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between certain works that are on the borderland of servile' and 'liberal,' according as these are engaged in for profit on the one hand, or for the purposes of recreation and charity on the other.
And clearly there is no reason why the performers or one of them, or the person who organized the entertainment, may not be a genuine object of charity, and a proper beneficiary of the proceeds. Of course I am assuming that such plays are in themselves unobjectionable, and in the circumstances of their presentation not specially liable to abuses. It is essential, for instance, that they conclude at a reasonable hour, and that certain persons would not go to them without a responsible escort-and to secure this, whether the performance be on a Sunday night or another night, must be always a source of the greatest anxiety and difficulty for the clergy.
I am aware that some, on any hint being given that amateur theatricals are not a violation of the Sabbath, will at once take alarm, and talk about the thin end of the wedge,' etc. But, fortunately, we are not all lawmakers; our function is only to interpret the law to the people. And so far as I know, the general law gives no sanction to the indiscriminate banning of these entertainments. On the contrary, they would all come within the 'opera liberalia " which are permitted, were it not for the custom which is the crystallized public feeling of what is in harmony with the worship of God and the care of our souls. So, under correction, I would maintain that the prohibition of them is of strict interpretation, and the line, I think, need be drawn only so as to exclude professional performances.
Moreover, at least in the country and in small towns, the audience at one of those entertainments is not likely to be nearly as large on other evenings of the week as it is on Saturday and Sunday evenings; so that the clergy are almost coerced to allow it on one of the two. And personally, on account of the danger of Holy Mass being missed if it takes place on Saturday night, I would prefer that Sunday be selected.
In regard to picture shows, the standard theologians, of course, are silent, but I would venture to say that the same principles apply to them as to dramatic representations.
1 So much so that Lacroix implies without any restriction that plays are lawful (Theologia Moralis, lib. iii. pars i. n. 590).
That is to say, the opening of a regular or licensed picture-house would be a gross breach of the Sabbath. But if a few amateurs hold a cinematograph exhibition, perhaps as an adjunct of a concert, there is not, I think, positis ponendis, much to be said against it.
And even though an individual is more or less a professional, if he be in poor circumstances, and be amenable to any directions the priest may give him, I do not see any great objection to his giving an exhibition occasionally, even for his own private gain; especially if so large an audience could not be got together on a week evening. Because, if such an entertainment be technically a violation of the Sabbath, it is regularized by the unusual profit accruing. For as Lehmkuhl1 says: Ob lucrum non diurnum quidem, sed pro conditione operantis magnum seu extraordinarium excusatio saepe admitti potest; quia operariis non leve incommodum est transmittere debere opportunitatem magni lucri, quo sibi suisque providere possint.'
To hold dances on Sundays is not considered sinfuland for one reason, I suppose, because these are usually more or less private. Ballerini gives another: Choreae vero seu saltationes etsi . . . corporale quid videantur, solum consistunt in quadam corporis agitatione ac motione ad ejus levamen et ut sic ipsum cooperetur exultationi et gaudio animi et ita etiam pertinent choreae ad liberalem actionem,' But if people are admitted indiscriminately to dances, and if they are not under the control of resolute and responsible persons, the priest, on account of the evils incidental to them, could not be better employed than in trying to put a stop to them, whether on Sunday or on any other day.
Concerts being less liable to abuses, may be permitted with less hesitation. The words of Ballerini are in point : 'Haec opera non sunt servilia et musica quidem; tum quia musica inter artes liberales computatur, tum quia per se non est opus servorum neque ex genere suo fit ad serviendum; tum quia ordinatur solum ad animi oblectamentum et de se excitat mentem estque actus quasi sermocinationis certo modo factus. Nec naturam mutat, quod interdum fit ob mercedem.' However, I am disposed to question his last statement on the principle I have enunciated more than 1 Op. cit. n. 712, * Op. cit. n. 10,
2 Op. cit. n. 20.
once; that, namely, which draws a clear distinction between professional performances and an occasional entertainment organized for a purpose of public utility or charity, such as providing a supply of coals for the poor during the winter.
As regards horse-races, I have not been able to find any reference to them under the Third Commandment in the theologians I have had an opportunity of consulting. But custom and the feeling of our people are not only a sufficient indication that they are forbidden, but an effective barrier against them as well.1 In fact, toleration of racing on Sundays may be taken as a sure sign of the decadence of Catholic spirit and of an advanced stage of the secularization of public opinion. And in a couple of cases within my knowledge the clergy by adopting a clear and firm, but courteous, attitude of opposition succeeded in defeating the attempt once for all.
As for horse shows, a theologian in whose views I place the greatest reliance was clearly of opinion that they were unlawful; and on a certain occasion when an important one of them was fixed for a holiday, he succeeded, partly by his personal influence, and partly by a threat of public action, in bringing the Committee round to his view.
Seeing that horse-races are certainly forbidden, I cannot understand how it is permissible to hold athletic sports; at least if they are extensively advertised, and are likely to draw people from a wide area. Because every reason that makes racing undesirable, applies in almost equal degree to the case of these sports. For in both we have jurgia et dissensiones et secularem distractionem . . . unde quietem et vacationem in die festo intentam maxime impedirent.' 3 And the attitude of ecclesiastical authority in some dioceses is sufficiently indicated by the following regulation :—
Cum compertum sit magnos populi ex dissitis locis concurrentis concursus, ad ludos athleticos peragendos, cum debita diei Dominicae observantia componi vix posse, et aliis malis, praesertim inebrietati in juvenibus occasionem praebere, parochorum, et eorum coadjutorum erit populos sibi commissos ab hujusmodi concursibus die Dominica dissuadere, nec ipsis parochis nec aliis sacerdotibus licebit eis interesse, nec
ullo modo favere.
As for hurling and football, considering how widespread
1 See Statutes of the Maynooth Synod (1900), n. 287.
2 See Maynooth Statutes, loc. cit.
2 Ballerini, op. cit. n. 39.
they are, and how much custom has to do in determining the negative side of the Sabbath observance, it is, indeed, a courageous theologian-or a rash one-who would venture to condemn them. But if the clergy cannot or ought not to forbid them, they can and should make every effort to secure that those who go to them hear Holy Mass before they leave home, instead of being satisfied with the intention of hearing it-which is often defeated-when they reach the venue of the match. No abuse in this respect attaches to matches between local teams; they are, of course, a legitimate and commendable form of recreation.
THE TRIALS OF SOME
BY REV. JAMES P. RUSHE, O.D.C.
V. THE VALESIAN FORMULARY, A.D. 1660-1671 THE spirit of hopefulness animating our Irish Missionaries of the seventeenth century is well illustrated in the case of the Discalced Carmelites, notwithstanding any very natural depressing effects caused by a certain Act of the General Chapter of 1653 to which due reference has been made.1 Indeed, the aspiration of the Teresian religious in Ireland, for the eventual restoration of their Province, came under formal notice at the succeeding Chapter when, on their behalf, the assembled Fathers discussed such steps as might best insure practical provision being made for the reception and education of subjects destined for the Irish Mission. And this, although reliable information to hand indicated anything but encouraging prospects for the future of the Church in those countries where, we are assured, the Faithful lay crushed beneath the burden of interminable woes. Writing from London on the 1st of January, 1658, Father Patrick of St. Brigid draws a terrible picture of the times; mentioning, casually, that nine priests were then detained in prison awaiting their, apparently, inevitable doom: among them a Father John Baptist of Mount Carmel, who had joined the Order in Ireland fully a quarter of a century previously.3 The writer's own struggles, at this period, have already been dealt with; attention being drawn to his intimate relations with Dr. Edmund O'Reilly, Archbishop of Armagh, whose name stands out so conspicuously
1 I. E. RECORD, Fifth Series (June 1901), vol. ix. p. 483 sqq.
This and the other letters, dated from London the same year, are now preserved in the General Archives of the Order. (Plut. 187-among the papers relating to the English Mission.)