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amongst an exclusive and courtly aristocracy. It is mainly from this offensive alliance with powers more akin to a jealous, prying, and despotic police than to its own spiritual ministrations, that the priesthood has for the moment lost control over the intellectual movement of the country. But the pungent sarcasm which with passionate volubility is so mercilessly heaped upon the members of the ecclesiastical body in Italy, proceeds rarely from any clear and determined hostility to the essential articles or injunctions of the religion which they administer. The confirmed Italian freethinker is to be met with, but the Italian dissenter and congregationalist is a creature that has not yet arrived beyond the first barely perceptible germ of incubation. The Protestant view of spiritual matters and ecclesiastical institutions is still foreign to the Italian mind. With proper observation, in nine cases out of ten, the fierce and perfectly sincere denouncer of ecclesiastical abuses, in spite of his withering invective against the Pope and priests, will be found to remain not merely Catholic in instinct, but also a not irregular attendant at the services prescribed by the ritual. Although, therefore, public enthusiasm for the moment overpowers ecclesiastical opposition, it is not possible that in a country so disposed the influence of the clergy can be permanently disregarded with impunity.
To fancy the ecclesiastical body in Italy an inert sluggish mass, that has continued during generations utterly dead to the great intellectual impulses which have been gradually pervading Italian society until they have imbued it with a new spirit, would be a very incorrect conception of its condition. That it does comprise in its ranks an unfortunately large amount of ignorant and ignoble natures, is a fact which does not indeed admit of dispute. A convincing proof is sufficiently afforded by the very general discredit into which the clergy has contrived to fall. At the same time, however, illustrious members of the Italian priesthood have associated themselves in a highly remarkable manner with the tide of popular aspiration at various stages of its onward course, actuated by a profound conviction that the national movement is not necessarily incompatible with the principles of the Church. Amongst these we find individuals eminent alike for piety, fervour, and talent, who have devoted their energies with enthusiastic zeal to demonstrate the possibility of that genuine alliance between modern civilisation and the Roman hierarchy which it was the cherished aim of their lives to establish. Their
pages afford us, as it were, an obverse impression of modern ideas. We here have the Church, in the high ecclesiastical sense of its institution, and not in any cur
tailed evangelical dimensions, instead of repelling the approach of what are commonly designated as modern notions of liberalism, advancing and extending a hand of welcome to them. It cannot admit of dispute but that the views embodied in these speculations, should they acquire favour within the Church, would materially modify the painful antagonism which now exists in Italy between it and the State. At this truly critical moment in the conflict, it is consequently well worth while to inquire into the practical worth of these views, and to consider their possible bearing upon the solution of that capital problem - how to dispose of the Pope?
This movement showed itself at first stealthily in the unobtrusive shape of speculative writings, calculated, however, to exercise lasting influence upon ingenuous natures. inevitable that when the impulse of regenerative aspiration began to pervade Italian society, it should in some degree touch the ecclesiastical section of the nation. No essential portion of a community can ever remain wholly free from the action of a sentiment that has attained genuine intensity. Accordingly many pious minds attached to the Roman Church, in many instances with fervent affection, were struck with alarm at beholding that Church in an attitude of hostility to the tendencies of modern civilisation, which they deprecated as inevitably injurious to its moral influence, and inconsistent with its claims to intellectual supremacy. Between the opinions which at the last stage of their career some of these contemporary thinkers came to maintain, there exists much diversity. But at the outset one type was in a marked manner common to them all, in striking contrast to all former generations of reformers. They were prompted in this speculation by a fanciful, but still a sincerely Conservative admiration for the Roman Church as compatible with liberal institutions. There is no ground for suspecting their good faith in this profession, though several of them ended far beyond all limits of ecclesiastical toleration. It is quite intelligible how this should have happened to particularly impulsive natures excited by contradiction and stimulated by opposition. These men flung themselves confidently into the mazes of metaphysical and political speculation with an unswerying conviction that its conclusions would tend to the exaltation of the Roman Catholic Church. They were disposed to impugn no doctrine, while so far from being inclined to undervalue the virtues of the hierarchy, they were actuated by an excessive and even eccentric veneration for the Papacy as the mystic keystone of that theocratic constitution upon which their imagination loved to dwell.
This enthusiastic confidence in the nature and capacities of the Roman Church was the common feature of all these contemporary Catholic innovators. It impelled the triple league of Lamennais, Lacordaire, and Montalembert, to journey to Rome together on their celebrated pilgrimage for the Pope's conversion to modern ideas; and it was the starting-point whence Gioberti and Rosmini each entered upon their respective courses of speculation. The writings of these two men more especially supply ns with the materials for arriving at an estimate of the scope of the intellectual movement, thus inaugurated, as far as it lies within what may be considered the limits of a theological range. Gioberti and Rosmini stand as complements to each other. Both were priests, and both retained in all their speculations, although in very different degrees and modifications, the peculiarly ecclesiastical stamp of conception. There is something in Gioberti's most advanced opinions which retains the indelible type of the seminarist in style of thought and form of exposition. Into those realms of metaphysics and political speculation which he did not flinch from scanning with such ardent boldness, Gioberti to the last advanced unconsciously with the gait and temper of a priest. This is very strikingly exemplified in the thoroughly dogmatical tone of his posthumous work · La Riforma Cattolica, written at a period when its author already entertained his most advanced opinions, although under the influence of an intention that made his mind for a time revert deliberately to the channel of theological ideas. Canonists who with a view of investigating its orthodoxy examined in detail the views maintained in this book, have expressed an opinion that, whatever reason there might be to take exception to its tendency, it would not be possible on canonical grounds to impugn the soundness of the distinct propositions by themselves.
As compared with Rosmini, Gioberti was, however, an erratic spirit soaring in contemptuous disregard of tímid restrictions with impassioned and fearless ardour into the attractive regions of boundless speculation ; while the former never presumed further than to introduce an ingredient of metaphysical subtleness into a nature which by its sweetness and unaffected meekness was essentially that of a Christian divine. Rosmini was a genuine specimen of the virtues which adorned the primitive times of Christianity. Learning begot in him no pride, and his religious fervour remained ever that of charity and devotion. Of excellent family and considerable fortune, Rosmini entered the ecclesiastical profession, and remained an active member of it, while Gioberti virtually withdrew from its ranks after his banishment from Piedmont for supposed complicity in a revolutionary plot. In Rosmini none of that fiery independence lurked which turns self-satisfied from the service of the altar. On the contrary, the whole turn of his simple, loving mind, was that of a ministering priest. This disposition intuitively prompted him to seek the establishment of a new religious order as the most proper organ for the practical introduction of his views. It is intelligible that the writings of such a man should have found more especial favour amongst the clergy, while Gioberti sought the audience for his political theosophy in the lay classes, who were powerfully attracted by a dogmatic expression which coincided in form, at all events, if not in essence, with the teaching to which in youth they had been accustomed. Here we have the key to the immense popularity which Giobertis writings rapidly attained. For it must be borne in mind that education in Italy is almost exclusively confined to seminaries, where the pupils, whether destined or not for the Church, are all trained in a strictly ecclesiastical system of study and thought. To men so reared the accents of Gioberti's peculiar phraseology had something especially familiar and inviting. These fell upon their ears neither harshly, nor with a startling sound, but softly, like a pleasant reminiscence. Hence the influence acquired by Gioberti was that rather of a popular discourse addressed to lay minds; while Rosmini's was one of a purely ecclesiastical nature, addressed more particularly ad clerum.
The book of Rosmini which really contains the pith of his religious meditations is the one entitled . Le cinque Piaghe della
Chiesa. His other voluminous productions are for the most part metaphysical disquisitions, whereas in this one he expresses without reserve his precise views upon church government, and his innermost aspirations in regard to its institutions. The book, written in 1832, was allowed to lie unpublished for fourteen years. It was not till the advent to St. Peter's Chair of Pius IX., amidst circumstances which seemed to indicate the elevation of a Pontiff destined to renovate our age, and give
to the Church that new impulse which must propel it through 'new ways to a career equally unexpected as marvellous and • glorious,' that Rosmini allowed its publication as not inappropriate to the times. The most genuine grief and orthodox reverence pervade every page of this remarkable production, which is at once a song of lamentation over the woes which bave befallen the Church, and of confident exultation at the prospect of their removal. With a somewhat mystic imagination Rosmini makes the Wounds of Christ on the Cross to be each typical of some special injury of the Church. This allegory in the title is, however, the only thing which approaches to mysticism in the work. The argument is forcibly clear and destitute of all mere rhapsodical effusion.
It will be necessary to enter with some detail into the disposition of this book, in order to enable the reader to form an opinion on the practical scope of Rosmini's views. The work is divided into five chapters, each called by one of Christ's wounds, and devoted to the illustration of its corresponding injury, as follows:-1. The wound in the left hand of Holy Church, the separation between people and priesthood in public worship. 2. That in the right hand, the inadequate instruction of the priesthood. 3. That in the side, the disunion amongst bishops. 4. That in the right foot, the nomination of bishops abandoned to lay power. 5. That in the left foot, the dependence of ecclesiastical property.
1. After having begun by declaring that divine worship in the Christian Church to be perfect requires a combination of clergy and laity, and dwelt upon the value of the sacramental institutions added by the primitive Church to those of Christ's foundation, Rosmini proceeds to mourn over the absence of vital
and full instruction in the present Church. This he ascribes mainly to the flock having been rendered incapable of comprehending doctrine through the employment of a dead language in divine service.
* If nature can be restored to health, so much the more can the Church be healed of its sufferings ; and it would seem to me a reflection upon its Divine Author to think that He should permit so great a wall of separation to exist for ever between the people and the priesthood, so that all which be said and done in the celebration of the heavenly mysteries must prove full of fictions, or that He should permit the people to whom the light of the Word has risen, and which has been itself born again to the worship of the Word, to take part in the greatest acts of this worship in the manner of statues and columns in the temple, utterly deaf to the words addressed to it by its mother the Church in the most solemn moments, and the priesthood shut off from the people at an ambitious because inaccessible, and an injurious because ambitious, altitude, to degenerate into a patriciate, into a particular society, divided from society at large, with interests of its own, language of its own, laws and customs of its own.' (§ 18.)
2. In the best times of Christianity preaching and the liturgy being couched in a living tongue, according to Rosmini, were the adequate school for Christian congregations, and exercised an influence that resulted in fit priests and bishops. But now that these methods of instruction have lost their intrinsic value, the priesthood has also sunk to the level of the listless faithful.