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Foreign and Colonial Intelligence.
AUSTRALIA.-State of the Diocese of Melbourne.-A letter has beer addressed by the Bishop of Melbourne to the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he gives the following account of the prospects of the Church in his diocese:
"Of the prospects of the Aboriginal inhabitants, I can say nothing favourable. I do not see at present any opening for a mission among them. Almost every attempt which has been made, both for their instruction and conversion, is now abandoned. One which was carried on by the Wesleyans for a time with some hopes of success, has just been given up in despair; and the remnant of the various tribes which still survives, (for they are fast dwindling away,) is as ignorant of the one living and true God as any generation of their forefathers. It is a melancholy thought that such should be the result of our occupation of their country; but if those who were born and brought up in Christian England, are suffered to fall into a state of ignorance and ungodliness scarcely better than heathenism, how can we wonder that the native heathen should continue still in their former darkness? How can we expect that they should be converted to the faith in Christ, when those who were baptized into that faith in infancy, are suffered to live in utter neglect and forgetfulness of its truths and precepts ? The native tribes are so few in number, so dispersed up and down the country, and so degraded in intelligence and morals, that I do not think a direct mission to them at present would be attended with any prospect of success. My chief hope is, that God will stir up the hearts of His people at home and in this country, and will, in answer to their prayers, send forth a body of able and faithful men, who may go everywhere among our fellow-countrymen, preaching the Word.
"The Church of Rome possesses many adherents in the towns of Melbourne and Geelong, and also throughout the country. They have a large cathedral, built in a great measure by the contributions of nominal Protestants in Melbourne, and a handsome Church at Geelong; and as a bishop has just been consecrated for this province, we cannot doubt that the most earnest efforts will be made to extend their influence. These efforts we must endeavour, to the utmost of our power, in dependence upon the Divine assistance, to counteract; and, humanly speaking, they can be effectually counteracted only by affording to the inhabitants, both of the towns and country, sound evangelical instruction, and a pure ritual of public worship. On the other hand, the members of the various Protestant denominations, fearful of the spread of Romanism, and also sensible of the extreme spiritual destitution
prevailing throughout the country, are, for the most part, kindly disposed towards one another; and all their several ministers seem to be agreed, that it is their duty, on the ground of Christian prudence as well as of Christian charity, to co-operate, as far as possible, in the evangelization of the people. In Melbourne and Geelong I have met with no appearance of hostility to our Church among them, while in the country I have found members of every denomination, not only ready to avail themselves of the ordinances of the Gospel when offered to them by us, but coming forward of their own accord to ask me to supply their necessity. They seem to think that their only hope is to obtain a clergyman of the Church of England; for the schism in the Presbyterian Church has greatly weakened its influence and paralysed its exertions, and no other communion, except that of the Wesleyans, is at all in a condition to extend its labours beyond Melbourne itself. Thus the time is, in this respect, most favourable to us; but the Free Presbyterian Church is making great efforts, and their zeal and activity, despite of their many disadvantages here, may, if we lose the present opportunity, shut many a door which is now opened to us of the Lord."
ITALY.-The Pope at Gaela.-The intelligence of the formal deposition of Pius IX., which had been received at the moment of our closing our last intelligence, proved in the sequel to have been premature. In the first instance, it appears, that while the Pope appointed a commission to carry on the temporal government of the Pontifical States in his absence, the insurgents at Rome, after an ineffectual attempt to negotiate with Pius, who refused to admit the deputation to his presence, proceeded, on the 12th of December, to vest the supreme authority in a provisional Junta, charged with governing in the name of the Sovereign until his return. Into the details of the events which have since taken place, and which are chiefly of a political nature, this is not the place, even if we could spare the room, to enter. We shall, therefore, confine ourselves to those points which bear more or less directly upon the ecclesiastical position of the Pope towards his own subjects.
Pius IX. having been followed to Gaeta by the College of Cardinals, resumed there the course of ecclesiastical business, holding consistories, and performing other acts of his pontifical authority. The first of these was a "Protest against the creation at Rome of a Government Junta," dated December 17th, in which, after recapitulating the efforts which he had made to give to his people liberal institutions, the ungrateful return made to him for these benefits, and the events which finally compelled him to seek safety in flight, and appealing to the solemn oaths by which he is pledged to preserve the patrimony of the Holy See, and to transmit it in its integrity to his successors, he says:"We declare null and void, without any force or legal authority, all the documents set forth in pursuance of the violence done unto Us; specifically protesting, that the State Junta established at Rome is nothing more than a usurpation of Our sovereign power; and that the said Junta neither has, nor can have, any authority whatever.
Be it known, therefore, to all Our subjects, of whatever rank or condition, that at Rome, and in the whole extent of the Pontifical State, there neither is, nor can be, any legitimate power which does not emanate expressly from Us; that We have, by Our sovereign Motu Proprio of the 27th of November, established a temporary Government Commission, to which alone belongs the government of the State during Our absence, and until such time as We Ourselves shall ordain otherwise."
This protest having failed of producing any effect, and the Provisional Government having issued their decree for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, the Pope proceeded, on the 1st of January of the present year, to a formal sentence of excommunication against all the authors and abettors of the revolutionary government. This document, addressed to "Our dearly beloved subjects," runs as follows:
"In this peaceful abode, to which it has pleased Divine Providence to direct Us, in order that We might in full freedom declare Our sentiments and Our will, We were waiting, in the hope that Our misguided sons would be overtaken by remorse for the sacrilegious and criminal acts committed against persons attached to Us, some of whom have been killed, and others subjected to barbarous outrages, as well as for the acts of sacrilege and crime perpetrated in Our residence, and against Our own person. We have, however, hitherto received nothing beyond a barren invitation to return into our capital, and that without one word of condemnation of the crimes aforesaid, and without the least guarantee to secure Us against the fraudulent and violent proceedings of that band of murderers whose barbarous despotism still tyrannizes over Rome and over the States of the Church. We were in expectation that the protests and decrees put forth by Us would recall to their duties of allegiance and fidelity those who, in Our very capital, set those duties at nought, and trample them under foot. But, instead of their thus returning, a new and still more monstrous act of hypocritical felony and actual rebellion, audaciously committed by them, has filled up the measure of Our grief, and at the same time excited Our just indignation, even as it will fill the Universal Church with sorrow. We allude to that proceeding, so detestable in every respect, whereby it is pretended to convoke a so-called general National Assembly of the Roman State, by a decree of the 29th of December last, with a view to decide upon the establishment of new political institutions in the Pontifical States. Thus heaping iniquity upon iniquity, the authors and fosterers of demagogical anarchy are labouring to destroy the temporal authority of the Roman Pontiff over the dominions of Holy Church, by assuming and propagating the notion, that his sovereign right is liable to be disputed, and dependent on the caprice of factions, notwithstanding that it is irrefragably established upon the most ancient and most solid titles, and venerated, recognised, and defended by all nations. We shall not so far abase Our dignity as to insist upon the monstrous character of this abominable proceeding, whether it be considered as to the absurdity in which it originates, or the illegality which attaches to it, or the impious purpose to which it tends; but it certainly behoves Us, by virtue
of the Apostolic authority with which, however unworthy, We are invested, and of the responsibility which devolves upon Us, through the obligation of the most sacred oaths, in the presence of the Almighty, not only to protest, as We do hereby, in the most energetic and efficacious manner, against this proceeding, but moreover to condemn it in the face of the whole world, as an enormous and sacrilegious crime committed to the prejudice of Our independence and sovereignty, a crime deserving of all the punishments decreed against it by the laws both of God and
"We feel persuaded, that on receiving that impudent invitation, you were seized with holy indignation, and repelled far from you so unworthy and so criminal a proposal. Nevertheless, in order that none of you may be able to pretend that he was deceived by fallacious seductions, and by the preachers of subversive doctrines, or that he was ignorant of the devices of the enemies of all order, all law, all right, all true liberty, and even happiness, We have determined to-day again to lift up and send abroad Our voice, in such manner as to make you perfectly certain that We absolutely prohibit you, whatever may be your rank and condition, from taking any part in the meetings which may be held for the election of individuals to be sent to the assembly so condemned. At the same time We remind you, that the absolute prohibition, hereby notified to you, has the sanction of the decrees of Our predecessors, and of the Councils, and more especially of the most holy Council of Trent, (Sess. xxii. c. xi. De Reform.) wherein the Church has repeatedly fulminated her censures, and in particular the major excommunication, which, without any express declaration to that effect, every one incurs who dares to make any criminal attempt, of whatever kind, against the temporal sovereignty of the Sovereign Roman Pontiff; even as We declare such excommunication to have been already incurred by all those who have been accessory to the above-named proceeding, and to the antecedent acts accomplished to the detriment of the same sovereignty, or who have, in any other way whatever, and under false pretences, disturbed, violated, and usurped Our authority. But although We feel Ourselves compelled, by Our conscientious duty, to preserve and defend the sacred deposit of the patrimony of the Spouse of Jesus Christ, committed to Our care, and to employ for this purpose the sword of a just severity, which God Himself, Our Judge, has given Us for this end, still we can never forget that We occupy on earth the place of Him who, even in the execution of justice, does not fail to show mercy. Lifting up Our hands, therefore, to Heaven, and committing and commending to Him anew this so just cause, which is His cause far more than Ours, and declaring Ourselves again perfectly ready, with the aid of His mighty grace, to drain, even to the dregs, for the defence and glory of the Catholic Church, the cup of persecution which He Himself was the first to drink for the salvation of that Church, We shall not cease to supplicate and to entreat Him, that He may of His goodness hear the present prayer, which We address to Him day and night for the conversion and salva
tion of those that have gone astray. No day certainly shall be hailed by Us with greater joy, than the day when it shall be granted Us to see those of Our sons, from whom We receive at this time so much trouble and bitterness, return to the fold of the Lord. The hope of Our soon seeing so happy a day, is strengthened in Us by the thought of the universality of the prayers which, united with Our own, rise to the throne of Divine Mercy from the lips and hearts of all the faithful in the Catholic world, and which continually urge it and do it violence, that it may change the hearts of sinners, and bring them back to the paths of truth and justice."
Modified and subdued as is the tone of this sentence of excommunication, when compared with the Bulls formerly fulminated from the Vatican for this purpose, it produced the utmost exasperation at Rome. It became known there early on Sunday the 7th of January, and on the evening of the same day a large crowd collected in the Piazza del Popolo, which, under the orders of the notorious Ciceruacchio, formed a procession, at the head of which were carried a crucifix and, on a number of long poles, a papal mitre and a number of cardinals' hats. The crowd followed, walking in mock solemnity, and chanting the De Profundis and the Miserere. Having arrived in the Via Fratina, where there is a public latrina, the procession halted, and the people, on their knees, intoned the Libera me, Domine, while some of them entered the building and threw down a copy of the Pope's excommunication into the common sewer. They then affixed by the side of the inscription, signifying the destination of the building, a sheet of paper with the words: 66 Deposito della scommunica!-Resting-place of the excommunication." After this they proceeded, still in procession, and with shouts calling for illumination of the streets through which they passed, to the Ponte Sisto, where they pitched the papal mitre and the cardinals' hats into the river. The whole of this proceeding, though the respectable inhabitants took no part in it, was suffered to take place, undisturbed by any interference from the authorities.
Meanwhile such of the priests as had ventured to read the sentence of excommunication at the morning service, were in danger of their lives. The mob searched for them, and it was only through having concealed themselves in time that they escaped. The document had also been affixed on the doors of the four great cathedrals, of St. John of Lateran, St. Peter of the Vatican, St. Paul fuori le mura, and Santa Maria Maggiore; from all of which it was torn down by the mob. The cure of Santa Maria Maggiore, however, had the courage to post up a second copy of it, and, having sufficient influence to procure a detachment of the civic guard of the district to defend the cathedral, he succeeded in keeping it in its place. During the night, the adherents of the Pope formed themselves into small armed bodies, who escorted bill-stickers all through the town, and posted up the excommunication on all the church-doors, and on all the street-corners, so that its contents became, in spite of the efforts of the revolutionary party, pretty generally known to the inhabitants. As to the effect which the