Civil and Religious Toleration
Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1849
ART. I. Outlines of History, compiled for the Use of Schools and Academies. By PIERCE C. GRACE. St. Louis : Wm. J. Mullin. 1848. 32mo. pp. 216.
THIS little volume is intended to supply a serious deficiency in our historical manuals, and we should owe an apology to its publisher for not having sooner introduced it to our readers, if it were not one of those works which are as valuable this year as they were the last. Mr. Grace has compiled it with commendable industry and praiseworthy motives ; the Catholic press of the country has given it a favorable reception ; and, though it is hardly up with the present state of historical science, or always as scrupulously accurate in its statements as we could wish in a work intended for childhood and youth, we can cheerfully recommend it as the best work of the sort, within so moderate a compass, we are aware of in our language.
Our present purpose in calling attention to this little manual of history is not, however, to criticize it favorably or unfavorably, but to make it the occasion of offering some brief, and, we trust, not unseasonable, remarks on the subject of civil and religious toleration, which its compiler brings to our notice in the two following extracts :
" In 1620, during the reign of James L, the first permanent settlement was commenced in New England, at Plymouth, in Massachusetts, by a band of Puritans, a class of religionists, who, abandoning England on account of persecution from the established church, sought in the wilds of America the enjoyment of religious liberty. They had scarcely, however, established themselves in the New World, before they themselves exhibited even greater intolerance than that from which they fled, and most cruelly persecuted all who differed from them in religious belief."p. 183.
" In 1633, during the reign of Charles I., Lord Baltimore, a Catholic nobleman, and a man of distinguished talents, applied for and obtained a grant of land upon Chesapeake Bay, about 140 miles long and 130 broad. Soon after, in consequence of persecution in England, on account of their religion, Lord Baltimore and a number of Catholics came over and settled on this grant, which, in honor of the queen, Henrietta Maria, they named Maryland. The history of this colony presents, in several important respects, a striking and most pleasing contrast to that of most of the other colonies. Universal toleration of religion was, for the first time on this continent, proclaimed and protected by this colony, and a system of equity and humanity was scrupulously observed in all its dealings with the Indians. The historian, Bancroft, in speaking of the settlement of Maryland, says: 'Its history is the history of benevolence, gratitude, and toleration. The Roman Catholics, who were oppressed by the laws of England, were sure to find a peaceful asylum in the quiet harbours of the Chesapeake; and there, too, Protestants were sheltered from Protestant intolerance.'" pp. 184, 185.
Toleration, or, to be more exact, religious liberty, is in every one's mouth, and the constant theme of declamation with all who would depreciate their ancestors, glorify themselves, or win the applause of the multitude ; but, unless we are greatly deceived, it is a theme on which there is much loose writing, and still more loose speaking and thinking. Comparatively few appear to us to understand it, or to have any passable appreciation of its reach and conditions. All men, in words at least, are stanch friends of religious liberty, ready to live and die in its defence ; but the great majority seem to us to mistake it for the liberty to deny and to enslave religion. The early Protestant sects, who, wherever they were able, subjected religion to the secular authority, fined, imprisoned, exiled, or martyred Catholics, claimed to be the friends of religious freedom, and the liberators of religion from spiritual despotism ; the old French Jacobins plundered churches, suppressed the freedom of worship, abolished the Sabbath, overturned altars as well as thrones, massacred the clergy, decreed that death is an eternal sleep, and installed the goddess of Reason, under the pretence of religious liberty", and amid deafening proclamations of universal toleration ; the present Socialists, Radicals, or Red Republicans of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, profess to be fighting under the flag of religious no less than of civil liberty, and yet their successes are everywhere marked by insults to religion, the expulsion of the religious, the spoliation of churches and convents, and the persecution of the clergy. The most superficial observer can hardly fail to perceive that the age understands, by religious liberty, not the freedom to worship God in the way and manner he prescribes, but the freedom not to worship him at all, the freedom to enslave or suppress his worship, to plunder his temples, to desecrate his altars, to deny his existence, to blaspheme his majesty, to trample on his laws, and to live like the beasts that perish.
But, although we are anxious to avoid every unnecessary quarrel with our age, we must tell it, that this is no religious liberty at all, that it is the enslavement of religion, where not its total extinction, and the freedom of irreligion, infidelity, heresy, and schism. Religious liberty, as we understand it, is THE ABSOLUTE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, IN ITS DOCTRINES, DISCIPLINE, AND WORSHIP, FROM ALL HUMAN AUTHORITY, and therefore implies the ABSOLUTE INCOMPETENCY, IN SPIRITUALS, OF ALL HUMAN AUTHORITY, WHETHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE. We say the absolute freedom of religion; by which we, of course, mean the true, that is, the Catholic religion. Consequently, we recognize no religious liberty where our Church is not free in her doctrine, discipline, and worship, and where all men have not full and entire freedom to profess the Catholic religion without restraint from, or responsibility to, any human power whatever, whether vested in the king, the aristocracy, or the people. Where this freedom is wanting, there is no religious liberty. This freedom we demand, not as a favor, not as a gracious concession from the prince or the republic, but as our right, as the indefeasible right of our Church, for the reason that she is the Church of God, the representative of the Divine sovereignty on the earth ; and this freedom we are bound in conscience to assert, and to vindicate, if need be, as did the early Christian martyrs under the persecuting emperors of pagan Rome, not indeed by slaying, but by submitting to be slain.
From this view of religious liberty, it is evident, that, when we speak of toleration, we have and can have no reference to our Church ; for she holds immediately from God, and we recognize no power on earth that has the right to restrain her worship, and therefore none that has the right to tolerate it. The question of toleration, raised in the extracts from the little work before us, lies below the question of religious liberty, and relates solely to false religions, to infidel, heretical, and schismatical sects. Are these to be tolerated, or are they to be prohibited ? Shall we assert the natural right of every man to choose his own religion, or shall we assert, and as far as able enforce, the moral obligation of all men to profess the true religion ? Shall we be intolerant and exclusive, or assert and maintain universal toleration ? This is the question.
To answer this question, we must distinguish between two sorts of toleration, political or civil toleration, and religious or theological toleration ; that is, toleration of false religions in the temporal order, and toleration of the same in the spiritual order. These two tolerations are often confounded, and supposed to be inseparably connected. Hence many assert religious or theological toleration as the condition of justifying the assertion of political or civil toleration, and many also deny political toleration, in order, as they suppose, not to be obliged to assort religious toleration. But the two are in reality distinct, and one has no necessary connection with, or dependence on, the other. Political toleration of religion is the permission conceded by princes or republics to their subjects to profess the religion they choose ; religious toleration is the permission granted by Almighty God to all men to profess any religion they please, or none at all, and implies the equal right, or the indifference, of all religions before God, or in reference to eternal life. Universal political toleration presupposes that all religions are compatible with the peace and safety of civil society ; universal religious toleration presupposes that all religions are acceptable to God, and available for salvation. The state regards religion solely under its relation to social interests, and the theologian regards it primarily in its relation to the future life or the salvation of the soul. It is easy, therefore, if we understand the distinction of the two orders, to see that it is possible to be politically tolerant and yet religiously intolerant, if not politically intolerant and yet religiously tolerant.
The question of the political toleration of religion we shall consider at some length before we close ; but, for the moment, we must confine ourselves to religious or theological toleration. Religious or theological toleration is what is commonly called Indifferentism^ •that is, the doctrine that men may be saved in all religions, in one as well as in another, or that every one may be saved in his own religion, the religion of his country, or of his sect. To concede this doctrine is religious or theological toleration, as distinguished from political or civil toleration ; to deny it is religious or theological intolerance and exclusiveness, expressed in the Catholic dogma, " Out of the Church there is no salvation." Whatever conclusion we may or may not come to on the subject of political toleration, or the indifference of religions before society and the civil authority, wo must, unless bereft of reason, be religiously or theologically intolerant and exclusive ; for toleration in the spiritual order is, at bottom, neither more nor less than tbe denial of the religious principle itself.
Certain is it, from natural reason, that no man can be saved unless he renders to God an acceptable worship, and that no worship is or can be acceptable to God, except the worship which he himself prescribes. Moreover, it is equally certain, that no man can be saved who does not, at least, fulfil the law of nature. By the very law of nature, all men are bound to worship God, and to worship him in the way and manner he himself prescribes. If he leaves them to the natural law, and prescribes his worship only through natural reason, undoubtedly such worship as they can render by a prudent, diligent, honest use of reason, and the means bestowed for such purpose, will be the acceptable worship, and all that can in justice be demanded of them ; but if he prescribes a supernatural religion, and promulgates it with sufficient motives of credibility, as he must needs do if he promulgates it at all, then are they bound to worship him according to that supernatural religion, bound by the very law of nature itself to receive and practise it; and they want even natural morality if they do not. Such a religion, with sufficient motives of credibility, he has prescribed in Christianity. How, then, can we assert the indifference of religions, and contend for religious toleration ? Since God prescribes the Christian religion, the law of nature, as well as of revelation, binds us to believe and obey it. If we do not, we fail to fulfil the law of nature, as well as to render the acceptable worship, and are convicted of sin under both the natural law and the revealed. How, then, can we hope to be saved ?
Christianity and Catholicity, at least in the faith of Catholics, are identical, one and the same thing. We do and can recognize no Christianity, properly so called, out of the Catholic Church. We recognize, indeed, in those who are out of her communion, many human excellences, many noble and generous sentiments, many amiable and philanthropic qualities, many just and profound thoughts, many estimable, private, domestic, and civil virtues, which we delight to honor, and which will have their reward in their own order, as St. Austin teaches us in regard to the ancient Romans ; but we recognize in them no supernatural faith or sanctity, nothing distinctively Christian, nothing meritorious of eternal life. Out of the Church there is no Christian religion, and therefore, if no salvation out of the Christian religion, none out of the Church, as the Church herself expressly teaches, and has solemnly defined in her general councils. " He cannot," says St. Cyprian, "have God for his father who will not have the Church for his mother." To concede religious toleration, or the indifference of religions, is neither more nor less than to deny the Christian religion itself, and to give up our faith as Catholics. If you require us to do this, you deny our right to be Christians, and are yourselves, even in defending toleration, intolerant ; if you concede our right to be Christians, you concede the right of religious intolerance, and then have no right to assert or to demand religious tolerance.
Every man is obliged, by the constitution of the human mind itself, and the very nature of things, to assert the principle of religious intolerance and exclusiveness. We know by natural reason, without revelation, that there is and can be but one true religion ; for truth is one, individual, and most simple. This one true religion is necessarily the one which God himself institutes or prescribes ; all other religions are false religions, and to suppose that one can be saved in a false religion is absurd and impious ; for it is to place truth and falsehood on the same footing, and to suppose that God, who is truth itself, makes no difference between them, that is, counts falsehood as if it were truth ! A man cannot believe this, unless he gives up reason ; nor even then, for without reason he can believe nothing at all. Indeed, all truth, all good, all opinions even, are and must be intolerant and exclusive. Truth cannot tolerate error, or even the semblance of error; good excludes evil ; right excludes wrong ; holiness excludes unholiness. Nothing in the universe tolerates its opposite. In regard to all things we are obliged to assert a right and a wrong, a true and a false, and whoever asserts the one necessarily denies the other. Even he who asserts the indifference of all religions denies their difference, and is, in a manner, himself intolerant and exclusive. Hence we see, in our own days, sects formed against sectarism ; and .Dr. Bushnell, just now one of our New England "lions," is busy, consciously or unconsciously, in rallying a party around his pretended Christian dogma, that there are no Christian dogmas, and should be none. Every man, who believes in any religion at all, believes his own religion is the true religion, the only true religion, and therefore that all other religions are false religions. He must, then, either believe that salvation is attainable in no other religion, or else that it is attainable in a false religion ; which, as we have seen, is absurd. If he believes his religion is the true religion, he believes it is the religion that all men are bound to believe, for truth, like right, is obligatory, and therefore believes that all men are prohibited from believing any other. Every man must, then, do or say what he will, be religiously intolerant and exclusive.
As Catholics, it is well known that we are obliged, by our very religion, as well as by natural reason itself, to deny religious indifference, and to maintain the impossibility, in hac providentia, of salvation out of our Church. This may offend fashionable latitudinarianism, but it is nothing that we should hesitate, or in the least degree be afraid, to avow ; for no severer sentence can be pronounced upon any pretended faith or church, than that it fears to assert its own indispensableness to salvation. What is it, in fact, we want a faith or church for, but to save us ? and what reason have we, or can we have, for embracing any particular faith or church, but that we cannot be saved without it ? A faith or church that concedes the possibility of salvation in another, or outside of itself, confesses that it is not the one true faith or church of God, therefore, virtually, that it is a false faith or church, unacceptable to God, pernicious to the souls of men, and to be eschewed by all, as they fear hell or hope for heaven. Hence all Protestant sects, of past and present times, are condemned out of their own mouths; for not one of them has, or ever has had, the courage or the audacity to assert that there is no salvation out of its communion, that is, if we understand the matter, the courage or the audacity, without contradicting itself and conceding the contrary, to assert its own truth. This, perhaps, is a fact not insignificant. Falsehood is, by its own nature, compelled to lie unto itself as well as unto others.
The age, we grant, demands religious toleration, and religious indifference is the order of the day. Many are shocked, or affect to be shocked, when they hear us say that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church ; they allege that it is harsh, illiberal, uncharitable to say so ; and even some of our own Catholic friends, now and then, try to persuade themselves and their dissenting brethren that this is going a little beyond the mark, and savors somewhat of bigotry and indiscreet zeal. But he has little claim either to moral or to logical consistency, who refuses to say the true religion is the true religion ; and, certainly, there cannot be much bigotry or indiscreet zeal, if we use the terms in their ordinary sense, in asserting that the Catholic religion is the true religion. But he who so asserts necessarily asserts that all other religions are false, and therefore, either that it is possible to be saved in a false religion, or that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church. More liberal or tolerant than this we cannot be, in the very nature of things, if we would, unless we could be foolish enough to contradict ourselves, and maintain, that, of contraries, both may be true.
However this may be, as Catholics we have nothing to do with liberality or illiberality in the matter. We have not instituted the laws of mind, and they remain unchanged, whether we conform to them or not. We do not make, and cannot unmake, the truth ; and it is eternally and immutably the same, whether we assert it or deny it. It is not our truth ; it in no sense whatever depends on our intellects, our wills, or our affections ; and whether it pleases or displeases us or our friends, appears to us or to them liberal or illiberal, we have just as little power as right to alter it. Should we seek to conceal it, to soften it, or to explain it away, we could only sully the chastity or destroy the integrity of our own faith, and confirm the unbelieving and misbelieving in their dangerous delusions. Still would it be as true as ever, that our religion is the only true religion, and that there is salvation in no other. The solemn truth, that out of the Church no one can ever be saved, would remain in all its force, unaffected by our concessions. Knowing this, knowing that it is the truth which liberates, we dare not conceal it, and are bound in Christian charity to proclaim it. We must not mistake natural sympathy and good feeling, or the natural kindness or softness of our tempers, for Christian charity. Christian charity, certainly, never gratuitously offends, is never harsh, bitter, or censorious, is always meek, gentle, affectionate, kind ; but it seeks, always and everywhere, the substantial good of its objects, even at the risk of giving them momentary displeasure or pain ; and, unhappily, in this perverse world, men generally have the most repugnance to that which is the most essential to their everlasting welfare.
We are not ignorant that many persons object to the intolerance and exclusiveness we assert,that is, to the Catholic dogma, Out of the Church no one can ever he saved, not only that it is harsh and illiberal, but that it is contrary even to the justice of God ; for it implies, they say, that he will consign men to eternal tortures for not doing what they have never had the power to do. To punish men for not doing what has never been in their power to do is, we grant, unjust, and we may be well assured that our God will never do it. But the objection has no validity, unless it he true that there are persons who live and die without ever having it in their power to become joined to the Catholic communion ; consequently, they who urge this objection must prove that there are such persons, before they can have any right to insist on it, or we be under any obligation even to entertain it. An objection which rests for its validity on an uncertain principle, or an unproved assumption, proves nothing, and may always be dismissed without an answer. But is the assumption the objection makes even provable ? We know that our religion has been promulgated in all the earth for eighteen hundred years, and, as far as we know anything of the matter, that, if there is any nation to which it has not been preached, it has been that nation's own fault, because it would not receive, but repelled with insult and persecution, her Divinely-commissioned preachers. We know, also, that sufficient grace is given unto every man, that he who seeks shall find, and that if he knocks it shall be opened to him. Who, then, is prepared to prove that a single adult person, since St. Paul (Rom. x.) declared the Gospel had been preached in all the earth, has ever died out of the Church, who could never, if he had made u proper use of the means placed within his reach, have found his way into her communion ? Can they who urge the objection in any possible way whatever prove this ? How can they say that even the ordinary missionary has ever failed the ready mind and the willing heart ? Known unto God are all hearts from eternity ; all things are at his disposal, and it can cost him nothing so to order it, that, wherever there is one ready and willing to receive the truth, there the missionary shall be present to teach him, and to introduce him into the communion of the Church. How know you that he does not so order it, and that, if any have died without actually having heard of the Church, it has been their own fault, that is, because they would have rejected her in case she had been presented to them ? Till you can assert the contrary with infallible certainty, your objection has no validity ; for the difficulty it suggests is confessedly restricted to those who are ready and willing to receive the truth as soon as proposed to them.
But let this pass. The dogma in question certainly can in no sense impeach the justice of God, if it asserts the condemnation of none who have fulfilled the law of nature. Men are not entitled to salvation even for fulfilling that law ; but they may certainly be justly condemned, if they do not fulfil it. Suppose, then, as the objection itself supposes, that, in the gentile world, there are persons, or may be persons, who, concurring with the graces they receive, fulfil the natural law : what obliges us to suppose that they must die out of the communion of the Church, even if it be conceded that they have no ordinary means of entering it ? God may, if he chooses, use extra-ordinary means to bring them into the Church ; and it is far more reasonable to suppose that he will work fifty miracles to bring men into the medium ordinarium, if necessary, than it is to suppose, that, contrary to the whole economy of grace, he will save a single soul without it. We know that he has made use of extraordinary means to bring men into the Church, as in the case of Cornelius, and that of the eunuch, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles ; and, indeed, he has always used them in the conversion of nations ; for in no instance has a nation been converted, in which the ordinary means employed for its conversion were adequate to the end. Why may he not use extraordinary means in the case of individuals, as well as of nations?
Again ; in asserting that no one can be saved out of the Church, we do not assert that all those who die out of her communion will be condemned precisely for the guilt of not being in her communion. Invincible ignorance, unquestionably, excuses from sin in that whereof one is invincibly ignorant. If there are persons out of the Church invincibly ignorant of her, that is, persons who never have had the power of becoming acquainted with her, and of being joined to her communion, they certainly are not guilty of the sin of infidelity, and cannot be condemned for that sin. But invincible ignorance, though it excuses from sin, has no saving efficacy, no positive power to advance the soul towards the kingdom of heaven. Certainly, mere negative infidels, as they are called, are excused from the sin of infidelity ; yet, without conversion, they cannot be saved, " for without faith it is impossible to please God." Heb. xi. 6. Hence St. Thomas says, "Infidels of this sort are damned, not, indeed, for the sin of infidelity, but for other sins, not remissible without faith." Infidelity is not the only sin for which men are damned ; if it were, we should be obliged to assert, that all bad as well as all good Catholics will be saved ; nor is it necessarily, by any means, the only sin of those not in the Catholic communion. The condemnation of these will not be for the sin of infidelity, if they are not guilty of it, but for their other sins. They will be condemned, not by reason of the guilt, but by reason of the fact, of being out of the Church, for their sins against the natural law, which are remissible only through the Church.
Finally, we are told that there are persons out of the Church who are not only free from the sin of infidelity, but from all actual sin. But this is a gratuitous assumption ; for, without a special revelation from God, we cannot know that there are such persons, and nothing, so fur as we are aware, either in reason or sound theology, authorizes us to assume that there are or can be. But suppose there can be, and that there are, such persons, nothing obliges us to assert, or permits you to assume that we assert, their condemnation to the tortures of hell. The Catholic dogma objected to simply teaches, that no one can ever be saved out of the Catholic Church, that is, enter into eternal life, see God in the beatific vision by the light of glory. What the dogma obliges us to assert is, that salvation, in this sense, which is supernatural both in its principle and its terminus, is unattainable out of the Church. But this salvation does not necessarily stand opposed simply to the torments of hell. Hell is twofold, and consists in the punishment of loss and the punishment of sense. None are saved who do not escape both ; but not therefore does it necessarily follow, that all who are not saved are doomed to sutler both. All are guilty of original sin, and original sin itself forfeits heaven, and incurs the punishment of loss ; but the Church does not teach that it incurs also the punishment of sense. Hence unbaptized infants, who die before committing actual sin, though they lose heaven, can never see God by the light of glory, do not, as our theologians teach, suffer the punishment of sense, do not, as we are permitted to hope, suffer positive pain, but will be gainers by having existed. Not of them, but of actual sinners who die in their sins, is it to be said, u Good for them if they had never been born."
Suppose now, and if the supposition is inadmissible the objection vanishes,-that among ihe gentiles there are persons who die out of the Church, free from all actual sin : they, certainly, will never see God, will never enter heaven, will not be saved ; yet nothing obliges us to believe that they will be doomed to the punishment of sense, or to the positive sufferings of hell. What will be their fate, beyond the fact that they will not be saved, we do not know, and do not attempt to determine. We remit them, if such there are, to the bounty of God, who, for aught we know, may place them in the category of unbaptized infants who die in their infancy. But no injustice is done them in not admitting them to the beatific vision ; for to see God by the light of glory is a gratuitous reward, promised only to supernatural faith and sanctity, never due and never promised to mere natural innocence or to mere natural virtue. The defect of natural innocence or of natural virtue excludes from it, but the possession of either or of both does not and cannot entitle to it ; and natural innocence and virtue are all that it can be pretended that these have. Hence, supposing such persons, supposing them to die free from all but original sin, no injustice is done them in excluding them from salvation, and therefore the dogma which denies the possibility of salvation out of the Church asserts nothing contrary to the justice or even to the fidelity of God.
But granting all this as far as regards Jews, Mahometans, and pagans, that is, unbaptized persons, it cannot apply, we are told, to persons in heretical communions, who are invincibly ignorant ; for these are baptized, and in their baptism have received the infused grace of faith and sanctification. But the reasoning we have used to show that it is not proved, and is not to be assumed without proof, that there are any who die without ever having had the power, if they had made the proper use of the means within their reach, of being joined to the Catholic communion, applies here in its greatest force, and renders an answer really unnecessary. The possibility of invincible ignorance, in an heretical communion, of the Catholic Church, since the Catholic Church is always included in the formal reason of faith in those very articles which all admit are necessary, necessitate medii ad salulem., may well be questioned, and is not to be presumed, especially since those of whom you would predicate it have received in their baptism the habit of faith which is a predisposition to believe, and a supernatural facility in believing, the truth. But let this pass. Suppose invincible ignorance in the case to be possible, and that there are persons baptized in heretical communions, who die invincibly ignorant of the Catholic Church, we grant that they are excused from the sin of heresy. If they have been sinners, they will be damned for their sins ; if they have retained their baptismal innocence, an improbable supposition, or if they make an act of perfect contrition and die free from mortal sin, another improbable supposition, they will undoubtedly be saved ; but not as members of heretical communions, but as members of the Catholic Church, to whose communion they were joined by baptism. Consequently, the admission of their salvation forms no exception to the dogma, that out of the Church no one can ever be saved. These, therefore, present no difficulty. But we may remark, by the way, that none, whether among the schismatical, the heretical, or the unbaptized, who are aware of the dogma of the Church and the explanations which Catholic theologians give of it, can be invincibly ignorant. They, whatever must be said of others, have had the opportunity of hearing the Church, and their ignorance is vincible, culpable in its cause, and can no longer excuse from sin. Whatever their characters in other respects, they may, therefore, be justly condemned for the single sin of infidelity, heresy, or schism, as the case may be.
We may say, in brief, that we are obliged, by the Catholic dogma of exclusive salvation, to divide all mankind, in the first instance, into two classes, namely, Catholics and non-Catholics. Salvation is predicable only of Catholics, because they only are where there are the means of salvation ; it is to be denied of all not Catholics, or who die in the second division, for they are out of the Church, and at least under the penalty of original sin, and there is no remission of sin out of the Church. This is all that the dogma of exclusive salvation imports.
In the second instance, in regard to those who will be condemned to hell, including both the punishment of loss and the punishment of sense, we recognize four classes. 1. All who die bad Catholics. These will be damned for their sins and their abuse of the graces and privileges which have been extended to them. 2. All who have impugned the known truth, that is, persons who have actually known the Catholic Church and faith, but have rejected or refused to believe her, and died in their sin. These are formal heretics, schismatics, or infidels, and will be damned, if for no other sin, for their infidelity, heresy, or schism. 3. All who might have known the truth, if they had sought it, but did not seek it,'that is, persons who, though they have never actually known the Church, yet have had the opportunity of knowing her, and of becoming joined to her communion, and have neglected to avail themselves of it.
These are, by implication, infidels, or heretics, and will be damned for the sin of having neglected to become Catholics when they might. 4. All who, though they may never actually have had an opportunity of becoming Catholics, have nevertheless sinned against the law of nature. These will be damned, not for the guilt of not being in the Catholic Church, but for their failure to keep the natural law. On the supposition of the truth of the Catholic Church, there is nothing contrary to the justice of God in the damnation of these four classes.
In the third instance, you tell us that there is yet another class, not included in the first general division, nor yet in any one of these four special divisions, namely, a class invincibly ignorant of the Church, yet innocent of all sin against the natural law, the only law by which they can be judged. But you do not and cannot prove the existence of such a class ; you have no authority for alleging that there is or can be such a class, and we are unable to reconcile its existence with the publicity of the Catholic Church, the ease with which she may be distinguished, the well-known fact that sufficient grace is given unto every man, and that Christ is always, along with the Church, operating by his grace to bring all men to her communion, as well as to save them in her communion after they have entered it. But, if there be such a class, they cannot be saved ; for they are out of the Church, have by original sin incurred the forfeiture of heaven ; and there is no remission of sin but through the Church. But, as God was not obliged in justice to bring them into the Church, he does them no injustice in not admitting them to the beatific vision, the only punishment to which we are obliged by faith to hold that they are doomed.
Thus much we have thought it not improper to remark on the first branch of our subject, that no false inferences may be drawn from the fact that Catholic writers, as well as others, contend for the political toleration of the various sects. We assert rigid intolerance of all false religions, in the spiritual order ; but it must not, therefore, be supposed that we deny, or do not assert, the legitimacy of their toleration in the political order. It is true, as we have said, that, in speaking of toleration, we exclude1 our Church ; for there can never be rightfully any question at all, whether she shall be free or not. She is God's Church, and is free by Divine right, not by the concession of the prince or the commonwealth. As much, we concede, we do not and cannot say for the sects. They are contrary to the will of God, forbidden by his law, and have no "Divine right to be at all. But not therefore does it follow that the civil authority is bound to suppress them, or is not bound even to tolerate them. The state and we beg that the fact be borne in mind is not commissioned to execute the whole law of God ; and, though it can never rightfully do anything contrary to that law, it has authority to enforce it only in externals, and even in externals only so far as necessary to the maintenance of the peace and welfare of society. There are mortal sins against the law of God, of daily and hourly occurrence, that transcend the reach of the civil magistrate, and which he has no right to punish. We may transgress against God in thought as well as in deed ; but the state must leave our punishment to Him who has said, " Vengeance is mine, and 1. will repay," save when our sinful thoughts break out in deeds contrary to the rights of our neighbour or the real interests of civil society. Till then, our offences pertain to the spiritual order, and do not fall under the cognizance of the civil magistrate, who has no competency in spirituals. There are also virtues, such as faith, hope, charity, meekness, gentleness, humility, benevolence,all strictly obligatory upon all men, which the civil authority cannot enforce, and has no right to enforce ; for, though of the last importance to the peace and safety of society, they lie, as to their principle and motive, wholly within the spiritual order. Everybody knows this, and nobody, to our knowledge, directly contradicts it. It does not, then, follow, from the exclusiveness of religion in her own order, that the political order must always enforce the same exclusiveness, and suppress whatever is opposed to it.
All must agree that the state has no right to establish a false religion, or to prohibit the true religion ; because every man has from Almighty God himself full and entire freedom to profess the true religion, and no one can, under any circumstances whatever, be bound to profess or adhere, even externally, to a false religion. To profess the true religion is the duty of all men, and no government has or can have the right to hinder its subjects from performing their duty. Hence Protestant, schismatic, and infidel governments are justly accused of transcending their powers, exceeding their commission, and violating the first principles of religion ; for, with the exception of our own, which acknowledges its own incompe-tency in spirituals, there is not one of them that has not prohibited, or that even now more than barely tolerates, the Catholic religion. Every slate in Europe, not professedly Catholic, establishes by law even now a false religion, and in several of them the true religion is strictly prohibited, or not tolerated at all. Sweden and Denmark establish Lutheranism, deny all civil rights to Catholics, and forbid their subjects, under severe penalties, to unite themselves with the Catholic Church. In Russia, no man is allowed to leave the national church for ours; in Prussia, conversions from Protestantism to Catholicity, and efforts on the part of Catholics to effect them, are, or recently were, forbidden by law ; and it is only two or three years since the Norwegian Storthing first granted a partial toleration to the Catholic religion in Norway. It is still, we believe, proscribed by law in Holland, and has owed a precarious freedom, for some years past, chiefly to the connivance of the prince. In Switzerland, it is now suffering a cruel persecution from the government, and her noble prelate, the Bishop of Lausanne and Geneva, has recently been imprisoned, and is now in exile, simply for discharging his episcopal functions. We need not mention the well-known penal laws of England and Ireland, partially repealed in 1829, but still leaving the profession of the Catholic religion subject to many restrictions and vexations. By these laws, it was death for a priest to say mass in England, or to receive a member of the Establishment into his Church. Indeed, it is well known that Protestantism and infidelity, wherever able, have never failed to copy the example of pagan Rome, to place an interdict on the Catholic religion, and to enjoin, and to seek by pains and penalties to enforce, a false religion, or the profession of no religion. But all governmental acts of this sort are violences rather than laws, and have and can have no binding force. We are always bound to resist them, at least passively ; for we must obey God rather than men ; and there are times when charity to our neighbour may require us to resist them even actively.
But, though the state has no right to enjoin the profession of a false religion, or to prohibit the profession of the true religion, yet, is it not bound, we may be asked, to enjoin the profession of the true religion, and to prohibit that of the false ? It certainly would be, if it were commissioned to promulgate and execute the xohoh law of God, and if there were nothing in religion left to conscience and free will. But the latter, we know, is not true ; for even the canon law strikes only external actions, and the Church judges matters of conscience only in her tribunals of penance, approach to which is and must be an act of free will, and before which the culprit is his only and his voluntary accuser ; and the former cannot be assumed, for that would make the state the church, and render all distinction between the secular society and the spiritual inconceivable. It would be the absorption of the church in the state, than which nothing is more to be dreaded, as the history of Russia since Ivan the Fourth, and of England since Henry the Eighth, abundantly testifies. The state has civil, but no spiritual, functions ; it is not in Holy Orders ; it has not received the mission of evangelizing the world ; and it has no vocation to preach the Gospel, or to assume the direction of consciences. It is certainly bound to recognize and protect the full and entire freedom of the true religion, and to suppress by force, if necessary, all external violence against it ; for this is included in the civil rights of those who profess it; but it can legitimately use coercion, either in favor of the true or against a false religion, only for purely social reasons, and only so far as necessary to the maintenance of the order and interests of society ; for, as we never cease to repeat, its functions are purely civil, and it has no spiritual competency.
Certainly the obligation or right of civil governments, not Catholic, where there is no publicly recognized infallible spiritual authority to determine which is the true religion, ¦ to enjoin the profession of the true worship, and to prohibit others, cannot be asserted ; because the government, having only civil functions, cannot judge in spirituals, or discriminate between one religion and another. It cannot, then, enjoin one worship or prohibit another, for fear, if for no other reason, that it may enjoin a false religion and proscribe the true ; and therefore it must, even in common prudence, tolerate all religions not obviously immoral, like the obscene and cruel rites of many pagan nations, or directly incompatible with the safety and welfare of society. This binds all governments not Catholic to universal toleration, because all religions but the Catholic are confessedly fallible, and can, on their own showing, ofter the government no infallible judgment by which it may form, or to which it is bound to submit, its own.
With regard to Catholic governments, or governments of Catholic countries, where there is an infallible spiritual authority publicly recognized by the nation, we distinguish between those governments which have only the ordinary obligations of civil government and those governments which hold from the Church, or under the express condition of professing and defending the Catholic religion. Governments of the first-mentioned class are bound to acknowledge the true religion, and to throw their moral influence into its scale ; for the state, as well as the individual, is bound to have a conscience, and even a good conscience ; but nothing in the constitution of the state binds these governments to enforce the profession of the Catholic religion, or to prohibit that of other religions; and as these religions, if not palpably immoral, are not, in themselves, social offences, the government has no right to declare them so, or to suppress them. These governments, having by their constitution only the ordinary functions of civil governments, can do no more for the true religion or against false religions than the interests of society demand ; and as such governments themselves presuppose a state of society in which false religions, as such, are not incompatible with these interests, they are bound to tolerate them, and leave their suppression to the operation of moral causes.
As to the second class of Catholic governments distinguished, that they are bound to recognize the Catholic religion as the law of the land, and are not free to tolerate all religions, we grant. But there are few, if any, such governments now in existence ; and the reasons which formerly demanded and justified them have, in the social changes which have taken place in recent times, lost their force, and cannot now be urged for the establishment or the maintenance of similar governments. In the Middle Ages, nearly all the European governments not pagan were professedly Catholic, and did and had the right to punish open infidelity, heresy, and schism, always sins against God, because then they were directly crimes against society, forbidden by the public law ; and crimes against society the civil government has always the right to punish. But now, when that political order has passed away, and, in the altered circumstances of our times, these sins against God are no longer to be treated as direct crimes against society, the government is not bound, and has no right, to punish them ; because civil government has never the right, we repeat, to punish any sin, except for the reason that it is a social offence, which society cannot, with a just regard to its own safety, suffer to go unpunished.
We do not assume that infidelity, heresy, and schism were social offences, merely because they were declared such by the laws, or made such by the fundamental constitution of the state. The laws, as in pagan Rome, or in England before Catholic emancipation, may establish a false religion and prohibit the true ; but that does not make the profession of the true religion a social crime, or incompatible with the legitimate interests of society. If religion and the laws come in conflict, it is the laws that are to be reformed, not the religion that is to be suppressed.. To say otherwise, to say that false religions are justly punishable by civil society, simply because contrary to the civil law, would be to concede that the profession of the true religion may be justly punished in those states in which the civil law prohibits it. The laws must themselves be just, or they do not bind ; and the fundamental constitution of a state must be legitimate, or a measure is not justifiable simply because authorized by it or necessary to preserve it. What we assert is, that the political order, which, in former times, declared infidelity, heresy, and schism, when breaking out into overt acts, social offences, was itself just ; because then they were such offences in fact as well as in law, and the laws only declared a truth which existed independently of them. The intolerance of the government was justifiable, because demanded by its fundamental and essential constitution, and that constitution was itself justifiable by its absolute necessity, under the circumstances, to the existence of society and the interests of civilization.
In the barbaric ages which followed the destruction of the Western Roman Empire, ages against which we hear so many noisy and senseless declamations, and in which we ourselves find little, except Catholicity and what proceeded from it, which does not revolt us, the Church of God had a double mission to perform, and was obliged to add to her spiritual functions the greater part of the functions of civil society itself. She was the sole repository of what had been saved from the wrecks of the old Roman civilization, and the only civilizing force that remained after the barbarian irruption and devastations. The lay society was dissolved by the ruin of the empire and of the civilized populations, and was no longer adequate to the management of secular affairs in accordance with civilized order. The Church was obliged to add to her mission of evangelizer, which is her mission of all times and places, the temporary and accidental mission of civilizer, of the nations. She must tame the wild savage, humanize the ruthless barbarian, reestablish social order, revive science and the arts, and restore and advance civilization. All had been demolished, and she had all to reconstruct. She had to be statesman, lawyer, physician, pedagogue, architect, painter, sculptor, musician, agriculturist, horticulturist, bookbinder, and common mechanic or artisan, in fine, everything but money-changer and soldier. Having thus the chief part of the work of civil society to perform, it became absolutely necessary that she should have a civil and political existence and authority, that she should be incorporated into the state, as an integral element of the civil constitution, and have her worship, without which she could have as little social as religious influence, recognized as the law of the land as well as the law of God. There was no other condition of rescuing society from the chaos and barbarism in which it was plunged, and of reviving civilization and securing its progress. Infidelity, heresy, and schism, which were as directly in opposition to her mission of civilizing the nations as to her mission of evangelizing them, were then directly and proximately crimes against society, and as such were justly punishable by the public authorities. In attacking the Church, they attacked civil society itself, struck at the very conditions of social order, and jeoparded every social interest. But, from the nature of the case, this mission of civilizer of nations is restricted to barbarous ages and countries, for the very good reason that the Church cannot be called upon to civilize nations when they are already civilized. This mission she has now, in great measure, accomplished in what is called Christendom ; and the necessity of that particular political order which specially protected her in its performance, or which was requisite to enable her to perform it, does not now exist. The lay society she has rescued from barbarism, and civilized. It has now the arts of civilized life in its own possession, and does not need, as it once did, in barbarous ages, the Church to teach it how to make shoes.; bind books, or brew hop-beer. It is now competent, under the spiritual direction of the spiritual society, to the management of secular affairs. It has, in these aflairs, which properly belong to it, attained to majority, and no longer needs in regard to them, so far as purely secular and as they involve no moral principle, to be under ecclesiastical tutelage. The Church is now free to resign her temporary civil functions, and to devote herself exclusively to the mission of evangelizing the world. It is not necessary that, she should be now incorporated into the slate, in the sense she was in the barbaric ages ; and consequently infidelity, heresy, and schism, though as great sins against God as ever, are not now crimes against society in the sense they then were, or to be punished as such ; and therefore, as long as their adherents demean themselves peaceably, offer no external violence to the true religion, and discharge their ordinary social obligations, they are to be politically tolerated, and left to answer for their sin-fulness, great as it unquestionably is, to God himself.
This reasoning cannot well be disputed. When infidelity, heresy, and schism, as well as any other sins against God, are clearly and directly crimes against society, they are justly punishable by the civil authorities ; but when they only remotely offend against social interests, and are chiefly censurable only as they injure the soul, they are not so punishable, and the prince or commonwealth is bound to tolerate them. This is the principle we lay down. In former times, they were obviously and directly crimes against society, and as such were justly punishable by the civil magistrate ; but, owing to the civilization effected by the social labors of the Church, they are not now such crimes, and therefore not now punishable as such, but are to be politically tolerated, for they now can be, without directly or immediately endangering the existence of social order, or sacrificing the general interests of civilization. Here are the facts we assert.
All this is virtually conceded by all the respectable publicists of our times. No intelligent Protestant or infidel really denies though we know not how long it will be so the immense services rendered to civilization by the Catholic Church, and with one voice all those who give us philosophies of history, from Guizot to our Kentucky friend,.!. 1). Nourse, agree that she could not have rendered those services without the civil constitution which made hostility to her faith, discipline, or worship social oflences. The present popular theory of those who are not Catholics is, that the Church was the true Church, and faithfully and successfully performed her mission, down to the epoch of the Protestant Reformation, and that she is a false Church now, because now she leaves the interests of civilization to the lay society, and does not exert herself directly to promote them, which, according to them, she is bound to do, since, say they, her mission is merely that of civilizing mankind. We are aware of no intelligent voice, in even the un-catholic world, that does not defend the mutual relations of the civil and ecclesiastical societies which obtained in the barbarous ages as wise and necessary for those times, or that pretends lo condemn them, except when insisted upon as equally necessary or proper in the altered state of modern civilization. Here is all we ask. Restricted to the temporary and accidental mission of the Church as civilizer, we recognize a truth in what our popular authors advance. They say the political order in question was just and necessary during the barbarous ages : so say we. They say it is not just now : so say we ; and therefore we, as well as they, reject it for our times. Because the Church approved it in one set of circumstances, we are not obliged to maintain that she must approve it under every set of circumstances. Principles are immutable and eternal, but their application must vary according to the circumstances of time and place. This the popular authors themselves contend, and this is all we allege ; and we have no quarrel with them, except when they assert that the mission of the Church is primarily and exclusively that of civilizer, and contend that she is false or dead now, because she does not now labor directly for the advancement of civilization, which, we need hardly say, is as silly as it is untrue.
It is evident from what we have said, that, though we assert the most rigid theological intolerance, and the wisdom and justice of the political intolerance which nobody denies was during many centuries asserted, and sometimes practised, by Catholic states, we are bound by Catholic principles to assert for our times the toleration of all religions compatible with the existence and interests of society.
We do not, our readers will observe, justify the political intolerance in question, on the ground that it was sanctioned by the public opinion of former times, nor do we defend the political toleration of false religions now, because public opinion now demands it. Public opinion may often be pleaded in excuse or in extenuation of the conduct of individuals, but it is never to be appealed to as the standard of right and wrong, especially when the question turns on principles and institutions either sanctioned or not disavowed by an infallible Church. Not the public opinion, but the public necessities, the interests of society, of civilization, justified the political intolerance; and these would, if they existed, justify it now as well as then, and not only justify it, but even demand it. Let the modern political and social order be broken up, the civilization which Christian nations have, by painful toil and sacrifice for so many ages, slowly worked out, bo swept away, the whole of Christendom overrun with hordes of ruthless and lawless barbarians, and the world be plunged once more into the darkness and chaos of barbarism,and let the Church remain the sole repository of what has been retained of the former civilization, the only living social organism, the only living organic force, able to reduce chaos to order, to restore society to its normal condition, to reproduce and provide for the advance of civilization, and we would say at once, Revive the former political and social constitution ; incorporate the Church again into the state ; let her resume anew her functions as civilizer, as well as evangelizer, of the nations ; let her faith, discipline, and worship, without which she can have no social influence even, be made the law of the land, and whatever is repugnant to them be declared a crime against society, and, when manifesting itself in overt acts, punishable as such by the civil magistrate ; and we should have little respect for the head, little reverence for the heart, that could not or would not say as much. But now, we repeat, when such is not the state of things, and, until some terrible calamity not now foreseen, and in all human probability not likely to occur, shall throw society out of its normal order, and bring it back, we say, Let the Church be the Church, and the state be the state, the two orders be distinct, and the lay society, under the spiritual direction of the spiritual society, manage the temporal affairs of the world, as now, thanks to the Church, which did not fail it in time of need, it is able to do ; let the public law, where it is proper, recognize the true religion, but let it punish no sins against God any farther than they are directly and immediately crimes against society. False religions are, no doubt, always offences against society, as are all sins against God ; but, as we have said more than once, when and where they are only remotely and indirectly so, when and where they are not directly and immediately so, the civil law has no right by coercive means to repress them, and could not do so if it should make the attempt. Their adherents, in all other respects discharging their social duties and demeaning themselves as good citizens, must be protected in their civil rights, and their punishment be remitted to the discipline of the spiritual society and the justice of God.
The Church cannot tolerate the punishment, by the civil authority, of offences purely spiritual, because the civil authority cannot do it without trenching upon her province. She allows no one to be molested merely for his want of faith, because, for his want of faith, the unbeliever is answerable to God alone. Faith is voluntary, and cannot be forced. Whosoever chooses to run the risk of the penalty of eternal damnation annexed to infidelity is free to be an infidel, and Almighty God neither does violence, nor suffers any power on earth to do violence, to his free will. He proffers eternal life to all men, tells them the conditions on which they may receive it, gives them the necessary graces to accept and secure it, urges them by the most powerful motives which can be addressed to reason, conscience, free will ; but he forces no one to accept it. He demands the heart, its free, voluntary obedience, and will accept and reward only the free-will offering. Hence the Church strictly and solemnly forbids any one to be forced or compelled to receive the faith. Hence her missionaries are never armed soldiers, but humble preachers, bearing only the crucifix and pastoral staff. Never has she allowed the unbaptized Jews, pagans, Mahometans, infidels to be forced to profess the Catholic faith, or force to be employed against them, except to compel them to tolerate the preaching of the Gospel. If in Catholic states they have ever been disturbed or molested on account of their unbelief, it has been against her authority, or because they practised violence against the profession of the true religion ; or because they were dangerous subjects to the state, and could not, under the circumstances, be safely tolerated,as, for instance, in Spain under Charles the Fifth, when the Jews and Moors conspired in secret and with the enemies of the Church, not simply to secure the peaceable enjoyment of their own religions, but to overthrow both altar and throne, both of which the state had the right, and was bound, to protect and defend, to the full extent of its power, against any and every class of enemies.
The Church certainly claims authority over all baptized persons, by whomsoever they may have been baptized ; for they are, in the Sacrament of Baptism, born her subjects, and she has a right to their obedience. Heretics and schismatics are her rebellious subjects, and she has the same right to reduce them to obedience, and to compel them to conform their life to their baptismal vows, that a temporal sovereign has to reduce a rebellious province to submission to his legitimate authority. But she can reduce them only by such means as she possesses, and can inflict on them for their rebellion only such punishments as she has at her command, which are all spiritual. If they make war on her, and attempt to seize her churches, to rob her of her possessions, to desecrate her altars, and to suppress her worship or restrain its freedom, as was the case with the early Protestants in every country where they had power enough, and which caused the terrible religious wars of the sixteenth century, and the persecution of Protestants by Catholic princes, she has the right to call in the secular power to her aid, and it is bound to repel them by force ; because they themselves then transfer the controversy from the spiritual order to the temporal, and attack the social and civil rights of the Church no less than her spiritual rights. But when they themselves restrain their heresy and schism within the limits of the spiritual order, make no attempt to propagate their pestilential errors or iniquity by violence, and attack none of the rights of the Church or of the faithful, she, as we have seen, recognizes no right in the secular authority to molest them, unless guilty of other crimes against society,and then only on principles which apply equally to all classes of social offenders. As simple heresy and schism, she cannot call in the secular authority to aid her in suppressing them. She is therefore reduced to her own spiritual resources, to addresses to their reason and their conscience, and can inflict on them only spiritual punishments, ecclesiastical censures, of which the greatest is excommunication. This, to a believer, is a terrible punishment, we grant; but to those who do not believe, who excommunicate themselves, and glory in being severed from her communion, it is not a punishment too severe to be borne.
But even in inflicting her spiritual censures, and in all her dealings with her rebellious subjects, the Church always has their reformation at heart, and never forgets that her mission is to save men's souls, and not to destroy them. She pleads with them, and leaves no measure untried that is likely to be successful ; and she keeps the door always open for the return of the penitent. When she is under the painful necessity of delivering over to Satan those who set at naught her discipline, it is for " the destruction of the flesh," that " they may learn not to blaspheme." To the very last, she pleads with all a mother's sweetness, affection, and grief; and if they arc finally melted, and willing to return to their duly, she opens wide her arms, and wide her heart, to receive them, and generously forgets their past disobedience. Even the much decried and calumniated Inquisition, which it is possible politicians in some instances have abused, owed its origin to her maternal solicitude, and was instituted no less for the protection than for the detection of the misbelieving. She would interpose the shield of her maternal love between her rebellious subject and the secular arm to the last, till all hope was gone, till nil her resources to reclaim him were exhausted. They know little of the Church of God who call her cruel, proud, haughty, revengeful, thirsting for the blood of heretics, and rejoicing in their punishment by the civil authority. Long, long does she forbear with them, long, long does she suffer them to rend her own bosom,before she can endure to withdraw her affectionate embrace, and abandon them to their self-chosen doom.
And here we are admonished of what should be the spirit of our intercourse with our unbelieving and heretical neighbours and fellow-citizens. Rousseau asserts that the dogma, Out of the Church there is no salvation, is antisocial, and that whoever professes it should be banished from the commonwealth. Hut he might as well have said, that the dogma, No one who dies guilty of mortal sin can be saved, is antisocial, and he who holds it should bo banished from society. We certainly regard infidels and heretics as guilty of mortal sin before God, and therefore, if dying in their infidelity and heresy, as condemned to hell. But they are not the only persons whom we regard as mortal sinners ; and all who die mortal sinners, even though they should die nominally in our own communion, must, according to our faith, receive the same doom. There are persons in the Church who will talk, write, fight for their religion, do anything for it but live it, whose doom will be far more severe than that of many heretics and unbelievers ; nay, we know not but we ourselves may be of the number, for no man knoweth whether he deserves love or haired, unless he has received a special revelation from God. We live in a world of sinners, and there may be in our own families, in our bosom companions, sinners for whose salvation we have as little reason to hope as we have for that of the unbeliever or the heretic. These things are so, and must be so, and our rule of conduct is and should be the same towards sinners of all classes, that is, to conduct ourselves so as, if possible, to win them all to the love and practice of true religion.
It is very true that all who are not joined to the Catholic communion, if they die as they are, will come short of salvation. This we know by infallible faith ; but we do not know that all who are not now joined to that communion will die as they are, and have no right to presume that they will. Nothing assures us that their hearts will not be softened, their pride subdued, their eyes opened, that they will not one day behold, love, and conform to the truth, and enter into the kingdom of heaven, while, perhaps, we ourselves shall be thrust out into exterior darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is no less an error to hold that all out of the Church will be damned, than it is to hold that they can be saved without being in the Church. If we so held, there would be some foundation for Rousseau's charge ; our doctrine would be antisocial, and we should be unable to discharge our social duties towards those out of our Church. But we hold no such doctrine. There is a place of repentance for them as well as for us, and nothing forbids us to hope and to labor for their salvation. The Lord alone knoweth who are his, and we have no right to presume, as long as there is life, that the doom of any one is sealed. We must, then, treat all men, those without as well as those within, as persons for whom Christ died, as persons who may be saved, and whose salvation is to be desired by us with an unbounded charity, and for which we are to rejoice to make any sacrifice in our power. Here is the reason why the dogma objected to is not antisocial, and why to profess it is no breach of charity to our neighbour, but, if done in the proper spirit, is the very reverse, is, in fact, the highest evidence we can give of the truth and fervor of our charity.
The object of the Church, in all her dealings with, those without, as well as with those within, is the salvation of souls. This must be ours, also, as her faithful children. This object we shall be able to further only as we live in accordance with the spirit of our religion. It requires no deep or extensive knowledge of mankind to know that the road to their convictions lies through their affections. If we would be instrumental, under God, in converting them, we must begin by loving them, and by our love winning their love. Nothing is gained by convincing a man against his will ; often the very logic that convinces, where the affections are not won, serves only to repel from obedience to the truth. We succeed in influencing others for their good only in proportion as we set before them an example fit for them to follow, are meek, gentle, humble, charitable, kind, and affectionate in our intercourse with them. And why shall we not love these.
neighbours and countrymen of ours, who have not the inconceivable happiness of being in the Church of God ? Who are we, that we should set up ourselves above them,¦ that we should boast over them ? What merit is it in us, that we are not even as they ? or how know we that ours will not be the greater condemnation ? Are they not our kinsmen according to the flesh ? Has not our God loved them with an infinite tenderness ? Docs he not proffer them his love with infinite sweetness ? And has he not so longed for their love that he has died to win it ? How, then, shall we not love them and labor for their salvation with a charity that burns with an intensity proportioned to their danger ? Is it not here where we come short ? Repelled by the bigotry, fanaticism, and hard-heartedness of some, attracted by the sweetness, affection, and kind offices of others, are we not prone to look upon these countrymen of ours who are out of the Church, either as persons whose conversion is hopeless, or as persons who need no conversion ; excusing ourselves from zealous labors to bring them to God by persuading ourselves that their conversion cither is not possible or not necessary, forgetful that in either case we sin against faith and charity, and in both show ourselves wanting in true love of our neighbour, and therefore of God ? Is not here, in this double error, the reason why so few, comparatively, of our countrymen are brought into the one fold, under the One Shepherd ?
There is nothing in modern heresies that should discourage us. The world, before this, has been afflicted with as deep, as wide-spread, and as obstinate heresies as it is now. We must not suppose that we have fallen upon peculiarly evil times. Evils, indeed, there are, but our lot is cast in comparatively good times. What is the situation of Catholics now in comparison with what it was under the Arian successors of Constantine ? or when the wild and destructive hordes of Northern barbarians overwhelmed the Western Empire ? or when the yet more destructive Saracenic hosts, with the Koran in one hand and the scymitar in the other, shouting " There is one God and Mohammed is his prophet," overran the East, and, over more than half the known world, over the fairest provinces of even, Europe herself, supplanted the Cross by the Crescent ? But Arianism has been subdued, and is remembered only in the immortal records of its victors ; the barbarians have been civilized ; the Saracenic hosts have been checked, their power has been broken, and their once.
formidable empire retains a fitful existence only by the iniquitous policy of nominally Christian princes, who forget ihcir God and the interests of civilization in a vain endeavour to maintain an ever-varying balance of power, and to arrest the march of Destiny. Better the Russian than the Turk at Constantinople. Protestantism itself, which swept away a third part of luirope, as the tail of the Apocalyptic dragon swept away a third part of the stars of heaven, has spent its force, has been driven back far within its original confines, and, for two hundred and fifty years, has made no progress in the Old World, but towards destruction. True, Unbelief, Indifferency, Socialism, Communism, Revolutionism, are, or just now were, rife ; true, they held during the last year their carnival, convulsed the greater part of Europe, exiled the Sovereign Pontiff, took possession of the Eternal City, and for a moment seemed on the point of rising to empire. But defeat follows on the heels of victory, their chiefs have fallen, are in exile or in prison, and they must soon be objects of ridicule and contempt,,rather than of fear and dread. They are, in the nature of things, short-lived. The human race loves order, and must be a believer. It must worship, must have a religion ; and the Catholic religion alone has life, has energy, has power. Even to a superficial observer, all other religions or pretended religions are struck with death, and are in their agony. Appearances indicate that a glorious day is dawning for the Church, and that there awaits her a more splendid.triumph than she has ever yet enjoyed. The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Let us not feel that these unbelieving and misbelieving countrymen of ours -who now, alas ! have no hope but in this hollow and transitory life, who are laboring for that which is not bread, and spending their strength for that which satisfieth notare all doomed to be lost, and that they of all the world are to have no part in the new triumphs reserved for Catholicity. Let us not feel that the time is never to come, when, for their many civic virtues and their generous contributions to an oppressed and famishing nation, they can receive no higher reward than the discovery of the gold mines of California. Let us not look upon their conversion even as difficult. They, too, are famishing, and for the bread of life. We have only to remember that this land is under the protection of the Immaculate Virgin, and to live as true children of Mary, in order to behold this noble countrywhose destiny, if we are faithful, promises to surpass what the boldest imagination can conceive on to the Cross, and standing foremost among the Catholic nations of the earth.
But to return from this apparent digression, we will simply add, in conclusion, that, while we have asserted, as we were bound by reason and faith, the most rigid intolerance and exclusiveness in the religious order, and have justified the constitution and laws of Catholic states, during the Middle Ages, in declaring infidel, heretical, and schismatical sects social crimes, and punishing them as such, we have shown that, in a normal or civilized state of society, Catholicity is perfectly compatible with political toleration, and concedes at least as extensive toleration as is professed, and for the most part honorably maintained, by our American government. Our religion contains nothing, in case we should become the majority, and the political power should pass in this country into our hands, which would require any external changes in our existing political institutions, in our domestic and social economies, or in the present mutual relations of the civil and the ecclesiastical powers. In taking possession of a barbarous country, Catholicity must labor to change the institutions, the laws, the manners and customs, as well as the religion and interior sentiments, of the people. It has to do the same in taking possession even of a falsely civilized country, like India, China, or Japan. Catholicity can never tolerate the social institutions which are cherished by these Oriental nations, as the decisions of Rome, in the controversies between the Jesuits and Dominicans, fully prove. It can tolerate any form of government; but it can, wherever it becomes resident, tolerate no despotism, no government that is not a government of law. The prince, whether monarch, aristocracy, or democracy, must govern according to law, and, as far as possible, according to just law ; for she recognizes no security for the worship of God where there is no protection for the rights of our neighbour, any more than she recognizes love to God where there is none to our brother. She can never tolerate the Oriental doctrine of castes, for she teaches that all men are of one blood, are brethren, equals before God, and should be equals before the law. The great reason why Christianity penetrates so slowly into these Oriental nations is, no doubt, the fact, that not their religion only, but their whole' order of society, their whole political, social, and domestic life, is unchristian, and must be changed in order to make them Christian nations. A Chinese or a Hindo might object, with truth, to the introduction of Christianity, that it would change his political and social institutions, as well as his religious beliefs and usages.
But when Catholicity took possession of the Roman empire, it changed nothing except the spiritual order, and what held from it. It stepped into the Roman civilization as if it had been expressly prepared for it, as it no doubt, in a great measure, had been, abolished the false gods, purged the temples of their idolatry, cleansed them with holy water, converted them into churches, and consecrated them to the true God, changed the manners and customs of the people as far as they depended on the false religions which had been professed, but retained the social institutions, the schools, the academies, the laws, the whole exterior domestic and social economy as she found it, only infusing her own spirit into it, and animating it with a purer, a higher, and a more vigorous life. The same will be the case here. Our civilization is founded on a right basis, is Roman and Christian in its groundwork ; and there never has been a state constituted throughout more in harmony with Catholic principles than the American. Its founders were not Catholics,far from it; but they would have been startled to have seen how much they were indebted to Catholicity for every important improvement they adopted. Their innovations were, for the most part, borrowed from Catholic teachers. Our American fathers had, unhappily for them, turned their backs upon the Church ; but they had been nursed in the bosom of her civilization. That civilization they brought with them to this New World, purged of the barbaric leaven which was still, in some measure, retained in the mother country, and against which the Popes and the whole spiritual society had protested for ten centuries. Whoever will examine the respective civil institutions of England and this country will hardly fail to perceive, that what of England we have rejected is what she owes to her barbarous ancestors, and what we have added which she has not has been borrowed from Roman and Catholic civilization. Indeed, just in proportion, under a civil and political point of view, as we have receded from England, we have approached Rome and Catholicity. They betray no little simplicity, and ignorance of modern civilization, who suppose that the triumph of Catholicity here would be the subversion of our political and civil constitution. Our institutions throughout are based upon the great principles of reason and common sense, which our Church presupposes and sanctions, inspired by Catholic tradition, and sustained by that portion of
Catholic life which the Protestant populations were able to carry with them when they broke away from its source, and which, we would fain hope, is not yet wholly extinct. Indeed, the body for Catholicity seems to us to be here already prepared. It is molded from fine, rich, red earth, in a form of majestic proportions, and of surpassing beauty, wanting nothing but the Divine Breath to be breathed into its nostrils in order to become a living soul. The conversion of the country would destroy, would change, nothing in this admirable body, but it would quicken it with the breath of the Almighty, and secure its continuance, and its beneficent and successful operation. We have not, we grant, defended the political toleration of different religions on infidel or even Protestant principles. It would have been idle to have done so ; for everybody knows that those principles are not ours, and cannot be, unless we give up our religion. We cannot place the sects on a footing of perfect equality with the Church, and defend their freedom on the same ground that we do hers ; because error can never exist by the same right that truth exists. The popular ground of defending the toleration of all religions by the state is the assumption of their equal right before God. This ground cannot be held by a Catholic ; and if we had assumed it, and on the strength of it asserted that Catholic states are bound to maintain universal toleration, who would have had any confidence in our sincerity, or not have supposed that our assertion was made merely for the purpose of escaping the odium of appearing to oppose the toleration by Catholic states of heretical or schismatical religions now, when toleration is popular, and we stand in need of it for ourselves ? Every intelligent Protestant or unbeliever, with the history of the Middle Ages before his eyes, would have said, "Yes, these Catholics here in this country, where they are weak, are exceedingly liberal, and preach universal toleration ; but let them become strong, let them once get the political power, and we shall quickly see that they are as intolerant in the political order as they are confessedly in the spiritual order." We Catholics must never forget that Protestants and unbelievers have a theory, to which they are wedded, that we are all ready to lie and swear to anything for the sake of Catholicity, and that we can go so far as to profess indifferentism, infidelity, or even Puritanism, if we think we can thereby promote- the interests of our Church. Our assertions count for nothing with them. We are, in their estimation, fools when honest, and knaves when intelligent. Externally considered, it is evidently for our interest, here in this country, and, indeed, in many other countries at the present time, to preach toleration ; and they suppose interest governs us, as it does them, and therefore they place no confidence in our preaching, unless we show clearly and undeniably that it is in harmony with the principles of our Church, where she is strong as well as where she is apparently weak.
We have therefore defended the political toleration of the sects as a Catholic statesman, on strictly Catholic principles, without the least compromise, without descending for a moment from the high ground of the infallibility and immutability of our Church, without blinking, or hesitating to justify in its fullest extent, the political intolerance manifested by Catholic states to infidelity, heresy, and schism in past times. We have shown that not mere policy, but the very principles of our holy religion, require us now on the supposition that modern unbelievers, heretics, and schismatics are civilized, and no longer barbarians, or addicted to barbarous practices to assert and maintain as broad a toleration as our American Constitution guaranties ; that they forbid the punishment by the civil authority of sins against God, however great, when not incompatible with the peace and welfare of society ; and that the Church can of herself inflict only spiritual punishments, and no greater spiritual punishment than excommunication. If this does not satisfy, it is not our fault, nor that of our Church.