The word Catholic means Universal. Now it is easy to show how the Roman Church is Catholic, or Universal.
The Roman Church is Catholic ;
1. because she has existed in all ages ;
2. because she teaches all nations ; and,
3. because she maintains all truths.
1. The Roman Church is Catholic, because she has existed in all ages.
This Church is Catholic, or universal, in her duration. She goes back, without a break, through the apostles to Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ to the origin of the chosen people, and through Abraham and the patriarchs even to our first parents in paradise. The enemies of God hate his holy Church; they hate the pope, they hate the bishops and the priests ; they grind their teeth, they foam at the mouth, they tremble with rage, and seem as if they would tear into pieces all the popes, bishops and priests that have ever lived, from Peter to the present day. Why? Because Jesus Christ continues to live in Peter? and in his successors, he speaks to the world and teaches it, through them, like one having authority. It is for this very reason that the Church will remain forever ; for, truth and justice being in the end always victorious, the Church will not cease to bless and to triumph. All the works of the earth have perished, time has obliterated them. The Catholic Church remains : she will endure until she passes from her earthly exile to her country in heaven.
Human theories and systems have flitted across her path, like birds of night, but have vanished ; numberless sects have, like so many waves, dashed themselves to froth against this rock, or, recoiling, have been lost in the vast ocean of forgetfulness. Kingdoms and empires that once existed in inimitable worldly grandeur are no more, dynasties have died out, and have been replaced by others. Theories and sceptres and crowns have withstood the Church ; but, immutable, like God, who laid her foundation, she is the firm, unshaken centre, round which the weal and woe of nations move : weal to them if they adhere to her, woe to them if they separate from her. If the world takes from the Catholic Church the cross of gold, she will bless the world with one of wood. If necessary, her pastors and all her children can suffer and die for the faith, but the Catholic Church remains : she is immortal.
We cannot but smile when we hear men talk of the down fall of the Catholic Church. What could hell and its agents do more than they have already done for her destruction? They have employed tortures for the body, but they could not reach the spirit ; they have tried heresy, or the denial of revealed truth, to such an extent that we can see no room for any new heresy ; they have, by the hand of schism, torn, whole countries from the unity of the Church, but what she lost on one side of the globe, she gained tenfold on the other. All these assaults have ignominiously failed to verify the prophecies of hell, that "the Catholic Church shall fall." Look, for instance, at the tremendous effort of the so called Reformation, together with its twin sister, the unbelief of the nineteenth century ! Whole legions of Church reformers, together with armies of philosophers, armed with negation, and a thousand-and-one systems of paganism, furiously attacked the Chair of Peter, and swore that the Papacy should fall, and, with it, the whole Church. Three hundred years are over, and the Catholic Church is still alive, and more vigorous than ever. She is the glorious Church of all ages. And as Christ made her Catholic, or universal, as to time, so also he made her Catholic as to place.
2. She teaches all nations :
"Going therefore," said our Lord to his apostles, "teach ye all nations," and, "You shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth."
More than fifteen hundred years ago there hung in the catacombs of Rome a lamp shaped in the form of a ship, at whose helm sat St. Peter, steering with one hand, and with the other giving his blessing. On one side of this miniature ship were engraved the words, "Peter dies not;" and on the other, the words of our Saviour "I have prayed for thee." (Luke xxii, 32.) There could not be a more beautiful symbol of the Catholic Church. She is the lamp which has dispelled the darkness of heathenism, and has furnished the nations with the brilliant light of truth; the Church is a ship, which has carried this light safely, through the storms of ages, to the ends of the earth, bringing with it blessings to the nations, and gathering into its apostolic net, as it sailed along, the perishing children of men. And at the helm sits the poor fisherman of Galilee, St. Peter, in the person of the pope, together with his assistants, the Catholic bishops and priests, directing the course of the vessel, now to this, now to that distressed country, now to this, now to that sorrowing people, to carry to them, not gold, not silver, but what is infinitely more precious, faith, and with faith, true civilization, based upon the unchangeable principles of supernatural morality, true prosperity, true happiness, and peace on earth and for eternity.
It was not by the circulation of the Bible, by Bible societies or by money, but by the living voice of the Roman Church, it was through the popes, the Catholic bishops and priests, that Christianity, at the end of the third century, covered the whole then known world. The Capitoline temple, and with it the many shrines of idolatry, the golden house of Nero, and with it Roman excess and Roman cruelty, the throne of the Caesars, and with it Roman oppression and Roman injustice, had all passed away, and there stood the Rome of the Fathers of the Church, the Rome which has yet to do such wonders in the world. "And the light shone into the darkness." Pope after pope, the principal bearers of the light of the true faith, sent forth to the nations bishops and missionaries, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice, solely devoted to their great task, and by the inflamed zeal, the fervent piety, the earnest prayers and penances, the astounding miracles, the bright examples and spotless lives of these apostolic men, new tribes and new nations were gained for Christ, year after year. Thus, St. Austin carried the light of faith to England, St. Patrick to Ireland, St. Boniface to Germany.
The Frieslanders, the Moravians, the Prussians, the Swedes, the Picts, the Scots, the Franks, and hundreds of others, were brought to the bosom of the Church through the preaching and labors of the bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church. Driven from one country, their influence was made to act on another. When Solisman, the Sultan, threatened to wipe out Christianity from Europe, Roman Catholic bishops and priests went to the East Indies, to China, and Japan. When Europe failed in its fidelity, and listened to the siren voice of heresy, Catholic bishops and priests were sent to the newly discovered continent of America, and to the West Indies. Gregory XVI devised plans for missions to the interior of Africa, missions which are yet working winders. This great work of enlightening the world with the true light of the Catholic religion, the Church accomplished, more particularly by those astonishing organizations called religious orders. Besides carrying the light of faith to all nations, those religious orders did another thing : they civilized the countries to which they had been sent.
In the pagan world, education was an edifice built up on the principles of slavery. The motto was: "Odi profanum vulgus et arceo" I hate and shun the common people. Education was the privilege of the aristocracy. The great mass of people was studiously kept in ignorance of the treasures of the mind. This state of things was done away with by the Roman Catholic Church, when she established the monastic institutions of the West. The whole of Europe was soon covered with schools, not only for the wealthy, but even for the poorest of the poor. Education was systematized, and an emulation was created for learning, such as the world had never seen before. Italy, Germany, France, England, and Spain, had their universities, but, side by side with these, their colleges, gymnasiums, parish and village schools, as numerous as the churches and monasteries which the efforts of the Holy See had scattered, with lavish hand, over the length and breadth of the land. And where was the source of all this light ? At Rome. For, when the barbarian hordes poured down upon Europe from the Caspian Mountains, it was the popes who saved civilization. They collected, in the Vatican, the manuscripts of the ancient authors, gathered from all parts of the earth at enormous expense. The barbarians, who destroyed everything by fire and sword, had already advanced as far as Rome. Attila, who called himself "the Scourge of God," stood before its walls, there were no emperor, no pretorian guard, no legions present, to save the ancient capital of the world. But there was a pope : Leo I. And Leo went forth, and by entreaties, and threats of God's displeasure, induced the dreaded king of the Huns to retire. Scarcely had Attila retired, before Genseric, King of the Vandals, made his appearance, invited by Eudoxia, the empress, to the plunder of Rome. Leo met him, and obtained from him the lives and the honor of the Romans, and the sparing of the public monuments which adorned the city in such numbers. Thus Leo the Great saved Europe from barbarism. To the name of Leo might be added those of Gregory I, Sylvester II, Gregory XIII, Benedict XIV, Julius III, Paul III, Leo X, Clement VIII, John XX, and a host of others, who must be looked upon as the preservers of science and the arts, even amid the very fearful torrent of barbarism that was spreading itself, like an inundation, over the whole of Europe. The principle of the Catholic Church has ever been this : "By the knowledge of divine things, and the guidance of an infallible teacher, the human mind must gain certainty in regard to the sublimest problems, the great questions of life; by them the origin, the end, the aim and limit of man s activity, must be made known, for then only can he venture fearlessly upon the sphere of human efforts, and human developments, and human science. "And truly, never has science gained the ascendancy outside of the Church that it has always held in the Church. And what is true of science is true, also, of the arts. It is true of architecture, of sculpture, and of painting. We need only point to the Basilica of Peter, to the museums and libraries of Rome. It is to Rome the youthful artist always turns his steps, in Order to drink in, at the monuments of art and of science, the genius and inspiration he seeks for in vain in his own country. He feels, only too keenly, that railroads and telegraphs, steamships and power-looms, banking-houses and stock- companies, though good and useful institutions, are not the mothers of genius, nor the schools of inspiration; and therefore he leaves his country, and goes to Rome, and there feasts on the fruits gathered by the hands of St. Peter s successors, and returns home with a name which will live for ages in the memory of those who have learned to appreciate the true and the beautiful.
The depravity of man shows itself in the constant endeavor to shake off the restraint placed by law and duty upon his will : and to this we must ascribe the licentiousness which has at all times afflicted society. Passion acknowledges no law, and spares neither rights nor conventions, where it has the power, it exercises it to the advantage of self, and to the detriment of social order.
The Church is, by its very constitution, Catholic, and hence looks upon all men as brothers of the same family. She acknowledges not the natural right of one man over another, and hence her Catholicity lays a heavy restraint upon all the efforts of self-love, and curbs, with a mighty hand, the temerity of those who would destroy the harmony of life, implied in the idea of Catholicity.
One of the first principles of all social happiness is, that before the law of nature, and before the face of God, all men are equal. This principle is based on the unity of the human race, the origin of all men from one common father. If we study the history of paganism, we find that all heathen nations overturned this great principle, since we find among all heathen nations the evil of slavery. Prior to the coming of Christ, the great majority of men were looked upon as a higher development of the animal, as animated instruments, which might be bought and sold, given away and pawned, which might be tormented, maltreated, or murdered ; as beings, in a word, for whom the idea of right, duty, pity, mercy, and law, had no existence. Who can read, without a feeling of intense horror, the accounts left us of the treatment of their slaves by the Romans ? There was no law that could restrain in the least the wantonness, the cruelty, the licentious excess of the master, who, as master, possessed the absolute right to do with his slaves whatsoever he pleased. To remove this stain of slavery has ever been the aim of the Catholic Church. "Since the Saviour and Creator of the world," says Pope Gregory I, in his celebrated decree, "wished to become man, in order, by grace and liberty, to break the chains of our slavery, it is right and good to bestow again upon man, whom nature has permitted to be born free, but whom the law of nations has brought under the yoke of slavery, the blessing of his original liberty." Through all the middle ages, called by Protestants the dark ages of the world, the echo of these words of Gregory I is heard ; and, in the thirteenth century, Pope Pius II could say : "Thanks be to God and the Apostolic See, the yoke of slavery does no longer disgrace any European nation." Since then, slavery was again introduced into Africa and the newly-discovered regions of America, and again the popes raised their voices in the interests of liberty. Pius VII, even at the time when Napoleon had robbed him of his liberty, and held him captive in a foreign land, became the defender of the negro. Gregory XVI, on the 3rd of November, 1839, insisted, in a special Bull, on the abolition of the slave trade, and spoke in a strain as if he had lived and sat side by side with Gregory I, thirteen hundred years before. But here let us observe, that not only the vindication of liberty for all, not only the abolition of slavery, but the very mode of action followed in this, matter by the popes, has gained for the Church immortal honor, and the esteem of all good men. When the Church abolished slavery in any country where it existed, the popes did not compel masters, by harshness or threats, to manumit their slaves, they did not bring into action the base intrigues, the low chicanery, the canting hypocrisy, of modern statesmen ; they did not raise armies, and send them into the lands of their masters to burn and to pillage, to lay waste and to destroy; they did not slaughter, by their schemes, over a million of free men, and another million of slaves, they did not make widows and orphans without number, they did not impoverish the land, and lay upon their subjects burdens which would crush them into very dust. Nothing of all this. That is not the way in which the Church abolished slavery. The popes sent bishops and priests into those countries where slavery existed, to enlighten the minds of the masters, and convince them that slaves were men, and consequently had immortal souls like other people. The pastors of the Church infused into the hearts of masters a deep love for Jesus Christ, and consequently a deep love for souls. They taught masters to look upon slaves as created by the same God; redeemed by the same Jesus Christ, destined for the same glory. The consequence was, that the relations of slave and master became the relations of brother to brother; the master began to love his slave, and to ameliorate his condition, till at last, forced by his own acknowledged principles, he granted to him his liberty.
Thus it was that slavery was abolished by the preaching of the popes, bishops and priests. The great barrier to all the healthy, permanent, and free development of nations was thus broken down ; the blessings, the privileges of society, were made equally attainable by the masses, and ceased to be the special monopoly of a few, who, for the most part, had nothing to recommend them except their wealth. It is thus that the Catholic Church has accomplished the great work of enlightening society. She has shed the light of faith over the East and the West, over the North and the South, and with the faith she has established the principles of true science on their natural bases. She has imparted education to the masses, wherever she was left free to adopt her own, and untrammelled by civil interference. She has fostered and protected the arts and the sciences ; and today, if all the libraries, and all the museums, and all the galleries of art in the world were destroyed, Rome alone would possess quite enough to supply the want, as it did in former ages, when others supplied themselves by plundering Rome. She has abolished slavery, and established human freedom. She truly is what she is called : Catholic for all ages, Catholic for all nations, and
3. She is Catholic, because she maintains all truths.
The Roman Church is universal, or catholic, as to doctrine. Her doctrine is the same everywhere. What she teaches in one country, she also teaches in another. Her doctrine in one place is her doctrine in another. There can be in the Roman Church no new doctrine, no local belief, no creed in which the whole Church has not been united the Church uniting to condemn all variations from this belief. New discipline, new practices, new orders, new methods, may be adopted by the Church, according to the requirements of her work; but there
can be no doctrine which has not existed from the beginning, as it was received from Christ and the apostles.
A doctrine, to be truly Catholic, must have been believed in all places, at all times, and by all the faithful. By this test of catholicity, or universality, antiquity and consent, all questions of faith are tried and decided. Doctrines and articles of faith may be newly defined, as, for instance, that of the Immaculate Conception or of the Infallibility of the Pope, but there can be no new doctrine. Novelty is a quality of heresy ; for, though some errors may be very old, yet they are new as compared with the truth. In every case, the truth must first appear before its corresponding error. The denial of any truth supposes its previous assertion. Like the divine Founder of the Roman Catholic Church, her doctrine is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
"Some years ago," writes Mr. Marshal, a distinguished English convert, "I was present, officially, at the examination of an English primary school, in which the children displayed such unusual accuracy and intelligence, as long as the questions turned only upon secular subjects, that I was anxious to ascertain whether they could reason as well about the truths of the Catechism as they could about those of grammar and arithmetic. I communicated my desire to their clergyman, who kindly permitted me to have recourse to a test which I had employed on other occasions. I requested him to interrogate them on the Notes of the Church, and when they had explained in the usual manner the meaning of the word Catholic, I took up
the examination, with the consent of the priest, and addressed the following question to the class : You say the Church is Catholic because she is everywhere. Now, I have visited many countries, in all parts of the world, and I never came to one in which I did not find heresy.
If, then, the Church is Catholic because she is everywhere, why is not heresy Catholic, since heresy is everywhere, also "If you please, sir" answered a little girl, about twelve years of age, "the Church is everywhere, and everywhere the same ; heresy may be everywhere too, but it is everywhere different." The Church is unceasingly assailed by new errors, yet she always and everywhere is consistent with herself; she explains and develops her earlier definitions, without even the shadow of change appearing ; she has declared, hundreds of times, that she can introduce no innovations, that she has no power to originate anything in matters of faith and morals, but that it is her right and office to maintain the divine doctrine as contained in Scripture and tradition. She has convoked nineteen General Councils, and in each pronounced a solemn anathema on all who in the least deviated from the faith. In all ages she has undergone the most cruel persecutions, because she maintains all truths, and for this very reason she will be persecuted to the end of the world. But rather than yield one iota of her doctrine, she is willing to make every sacrifice: she permits whole countries to leave her, her pastors to be murdered, her children to be imprisoned and exiled, rather than permit one tittle of the law to be abolished. See, for instance, what she has done and suffered in upholding the dignity of the sacrament of marriage, the corner-stone of society !
See the workings of Catholic and Protestant doctrines of marriage in society! Take the common instance of a man in whose heart there is a fearful struggle between conscience on the one hand, and blind, brutish passion on the other ! His wife, that wife whom he once loved so dearly, has become hateful to him. Perhaps she has lost the charm of beauty which once fascinated his heart. Another stands before him she is young, she is beautiful. Protestantism, like the tempter of hell, whispers in his ear: "Sue for a divorce. The marriage bond can be broken. Youth and beauty may yet be yours." And the voice of conscience, the voice of God, is stifled. Brutish passion conquers. Divorce is sought and obtained, and the poor wife is cast away, and left heart-broken and companion-less. And the children of such a marriage, who shall care for them ? Who shall teach them the virtues of obedience and charity? How can they respect a divorced mother, an adulterous father ? No, these children become naturally the curse of society. They fill our prisons, our hospitals, the brothels.
On the contrary, if that man is a Catholic, the holy Church speaks to him in solemn warning : "See !" she says, "you took that wife in the day of her early joy and beauty. She gave you her young heart before the altar. You swore before God and his angels to be faithful to her until death. I declare to you, then, that, at the peril of your immortal soul, you must keep that union perpetual. That union shall end only when you have stood by her death-bed, when you have knelt at her grave." The Catholic Church has always regarded Christian marriage as the corner-stone of society ; and at that corner stone have the pastors of the Church stood guard for eighteen centuries, insisting that Christian marriage is one, holy and indissoluble. Woman, weak and unprotected, has always found at Rome that guarantee which was refused her by him who had sworn at the altar of God to love her and to cherish her till death. Whilst in the nations which Protestantism tore from the bosom of the Church, the sacred laws of matrimony are trampled in the dust ; whilst the statistics of these nations hold up to the world the sad spectacle of divorces almost as numerous as marriages, of separations of husband from wife, and wife from husband, for the most trivial causes, thus granting to lust the widest margin of license, and legalizing concubinage and adultery, whilst the nineteenth century records in its annals the existence of a community of licentious polygamists within the borders of one of the most civilized countries of the earth, we have yet to see the decree emanating from Rome that would permit even a beggar to repudiate his lawful wife, in order to give his affections to an adulteress.
The female portion of our race would always have sunk back into a new slavery, had not the popes entered the breach for the protection of the unity, the sanctity, the indissolubility of matrimony. In the midst of the barbarous ages, during which the conqueror and -warrior swayed the sceptre of empire, and kings and petty tyrants acknowledged no other right but that of force, it was the pope that opposed their authority, like a wall of brass, to the sensuality and the passions of the mighty ones of the earth, and stood forth as the protectors of innocence and outraged virtue, as the champions of the rights of women, against the wanton excesses of tyrannical husbands, by enforcing, in their full severity, the laws of Christian marriage. If Christian Europe is not covered with harems, if polygamy has never gained a foothold in Europe ; if, with the indissolubility and sanctity of matrimony, the palladium of European civilization has been saved from destruction, it is all owing to the pastors of the Church. "If the popes," says the Protestant Yon Muller, "if the popes could hold up no other merit than that which they gained by protecting monogamy against the brutal lusts of those in power, notwithstanding bribes, threats, and persecutions, that fact alone would render them immortal for all future ages." And how had they to battle till they had gained this merit ? What sufferings had they to endure, what trials to undergo ? When King Lothair, in the ninth century, repudiated his lawful wife, in order to live with a concubine, Pope Nicholas I at once took upon himself the defence of the rights and of the honor of the unhappy wife. All the arts of an intriguing policy were plied, but Nicholas remained unshaken, threats were used, but Nicholas remained firm. At last the king's brother, Louis II, appears with an army before the walls of Rome, in order to compel the pope to yield. It is useless Nicholas swerves not from the line of duty. Rome is besieged, the priests and people are maltreated and plundered; sanctuaries are desecrated ; the cross is torn down and trampled under foot, and, in the midst of these scenes of blood and sacrilege, Nicholas flies to the Church of St.Peter. There he is besieged by the army of the emperor for two days and two nights ; left without food or drink, he is willing to die of starvation on the tomb of St. Peter, rather than yield to a brutal tyrant, and sacrifice the sanctity of Christian marriage, the law of life of Christian society. And the perseverance of Nicholas I was crowned with victory. He had to contend against a licentious king, who was tired of restraint, against an emperor, who, with an army at his heels, came to enforce his brother's unjust demands, against two councils of venal bishops : the one at Metz, the other at Aix-la-Chapelle, who had sanctioned the scandals of the adulterous monarch. Yet, with all this opposition, and the suffering it cost him, the pope succeeded in procuring the acknowledgment of the rights of an injured woman. And during succeeding ages we find Gregory V carrying on a similar combat against King Robert, and Urban II against King Philip of France. In the thirteenth century, Philip Augustus, mightier than his predecessors, set to work all the levers of power, in order to move the pope to divorce him from his wife, Ingelburgis. Hear the noble answer of the great Innocent III : "Since, by the grace of God, we have the firm and unshaken will never to separate ourselves from justice and truth, neither moved by petitions, nor bribed by presents, neither induced by love, nor intimidated by hate, we will continue to go on in the royal path, turning neither to the right nor to the left, and we judge without any respect to persons, since God himself does not respect persons." After the death of his first wife, Isabella, Philip Augustus wished to gain the favor of Denmark by marrying Ingelburgis. The union had hardly been solemnized, when he wished to be divorced from her. A council of venal bishops assembled at Compiegne, and annulled his lawful marriage. The queen, poor woman, was summoned before her judges, and the sentence was read and translated to her. She could not speak the language of France, so her only cry was, "Rome!" And Rome heard her cry of distress, and came to her rescue. Innocent III needed the alliance of France in the troubles in which he was engaged with Germany; Innocent III needed the assistance of France for the Crusade , yet Innocent III sent Peter of Capua as legate to France. A council is convoked by the legate of the Pope ; Philip refuses to appear, in spite of the summons, and his whole kingdom is placed under interdict. Philip's rage knows no bounds ; bishops are banished, his lawful wife is imprisoned, and the king vents his rage on the clergy of France. The barons, at last, appeal to the sword. The king complains to the pope of the harshness of the legate ; and when Innocent only confirms the sentence of the legate, the king
exclaims, a Happy Saladin ! he had no pope !?? Yet the king was forced to obey. When he asked the barons assembled in council, "What must I do ?" their answer was, "Obey the pope ; put away Agnes, and restore Ingelburgis." And, thanks to the severity of Innocent III, Philip repudiated the concubine, and restored Ingelburgis to her rights, as wife and queen. Hear what the Protestant Hurter says in his Life of Innocent: "If Christianity has not been thrown aside, as a worthless creed, into some isolated corner of the world, if it has not, like the sects of India, been reduced to a mere theory; if its European vitality has outlived the voluptuous effeminacy of the East, it is due to the watchful severity of the Roman Pontiffs to their increasing care to maintain the principles of authority in the Church." As often as we look toward England, we are reminded of the words of Innocent III to Philip Augustus. We see Clement using them as his principles in his conduct toward the royal brute, Henry VIII. Catharine of Aragon, the lawful wife of Henry, had been repudiated by her disgraceful husband, and it was again to Rome she appealed for protection. Clement remonstrated with Henry. The monarch calls the pope hard names. Clement repeats,"Thou shalt not commit adultery !" Henry threatens to tear England from the Church he does it; still Clement insists, "Thou shalt not commit adultery !" The blood of Fisher and Moore is shed at Tyburn ; still the pope repeats, "Thou shalt not commit adultery !" The firmness of the pope cost England's loss to the Church. It cost the pope bitter tears, and he prayed to heaven not to visit on the people of England the crimes of the despot, he prayed for the conversion of the nation, but to sacrifice the sanctity, the indissolubility of matrimony, that he could never do; to abandon helpless woman to the brutality of men who were tired of the restraints of morality, no, that the pope could never permit. If the court, if the palace, if the domestic hearth, refused a shelter, Rome was always open, a refuge to injured and down-trodden innocence. "One must obey God more than man." This has ever been the language of the Church, whenever there was question of defending the laws of God against the power of the earth ; and in thus defending the laws of God, she has always shown herself Catholic. Oh, how sad would be the state of society were the
popes, the bishops, and priests to be banished from the earth! The bonds that unite the husband and wife, the child and the parent, the friend and the friend, would be broken. Peace and justice would flee from the earth. Robbery, murder, hatred, lust, and all the other crimes condemned by the Gospel, would prevail. Faith would no longer elevate the souls of men to heaven. Hope, the sweet consoler of the afflicted, of the widow and the orphan, would flee away, and in her stead would reign black despair, terror, and suicide. Where would we find the sweet virtue of charity, if the popes, the bishops, and priests were to disappear forever ? Where would we find that charity which consoles the poor and forsaken, which lovingly dries the tears of the widow and the orphan, that charity which soothes the sick man in his sufferings, and binds up the wounds of the bleeding defender of his country! Where would we find that charity which casts a spark of divine fire into the hearts of so many religious, bidding them abandon home, friends, and everything that is near and dear to them in this world, to go among strangers, among savage tribes, and gain there, in return for their heroism, nothing but outrage, suffering, and death? Where, I ask, would we find this charity, if the popes, the bishops, and priests were to disappear forever? Let a parish be for many years without a priest, and the people thereof will become the blind victims of error, of superstition, and of all kinds of vices. Show me an age, a country, a nation, without priests, and I will show you an age, a country, a nation, without morals, without virtue. Yes, if "religion and science, liberty and justice, principle and right," are not empty sounds if they have a meaning, they owe their energetic existence in the world to the "salt of the earth," to the popes, bishops, and priests of the Catholic Church. Finally, the Church, one, holy and Catholic, is also apostolic.
To be continued . . . . . . . . . . . .