Зображення сторінки

with this, the Ultramontane power is attempting to limit the civil rights of the Irish clergy. The wellknown O'Keeffe case, now before the Courts, will show the extent and direction of the attack on the laws and constitution of the nation. It is the restless and aggressive policy of this faction which causes the most serious difficulties in Irish affairs, and most retards the peaceful progress of the country.

In affirming that Popery is the main cause of the troubles and woes of Ireland, the statement is made on grounds of history and experience, without touching on theological controversies. I give the result of my own observation, in many countries besides Ireland. In confirmation of my statements, I have quoted the opinions of men like Sydney Smith and Charles Dickens, of Sismondi and De Tocqueville, as being free from suspicion of religious bigotry or prejudice. The social results of the system may be examined, without any unkind or uncharitable feeling towards its adherents. I bear testimony to the exemplary character of many of the Irish Catholic clergy, and I so admire John Banim's ballad, “Soggarth Aroon," that I wish every "priest dear" had a wife, as St. Peter had, and so double his happiness and usefulness. Of the natural piety and devoutness of the poor Irish Catholics, no one can speak without respect. To them may be applied the complimentary epithet which St. Paul used to the men of Athens, that they are full of reverence, or as we mistranslate it, “too superstitious.” The Irish Catholic Church in early ages gained for Ireland the name of “the Isle of Saints, and it may yet regain the brightness it had in the days of St. Patrick and St. Columba. It has not lost the ancient truths, although they are now overlaid with Romish errors and innovations.

« НазадПродовжити »