Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/851

This page needs to be proofread.




in Nirvana, tluis havinp no inducement to virtue, while it aecoriis the lower state of ."^wurga, with its sensual ilelights. to those who were helpful to the BuJdhas. Like its i>redccessor, its idea of ultimate extinction is an extension of the lirahmiiiist absoriJ- tion and leads logically to suicide. It holds mar- riage in abhorrence, and suppresses all legitimate desires, forbidding all recreation, music, scientific pursuits, etc. Industrial occupations are regarded with contempt, and the ideal state is beggarv* and idleness. .\lthough insisting U|M)n celibacy as the proper state of man, it tolerates polygamy and divorce. It speaks complacently of Huddha's jnany hundred wives, before his conversion, lauds the extensive seraglio of IJimbissasa, it.s most dis- tinguished royal convert, without hinting at its being any derogation from the standaRl of conduct of a Buddhist layman, while "the oHieial head of Southern Buddliisin at the present day. the King of Siam, without scruple the privilege of main- taining a harem" (.Viken). It did n(jt abolish the caste system except in the monasteries. Finally, "in the spread of tliis religion to other lands it adopted the idolatrous and obscene worship of Nepal; gave its sanction to the degrading shamanistic worsliip of Thibet, and is overlaid with the superstitions peculiar to China, MongoUa, and Thibet. " It is an abuse of terms to describe the practices of such a creed as asceticism.

In conclusion, it may be said that the difference between false and true asceticism is this: false asceticism starts out with a wrong idea of the nature of man, of the world, of God; it proposes to follow human reason, but soon falls into folly and becomes fanatical, and sometimes insane, in its methods antl projects. With an exaggerated idea of the rights and powers of the individual, it rebels against all spiritual control and, usurping a greater authority tlian the Chvirch has ever claimed, leads its dupes into the wildest extravagances. Its historj' is one of disturbance, disorder, and anarchy, and is barren of results in the acquisition of truth, or the uplifting of the individual, and in works of benevolence or intellectual progress; and in some instances it has been the instrument of the most deplorable moral degradation. True asceticism, on the contrary, is guided by right rea,son, assisted by the light of revelation; it comprehends clearly the true natvire of man, his destiny, and his obligations. Knowing that he has not been created in a merely natural con- dition, but elevated to a supernatural state, it seeks to illumine his mind and strengthen his will by super- natural grace. .■Vware that he has to control his lower passions and withstand the assaults of the evil spirit and the seductions of the world, it not only permits, but enjoins, the practice of penance, while, by the virtue of prudence which it inculcates, it prevents excess. Instead of witlidrawing him from his fellow-men and inducing moroscncss and pride, it bestows on him joy and humility, inspires him with the greatest love for humanity, and cultivates that spirit of self-sacrifice which has, by its works of benevolence and charity, conferred countless bene- fits on the human race. In a word, asceticism is nothing else than an enlightened method adopted in the ob.servance of the law of God thrt>ugh all the various degrees of service, from the obedience of tlie ordinary- believer to the absorbing devotion of the greatest samt, guiding each in accordance with the measure of grace imparted by the Spirit of Light and Truth.

.SrARAMr.LLi. Dirfciorium Atceticum (London, 1897); Doyle, Prinnittrt of Rrligioiu Ufr (I-ondon, 1906); Lr. Gacdikh, Dr Prrlrctiont ViliT Spiritvilit (Parw, 1850); Devine. ilanwil of AgrrtK'il Thfotogy (Ixindon, 1902); Fox. Reliifion and Mornlity ( Npw York. 1899); AlKEN. T)ir Dllamma of Uolama <H.i-tim. 1900); Kodriuuez, Chritlian Prrfeetion.


Aschbach, Joseph, Rittek von, German historian, b. at lloclist, in IIesse-Na.ssau, 29 April, 1801; d. at Vienna, 2.5 .■\pril, 1S82. In 1819 he began the study of theology and philosophy at the Iniversity of Hei- delberg, but soon turned his attention to that of his- tory, at the instigation of the well-known historian Selilo.s.ser. On the completion of this <ourse, in 1823, he wiis appointed instructor at tlie Select School of Frankfort-on-the-.Main. In 1842 he obtained a reputation as Professor of History at the I'nivcrsity of Bonn, whence he removed to Vienna in 18,53, to fill the .same position. Within two years he became a memljer of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, was ennobled in 1870, and retired from the exercise of his profession in 1872, ten years prior to his death. While in Frankfort he wrote: "Geschichte der Westgoten" (Frankfort, 1827); "Geschichte der Omajiaden in Spanien" (Frankfort, 1829, 1830; 2d ed., Vienna, 1860); "Geschichte Spaniens und Portugals zur Zeit der Almaroviden und Almo- haden" (2 vols., Frankfort, 1833, 1837); "Geschichte der Heruler und Gepiden" (first in Schlosser's ".\rchiv fur Geschichte und Literatur" and then separately, Frankfort, 183.5); "Geschichte Kaiser Signumds" (4 vols., Hamburg, 18.38-4.5). In Bonn he published, first, the " I'rkundlichc Ge- schichte der Grafen von Wertheim" (2 vols., Frank- fort, 1843) and then edited the "AUgemeine Kirchen- lexikon" (4 vols., Frankfort and Mainz, 1846-51) most of the historical articles being from his own pen. In Vienna he devoted himself chiefly to the liistory of the Roman Emperors, and published the interesting, though not always tenable, results of his investigations in the "Sitzungsberiehten und Denkschriften" of the Vienna .\cademy of .Sciences. His "Geschichte der Wiener I'niversitat " w:is writ- ten to mark the celebration of the fifth centenary of the University of Vienna. The first volume f\'ienna, 186,5) dealt with the period from 136.5 to 1465; the second (Vienna, 1877), with the Viennese humanists of the time of the Emperor Maximilian I; the third, which appeared after his death (Vienna, I.SSS), brings the Instory down to 1.565. His two latest works attracted no little attention; "Die frtiheren A\'anderjahre des Conrad Celtes, tind die Anfangc der von ihm errichteten gelehrten Sodali- tiiten" (Vienna, 1869); and, more especially, " Ros- witha und Conrad Celtes" (Vienna, 1867, 2d ed., 1868). In this work, he endeavoured to prove that the poem addressed to the Emperor Otto the CJreat, hitherto attributed to the nun Roswitha of Gan- dersheim, really originated in the sixteenth ccnturj' and was composed by the humanist Conrad Celtes. The contention was, however, immediately and effectually confuted. Patricius Schl.^ger.

Ascoli-Piceno, The Diocese of, comprising six- teen towns in the Province of Ascoli-Piceno, two in that of .\quila, and two in that of Teramo, Italy. It is under the immediate jvirisdiction of the Holy See. " A.scoli-Piceno is one of the cities of Italy , .saj-s Harnack (Die Mission, etc., Leipzig. .502), "which, because of its importance, we may l>elieve has had a Christian community and a bishopric from the middle of the third centurj', when at the Synod held by Pope Cornelius in Rome sixty bishops were present" (Lus., VI, xhii). The traces of this bishopric, however, do not appear until the fourth centurj'; St. Emidius, martjTed under Diocletian; Claudius, present at the Sjmod of Rimini (.•Vrian Controversy,. 3.59), and. in the fifth century, Lusentius. present at the Synod of Milan which sent the famous letter to Pope Leo I (440-461 ) , were Bishops of A.scoli. Worthy of note in Ascoli. from an artistic standpoint, is the baptistery dating from the twelfth centur>'. ( )ne of its bishops, Giulio de' Medici, afterwards lx»came Pope Clement VII (1.523-.34). The imlitical iiiitxir-