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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: 9

nevertheless we might easily send one or two able representatives to every section of the congress. If some one were to do for Germany what Cardinal Wiseman did for England in 1863, when he set forth in clear and forcible language the state of Catholicity in that country, he would deserve the everlasting gratitude of the Romanic races.

Leaving these considerations aside for the present, one thing is certain, we must profit by each other's wisdom and experience. Whatever may be the defects of the Belgian congresses or of the German conventions, they mark the beginning of a new era for Belgium and Germany. For when in the spring of 1848 the storm of revolution swept away dynasties built on diplomacy and police regulations, the Catholics, quick to take advantage of the liberty granted them, made use of the freedom of assembly, of speech, and of the press to defend the interests of religion and of the Church. To Germany the liberty thus acquired for the Church has proved a blessing. This liberty, attained after so many years of Babylonian captivity, acted so forcibly, that many called the day on which the first general convention met a "second Pentecost, revealing the spirit, the force, and the charity of Catholicism." We Catholics have learned the language of freedom, we {11} know the power of free speech. Next to the liberty of speech, it is their publicity that gives a charm to these conventions. Whoever addresses these assemblies speaks before the whole Church, and his words are re-echoed in every country. There the prince and the mechanic, the master and the journeyman, the refined gentleman and the child of nature, all alike have the right to express their opinions. They afford a general insight into the social and religions condition of our times, disclosing at once their defects and their fair side. How inspiring it is to see men, thorough men, with sound principles, full of vital energy, and of experience acquired in public life, men of intellectual vigor and mental refinement! Hence arise great and manifold activity, unity of sentiment, and zeal for the weal of all, in short, feelings of true brotherly love. Great events arouse deep feelings, and the glory of one casts its radiance over many. There is something beautiful and grand in these Catholic reunions. They tend to awaken society to a consciousness of its nobler feelings and to spread Catholic ideas; they give strength and unity to the exertions of all who endeavor seriously to promote the interests of Catholicity; they are, as it were, a mirror that reflects an exact image of the life of the Church. Before their influence narrow-mindedness withers; we take an interest in men and things that had never before come within the scope of our mental vision, and on our return from the congress to the ordinary pursuits of life, we forget fossil notions and take up new ideas. As we feel the heat of the sun after it has set, so long after the adjournment of each convention do we feel its influence. The eloquent words of the champion of their faith kindle in the hearts of Catholic youth a glowing ardor which promises a bright and glorious future. All are impressed with the conviction that it is only by unflinching bravery that victories are won.

"As in nature," says Hergenröther, "individuals are subordinate to species, species to genera, and these again to a general unity of design, thus in the Catholic Church all submit freely to the triple unity of faith, of the sacraments, and of government. Whether they come from the north or the south, from beyond the Channel or from the banks of the Rhine, from the Scheldt or the Danube, from the March or the Leitha, all Catholics of every country and every clime are brethren, members of the same family, all speak but one language, the lips of all pronounce the same Catholic prayer, and all offer to their Heavenly Father the same august sacrifice. Every Catholic convention is a symbol of this great, this universal society. And as in nature we admire the most astonishing variety, and the wonderful display of thousands of hues and tints, so in the Church we behold a gathering of countless tribes and nations, differing in their institutions, their customs, and in their application of the arts and sciences."

Some of my readers, perhaps, are impatient of the praise here lavished on contemporaries. Fame, it is true, has ever dazzled mortal eyes, but I am not now dealing with the miserable characters who consider fame as merchandise that can be bought and sold, who are always panting for honied words, and who never lose sight of themselves. No; I am in the presence of Catholic men, purified by Catholic doctrine and discipline, who hold fame to be vain trumpery. Claiming to be no infallible judge of men, my aim has been to note down what I have seen and heard, for I have been at no special pains to study the characters of those here mentioned.