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

Fourth Period.
From the French Revolution to the Present Time

32.—The French Revolution.

1. Though Calvinism had spread to certain parts in France, it was generally repressed and almost destroyed by the strong Catholic faith of the people and the untiring efforts of the clergy. About the middle of the seventeenth century, a heresy sprang up known as Jansenism. It spread rapidly in France and in the Netherlands. The heretics abolished frequent Communion, and their stern and rigid doctrines tended to diminish confidence in God's mercy. This condition of things was one of the causes that led up to the French Revolution.

2. Gallicanism was another one of the evils that beset the French nation. The kings claimed certain rights from the days of feudalism. They called these "Gallican Liberties." One of these permitted the king to dispose of vacant benefices in some of the provinces. The result was that such benefices were bestowed upon the younger sons of the nobility, who often became priests for the purpose of being promoted to bishoprics. Among the articles of Gallicanism were these, that the Pope's decision in points of faith was not infallible unless attended by the consent of the Church and that in spiritual matters he was subject to a General Council. The result was that many lost faith in the supreme authority of the Holy See, and the bonds which united the people to the center of Christianity were gradually slackened.

3. The other enemies of the Church were the self-styled philosophers of the eighteenth century. These were for the most part literary men of distinction. Owing to their elegant style of writing, they gained many readers, especially among those affected by Jansenism, Gallicanism, or the prevalent vices of French society. The false philosophers set religion aside, and proclaimed reason the highest authority in all intellectual and spiritual matters. Pure reason and the sovereignty of the people were to be the only ruling powers in the world, and, God being put aside, humanity would make the earth a paradise of delight. Voltaire and Rousseau were the chief promoters of this false philosophy.

4. Secret societies, especially freemasonry, philosophism, infidel literature, and the bad example of many who held offices in Church and State, had rapidly gained ground in France, and were threatening the destruction of the country. Besides, the nation was heavily in debt. The people were burdened with taxes, while the nobility and higher clergy were exempted. The National Assembly then proceeded to confiscate the property of the Church, in order to pay off the nation's debt. All monasteries and convents were suppressed, and their inmates dispersed.

5. After the Religious were removed, the Church itself was attacked by the revolutionists. They made laws according to which the Pope was to be ignored, and bishops and priests were to be elected by the people. This reform was called the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy." No priest or bishop could be nominated to any office without taking the oath of fidelity to this Constitution. Those who refused to take the oath were not allowed to exercise their functions, while the comparatively small number of those who consented were appointed to important positions. Pope Pius VI issued a decree condemning the appointments, and ordered all ecclesiastics who had taken the oath to retract under pain of suspension. The Assembly then condemned to exile all priests who refused to take the oath. Many faithful priests remained in disguise. Hundreds were imprisoned or put to death. Thousands of chapels were desecrated and destroyed. by the revolutionists.

33.—The French Revolution. (Concluded.)

1. Louis %VI was king in name only. His firmness in refusing to take part in the crimes of his subjects caused him to be deposed and imprisoned. After a mock trial, king and queen were publicly executed. The National Convention then abolished the Catholic religion in France, and proclaimed the worship of "Reason." The churches were closed to Catholic worship. The images of the saints were destroyed, and the crucifixes dragged through the streets amid the yells and the frantic shouts of the mobs.

2. General Bonaparte, having obtained control of affairs in France, saw that he could not establish public order without granting peace to the Church. In 1801 he made an agreement, called the Concordat, with the Holy See, and thereby restored Catholic worship in the country. The churches were again opened, many zealous priests returned from exile, and several communities devoted to the education of youth sprang into existence.

3. Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor in 1804, and prevailed upon Pope Pius VII to crown him at Paris. A few years later he invaded Rome, and declared the States of the Church incorporated in the Kingdom of Italy. Pius VII protested, and Napoleon ordered him to be seized and taken to France as a prisoner. After the disastrous invasion of Russia, Napoleon consented to send the Pope back to Rome. Not long afterwards, Napoleon fell from power, and Louis $VIII was restored to the throne of France. Pius VII devoted himself with ardor to the restoration of peace and order in the Church.

4. One of the great dangers following the French Revolution was the neglect of education. To provide for the education of girls, Blessed Madeleine Sophie Barat instituted the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. Blessed Julie Billiart devoted her life to the instruction of the poor. After some time she went to Belgium, and founded at Namur the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The Venerable Joseph Chaminade, a devoted priest who had remained in France in disguise during the greater part of the Revolution, established the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, and, a few years later, the Society of the Brothers of Mary, both of which were to be devoted to the work of education.

34.—The Church in Europe.

1. In France, during the Second Monarchy, which followed the fall of Napoleon, Catholicism was established as the state religion by Louis VIII (1814–1824) and flourished during the reign of Charles X (1824–1830). The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was established at Lyons in 1822, and Frederick Ozanam organized the St. Vincent de Paul Society in 1833. Laws favorable to Catholic education were passed in 1830 and 1850, but these were nullified by the Minister of State, M. Drury, who, under Napoleon III (1852–1871), adopted a program of non-sectarian schools, supported by the Socialist followers of Marx and the Evolutionist followers of Paul Bert. Since Catholics were divided on the question of the limits of state interference in religious matters—called Gallicanism—the Freemasons, during the Third Republic, succeeded in secularizing the hospitals in 1881, suppressing military chaplaincies in 1881, and legalizing divorce in 1884. Education was persecuted from that day until the Great World War in 1914, although in 1875 permission had been granted by the government to establish five Catholic universities—called "Catholic Instituts"—at Paris, Lille, Angers, Lyons and Toulouse.

2. After the fall of the French Empire the Italian Princes established friendly relations with the Holy See. But in 1370 Victor Emmanuel captured Rome, robbing the Pope of his temporal possessions, except his residence, the Vatican building. Since then, the Popes have been prisoners in the Vatican. In the new kingdom the Catholic religion was officially established, though the greater part of the Church's property was appropriated by the government and the remainder placed under strict supervision. In 1878 Pius IX issued the decree Non expedit, forbidding Catholics to participate in the election of deputies to the national parliament. More than ninety-seven per cent of the people remained loyal to the Church, though only during the closing days of Pope Leo XIII was the political power of the Freemasonic minority challenged. When. Pope Pius X, in 1905, modified the decree of Pope Pius IX, Non expedit, in regard to elections more than twenty deputies were immediately elected to the Chamber.

3. Spain, though always a Catholic country, persecuted the Church, especially in 1839, when Don Carlos failed to succeed his father, Ferdinand VII, to the throne. The efforts of the Liberals and Freemasons to secularize education, expel Religious and legalize civil divorce, were defeated through the action of Alphonsus XII, (1875–1885) who declared Catholicism the state religion. Under the new republic of 1931, Church and State have been separated and the former is again suffering persecution.

4. Portugal suppressed the Religious Orders in 1833, put religion out of the schools in 1845, and subsequently exercised control over all Church property. In 1910, the revolutionary powers dethroned the king, established a republic, effected a separation of Church and State, suppressed monasteries and persecuted religion generally.

5. Belgium, assigned by the Congress of Vienna (1815) to William I of Holland, achieved its independence in 1830, Leopold I, a Protestant, becoming King. The Liberals, though accepting the school system approved in 1842, with the help of the Socialists have persecuted the Catholic schools consistently, especially in 1880, when the Belgian ambassador to the Vatican was recalled. In 1886 Catholic labor organizations were formed by the Rev. Ceslaus Rutten, which have ever since kept a sharp eye on the legislation. The Catholic party held the ascendancy from 1884 up to the outbreak of the War, when radical changes, such as the abolition of the plural vote, were effected.

6. Holland—an independent state since 1648—persecuted the Church under William I (1815–1840) and William II (1840–1849), though the Constitution of 1848 was favorable to Catholics. Pius IX re-established the Hierarchy in 1853. The Church has enjoyed absolute liberty since 1884.

35. The Church in Europe. (Concluded.)

1. After the formation of the German Empire (1871), Prussia, acting through the Chancellor, Bismarck, began a war on the Church through the "May Laws" (1873), by which the Jesuits and their schools were suppressed, and the "Kulturkampf" (or struggle for culture) proscribing the free life of Catholicism and withdrawing state support. But the Catholic party, in the Reichstag, "The Centre," formed by Windthorst, finally succeeded in bringing back some of the Religious Orders in 1887, the Redemptorists in 1894 and the Jesuits in 1904. Diplomatic relations were opened up with Leo XIII in 1882, and in 1885 the Pope acted as arbiter between Germany and Spain regarding the possession of the Caroline Islands.

2. Austria negotiated a Concordat with the Holy See in 1855, guaranteeing absolute freedom to the Church. This was practically nullified by the Edict of Toleration in 1861. After the declaration of Papal Infallibility, a persecution of the Church raged until Lueger, Mayor of Vienna, organized Catholic opposition. The Protestants waged an active campaign of proselytism—called "Los von Rom" (Break with Rome) from 1897 to 1903.

3. Switzerland in 1815 began a persecution of the Church. The Old Catholic party—those who rejected Papal Infallibility—also carried on a persecution of the Church. Leo XIII, in 1895, brought about the transfer of the churches seized by the Old Catholics. The University of Fribourg opened in 1886 was entrusted to the Dominicans.

4. Through the efforts of Daniel O'Connell the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland obtained admittance to public offices and Parliament from which they had been barred by law (1829). In 1850, Pope Pius IX restored the Catholic Hierarchy in England where there are now three million Catholics. The Catholic population in Ireland now numbers over three million. With the restoration of national freedom achieved by Ireland in 1922 the Church in that country looks forward to an era of tranquillity and renewed spiritual activity bound to result in the greatest benefit to the Irish people.

36.—Catholic Missions.

1. While on the one hand the Church was being so sadly despoiled in Europe by the violence of Protestantism, she was on the other consoled by the heroism of her martyrs, and the numerous conversions to her fold amid the forests of America.

2. In 1608 the French founded Quebec in Canada. Here Jesuits planted the cross as the sign of their Faith, and established a missionary house. From Quebec they penetrated into New York, where Jogues gave his life for the conversion of the Mohawks, and Brebeuf and Lalemant died at the stake for their Huron converts. Up the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa rivers, along lakes Huron and Michigan, through forests and amid the wild tribes of the West, Marquette sought the Mississippi, preaching the Gospel everywhere.

3. The Franciscans, Jesuits, and Dominicans in turn tried for many years to establish missions in Lower California. After suffering extreme privations, due principally to the sterility of the soil, and the difficulty of obtaining supplies, they were repeatedly obliged to abandon the undertaking.

4. In Upper California the conditions were much more favorable. In 1769 the Franciscan, Father Junipero Serra, founded the first of a chain of missions which extended from San Diego to Sonoma, a distance of six hundred miles. In all of these the Fathers labored with remarkable success. In 1845, when but few Fathers and Indians survived, the records showed more than 90,000 Indian converts.

37.—Catholic Missions (Concluded).

1. After the conquest of Mexico by Hernando Cortez, the Franciscans were the first to offer their services for the conversion of the natives (1524). They began their apostolic labors in various places near the City of Mexico, and in a few years most of the inhabitants had received Baptism. The apparition of the Blessed Virgin (1531), Our Lady of Guadalupe, to the Indian Juan Diego, had a powerful effect upon the natives, and the number of converts increased very noticeably. Later on, the Jesuits also entered the field, especially in northern Mexico.

2. Central America and South America were visited by the missionaries about the same time as Mexico. The Jesuits were especially successful in Paraguay. Wherever the Church extended its influence, it became the protector of the poor, the ignorant, and the afflicted.

3. Father Andrew White and four other Jesuits arrived in the territory which is now the State of Maryland, in 1634, with an expedition from England under Cecil Calvert. These zealous laborers not only ministered to the Catholics of the colony, but also converted many of the Protestant pioneers. They conducted missions among the Indians along the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River.

4. In 1642, Clayborne, at the head of a fanatical band of Puritans who had been expelled from the Virginia settlement, obtained shelter in the Maryland colony. Two years after, they attacked the Catholics of the settlement and sent Father White in chains to England. The Catholics regained control, but they were constantly menaced by their Puritan neighbors. In 1692 the latter seized the government, and enacted the penal laws against Catholics. This was the attitude of the Protestants against the Catholic settlement that first raised the standard of freedom of conscience in the New World. From Maryland, the starting-point of Catholicity in the English colonies, Father Greaton was sent to Philadelphia (1730). Others went to New Jersey and to New York.

38.—Progress of Religion in Colonial Days.

1. Before the Revolution in 1776 there were only 25,000 Catholics in the thirteen original colonies. The penal laws enacted in Great Britain against Catholics were enforced in the colonies. However, when the great struggle for independence began, Catholics were foremost in the defence of colonial rights. Influenced by the clergy and prominent Catholic leaders, they rendered distinguished services. Catholic nations, such as France, Spain, and Poland, came to the aid of the colonies. This brought about a change in public sentiment in favor of Catholicity.

2. The principle of freedom of religion was incorporated in the Federal Constitution (Art. VI), which declared that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." In 1791 an amendment of the Federal Constitution granted religious freedom to all. It declared that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

3. In 1789 Father John Carroll was appointed first Bishop of Baltimore. He went to England to be consecrated, returning to this country in December, 1790. The next year saw the opening of Georgetown College, which he had founded two years before. He also founded a seminary for the clergy, and introduced into his diocese the first community of religious women, a colony of Carmelite nuns who had come from Antwerp.

4. A number of French priests, exiled during the Revolution in their country, had fled to England. Many of these came to this country to minister to the faithful and to labor in the Indian missions.

5. Immigration from France and Ireland had increased the number of Catholics in America to about 150,000. Owing to this rapid increase in numbers, and the vast extent of the single diocese of Baltimore, Bishop Carroll requested of Pope Pius VII a division of the work. The Holy See made Baltimore an archdiocese, and appointed four suffragan bishops at New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Bardstown. Other bishoprics followed in a few years. The see of Charlestown was erected in 1820, that of Cincinnati in 1821, St. Louis in 1826, and Mobile in 1829.

6. The First Provincial Council was held in Baltimore in 1829. At that time the number of Catholics was estimated at 500,000. All the decrees of the Council were approved by the Holy See. They referred to religious discipline, to the necessity of Catholic schools, periodicals and books, and provided against scandals.

7. At the Second and Third Provincial Councils of Baltimore the Fathers proposed the erection of new dioceses. They also encouraged Catholic journalism. In 1837 there were five Catholic weekly papers.

8. Other Provincial Councils followed at regular intervals of three years. At the Sixth Council, in 1846, twenty-three Bishops were present. It was at this Council that the Fathers proclaimed "the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived without sin'" the Patroness of the Catholic Church in the United States.

9. The Seventh and last Provincial Council of Baltimore was held in 1849. At that time the Irish and German immigration had raised the number of Catholics to three million, with about 1,800 priests in charge. A considerable number of institutions of learning had been established, many of which were conducted by religious communities. Among the latter were the Jesuits, Benedictines, Franciscans, Trappists, and Redemptorists, the Congregations of the Holy Cross and of the Precious Blood, and the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

39.—Progress of Religion in the Nineteenth Century.

1. In 1852 the First Plenary Council of Baltimore convened. It was presided over by the Most Reverend Francis Kenrick, Archbishop of Baltimore. Six Archbishops, thirty-five Bishops, and a number of superiors of Religious Orders and many theologians attended the sessions. Among other things, Bishops were exhorted to have a Catholic school in every parish, and to use their influence with the civil authorities to prevent any one in the army or navy from being obliged to attend religious services repugnant to his conscience.

2. While the rapid increase in the number of Catholics caused the faithful to rejoice, it called forth at the same time the envy and hatred of sectarians and infidels. Catholics and foreigners, chiefly Catholic Irishmen, were denounced from Protestant pulpits as enemies of the Republic. Books and pamphlets were circulated for the purpose of inflaming the passions of the mob. Bishops and priests were insulted and church property destroyed. A party was formally organized in New York in 1852. They came to be known as "Know-nothings," from the fact that they were obliged by oath to secrecy, and when asked about their organization and its purpose they would answer, "I don't know." Their purpose was "to resist the policy of the Church of Rome, and to place in all the offices of honor, trust, or profit none but native American Protestant citizens." Bishop Spalding said of them: "It was not the American people who were seeking to make war on the Church, but merely a party of religious fanatics . . . who incited the mobs to bloodshed and incendiarism."

3. The Second Plenary Council of Baltimore was held in 1866. Many new bishoprics were erected, and the Fathers expressed their desire for the establishment of a Catholic university. In 1875 the Holy Father Pius IX created Archbishop McCloskey of New York the first American Cardinal. The number of Religious Orders of men and women had increased considerably. They devoted themselves to education and to works of charity, and brought immeasurable benefits to the Church in this country. The Indian missions were in a flourishing condition.

4. The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore was convened by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. Most Reverend James Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, who later was created a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII, presided over the Council. One of the subjects that received special attention was the harmonious co-operation of the Church with the laws of the country. Although Church and State are completely separated in the United States, they work with united efforts for the welfare of the people. Yet from time to time there are outbursts of bigotry against the Catholic religion in various parts of the country. These should serve as a warning to Catholics that they must be watchful, united, and active, if they would preserve that liberty of conscience guaranteed them by the Federal Constitution.

40.—Progress of Religion in the Nineteenth Century. (Concluded.)

1. Canada became a province of Great Britain in 1763, at which time it numbered about 63,000 Catholics. At present, Canada has about two and one-half million Catholics. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have been actively engaged since 1841 in converting the Indians of the West and Northwest. To the present day the original settlers of the country, the French-Canadians, have remained faithful to their religion.

2. Ever since the sixteenth century the Franciscan missionaries had labored at the conversion of the Mexican people. Schools and colleges were established throughout the country, and Christian civilization and religion flourished together until Mexico became a republic in 1824. At that time the revolutionary party was strongly opposed to the Church. This anti-religious feeling was created by the freemasons, who had established a large number of lodges, the members of which practically held control of the republican government. They made laws which enabled them to confiscate the property of the Religious Orders and to close the Catholic institutions of learning.

3. From 1825 to 1876 the history of Mexico is one long record of rebellion and civil war. In 1857 a Constitution was enacted in which the separation of Church and State was decreed. Later additional laws were passed which placed severe restrictions on the Church. For long periods the Government did not enforce these regulations and at the present time the Church is quietly permitted to carry out its mission.

4. In 1824 the States of Central America declared their independence from Spain and Portugal. The leaders were men hostile to the Catholic Church, and, as a result, the clergy and Religious Orders were persecuted, and the property belonging to the Church was confiscated. At present each State has a Bishop and a large number of priests, as most of the inhabitants are still Catholic.

5. The history of the various countries of South America in the nineteenth century is similar to that of Central America. All had their revolutions and civil wars, during which the Church was persecuted and oppressed. While Brazil was an Empire, the Masonic lodges used their influence to oppress the Church. However, when Brazil became a republic (1889), Church and State were separated, and freedom of worship was guaranteed. Both religion and education are now very prosperous.

6. The foundation of the first church in Australia was laid at St. Mary's Sydney. There are now over a million Catholics, seven Archbishops, sixteen Bishops, and seventeen hundred priests in the Australian Commonwealth, which includes Tasmania and New Zealand. Here, as elsewhere, the Catholic press exerts a great influence for the maintenance and spread of religion.