Bible History for the Use of Catholic Schools - R. Gilmour

The Church in General

41.—In the Twentieth Century.

1. The opening of the twentieth century found the religious situation of the world promising everywhere except in France. In July, 1901, the "Law of Associations" destroyed the Religious Orders, whilst the suppression of over one hundred congregations by Premier Combes eliminated all Catholic primary schools. In 1905 the "Association of Worship" was established, giving the state full control over the funds and property of the Church. The Holy See severed diplomatic relations with France in 1904. In. the following year the Concordat was abolished, whilst in 1906 all ecclesiastical property passed into the hands of the state. The heroic patriotism of the bishops and priests during the World War had as its effect a change of attitude of the Government toward the Church. The Religious Orders had been expelled, but now their country needed them. They came willingly and served on the battlefields and in the hospitals. While the Government did not lessen the severity of the "Law of Associations," it became more conciliating and showed a desire to renew diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Thus an ambassador was accredited to the Vatican and in return the Pope sent an Apostolic Nuncio to Paris.

2. Pius X, who succeeded Leo XIII, by his decree on Children's Communion and Frequent Communion aroused the piety of the modern Catholic world whilst by his condemnation of Modernism he preserved the integrity of the faith. He also ordered reforms to be made in Church Music and issued an important encyclical on the teaching of Christian Doctrine. In 1909 he established a school in Rome, called the "Bible Institute," for the study of Sacred Scripture. Finally, he decreed that the law book of the Church called "The Code of Canon Law" be revised. It was during his reign that Archbishop Farley of New York and Archbishop O'Connell of Boston, were elevated to the Cardinalate. He died on August 20, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of the War, heartbroken over this world catastrophe.

3. Pope Benedict XV, who succeeded Pius X, because an international figure and the common spiritual father of combatants on both sides, maintained an admirable neutrality throughout the World War, bending all his energies toward the alleviation of suffering and the softening of the rigors of the War. His celebrated Encyclical on Peace was issued on Pentecost in 1920. It did more than anything else to influence the nations to give up hating each other and it practically opened the way to peace. Catholics on both sides rallied generously to the call of arms, being about equally matched in numbers. Pope Benedict elevated Archbishop Dougherty of Philadelphia to the Cardinalate in 1921. The Pope died on January 22, 1922.

4. The signing of the armistice, November 3, 1918, saw the Church bravely undertaking problems in all countries except Russia, where the Bolsheviki seized the government, forming the "Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic." It decreed separation of Church and State, and seized all church property, forbade religious instruction in. all schools, and approved divorce and civil marriage. On March 3, 1923, Rt. Rev. Monsignor Constantine Butchkavitch, the Vicar General of Petrograd, and five other priests were executed for teaching religion. At the present time the Soviet government not only forbids religious worship but ridicules all things considered sacred by believers. There are only a few Catholic priests in Russia now.

5. The Church in Germany at the present time is undergoing a severe trial. After the World War Germany became a republic. In 1919 the Constitution for the new State was adopted. In it the separation of Church and State was decreed. Thus the Church was left free to regulate its affairs. Then Adolf Hitler became chancellor. Notwithstanding an agreement made in 1932 between the Church and the Government, the chancellor restricted the Church in its activities, especially those concerned with the education and control of Catholic youth. The Bishops protested but without avail. When individual bishops and priests, aroused by the irreligious tendencies of the Government, warned the faithful, many were arrested and imprisoned. In 1935 the Bishops issued a pastoral letter denouncing Government attacks on denominational education and condemning certain measures of the Government which endangered morals and religion. They exhorted the Catholic people to maintain order saying that "the Spirit of Christ . . . achieves victory by other weapons than those of the spirit of the world."

6. Mexico has a population of about 161/2 million, of which Catholics number about 101/2 million. The Constitution which was adopted in 1917 contained severe measures against the Church, but only in 1924 did the Government enforce them. A period of persecution set in. The Apostolic Delegate was banished and Bishops, priests and Religious were exiled or imprisoned and even put to death. Among the martyrs was Father **Pro, a Jesuit. In 1929 the persecution subsided somewhat and at the present time only 300 priests are permitted to function. The Holy Father protested in vain. American Bishops and Catholic Societies did their utmost to induce our Government to protest but without results. The Catholic people of Mexico are setting an example of heroic martyrdom while their rulers are determined to destroy all Religion and true freedom.

7. In Spain too, where in 1931 the Monarchy was replaced by a republican form of government, radicalism and unbelief have obtained the upper hand. A wave of violent hate was let loose upon the Church. Riots occurred during which mobs plundered and burnt many churches and institutions. The new Constitution contains most radical provisions against the Church. In the last two years the Government's attitude towards the Church has become milder, but recently there have been repetitions of the violent attacks on the Church and its property. The Bishops have accepted the new form of Government and are working for a revision of those parts of the Constitution unjust to the Church.

8. On February 6, 1922, Cardinal Achille Ratti, Archbishop of Milan, was elected Pope. He took the name of Pius XI. The world as a result of the War had undergone vast changes. The Pope had adopted "The Peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ" as his motto. He furthered the cause of the Foreign Missions, encouraging the training of native priests, and consecrated six Chinese bishops at one time in Rome. In 1924 Pope Pius XI elevated Archbishop Hayes of New York and Archbishop Mundelein of Chicago to the Cardinalate. The Pope proclaimed the year 1925 a Great Jubilee and established the new Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King. A notable event of his reign was the settlement he made in 1929 called the Lateran Treaty with the Italian Government, the latter recognizing the independence of the Holy See. Shortly thereafter on December 31, 1929, the Pope issued an encyclical "On the Christian Education of Youth", a most important pronouncement of Catholic principles of education. On the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1930, the Pope celebrated Holy Mass in St. Peter's, Rome, in reparation for the blasphemous insults offered to God in Russia. While the Pope's heart was anxious and sorrowful because of the anti-religious manifestations in Russia, Mexico and Spain, other events of a joyous character consoled him. Thus on June 29, 1930, he canonized St. Isaac Jogues and companions, Jesuit Missionaries martyred by the Indians, the first in North America to be so honored, and on September 20, 1930, a large group of the Jacobite religion in Southwest India was received into the Church by the Most Rev. Alois Benziger, Bishop of Quilon. In the same year, on January 8, Pope Pins XI issued a letter of great moment treating of "Christian Marriage". On February 12, 1931, the Holy Father inaugurated the Vatican Radio Station (H.V.J. meaning Holy See—Vatican—Jesus) by speaking a message of good will to the entire world. On the fortieth anniversary in 1931 of the issue of the celebrated encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on Labor. the Pope wrote a letter called "Quadragesimo Anno" confirming the principles of social reform laid down by Pope Leo XIII. In the same year Pope Pius XI celebrated the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus at which the doctrine that Jesus Christ is one Divine Person, having two natures, the nature of God and the nature of Man, and that the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God, was upheld.

When the economic crisis began in 1932 Pope Pius XI addressed a letter to the world in which he appealed to all to be just in their dealings with men and ordered that on June 3, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, there be made in all Churches of the world a public act of reparation for all the offenses given to the Divine Heart of Jesus. Again in 1932 the Holy Father announced an extraordinary Holy Year of Jubilee to mark the nineteenth century of the Death of Our Lord. In the same year he defined the principles underlying "Catholic Action" interpreting this term as "the participation of the laity in the Apostolate of the hierarchy."

During 1933 the Holy Father proclaimed a Holy Year beginning April 1. In this year he also made Concordats with Austria and the German Government. In December of the year the Pope canonized Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the peasant girl to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared at Lourdes. The Holy Father opened the world's first ultra-short-wave radiotelephone station.

On May 19, 1935, Pope Pius XI, at a solemn ceremony in St. Peters, announced the canonization of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, English martyrs. At the close of this year the Holy Father published his letter "On the Christian Priesthood".

9. The American Catholics stood loyally by their country when the United States declared war on the Central Powers in 1917. The Catholic Church of America, speaking through Cardinal Gibbons, was the first religious body to offer its services to the Government. The needs of the soldiers were provided for by over 1500 priests serving as Army and Navy chaplains and by the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations who, later on, joining with fourteen Archbishops and an Administrative Committee of four Bishops, formed the National Catholic War Council. The "Historic Records" of the latter declare "that the Catholics of the nation furnished about one-third of the total armed forces, and that approximately twenty per cent of the men who gave their lives in the struggle were of the Catholic Faith."

This national Catholic war organization, after the signing of the armistice, developed (December, 1917) into the "National Catholic Welfare Conference." It carries on. reconstruction work along the lines of the "Bishops' Program" (February 12, 1.919), in which the Catholic teaching on new social questions is clearly defined.

10. In our Country the Church is spreading rapidly, converts alone number about 25,000 annually. In recognition of the growth of Catholicism in America, Pope Pius XI permitted the Twenty-eighth International Eucharistic Congress to be held at Chicago, June 20–24, 1926. This is the first time that the United States was so honored. The Papal Legate to the Congress was John Cardinal Bonzano, formerly the Apostolic Delegate at Washington, D. C. Twelve Cardinals, hundreds of Archbishops and Bishops, thousands of Priests and Religious and over a million of the laity from the four corners of the earth were present in Chicago. Another recent manifestation of the belief in and love for our blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist was the large religious assemblage at the Seventh National Eucharistic Congress in the United States at Cleveland. September 23–26, 1935. His Eminence, Cardinal Hayes represented the Pope as his Legate.

Among the many societies that exist to promote the spiritual welfare of Catholics in America, the "League of the Sacred Heart" and "The Holy Name Society" are notable for their large membership, leading countless numbers monthly to Holy Communion. The movement for the organization of retreats for laymen has spread over the entire country and is productive of untold spiritual benefits. To further wholesome Catholic life among our young people generally numerous societies, clubs, etc., have been formed. Outstanding among these are The Sodality of Our Lady, a national organization under the direction of the Jesuits for young men and women, while for boys and girls there exist the Catholic Boy or Girl Scouts, the Catholic Boys' Brigade, the Junior Holy Name Society. The Newman Clubs under the guidance of duly appointed chaplains look after the spiritual welfare of Catholic students attending non-Catholic educational institutions. The professions also have their associations offering spiritual and social benefits to their members. Among these are the Catholic Lawyers' Guild, St. Luke's Guild for Physicians, The Catholic Nurses' Association, etc.

The cause of Catholic Action is well on its way to realize the object set by the Holy Father. First and foremost its principles are expressed in the activities of the National Councils of Catholic Men and Women which are under the direction of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Thus also the work of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Central Verein for the bettering of the social conditions among youth and the working class is progressing. Other organizations which also work in the same direction are the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems; the Catholic Association for International Peace, the Catholic Big Brothers' and Big Sisters' Leagues, the Catholic Evidence Guild, the Catholic National League of Decency and the Catholic League for Social Justice.

The work of Catholic charity is carried on under the direction of the Bishops in each diocese in a truly Christ-like manner. Thus numerous hospitals, homes for the aged, institutions for orphans, the mentally defective, and other agencies for relief of human suffering have been established. These are mostly in charge of the various Religious orders of men and women who devote themselves unsparingly to this cause. In 1933 the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which has done notable work in helping the poor, celebrated the centenary jubilee of its foundation.

The mission of the Church to preach the Gospel to all has steadily gone forward. To safeguard the faith of those already blessed by its possession but living in districts difficult of approach, the Catholic Church Extension Society was founded in 1905. It develops the missionary spirit among Catholics and helps in the erection and support of churches in poor localities. In 1907 a board of Catholic Negro missions was formed to promote the spiritual welfare of colored people. In 1935 the Holy Father directed that the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine be organized in every parish for the purpose of teaching religion to the young as well as to those adults who did not have the advantage of a Catholic education. Heretofore this work had been largely done by such Catholic organizations as the Rural Life Conference and the Catholic Instruction League. To help the spread of Catholic knowledge and practice Catholic radio hours have been inaugurated in various parts of the country, first among which is the Catholic Hour Broadcast, under the auspices of the National Council of Catholic Men, which takes place every Sunday afternoon. Nearly in every diocese there are one or more Catholic newspapers and magazines published. The Catholic Telegraph, Cincinnati, the oldest Catholic weekly, celebrated its centenary in 1931. The only Catholic daily newspaper at the present time is The Catholic Tribune, Dubuque, Iowa, which was founded in 1921. Another means of circulating doctrinal knowledge by the large distribution of printed matter is achieved through the International Catholic Truth Society.

The needs of the Church for bringing the light of the Faith to the heathen in foreign lands has been cared for by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, the national office of which is in New York. Help for the extension of this work is also given by such organizations as the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America established in 1912 for the education of priests and Sisters to work in foreign countries and by the Chinese Mission Society of St. Columban founded in 1919. For the cultivation of this missionary spirit among our young people the Catholic Student Crusade was organized in 1918. The greater number of Religious Orders for men and women have done their share in sending numerous members of their Orders into the foreign mission field.

To further the work of Catholic education by cooperative means the National Catholic Educational Association was organized in 1904. Its work and activities comprise every form of educational endeavor toward unification and co-ordination of the Catholic educational system. At the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore a law was passed that every Parish should have a Catholic school, also that every diocese should have a school board made up of priests. Later the management of all the Catholic educational institutions in a diocese was placed under a superintendent who is a priest and represents the Bishop. Since the Third Plenary Council the Catholic Educational system has realized the fondest expectations of the Fathers of the Council.

42.—General Conclusion.

1. Though much has been necessarily omitted in this short history of the Church, yet enough has been given to show how strangely the world has warred against God and religion.

2. The Jews rejected Christ and persecuted His apostles, to be themselves in turn persecuted and scattered over the world without home or country. Rome persecuted the Church, and, in the vain hope of destroying Christianity, deluged the empire with the blood of the martyrs.

3. Heresy rose, and by division strove to destroy the unity of faith, beginning with the denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and ending in the claim of men to determine for themselves what they shall or shall not believe, and in the deification of human reason.

4. Heretofore the controversy between the Church and the world has been on matters of faith. In the Protestant world faith is rapidly passing away, to be replaced by indifference or positive hostility to religion. The sects have lost their power, are divided and torn among themselves, their only bond of unity being a hostility to Catholicity.

5. Within the Church there is much to console and much to afflict. The indifferentism of the world is largely affecting the faith of Catholics; numbers are becoming cold or adopting the loose doctrines of the day. The teachings on civil freedom now so prevalent are inciting to a religious freedom that must end in disbelief.

6. At no time in the Church's history have the Bishops been so united with the Sovereign Pontiff or among themselves. Priests and people are filled with zeal. In England, Scotland, and America the Church is growing with wonderful rapidity, and in Asia and Africa thousands are being added to the fold. Persecution but purifies and unites; Christ is with His Church, always fair and ever true. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Christ and His Church abide forever.

Review Questions
(Numbers indicate chapters)

  1. When did the Christian era begin?
  2. Mention some of the apostles and describe some of their deeds in the work of conversion.
  3. Explain how the conversion of the world to Christianity came about.
  4. How did God punish the Jews for their persecution of the Christians?
  5. Name some Saints who died for the faith under the Roman Emperors.
  6. Tell about some of the notorious heresies in the early centuries.
  7. What false doctrine did Nestorius preach?
  8. Describe the condition of Rome when Julian became emperor.
  9. Give a brief account of the destruction of Rome.
  10. Who were the Christian apologists?
  11. Distinguish between the apologists and the "Fathers of the Church." Name some famous "Doctors" of the Church.
  12. What effect had the conversion of Clovis on France?
  13. Mention some of Ireland's important saints.
  14. Who preached the Gospel in Britain with great success? Who converted Germany to Christianity?
  15. When did organized religious communities begin to exist?
  16. Name three great orders that were powers in religion during the middle ages.
  17. Give a brief explanation of Mohammedanism. Who finally checked their advance and thus saved Europe?
  18. When did the Popes become the civil rulers of Rome?
  19. What were the Crusades and when did they take place?
  20. What benefits did Europe derive from them?
  21. Under whose rule did literature begin to revive?
  22. What did the monks of the middle ages do for literature?
  23. Name some contributions made by Catholics in the interest of art, science and manufacture before and since the Reformation.
  24. What caused the Reformation? What doctrines did Luther mainly attack?
  25. What conclusions did the Council of Trent reach regarding Luther?
  26. What resulted from this religious revolution?
  27. Who were Calvin and Knox?
  28. Who headed the Protestant Reformation in England?
  29. Tell something regarding the spread of Christianity in the New World.
  30. Who founded the Society of Jesus? Who founded the Congregation of the Mission?
  31. Name some other religious orders and their founders.
  32. What was the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy?"
  33. What happened in France after the execution of Louis XVI and his Queen?
  34. What was the "Law of 1903" in France?
  35. What was the "Kulturkampf?" What religion predominates in Austria at present?
  36. Give a brief summary of the work of the Catholic missionaries in America and Canada.
  37. What order of Missionaries converted Mexico?
  38. When and where was the first Provincial Council held? Who was the first Bishop of Baltimore?
  39. What measures were urged at the First Plenary Council of Baltimore? Who were the Know-nothings? What progress was made at the Second Plenary Council? Who was the first American Cardinal? What subject received special attention at the Third Plenary Council?
  40. Give a brief outline of the condition of the Church in Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Australia.
  41. What was the "Association of Worship in France?" What was the famous decree issued by Pius X? What was Benedict XV's attitude during the world war? What unfortunate condition hampers the workings of the Catholic Church in Russia? Tell something about the activities of American Catholics during the war. What is the National Catholic Welfare Conference? When was the Eucharistic Congress held in the United States? Tell what you know about the organization of Catholic education.