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THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY QUESTION.
MR. MATTHEW ARNOLD is a very has wholly omitted to study the eloquent writer and a very clever acts and words of the people for advocate. But he cannot reason whom he proposes to legislate. ably be said to have achieved a Mr. Arnold says he advocates signal success as champion of the “the public institution of Catholic claims of the Roman Catholic Uni. education with the proper and necesversity in Ireland. He has set sary guarantees." (We give his himself to prove that the Liberal own words, but the italics here are party ought to support the claim ours.) “Our newspapers always of Irish Catholics to have a sec- assume that Catholic Education tarian University endowed and must be 'under complete clerical chartered by the State. What he control.' We are reminded that has proved is that Liberals have the Irish Bishops claimed from hitherto given a wrong reason for Lord Mayo the entire government not doing this. Further, he has of their Irish University, the right suggested a method of organising of veto on the appointment of proa sectarian Roman Catholic Uni. fessors, the right of dismissing versity, and he confidently affirms professors. This would make the that the Roman Catholic clergy University simply a seminary with would not refuse the conditions he a State payment. But the State proposes. But the institution he has no right, even if it had the proposes to organise is not the wish, to abandon its duties towards institution the Catholic clergy have a national University in this manasked for ; and if men's con- ner. The State in such a Univerduct in the past is any indication sity is proctor for the nation. The of their probable conduct in the appointment and dismissal of the future, the Catholic Bishops would professors belong to no corporation most undoubtedly reject Mr less large and public than the nation Arnold's scheme, as they have re- itself. And it is best in the hands jected every other scheme that has of the nation, and not made over hitherto been proposed for their to any smaller and closer corporaconsideration. Mr. Arnold is very tion like the clergy, however resevere upon Englishmen for offer spectable. The professors should ing Irish Roman Catholics, not be nominated and removed, not by what they say they want, but what the bishops, but by a responsible Englishmen think they ought to Minister of State acting for the want. But he fails to see that his Irish nation itself. They should be scheme does precisely the thing he Catholics, but he should choose condemns others for doing; and he them, exercising his choice as a fails because he has evolved his judicious Catholic would be disUniversity scheme by what he posed to exercise it, who had to act would probably call the free play in the name and for the benefit of of his own consciousness, while he the entire community. While the
bishops, if they have the appoint. Now, how is this Minister to ment of professors in a Catholic exercise the patronage with which University, will be prone to ask he is vested ? In subservience to who will suit the bishops ?' The the Bishops? Then the Bishops community is interested in asking will tell him whom to appoint and solely: Who is the best and most whom to remove, and the Univerdistinguished Catholic for the sity at once becomes a seminary chair ? In the interest of the paid by the State. Independently Irish themselves, therefore, the of the Bishops? Then the Bishops professors in a publicly instituted will at once declare that he has not Catholic University ought to be their confidence, and will denounce nominated by a Minister of State, the new University as they deacting under a public responsibility, nounced the “ godless Colleges.” and proctor for the Irish nation. And to whom is the Minister of Would Ireland reject a Catholic Catholic Instruction to be responUniversity offered with such a con- sible ? To Parliament ultimately, dition ?”
no doubt: Parliament, by the way, Mr. Arnold answers this ques. being the body that habitually tion in one way: but those who uses its powers in obedience to the judge the Roman Catholic hier. Philistine middle class, whom Mr. archy by their acts answer it in Arnold is never tired of flouting. quite the opposite way. If there But Parliament is a slow machine, is any meaning in human lan and the responsibility Mr. Arnold guage, what the Irish bishops want speaks of appears to be a different is precisely a University such as thing, and a more subtle thing Mr. Arnold says the State cannot than the liability to Parliamentary give them, will not give them, and censure. What is to be the ought not to give them. If con influence that is to guide the duct in the past affords any Minister in performing his duties? ground for anticipating conduct in In England, or among Protestant the future, the Irish bishops would Irishmen, that influence would be reject Mr. Arnold's “proper and the sentiment of the educated necessary guarantees," as they laity. But the Catholic educated have rejected every other proposal. laity are a very small class; and For what is the guarantee that Mr. their voice is drowned amid the Arnold describes as proper and clamours of the bishops, the necessary? It is the appointment priests, and the rabble. A Minister and removal of professors by a of Catholic Instruction, “respon. responsible Minister of State. Note sible” to the educated Catholic here that Mr. Arnold only speaks laity, would be either a nobody or of the appointment and removal a thorn in the side of the hierof professors. Not a word about archy. For the educated Catholic prescribing and controlling the laity is by no means subservient to course of studies, though, as we episcopal dictation. shall see presently, this is also a But, although Mr Arnold does “proper and necessary guarantee,” not refer to it, there is another and a matter in which the side to the duties of a Minister of hierarchy would be sure to claim a Instruction, besides the appointing voice. But, to return to the and removing of professors. The responsible Minister of Catholic Minister would have to prescribe Instruction. Of course he would and control the course of study in be a Catholic, though Mr. Arnold the new Catholic University. And does not say so.
here, at least as much as in the
professorial patronage, he would come into collision with the prejudices and the foregone conclusions of the hierarchy. The bishops would no more consent to forego their veto on the studies than their veto on the professors. Cardinal Manning once said that the study of false (i.e. non-Roman) philosophy“ perverts the form and shape of the intelligence; I may say it alters the structure of the brain !” If Catholic bishops think thus, will they tolerate a curriculum over which they shall have no con trol?
The bishops have here been spoken of as the leaders of agita. tion in this matter. It is by no means a layman's question. There can hardly be any argument more misleading in certain hands it is simply dishonest) than that, be cause there are four millions of Catholics and only one million of Protestants, the Catholics are wronged in not having a separate university. It is not merely that the immense majority of these Catholics are labouring people who have no more to do with university education than the ploughmen of Wiltshire or the colliers of South Wales. It is not merely that among the classes who really do want university education, the Protestants are at least two to one compared with the Catholics. The true answer to the clerical cry in this matter is that the middle and upper classes of Catholics have as a matter of fact made use of the existing universities, in fair pro. portion to their numbers and their wants, and in spite of the threats and dictation of the bishop and the priesthood. Catholic gentry have nothing to do with the cry for a separate university. The cry is raised in the first instance by the priests (who have a separate uni. versity of their own) and is echoed by an ignorant and superstitious
electorate, who know and care nothing about university education for its own sake. Professor Cairnes and Professor Maguire (the latter of whom is a Catholic) years ago showed by the returns of the University of Dublin and the Queen's University that the number of Catholic students in these institutions was fully proportioned to the number of Catholic families that were at all likely to send sons to a university; and that the only result of setting up a denominational university would be to drain the existing institutions of Catholic students.
There is yet another side to this matter. Mr. Arnold, it is true, speaks with respect of Dublin University and the Queen's Colleges. But he is the only advocate of the Catholic claims who has treated this question without hinting more or less broadly that Dublin and the Queen's Universities ought to be made to pay for the new seminary. Some writers and speakers content themselves with significant allusions to “the rich endowments of Trinity College, wholly in the hands of Protestants.” Others have boldly demanded a share in the spoil. Mr Arnold naturally looks to the money of the disendowed church for resources to carry out his scheme. If it be right or expedient to set up a Catholic University at all (which is a very open question), this money is as good as any other. But not one penny from the funds of Trinity College or the Queen's Colleges ought to be touched for such a purpose under any circumstances whatever.
This is the practical answer to Mr Arnold, and one of the true defences of the Liberal position. The university demanded by the Catholic bishops and their spokesmen is one that, on Mr. Arnold's own showing, the State ought not to set up. It would be “ simply a
seminary with a State payment;" But there is a deeper aspect of and “the State has no right, even the question still. Mr. Arnold if it had the wish, to abandon its persists in writing of an Irish duties towards a national university nation, which he assumes to consist in this manner." The responsible of four million Catholics, including minister to whom Mr. Arnold would the directing ecclesiastics. Now, assign the patronage, would either there is a plea to be put in against be the tool of the hierarchy, or using this phrase, “ Irish nation,” would be distrusted and denounced at all. In the meantime, Mr. by the hierarchy. The “four Arnold may be reminded that there millions of Catholic Irish," whom are a million or so of non-Catholics, Mr. Arnold supposes to be clamour, who are part of the “ Irish nation." ing for a Catholic University, are But in truth it may be affirmed for the most part labouring people that we are wrong in keeping up who, under no conceivable circum this phraseology, instead of using stances, could make use of a language which will remind us university. The handful of Catholic that there is one British nation, gentry and professional men do, as the governing body of the British a matter of fact, use Dublin Univer Empire; that Englishmen, Irishsity and the Queen's University, men, and Scotchmen, Episcopalians, and would use them more freely Dissenters, and Roman Catholics, still if the priests left off worrying are all alike citizens of this one men and terrifying women with de- nation, who have not only equal nunciations of heretical and godless rights, but equal duties. And it colleges. For it is a fact, and a may be distinctly asserted that if fact which Irish Catholic gentry the four millions of Irish Catholics, freely admit, that the scruple of being a minority of the whole conscience which keeps Catholic nation, asked genuinely and in good young men from mixed colleges is faith for a Catholic University; in the mother's conscience, and is and if the majority of the governput there by the priest. Finally, ing body, having considered their what the priests want is not merely claim, advisedly reject it, then it to set up their own university, but is the duty of the four millions to to discredit and cripple the existing submit, unless and until they can universities, and to get as much of persuade the majority. And if their money as they can. No one Mr. Arnold thinks that Mr. Parnell, of these ends would be served by or any other Irishman, is entitled Mr. Arnold's plan, and it would to feel “rage and despair" because be safe to predict that, if it were of this refusal, then Mr. Arnold offered to the hierarchy they would is bound in logical consistency to reject it, unless they were permitted advocate Home Rule, or even to name the minister.
separation, if a sufficiently loud So much for the merely practical cry could be got up to demand objection. Mr. Arnold once quoted these things. The principle of a phrase of Mr. Frederic Harrison's, every free constitution requires to the effect that “the man of this loyal acceptance of the rule of culture is in politics one of the the majority, and to talk of rage poorest mortals alive.” In con- and despair is simply to suggest nection with this phrase, Mr. Arnold the disruption of the community. went on to disclaim any intention It is difficult for the imagination of meddling in practical politics. to measure the scorn with which He would have acted wisely if he Mr. Arnold would treat a Scotch had adhered to this resolution. Presbyterian or a Welsh Metho
dist cry for some sectarian privi- bility would be as impossible as lege, which the rest of the nation Geneva without Calvinism. If united to deny them. Indeed, Catholic and Protestant once get there is no need to exercise fancy. down to the “
germ, the UniverMr. Arnold's own writings on the sity question is not the only burial agitation are models of satire question that may be expected to on a kindred grievance. And yet, solve itself. if Mr. Arnold would only see it, It only remains to be said that every dead man must be buried; Mr. Arnold's fears of alienating and if a dead man's friends are Irish Liberals seem to be as unfoolish enough to think that it founded as his hopes of conciliating matters with what ceremonies he is Ultramontane ecclesiastics. Το buried, they have a real grievance begin with, there are very few Irish if they are denied the ceremonies Liberals in any true sense of the they prefer. Whereas, of the four word. Irish Roman Catholic million Irish Catholics, perhaps members of Parliament are pretty four thousand at most may want sure to be in opposition, whether to send sons to a university, and Liberals or Conservatives be in less than four hundred will decline, power. As the Tories seem now in under priestly dictation, to send for a pretty long lease of office, the their sons to Trinity or Queen's. Irish Roman Catholic M.P. will Where are the rage and despair mostly call himself a Liberal. But here? Where can be seen the he is not a real Liberal, and it may room for them ? unless it be in the be doubted if a real Liberal could hearts of men of sense and culture, get a seat for any Irish constiat finding a man of culture so tuency. The Irish party in Pardevoid of sense as in this matter liament
may therefore be left out Mr. Arnold is.
of account. No eirenicon, religious In truth, Mr. Arnold is led away, or political, will reconcile those partly by love of the picturesque, whose raison d'être is to be irrebut mainly by love of his own in- concilable. On the other hand, a genuity. He thinks he has dis- real Liberal in politics, who should covered an eirenicon, whereby all at the same time be a Roman the contending sects of Christen- Catholic in religion, must of logical dom are to be reconciled. It is necessity oppose concurrent endowneedless to inquire whether the ment. As a Liberal he must supvery tiny "germ,” which he sup- port religious equality poses to lie at the root of Romanism Catholic he must oppose endowand Protestantism alike, is a real ment of error, i.e., of non-Catholic germ or not. It suffices to say sects. He must, therefore, be conthat neither Romanist nor Protes- tent with non-endowment all round, tant would thank him for his dis- and trust that the true Church will covery. Cardinal Cullen would get on without it. Indeed, it is make short work of him if he had very hard to see how a man can the power ; and though his old firmly believe in the truth of any friend the Rev. W. Cassel, or given creed and yet support conCattel, would perhaps stop short of current endowment of other creeds, burning him, he would assuredly some of which at least must be full denounce him as a perverter of of falsehood. This argument, of Gospel truth. And inevitably so, course, does not touch Mr. Arnold, since the essence of sectarianism is who seems to think that all creeds Aberglaube, to borrow Mr. Arnold's are false, but some are to be preown word. Rome without Infalli. ferred because they have a prettier