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MASSILIANS


34


MASSILLON


hold to be witliin the definition of charities which are to he sustained irrespective of t he iiidelinit<'ni'ss of the heneficiaries, or of tlie hick of trustees, or the fact that the trustees apjiointed are not eonipeleni to take; and it is not derived from the Statute of Cliaritable Uses ( i:i Elizalieth, c. 4), hut existed prior lo and indepen- dent of tlial statute. Tlio court quotes with approval the definition of a charity as given l>v Mr. .Just ice Gray of Massacluisetts: " .\ charity in a legal .sen.se may be more fully defined as a gift, to be applied consistently with existing laws, for the benefit of an indefinite num- l)er of persons, either by bringing their hearts under the influence of etlucation or religion, by relieving their Ixidies from disease, sufTering, or constraint, by a.ssisting them to establish themselves for life, or by erecting and maintaining public buildings or works, or otherwise lessening the l.iurthen of government. It is immaterial whetlier the purpose is called charitable in the gift itself, if it be so described as to show that it is charitable in its nature " (Jackson v. Phillips, 14 Allen, 539). The court proceeds to show that the Ma.ss is intended to be a repetition of the sacrifice of the Cross, and is the chief and central act of worship in the Catholic Church; that it is pulilic. It points out the Catholic belief on the subject of Purgatory, and holds that the adding of a particular rememl>rance in the Mass does not change the character of the religious service and render it a mere private benefit; and fur- ther, that the bequest is an aid to the support of the clergj' (Hoeffer v. Clogan, 49 N. E. Rep., 527).

In Pennsylvania bequests and devises for Masses are distinctly held to be gifts for religious uses, the Supreme Court of that state having expressed the same view of the law subsequently adopted in Illinois. The court uses the following language : " According to the Roman Catholic system of faith there exists an intermediate state of the soul, after death and before final judgment, during which guilt incurred during life and unatoned for must be expiated; and the tempo- rary' pmiishments to which the souls of the penitent are thus subjected may be mitigated or arrested through the efficacy of the Mass as a propitiatory sac- rifice. Hence the practice of offering Masses for the departed. It cannot be doubted that, in obeying the injunction of the testator, intercession would be spe- cially invoked in behalf of the testator alone. The ser- vice is just the same in kind whether it be designed to promote the spiritual welfare of one or many. Prayer for the conversion of a single impenitent is as purely a religious act as a petition for the salvation of thou- sands. The services intended to be performed in carrj'ing out the trust created by the testator's will, as well as the objects designed to be attained, are all essentially rehgious in their character" (Rhymer's Appeal, 93 Pa., 142). In Pennsylvania care must be taken to observe the provisions of the Act of 26 April, 1855, P. L., 332, which prohibits devises or legacies for charitable or religious uses, unless by will executed at least one month before the death of the testator. A gift to be expended for Masses, being a religious u.se, would come within this statute. The provisions of the law relating to attesting witnesses, requiring two cred- ible and disinterested witnesses when any gift is made by will for religious or charitable uses, should also be noted.

In Massachusetts the courts take the same view as those of Pennsylvania, that gifts for Masses are to be sustained as for religious uses (Re Schouler, 134 Mass., 126).

In Iowa the Supreme Court has sustained a bequest "to the Catholic priest who may be pastor of the R. CathoUc Church when this will shall be executed, three hundred dollars that Masses may be said for me ", as being vaUd, though it contains no element of a chari- table use. The court -says: " We have said that this bequest, if the priest should accept the money, is a private trust: and we think it possesses the essential


elements of such a trust, as much as it would if the object were tlie erection of a monument or the doing of any other act intended alone to perpetuate the memory or name of the testator. But even if there is a technical departure because of no living beneficiary, still the bequest is valid. We have also said that it is not a charity, and we can discover no element of a charity in it. It seems to be a matter entirely personal to the testator. In one or more cases the courts have felt the necessity in order to sustain such a bequest, to denominate it a charity because charitable bequests liave had the sanction of the law. We know of no such limitation on testamentary acts as that bequests or devises must be in the line of other such acts, if other- wise lawful" (Moran v. Moran, 73 N. W. Rep., 617).

It follows then that there is no legal inhibition on bequests for Masses in any of the United States either on the ground of public policy or because they offend against any inherent principle of right. But care must be taken in drafting the will to observe the statutes, where any exist, in relation to devises or bequests in trust for any purpose as well as the current of decisions where cases have arisen. The language should be clear and drawn in accordance with legal rules. It should not be left to the chances of interpretation.

See the authorities quoted above.

Walter George Smith.

Massilians, See Semipelagians.

Massillon, Jean-Baptiste, celebrated French preacher and bishop; b. 24 June, 1663; d. 28 Septem- ber, 1742. The son of Frangois Massillon, a notary of Hyeres in Provence, he began his studies in the college of that town and completed them in the college of Marseilles, both under the Oratorians. He entered the Congregation of the Oratory at the age of eighteen. After his novitiate and theological studies, he was sent as professor to the colleges of the congregation at Pezenas, Marseilles, Montbrison, and, lastly, Vienne, where he taught philosophy and theology for six years (1689-95).

Ordained priest in 1691, he commenced preaching in the chapel of the Oratory at Vienne and in the vicin- ity of that city. Upon the death of Villeroy, Arch- bishop of Lyons (1693), he was called upon to deliver the funeral oration, and six months later that of M. de Villars, Archbishop of Vienne. Joining the Lyons Oratory in 1695, and summoned to Paris in the follow- ing year, to be director of the Seminary of Saint-Ma- gloire, he was thenceforward able to devote himself ex- clusively to preaching. As director of this seminary he delivered those lectures (conferences) to young clerics which are still highly esteemed. But a year later he was removed from his position at Saint-Ma- gloire for having occupied himself too exclusively with preaching. Having preached the Lent at Montpellier in 1698, he preached it the next year at the Oratory of Paris. His eloquence in this series of discourses was very much approved, and, although he aimed at preaching in a style unlike that of his predecessors, public opinion already hailed him as the successor of Bossuet and Bourdaloue who were at that time re- duced to silence by age. At the end of this year he preached the Advent at the court of Louis XIV — an honour which was in those days highly coveted as the consecration of a preacher's fame. He justified every hope, and the king wittily declared that, where he had formerly been well pleased with the preachers, he was now very ill pleased with himself. Massillon, by com- mand, once more appeared in the chapel of Versailles for the Lent of 1701. Bossuet, who, according to his secretary, had thought Massillon very far from the sublime in 1699, this time declared himself very well satisfied, as was the king. Massillon was summoned again for the Lent of 1704. This was the apogee of his eloquence and his success. The king assiduously attended his sermons, and in the royal presence Mas-