ePub 版


their parishioners had voted according to instructions, they could evidently, under this scheme, defeat the intent of the secret ballot, and use the pulpit as a means of irresponsible and slanderous attack upon any party or person. The clergy in not a few instances took the warrant for political action which was given them by the bishops in its full length and breadth. Indeed, it was soon found expedient to put a check upon them by reason of the odium which their tactics incurred, and in 1877 the priests were counselled to content themselves with declaring principles, leaving their flocks to make the application to persons and parties."

The denunciation of Catholic Liberalism by the prelates meant a special intolerance toward journals not strictly in line with the hierarchical programme. In a circular to the clergy, issued by the Archbishop of Quebec in 1876, it was characterized as a species of apostasy for a Catholic to profess, as was done by the editor of Le Réveil, an intention not to treat of religious matters. This, the Archbishop conceived, made the journal an object of just suspicion from the start; and when he found that it had the audacity to report a speech of the Spanish statesman Castelar in behalf of religious liberty, he concluded that it was time to interdict it to the faithful. The industry of the priests in suppressing unacceptable periodicals may be judged from the following, written shortly after the proscription of Le Réveil: “It has become the habit of the curés, in the country parishes, to denounce in the church every journal which is displeasing to them on political grounds; to proscribe and anathematize it as pernicious; 1 Mandements, ii. 46.

2 Ibid. i. 421.


to threaten to refuse the sacraments to all who still persist in continuing to receive it. The confessional is used as a means of discovering the disobedient; and even the wives of the subscribers to the obnoxious journals are refused absolution if they fail to influence their husbands to obey the priest's command.” Some years later a Canadian Roman Catholic historian, speaking of the reviews which had thus far been founded among his countrymen, said that they were closed against free pens.

“Terror and submission," he added, “are the watchwords everywhere adopted.”2 Doubtless facts of this order were prominently in the mind of a Roman Catholic writer on this side of the border when he penned the following: “ Canada is nearer the Catholicity of the fifteenth century than the Christianity of the nineteenth century. There is no rule of freedom or intelligence, but a false worship of authority that subjects mind, conscience, and means to its own advancement. Mortal sin' and the terrors of hell' preached to the dumb soul are powers of subjection and tyranny as potent to-day as was the torture of the Inquisition, - the prison, the tower, the bastile, the rack, the torch, of the centuries of spiritual darkness and confusion.” 3

The declaration of Pius IX. that baptized Protestants are in a manner subjects of Roman Catholic authority has been noticed in another connection. A very distinct echo of this sentiment has been heard in Canada. Vicar-General Truteau, being asked under examination whether the Church of Canada claimed jurisdiction over

[ocr errors]

1 Lindsey, Rome in Canada, pp. 26, 27. 2 Sulte, Histoire des Canadiens Français, 1884, viii. 153. 8 J. T. Reily, Passing Events iu the Life of Cardinal Gibbons, p. 426.

such bodies as the Institut Canadien, in which there were non-Catholics, replied : “ The jurisdiction which the Church of Canada exercises is a part of the universal jurisdiction of the Church. The Church regards as those over whom she can exercise jurisdiction all persons who have been baptized. There are, therefore, only non-baptized persons belonging to the Institut Canadien who are not subject to the authority of the Church; all others are subject to that authority whether they be Catholics or Protestants. And on this principle I consider that the entire body of the Institute was bound to conform to the exigencies of the Church.' To the objection that this doctrine made all Protestants members of the Roman Catholic Church, the VicarGeneral replied that the Church had cast them from her bosom, and did not regard them as members, but claimed that in virtue of the baptism they had received, they were subject to her jurisdiction, from which they could not release themselves, though she had the right to deprive them of all advantage of connection with her."1 Thus Protestants are placed in the position of subjects without rights. The fact that they are totally destitute of rights has been asserted with great bravery by the Jesuit Braün. In his work on Christian marriage, published with the express approbation of the administrator of the diocese of Quebec, and the Bishops of Quebec and Three Rivers, he says: “ It is customary to regard Protestantism as a religion which has its rights. This is an error. Protestantism is not a religion ; Protestantism has not a single right. It possesses the force of seduction. It is a rebellion in triumph ; it

1 Lindsey, pp. 332, 333.


is an error which flatters human nature. Error can have no rights; rebellion can have no rights.” Of course there are many Roman Catholics in Canada who have little appetite for so rank a portion of Ultramontane bigotry as this.

As was intimated above, the prelates of Quebec have pronounced emphatically against undenominational schools. They have also taken pains to encourage Roman Catholics in other provinces to oppose them. Nevertheless, the plan of non-sectarian schools obtains in five provinces, namely: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, and Manitoba.

According to the census of 1891 the ecclesiastical statistics of Canada stand as follows: Roman Catholics, 1,990,465 ; Methodists, 847,469 ; Presbyterians, 755,199; Church of England adherents, 644,106; Baptists, 303,749; Lutherans, 63,979; Congregationalists, 28,155.




At the time when Mexico and the other States of Spanish America achieved their independence they were exclusively Roman Catholic, except in quarters where paganism had remained unconquered. In some parts of South America the pagan element was still considerable. It has recently been estimated that Brazil contains a million wild Indians.

Exclusive possession by the Romish Church, however, was not found to be a safeguard against disputes and antagonisms. In most of the States a progressive party sprang up, which became averse to the dominant influence of the Church, as being in the way at once of proper liberty and of material prosperity. The clergy, to the best of their ability, fought for retaining the old status. But in nearly the whole area under review the victory has been with the liberal or progressive party, and the Church has been obliged to relinquish much of its privilege and authority. A few years since a prominent Roman Catholic writer, contrasting the position of his Church in the United States with that assigned to it south of her borders, drew this sombre picture: “In the Spanish American republics the government has fallen into the hands of infidels, and is controlled by secret societies. There the Catholic religion is oppressed ; every form of religion, Christian or heathen, is free and encouraged; but Catholics who are attached to their faith have no rights. . . . The Church has been plundered of its property ; bishops are driven out at the whim of any president or dictator; religious orders, with other institutions of education and charity, have been suppressed; the outward manifestation of religion, even the

1 Lindsey, p. 216. 3 Brazilian Missions, Monthly Bulletin, Jan. 1888.

l wearing of the cassock, processions and the like, are prohibited."An element of exaggeration may be

1 detected here, as well as a special direction of sympathy ; but a general basis of fact underlies the representation, and it may serve to indicate that the attempt of the Romish hierarchy to rule those countries in its own interest has not been eminently successful.

The great era of the struggle and triumph of the liberal party in Mexico includes the fifteen or twenty

1 J. G. Shea, Catholic Review, 1887.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »