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The hills and valleys shout aloud with joy
To skies whose opening splendor routs the night,
The shades of death and be his people's light.
“In royal Bethlehem,” the angel said,
“This night the Ancient One is made a child," And o'er the earth the tidings glad have spread,
Till winter blossoms as tho' spring had smiled.
And from the hills yet angel voices sound,
The heavenly host proclaim the new-born king,
Is covered with the white shield of her wing.
FROM A PAPER READ BEFORE THE DE LA SALLE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION.
Some months ago an effort was made these offenders, I read an editorial in in our courts, to bring to justice several a Catholic paper published out West, individuals who unblushingly and de- demanding the release of the culprits, fiantly published and circulated a vile, and grandiloquently identifying their scandalous journal. It is not necessary cause with that of the freedom of to go into the details of the case further speech. Of course the writer knew than to say that several wretched little about the character of the persons women were implicated in the outrage or the merits of the case he defended, upon public decency, and that they but it was no less painful to observe gloried in a system which embodies the that such inexcusable ignorance and lowest form of social degradation that false sentiment should display itself in can be conceived. While the authori- a journal presumably representing ties, in the face of the indifference of Catholic principles. I had noticed the larger portion of the community before, this loose, reckless manner of and the morbid sympathies of a small- dealing with problems more or less er class, were endeavoring to punish affecting the interests of society, and it seemed to me that some effort should feel that the glib utterances of these be made to arouse the popular intelli- partners in cheap philosophy tend to gence from the complacency with which mislead me and my fellow young men it views the introduction of dangerous upon this question of toleration, I am innovations. Your average American here to ask for a consideration of its citizen never troubles his mind with importance and to test the value of the fine distinctions between liberty and popular, fashionable impressions relicense. All he knows is, that “this garding it. As the whole drift of is a free country,” and with that asser- public opinion is ostensibly toward the tion, like Podsnap, he waives out of extension of toleration, I shall content existence every apprehension of danger myself with inquiring how far that from a too free exercise of his liberal- liberal spirit is justified, and what ity. It is true he cannot be expected danger, if any, is to be apprehended to enter deeply into the questions from it. Much could be said upon the underlying government and society, other side, in favor of toleration as but there are truths which he can against persecution, and I fancy it understand, and which should be would not be difficult to prove that brought home to him as affecting his there is no intolerance more violent most cherished interests. I am inclined than that to be found among many of to believe that many a popular error the loudest-voiced champions of tolercould be corrected and many a catas- ation. It has also happened before in trophe averted, if the great minds of the history of the world, that the ardent, the world would oftener let themselves sincere lovers of a cause have brought down to the level of the average intelli- about its defeat and destruction. And gence of men—not that I mean they it is worth inquiring whether we may should popularize truth at the expense not be so liberal and tolerant .as to of its integrity, but that they should pave the way for the worst kind of make clear and intelligible to the intolerance. ordinary comprehension the applica- What is toleration | The dictionary tion of fundamental principles. If will tell us almost as well as any phidemagogues engross the attention of losopher could. Toleration is the the masses, it is as much to be attrib- allowance of religious opinions and uted to the indifference of those who modes of worship in a state, when conshould be their leaders as to their own trary to or different from those of the ignorance.
established church or belief." That
. For myself, as a young man standing is, toleration is not a right to be deupon the threshold of active life and manded but a privilege to be accorded. conscious that I must take sides upon Now the established belief in the United the issues which will in a great measure States, the essential element underlying determine my future and the future of its government, the basis of its social those around me, I refuse to accept as system, and the source of its law, is
, an infallible authority and guide those Christianity. That cannot be disputed. twin prophets of our time—the editor Webster, in an argument before the and the politician. And because Il Supreme Court, said: “There is
nothing we look for with more certain- | own formed a part, did not attach ty than this general principle that much importance to the evils which Christianity is a part of the law of the might arise from the freedom and land;" and Judge Story, in his Com- toleration he witnessed in this country. mentary on the Constitution, forcibly But yet in his great work on Democexpresses the same view. From that racy such expressions as the following Christianity we have our institutions, are frequently to be found : “How is and only in so far as their safety is not it possible that society should escape jeopardized can we tolerate systems destruction if the moral tie be not outside of Christianity. The dignity strengthened in proportion as .
the of the law must be upheld, the security political tie is relaxed ? and what can of the family preserved, the sacredness be done with a people which is its of the marriage tie vindicated, and a own master, if it be not submissive distinctive Christian morality be en- to the Divinity." And again: “If forced, as far as human laws can among the opinions of a democratic enforce morality. In the year 1810, people any of those pernicious theories in this State, a man was convicted at exist which tend to inculcate that all the general sessions, of blasphemy, and perishes with the body, let the men by was sentenced to be imprisoned and whom such theories are professed be fined.
was taken to the marked out as the natural foes of such Supreme Court, and Chief-Justice a people.” Kent sustained the decision of the I have dwelt upon the Christian State tribunal. In 1822 a man was character of the nation and the inviolatried and convicted for the same bility of our moral code, not because I offence in Pennsylvania. That was mean to consider the objections usually half a century ago, and we have made urged by infidels. It is useless as progress since then! Yes, but it is well as foreign to my present purpose like much of the progress nowadays, to enter into speculations as to the downward. At the present time an value of a social contract in which God atheist's evidence is of no value in our shall have no voice. There is nothing courts, but I have no doubt that even more certain in this world than the that safeguard will be swept away worthlessness of human obligations if the people continue to be tolerant not ratified by a divine authority. at the expense of their safety.
But because even the best disposed “Let us with caution indulge the among us are inclined to forget how supposition that morality can be main- closely our interests as a people are tained without religion," was the sol- identified with Christianity, it is well emn warning of Washington, and the that that connection be constantly history of the world is a witness to its kept before our minds. timeliness. De Tocqueville, who is too Now, with a government based upon often disposed to treat of religion as a the principles of Christianity, to what matter of political economy and is there extent shall we tolerate those who profore insensible to the dangers that are fess doctrines which, if put in practice, produced from doctrines of which his would entirely overthrow our social
system? It is a difficult matter to fix the press. The exercise of these rights ?
. the limits of toleration, but it is one is liable to abuse, and is therefore of those problems that must not be amenable to law-a necessary conseshirked, even if we cannot arrive at an quence which no one really denies, absolutely perfect solution. Let us but which is hidden under heaps of understand at the outset that we are rhetorical rubbish
and newspaper not striving to find a means whereby bunkum. But while it is imperative government may force men to practise upon a Christian people to defend their Christian virtue. That is impossible. institutions against the assaults of No law can reach the consciences of falsehood and error, they are justified men. But because men cannot be in making distinctions in their treatmade Christian is reason why ment of even dangerous foes. Thus Christian men should be at the mercy the scientist or philosopher, who has of those who are disposed to be their set himself up as a god, is an enemy enemies. And while it is not to be to all true civilization, but as far as his forgotten that every allowance must blind egotism permits he may be be made for the weakness of human honest in his investigations. At any nature, and that the cause is blest rate he does not threaten society with which can vanquish its foes with no immediate disorganization, his modes arms other than those of reason and of warfare cannot take us unawares, charity, it must also be borne in mind and he can be successfully combated that there does come a time in the life without the intervention of the civil of individuals as of nations when a power. But the socialist who publishes bold and decided stand must be taken a vile, scandalous work under the for the truth, and no compromise made pretence of revising our moral code, with its foes. It is our task to in- and who insults all that Christian men quire when that limit of endurance hold sacred, is an offender who should has been passed.
be summarily dealt with. The demAnd first we should say that when agogue who takes advantage of a opinions manifest themselves in actions “strike” to fill working men with the which affect the supremacy of the law, pernicious theories of the Revolution then they come within the legitimate and to goad them on to violence is sphere of government, and if govern- nothing more than a disturber of the ment has any authority at all it must public peace and should be treated deal with these actions whether they accordingly. Nor should we in such are cloaked with a creed or a system a case wait until these incendiary of philosophy. Further than this: the doctrines produce the intended effect. propagation of opinions is in itself an Their propagation is of itself a serious action which may be more or less offence and calls for punishment. It injurious to the interests of the com- does not matter what cause these indimunity and which can and should be viduals style themselves representarestricted. That is, a Christian com- tives of; because they speak and write munity can recognize no immutable fluently, eloquently if you will, they rights in the freedom of speech or of are entitled to no more clemency than any other dangerous criminals. True, You will remember that a few
years they may be fanatics. If so, it is the ago permission was solicited and obduty of the community to put them un- tained from the authorities of this city der restraint, as is done with other for a procession to pass through its insane people. If they are dishonest streets commemorating the Communthey deserve punishment for that and ists who had paid the penalty of their their maliciousness.
crimes. Think of it. The blackest Am I contending for something that deeds of murder, of sacrilege, of robhas long since been granted ? Does bery, and of treason, that ever threateverybody recognize that society must ened the world with all the horrors of be protected, that its enemies and all anarchy and barbarism were covered disturbers of its peace and security with the mantle of liberty, and their should not be tolerated ? Let us see. perpetrators honored as martyrs in a
Not long ago I read an account in city numbering thousands of Christian the papers
of a convention held at citizens. I must confess that as on Chicago, where the theories advanced that Sunday I watched the procession were such as could not be described in pass through one of our principal avendecent language, and yet this was ues, there came upon me bodings of a only one among a hundred instances future not far distant when this demonof flagrant violations of public decency stration would have obtained a deeper to which the popular mind has become and more fatal significance. I could accustomed. I said to myself, these see that the men passing before me shameless men and women are too in- were most of them weak and deluded, significant to deserve the notice of the without even energy enough to make law, and yet I could not resist the their bad cause very dangerous, but I thought that from just such beginnings felt that they afforded just such matehave grown calamities which terribly rial as could be used by a few knavish scourged the human race. What and desperate leaders to inflict a cruel crime, what vice, may not take unto blow upon society. And, will it be itself the pretence of progressive ideas believed I saw with my own eyes and attack the sanctity of our homes in that band of Internationalists, Comif such public exhibitions of moral de- munists, and Free-Lovers who were pravity as these are tolerated ? honoring the memories of the murder
Your question of Mormonism—whaters of Archbishop Darboy, two men is it but a notable abuse and perver- widely known among their own counsion of toleration which the American trymen as patriotic and Catholic people lack the courage and the honor Irishmen. What feelings of contempt to put an end to forever! That for and disgust we must have for such which men are suffering in the prisons shameless apostasy as this—but after of one section of our territory has been all
, these men had only learned the made the foundation for what is called lesson of the times. They had caught a religion in another, and a Christian the popular conception of toleration and people calmly contemplate the mon- meant to turn it to the advantage of their strous anomaly.