قراءة كتاب The Catholic World, Vol. 02, October, 1865 to March, 1866 A Monthly Eclectic Magazine

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‏اللغة: English
The Catholic World, Vol. 02, October, 1865 to March, 1866
A Monthly Eclectic Magazine

The Catholic World, Vol. 02, October, 1865 to March, 1866 A Monthly Eclectic Magazine

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

enthusiast for ideas, bold, quick, and intrepid, he united restless activity and unquenchable ardor with the most self-sacrificing devotion. He is distinguished for extensive learning, a powerful imagination, and for the force and flow of his language. So constant and untiring have been his exertions for the liberty and independence of the Church, that one who is no mean painter of men and character has lately styled him the Bayard of the Church in the nineteenth century. The last time I saw and heard the Chevalier von Buss was in the convention held at Frankfort in 1862. His imposing figure, his bold commanding eye, his fiery patriotic heart, his glowing fancy, his powerful ringing voice, all were unchanged. His speeches exert the magic influence which belongs to an enthusiastic, powerful, and penetrating mind. Age has whitened his hair, wrinkles furrow his noble features, his life is on the wane. A glance at Catholic Germany and the growth of the Church during the past sixteen years, will reflect a bright consoling radiance on the evening of his life.

We must still mention one of the founders and chief stays of the Catholic general conventions, and one who, alas, is no more. I refer to Dr. Maurice Lieber, attorney and counsellor at Camberg in Nassau, one of the most active members at Mayence in 1848; he was elected president of the second general convention at Breslau in 1849. He was present at the first seven general meetings, and at Salzburg in 1857 filled the chair a second time. At Cologne, in 1858, this honor would again have been conferred on him had he not declined. Maurice Lieber seems by nature to have been designed to preside at these assemblies. Of a noble appearance, he combined dignity with gentleness, force and decision with moderation; his remarks were always to the point. An able and spirited writer and journalist, he contributed in a great measure to make the public acquainted with the aim and object of the newly founded association. He never grew weary of scattering good and fruitful seed, and his writings as well as his speeches were life-inspiring, strengthening, purifying productions. The name of Maurice Lieber will ever be honored.

Beside the eminent men above mentioned, those whose exertions aided in calling into existence the Catholic general conventions in Germany are Lennig, vicar-general at Mayence, Prof. Riffel, Himioben, now dead, and lastly, Heinrich and Moufang, who have been present at almost every meeting.

So many illustrious names are connected with the foundation of the {5} Catholic congress in Belgium that to do all justice will be extremely difficult.

The political and religions status of Belgium is sufficiently well known. In Belgium there are but two parties; the one espouses the cause of God, the other supports that of Antichrist. These parties are on the point of laying aside entirely their political character and of opposing each other on religious grounds. War is inevitable, war to the knife; either party must perish. "To be or not to be, that is the question."

Outnumbering the Catholics in parliament, the followers of Antichrist eagerly use their superiority to trample their opponents in the dust and, if possible, annihilate them. The people is the stronghold of the latter; for the great majority of the Belgians are Catholics, sincere, fervent, self-sacrificing Catholics. They yield support neither to the rationalists nor to the solidaires and affranchis. Day by day the influence of the Catholic leaders increases; they are whetting their swords, and gathering recruits to fight for Christ and his Church. The congress at Malines is their rendezvous, as it were. Even the first congress, that of 1863, exerted a magic influence; the drowsy were aroused from their lethargy, and the faint-hearted were inspired with confidence; they saw their strength and felt it. In that congress we see the beginning of a new epoch in the religious history of Belgium.

The Belgium congresses are imitations of the Catholic conventions in Germany. A number of men used their best endeavors to bring about the congress of 1863, and for this they deserve our respect and gratitude. We shall mention but a few of the many.

Dumortier will head our list. He is one of the most powerful speakers in Belgium, a ready debater, a valiant champion of the Catholic cause, whose delight it is to fight for his principles. Dumortier has the power of kindling in his hearers his own enthusiasm, as he proved in 1863 at Aix-la-chapelle. He has all the qualities of an agitator, and these qualities were the cause of his success in bringing about the congress of 1863. When indignant, Dumortier inspires awe; his brow is clouded, and like a hurricane he sweeps everything before him. It is the anger of none but noble spirits that increases our affection for them. Once only I saw Dumortier swell with just indignation, and I seldom witnessed a spectacle more sublime.

Ducpetiaux was the soul of the congresses at Malines. To singular talent for organization he joins a burning zeal for the interests of Catholicity, and to them he devotes every day and hour of his life. No sacrifice is too great, no labor too exhausting, if it is needed to further the Catholic cause. As general secretary, he is in communication with the leading men of Catholic Europe. At his call Catholics from every country flocked to Malines. Ducpetiaux was the ruling mind of the congress, for the president had intrusted him, to a great extent, with its management. Cautious, subtle, and quick, he is prompt in action, though no great speaker. The most numerous assembly would be obedient to his nod. Ducpetiaux is no stranger to Germany, for he was among us at Aix-la-chapelle in 1862, and at Würzburg in 1864, and the whole-souled remarks made by him on the latter occasion will long ring in our memory. He is an international character, a type of the nineteenth century. By the interest a man takes in the movements and ideas of his age, and by his intercourse with prominent characters, we may easily estimate his influence. To Germany a general secretary like Ducpetiaux would be of inestimable advantage.

Viscount de Kuckhove must not be passed over in silence. A thorough well bred gentleman, he is familiar with the nations and languages of {6} Europe. He is a man of mind, energy, and prudence, and of a dazzling appearance. He seems the embodiment of elegance. His speeches sparkle with delicate touches and are distinguished for refinement. His voice is somewhat shrill and sharp, but melodious withal. In Belgium the viscount ranks as an orator equal to Dechamps and Dumortier. His favorite scheme, to the promotion of which he gives his entire energies, is the closest union among Catholics of all countries. At times he expresses this idea so forcibly that he is misunderstood, but in itself the scheme is praiseworthy, and has been more or less realized in the age of Pius IX.

Baron von Gerlache now demands our attention. He was president of the congress both in 1863 and in 1864. If I were writing his biography, how eventful a life would it be my lot to portray! Baron Gerlache is identified with Belgian history since 1830; for more than forty years he has been acknowledged by the Catholics in Belgium as their head. In 1831 he had no mean share in forming the Belgian constitution, a constitution based on political eclecticism, which at that time satisfied all parties, and which promised even-handed justice to all. Gerlache has ever been the loyal defender of this constitution; Belgium has not a more devoted son. He is a historian and a statesman. But the Church too claims his affection, the great and holy Catholic Church. All Belgium listens to his voice, and his words sometimes become decrees. He speaks with dignity and moderation, with caution and prudence; he is always guided by reason, and never loses sight of facts. His energies spent in the course of a life of seventy-two years, he is no longer understood as well as formerly; his voice has become too