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NOVEMBER 1, 1855.
THE PROPAGANDA-THE POPE'S LEGATE IN IRELAND,
The Pope's claim to Ireland is of very ancient date. If he could banish all heresy from its borders, and make its population perfectly and entirely Roman Catholic, it would then be a model island_“ an island of saints,” according to the peculiar idea of saintship adopted by the Church of Rome. Happily for England, happily for Ireland, but unhappily for Rome—this consummation, however devoutly wished for by her, has never yet been attained. There, in spite of all her efforts, she is not alone in her glory. There, heresy and orthodoxy confront one another; and the rival systems of the Church of the Reformers and that of the Non-reformers, meet together oftentimes in unfriendly conflict. Neither will yield ; neither has succeeded in banishing the other, yet each boasts of being able to do so. Indeed, had it not been for the goodness of God, the darkness of Papal superstition would have extinguished ere now the light of Divine truth in Ireland; but relying upon the continuance of that Divine grace, we hope and believe that the light of Divine truth in that island will never, never be extinguished.
Many faithful servants of Christ Jesus have been found in increasing numbers-some lay, others clerical; some amongst the rich and noble; others, and many amongst the poor, who have been raised up in these latter days to vindicate the cause of their God and Saviour, against the arrogance and impurities, and the soul-destroying errors of the Papal system.
Of all this, the Papacy is well aware, and is therefore straining every nerve to stop the progress of improvement, to rivet the fetters which her victims would shake off from their long manacled limbs, and to perpetuate the darkness in which they have so long been detained.
More bold, and better organized than for the last three centuries, Rome now comes forward, like a giant renewed with fresh vigour for the conflict; and in the dominions of our Pro.
Vol. XVII.-November, 1855. New Series, No. 59,
testant Queen, we are to witness the revival of Romish ecclesiastical organization, which scarce a British monarch for the last three centuries would have tolerated in their dominions. A Papal Legate is in Ireland. This is now no news. But he is proceeding to execute the work of his master the Pope, in bringing about the subjugation of Ireland, and the humiliating of England :
“ The Freeman's Journal' announces the first meeting of the (Roman Catholic) Cathedral Chapter of the diocese of Dublin, for the despatch of capitular business, which has been convened for centuries (the last meeting having been held before the Reformation, in the year 1517), took place on Thursday last in the archiepiscopal residence in Eccles-street. It was called (continues the Roman organ)
««• By bis Grace the Archbishop, to receive a brief of his Holiness the Pope, conferring several important privileges on the chapter. The Sovereign Pontiff has authorised the canons to wear the same gorgeous costume as that used by the canons of St. Peter's, at Rome, consisting of the cappa magna, lined with ermine, nearly identical with that worn by bishops. The canons of the chapter, as at present existing, are twenty-six in number, most of whom are parish priests. All the canons will be entitled to wear the cappa magna, while the dignitaries will, in addition, wear purple soutanes, and other canons continue to wear black soutanes beneath the cappa. The brief of the Holy Father was read, and, among other matters of business transacted, it was determined that the chapter should henceforth meet regularly once a-month for despatch of business. We understand that th canons will attend in their new robes at the ceremony of the dedication of the Church of our Immaculate Lady of Refuge, Rathmines, on the 6th of December next.'”—Times, Oct. 23.
The emissaries of the Papal Propaganda are at work in Ireland. For what purpose? it may be asked ; and we give, in the words of the “Times," a good reply as to the result which, in part at least, they would seek to accomplish :
“ Some of the changes would affect the comparative independence of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and make it the passive instrument of the Propaganda."—Wednesday, Oct. 3.
But we know the Church boasts of having the control of the people. To make, therefore, the Church the passive instrument of the Propaganda, is to subjugate the people of Ireland also to the same domination.
However plausible may be the pretensions under which this new move on the part of the Papacy is to be ushered in, the real object of its promoters is to advance, and to concentrate Papal power more effectually in Ireland. Ostensibly thrust forward, is the design of rendering the priesthood less turbulent in matters of elections. This, many may think desirable. But they must not therefore suppose that, because the priest is not to appear so frequently upon the hustings, he is to abandon all right of interfering in election matters. No. The recent evidence tells us, that the exercise of the elective franchise is a moral duty, and one which it devolves upon the priest to see rightly performed. When, therefore, we learn that,
“ The interference in politics of the clergy, their dissensions on merely political, or on religio-political questions, and the manner in which some among them have viewed certain Papal decisions on these matters, have for some time met with much disfavour here;” i.e., at Rome, we only learn this, that to avoid public scandal, the power is not to be abandoned, but to be more discreetly used, more privately, more secretly exercised.
As part of its machinery, and ready for its use,
“ Propaganda is fortunate at finding at the head of that Church a prelate like Dr. Cullen, of tried practical wisdom, of great energy and perseverance, and whose Roman education has made him far superior to his fellow-prelates of Ireland.”
This is not very complimentary to the Romish hierarchy in Ireland generally, and very unpalatable we should suppose, to those of the Dr. M‘Hale school. It remains to be seen, how the measure will be received, and whether there may not be yet left sufficient spirit and independence amongst the Romish laity, and Romish priesthood of Ireland to resist the effort to impose new fetters upon them, by an authority not sanctioned by the Word of God, nor authorized by the law of the land.
There has been much effort, and no doubt many difficulties in preparing the way, and we are told that,
“ The object of the Reformation of Dr. Cullen, which has been for some time ardently pursued by him, is to establish a complete unity of action in the Irish prelacy, to elevate and refine the priesthood as well as the people, and to unite all, and place them more closely under the authority of Rome.”
Hence, then, we plainly see, that this new move of the Papacy is not to benefit this heretical country, not to render Roman Catholics more obedient to the law, but to place them all above the law, and bring bishops, priests, and people more unitedly and closely under the authority of Rome!
Propaganda seems to calculate upon a tolerably large, if not a general acquiescence of the clerical body in Ireland, in the proposed changes.
We should not wonder, however, if here, as in many other instances, the power of Rome, and the endurance of her victims, have been overrated. But the following is just now held out as the hoped-for result:
“ When this system is completed, and the Irish bishops do not think of defeating it, and fear to oppose it, the control and direction of the Irish episcopacy will necessarily be centred in the hands of the Holy
See, and petty dissensions and divisions that do not edify, will cease to appear before the world.
“ It would be difficult to point out what sacerdotal functions impose on the Irish clergy the advocacy of the Socialist doctrine of Tenantright, which places many of them in a state of armed neutrality, if not of hostility, against the Government of their country, and supplies most intemperate electioneering demagogues as opposing candidates for seats in Parliament."
To suppose that Propaganda desires in any degree to see obedience to the laws of temporal princes or Governments, excepting in so far as such obedience may prove subservient to promote the interests of the Papacy, were vain and idle in the extreme.
The recent allocutions on the affairs of Spain, Switzerland, and Piedmont, indicate a determination on the part of Rome to defy Governments, and invalidate the laws of temporal princes, at her own discretion. But we find that because,
“ It cannot be questioned, that the respectable English and Irish Catholics have been much hurt, if not scandalized, at the part taken in political agitation by the Irish clergy; it is therefore proposed that the clergy shall confine themselves to the quiet, unobtrusive exercise of their individual rights as citizens, and that their influence shall be felt only in counsel and private persuasion."
It is, no doubt, very desirable so to seek to avoid the scandal occasioned by Popery on the hustings. But the power wielded by the priest may not be one tittle the less. Still he may coerce the votes and consciences of his victims by threatening, or intimating, though in the most private and persuasive manner, that “the rites of the Church” will be withheld from the elector who dares to vote against the dictates, advice, or suggestions of his priest.
The laboured and important communication on which we have so extensively commented, having referred to some other points, thus concludes :
“ But from all that can be learned, these intrigues will never cease until such time as an arrangement be effected, by which an English representative shall be accredited to Rome.”
The people of England will not, with favour, view such a step. The remedy suggested would only prove a complication of existing evils. The intrigues which now perplex would still baffle our statesmen and diplomatists, while we should be paying national homage to a foreign spiritual power, which despises our country, and seeks the subversion of our liberties, and the destruction of our religion-a system which, under the pretence of promoting the interests of the “Catholic Church," teaches subjects to despise, Governments to disobey the laws, and to trample under foot the authority of their temporal Sovereigns.
THE CONCORDAT BETWEEN THE POPE AND AUSTRIA. Events thicken around us, indicating the approach of great changes. The elements of democratic and revolutionary movements on the one hand, and those of order and monarchical government on the other, are striving already in different parts of the world, and are likely, ere long, to come into more general and open collision. But these form only a portion of the dark cloud which overshadows Europe, and may burst in full fury upon the Romish nations of the Continent.
Popery and Protestantism, in their various phases, are appealing to the world, and challenging the approbation, or incurring the censure of observers. Sardinia, without becoming Protestant, has shaken off some of the trammels imposed on her by the Papacy. Spain and Switzerland have proved very refractory of late. Austria has, through the infatuated course of her Monarch, and in spite, it would seem, of the advisers of the Crown, entered into a Concordat with the Pope, opposed to the real good of his empire, and to the wishes of large and influential portions of the people. It is supposed that this new treaty will lead, sooner or later, to most deplorable internal troubles.
The lower clergy, it is said, are highly indignant that Government should have placed them entirely in the hands of the bishops ; and it is also said there are likely, in consequence, to be continual collisions between the civil and the spiritual power. It would not be a matter of surprise if some similar results were to be produced in Ireland by the Papal efforts now being made there, under the auspices of the Pope's Legate, Dr. Cullen, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin.
More upon this subject, as affects Austria, will be found in the following passage from the “ Times” Correspondent, under date of Vienna, Oct. 17:
“ The Concordat, the presence of the fleets off Kinburn, the operations of the Allied armies in the Crimea, and the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Brabant to the French Court, are four topics which, in a greater or less degree, occupy the attention of the inhabitants of this city. The prolonged delay in the official publication of the text of the Concordat excites some surprise, and persons unversed in diplomatic matters endeavour to persuade themselves and others that the whole thing will be allowed to fall to the ground; ' but the ratifications have been exchanged, and Rome is not likely voluntarily to renounce the advantages which it has gained. The motives which induce this Government to cede so many of its most precious rites and privileges to the Roman Catholic Church are not positively known, but it is related that the Ministers had no choice but to yield to the will of their Imperial master. As you have already been informed, the public displays great reserve whenever the question of the Concordat is touched