And Sir William Harcourt, on his appointment as Solicitor General, spoke as follows to the electors of Oxford and the world at large:—
'But Ultramontanism is not a religious belief, it is a political system: and that political system is in my opinion essentially hostile to the principles on which the constitution of this country was established at the Reformation and at the Evolution. It has been in every age and in every country, and it still is the implacable enemy of Religious Liberty and Civil Freedom.'THE QUARTERLY REVIEW
Art. I.—1. Geschichte und Kritik des Vaticanischen Concils von 1869 und 1870. Von F. Frommann- Gotha, 1872.
2. Die Preussischen Kirchengesetze desJahres 1873, mit Einleitung und Commentar. Von Dr. Paul Hinschius. Berlin, 1873.
On the same memorable day in the summer of 1870 on which the French declaration of war was delivered at Berlin, Pius IX. proclaimed in the Vatican the dogma of his Infallibility, and adjourned the Council which had sat there for the preceding six months. A few days after the signing of the Peace of Frankfort the Prussian Government struck the first great blow in the contest which now attracts the attention of all the world, by the abolition of the Catholic department in the Ministry of Public Worship. We purpose to lay before our readers a full and accurate account of this second war, which is still going on, against the Catholic bishops who are supporting the Vatican and their master at Rome, as he in his turn is guided by the Jesuits. We have to speak of the struggle mainly in its relation to Prussia; for though, as in the French war, the other German Governments are involved in the same conflict, yet now, as then, Prussia is the leading actor, and her success or failure is alone of vital consequence. The existing war has a preliminary history of even greater length and interest. than that of the causes which led to the war with France. But not to trespass too much upon the patience of our readers, we must pass over occurrences of earlier date, and start from the time when the Pope convened the Vatican Council.
The intention of holding such a Council was first announced in June 1867, when the Pope had assembled at Rome upwards of five hundred bishops to celebrate the eighteenth centenary of Saint Peter. Their address attested the joy and gratitude wherewith they received the design. Pius IX. was by that time a very different man from the Cardinal of whom his predecessor's Secretary of State had said that even the cats of his household were Liberal. The time was gone by in which he had driven about with Ciceruacchio and had commissioned Father Theiner to write against the Jesuits. His new friendship [Vol. 136.—No. 272] with the Order, brought about by the Revolution of 1848, was cemented after his return from Gaeta to Rome in April, 1850; and in matters ecclesiastical, as well as political, he had thoroughly identified himself with their principles. From that time he began to prepare the new dogma, which he proclaimed at an assembly of bishops in the Vatican on the 8th of December, 1854, that the first human being born without sin was not Christ, but His mother, whom Pius worships as the representative of the Church's glory and of her enmity to all heretics. He discovered on that occasion that even those of the bishops, and they were not few, who had vigorously opposed the dogma, became reconciled to it and defended it after it had been proclaimed by the Pope, and that party discipline was stronger than their dogmatic conscience. This lesson was most cleverly employed by the Jesuits for further influencing and training the bishops.
The journal called the 'Civilta Cattolica' was founded by the Order in 1848, with the approval of the Pope. It was regarded as the official organ of the Curia, and as such it has since been expressly recognised. The journal carried out to their last consequences the ideas which the Pope entertained, or was made to entertain—the Church's absolute independence of the State, and the absolute dependence of the bishops on the Pope, and of the diocesan clergy on the bishop; the obligation of heretics and schismatics, especially of Protestants, to return to their obedience to the Church; the condemnation of every attempt at episcopal independence, whether Gallican, Febromanian, or any other; the condemnation of any autonomy of the State in ecclesiastical matters; and the absolute condemnation of every kind of toleration.
The decennium of reaction since 1850 had been well calculated to secure the recognition of such ideas.
When the Italian war broke out in 1859, and the new kingdom of Italy absorbed two-thirds of the States of the Church, Pius IX., confronted by facts against which he was powerless, found consolation in giving himself wholly up to those theories.
On the 8th of December, 1864, exactly ten years after the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, he had expressed them systematically and minutely in the Encyclical Quanta cura and in the Syllabus complectens pracipuos nostra (etatis errores, which was published simultaneously with the Encyclical. The Syllabus repeats what Pius had previously said on various occasions about those tendencies of the age which he and the Civilta combated. He may have been influenced partly by the Italian experiences of the Curia, and partly by the tragedy which had just been brought to a close in Poland, where the Catholic clergy, who, not without the sympathy of the Pope, had taken an active part in the insurrection of 1863, had been made to feel severely the arm of the avenging power.
By declaring all the ideas on which the relation of the modern State to the Church is based to be erroneous, the Syllabus had created much sensation and anxiety about the future in many states. In France its publication teas prohibited.
The organ of the great German statesman, who was then already at the head of the Prussian Government, was opposed to every measure of resistance, and Prussia allowed the Syllabus to be published without hindrance.
In the years 1865 and 1866 the situation of the Pope in Italy had not improved, and his relation to Russia had become worse; but in Germany the position of Prussia had been changed by the war against Austria and by the establishment of the North German Confederation.
At the meeting of the bishops at Rome in the summer of 1867, they declared their agreement with everything that the Pope had done, and united in condemning everything which he had condemned.
The Civilta was now encouraged to declare that the faithful had to sacrifice to the Church, not'only as heretofore their property and their lives, but also their intellect (sagrificio deiV inteUetto). For three hundred years Rome had shrunk from convening a General Council for fear of meeting with episcopal opposition. It was now evident that such caution was no longer necessary, and that the present race of bishops might be summoned to a council without apprehension. It is therefore no wonder that the old Pope had become more and more imbued with the opinion that, as the representative of Christ on earth, he was infallible in all matters of faith and morals, and deserved to sit on the throne of God.
Then followed the active preparations for the Council, the invitation to the Greeks, and even to the Protestants, to examine themselves in the face of this approaching event and to tender their submission. At last, in 1869, again on an 8th of December —the Pope, like the Napoleons, has his superstitious belief in days—the Council was opened. Its objects had been previously stated by the Civilta: to translate the Syllabus into practice, and to establish the dogma of Papal Infallibility. When weighty voices were raised against this scheme, especially in Germany, and when, in order to propitiate objections, the German bishops assembled at Fulda had declared that the deliberations at Rome would be perfectly free and thorough, the Civilta answered that the bishops would come to Rome not to deliberate and to determine, but 'to sanction the decrees previously made by the infallible Pope.' This was the point of view from which the arrangements for the Council were made and was again obliged to yield to light, faithlessness to conscience, the spirit of rebellion to authority, and the synagogue of Satan to the Church.' [pp 292-296] and carried through.
The order laid down by the Pope himself for conducting the business, as well as the nature of the locality, rendered all free discussion illusory: the speeches were taken in shorthand, but the minutes were not allowed to be inspected; the opposition prelates were scarcely allowed to speak; an expression of Bishop Strossmayer against the Jesuits was the cause of his being called to order.
Rome had secured for itself, from the very beginning, a compact majority of bishops, entirely dependent upon the Curia: and'when they had been well drilled for some weeks, and when the composition of the minority and the character of its leaders had become known well enough for the managers to see how the machine would work, the majority presented a petition, on the 22nd of January, 1870, requesting that the Infallibility, not of the Universal Church assembled in General Council (which was the ancient doctrine), but of the Pope as such, should be defined.
A counter petition of the minority (26th of January) was not accepted by the Pope; but it had created so much apprehension, that common deliberations of the bishops of the minority belonging to different countries were forbidden, and the publications of the opposition were prohibited in Rome. On the 20th of February, even before the Council had come to any resolution, a revised order of business was issued, abolishing the principle which, until then, had always been maintained, that doctrinal points could be determined only by a Council which was unanimous, or almost unanimous, and substituting the system of an ordinary parliamentary majority.
The remonstrances of the minority against this innovation were not thought deserving of an answer; but, as they did not venture to enter a protest, the Jesuits, who for a moment had become doubtful whether they had not actually been mistaken in the men summoned to the Council, discovered that they were not worthy of any consideration. Accordingly, on the 6th of March, the Curia, in addition to the proposition Romano Pontifice already laid before the Fathers of the Council, brought in a new clause pronouncing the dogma of Papal Infallibility, and six days later it caused the majority to propose that this clause should be discussed at once extra ordinem.
It was now a matter of indifference that Ketteler, Rauscher, Schwarzenberg, Hefele, and others, distributed writings which had been printed abroad against the doctrine of Infallibility. Another trial was made with the first proposition, De fide; and when at last those, who had at first assented to it only conditionally, had been induced by intimidation to give their unconditional assent, the Pope ordered the deliberation extra ordinem.
A few clays before this, on the 23rd of April, Von Arnim the Prussian Ambassador, uniting with a representation of the French Minister, Count Daru, had warned the Curia against framing resolutions which, while under the form of dogmatic definitions they introduced far-reaching changes into the hierarchy, could not fail at the same time to disturb the relative positions of the secular and the ecclesiastical powers. He added that the resuscitation of medieval ecclesiastical ideas must necessarily produce the greatest confusion, and would disturb religious peace, especially in Germany; that, in the face of these things, his Government would no longer have that freedom of action in matters of religion, of which until then it had made use in the interest of the Catholic Church; in other words, it would be obliged to resist such ecclesiastical developments. So spoke Prussia; and France at that time used similar language.
A number of the bishops belonging to the minority, from the most various countries, now took courage to draw up a demand concerning the relation of the spiritual to the secular power, desiring that this question should be discussed before that of the Pope's Infallibility. They added that, in their opinion, the ecclesiastical ideas, current since the time of Gregory VII., expressed by Boniface VIII. in the bull Unam sanctam, and maintained by the Papal Curia down to the seventeenth century, were false; that if, as was now intended, they were to be sanctioned afresh, all Catholics would be declared enemies of the State, as it was impossible to teach such doctrines with the qualification that it was not intended to act upon them; finally, therefore, before settling the question of Infallibility, that other question must be taken into full consideration, namely, ' whether Christ had conferred upon Saint Peter and his successors a power over kings and empires.'
No regard was paid to these representations, nor to the warnings of the States, nor to the exertions of the minority to bring about at least a delay. On the 14th of May the general debate began; and after, by a vote of the majority, more than forty speakers had been prevented from expressing their opinions, the special debate about the 'schema De Romano Pontifice' was commenced on the 6th of June, and its procemium and the first two chapters were passed without difficulty. The third chapter, which was formulated in order to settle the ancient dispute between episcopal independence and papal absolutism, and to declare that the bishops are simply the plenipotentiary agents of the Pope, was accepted by a decree of the majority against nearly 90 dissentient votes.
The discussion of the fourth chapter, treating of Papal Infallibility, had remained undecided since the middle of June; but on the 4th of July the general debate upon it was closed, six speakers having declined to speak; for it was the season of the dog days, and no member of the Council was allowed to leave Rome. On the 13th the votes were taken: of the 601 Fathers of the Council, 88 voted non placet, and 62 juxta modum, so that the minority amounted to one-fourth of the Assembly.
However, according to the revised order of business, three-fourths of the votes were sufficient in matters of faith: the decree was made, and the Fathers were allowed to depart. Then followed the deputation of the minority, and the well-known official entreaty of Ketteler, which, of course, were of no avail. The minority left Rome, and on the 18th of July, 1870, the Pope solemnly proclaimed the dogma of his Infallibility.
Eight days later the French troops, under whose protection the Pope had once more abused his sovereignty during the meeting of the Council to suppress in so flagrant a manner the freedom of deliberation, departed from Rome. Two months later he had lost even the remnant of his sovereignty; and since then he has played the part of a voluntary prisoner in the Vatican. The Council, originally adjourned for only four months, has been prorogued sine die, and, except proclaiming the dogma of Papal Infallibility, it has as yet fulfilled only a small portion of the task of the Syllabus.
We do not pretend to assert that, during the assembly of the Council, those who held the threads of affairs in their hands had calculated upon the approaching Franco-German war, an event which Professor Friedrich, in his 'Diary of the Council, says was then talked of in Rome, at a time when no one in Germany thought of war; but the following circumstances deserve consideration. One of the leaders of the Ultramontane party in Germany, Dr. Moufang of Mayence, now member of the Reichstag, uttered, at the general meeting of the Catholic Unions at Innsbruck, in 1867, these remarkable words: 'As God does not always send miraculous help, the Church stands in need of worldly assistance; and to afford this there are only two great Catholic nations, France and Austria.
My belief therefore is that, if it is God's will to save us from the waters of the Revolution, the Noah's Ark will be built of Austrian timber.'
He omitted to add, ' Or of French,' because he spoke in Austria, and because the sequel of his speech refers only to that country. By the 'waters of the revolution' he and his party understand the errors of the present time which are condemned in the Pope's Syllabus. The one source of these errors, especially of those concerning the relation between the State and the Church, in Moufang's opinion, no less than in that of the Pope, is Protestantism.
Prussia, the first Protestant Power in Germany, is the main support of German Protestantism, as, according to Moufang, France and Austria are the main supports of Catholicism.
It is plain, therefore, that Austria and France were to give help against Prussia. The winged words of Cardinal Wiseman, which he uttered about 1850, that THE DECISIVE BATTLE AGAINST PROTESTANTISM WOULD BE FOUGHT ON THE SANDS OF THE MARK OF BRANDENBURG, have thus their political sense.
At that time Prussia had been obliged to give up her plans of German unity, and, since the days of Olmiitz, to yield the first rank in Germany to Austria, who now began to pursue those schemes which culminated in the Diet of Princes at Frankfurt
(1863), and were brought to a crisis in the war of 1866.
Their object was to develop out of the existing German Confederation a German Empire with Austria at its head, no matter under what form of federal union, and to degrade Prussia to a second-rate rank among the confederates, perhaps on a level with Bavaria. Just at the very time that Austria entered upon this career, she was negotiating with the Pope the notorious Concordat, which she concluded in August 1855; and for some years Austria seemed willing to yield to the Catholic Church that supremacy over the State which she asserted according to her medieval doctrines. The Papal See imagined, moreover, that she had a claim on the old German Empire; for it had been bound to serve her by virtue of the Imperial advocacy, and she had never renounced her right to this service.
She had protested when, by the Peace of Westphalia, this authority had been withdrawn from her: she had protested when, at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the German Empire was not restored.
Starting from these assumptions, Bishop Ketteler of Mayence, the chief of the German Ultramontanes, distinctly said, in 1854, that it was the right of the Catholic Church to restore the German Empire under the leadership of Austria, and with it to restore to her that power in the Empire which Austria had just been on the point of conceding by the Concordat.
These ideas were to be spread 'among the people by the journal ' Deutschland,' which was founded at Frankfurt in the very year of the Concordat.
This is the meaning of what Ketteler said in his pastoral of 1855, 'When the spiritual bond, by which St. Boniface had united the German peoples, was broken, then German unity and the greatness of the German nation were at an end.' Both would be recovered, if that should come to pass which had already been expressed as a hope at the General Assembly of the Catholic Unions at Freiburg, namely, that Germany should become Catholic, and thereby united as a nation. Of course under Austria!
Had not Bishop Martin, of Paderborn, in his first pastoral (1856) declared that Protestants are INCAPABLE OF BEING HONEST MEN? and had not Jorg, the well-known convert of Munich, in his sensational history of modern Protestants (1858), said that they were in a state of perfect dissolution?
In all the Catholic papers of South Germany and Austria, Prussia was constantly spoken of with contempt and overwhelmed with a flood of indignation, because in 1859, during the Italian war, she would not place herself unconditionally at the disposal of Austria. At the same time the Roman Curia had concluded Concordats with Baden (1857) and Wurtemberg (1859), and was making progress in Hanover, which was no less significant .
The Curia did not show any signs of uneasiness, when the carrying into effect of the Concordats in Baden and Wurtemberg met with the opposition of the representatives of the people in 1860, and when the Pope, in his allocution of the 17th of December, had to complain of the spread, of erroneous doctrines which had resulted from the principles of the pernicious Reformation.
Neither did the Church show any uneasiness when, in the following year, Austria began to propose modifications of the Concordat, for that empire was in the fairest way of establishing its power in Germany, and a change might of course be hoped for in the Ministry. But in the year 1862 Ketteler again published a work against Protestantism, in which he uttered the words which have since been constantly repeated, and at last by the Pope himself: 'Let the German people understand that no other Church but that of Rome is the Church of freedom and of progress'—a proposition which, at the same time, was characteristically illustrated by the proceedings of two other bishops.
In 1862 Desprez, Bishop of Toulouse, invited the people of his diocese to celebrate the tercentenary of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, in which 4000 Protestants were murdered: and, in 1863, the Bishop of Trent, in a pastoral announcing the celebration of the centenary of the Council of Trent, favoured his readers with the following historical information:—
'After Luther, in order to gratify his passions, had raised the standard of rebellion against the Church of Christ, the most abandoned men of all Europe flocked around him. . . . They undertook to devastate the vineyard of Jesus Christ. . . . Certain it is that they trampled the blood of Christ under their feet, and robbed very many souls of the blessings of heaven in order to hurl them into the abyss of hell. The blasphemies of an Arius, a Sabellius, and similar monsters, were repeated in a different way. Then came the Council of Trent, and it was a wonderful spectacle to see how darkness was [pp 297-301] again obliged to yield to light, faithlessness to conscience, the spirit of rebellion to authority, and the synagogue of Satan to the Church.'
In 1862 Von Miihler became Minister in the spring, and Bismarck in the autumn, and Prussia seemed now to have become paralysed by the conflict between the Government and the Parliament, which waxed sharper every month. The Church rejoiced to see that the General Assembly of the Catholic Unions of Germany, meeting at Aix-la-Chapelle, spoke with sympathy of the' Catholic Imperial House;' while Bishop Martin (July 1864) came forward with the assertion, correct enough from a Roman Catholic point of view, that the Catholic bishop was the legitimate spiritual pastor of the Protestants of his diocese.
From all this we can easily understand how, when the long-threatened war between Prussia and Austria broke out two years later, the Bishop of Brixen could proclaim that the interests of the Christian religion and the Church were at stake. These words did not express merely his personal opinion. The Catholic nobility of Westphalia at that time are said to have offered very ardent prayers to Heaven for the victory of the arms of Austria.
Those prayers, however, were not answered. II mondo casca, exclaimed Antonelli, when he received the news of Sadowa. The hope of the downfall of Prussia, and of a Catholic Germany united under Austria, was now at an end; and all the more as, after the war, Austria herself began to look coldly upon the Concordat. But the hostility against Protestantism and Prussia showed no symptoms of decay. Moufang, as already mentioned, openly confessed that the Roman Church, in her struggles, could calculate, besides Austria, only upon the help of France—of France, whose Ultramontane tendencies we have seen at a later date in such a state of ferment, whose Emperor needed the goodwill of the Catholic hierarchy for the development of his power, while the Empress, as was not unjustly supposed, was completely under the sway of the Jesuits.
With regard to the Protestants, Pope Pius, having summoned them on the occasion of the Council to make their submission to the Catholic Church, renewed the Bull about the Lord's Supper, according to which heretics of every name and of every kind, their followers, their favourers, and protectors, were ipso facto under the ban of the Church.
If we look at the parallel between the Austrian and the French wars, it can hardly be doubted that in the eyes of the General of the Jesuits, who is an Austrian, the French war was directed not only against the Prussia which had acquired political power, but also against Prussia as the great Protestant State of Germany. It has not yet been forgotten that, at the time when the war mania was just beginning to rage, a Jesuit at Paderborn characterised the German war against France as a war of Protestants against Catholics; consequently, the French war against Germany as a war of Catholics against Protestants.
It is not forgotten how the French calculated upon Ultramontane sympathies in Germany; it is not forgotten how, especially in Bavaria, the Ultramontane party, which only in mockery calls itself the patriotic party, made every effort to give most practical effect to these sympathies. It is, however, right to add that some of the Ultramontane leaders at that time held very different language, as, for instance, Archbishop Ledochowski, who declared that the war was not a religious one.
But would he have maintained the same opinion if France had been victorious? Genuine patriotism, at the first notes of war, burst forth in Germany in such bright flames that it could not be resisted without danger, especially in Prussia. If Napoleon had been victorious, Protestant as well as political Prussia would have been crushed; and just as the uncle had decidedly favoured the Catholic Church, in Germany, so the nephew would have been ready to give back to the Pope, in the ecclesiastical affairs of Germany, that which he was unwilling to restore to him in the secular domain of Italy.
During the din of arms at the beginning of the war, the proclamation of Infallibility remained almost unnoticed; and as long as the war lasted, ecclesiastical interests attracted little attention. But when peace was concluded, it became evident that in the meantime two new developments, which at first had scarcely been noticed, had come to maturity: the Old Catholic movement, and the formation of the Catholic Party of the Centre, as it calls itself.
A portion of the Syllabus is directed against the independence claimed by science and philosophy.
It thus' reproduces what the Pope had said in the year 1863 on the occasion of a meeting of Catholic theologians at Munich. That meeting might have satisfied him, so far as its resolutions were concerned; but he had been greatly dissatisfied because it had not been summoned and controlled by the bishop, but had come together as an independent body.
It had not simply subordinated its scientific convictions to ecclesiastical authority; and when it was to meet again in the following year under the presidency of the archbishop, it refused to do so.
The head and centre of this body of theologians was Professor Dollinger, for a long time a champion of the German Catholic Church, and a strict Catholic; but even in the year 1861 he had given offence, first, by publicly saying, and afterwards by publishing the assertion, that the Catholic Church for its full and vigorous action did not need the States of the Church.
He and his friends were not favourable to the idea of a Council; and when in February, 1869, the Civilta had stated the objects of the Council, there appeared in the 'Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung,' from the beginning of March and onwards, those historical articles signed 'Janus,' which, with withering criticism, proved the falsehood of the assertion of the Jesuits, that the Infallibility of the Pope was an ancient dogma of the Church.
A party opposed to Papal Infallibility was then formed among intelligent German Catholics, who were honest and conscientious enough to turn away with indignation from the idea of a man being placed upon the throne of God.
That party rapidly increased, and even at the beginning of September the German bishops assembled at Fulda, for the purpose of preparing for the Council, issued Pastorals, in which they assured the world that nothing that was apprehended from the influence of the Jesuits over the Pope, from the want, of freedom in the Council, from the cowardice of the bishops (all of which afterwards actually occurred), would take place, and that no new doctrines of any kind would be established. But they did not clearly express whether, in their opinion, the dogma of Papal Infallibility was such a new doctrine.
This ambiguity could not pacify the minds of men, and during the meeting of the Council the movement continued to spread. Michaelis, in Braunsberg, issued a public declaration against Infallibility, nor were Dollinger and his friends silent. In vain did the bishops endeavour by letters from Rome to impose silence upon them. An anti-Infallibilist journal was established, and when (in the middle of March 1871} the Ultramontane Central Committee of the Catholic Unions expressed its indignation at the presumption of the opponents in having an opinion of their own, some professors of Bonn took up the gauntlet, and Michaelis, as soon as the decree of the Council had been proclaimed, publicly accused the Pope of being a heretic.
Soon after (on the 25th of August, 1871), thirty well-known Catholics, mostly professors of Munich, Bonn, and Breslau, united to declare (though not yet publicly) that they rejected the two dogmas decreed in the Vatican respecting the absolute dependence of the bishops, and respecting Papal Infallibility, as novel doctrines, which had never been recognised by the Church.
At the same time they entreated the bishops of the minority to exert themselves to obtain the convocation of a new, true, free council, and, if possible, outside of the Alps. But they were mistaken in the German bishops, for only a few days later (August 31st) most of them again assembled at Fulda to proclaim their submission, and to demand of their diocesan subjects, clerical and non-clerical,' to believe with a faith as firm as a rock the decrees of the Council to be true :J while in case of disobedience they threatened to proceed against them according to the canonical law; that is, they threatened them with the great excommunication.
The Pope also declared (28th of October) all opponents of the new dogma to be heretics and sons of pride, and he praised the bishops over whom party training had exercised a greater power than their own conviction, and to whom convenience had been dearer than truth. He further expressed a hope that those who still hesitated would soon follow; and in this he was not disappointed. But the few who were faithful to their convictions persevered. They first submitted to the customary admonitions, and afterwards to excommunication, which overtook them one after another.
Meanwhile their numbers increased in a manner which is very significant, if we consider the difficulties presenting themselves to a Catholic accustomed to subordination. In their hearts a great many more Catholics agree with the Old Catholics, as they now called themselves, than those who externally joined them. According to the general belief, not a few of the bishops themselves agree with them in their hearts. The State at first stood free from any relation to these proceedings; but when the excommunications had struck a number of professors and teachers, and when the bishops demanded the removal of such from their offices, and the supplying of their place by Infallibilists, the Governments, and more especially the Prussian Minister Von Muhler, declined to comply with the demand. This gave rise to complications of which we shall have to treat hereafter.
The second event which had taken place during the war was the formation of the party of the Centre. As early as the year 1848, the Catholics, for whose election the bishops and the Ultramontanes had always agitated, .had on certain questions acted in concert in the Frankfurt Parliament, and afterwards in the Prussian House of Deputies. They had made several proposals relating to ecclesiastical matters—such as the restoration of the secularised Church property and of the matrimonial jurisdiction of the bishops, the foundation of a Catholic University, and the like. For a series of years, ever since 1852, there had existed a so-called Catholic fraction in the Prussian Diet; but they had not gone so far as to form a strictly organised politicoCatholic party; for Catholics were distributed among all the political sections. But after the first North German Parliament had come to an end, a party calling itself Catholic was formed for the first time in Rhenish Prussia and Westphalia (June 1870) immediately before the outbreak of the war. During the preparations for the parliamentary elections, this party issued a special programme, in which it demanded the independence of the Catholic Church and the establishment of elementary schools under priestly influence.
When the Pope lost Rome in the autumn, the sympathy of the Catholic people, which had been found useful before, was appealed to, and the 'spoliation' and the Vatican 'prisoner' were most successfully introduced into the agitation preceding the elections. Hence it came to pass that in the month of November many more Catholics were elected than before. They appeared in the Parliament as a body numbering more than one hundred. Three months later, during the elections for the first German Imperial Parliament, the party went one step further. France then lay completely prostrate; it was clear that for a long time she could do no more against Prussia and Protestantism than Austria; and Protestant Prussia stood at the head of the revived German Empire.
Things had turned out quite differently from what Ketteler and his friends had expected in 1854.
Moreover, the Emperor had declined the somewhat naive request to restore the States of the Church, and thereby to guarantee the political machinery for continuing a ' free' Vatican Council. At the elections for the Imperial Parliament it was demanded, that candidates should pledge themselves to join a special Catholic party, its name being as yet reserved; and Catholics, otherwise most trustworthy, who refused the pledge, were prohibited by episcopal influence from coming forward as candidates. The Government acted a neutral part, and the Ultramontane agitation was so energetic, that in the old Prussian provinces alone twenty-nine clericals more than before were elected. When the party met, it contained the highly conservative son of the well-known highly conservative jurist, Savigny, by the side of Dr. Krebs, who belonged to the extreme Left. This is the 'Centre,' which has also organised itself in the Prussian Parliament: in the Imperial Parliament it forms a respectable power, especially through recruits from Southern Germany.
In order to appreciate the importance of this party, it must never be forgotten that the Roman Catholic Church is the most widely diffused and the most perfectly organised among all the various communities of modern society. She does not admit (what was formerly the opinion of the Gallican Church) that she is only a conglomeration of a number of relatively independent ecclesiastical communities, but she now lays stress on the article of faith respecting her visible unity, maintaining that the whole community [pp 302-306] community stands under the centralised omnipotence of the Pope, whose representatives govern it. Laymen never take part in this government, for the Church is a 'collegium inaequale,' in which all the power is invested in the clergy, while laymen are bound only to obedience. This most absolute centralisation, which the Roman Curia has always aimed at, has been completed by the Vatican Council.
The question now is, how far the competency of the ecclesiastical community extends.
The German Reformers assumed that it extended only to the administration of the sacraments and to matters of doctrine, and they expressed this in the Augsburg Confession and elsewhere. The Roman Catholic doctrine, on the -other hand, which was quoted in the Imperial Parliament, declares this to be an error. It asserts that the Divine Commission, in accordance with which the Pope and the bishops act, comprises civil government, and more especially legislation in so far as it concerns the cure of souls. Melanchthon, in order to indicate the Protestant view, repeatedly uses the expression that priests are not magistrates, and that magisterial government belongs only to the secular power.
The Roman Curia and the modern Ultramontanes, on the other hand, ascribe to the Pope in ecclesiastical matters magisterial rights, or, let us say, rights of sovereignty or rights of government, of exactly the same nature as those of the State. Indeed they demand complete independence in the exercise of these rights, because they are exercised by divine command and with corresponding responsibility. They themselves use the word * sovereignty ;' and the Pope, like his followers, has so often complained of the State not respecting this sovereignty, or, as his defenders in Germany more cautiously say, this independence, of the Church, that it is needless to adduce any special proof. The limit of ecclesiastical competency, and, consequently, of this assumed sovereignty, is the 'desire' of the cure of souls, that is to say, freedom of conscience in carrying out the divine mission of the Christian Church: hence it follows that it cannot be defined once for all, for the desire varies. Moreover, it can always be fixed by the Church, for the Church alone is entitled to judge of this desire. Their opponents in recent times have sometimes compared the Black International with the Red one. At any rate, thus much is certain, that in both cases there exists a contest between the State and the Society: in both cases a great community, bound together by its own interests, and only partially belonging to any particular State, wants to make use of the State for its own purposes. In doing so, the Church makes no distinction between Catholic and Protestant Governments; ments; for, according to the Ultramontane view, Protestants are subject to the power of the Catholic Church, and arc bound to recognise her ordinances. They ought, therefore, to execute against themselves the Catholic laws respecting heresy, which no Pope has yet repealed or modified. According to the view of the Curia, it is not as a matter of right, but only of convenience, that this has not yet been demanded of them.
It is with this community of interests, which is pre-eminently Roman and entirely directed by Rome, that the German State, and more especially Prussia, has to deal. It is a community which has tried to humble Prussia, first with Austrian and afterwards with French help; but as this did not succeed, it nevertheless demanded of Prussia to restore to it the position in which the community alleged itself to have stood until 1870. 'The States of the Church belonged to us Catholics' is a phrase occurring in numberless petitions addressed to the Emperor. Having failed in ruining Prussia from without, a resolution was formed to try internal war. This is the object of the Centre, which now attacks the very heart of the German State of Prussia, the majority of whose subjects are Protestants.
So long as the Constitution of Prussia and of the Empire was not parliamentary, the disposition of the Government was of more importance than that of the population, and the Ultramontanes endeavoured to come to an understanding with the former. But now, having a compact parliamentary party at their command, it has become no longer necessary to pay much attention to the Government. The Centre is at the disposal of the Pope. In everything which does not interest the Church, that is the Curia, its members may vote as they please; but in everything which the Curia regards as of ecclesiastical interest, they have pledged themselves to a military obedience. As the Jesuits in their days adopted the military designation of the 'Company of Jesus,' so the Centre ought to call itself the 'Company of the Pope.' It carries on his wars with Prussia and with Germany.
Let us see how the party began its career. During the debate on the address of the Imperial Parliament which had met on the 29th of March, 1871, they vehemently demanded the omission -of a clause, in which the principle of non-intervention was recognised in regard to Italy and the States of the Church, and they showed ill-humour when the clause was retained. During the revision of the Imperial Constitution which then followed, and which the majority treated in a purely formal manner, they demanded material changes (April 1-4). Fundamental rights, like those of the Prussian Constitution, they said, ought to be added: 'freedom of opinion, the right of public meeting, the right of association, freedom of religious profession, of forming religious associations, and of common domestic and public worship, and, lastly, the right of the Protestant and the Roman Catholic Churches to regulate and administer their affairs independently, and remain in the possession and enjoyment of the institutions, foundations, and funds destined for objects of worship, instruction, and charity.' All this sounds fair, and the last sentence was taken literally from the document of the Prussian Constitution. But these proposals of the Centre were likewise rejected.
It may be asked, what was the object of thus formally enunciating these propositions, since they had been substantially in force in all parts of Germany ever since 1848? The answer is, they were not everywhere observed in the same way.
The South German States, indeed, allowed the Church free action, but, at the same time, clung to their rights of sovereignty in limiting this action. Prussia, on the other hand, though she had not given up these rights, yet had made so little use of them since 1848, that she allowed the greatest freedom to the organisation of the Catholic attack on Protestantism and of the ecclesiastical attack upon modern society. If the Centre had succeeded in transferring to the Empire the Prussian mode of administration, together with the regulations of the Prussian Constitution, the power of Ultramontanism would have made considerable progress in the Empire. As the elections for the Imperial Parliament are direct, the Ultramontanes controlled more electoral districts than in Prussia; they could, moreover, calculate upon hostility to the Empire and upon particularistic elements. If they attained the same freedom of ecclesiastical action as in Prussia, they might, perhaps, recover within the Empire the support which had been lost through the Austrian and French wars. But how had it come to pass that the Prussian Government had so much neglected its rights of sovereignty?
To answer this question we must go back a little further. Prussia, or, as it was then called, Kur-Brandenburg, had become Protestant at the time of the Reformation, and down to the seventeenth century it treated the Catholic Church as wholly distinct from itself.
But it became tolerant towards that Church at an earlier period than any other Protestant State; and when it acquired Catholic provinces, it treated the Catholic Church exactly in the same manner as the Protestant, and also as equally dependent upon the State. The Prussian common law of 1792 does not recognise the unity of the interests of the Catholic Church, 'Church', but only the religious community of the Prussian Catholics, and to this it concedes the same rights as to the community of Protestants in the country. But it treats the Catholic bishops in the same way as the pastors of the Protestants in all external affairs—as servants of the State Government. That they have in the Pope a non-Prussian superior, is recognised only as a matter of conscience, and even this not without some limitation. With this the Catholics were content, and the Pope was grateful.
On the whole, these principles of the common law remained in force until 1848, even after the Government had concluded with Rome a convention respecting the new arrangement of the Prussian bishoprics, and had proclaimed the Roman bull De Salute Animarum as the law of the land H.821.
It is true, however, that in the course of time these principles were modified on more than one respect. The bull De Salute had been published with the express reservation of the rights of the sovereignty of the State, and of the rights of the Protestant Church.
But when a portion of the Catholic clergy refused, in the case of mixed marriages, to recognise the Protestant Church as possessing equal rights with the Catholic, and treated the Protestants as only excommunicated Catholics, the Government was compelled to interfere.
This afforded to the Archbishop of Cologne, Clement Augustus von Droste, a pious but narrow-minded man, who had grown up in the petty principality of Miinster, an opportunity of practically asserting the Church theory which had been developed in the Middle Ages.
As a thorough-going Ultramontane, he declared that the State had no right to interfere in -ecclesiastical matters, and that in these he would obey only the Pope.
The State, unwilling to tolerate this, had recourse to force; but this step called forth a cry of anger and indignation among the wide-spread followers of the Roman Catholic school, headed by Gorres of Munich, as well as of the Austrian and other enemies of Prussia, who were too glad to have an opportunity of complaining of Prussian oppression.
At the same time the Government discovered that the priesthood had become very different from what it had been before. So long as the Catholic Church had been rich, possessing in some cases princely domains in Germany, the German Catholic clergy, especially the archbishops and bishops, had, on the whole, been anti-papal. But these great possessions had been taken from the Church in 1803, and the clergy, especially in Bavaria and other States of Southern Germany (though not in Prussia), had often been treated by the State without due consideration.
These circumstances, and the literature which was then developing under the influence of Romanticism more than under that of the Jesuits, Vol. 136.—No. 272. X had had created a race of priests who would rather support the Pope than the State, and who now zealously defended the cause of the Archbishop of Cologne. The Government succeeded in procuring a successor to Droste, but, in point of fact, it gave way, as it was unwilling to establish compulsory civil marriage, which alone would have been the correct answer.
It allowed one religious community, enjoying the protection and acting in various ways under the authority of the State, to express openly its hostility against another religious community, which was that of the majority of the Prussians, and of the King himself.
It was a first, victory of the Ultramontanes over Prussia and Protestantism, and of course they were not grateful, but only more eager to continue the fight. Frederick William IV, whose Romanticism and love of the magnificence of the medieval Church influenced all his acts, being anxious to do equal justice to both Catholics and Protestants, hastened to take a step which has been followed by most serious consequences.
If it was intended to provide for the Catholics in a Catholic way, it was necessary, unless the Government was prepared' simply to give way to all the demands made in the name of 'religious desire'—or of the Catholic freedom of conscience, as some prefer to call it—it was necessary, we say, to obtain information as to what really was the Catholic desire. When the Prussian Ministry, in 1810, received the organisation which it still retains in all essential points, it was thought necessary to add to the Ministry of Worship a Catholic member, who, of course,, acquired great influence in everything relating to the Catholics. In 1841 the King established in the Ministry of Worship a Catholic department, under a special Catholic director, that is, he freed the Catholic member from the influence of his Protestant superior. At the same time, however, the King adopted a second measure, which in principle was contradictory to the first, and which allowed the bishops free intercourse with Rome. In point of fact, that intercourse had been free even before; but with this license the State gave up the principle that it had only to deal with a religious community of Prussian Catholics governed by Prussian bishops, and recognised the identity of the interests of the Catholic Churches in Prussia and Rome.
In these circumstances the year 1848 commenced, and the old police-government of the State was broken up. Even in the early spring the watchword for the popular assemblies in Catholic districts was 'freedom of the Church' the German bishops assembled at Wiirzburg in the autumn repeated it; the Frankfort fundamental laws incorporated it, and it was introduced [pp 307-311] into the Prussian Constitution of 1848 and 1850 in the form of the 'independent regulation and administration of the affairs of the Church by the Church.' It was undoubtedly intended to allow to the Catholic Church, which, as compared with the feeble attitude of so many Governments, showed an imposing tranquillity and seemed to be in favour of order, greater freedom of action than before.
The only question was, whether everything should be granted which the bishops had demanded in their memorials, and even if all was granted, everything depended upon the sense in which the concession was made. The Prussian Constitution assigns to the Catholic Church the position of a corporation. Von Ladenberg, then Minister of Public Worship, added the 'explanation,' that the State henceforth gave up the positive direction of the Church, but reserved for itself the 'negative right,' that is, the right of the State so far to superintend the Church as not to tolerate the transgressions it may commit in managing its affairs with independence. He therefore called upon the bishops to join him in regulating the relations resulting from this right. But they declined to enter upon such a transaction, thinking that they had gained enough by the removal of the previous restraints.
What they then stated, as the substance of the freedom already won, did not sound dangerous.
But Von Ladenberg either did not perceive, or preferred to take no notice of the fact, that the bishops proceeded on the principle that the Church was a power co-ordinate with the State, and no less sovereign than the State in the fear it inspired. Von Ladenberg had been brought up in the school of the old Prussian common law, and could not well understand how a relation between the State and the Church could exist when it was no longer that of the common law. As to the regulation which the bishops had declined, only some details were settled, as occasion demanded, on the general principle that the State ought to retain only as much of its rights of sovereignty in regard to the Catholic Church as in regard to all other corporations.
But this principle was false, for the Church was by no means a corporation like other corporations, which put forth no claims of sovereignty, and had no existence beyond the confines of Prussia. However, the Catholic department remained as it was, and now, as before, felt itself called upon to advocate, not the sovereign interest of the State, but the Catholic and therefore sovereign interest of the Church. It thus availed itself of the unsatisfactory point of view taken by the Minister in a manner directly opposed to the interest of the State. In this manner the Church, in its so-called independence, had already acquired a large extent of influence.
It had had already taken possession of the unsuperintended administration of Church property, the unsuperintended education, the appointment and training of the clergy, which the bishops managed in such a manner as to bring the clergy more and more completely under their control; and further, of the unsuperintended introduction and training of native ecclesiastical orders and congregations.
By means of ecclesiastical school-inspectors it directed the primary schools, by Catholic school-councillors the gymnasia, and it had covered the country with a net of confraternities, sodalities, and associations of the most different kind, in order to retain in its own hands, wherever possible, the children who had been educated in the Ultramontane system.
All this was ready planned when Von Ladenberg was succeeded in the Ministry by Von Raumer, who, in the spirit of the reaction, tried to establish authority, instead of giving way to the influence of the majority. He thought that in this respect he had the Catholic Church as an ally, in which belief he was strengthened by the proceedings of the Catholic section in the Parliament of 1852. He was, therefore, inclined to support that party as much as possible, and he did so even in Wiirtemberg and Baden by admonitions, but much more in Prussia itself. In all this he had the sympathies of Frederick William IV. At the autumnal meeting of the Catholic Unions at Cologne in 1858, the President Reichensperger publicly expressed his gratitude to the Minister, and the Committee declared that, as the object of the contest for the freedom of the Church in the State was now almost fully attained, that contest might, for the present, be allowed to fall into the background.
Von Miihler, Raumer's successor, entertained similar views; for the short Ministry of Bethmann-Hollweg, between the two, scarcely deserves notice, except for the bad reputation which it acquired by allowing itself to be employed by the Curia as a tool against the Liberal theological Professor Baltzer, of Breslau. Von Miihler, however, was perhaps even more influenced by fear than Raumer. The bishops, and the Catholic department in the Ministry representing them, had contrived to create a general belief—and they probably entertained it themselves— that the peace of the State depended upon their being satisfied, and that they had the absolute control of the masses of the Catholic population in their own hands.
The Ultramontanes knew of this fear, which was by no means felt by Von Miihler alone, and they ascribed to it alone all that the State did for the Catholic Church. We need not dwell upon the details of the Ministries of Raumer and Von Miihler, for the main facts were uniformly uniformly alike. The Church starts from the principle that the State has no right over anything which the Church declares to be in her domain, and that Protestantism has no rights at all. Whatever the Church thus demanded, the Government granted, and employed the executive power of the State to drill for the bishops the troops which were to be employed against itself. The Ultramontanes had become so secure and insolent, that when Von Miihler, after the Vatican decree, proved himself too bonest to deprive of their places those who until then had been recognised by the Church itself as good Catholics, merely because they refused to believe anything else than what they had believed before, the 'Schlesische Hausblatter' tout bonnement demanded the appointment of a Catholic Minister of Worship. Until then the different religious communities in Silesia had shown an exemplary peacefulness, but the Catholic department of the Ministry, partly by other measures, but especially by favouring the Polish elementary schools above the German, had supported the progress of Polish Ultramontanism, which is hostile to Germany.
Even Prince Bismarck had allowed these things to go on for a long time. He had partly acted as a mere spectator, and partly given his consent that nothing should be done either against the Syllabus, and its propositions hostile to the State, or against the Vatican decrees. In the year 1868 it was publicly said that he was seriously considering the appointment of a Papal Nuncio in Berlin. He was considered to be a friend of the Catholic Church, and he himself says that he was inclined to make to it all possible concessions.
We may ask: Did even his keen eye overlook the approaching danger, or did he underestimate it? Prince Bismarck had received the impressions of his earlier life in countries where the Catholic Church was not a great power. It is possible that he still retained for that Church some legitimist sympathies which had been called forth in the beginning of his political career, or that he formed his estimate of it more from the Catholics known to him than from the Ultramontane system. It is also possible that for a time he may have allowed himself to be misled by the words 'religion,' ' freedom of conscience,' and 'Church.'
Being himself full of earnestness in matters of religion, and a good Lutheran Christian, he had, nevertheless, experience enough to know that our age is not generally stirred up by an inward religious want, and he may have supposed therefore that the Catholic movement was not a very deep one; overlooking the fact that, as he has since very correctly said, the question here is not one about religion, but only about politics, and consequently about a matter of burning interest at the present time.
For the question is whether the Catholic community of interests is to be entitled to develop that immense social power by which it can work its will in the State, in everything which it declares to belong to it, independently of the State, and yet protected by the laws and institutions of the State, and that, too, in Prussia, which is essentially a Protestant State.
The decision had to be made whether the Catholic community should be allowed, by employing the forms and liberties of the Constitution, to push its parliamentary vanguard into the heart of Prussia. The Church, supported from without by the large resources of the community, and from within by the no less large political resources of the Catholic clergy, hand in hand with the bishops, and under the command of the Roman Curia, had resolved to combat everything which the Pope denounces as Protestant principles in the life of the State, including confessedly the self-determining power of the State even in regard to the Church, and the maintenance of freedom of conscience. For the Syllabus and the preliminaries to the Vatican Council express this in so many words.
Prince Bismarck once spoke of the suddenness of the attack of the Ultramontanes, meaning that the attack was long and thoroughly prepared. When he saw himself opposed by the Centre, it suddenly became clear to him that he had already faced these very powers in the French and in the Austrian wars, and that now, as then, the question for Prussia, that is for Germany, was simply 'to be or not to be.' If he could have been in doubt for a moment, he would have been convinced by the pastorals in which the bishops have now enlightened the clergy and the people about Infallibility and its opponents. They admit that the educated are its opponents, but they add that the question is one simply of insubordination to ecclesiastical authority, for that 'no one wishing to belong to the flock of Christ can separate himself from that which they themselves profess.' This test was also applied to the Protestants. In regard to the State, they said that the Vatican Council had changed nothing: the State—this is not, indeed, their expression, but their words can have no other meaning—the State, which does not assist them against the Old Catholics, oppresses the Church, and so forth.
If Prince Bismarck could have been in doubt, we said—but he did not doubt, nor did the Emperor. They could not be deceived, and they knew that they were committed to a struggle more difficult than that with France. When once the alternative was plain, they did not hesitate to take up the gauntlet. On the 8th of July, 1871, the Catholic department in the Ministry of Public Worship was abolished.
The necessity was proclaimed of adopting towards all Churches the exclusively political attitude of equal justice to all, and for this purpose only one ecclesiastical department was required. At length the State reasserted its freedom. What it now declared was not an arrangement, but a definite policy, and the question was how this was to be carried out.
A contest immediately took place, arising out of the principle that a Catholic not acknowledging the Vatican decree nevertheless remained a Catholic—a principle in which the highest tribunal of the country agreed with the Government. According to the Prussian Constitution, the instruction in the gymnasia, including religious instruction, is superintended by the State, and even at those State gymnasia which are Catholic, the religious teachers are appointed by the State, although not till the bishop has declared that the person to be appointed is fit for the office. Dr. Wollmann had for a long time held the office of teacher of religion in the Catholic gymnasium of Braunsberg, in the Diocese of Ermeland. Having refused to submit to the Vatican decree, he was deprived by the bishop of his priestly consecration, and subsequently excommunicated. The bishop, maintaining that he alone was the real teacher of religion, demanded that Wollmann should be removed from the gymnasium, and that another teacher should be appointed in his place.
The Minister, Von Miihler, refused to comply with this demand, because an irreproachable public servant like Wollmann could not be lawfully dismissed. As soon as Wollmann had been suspended, the bishop had forbidden the pupils to attend his classes; but, as religious instruction is compulsory in the Prussian gymnasia, those who obeyed the bishop had to leave the gymnasium. On the 20th of July, 1871, the bishop issued a pastoral letter, in which he called the proceedings of the Minister 'an attack upon the faith—a denial of the existing laws' and 'of the natural rights of Prussian Catholics guaranteed by law,' and cautioned all parents against Wollmann. In September all the Prussian bishops, assembled at Fulda, sent -an address to the Emperor against the measures of the Government, in which they accused the Minister of treating the Catholic Church as if it were beyond "the protection of the law, and of abandoning the Prussian tradition concerning freedom of conscience. To this the Emperor answered that they had not pointed -out the violation of a single law, that he left dogmatic disputes untouched, but that if the Vatican decrees had actually disturbed the good understanding which had hitherto existed, it would be [pp 312-316] the duty of the Government to endeavour to provide by legisla'tion a solution of the recent conflicts between the authorities, of the State and the Church, unless they could be otherwise prevented.
The path thus indicated was the very one which Baden and Wiirtemberg had entered upon in regard to the Church ever since 1860. 'Until that solution has been found in a constitutional way,' concluded the Emperor, ' it is my duty to uphold the existing laws, and accordingly to protect every Prussian,' including the Old Catholics: words truly worthy of a King. The ' Germania,? the journal of the Centre, indeed, threatened him with the opposition 'of all good Catholics,' and concluded its article by saying, * bear in mind that not an iota will be changed in the mighty Infallibility of the Pope, even if all rise against it, but the systems of government can and must change.' Bishop Krementz of Ermeland continued his disputes with the Ministry during the whole year; but on the 18th of December Reichensperger, one of the leaders of the Centre, made a proposal in the Prussian Parliament, which though legally not correct, was just in point of fact, that the Catholic pupils of Braunsberg should at least be at liberty to attend other Catholic religious instruction than that given at the gymnasium. This demand was subsequently granted by Von Mulder's successor, Dr. Falk, as soon as he had entered upon his office, and the rule was extended to all Catholic Gymnasia (29th December, 1872).
One step in the legislative regulation of the dispute, according to the Emperor's promise, was taken in November 1871, though not in the first instance by Prussia. On the proposal of Bavaria, the Federal Council adopted an addition to the criminal code, ordaining that ecclesiastics abusing their office to the disturbance of the public peace should be criminally punished; because their position of authority, as protected by the State, renders them in such case guilty of a special violation of duty. During the first discussion of this proposal in the Imperial Parliament, on the 23rd of November, Von Lutz, the Bavarian Minister of Public Worship, and himself a Catholic, stated that the difficulty which Prussia was now experiencing with the Catholic Church had been felt by Catholic Governments; and that the proposed law, which was mainly intended to afford the loyal clergy a support against their ecclesiastical superiors, was only one of a series of measures absolutely necessary for self-defence.
'The essence of the question here at issue is, Who is to be master in the State, the Government or the Roman Church? . . . .
No State can exist with two Governments, one of which declares that to be wrong which the other commands Such a double Government, however, exists in those States in which the majority of the population is left to the influence of the Boman Church.
If in such States the Government does not simply submit to the Roman Church, the two face each other as enemies. And this is the case, even if the Government, openly respecting and cherishing religion, desires only to secure to the different religious communities their just rights. It may be said that the ecclesiastical and secular Governments have each its separate department, to which they might confine themselves, and live in peace with each other. But the Church itself has never admitted this view; it has always maintained different theories, and if it has not carried them into .practice, the only reason has been that, as has often been avowed, it did not consider the times fit for so direct a course. The Church vindicates for itself the domain of faith and morals. But the latter, according to her interpretation, comprises all the relations of men to one another. According to this view, we cannot imagine anything that could be regarded as exclusively belonging to tho State, or which the Church might not in certain circumstances claim for itself. From this it follows that a unity of Government is only conceivable if the secular Government simply submits to the Church. There exist in the State two powers. The State, with its secular power, protects the authority of the Church. It compels the new-born citizen to adopt a religious confession, and compels the child to take part in its religious exercises. From the cradle to the tomb the State impresses upon its citizens that the authority of the Church is to be respected and honoured. The Church, on the other hand, claims for herself the supremacy over the State; she combats the State by means of her organs as often as it is not in agreement with her. She asserts that its law contradicts divine law, that it is God's command to refuse obedience to the bad laws of the State, and that it is a religious duty to obey God rather than man; but of course it is the Church alone which can determine what God commands and forbids.'
So speaks a Catholic—not an Old Catholic!
The proposal, after its third reading on the 28th of November, 1871, was passed in the Imperial Parliament by a great majority, and became the law of the Empire. At the same time, on the 27th of November, the Emperor had opened the Prussian Parliament with a speech, in which, in accordance with his language on the 18th of October, he said :—
'In the face of the movements which have taken place in the domain of the Church, my Government firmly maintains the duty of securing to the State its full independence in administering the law and scouring civil order, and at the same time of protecting the lawful independence of the Church or of religious communities, as. well as the freedom of individuals in matters of faith and conscience. For the purpose of carrying out these constitutional principles, special bills will bo laid before you.'
The Emperor promised, in particular, laws about marriage and the separating of the Church from the inspection of schools, the last in order to 'satisfy a want that was specially recognised as urgent.' Von Miihler, on the 14th of December, brought this law before the Parliament, which was in perfect agreement with its principle. All parties, however, became convinced that this Minister was not sufficiently in earnest, and he was obliged to give way. On the 19th of January, 1872, Dr. Falk was appointed as his successor. The new Minister immediately declared that of the legacy left him by his predecessor he could only accept the law about the inspection of schools. In regard to other matters he promised legislative measures for the next year.
Hitherto the local inspection of elementary schools had been regularly entrusted to the pastor, and that of the Circle (district) to the Protestant superintendent or the Catholic dean. The new law ordained that both kinds of inspection should be made exclusively in the name of the State, which alone made the appointment and might revoke it. The Bill, in spite of a flood of petitions against it, was passed and published as the law of the land on the 12th of March. It was the first time that the bishops had petitioned the House of Deputies. They talked of the 'State abandoning religion,' a phrase which only expressed their own uneasiness.
The measure had become necessary as soon as the Church put itself in opposition to the State and made use of the schools to incite the young against the Government.
This had been done openly in Posen and Upper Silesia, the very districts whence most of the petitions against the school law had come.
In the provinces, where the Pole too often regards the German not only as his political, but also as his religious, -enemy, the Polonizing of the elementary schools had been promoted by Catholic priests, and the learning of German had been prevented. Hence the Polish population—not coming into direct contact with the German Government—were handed over to the influence of those who had to translate and communicate the German laws and regulations.
The danger, however, was not confined to Posen and Silesia: the experiment made in them only showed the prevailing disposition. It has been justly said that the future belongs to those to whom the school belongs. This first step of the Prussian Government, therefore, was exceedingly important, as was shown by the excitement of the debate in the Parliament. The Germans in Posen most joyfully agreed with the Government. Even ten years earlier, when the disturbances in Russian Poland began, they had directed attention to the fact that the germ of the Polish revolution lay in the actions of the school inspectors. Let us cast a glance a glance at those years, in order to gain a more complete survey of the state of affairs.
In the disturbances of Prussian Poland in 1846-48, the clergy, including Prezyluski, Archbishop of Posen, had taken a fanatical part.
The clergy also took a lively interest in the famous insurrection of Russian Poland.
During this movement the intermixture of the national and ecclesiastical interests became more conspicuous than before, as, for instance, in the intervention of the bishops in support of the national wishes, in the holding of political prayer-meetings and processions, and in the singing of revolutionary hymns in the churches.
The Archbishop of Warsaw frankly confessed to the Russian Government that the priests secured their influence over the people by their participation in these things. Though the Polish National Government of 1863 put off the outbreak of the disturbances in Prussia, until the rising in Russian Poland should be successful, the movement had extended into Prussian Poland; and the revolution would have broken out in the latter country also, had it not been for the strong precautionary measures of the Government.
When the archbishop died, in March 1865, it was natural for the Government to look about for a successor who, though free to be a good Catholic, would take no further part in the political agitation of Poland, but would rather assist in calming it.
The Roman Curia recommended Count [Mieczyslaw] Ledochowski, then Papal Nuncio at Brussels, where Von Savigny had been Prussian Ambassador at the same time with him. One of the Pope's agents, M. Franchi, at that time expressed himself as follows: 'Gubernium Borussicum est omnium pessimum, contra quod necessaria prudentia Archiepiscopi Comitis de Ledochowski." Although the two Cathedral Chapters of Gnesen and Posen, as well as the public opinion of the province, were decidedly against Ledochowski, he was elected Archbishop in December 1865, not without some pressure from Rome and from Berlin.
He began, indeed, by warning his clergy against interfering in politics, and repeated the warning on the occasion of the war of 1866; and he still showed his moderation in 1870. But during the meeting of the Vatican Council he had been appointed by the Pope Primate of Poland, a fact which did not become known till afterwards. Under the Polish kingdom that dignity had been connected with the see of Gnesen, and, according to the public law then existing, the Primate acted as regent when the throne was vacant.
The dignity thus became directly connected with the hopes and ideas of those who, still refusing to recognise the dismemberment of old Poland, saw in the archbishop their legitimate Polish head.
All that Ledochowski had until then left undone was undertaken with double zeal as soon as his new appointment became known. Secretly he was already Primate, when, at the beginning of November 1870, he was endeavouring at .Versailles to induce Prussia to intervene in favour of the restoration of the States of the Church.
When these attempts produced no result, the clerical movement of the Polish Sunday Unions was formed, in which attempts were made to excite the jealousy of the national party, especially by telling them that in Prussia Catholics and Poles were everywhere kept in the background. In the clerical Volkskalender of Thorn for 1872, Archbishop Ledochowski was publicly mentioned in the list of reigning sovereigns as Primate and as representative of the King of Poland.
This political background throws into a clearer light the intrigues of the school inspectors acting under Ledochowski, against whom the law about the inspection of schools was first directed.
As soon as that law was published, the Prussian bishops again assembled at Fulda, on the 9th of April, 1872.
The absence of Ledochowski from this and almost every meeting of the kind was probably meant as a demonstration to show that he was not a Prussian but a Polish bishop. The bishops resolved to yield to the school law, as it could not be got rid of. They advised their clergy to retain the inspection of schools where it was not taken from them; but in all other matters concerning the policy of the Church to keep up a constant communication with the bishop. This resolution may have been influenced by the experience gained in Baden, where, after a protracted opposition against the school law, the Curia had lately found it prudent to yield.
Down to the beginning of the year 1872 Prussia entertained no hostile intentions towards the Catholic Church, and the assurances which the Government made to the Parliament were honestly meant. Prince Bismarck, in particular, was very anxious to come to an understanding with the Papal See.
Of this we have the clearest evidence in two circumstances which occurred about this time. He authorised Count Arnim, the Prussian Ambassador, to propose to the Curia that if they would use their influence with Ledochowski to induce him to resist the intrigues of the Polish party, the Prussian Government would not persist in the laws which had been brought forward. Even when this favourable proposal was rejected by the Curia, through the influence of the Jesuits, Prince Bismarck did not abandon all hopes of conciliation. On the recall of Count Arnim from Rome, the King nominated as his successor in April, Cardinal Prince Hohenlohe, in the hope that a prelate in such a high position [pp 317-321] might be able to make some arrangement for reconciling the claims of the Church and the State.
But the Pope, again instigated by the Jesuits, refused to receive Prince Hohenlohe as the Prussian Ambassador, although France and Austria had on previous occasions been represented by Cardinals, who had acted as mediators in similar circumstances. But the Jesuit party would make no concession.
Even after this second repulse, the Prussian Government did not break off all diplomatic relations with the Papal See, and continued to be represented by a simple Attache, till the Curia ostentatiously expressed its approval of the disobedience of the Chaplain-General Namszanowski (of which we shall speak presently), when the Attache was recalled. War was now openly declared between Prussia and Rome. But we have no hesitation in asserting that the war was forced upon Prussia by Rome.
It was in the month of May that the debate about the Jesuits commenced in the Imperial- Parliament.
The characteristic of the Jesuits from the beginning of their existence had been the advocacy of Papal absolutism and the struggle against Protestantism.
For this purpose the Order was founded; for no other purpose was it restored in 1814; and for this object it has been working during the last sixty years no less than in earlier times.
It is a characteristic fact, that the Jesuits make their pupils study for years the 'Summa' of Saint Thomas, just as Protestant theologians study Holy Scripture.
By this method they have prepared the soil for the political as well as for the dogmatic doctrines of the Syllabus and the Vatican Council, and it cannot be denied that wherever they appear religious peace is at an end.
Hence the disgust felt by the party opposed to the Vatican Council was directed especially against the Jesuits; and when that disgust was expressed strongly and justly, at the Congress of the Old Catholics at Munich in September 1871, a number of bishops dependent on the Jesuits—Prussian bishops among the rest—were induced to take them under their protection. The Committee of the Old Catholics at Cologne replied by a petition to the Imperial Parliament against the Order, and others followed. The debate on these petitions took place on the 15th, 16th, and 23rd of May. A proposal to the Federal Council—to bring in during that same session the draft of a law respecting the legal position of religious orders, congregations, and associations, their admissibility and its conditions, as well as concerning the punishment of any acts hostile to the State, and especially about the Society of Jesus—was accepted by 205 votes against 84, that is against the Centre and a few others. The Federal Council accepted the draft of a law intended only to give to the Governments the power to limit the movements of the Jesuits from one place to another; but when, on the 14th of June, the law came before the Imperial Parliament, it met with the most vehement opposition of the Centre. Windhorst, the worst enemy of the Empire, who on that day went so far as directly to appeal to the Bull of Boniface VIII., Unam sanctamy uttered the oft-quoted words, 'If you declare war against us, well, then you shall have it.' The Centre had been hit in a most sensitive part. The same evening trustworthy men from all parties of the Imperial Parliament met, and agreed upon amendments to the law about the Jesuits. The Order was to be excluded from the Empire, its establishments were to be abolished, foreign Jesuits were to be expelled, the German Jesuits and the members of kindred orders and similar congregations were to be interned; and the carrying into effect of the measure was no longer to be entrusted to each separate Government, but to the Federal Council. With these amendments the law was passed, after its third reading on the 17th and 19th of June, it was soon after accepted by the Federal Council, and was sanctioned by the Emperor on the 4th of July. On the 5th it was published with an explanatory order, reserving to the Government the right to make further regulations respecting other orders and congregations akin to that of the Jesuits.
The Centre had been angry, but the 'Correspondance de Geneve' was still more wroth. The time for having compassion upon the Protestant heretics had passed away, and the time of justice must commence; and especially the forbearance towards Prussia would perhaps cease at the very moment when its continuance was of the highest importance to her. The journal goes on to say that, in the case of a war breaking out, the masses would not support the Governments. The Pope also, on the 24th of June, took an opportunity to complain of persecution, which he attributed to Prince Bismarck personally, pointing to the 'little stone' of Holy Scripture, which was already rolling down to dash to pieces the foot of the Colossus. At length the war declared by the Centre broke out at Mayence, where a union of German Catholics for common political action' was founded on the 8th of July, and inaugurated by a protest against the law about the Jesuits. Hitherto the different existing unions, whose general meetings we have repeatedly mentioned, had been employed for political agitation; but the new union employed two means for carrying out this object more fully. In the first place, it placed the union under the guidance of the hierarchy, the priests being the centres of the local unions, and the deans, so far as they might be available, the leaders of the larger unions; and in the second place, it was to hold meetings at various places. To these meetings were sent well-chosen popular orators, to stir up the people, and to prepare them for the objects of the union by creating distrust, if not hatred, of the Government and the Protestants, and by inculcating upon the Catholic people the idea, that the legislation of the State in ecclesiastical matters was not binding on account of its incompetency. The same subject was treated in a detailed memorial of the Prussian bishops, again assembled at Fulda from the 18th to the 20th of September. As if they had always entertained the opinion decreed at the Vatican, and as if they had never warned the Pope (as they had done) that the State could not accept the Vatican decrees, they now again represented their Church as assailed in its most cherished rights.
According to their views, the Church is absolutely right in everything she has done, and the State is absolutely wrong. Whoever opposes the State in this matter fulfils his duty, and they declare themselves ready to offer downright resistance.
After what had been done thus far, it could not be expected that the Government would allow itself to be intimidated. The Episcopacy and the Centre had issued their orders, but Dr. Falk had likewise proceeded on his course, slowly but surely. Several events which happened about this time require a brief notice.
Bishop Krementz of Ermeland, as already observed, had excommunicated Dr. Wollmann, and afterwards also Dr. Michaelis, Professor of Philosophy in the Lyceum of Braunsberg. Thereupon the pastoral journal of the diocese published a paper instructing the faithful how they must avoid intercourse with excommunicated persons, and reminding them of the severe penalties with which the Church visited any social contact with the excommunicated, and even forbade saluting them in the streets. Dr. Falk, with the sanction of the whole Ministry, now called the bishop to account (11th of March, 1872), inasmuch as the excommunication thus made public was an attack upon the social honour of a citizen, and such proceedings of ecclesiastical superiors were, according to the existing laws, permissible only after they had been sanctioned by the authority of the State in every individual case.
The bishop, in his defence, proceeded on the principle that wherever the canonical law and the laws of the country contradicted one another, he must be guided by the former, until the contradiction was removed by an agreement between the Pope and the Government. On the occasion of the centenary of the union of West Prussia (in which the Bishopric of Ermeland is situated) with the kingdom of Prussia, the bishop issued an apparently loyal pastoral, and at the same time asked permission of the Emperor to express to him personally on this occasion the fidelity and loyalty of the Ermeland clergy. The Emperor was willing to receive the petitioner, if he would previously promise to obey the laws of the State in every respect. The bishop answered, ' In matters of State certainly, but not if the law of the State touches upon the domain of the Church.' By order of the Emperor, Prince Bismarck now demanded of the prelate a definite declaration that by those excommunications, made without the knowledge of the Government, he had violated the established law of the land. Krementz refused, and thereby excluded himself from taking part in the West Prussian centenary; whereupon Falk made to him the following communication: 'As the Parliament grants the salaries of bishops only for such servants of the Church as .acknowledge the Constitution, by virtue of which the grant is made, but as the ideas entertained by the bishop are irreconcilable with the fundamental principles of the Prussian and every other State, the Government cannot undertake the responsibility of paying him his salary any longer.' Bishop Krementz protested, and on the ground of the Bull De Salute Animarum he commenced a lawsuit against the Prussian Treasury for the payment of his salary, but his claim was rejected by the Courts of Law at every stage. He had learnt, however, to be more cautious in his excommunications; for when he afterwards inflicted that punishment upon the Old Catholic pastor Grunert, it was done only by means of a Latin letter addressed to the priests of the diocese, which simply excluded Grunert from purely ecclesiastical intercourse (communio in saeris), and was not publicly proclaimed.
A second affair which engaged the attention of Falk, and which, like the dispute with Krementz, was connected with the development of Old Catholicism, related to the Catholic ChaplainGeneral (Feldprobsi) Namszanowski, Bishop of Agathopolis (in partibus). The church of St. Pantaleon at Cologne, which belongs to the State, was used for the worship of both Catholic and Protestant soldiers, and the Minister of War granted the use of it to the Old Catholics also. When the Chaplain-General, who had been at the Vatican Council an opponent, but was now an upholder, of Infallibility, was informed of this, he forbade the Catholic Military Chaplain Lunnemann to hold divine worship in that church; and when the military authorities demanded of him to withdraw this order, he declined to obey. It is singular that while the Protestant heretical worship worship in the same church was tolerated, that of the Old Catholics was forbidden.
The position of the Catholic Chaplain-General, like that of all military chaplains, is regulated by the Prussian KirchenOrdnung, which was originally intended only for Protestant chaplains, but was subsequently, with the consent of all parties, applied also to the Catholic chaplains. According to the military Kirchen-Ordnung, the Chaplain-General, as such, is directly responsible to the Ministries of Public Worship and of War, and in external ecclesiastical arrangements he has to obey the commands of his military superiors. His clerical position, up to the year 1868, had been subject to various fluctuations. In 1849 the Prince-Bishop of Breslau, von Diepenbrock, had first performed the function of Bishop of the Army, and appointed a Chaplain-General as his representative; and when the latter died, no fixed rule was made. In 1859 the King had appointed Dr. Peldram Chaplain-General of the Army; and, when he was made Bishop of Treves, a royal order of the 24th of February, 1806, designated Namszanowski, then provost at Konigsberg, as the future Chaplain-General, and at the same time promised negociations respecting the establishment of a Catholic Chaplain-General directly dependent on the Pope, and not on the Bishop. The negociations abo.ut this matter were concluded by the Papal Brief of the 22nd of May, 1868. In order to give the Chaplain-General direct ecclesiastical authority, without the intervention of another bishop, the Pope granted to him the title of Bishop in partibus. No change was thereby made in the Chaplain-General's relation to the State; and his appointment was henceforth to be made by a common resolution of the Holy See and the Prussian Government. Namszanowski, who had entered upon his office by virtue of the Papal Brief and by the royal document of installation, was well aware that in everything which was not of a purely ecclesiastical nature he had to obey the orders of the Ministers of War and Public Worship, and that, in case of need, he had to ask for their instructions. Moreover, every Prussian military chaplain, on entering upon his office, swears that he means to be submissive, faithful, and loyal to the King, that he will exhort his subordinates to do the same, and will never perform any act whereby the King's service may in any way be injured. Accordingly, when the ChaplainGeneral refused to obey the orders of the military authorities in reference to the use of the church of St. Pantaleon, it was impossible for the Government to pass over such an act of disobedience, as the chief spiritual officer was setting an example to all his subordinates to do the same. He was, therefore, at[ Vol. 136.—No. 272. pp 332-326] once removed from his office, receiving, however, a pension from the State. But another step was necessary; for since it was clear that this resistance to authority had rested not upon the personal views of the Chaplain-General, but upon the attitude which the Papal See had assumed towards the State, the Government abolished the office of a Catholic Chaplain-General.
Thirdly: The execution of the law respecting the superintendence of schools, and the law about the Jesuits, was followed by important consequences. Even before the publication of the latter, Dr. Falk had expelled from Silesia and Poland the many foreign members of ecclesiastical orders—Russians, Poles, Austrians, &c.—and especially Jesuits; and after the publication of the law about the superintendence of schools, he had at once ordered a visitation of the schools of West Prussia, Posen, and Silesia. In June, 1872, these visitations were finished, and the unanimous result was that, on the whole, the Polish Catholic inspectors of schools not only took no interest in the schools, but apparently entertained the positive wish that little should be learnt. It had clearly become necessary to appoint German inspectors of schools, and to support and increase the number of the schools. It appeared that the school sisters, and other members of ecclesiastical orders and congregations, could not be allowed to take part in the teaching of schools. The Minister, therefore, forbade their admission to the public schools, and took into serious consideration their activity in private ones. The so-called congregations of St. Mary, which had been formed among the pupils, were at once forbidden on account of their injurious tendencies opposed to all sound education.
The law against the Jesuits now began to be put into operation; to other orders it has hitherto been applied with moderation. On the whole it was carried into effect without difficulty. The most dangerous and best-trained of the enemies' officers were thus no longer allowed to carry out their designs within the camp of their opponents. A few interpellations addressed to the Minister by the Centre party, in the Parliament convened in November, afforded him an opportunity to give detailed explanations why those teachers could not be tolerated who were known not to teach the young to reverence the laws. The House expressed its full agreement with him.
Let us now return once more to the end of the year 1872. On the 22nd of December the aged Pope held an allocution, in which he not only condemned the abominations of Catholic Italy, and spoke in equally strong language about the ecclesiastical disputes which had recently arisen in Switzerland, but also touched upon the secret and public 'persecution of the Church in the German Empire.' For there, he added, persons to whom the ecclesiastical dogmas were not even known (that is, Protestants) impudently asserted that the State did not violate the ecclesiastical domain, even in cases in which the Church itself complained of the violation of its rights and of the oppression of conscience. He felt this as a mockery, because he regarded it as a matter of course that the Church alone has the right to .fix the limits between its domain and that of the State.
The answer which the Government gave to this allocution was by Dr. Falk bringing forward, on the 9th of January, 1873, a series of laws to determine, more accurately than had hitherto been done, the limits of ecclesiastical freedom in the State. These are the laws which have raised so much excitement and discussion; and it is therefore necessary to give a brief account of them, though it is needless to enter into all their details. They are four in number.
The first of these laws regulates the means by which a person may sever his connection with the Church. He can do this by making a simple declaration before a justice of the peace, who has to communicate a copy of it to the ecclesiastical authorities. If the separation has taken place in due form, it frees the person from all the civil effects of belonging to that particular Church or religious community, especially from ecclesiastical burthens and dues.
The second law restricts the Church in the exercise of ecclesiastical punishments. It forbids all penalties and means of -discipline directed against the life, property, freedom, or honour of citizens. It is unlawful alike to threaten, to inflict, and to proclaim such punishments and means of discipline. Hence no infliction of the great excommunication is allowed, if proclaimed with the name of the guilty, because its consequences would disturb civil and social intercourse. Every one violating this law is liable to fine or imprisonment.
The third law, concerning the ecclesiastical power of discipline, .and the establishment of the royal court of law for ecclesiastical affairs, is of far greater importance. It regulates the exercise of the disciplinary power belonging to the ecclesiastical authorities against officers of the Church for special violation of their duties. The following are the chief points in this law. The disciplinary power must be exercised only by ecclesiastical bodies whose members are Germans, residing within the limits of the German empire. In inflicting punishment, bodily chastisement is entirely forbidden. Fines must not exceed thirty thalers, or the amount of a higher official income for one month. The punishment which deprives a person of his freedom must consist only in his banishment to an institution of demeriti situated within the German empire, nor must it under any circumstances exceed three months; lastly, the execution must neither be commenced nor continued against the will of the person concerned. Further the law grants an appeal against these decisions to the 'Royal Court of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs.' The law. gives to the same court jurisdiction over ecclesiastical officers, when they violate the laws of the State, and enables them to. punish them by fine and imprisonment.
The 'Royal Court of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs' is a new court created by this third law. It has its seat in Berlin, and consists of eleven members, of whom the president and at least five members must be regularly appointed judges. The members are appointed by the King on the proposal of the Minister of State and cannot be arbitrarily deposed. The decisions of the court are final. Rights like those we have been speaking of existed even in the earlier Prussian law, but the mode of carrying them into effect had to be brought into harmony with the modern public law of Prussia. This was done by substituting for the former Ministerial decisions the decision of a court of the highest rank working in the full light of publicity.
The fourth and last law relates to the preliminary education and the appointment of priests. In Prussia, as in all other civilised countries of Europe, the clergy are protected by the State as the authoritative teachers and advisers of the peopleStarting from this point of view, the law begins by prescribing that clerical offices in any of the Christian Churches shall be entrusted only to those Germans who can prove that they have enjoyed an education in accordance with the regulations of the law, and against whose appointment the authorities of the State do not raise any objection. These regulations had been in force for a long time in regard to the Protestant Church; but, in applying them to the Catholics, the State had to face the claim that the priests are to be educated from their boyhood in an exclusively ecclesiastical manner, and to be appointed exclusively by the Church. In addition to this, it had been found by experience that the Church had made use of the liberty left to it by the State in this respect for the purpose of bringing up a race of priests, the majority of whom were deficient in that general education which enables men to judge with independence of the affairs of public life. Moreover, the State found that the bishops had availed themselves of their right of appointment to render the priests, who were brought up in servile submission to them, dependent upon them also in external matters. The priest, when regularly appointed, can be removed from his place by the bishop only in virtue of a legal verdict; his substitute Kite (vicarius) depends entirely upon the arbitrary decision of the bishop. The German bishops, therefore, in order to produce this dependence, have systematically left parishes without their pastor, and instead of them appointed mere vicarii, or, in the case of regularly appointed priests, have secured the same dependence by making them sign documents in which the candidates from the first unconditionally renounce every lawful claim to the living conferred upon them. In this manner they have attained in a circuitous way the right which the French bishops possess by law, and which enabled Cardinal Bonnechose, like a military commander, to say, 'Chacun de nous a un regiment a commander et il marche.'
In regard to education, the State demands that young men intended for the priesthood shall have passed the leaving examination (Abiturienten-examen) in a German Gymnasium, that they shall devote three years to the study of theology in a German University, in those provinces in which there is an University with a faculty of Catholic theology, during which the students are not allowed to be members of an episcopal seminary, that is, exposed to the influence of a purely clerical system of education; that they shall pass a public examination conducted by the State, in which they have to prove that they possess general culture, and especially a knowledge of philosophy, history and German literature. All educational establishments for the clergy, especially Convictoria, and all kinds of seminaries, are placed under the superintendence of the State. Institutions refusing to be superintended by the State are closed.
In regard to the appointment of priests the law runs as follows:—Whoever is to be appointed to a clerical office must be named by those who appoint him to the authorities of the State, who may enter a protest within a certain limit of time, and for definite reasons. Such a protest is admissible only if the candidate does not possess the qualification required by law for the clerical office, if he has been condemned to a severe punishment for some crime, and lastly, if facts are known which justify the supposition that the priest will act contrary to the laws of the State, or the lawful regulations of the proper authority, or that he will disturb the public peace. The facts on which the protest is based must be stated at once, and their relevancy is decided in the last instance by the Royal Court of Justice for Ecclesiastical Affairs. The conferring of any clerical office, without the candidate being announced in the manner above stated, is legally null and void. The exercise of clerical functions by a person not announced is punished by fines; and the like penalties are incurred by the• institution of new clerical offices without the consent of the State, and by neglecting to fill clerical offices which have been vacant for one year.
Such is the nature of the four laws relating to ecclesiastical policy. According to Article 12 of the Prussian Constitution, the Church is a corporation, and the exercise of religious freedom must not interfere with the duties of the citizen towards the community and the State. In proclaiming the Constitution the Minister of Worship had declared that the State reserved to itself as inalienable the 'negative right' to prevent possible excesses in the use of religious freedom. Now the four new laws were an exercise of this constitutional right reserved by the State: they were declaratory and explanatory of the Constitution. But the Ultramontanes did not admit this. Ever since 1849 they had asserted the divine right of sovereignty in the Church, and the State had allowed this usurpation to pass for years. Thus, according to the practice hitherto followed, it might appear as if the question were not about a mere declaration, but about a change of the Constitution.
In order that the constitutional nature of the laws might not be disputed when they had passed the Parliament, it seemed advisable to treat the proposals in the same formal manner as if a change of the Constitution had been contemplated. The Committee of the House of Representatives, to which the drafts were referred after the first reading, took up this attitude of caution, and accordingly laid before the House the draft of a law concerning the change of Articles 15 and 18 of the Constitution. To the 15th Article, namely, 'The Protestant and the Roman Catholic Church as well as every other religious community regulates and administers its affairs independently,' it was added, 'but the Church remain* subject to the laws of the State, and to its legally regulated superintendence' under Article 18, which leaves the giving of ecclesiastical livings to the clerical superiors. The principle of the new legislation received its constitutional recognition through the words, 'In all other matters the law regulates the rights of the State regarding the education, appointment, and dismissal of clergymen and servants of religion, and fixes the limits of the power of ecclesiastical discipline.' The new proposal was accepted by the two Houses of Parliament in the forms prescribed for changes made in the Constitution, was sanctioned by the King, and thus became the constitutional framework of the modern law of the State and Church in Prussia.
The four laws were adopted by the House of Deputies on the 20th and 21st of March and by the Upper House, [pp 327-331] in spite of repeated attempts to delay a decision, on the 1st of May, 1873; passing each House by a majority of two thirds. The opposition, not to mention the men of the Centre, consisted of some politicians who, according to the American or Belgian model, preferred the separation of the State from the Church, and of a number of old Conservatives, who, misled by the Ultramontanes, blindly wished to continue the former policy. They were strengthened in their attitude by the sympathies shown even by a number of Protestant clergymen, who were influenced by the Catholic theory of the clerical office. In consequence of some alterations which had been made in the drafts in the Upper House, they had to be brought again before the House of Deputies, where they were settled on the 9th of May, and immediately afterwards were sanctioned by the Emperor. On the 15th of May they appeared in the collection of laws— four landmarks in the development of ecclesiastical policy not only for Prussia, but for all Germany, and of the highest importance for all future time.
The new legislation does not profess to include regulations concerning all possible points of contact between the State and the Church. Its original plan was more comprehensive, and since its publication it has been supplemented, and will have to be supplemented continually. But it constitutes the first decisive step against the attacks of Ultramontanism. The old complaints of persecution against the Church have been since scarcely heard of; it is the Laws of May against which all attacks are now directed. It is perfectly plain that they do not prevent a single Catholic in Prussia from fulfilling his religious duties as strictly as his heart may desire. The laws, as now established, leave absolutely free and untouched the inner life of the Church, the proclamation of its doctrines of faith and morals, the administration of the sacraments, and the maintenance of ecclesiastical discipline within the domain of religion. What vexes the Ultramontanes belongs to a different domain. It is not even the earnestness of the Government—which might be a transitory party—but the resolution which the country has shown, through its representatives, to guard its right to be master in its own house, and not to allow itself to be frightened by declamations, threats, and senseless cries. The second reason why the Ultramontanes are so vexed is, that Prussia has understood the necessity, and acted accordingly, at a time when she was still able to act; for they had hoped that Prussia would wait until the Roman network was spread over the whole State. This hope has been completely thwarted.
The Prussian bishops have declared in a memorial addressed to to the Ministry that they 'are unable to co-operate in carrying' the Laws of May into effect, because they violate the rights and liberties belonging to the Church of God.' The bishops went so far as to say, that they could not even submit to those enactments of the new laws which are recognised by the Church in other countries and agreed to by the Pope, because in Prussia they have been framed in a one-sided manner. From this last declaration it is evident that, in the resistance of the clergy against the laws of the State, we have not a contest between belief and unbelief, nor merely a resistance against demands which in themselves are opposed to the Catholic conscience. For that which the Pope has recognised in other states, as in accordance with the rights and liberties of the Church, cannot surely in Prussia be contrary to the conscience of the Church. The object evidently is to combat in principle the sovereignty of State legislation as opposed to the sovereignty of the Church, and that too even where this legislation does not touch upon the inner domain of the Church ; or, as Prince Bismarck has said in a memorable speech, ' it is the ancient contest for power, which is as old as the human race itself, the contest for power between King and Priest, the contest which makes up the history of the Middle Ages under the name of those conflicts between the Popes and the Emperors, which were brought to a close when the last representative of the illustrious house of Suabian Emperors died on the scaffold under the axe of a French conqueror, when that same French conqueror was in alliance with the Pope. The Papacy has at all times been a political power, interfering in the affairs of this world with the greatest determination and the greatest success, and this interference it has made its programme. The object which the Papal power has uninterruptedly kept in view, which at the time of the medieval emperors was near its realisation, is the subjection of the secular power to that of the Church.'
This contest for power is subject to the same conditions as every other political contest. The object is to defend the State and to fix the limits between the dominion of the priest and the king; and these limits must be fixed in such a manner as to secure the existence of the State, for in the affairs of this world the State rules and has the precedence.
The threat which the bishops held out in their memorial has in the mean-time come to pass. They have endeavoured to realise the claim of the Ultramontane policy in all its harshness, and to check the carrying of the new laws into effect, by all the means of passive and active resistance. They cannot as yet boast of victory. The Laws of May have everywhere been practically applied; applied; three eminent princes of the Church are already imprisoned in consequence of a judicial verdict, and proceedings have been commenced against Count Ledochowski, Archbishop of Posen and Gnesen, to deprive him of his clerical office.
These are the first beginnings of an energetic ecclesiastical policy. Further complications may be expected, but the State is continuing its preparations, and, what is of essential importance, alliances will not be wanting. For it has recently been acknowledged, even by States essentially Catholic, that the limits between the rights of the State and the Church can only be settled by maintaining the sovereignty of State legislation. The legislature in Austria has just shown its determination to regulate anew the rights of the Church and the State throughout the empire on foundations similar to those laid in Prussia. In Italy and Belgium, the opinions against the misleading phrase of' a free Church in a free State' are daily spreading more widely. It is beginning to be more and more generally understood, that what is going on in Prussia is a contest of law against rebellion, a contest of freedom against fanaticism. The use made by the Pope of the spiritual sovereignty adjudged to him by the Vatican Council, by which the bishops of all countries are subjected more than ever to the absolute power of the Roman Curia, proves that it is the absolute duty of all States to secure the unconditional recognition of the sovereign rights of the State by all the means which the laws place at their disposal.
Nor let us think that England can remain a passive or—we have good ground for using the epithet—a supercilious spectator of the conflict which seems fast growing into a religious war. The saturnine spirit which despises earnestness may sneer at our Protestant sympathy with Germany, and the undiscriminating adherents of a formula may raise timid questionings about universal toleration; but the 'unerring instinct' of the English people sympathises as warmly in the nineteenth century as it did in the sixteenth and seventeenth with the cause of true religious liberty in' Germany. Such sympathy is at once a debt owing from us to the land of Luther, a duty taught by the experience of our own history, and a principle of sound policy in prospect of the like war, into which we may again be drawn sooner than we expect. To judge the case between Rome and Germany simply on the abstract principle of religious toleration, is to do as much injustice to our own conduct in the past as to their difficulty in the present; and we may soon know, if we are not already feeling,
'Quam temere in nosmet legem sancimus iniquam.'
The vast difference between freedom of conscience in religion and the surrender of the common safety to those who, in the prostituted name of that freedom, claim to wield over the national mind a power directed by a foreign universal authority —this difference was clearly seen by the statesmen of Elizabeth and even by the Puritan party in her Parliaments, by the friends of freedom who forced the first James to aid the cause of his Protestant son-in-law in the Palatinate, and by the Dissenters whom the second James vainly attempted to seduce from the common cause by the specious bait of toleration.
But a still stronger argument may be drawn from the history of England while she was yet a Catholic country, loyally accepting the spiritual supremacy of the Pope, but waging perpetual war for the rightful authority of the State against the attempts of Rome to make the Church, not merely an independent, but a sovereign power within the kingdom. To illustrate this fully would be to trace our whole ecclesiastical history under the Plantagenets, from Henry II.'s conflict with Becket and the enactment of the Constitutions of Clarendon, down to the great settlement of the whole principle involved by the famous Statute of Praemunire under Richard II. The words in which Blackstone sums up the purport of that Statute might be taken for an exact description of the spirit of the recent Prussian laws, only that the latter are more liberal in their concessions, and far milder in their penalties: —' The original meaning of the offence, which we call prarmunire* is introducing a foreign power into this land, and creating an imperium in imperio, by paying that obedience to Papal process which constitutionally belonged to the King alone, long before the Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII.' It was precisely the demand for 'free intercourse with Rome,' on which the Ultramontane resistance in Germany turns, that then received its deathblow in Catholic England ; and the Catholic Minister of Public Worship in Bavaria did but re-echo the whole spirit of English statesmanship in Catholic times, in the words we have quoted above, ' No State can exist with two governments, one of which declares that to be wrong which the other commands.'
Let it be remembered, especially by English Nonconformists, that the practical question now agitating Germany has simply nothing to do (unless in its remoter consequences) with the abstract principle of the spiritual freedom of a voluntary Church. The undisputed condition on which the Catholic Church, like every other recognised Communion, exists in Germany, is its connection with the State. The Catholic priests are, like the Protestant ministers, the servants of the State Government, which secures them their salaries, protects them in their duties, and gives validity to their functions in all that affects the social status of their own followers. They have never proposed togive up the advantages of this position; but they claim to use them, whenever they please, or whenever they are bidden by their foreign master, against the power which protects and supports them. The restraints now put upon their contumacy are almost' exactly the conditions to which the Protestants have already been long subject. Neither community has shown any general disposition to proclaim the complete independence of Church and State in theory, much less to accept its consequences in practice. In the language of Rome, especially, the formula of 'A free Church in a free State' has ho meaning, save that of the grossest mockery. Spiritual independence, impartial toleration, equality of Churches before the law, are ideas utterly alien to the real claims of self-styled Catholics, as their very name implies, and as we ourselves are now learning by sad experience and bitter disappointment.
Our Protestant forefathers had too fresh an experience of the yoke which they had cast off, too keen an apprehension of the imminent danger of being brought again into bondage, not to follow the law, which is the foundation of all society, that the common security must be preferred even to liberty, much more to a liberty claimed in the interest of the worst despotism that ever bound and crushed, not only the bodies, but the minds and souls of men. Not till that security was firmly established did our more immediate fathers judge that they could safely apply the principle of universal toleration, and even then only with the full resolution to meet any new attempt to violate the implied compact—that all the tolerated religions should keep within their own province —with the more vigorous repression deserved by the abuse of freedom. How soon we may be forced to exercise that repression, is one of the most anxious questions looming on our political horizon; and when ourselves drawn into the conflict, we may learn the true meaning that it bears in Germany. We may then find that the warning—' Proximus ardet Ucalegon'—showed truerwisdom than that pride in our own superior knowledge of the law of religious freedom, which looks down on our neighbour's struggling bark in the selfish spirit, 'Suave mari magno,' or criticises too severely the efforts put forth to save her from being drawn back into the vortex she has escaped. 'Civil and religious liberty all the world over,' is a sound cry, so long as the liberty claimed is religious only, and liberty indeed ; but the first duty of the State is to uphold civil liberty,—the freedom of common action for the good of all—against the encroachments of every society that attacks it, even under the prostituted name [pp 332] of the Church or the abused rights of conscience. The question, whether each particular measure of the Prussian statesmen or the Imperial Parliament of Germany is altogether defensible, sinks into insignificance in comparison with the cause which they are maintaining; and in that cause they will receive, as they deserve, the hearty sympathy of England.