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' appointed union between man and woman, needing no ' ecclesiastical patronage or apology, the highest ethical 'school.' He had the courage to inculcate this truth by example as well as by precept; thus providing his opponents with a weapon which they were not slow, after their kind, to use. Its worth is rhetorical, not real. The immorality is on the other side. What shall we say of a system which takes boys and girls ignorant of the simplest laws of physiology, hypnotises them by the ascetic idea, and condemns them to curtailment of life, material and moral, debarring them from love, home, children, and all that makes existence human, linking it through its humanity to the Divine? The outcry raised against Luther's marriage rests on two assumptions: the first, that celibacy is morally the higher state; the second, that the law enjoining it was generally observed by the clergy secular and regular of his time. That the former is unfounded is perhaps as certain as a moral truth can be; that the latter is equally so is a matter not of opinion but of fact. The Popes who framed and enforced the existing discipline were statesmen, not fanatics; they foresaw the inevitable consequences of their legislation, and chose them as, from their point of view, the lesser of two evils; the individual was to be sacrificed to the system, the fact to the idea. Efforts at reform had not been wanting. At the Council of Basel in 1434 John Bishop of Lübeck proposed 'ut sacerdotibus Christi uxores restituerent' -note the term '. . . inutiliter uxores esse præreptas 'sacerdotibus: vix inter mille unum reperiri continentem 'presbyterum, omnes aut concubinarios aut adulteros aut quod pejus est inveniri.' Res erat complurimis accepta adds the narrator, Eneas Sylvius, later Pius II.; sed 'tempori non conveniri judicata. Quidam senes ⚫ damnabant quod assequi non poterant. Religiosi, quia voto 'astricti erant, haud libenter audiebant presbyteris seculari'bus concedi quod sibi negaretur.'† Hence a social evil of incalculable extent and complexity and the effects of the supposed obligation on those who observed, or attempted to observe it, were often more disastrous than on those who transgressed. Nature in the long run revenges herself on those who disregard her laws. La legge del celibato può essere per alcuni organismi (prendiamo la cosa da 'igienisti) una camicia di forza che o sarà infranta o sarà
Reden und Aufsätze, i. 161.
Fea, 'Pius II. a calumniis vindicatus,' Romæ, 1823, p. 57.
causa di gravi malori. Quante follie di sacerdoti, quanti perturbamenti nervosi derivano da un vincolo di castità a cui si vuol obbedire, sacrificando esigenze fisiologiche ? C'è qui evidentemente un pericolo che bisogna ad ogni 'costo evitare.' The time had come to separate the conventional in ethics from the real; to concentrate moral effort on moral subject matter, diverting it from the unmoral or immoral. A strong hand, a stout heart, must be his who would undertake the task! a task that runs so counter to the prejudices, the fears, the virtues even, if the weaker virtues, of men. 'Deux sortes d'hommes méprisent 'l'opinion; les scélérats et les saints.' Luther certainly does not fall under the former category; and if we hesitate to place him in the latter-saints are few-he had at least one of its characteristics, he never feared the face of man.
The Reformation synthesis was weaker than its analysis. Nothing is more difficult than to keep knowledge and conduct in touch; yet nothing is more essential: a purely spiritual religion is for purely spiritual men. Alles was unseren Geist befreit, ohne uns die Herrschaft über uns selbst zu geben ist gefährlich,' says Goethe. The danger has not been wholly escaped by Protestantism, which, tested by religious results, is open to criticism on more than one side. As compared with Catholicism, it has been less of an obstacle to progress, material and intellectual; morally, though it has laid stress on the natural virtues, so called, rather than on the supernatural, and so set up its own standard, there is probably little to choose between the two. But the Church knows human nature better: Catholicism is the religion of the concrete, Protestantism of the abstract man. Hence in practice, and taking mankind in the mass, the former is the more successful. The average man, be his belief what it may, is indifferent; and the indifferent Protestant loses touch with religion more easily than the indifferent Catholic; Protestantism demands more effort than he is able or willing to make. He slips, in consequence, more easily through its meshes: Catholicism is more accommodating; it deals with men on their own level and addresses them in their accustomed tongue. If this be a source of weakness on one side
'Ye cannot halve the Gospel of God's grace'—
* Questioni Politico-Religiose: Osservazioni di un Prelato Romano,
on another it makes for strength. The Church is human, and counts nothing human foreign to herself. Nor is her strength due only to her hold, be it worth what it may, on the half-hearted: she strikes more effectively than Protestantism the specifically religious note which stirs the imagination and fires the heart. Matthew Arnold contrasts the Memoirs of Eugénie de Guérin with those of Miss Emma Tatham, of Margate; it is difficult to picture a Presbyterian Francis of Assisi or an Anglican Curé d'Ars. A price has been paid for this superiority. The sense of the supernatural has too often degenerated into superstition; devotion has been brought down to the level of the vulgar, or below it; and thus Catholicism has fallen out of touch with the best factors of modern life to an extent to which Protestantism has not. But, on the religious side, the latter has not a little to learn from the former. Harnack specifies four heads-Worship, Sacrifice, Confession, and Monasticismunder which the unreformed Churches have retained elements of value which the reformed have lost. The sacramental system, if not evangelical, is marvellously adapted to human nature, on a long and intimate knowledge of which it is founded; if it has been productive of immense evil, it has been productive also of immense good. It requires sifting and discrimination: as it exists it is open to abuse and abused. But it goes far to make the attraction of Catholicism: it is in virtue of the sacramental principle that the Church appeals to the idealising side of our nature; to the enthusiast as well as to the indifferent, to the spiritually aspiring as well as to the morally weak. She subsists more than we think on the shortcomings of her opponents: 'Sie ' lebt noch weil die Modernen Fehler machen, und nicht alle • Bedürfnisse zu befriedigen verstehen.'
These shortcomings, it may be urged, resolve themselves into this, that the idea of Protestantism was greater than its reality. This may be said of any human institution or formula; but in the case of the Reformed Churches a special weakness came in. They went either too far or not far enough. They used science and scientific methods as far as these told against Rome, and then dropped them; forgetting that reason has an inherent movement, and carries men with it whether they will or no. The position
* Reden und Aufsätze, ii. 253–259.
was inconsistent: hence the strength of Catholic controversy. It is not only temperament and circumstances that lead men to ask for the old paths.' These motives, indeed, must be taken into account. There will always be converts to Catholicism, as there will always be converts to Christian Science; and for the same reasons: the significance of the conversions being much the same in each case. But the logic of the Roman Church is far from being a negligible quantity. As long as one stops short of analysis of the premisses, it is irrefutable; conclusion follows conclusion; there is no escape from the chain. Given a strong view of inspiration, a surface knowledge of Scripture and Church history, with a taste for syllogisms, the Unam Sanctam and the Syllabus of Pius IX. follow. The nearer Rome the variety of Protestantism from which the departure is taken, the more obvious, but not the more necessary, is the conclusion; that it is not more generally drawn is due not to any defect in the argument, but to the fact that men think confusedly and act from other than logical motives. There is as much Scripture proof for Papal Supremacy as for Baptismal Regeneration or the Real Presence; and Rome has on her side that continuity which goes for so much both in fact and in law. In accounting for the various Catholic or Catholicising reactions that have taken place since the Reformation this greater perspicuity of Catholicism, and the kindred fact that certain philosophical tendencies-e.g. Positivism—have been worked in its direction, must be borne in mind. The argument no doubt cuts both ways. There are those who when faced by the alternative, all or nothing, fall back on the latter, not of choice but of necessity. What is called anti-Clericalism is not necessarily irreligion; it is oftener than not an attitude taken up because no alternative between two equally impossible extremes is seen.
The tendency of criticism is to demonstrate the existence of such an alternative; hence its religious value. That the Reformation was a moment in human progress will not be questioned: to have thrown off the yoke of the hierarchy was a clear gain. Extravagant as were the pretensions of the Protestant clergy, as e.g. in Scotland and at Geneva, they were short-lived; with the Mass and Confession the roots of Sacerdotalism were cut away. But to have fallen back from the Church to the Bible, if a gain, was not an unmixed gain. It was a gain in so far as it regulated a too exuberant tradition by reference to an earlier
and purer standard. But the content of Scripture is not of one texture; it was no advance to exchange the ethics of the Inquisition for those of Joshua and the Judges, or the dialectic of the schoolmen for that of St. Paul. Again, Scripture, being a document, not a living voice, was less flexible than the Church, and-here was the essential point-not a whit less external; the ancient wrong done to spirit, by subjecting it to authority, was not redressed, but replaced by another wrong. Spirit is its own authority, but the times were not ripe for this to be recognised. When the appeal made to the individual conscience by the wilder sects ended, as it was bound to end, in anarchy, Catholic and Protestant alike pointed to its results as a new argument for control. Not till a collective judgement could be formed could a real step in advance be taken; and not till sufficient material had been acquired could this judgement be formed. In our own time this condition has been verified. Every generation has its own standpoint. Till the eighteenth century religion was based on tradition; in the eighteenth on 'reason; in the first half of the nineteenth on speculation; 'throughout the part played by history was secondary; 'there was always a higher tribunal to which an appeal lay.' With us there is none; history is the pivot on which all turns. Hence an at least approximate standard. The notional difficulties in religion-such as those connected with the origin of evil, with immortality, with the problems of theism, &c.-are insufficient to disturb faith, however much they may trouble the imagination, because they have their origin in the nature of our understanding. Intellectually insoluble, because the laws and procedure of the mind are what they are, they are solved by living through them; feeling and the moral sense supply the answer for which we interrogate the understanding in vain. Cottage dames' are as competent as philosophers to deal with such questions; they are spiritually discerned.' But when history comes in it is otherwise. Here the cottage dame ceases to be an authority. No degree of moral virtue enables us to have an opinion on purely scientific subject matter; the decision. must rest with those who know. Criticism is corrected by criticism; and, as there is no infallible tribunal, it is probable that differences of opinion will always exist on points of detail. But the broad lines of the position have been settled, and settled in a sense incompatible with tradi
*Reden und Aufsätze, i. 287.