into prison, where, on the 18th of May, 526, he died.
But we have an illustration of the same thing nearer our own day. Napoleon carried off Pope Pius VII. into captivity, and detained him in prison, first at Savona, and afterward at Fontainebleau. D'Haussonville has published the account of this captivity, and an interesting review of his work can be found in the "Dublin Review” of October, 1871. The pope was subjected to indignity and duress, and surrounded by spies. Dr. Porta, bis physician, the prefect writes, was gained over; and while those faithful to the pope were left in straits, the doctor got his salary of 12,000 francs a year, because he was “ of wonderful use to us." So harsh was the treatment to which the pope was subjected, in the determined effort to wring ruinous concessions from him, that his mind partially gave way. The Prefect de Chabrol, his jailer, writes confidentially to M. Bigot de Preameneu: "At this moment the mental alienation has gone by, and the physical disorder is less severe." It was during this time that, deceived by his counselors and by the creatures of Napoleon, he made the mistakes which he so nobly corrected in his better mind. These mistakes concerned the government of the church and the appointment of bishops.
Next morning, when able to examine things more calmly, he would not forgive himself, declared he had not observed the last article of the document, insisted on recalling what he had consented to, and exclaimed, as he roused himself from his depression, “Happily, I have signed nothing."
Facts like these are known to statesmen, and therefore we are not surprised to see them recognize the importance of papal independence. Napoleon himself recognized it, though, in his own case, he trampled on the conviction or forgot it. In his conversation with M. Emery he says: “I took away the pope's temporal power because he does not know how to use it, and because it interferes with the exercise of his spiritual functions. What do you say to that?” In reply M. Emery quoted Bossuet as declaring that “the independence and complete liberty of the sovereign pontiff are necessary for the free exercise of his spiritual authority throughout the world in so great a multiplicity of empires and kingdoms." Bossuet
Bossuet "rejoiced at the temporal power, not only for the sake of the apostolic see, but still more for that of the church universal." Well," was the answer of Napoleon, "I do not reject the authority of Bossuet. All that was true in his times, when Europe acknowledged a number of masters. It would then bave been unsuitable that the pope should bave been the subject of any one sovereign. But what inconvenience is there in the pope's being subject to me-to me, I say, now that Europe knows no master except myself alone?” M. Emery's reply was a very wise one: “Your majesty is better acquainted than I with the history of revolutions. What exists now may not always exist, and therefore the inconveniences foreseen by Bossuet might once more make their appearance. Therefore the order of things so wisely established ought not to be changed."
M. Adolphe Thiers, the first President of the Republic of France, saw this same necessity of the temporal sovereignty very clearly. In a debate in the Corps Législatif he stated that he “ had known all the archbishops of Paris from the beginning of the century. They were all most estimable men. But I should not have wished any one of them pope, because Notre Dame is too near the Tuileries !” In a diplomatic conversation with M. de Corcelle, the French ambassador to the pope, he said: “We cannot give back to the pope his temporal power; we will give him the bishops ; " that is, leave him free in the choice of them. The maintenance of the embassies and legations by the courts of Europe, the establishment of diplomatic relations by the German emperor, preceded by a visit to the pope on the part of the crown prince, who not only carefully avoided anything that could be interpreted as meaning forgetfulness of the claims of the pope to temporal sovereignty, but did everything customary to be done by the representatives of France and of Austria-all these facts show very plainly in what light the temporal sovereignty is held, especially when we take into consideration the recent honors diplomatically paid to Pope Leo XIII.
But, more than all this, the present state of things in Italy manifests the necessity of the pope's temporal dominion. What is that present state? Pius IX. declared bimself to be “sub hostili dominatione constitutus" (subject to a hostile rule); and Leo XIII. has expressed frequently the same idea. Is this true? Let us see.
When the Ratazzi ministry resolved to invade what remained of the Papal States, Victor Emmanuel, appreciating the need of the temporal power, and not understanding fully whither he was going, assured Pius IX., through Cardinal Corsi, that Rome would not be taken. The pope believed him; and this is the explanation of the words of Pius IX., which the revolutionists laughed to scorn : “ Non sono profeta, ne figlio di profeta ; ma vi dico che non entrarete.” (I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet; but I tell you, you will not enter.) The Italian troops did enter; the king gave way to his customary ebullition of temper. then acquiesced, and Cardinal Corsi, mortified beyond measure, pined away and died. Rome became, through the farce of the plebiscito, the capital of Italy. But a modus vivendi was absolutely necessary to quiet Europe, and the law of guarantees, so-called, was enacted. Among sundry provisions more or less offensive to the papal dignity is Article XVII. :
“The recognition of the judicial effects of the spiritual and disciplinary acts, as well as of any other act of ecclesiastical authority, belongs to the civil jurisdiction. Such acts, however, are void of effect if contrary to the law of the