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We cannot omit to say a few words about the author's style. He considers rightly that the 'varied gifts and graces that so often contribute to make the secular book attractive' should be pressed into God's services by those who consecrate their pens to Him. These are the clarified thought, the brilliancy of colour, the happy imagery, the crispness of style, the tuneful period, and the musical rhythm.' He endeavours by these means to lift the treatment of Sacred Truths 'above the region of the monotonous common-place' and invest them with interest. The author is modest enough to fear that he has only partially succeeded. We must candidly confess that to some extent we agree with him. The style is crisp, the colour brilliant, and the period tuneful. But the imagery though happy is not always faithful, the thought not always precise. Precision is sometimes sacrificed to colouring, and faulty construction also ensues. There is too much colour, too much wordpainting, which is apt to draw away the attention of the reader from the subject-matter. There is too much straining after wordy effects. Consequently there is monotony, the very thing the author wishes to avoid. This word-painting becomes exaggerated and tiresome. It might be effective in preaching but in a book it loses its grip. Then, again, the book superabounds in examples. A sense of proportion is lost sight of. Nevertheless, the book contains many brilliant and beautiful phrases and similes that are worth treasuring. But there are several statements categorically made which are either inexact or are matters of opinion.
In spite of these imperfections that do not affect the substance and the purpose of the book, it is one that will appeal to many classes of readers. It will develop in them useful reflection, inspire them with noble ideals, and inflame them with the love of God. Love of God is the key-note of the book.
DONA CHRISTI. Meditations for Ascension-tide, Whitsun-tide and Corpus Christi. By Mother St. Paul. London: Longman, Green & Co. THIS book is a continuation of the experienced authoress's previous productions, Sponsa Christi, Passio Christi, Mater Christi. There are 34 meditations in all, ranging from the fifth Sunday after Easter to the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The Feasts of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart form the quadrilateral within which the meditations are contained. Those of Pentecost and Corpus Christi are written round the Veni Creator Spititus and the Adoro Te. The rest have scriptural texts for their titles.
The authoress shows a great knowledge and command of the Holy Scriptures as well as of Sacred Liturgy and Church History. These are skilfully and effectively woven into the meditations. All through there is a charming simplicity of style which makes the meditations attractive and effective. What we admire most of all is the authoress's solid common sense allied to profound piety, which are conspicuous in every
page of the book. The meditations are full and practical, and grip the reader. They penetrate into his very soul by their pious appeal. They are distinctly refreshing and original. Those on Corpus Christi and within the Octave are about the most beautiful written on the subject. We sincerely congratulate the gifted Mother St. Paul.
BOOKS, ETC., RECEIVED
America: A Catholic Review (February).
The Ecclesiastical Review (February). U.S.A.
The Rosary Magazine (February). Somerset, Ohio.
The Austral Light (January). Melbourne.
The Irish Monthly (February). Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd.
Revue Pratique d'Apologétique (February). Paris: Beauchesne.
The Lamp (February). Garrison, N.Y.
La Documentation Catholique (February). Paris: 5 Rue Bayard.
Sermons on the Mass, the Sacraments, and the Sacramentals. By Rev. Thomas Flynn, C.C. New York: Benziger.
The Grey Nuns in the Far North. By Father P. Duchaussois, O M.I. Toronto: M'Celland & Stewart.
A Patriot Priest, By Rev. D. Riordan, C.C. Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd. St. Bernard's Sermons on the Canticle of Canticles. By A Priest of Mount Melleray. Dublin: Browne & Nolan.
RECENT IMPRESSIONS OF PORTUGAL
BY REV. M. H. MACINERNY, O.P.
A six months' sojourn in Portugal, after sixteen years' absence, is in many ways an interesting and enjoyable experience. The intervening years, of course, have wrought many changes. Old friends are dead and gone. One passes daily the homes which once were theirs, but are now in the hands of strangers, and one breathes a prayer for those kindly generous friends of long ago. Convents in which one often said Mass, or heard Confessions, are now turned to profane uses, their chapels desecrated, their inmates despoiled and driven into exile.
The Monarchy itself, after seven centuries of chequered and often glorious existence, has fallen. It has been extinguished in blood and revolution, and a brand-new Republic stands uneasily in its place. Whatever else the Monarchy did or failed to do, it certainly raised Portugal to the highest pinnacle of her olden greatness, and it dowered the nation with a wealth of superb palaces and basilicas, to say nothing of the countless churches and convents which it founded or subsidized. None of these achievements is likely to be emulated by the modern Republic, which is a child of Freemasonry, and inherits the Atheism, the incompetence, and the intolerance of its parent. Seldom if ever does a true patriot, a broad-minded statesman or a gifted administrator, emerge from the dark lodges of Freemasonry.
The first question that will naturally arise in the mind of a Catholic visitor is: How fares Religion under the new régime? The answer, in the main, is distinctly encouraging, especially to those who remember the religious paralysis of twenty years ago. To account for that paralysis, as well as for most of the evils which afflict Portugal to-day, we must glance at certain forces that have been at work for a century or more.
In 1759, the all-powerful and unscrupulous Marquis of
FIFTH SERIES, VOL. XV-APRIL, 1920
Pombal suppressed the Jesuits, despoiled them of all they possessed, destroyed their colleges, abolished their University of Evora, deprived them of their Portuguese nationality, and banished them inexorably from Portugal and the colonies. It is but the literal truth to say that religion and education have never recovered from the blow thus struck by Pombal.
The Jesuits, besides their University, had many fine Colleges in Portugal and its dependencies. The higher education of the country was largely in their hands. Their missionary zeal was truly remarkable. The mission fields of Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and Japan were cultivated by a galaxy of martyrs and missionaries drawn from the ranks of the Portuguese Jesuits. In Portugal and the islands their various churches were centres of piety and devotion, where the truths of the Christian faith were zealously preached, and the Sacraments assiduously administered. All these good works were ruthlessly swept away by the domineering and merciless Pombal.
The year 1834 marks another and still more memorable stage in the ruin of religion in Portugal. The old régime of benevolent absolutism-which many regard as the system of government most in harmony with the spirit and genius of the Portuguese people, and under which Portugal became a great and flourishing empire-finally came to an end in that year. The new dynasty prided itself on being Constitutional and Liberal. It was now, of course, a limited monarchy: the King reigned, but did not govern. The task of governing was left to the politicians, who were copious in their professions of Liberalism, while their acts were but too consistently illiberal and un-Christian.
In 1834, after the change of dynasty, the new government signalized its accession to power by a sweeping measure of confiscation and suppression. All the religious Orders were crushed at a single swoop. The priests and laybrothers who dwelt in religious houses were evicted from their homes, robbed of all they possessed, and turned penniless into the street. Some are said to have died of starvation, others subsisted on a pittance granted by the government, others managed to find a place in the ranks of the parish clergy. The nuns were less harshly treated. Suffered to remain in the convents, they were strictly forbidden to receive novices; their effects were carefully inventoried, and on the death of the last nun in each house, the
convent and its contents passed automatically into the hands of the government. Even as lately as 1897-1903, I remember several convents which fell vacant in this way and were at once seized by the minions of the law.
The Church was always more or less subject to the State in Portugal; but, from 1834 onward, this subjection became a hopeless and demoralizing servitude. The Holy See resisted vigorously, but in vain. When a diocese became vacant, the government presented three candidates, of whom the Holy See was obliged to choose one. Needless to say,
the nominees of a more or less Masonic government were not always the best men, though some truly admirable and apostolic men-such as Cardinals Netto and Mendes Bello, Patriarchs of Lisbon, D. Antonio Barroso, the late Bishop of Oporto, and D. Augusto Eduardo Nunes, the silvertongued Archbishop of Evora-succeeded in slipping through the meshes of government control and securing places on the episcopal bench.
The Bishops could hold no periodical meetings to devise measures for the betterment of religion. As the property of the Church had been indiscriminately confiscated in 1834, all cathedrals, churches, and chapels as well as Bishops' houses and seminaries, were legally the property of the State, and were granted only on sufferance to the ecclesiastical authorities. Even the appointment of professors and the selection of text-books for seminaries was not free from the meddlesome control of the government.
Worst of all, the right of appointing parish priests was almost invariably usurped by the Crown, and was exercised in practice by the politicians. A young man, fresh from the diocesan seminary and wholly lacking in experience, was at once entrusted with the administration of a parish. His meagre salary was paid by the government, without caring a fig whether he became a saint or a sinner. He might become a source of deadly scandal to his parish, as many did; or he might shamefully neglect the duties of his sacred office, as many others did; in either case, the Bishop had no effective power to depose or remove him.
In my time (1897-1903), a certain parish priest in Lisbon was notorious for the life he led; yet the Cardinal Patriarch was powerless to oust him from his place. I remember being told by a Portuguese Jesuit that certain parishes were never known to have a bad priest, while others were never known to have a good one. It was