Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/434

This page needs to be proofread.


2o THE CURIA

slipped in through the door unnoticed. Doubtless those in whose hands the decision rested had the best intentions, but they were after all Romans and Italians and thus inevitably too alien to the intellectual products of other peoples and cultures to be really well informed and judicious critics. If an intellectual innovator had enemies or jealous friends who were clever and cunning enough, a condemnation could always be obtained. For the fact that a book had offended "certain pious suceptibilities" or was "inopportune" sufficed to bring down upon it an order to take it out of circulation or change it. The sorest trial for the victim was the fact that the investigation and the reasons given for disapproval were shrouded in the deepest secrecy, and that in ad- dition he was bound to keep to himself any news that did leak out. But the triumphant opponents had no seal on their lips; and so it happened all too freely that a great and noble soul was hounded out of the Church by a howling pack or driven to quiet despair. Ger- man Catholicism saw all this with sorrow, and many a layman directed an humble petition to Rome. Pope Leo XIII again tried to soften the procedure, but since he allowed the Index to be printed and spread he made it a real creature after it had been for many years something like a threatening spectre of half legendary character. The ironical recognition of enemies of the Church was accorded this "catalogue of brilliant books," which was declared to prove anew that no Catholic could undertake serious study unless he set about first of all to get a dispensation from the Index. Catholic scholarship saw itself curtailed and isolated. The fact that it was held in bondage by ecclesiastical censorship was one of the reasons why hostile groups sponsored the adage, catholica non leguntur (Catholic books are not read) .

In Germanic countries the ancient opposition came to life again, and it was necessary to grant the same especial consideration. But despite all this Pope Pius X did not dissolve the Congregation when he reformed the Curia, though in a truly paternal way he declared that theology must not seek to condemn but "in an amiable and irenic manner seek to find common ground and show the author, if he is of the faithful, how much beauty and majesty he shares with the Church. If this course is followed, kindly enlightenment may result and at all events an invitation may be extended to seek conformity with the Church in all things/' But despite these mild words, the method


THE