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force a government to pass good laws, but we cannot force it to have good taste. We speak now of that odious
supremacy which, in defiance of truth and reason, is assigned by law to the Establishment, when in its favour the very existence of our Church is affected to be denied and at most connived at. A Roman Catholic religion is to be sure acknowledged for certain purposes, but according to law, and even according to the law as it would be fixed by Sergeant Shee, there no more exists a Roman Catholic Church in Ireland then there exists an Angli. can Church in France. We need hardly say that we here restrict the term Church to our system of pastoral government, wbich the secular government ktiowing to exist, and knowing to be as legitimate, as vigorous, as highly disciplined, as well organised, and as firmly established as any in the world, has the incredible stupidity, and the no less incredible insolence lo treat as non-existent. To judge from the statute book no one could tell that the Catholic population of the Island lived in towns and villages, that it was occupied in steady and stayal-home pursuits, that it consisted of noblemen, gentlemen, merchants, farmers and labourers, under the spiritual government of regular pastors with jurisdiction geographically limited. For ought that appears in the statute book the bisliops might be gipsy patriarchs fixing their diocese wherever the cainp-kettle should be slung for the night, and shifting it when the hen-roosts in the neighbourhood should cease to be productive. Dr. Newman has soinewhere observed that Protestants reason as if they spoke froma drawing-room window and their opponents were in the channel. Certainly Sergeant Shee lifts up his voice to the sublime Establishinent as if he and we with him were in the mire. He introduces into his bill the detestable jargon of “Roman Catholic Bisliop of the diocese or district," and for the better understanding the geographical boundaries of the district, every mortal parish in the entire district is to be enumerated.
“The Turk that two and fifty kingdoms hath
Writes not so tedious a style as this :" and the accession of this "Roman Catholic Archbishop or Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese or district," is to be certified to the Government by the Roman Catholic visitors of the College of Maynooth. It is not suggested in virtue of what authority the certificate of these respectable individuals is to be the title deed of our prelates, but it is apparent that Sergeant Shee
is bent upon humouring one of the most contemptible littlenesses in the English character where so much is great, that littleness of quibbling which induced Englishmen upon a question of barren title to drench with bitterness the few and evil days of their great enemy in St. Helena, and to cover their own name with dishonor by the affectation of denying his. True it is, the learned Sergeant practises some legal sleight of land, and sidles in with a casual recognition of some Catholic titles, just as he might endeavour to steal up illegal evidence to a jury. But surely it is not this small dexterity that can earn the respect of honest Protestants, or command the support of earnest Catholics.' Why not rely upon justice, common right, plain reason, and good policy? Might he not refer to Canada, and insist upon the same measure of justice for Ireland ? In Canada there is no Established Church in the odious sense, and why should there be in Ireland more than in Canada ? In Canada, the status of the Catholic clergy is acknowledged without circumlocution or ordnance surveys, or enumeration of parishes. Why uot io Ireland ? The practice is attended with no danger or inconvenience in Canada ; why should there be any in Ireland ? The Canadian Catholics enjoy those rights in consequence of treaty obligations with an enemy; are the Irish to expect no favour in the character of fellow-subjects? The Canadians fought gallantly against Wolfe, and they are rewarded for their gallantry by religious equality; the Irish fought victoriously under Wolfe, and they are rewarded by inferiority. Within the last few years, a Catholic University for Canada was solemnly inaugurated by the governor, and ou what principle, it may be asked, should there be one rule of conduct for Canada and another for Ireland ? This would be the direct, the manly, the respectable and eventually the successful course. We hope to see it adopted, and not in a tone of supplication, any more than in a tone of bluster, but in a tone of energy, quietness, and determination,
We now return to the introductory portion of Sergeant Shee's book, and it cannot be denied that what he urges with respect to the Catholic oath and the obligations growing out of it, is entitled to grave consideration, and that the import of the oath is not to be explained away by minute criticism. Admitting, however, to the fullest extent, that the Catholic Meinber of Parliament binds himself in no way to disturb or
weaken the Protestant religion, or to subvert the Church Establishment, we weither can take from Sergeant Shee what logicians would call the comprehension of the term Establishment, nor can we think that any interference with its emoluments would amount to its subversion; nay we do not believe that it could be even weakened or disturbed by such.
In the first place, our inquiry may limit itself to the discovery of what really consititutes an established religion. The case of Ireland is proof demonstrative, that it need not be the religion of the people, and in one view, a religion is entitled to be regarded as established, if it be acknowledged by the law as the religion of the State. That is the one constituent idea of a Church Establishment. The State is an abstraction, and so must be its religion ; but treating the State for the purposes of our inquiry as a person or a corporation, it certainly may have a religion without paying for it. The pauper who pays nothing is as good a Protestant as the peer who pays his hundreds ; and if the State paid nothing it would not for that be the less Protestant if it insisted upon being called so. It is not difficult to imagine the case of a country, which for some reason or other might be unable or unwilling to give its clergy State support, and which, notwithstanding, should feel so strongly upon matters of religion as to prohibit the public exercise of any form of worship but the one. We think it cannot be doubted that the form of worship so protected would be regarded as an established religion, although unsupported by the State, and holding this opinion, we cannot but think that the duty of a Catholic Member of Parliament with reference to the subversion of the Establishment, is satisfied by his abstaining from the promotion of a forinal severance between Church and State, in virtue of which the present ecclesiastical corporation called the Established Church, should be declared to be no longer the religion of the State. This we should hold to be the duty of the Catholic, even though his vote might not have the effect of diminishing the income of the Establishment by a groat ; for although the case of an Establishment without State support is we believe imaginary, we have religion amply endowed in France where the law acknowledges no Established Church.
But we have also to bear in mind that we are dealing with a pu ly local question, and that such a thing as an Irish Church
Establishment is utterly unknown to the law. It would be as correct to speak of a Yorkshire Church, as of an Irish Church. No one pretends that a Catholic is precluded by his oath from voting for the consolidation, the division or the creation of English Sees, or that he is obliged to speculate upon the remote tendency of any measure of Church discipline that is submitted to Parliament. The Pope did not conceive that he subverted the French Church, when he consented to a re-arrangement of its ancient divisions, although it involved the suppression of numerous sees, and extinguished the rights of venerable bishops. If the present Irish Dioceses were by act of Parliament reduced to one, and that one annexed to the Diocese of Sodor and Man, with or without an augmentation of salary to the Bishop of that place, and suppose the Church Property applied in any manner the nation might think fit; so long as the style and title of the United Church should be acknowledged by law, and its discipline maintained, there would in no sense be a subversion of the Establishment. There has already been a Duke of Ireland, (Robert De Vere,) and why not a Bishop of Ireland ? The Irish Protestants in communion with the Establishment, are not half as numerous as the Protestants in the Diocese of London, and no one could be heard to say that such a change, however he might deprecate it, would amount to a subversion of the Imperial Establishment.
As to the question of any disturbance or weakness in the Establishment resulting from interference with what is called Church property, Sergeant Shee would seem to insinuate that the disturbance and weakness would be all upon our own side. He says we should be inundated with unpaid proselytizers of a zeal more intemperate because more genuine than that of the common barrators we have to deal with now. We are once more at a loss for the learned gentleman's premises. We do not know that the Presbyterians, Methodists, Unitarians or Quakers are more successful even in temporary corruption than the people of the Establishment; they certainly are not so prominent. Indeed if we were to push Sergeant Shee's reasoning to its legitimate conclusion by taking for granted that the agents of proselytism are indolent in proportion to their affluence, we should subscribe to pay them still more largely, as degenerate and falling states have purchased the forbearance of invaders. But for our own part, as we have already said, we desire anything rather than the subversion of the English Establishment regarded as something distinct from that of Ireland, nor even
in the case of Ireland have we any desire to push things to an extremity. Soine of our cotemporaries have considered us as speculative, but it certainly is our wish to be as practical as possible. Unlike our English friends, the voluntaries, we apply the voluntary principle, but we have not the faintest desire to analyze it or force it upon others. We make no appeal to Scripture. That would be speculative. In America, abolitionists and slave holders and slave breeders quiet their consciences with Scripture. If Catholics in this country object to a state endow. ment for themselves, that is a matter of policy, and they have no right to force their reluctance upon others; but they have a distinct right to their proper liberties, to a legal standing for their elergy, and to any adjustment of the burthens of the State which they can constitutionally enforce. If the State think proper to indulge in the luxury of a Church Establishment, it is an imperial concern, and the expenses should be borne by the Empire. It will not not do for England to say, I support my branch of the Establishment, let Ireland support hers. Our answer is, you like your Establishment, it is your fancy, your taste, your weakness, your doll, anything you please, but we in Ireland don't want it, we don't like it, it don't serve us, it don't amuse us.
So far as Ireland is represented, whether by electors or non-electors, she repudiates an establishment for herself ; but she might perhaps say, I have to some extent lost my individuality in the Empire ; and the Establishment is one of the disadvantages attached to the countervailing advantages of the British connexion. The Established Church being a purely imperial institution, there is no reason why Ireland should be burthened with the exclusive support of a branch of it, and that upon a scale of the most wanton extravagance, any more than that she should pay out of her provincial purse, the regiments of the royal army that may be stationed in Ireland. We have no desire to impose our scruples or our policy upon the Protestant clergy. If they prefer state-payment let them have their preference, but let their payment be from imperial funds and upon a rational scale. We think that a plan could be suggested, which, without diminishing the funds of the Protestant church notably or almost at all, and without throwing much additional burthen upon the State, might be made to satisfy the reasonable requirements of all parties, and that without waiting for the voidance of benefices, an absolute and