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Oriental fatalism, Slav indolence! These words readily come to one's lips, but we must guard ourselves against abusing them. Something more than indolence or fatalism, something more even that the purely passive virtues was needed in order that, under the assault of the Russian fusilade, the Polish people, occupied with praying to God, should throw itself on its knees and that, inoffensively, calmly challenging, she should continue to sing: 'Give us back, O Lord, our country and our freedom.

Bismarck [says M. Goyau], shallow psychologist, like all men who rejoice at feeling themselves strong, wished that by force of fighting the Poles the taste even of living would be taken away from them; the question of Poland would thus be solved by their suicide. He did not perceive that at the very bottom of their chalice of sufferings, mystically interpreted, mystically turned to account, these essentially Catholic souls found with a bitter sweetness some kind of immortal residue of joy-joy of living, of acting, and of suffering. Polish optimism resisted the cruelty of vexations; it rewarded the fidelity of Poland with the Catholic idea of suffering and of life.

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In Austria Polish optimism survived the heavy burdens that the Hapsburg Government laid on its new subjects, 'despotism, defiance, intolerance' as the Anonymous Poet enumerated them. It survived the official jacquerie '1 that in 1846, under the administration of Metternich, delivered lands, people, and wealth to the bloody lusts of a certain mob for the consolidation of the Austrian dictatorship.

In this Russia, whose people, according to Guizot, were 'still more desirous than the Emperor not to allow Poland escape from the empire,' Polish optimism survived the confiscation of the Uniate churches, then the official usurpation of millions of Uniate souls, the deportations of Bishops, monks and priests, the trials that raised up confessors, the torments that consecrated martyrs, the skilful organization of forced conversions, the martial law against prayer,' the academic dictatorship of the Russian language as the enclosure of schism; it survived even the flagrant violation by the subordinate bureaucracy of certain belated commands of tolerance. It was in the philosophy of the Polish soul to borrow from so much persecution and fraud this lesson-that the interests of Polish Catholicism were intimately bound up with those

1 Jacquerie was the name given to the rising of the French peasants against the nobility in 1358.


of national autonomy, and to submit with a bitter predilection to the providential marks of this glorious solidarity.

In this Prussia, finally, where Pan-Germanism wished to abolish the Polish race and language, Polish optimism survived the rigours of the Kulturkampf, the incarceration of prelates and priests, the barbarous struggles of the school against the language of the little children, the introduction into Polish territory of a stream of German colonists, of which eighty-five per cent. were Protestants, the cunning policy that, in order to plant Teutonism better, installed Lutheranism. It was in the philosophy of the Polish soul to infer from these facts, with a sorrowful serenity, that Prussia struck Catholicism in order to attack Polonism better, and to find in this surfeit of sorrows the new and cruelly interesting proof of a flattering identity.

'Thus was prolonged the immortality of Polish hopes,' says M. Goyau. 'It seemed as if she was supported on the very eternity of the Church, and that she entwined them with the certitudes that come from the beyond.' And Henri Lasserre, the historian of Lourdes, said of her, that for half a century she could not speak of religion without demanding at the same time her political life. And as she wished to continue speaking religion she aspired more and more tenaciously to be free.

It was not confined to the Germanic Powers alone to render once more, in 1918, these aspirations abortive. Austria, in the short-lived treaty of Brest, threw complacently to Ukraine the old province of Cholm, which in 1875 had heroically suffered for its Polish and Catholic faith. In the Reichsrat of Vienna the president of the Polish party stigmatized this treaty that was inspired, he said, with 'the spirit of Prussian militarism and with the impotent knavery of the Austrian diplomacy of the old school'; and before the Landtag of Prussia the Polish member, Korfanty, affirmed ironically: 'It was reserved for the Government of his Apostolic Majesty to traffic in this Catholic country, to deliver it to Russian orthodoxy for a morsel of bread.' The commissary of the Ukrainian hetman, Skoropatsky, a good ally of Prussia, made known to the Polish soul its destinies: The end of Poland is beyond all question inevitable; at my order all Polish schools have been closed, and an end will also come for the priests. Might is with us, for the Germans are with us.

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The religion of the State in Ukraine will be our old Orthodox faith.'

"The free and orthodox republic of Poland,' as the Popes long ago called it, has made its entry into life. As was only right the Church was there. Benedict XV sending to the Bishops of Poland in April, 1918, the Prefect of the Vatican, Mgr. Ratti, had informed him that he would find there a people remarkable for its devotion to the Roman Church.' And Mgr. Ratti declared after some weeks: 'I have seen with my own eyes what the Pope had told me, and more than that.' 'A Power is resurrected which the Papacy can consider as a friend,' says M. Goyau. 'On the very soil where the Church was a suspect, a captive, or a slave, the Church breathes freely to-day.' The first Diet of the new regime has been inaugurated, the 9th February, 1919, with a ceremony in the Cathedral of Warsaw, and by the religious consecration of the houses of parliament; the Protestant element of the Diet was present. Catholic culture in Warsaw means to fit itself up magnificently in a university for which already twenty-three millions are collected. The purple is promised to the Archbishop in a solemn letter from Benedict XV; and Mgr. Ratti, in June, 1919, was raised to the office of Nuncio. After one hundred and fifty years of mournful watching the Church rejoices.



For the first three years of the war national opinions were forced to remain silent in the Dual Monarchy. It was only in the summer of 1917 that the reopening of Parliament furnished an opportunity for their being heard. Some priests arose who pleaded for their oppressed nations, which had been dragged into the war and which, by the Hapsburg command, should seal their own slavery with their own blood. Bohemian souls felt their sentiments expressed, and at the same time felt comforted when they heard Abbé Isidore Jahradnik proclaim to the Reichsrat : 'This God that I serve will punish the guilty; He will defend and protect my people, and will give them victory and liberty.' Another clerical deputy, M. M. Valouesk, developed these hopes in presence of twenty thousand Moravian Catholics, and called upon them to be the architects of a sovereign and independent Czecho-Slovak State.

A Yugo-Slav parliamentary assembly was formed, and Mgr. Korosec, a Slovene prelate, presided over it. He corresponded to the confidence placed in him by reading to the Parliament on the 30th May, 1917, an imperishable declaration that demanded that all the Serb, Croatian and Slovene countries into which the double-headed eagle had dug its claws should from henceforth be an independent, united democracy. Mgr. Krek, defender of the Slovene people, and Mgr. Spincie, a Croatian deputy, followed on the same lines. The latter declared :

The Dual Monarchy, as it is, is only a misfortune for the Yugo-Slavs; it means for them the death and destruction of their nation. In consequence of dualism the Yugo-Slavs are on one side at the mercy of the Germans and on the other at the mercy of the Magyars, and in some places at the mercy of both Germans and Magyars united. During this war the Yugo-Slavs have been more than ever oppressed as so-called traitors to the country. They prefer, however, to be called traitors to the State by those who wish to annihilate the Yugo-Slav nation than to become themselves traitors to their nation.

The words of these clerical deputies were echoed in an immense referendum organized by the clergy throughout a great part of Yugo-Slavia-referendum of Bishops and parish priests, referendum of the country people, referendum of women. Mgr. Jeglic, Prince-Bishop of Laybach, protested vehemently against the violence of the Pan-Germans and Magyars towards the Slovenes. The Government of Vienna wished Rome to try the Bishop for a breach of discipline. It was the wish of Austria in her agony to make use of the spiritual force against the liberty of nations. It did not succeed. But Austria made use of her magistrates and police to throw the priests into prison on the flimsiest excuse, where she was more concerned in tormenting them than in bringing them to trial. Mgr. Korosec, reciting the Slovene martyrology at a parliamentary session, spoke of the monstrous excesses that recalled those of the Chinese bands at the time of the Boxer revolution.'

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These persecutions did not even deter the women from coming, to the number of two hundred thousand, and at the voice of their clergy, to sign their names in seven large volumes in favour of the claims of the Yugo-Slav assembly. At the town hall Mgr. Korosec solemnly presided. 'We shall not yield,' he exclaimed, as long as we have not attained our object.' The Catholic Slovenes loved to hear the lips that spoke to them of their God speak also to them of their country. The words of their

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pastors were inspiring messages of the coming regeneration, and were already preparing the way for it.

Even though held down under the rigorous regime of Budapest, numerous Croatian priests dared to send to Vienna their signatures of adhesion to the Yugo-Slav parliamentary assembly. Bosnia and Herzegovina, but recently enslaved, rose up in turn. The clergy, regular and secular, acclaimed the future Yugo-Slavia. A Franciscan, Marco Barbaric, proclaimed that 'By order and with the approval of the three religions of the territory, Catholic, Orthodox and Mussulman,' he gave the notice to quit to their Vienna oppressors. 'Whatever,' said the Catholic journal of Zagreb, may be the religious and denominational points of view, we are obliged to recognize that the clergy represent the kernel of intellectual national circles.' In 1897 the Austrian dictatorship had intervened between the work of the priests and their popular feelings. But the years 1917 and 1918 swept away this dictatorship; the union of people and priests from that time developed unopposed.


Shortly after the short-lived treaty of Brest in January, 1918, Mgr. Koresec proclaimed that the Yugo-Slavs demanded a complete guarantee for the peoples of AustriaHungary of the full right of self-determination, and that they ridiculed the right bestowed by the constitutions of Austria-Hungary as a promise a promise of free development." General Herzmansky, military governor of Gratz, wrote an official report in May, 1918, in a melancholy strain: 'The disturbance comes partly from the Slovene clergy, who receive instructions and support from the Bishop'; and the military governor of Zagreb noted on the 4th September: The Yugo-Slav tendencies have their origin amongst the junior clergy; the Archbishop is considered a confirmed Yugo-Slav.'


By degrees Austria changed her tactics. She began to make other promises, and whispered such words as autonomy and federalism into Slav ears.

The Yugo-Slavs [replied Mgr. Korosec in the Reichsrat] very politely thank you; but Baron Hussarek has come too late. . . . The subject peoples of Austria demand that no further discussion-especially at the time of peace negotiations-be held as to the fate of the Yugo-Slav people without the co-operation of entire Yugo-Slavia; they demand, besides, that this co-operation be personally secured at the Peace Congress by the representatives of the people elected for the purpose as an application of the self-determination of nations.

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