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promotion of the Reformation—the ambitions of covetous selfish, sensual princes. He claims that the same evil exists in a less acute form to-day. • Here, then, in the Curia is embodied, to Protestant eyes, the “Roman tyranny" which brings on the Church the undeserved reproach of being a system of mechanical, unethical authority. The Congregations, we are told, keep all power in their own hands, the Curia has deprived the bishops of the world of their ancient rights; and “when we consider that a majority of the members of the Congregations are not only Italian and Roman, trained in the traditions of the Roman Curia, which is, to a great extent, self-perpetuating, and that few of them have much knowledge of the world outside of Italy, it is easy to see that all questions throughout the Catholic world are determined from a Roman point of view, and in Roman interests.” “In civil affairs,” continues Dr. Briggs, “Italians and Romans, in modern times, have not shown any remarkable ability, yet these Congregations think that they have the ability to govern the Church throughout the world, and to govern it with absolute authority, demand. ing unquestioning obedience.” These Congregations, so runs the arraignment, are antiquated in their methods, and, from whatever point it is estimated, their personnel scarcely seems adequate to the important tasks confided to them, and “the reform that is needed above all is to put these officials in their proper place as servants of the Pope, and deprive them altogether of their usurped power over the bishops of the Church; the officials of the Curia should be, like those of the best modern States, responsible servants, and not, like the Russian bureaucrats, irresponsible autocrats.” As an offset to the note of exaggeration that is obvious in this account, we must, though it is irrelevant to our subject, credit Dr. Briggs with a warm appreciation of the present Pontiff's religious zeal, and with brushing aside as empty the charge so often made since 1870—formulated in extreme terms by Sabatierthat, by the definition of infallibility, the Pope has become an absolute autocrat over the intellect and conduct of all Catholics, because he may, at any moment, from his own consciousness alone, promulgate any doctrine or decree that he pleases. On the contrary, Dr. Briggs admits, “the autocracy of the Pope, while recognized in principle, is really much limited in
fact; for while in one sense the Pope cannot be said to be a constitutional monarch, in another sense he is ; because, though he may, under certain unusual circumstances, make infallible decisions in faith and morals, he may not make any decisions which contravene any made by Popes and Councils in the past.” The writer might have added that no doctrine can be made dogmatic that was not contained in the deposit confided to the Apostles in the beginning. These excerpts suffice to indicate the tenor of what is a representative Protestant estimate of the Church's authority in its concrete form. Yet if even the entire indictment were, for argument's sake, admitted, what would it prove against the essential character of the Church 7 Nothing. Whatever facts exist to give it a certain measure of plausibility have no intrinsic root in Catholicism. For the most part, they may be traced to a former state of affairs, when the spiritual papacy and the ecclesiastical administration were bound to a temporal Italian princedom. The bureaucratic spirit, and the evils attendant on bureaucracy everywhere, may easily have permeated the spiritual regime. It was almost inevitable that, under former conditions, a tendency should arise to concentrate all the power of the spiritual kingdom in the hands of the race which was rightly entitled to the exclusive possession of the offices subordinate to the temporal papacy. But since it has pleased Providence that the spiritual supremacy should be severed from a kingdom of this world, time may be counted upon to wipe out any injurious legacies derived from the former situation. The vigor with which the present Pontiff is laying the ax to the root of the tree is assurance that no hereditary abuses, personal ambitions, or class interests, will deter him from his purpose to reform all things in Christ. Of course a mighty, world-wide society like the Catholic Church cannot be governed without an extensive, organized administration, in which there will be many places of large power and high honor. And, as long as human nature remains what it is, power and honors will engender personal ambition. Their appeal will be the strongest in those breasts in which the apostolic fires burn low. Italy, after all, is not to be condemned with too much severity for having taken pattern somewhat too closely from the too thrifty mother of the sons of Zebedee, who, on the strength of relationship, claimed for her children the best places in the gift of the Master. As long as the Church is human her Founder will still find occasional reason for the complaint, Nescitis cujus Spiritus estis.
Many unequivocal signs indicate that we are entering upon an era when the spiritual nature of the Church will shine forth more conspicuously than it has done for ages; and her truly Catholic character will be more strikingly emphasized in the composition of her governing bodies. At the same time, agnosticism and infidelity are impressing on the non-Catholic Christian world the truth that every other authority than the Catholic Church is a deceptive imitation that fails in the hour of stress. In this conjuncture one of the most effective services that can be rendered to truth is to assist in removing the false impression prevalent concerning the role and nature of authority.
In conclusion let us return for a parting word with Professor Sterrett. He has quoted, with approbation, a passage from an eminent Unitarian which ends thus: “Protestantism, unless it can recall its separations, and atone its schisms, and, renouncing dogmatic wilfulness, round itself into one, is doomed to pass away, and be absorbed in the larger fold of an Æcu-, menical Church.” The professor's comment on this assertion is: “If Protestantism cannot do this, what if Rome, which has often shown master-strokes of wisdom, should arouse to her opportunity, and rise to her duty ? What, if dropping her now provincial name and character, she might seek to reintegrate all Protestantism? It looks like a seeming impossibility. But if the day ever comes that Protestantism ceases to be a religion of authority, and that Romanism itself can take up all the noble fruits and principles of Protestantism, then the time will come when every Christian must answer the question to such Catholicism, why, or why not?” Is there any cool-headed, unbiassed thinker, of any religion, or of no religion, who believes that Protestantism, divided and subdivided against itself into innumerable fragments, among which the law of repulsion is in full play, can ever unite and form a homogeneous whole, on a distinctively Protestant basis? Scarcely; at least, none have placed themselves on record as holding that conviction. The way to the realization of the vision splendid of a reunited Christendom, one fold under one Shepherd, lies in another direction.
THE TEACHING OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.
BY THE REVEREND JOHN F. BRADY, M.D.
HE great civic question of the day in our land
is the question of education-of real, solid, effi. cient education; of education, therefore, which
looks not merely to the stuffing of youthful
U heads with a mass of data wrongly called knowledge, but of education which aims at the formation of the highest and noblest manhood and womanhood. To this question the minds of trained thinkers are turned, and upon this the brain energy of educators is at work seeking a proper and efficient solution.
In proof of this, we have but to recall that notable meeting of teachers a short time since, at a popular summer resort in New Jersey, where thousands of those whose vocation it is to instruct the youth of the land, gathered for the purpose of discussing present-day methods, and of finding by mutual cooperation lines of improvement in the system now in vogue in our national educational institutions. The meeting was well attended by many citizens prominent in the nation's affairs, and this fact alone would make it well worthy of study as evincing positive evidence of the interest taken in things educational
Even while these lines are being penned, the Catholic Educational Association is holding its annual session in New York, and there, too, delegates from the various parts of the land-representing every degree of Catholic educational effort, from the highest, the Catholic University at Washington, which has done so much for the unification and completion of Catholic instruction, down to the lowest-are, in conference assembled, searching for ways yet unknown to make more efficient a system which at present more than compares with any educational system in the broad land. These are facts which do not fail to make a deep impression on the most casual observer, for they show full clearly that there is a better realization among the people of the urgent need of education for
the prosperity and well-being of the country. The days are past, never to return, when heads of families were satisfied if their children received any kind of education, provided they spent the usual number of hours of the day in the schoolroom. Nowadays it is not the number of hours spent in the school that counts, but how that time is spent. It is, indeed, a most healthy sign of the times that so much thought is given to the education of our youth.
We Catholics are by no means laggards in this movement for the improvement of educational methods. It is little short of marvelous what Catholics have done to provide for their offspring that which to them is the only true and effective education. For the Catholic considers that education unworthy of the name, the only aim of which is to impart secular knowledge -unworthy of the name because such training can develop only a part of the composite human being, and that the lower part, while the superior part is left untutored. It is not for us to speak of the great sacrifices made by the Catholic body to provide Catholic education for their children; we need but point to the results, and they speak for themselves Yet these results are so pronounced that they evoke the admiration of all, even of those who would have things otherwise.
The Most Rev. Archbishop of New York pronounced a most pertinent truth when he said, at the opening session of the Catholic Educational Conference: “If there is no outside criticism of the parochial school now, it is not because there is more piety in the world, but because the schools by their efficiency now command the respect of all." If one were to search for the key to this wonderful success under such untoward circumstances one would find it, I think, in this: that the Church has ever insisted on the value of religious education, even for the very young; that religious instruction has always taken its proper place in the curriculum of our parochial schools; it has been a powerful factor, too, in the imparting and reception of secular knowledge and disciplinary formation, to such an extent, indeed, that the Superintendent of Schools, in his official report, proclaimed them in these respects “second to none." How wise the Church has been then in her unflinching insistence that the children committed to her care should be trained first and foremost in the knowledge of religious truths; that they should be thoroughly