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Every age has something that is characteristic of that age, that makes it either a joy of history or infamous. Commercialism is the spirit of this age. It is everywhere. It has entered the professions, politics, art and science. It has entered some of , our colleges. The word education, if my classics serve me aright, comes from educomeaning to draw out. In our Catholic colleges, the educator endeavors to draw out what is best from the mind and heart of the boy. But some of our friendly rivals in this high calling have widened the meaning of the term. They desire their educators to draw something more tangible than things from the mind and heart of the pupil—they must also be supremely proficient in drawing from the pocket of the pupil's father, so that higher may be the towers, of more acres the campus, more numerous the halls, and in all things greater the glory thereof-to the end that business men and thinking men are confounded and the student dumbfounded.

If we closed our eyes to the vision beyond and saw not the dawning of the better day-if we shut hope from our hearts, and dwelt only on some of the miserable phases of the business world of to-day, gloomy indeed would be the prospect of our commercial life. But instead, we believe that the conscience of our people is aroused, that each day will be better than the day before, that business in high places among men of might will be on the same plane of honesty as among those less covetous, that there is going on a regeneration of the business spirit, that old-fashioned, sturdy, square dealing is again prevailing in high places and in low, that the business ideal will be as high as aspiring mankind can make it--that God's law and man's law will no longer diverge at the point where man's temporary interest might wish it, and that man to man will be honest because to be otherwise would violate his own best thought. We believe that no small part in the fashioning of commercial life, as we hope it to be, will be taken by the Catholic graduate in busi




I find myself to-night in a position similar to that in which I was placed a few weeks ago when called upon to say a few words at the commencement exercises of one of our local schools. After the program had progressed through various numbers, and a brief lull had occurred during which the audience took occasion to indulge in conversation, the chairman, turning to me, said: “Judge, shall I introduce you now, or shall I let those present enjoy themselves a little longer ?"

I have listened with pleasure and profit to the discourses of the gentlemen who have preceded me, and I am reminded of the dictum of the late Senator Daniels who, upon being requested to speak after his colleague, Senator Hoar, arose and said, “How difficult indeed it is to follow a King!” My embarrassment upon this occasion is twice as great as his, because I am called upon to follow, not one, but two kings of the realm of oratory. Yet, notwithstanding that I realize my inability to do justice either to this magnificent occasion, or to the theme which has been assigned to me, I am encouraged to speak a few words for the Catholic graduate in professional life, because the intrinsic merit of the theme will overshadow the inadequate manner of its treat


The graduate of the Catholic school or college leaves his Alma Mater cased in double armor.

He has received not only the helmet and shield of profane learning, but also the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. His is the true dignity of real scholarship—the scholarship which coordinates all the human faculties, gives to each its proper place and proportion in the educational scheme, and produces a full rounded charactermentally, morally and physically equipped for the battle of life. Such scholarship is not a mere personal emolument to be used by its possessor solely for his own advancement, to be used by him to trample down his less able and less fortunate brothers,

and upon their prostrate bodies rise to wealth or renown. Such scholarship spurns narrow and unworthy limits. It is to him in truth and in fact a consecration to be the priest and the prophet of his race; to show his people the way, the truth and the life. Any other conception of Christian scholarship is mean and unworthy, and whoso entertains it deserves not the free citizenship of the Republic of Letters.

I know that you are thinking that this is an ideal conception oi the scholar's place in life, but ideals are the dynamic forces of human life; by them are we impelled to strive and to struggle; by them do we grow and wax strong and great. A life without ideals is a barren liie. A liie with shattered ideals is a wasted life, for the ideal is the living spirit which quickens the inert clod into virile, productive action; and hence, I say that the Catholic graduate who appreciate the dignity of Christian scholarship seeks not only sordid gain but labors for the better time that is to be for his race.

Judged by this standard, what part should the Catholic graduate play in professional life? I think that every one will appreciate that whatever his part, he will early discover that his ideal and the time spirit are woefully in conflict. Too soon will he rudely awaken to the fact that always and everywhere in modern life, there is dominant a spirit of selfish commercialism : a spirit of reckless self-seeking which cares naught for the rights of others. Assume that he enters the profession of the law. In theory at least, the lawyer has a sworn duty to uphold justice; to see that justice is done at any cost and to every man. What will the young lawyer, animated by high ideals, discover to be the actual condition? Will he find men in real life seeking to uphold justice, trampling upon injustice, or despising and ostracizing the doer of injustice? I think that he will find a large portion of the legal profession more concerned about winning the particular cause at issue than about the ethical value of the side contended for.

He will find substantial justice languishing, while technicalities, like vicious weeds, choke out its existence. He will learn the convenient tricks of delay by which justice is deferred and often denied. Sad to relate, he will find that even the judiciary

is afflicted with a supine indifference to the execution of justice on the gibbet of technical forms; and unless his ideal is strong within his soul he will yield to the insidious siren song of success and join the clan of Get who revel in the House of Have. His, indeed, must be a sturdy and uncompromising purpose if he would cling to the ideal of his profession—the upholding of justice at any cost. All around him are his competitors whose services are for sale to the highest bidder; mercenaries, if you please, whose sword is let to whatever cause will buy it with most gold.

The denial of justice by delay or by technical subterfuges is, in my judgment, the most disastrous and ominous sign of the times. It tends to breed suspicion of the law and its administrators; and the natural progeny of such suspicion is discontent with the established order of things and hatred of all organized government. I know that there are many high-minded men in the profession of the law who cling tenaciously to the noblest ideals of their profession, who are, in truth, officers of justice, and allow no consideration of mercenary or temporary advantage to alienate them from the service of justice. I trust and believe that there are more of this class than of the class of self-seeking mercenaries. But it is unfortunately true that the conspicuous success which sometimes rewards these legal soldiers of fortune overshadows the genuine worth of the truly and nobly inspired lawyer.

Yet I have charity even for these janizaries of jurisprudence. They are an effect, not a cause. The low moral tone of business life produces them. There can be no sale without a buyer, and if lawyers sell themselves to unworthy causes, it is because the business world tempts them with gold. So long as the business man has a disintegrated conscience, a conscience which permits him to worship in a stone church on Sunday and to plunder his neighbor within the pale of the law for the other six days of the week, so long will there be found weak men who, from the behoof of necessity or the urging of greed, will sell their ideals to unjust causes. After all, the restoration of the moral law as the universally accepted rule of individual conduct is the ultimate and only satisfactory solution of the evils which afflict

humanity. Unjust men will always buy unscrupulous advocates, and I am sorry to say that in this, as in every other case, the demand governs the supply.

If our graduate enters the profession of journalism, a like condition confronts him. There is no position, outside of the priesthood, so influential for good as the position of the journalist. He is the maker of public opinion; he is its guide when made; from day to day he pours into a million ears his views of life and policy. There is a peculiar reverence and credulity amongst the bulk of men for the utterances of the press. I marvel greatly sometimes to hear men assert the existence of certain facts because a newspaper has so stated the facts. The printing press gives to the utterances of the journalist a weight and authority which he, speaking as a person, could never hope to receive. Yet, what are the standards of modern journalism ? Has not the commercial spirit largely neutralized, if not destroyed, its power for good ? How often do we hear it cynically said that this or that newspaper is managed from its business office, or, to state it with brutal frankness, to make money.

What is the inevitable result? The old-fashioned ideals of personal journalism are vanishing. Few journalists of the type of Greeley or Watterson survive. We have a new journalism which respects not the privacy of individuals, which violates every rule of decent conduct and propriety, which plunders a man's private effects like a thief in the night, and blazons forth his stolen correspondence in the name of reform; a new journalism which' would assassinate a reputation to sell a penny paper; a journalism without respect for law, human or divine. The liberty of the press has degenerated into license. The press itself has become a commercial institution.

The modern newspaper which stands for high ideals of conduct carries a heavy handicap. Nor is this condition entirely the fault of the journalist. To be sure, he has put away his ideal of moulding public opinion to just and true conclusions, and has degenerated into a mere merchant of news and advertising space. But like the lawyer who sold his ideal from the behoof of necessity or the greed of gold, so the journalist has sold his ideal because the low moral tone of the community has permitted, yea, demanded, this kind of journal

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