The ease with which Taxil succeeded in duping so many prominent representatives of the papal hierarchy naturally disturbed the equanimity of the most intelligent Catholics, especially in Germany, and caused them to sound a note of alarm. How is it possible, they asked themselves, for a large body of educated men, claiming to be the spiritual guides of the people, to become the victims of so plump an imposition? Is it not due to radical defects in the development and discipline of the intellectual faculties? Nearly a century ago Madame de Staël remarked that "since the Reformation the Protestant universities stand unquestionably higher than the Catholic, and the whole literary fame of Germany emanates from these institutions"; and this opinion has been quoted and indorsed by the unimpeachable authority of an eminent Catholic theologian, the late Professor Döllinger. Recently another Catholic, Dr. Hermann Schell, Professor of Apologetics in the University of Würzburg, has called attention to the latest statistics of religious denominations in Germany, showing the inferiority of Catholics, as indicated by their comparative lack of interest in higher education and the smaller percentage of them in the learned professions. In this connection he refers to Taxil's
successful exposure of the intellectual deficiencies, which render the hierophants of Roman Catholicism incapable of resisting the most palpable delusions of superstition. His two "tracts for the times," as they might fitly be termed, Der Katholicismus als Princip des Fortschritts and Die neue Zeit und der alte Glaube, maintain that Catholicism should be progressive, and that the old faith can remain a living force in each new era only by adapting itself to every real advance of mankind in knowledge and thus becoming reanimated by the spirit of the age. Professor Schell expresses his sympathy
- Cf. Ignaz von Döllinger. Sein Leben auf Grund seines schriftlichen Nachlasses dargestellt von J. Friedrich. München: Beck, 1899, vol. i, p. 77.
- In confirmation of this statement we may cite the statistical tables of Dr. Von Mayr for 1896, giving the number in every ten thousand of the different denominations attending the gymnasia or classical schools, the scientific schools with Latin, and the scientific schools without Latin:
Protestants 27.7 13.2 12.5 Catholics 21.4 3.8 6.7 Dissidents 17.7 13.2 18.7 Jews 173.7 65.8 92.7
The Catholic students in the gymnasia are mostly candidates for the priesthood. "Dissidents" are members of free religious associations. A noteworthy feature is the large proportion of Jews, and curiously enough this laudable characteristic is made by anti-Semitic agitators a ground of crimination and used to prejudice the public mind. Not long since a demagogue of that ilk in Berlin charged the Jews with putting forth every effort for the education of their sons, in order that they might more effectually compete with Christians; "therefore down with the Jews!"