You are here

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

تنويه: تعرض هنا نبذة من اول ١٠ صفحات فقط من الكتاب الالكتروني، لقراءة الكتاب كاملا اضغط على الزر “اشتر الآن"

‏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

No votes yet
دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

weak to address an assemblage of six thousand persons; but there is in it something so solemn, so moving, that his hearers seem spell-bound. His language is appropriate, and at times approaches sublimity. Baron Gerlache is as much the idol of the Catholics of Belgium as O'Connell was of the Irish; he is as respected as Joseph von Grörres was in Germany; he is the Godfrey de Bouillon of the great Belgian crusade of the nineteenth century. Great men seldom appear alone; around them are grouped many minor characters, well worthy of a niche in the temple of fame. The most prominent of those who have fought side by side with Baron von Gerlache are the Count de Theux, a veteran in political warfare, generous, able, and experienced in the art of governing; the Baron della Faille, a man distinguished for the dignity of his demeanor and the nobility of his character; his manners are captivating, and his features bear the impress of calmness, moderation, and judgment; the Viscount Bethune of Ghent, a venerable old man, whose countenance beams with piety, and who in the course of a long career has gathered a store of wisdom and experience; General Capiaumont, a man immovable as a rock, and full of chivalrous sentiments. These venerable men were seated on each side of the President von Gerlache. But the other members are no less worthy of notice. To hear and see such men produces a profound impression.

Dechamps, the mighty Dechamps, the lion of Flanders and Brabant, must not be forgotten. He stands at the head of the Belgian statesmen, brave as Achilles, the terror of the so-called liberals. Dechamps was one of the pearls of the last congress; his mere appearance had a magic effect; the few words he addressed to the assembly before its organization called forth a storm of applause; he electrifies his hearers by his bold and sparkling ideas.

We must next call attention to Joseph de Hemptinne. The owner of immense factories, he employs thousands of laborers, and freely devotes his fortune to the cause of the Church. He also contributed to the success of {7} the congress of Malines. His employés owe him a debt of gratitude. Like a father, he cares for their corporal and spiritual welfare, accompanies them when going to assist at mass, and with them he says the beads and receives the sacrament. De Hemptinne is entirely devoted to his country and his faith; his countenance is a mirror that reflects a pure and guileless soul, deeply imbued with religious feeling. It has seldom been my good fortune to meet as amiable a man as Joseph de Hemptinne.

Perin next demands our notice. He fills a professorship at Louvain, and is well known to the public by his writings. In the congress be was noted as an adroit business man. Possessing a refined mind, stored with manifold attainments, he exerts a peculiar, I might almost say magic, influence on those with whom he deals. His fine piercing eye beams with knowledge, not mere book learning, but the knowledge of men, whilst his noble forehead is stamped with the seal of uncommon intellectual power. In his language as well as in his actions Perin is extremely graceful; he might not inaptly be styled the doctor elegantissimus. Count Villermont of Brussels is well known in Germany, and respected for his historical researches. At Malines he displayed extraordinarily activity. True, he seems to be no favorite of the graces—the warrior appears in all his actions. On seeing him, I imagined I beheld the colonel of one of Tilly's Walloon regiments. This circumstance must surprise us all the more, as the count is not only a diligent student of history and a generous supporter of the Catholic press in Belgium, but also a man who takes a lively interest in every charitable undertaking and in the social amelioration of his country. Would to God that Germany had many Counts Villermont! Monsignor de Ram the rector magnificus of the university of Louvain, was the representative of Belgian science at Malines. Ever since its establishment, he has been at the head of that institution, which he has governed with a firm and steady hand. He is the pride of Belgium, eminent, perhaps the most eminent, among all her sons. His authority is most ample, and to it we must probably trace the majestic calmness that distinguishes his whole being, for to me de Ram appears to be the personification of dignity. At the proper moment, however, he knows how to display the volubility and affable manners of the Roman prelate.

Many illustrious Belgian names might still be mentioned, but we will speak of them in a more appropriate place.

The Belgian congresses differ in some respects from the Catholic conventions in Germany, for the latter are by no means so well attended as the former. At the German meetings, the number of members never exceeded fifteen hundred; only six hundred representatives were present at the convention of Frankfort in 1863, whilst that of Breslau in 1849 mustered scarcely two hundred members. In 1863 four thousand, and in 1864 no less than five thousand, were present at the Malines congress. The sight of this army, full of fervor and of zeal to do battle for the faith, involuntarily reminds us of the warriors who were marshalled under the banners of Godfrey for the purpose of achieving the conquest of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Or it recalls to our mind the great council of Clermont (Nov., 1095), at which the entire assembly, hurried away by the eloquent appeals of Urban II., shouted with one accord "Deus lo volt," "God wills it," and swore to deliver Jerusalem from the tyranny of the Moslems. The members of the Catholic congresses are the crusaders of the nineteenth century, for in their own way they too battle for Christendom against its enemies, falsehood and malice.

Belgium is a small kingdom, Malines the central point where all its railroads converge; it is a Catholic {8} country, boasting of a numerous clergy both secular and regular; it is an international country, the Lombardy of the north. Its position has made it the connecting link between the Romanic and Teutonic races, between the continent and England. Thus situated, Belgium is a rendezvous equally convenient for the German, the Frenchman, and the Briton. Moreover, Belgium has ever been the battle ground of Germany and France: where can be found a more suitable spot on which to decide the great struggle for the freedom of the Church? This explains sufficiently the numerous attendance of the Belgium congress. In addition to the foreign element, the congress at Malines calls forth the entire intellectual strength of Belgium, both lay and clerical No one remains at home; all are brethren fighting for the same cause; all wish to imbibe new vigor, to gather new courage for the struggle, for the congress acts like the spiritual exercises of a mission.

Very different is the situation of Germany. Much larger than Belgium, its most central point is at a considerable distance from its extremities. Beside, the conventions do not even meet at the most convenient point, but change their place of meeting every year. Suppose, therefore, the convention is held in some city on the French border, say Freiburg, or Treves, or Aix-la-chapelle, this arrangement will render it very difficult for the delegates from the opposite extremity of the empire to attend, the more so since it is not likely that the German railroad companies will reduce their fares to half price, as was done by the Belgium government roads. Lastly, our language, difficult in itself, and especially so to the Romanic races, who are not distinguished for extensive philological learning, will prevent many from attending our meetings.

For these reasons, the German reunions are hardly an adequate representation of the Church militant; comparatively few can attend, the majority must remain at home. For the most part, our conventions are chiefly composed of delegates from the district or diocese in which they are held. Nevertheless, every German tribe has its representative, and