Civil and Religious Freedom from Seeking the Truth
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Civil and Religious Freedom from Seeking the Truth

These admirable Discourses on civil and religious liberty have appeared, we believe, in a separate publication, but we have seen them only in Le Correspondant, where they were first published. Le Cor-respondant, by the way, published on the 25th of each month, is a periodical that we can conscientiously recommend to the general as well as to the Catholic public. It is able, learned, liberal, spirited, sincere, and earnest. It is the organ of the liberal Catholics of France, the only Catholics in Europe who sympathize with the loyal people of the Union in their war against the slavery Rebellion; and the best account of the struggle in which we are now engaged, that we have seen in any European periodical, has appeared in its pages, written by M. Henri Moreau. Its writers are such men as the Bishop of Orleans, the late Père Lacordaire, Count de Montalembert, Count de Falloux, Auguste Cochin, A. Pontmartin, Henri Moreau, M. de Meaux, Prince de Broglie, and others hardly less eminent, all fervent, orthodox Catholics, devoted heart and soul to civil and [End Page 124] religious liberty—men who combine the faith of the martyr ages with the civilization and progressive spirit of the nineteenth century.

These Discourses are able and eloquent, as is every thing from the illustrious author, and exceedingly well timed. They are well matured, well reasoned, and contain views and advocate a policy which no friend of religion and civilization can prudently disregard. They are grave and earnest, bold and manly, noble and chivalric; and they have been read with surprise by non-Catholics, and with delight by all Catholics who do not happen to have their faces on the backside of their heads. They, however, have not given universal satisfaction, and several journals have entered their protest against them. They have incurred the decided hostility of La Civiltà Cattolica, a periodical printed at the Propaganda Press, and published at Rome, under the eye of the General of the Jesuits. They have also incurred the wrath, we are told, of the new Dublin Review, said to be the organ of His Eminence Cardinal Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster. They do not appear, however, to have been opposed by the Catholic organs of the United States, all devoted, as they are, to slavery, and hostile to liberty, whether civil or religious; but this is, probably, owing either to the incapacity of their conductors to understand their hearing, or to the fact that their author is a Frenchman, and a former peer of France. Had he been a plebeian, or had he been born a Yankee, and a Yankee who will not concede that to be a Catholic it is necessary to denationalize himself, and become a foreigner in his native land, they would doubtless have honored him by a more formidable opposition than they have as yet received from any of the Catholic organs of Europe. Becoming a Catholic in this country means becoming an Irishman, or at least a European; and if one becomes a good Irishman, a good European, or a decided anti-American, he is a good Catholic, let him defend what doctrines he may.

That M. de Montalembert's Discourses in favor of civil and religious liberty should incur opposition from La Civiltà Cattolica is in the natural course of things. That periodical is the organ of Society which has outlived its day and generation, and which is now not inaptly [End Page 125] symbolized by the barren fig-tree of the Gospel. It was a noble and illustrious Society in its origin, and successfully did it labor to check the progress of error, and to place the Church in harmony with the civilization of the age. Its members were men of high character, often of noble birth, with the training and polish of men of the world, the literary tastes and culture of the most accomplished Humanists, the erudition of cloistered monks, the freedom of motion of secular priests, and the ardent charity and burning zeal of apostles. God gave them a great work to do, and they did it, and did...


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