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§ 2. DIVERGENCE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC
consider these differences in themselves, it may be well to otice the advance of Romanism in England, which has had no small share in producing them. Every one knows of the collapse of Tractarianism, and the brilliant conversions thence ensuing, which so much gladdened the heart of the Papacy. The immediate return of this kingdom to obedience was predicted and counted on. A conversion or two of people of rank now and then sustained the notion. The Papacy, however, left no stone unturned to convert predictions into realities. Every nerve was strained to obtain numerical ascendancy. It is impossible to avoid complimenting the agents of propagandism on their zeal : the country became thickly studded with monasteries, cathedrals, churches, convents, colleges, hospitals, homes, abbeys, friaries, reformatories, and schools. Priests, friars, nuns, jesuits swarmed in every direction. Protestants were alarmed by a proselytism which almost assumed the shape of persecution; and converts were obtained-by no means few in number.
This is one side of the question. There was, however, another side.
In the meantime, other agencies were at work, in a mode of which certainly no one had the most remote anticipation. Circumstances took place beyond human control, which in the course of a generation reduced the Roman Catholics of the kingdom from the proportion of a rapidly increasing third, to the moderate scale of a diminishing sixth of the whole population ; l'and met the 2,000 converts of whom Dr. Capel boasts as the net annual result of propagandism, by increasing the Protestant population at the rate of 280,000 annually; so that in point of fact, the Papacy is pretty much in the position of a swimmer, who, notwithstanding the most desperate efforts to reach the shore, is rapidly swept out to sea by the retiring tide. It is only another illustration of the ancient 'truth, “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Jesuitism ought, according to all human calculations, to carry everything before it; but somehow it does not: there is some mysterious Power at work to defeat its deep-laid plans.
No one denies the zealous efforts of the Pope, like another Gregory, to attain the glory of conquering England. The natural consequence has followed. The
Mr. Gladstone computes the present number to be five millions: Dr. Manning says "six. I prefer the statesman's estimate to the theologian's.
2 Capel, Reply to Gladstone, p. 15.
agency employed by the Pontiff has reflected his own belief; it has been Ultramontane of the extremest type. Now it so happened that the native Roman Catholics of these kingdoms were not Ultramontanes, but Gallicans. Their hierarchy and their priesthood had been long educated in France. They had all avowed Gallican principles (including the rejection of the Papal infallibility, absolute power, and temporal power over kings) for a long series of years; and on condition of holding these Gallican principles had obtained various political privileges, ending with admission to sit in Parliament.
The native Roman Catholics, and even many of the converts, did not like the new Ultramontanism which the Pope imposed upon them; but they did not venture to offer any opposition. Even after it was finally rendered obligatory by the Vatican decree of 1870, they remained passive though discontented. When that decree was about to pass indeed, one English Roman Catholic voice exclaimed, Why should an aggressive and insolent faction be allowed to make the heart of the just sad?'1 But that voice remained without an echo. Even he from whom it came would fain suppress it if he could.2 The whole Roman Catholic body remained as it were spell-bound; and we should never have known their real sentiments, had not the 'Expostulation' rendered longer silence in
| Rev. J. H. Newman, Letter to Dr. Ullathorne, Guardian, April 6, 1870.
2 Newman, Letter to Duke of Norfolk, in reply to Gladstone, p. 96.
tolerable to their conscience and intelligence, and even dangerous to the Roman Catholic Church. So the Roman Catholics at last spoke out, and we then learned the repugnance with which many amongst them had viewed the Ultramontane claims expounded by the Papal Prelates Manning, Capel, Patterson, and their colleagues. Nothing can be stronger, more bitter, more persevering, than the attack made on the doctrines and the intolerant spirit of this party by their co-religionists Father Newman, Lords Acton, Camoys, Mr. Petre, Messrs. Archer Shee, Philipps De Lisle, Welby Pugin, and many others. But the question immediately occurs, Why had not these able and intelligent men spoken before? Why did they remain passive, while principles which they consider so dangerous were boldly and authoritatively put forth? Why had one amongst them, gifted by nature with that brilliant spirit of speculation; that incomparable dialectic legerdemain; that perfect intellectual self-reliance; that contempt for all practical considerations calculated to prevent the rigid conclusions of logic from being pushed to their last extremity—which constitute the never failing signs of an intellect purely and thoroughly philosophic-been compelled so long to stifle his convictions, and to bow in silence before what he deemed irrational, dangerous, and false? Because of the panic terror which besets even the wisest amongst them at the notion of exhibiting differences on points of faith, and enabling opponents to carp at Roman Catholic unity; because still more of affright at the slightest notion of disobeying the will of the Vicar of Christ. If there are those who fear the power of the Papacy over the masses, and who believe that no Roman Catholic can venture to disobey its commands; that apprehension will not be allayed on discovering that even the most liberal and most intelligent of that communion can for a long series of years, in submission to the Papal will, tacitly consent to the inculcation of tenets which they hardly deny to be treasonable; and only record their protest at last, when such an extreme case of necessity arises as is never likely to occur again. What security, it will be asked, is there, that the very individuals who have at length ventured to enter their protest will not, as soon as the danger is over, relapse into their habitual submission, and become humble tools and instruments of a policy which they condemn?
Yet, on the other hand, if reason had any weight, it might occur to such men, that Christian honesty and sincerity must after all be the best policy.' They might feel that if the truth is with them, then the Divine blessing will not be withheld from the act of bearing witness to the truth'-that to enter no protest against error is to become its accomplice that if Ultramontanism has no disciplina arcani, its opposite, or its corrective, ought also to have none.
There are indications Father Newman's reply to the • Expostulation' which seem to show that the bold course pursued by Ultramontanism has not been devoid of risk.