Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/366

This page needs to be proofread.


THE THRONE IN THE TIME OF STORMS

autocracy. In Great Britain the effect of the American and French Revolutions was that Catholics were gradually freed from their posi- tion of inferiority. A strong Irish movement of liberation led by O'Connell, and a Catholic trend in the Anglican Church from which the memorable figure of John Henry Newman, later on a Car- dinal, arose were occurrences of vital significance and of obvious historical logic. But in so far as their causes could be discerned they were more a religious expression of the organic Church than a turning toward Rome for reasons of ecclesiastical policy. "Oh, yes, if I were compelled (what could not be deemed entirely proper) to drink a toast to religion, I should of course, empty my glass to the Pope's health, but I should drink first to my conscience and then to the Pope,** Newman wrote later on when the dogma of infallibility was under discussion. In this expression of classic Catholic thinking, the bound- ary is clearly indicated beyond which the power of the Papacy cannot legitimately go.

Catherine II had promised protection to the Catholics of her realm. Where they actually received it, it did not last long. The seed sown so prodigally more than a hundred years before by Jesuits and Capuchins was stifled for many reasons. The Russian Catholic Church province under Archbishop Mohilew was under Josephinistic pressure and the Orthodox Church itself lacked the education and the religious energy needed to overcome the effects of a sceptical century on the cities, St. Petersburg had a metropolitan who sacrificed all four Gospels in order to dine with Czar Alexander I, and who ruled over a drunken clergy that conducted divine services in a slatternly fashion and on Easter Sunday gave the Last Supper to a besotted army. Such a priesthood, said Joseph de Maistrc who was an eyewitness, could easily reach an agreement with that Protestantism whose two dogmas were love of woman and hatred of the Pope. The capital city was crowded with preachers of sundry faiths, agents of Bible societies and revolutionary mystics, all of whom sounded the alarm against Rome. Alexander's soul was pious but amorphous. Today he listened to the Jesuits, but tomorrow Frau von Krucdencr had no difficulty persuading her "Angel of light" to establish the Holy Alliance. The College of Jesuits in Polozk, the last defendable fortress of the Catholic idea, was made a full-fledged Russian university in 1812; but already in 1820 it


THE