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faith by circulating infamous pamphlets and heteredox writings, and by the declamations of fanatical preachers of impiety;"8 in other words, by Protestantism and Protestants.
Cardinal Pecci dealt more directly with the "irreligion and libertinism" of the present age in a Lenten pastoral "on the current errors against religion and Christian life." He here expressed himself with severe intolerance against those who proclaim that "man is free in his oivn conscience; he can embrace any religion he likes;" that is, he condemned the freedom of religious belief. He could not have done otherwise without causing his fidelity to the papacy to be suspected. Consequently, he made his meaning perfectly clear, so that none of the faithful could mistake it, and doubtless because the freedom of conscience is necessary to popular government, which, in serving the pope, he was obliged to condemn. Nevertheless, he was driven to the necessity of admitting that man is created "free and gifted with reason," but sought to break the force of the admission by insisting that this natural freedom must be subject to restraint, because God has imposed obligations upon him and dictated laws for him which he is bound to obey. He, however, gives no latitude to the individual and makes no allowance for his private conscience, but considers him incompetent to decide for himself within the scope of religious laws, and us fit only for obedience to authority; that is, the Church at Rome, and the pope who may, for the time being, preside over it. In setting forth the manner in which God has made known his laws for the direction and government of individual consciences, and how he requires them to be obeyed, he insists that they are only such as the Roman Church has announced, and that the natural right of the human reason to its freedom must be restrained into obedience to them, so that the only liberty of thought or conscience to be allowed must be that which centers in this obedience. To him any other freedom than this violates the divine law, and is heresy.
•Life of Leo XIII. By O'Reilly. Pages 219 to 222.
But he plainly involves himself in the absurdity of supposing that to be freedom which is the very reverse of it; for there can be no proposition more palpably true than that a man has no freedom of thought or conscience when constrained, by a force he is powerless to resist, to exchange his own opinions for those of others. It may well be doubted whether opinions formed under the dictation of authority are in fact such. Fear of consequences may induce acquiesence in them, or even their avowal; but as the laws which govern the mind and conscience have no agency in their production, they are simple utterances of the lips which are not responded to by the heart. This must be the case with enlightened minds, except where pre-existing opinions are changed by the force of argument and new enlightenment. The papacy understood this, and therefore kept in ignorance the populations within the circle of its influence and jurisdiction; and Cardinal Pecci, instructed as his mind was upon general topics, was unable to conceive any other methods of human thought than those instilled into his mind by his Jesuit education, and which his official position made it necessary for him to maintain.
Controlled entirely by the idea of unresisting and uninquiring obedience to authority, without any regard for the dictates of individual conscience or the suggestions of reason, he announced the logical result of his own and the papal teachings in these words: "Nor is it left to the free will of man to refuse it, or to fashion for himself a form of worship and service such as he pleases to render." It does not require a man of learning to understand this; it is plain and palpable to any ordinary mind. He could have chosen no words more expressly condemnatory of the freedom of conscience; nor could he have more formally arraigned the people of the United Slates for having asserted the right of every man to worship God as his own conscience dictates, and having made that fundamental in their institutions and necessary to their existence. According to him this is heresy, because it draws the people away from obedience to the pope;
and no man has the right to refuse this obedience, or " to fashion for himself a form of worship or service" which the pope shall condemn! He is immeasurably shocked at the idea that men should be permitted to entertain and express different religious opinions, and to reject the teachings of the pope, to whom alone implicit obedience is due! He had too much character at stake to Sisguise anything upon this point—leaving that to others in free countries, where the pretense of toleration may be maintained with the hope that it may ultimately pave the way to papal intolerance. Continuing, therefore, the same undisguised denunciation of the freedom of conscience, he says: "It would be not only impious, but monstrous, to maintain every form of worship is acceptable and indifferent, that the human conscience is free to adopt whichever form it pleases, and to fashion out a religion to suit itself." It is not necessary to comment here upon this bold and defiant assault upon our civil institutions. But it is well to remark that it ought to tinge the cheeks of those in this country who, in one breath, profess obedience to the pope who uttered the language here quoted, and in the next talk glibly about their advocacy of the freedom of conscience, which he has condemned as "impious" and "monstrous"—as an unpardonable offense against God!
He then proceeds to speak of the relation of the State to the education of the young, by saying that it is "not called upon to discharge this great parental duty, but to keep the natural educators in their work," by permitting it to "be carried on under the direction of the Church, the depository and teacher of religious doctrines." This is as if he had said that the State shall be forbidden to participate in the work of education even to the extent of teaching patriotism to its youth, for the reason that such State education has the tendency to substitute love of country for fidelity to the pope; and for the further reason th*it all education that can be tolerated should "be carried on under the direction of the Church" and confined exclusively to "religious doctrines." He expresses the same idea more fully by insisting that all
other kinds of education are "devoid of all the external practices and duties of the Christian faith, and calculated to familiarize young people with 'freedom of conscience' and indifferentism;" that is, to encourage them in the belief that popular freedom is worth striving after, and that people are more prosperous and happy when governed by laws of their own makiug than by those dictated by the ambition of those who claim that they alone are divinely chosen to govern mankind. He sees nothing in such religious liberty as our institutions establish but " irreligion and libertinism," to which it has given rise, and against which he strives hard to enlist all the supporters of the papacy.'
From the papal standpoint his arguments are sound and logical, because the general enlightenment of the mind, which enables it to investigate and understand the causes of things, and makes it competent to form conclusions of its own, tends to create self-reliance and opposition to oppressive laws; and has, on these accounts, been odious to the popes ever since they acquired temporal power and made the Church, by means of it, the most potent instrument in maintaining monarchism. Therefore the student of history finds that the papacy has grown weaker as the world has increased in enlightenment. But from the standpoint of our free institutions, both his positions and reasoning are radically wrong and indefensible, because they assail the freedom of conscience which our institutions guarantee to every individual, and our commonschool system, which is more responsive to the public sentiment and will than any other measure of our public policy. The plain and manifest import of what he has said is this: That if he were allowed full liberty in this country to dictate what shall and what shall not be regarded as true religion, we would have neither freedom of conscience nor public schools. And this, by his subsequent elevation to the pontificate, constitutes to-day, the greatest if not the only danger which threatens our free, popular form of government.
By his election as pope, Leo XIII occupies a different position from that filled by him as Cardinal Pecci. In the latter he defended the papal doctrines and recommended them for strict observance by the faithful; in the former he dictates and commands, allowing no discretion and submitting to no disobedience. Therefore it is manifestly proper, as well as necessary, that we in this country shall know to what extent the religious doctrines of the cardinal are embodied in the authoritative teachings of the pope. In this latter capacity he has undoubtedly flattered himself, as Pius IX did, that he has at his back and subject to his command, two hundred millions of obedient subjects throughout the world, and has, consequently, availed himself of his first consistorial allocution to prepare them for submission, by announcing that he has been chosen "to fill on earth the place of the Prince of pastors, Christ Jesus!" He must have known, when these words were traced by his pontifical pen, that Christ was never the pastor of an organized Church with a constitution of either spiritual or temporal government; that when the primitive Churches were established by the apostles, they were independent of each other; that none of these ever had a bishop or a presbyter with temporal power in his hands; that this power was not acquired until after the fall of the Roman Empire, according to Pius IX, and not until several hundred years later, according to himself; and that even then it was wrenched from the people by the aid of ambitious monarchs and their armies, and maintained by the false and forged "donation of Constantine," the pseudo-decretals of Isidore, and other means long since repudiated in all parts of the world, and not now defended except by the most mendacious. Yet, with this knowledge in his possession, he strangely complains that the "Apostolic See" has been "violently stripped of its temporal sovereignty" in disobedience of the divine law—pretending thereby that Christ exercised and possessed such sovereignty when upon earth, and that he, as his only representative, is his legitimate successor I
His mind must have been overflowing with exhilaration,