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opinion great political, social, moral, or religious ends. Catholic Journalism, or Journalism devoted to Catholic interests, is of a still more recent origin, and hardly dates from a period anterior to the fall of the first French Empire ; but the encouragement it has received from the Catholic Prelates in most countries and even from the Vicar of our Lord himself, permits us to regard it as a legitimate calling, in which every Catholic is as free to engage, under a proper sense of responsiblity, as in any other secular business. Journalism did not, it is true, originate with Catholics, or in the interests of religion, but with the enemies of the Church, for revolutionary purposes ; yet since it is in itself indifferent, and may be used for good as well as for evil, there is, as far as we can see, no solid reason why the Church should not avail herself of its capabilities for good, and suffer it to be used for the promotion of her interests, as she does the printing press itself, steamboats, railroads, lightning telegraphs, progress in legislation, or any other invention or improvement in the natural order.
Before the institution of Journalism the Church got along very well without it, and she could continue to get along very well were it suppressed. It enters not into her constitution, and is in no sense essential to her existence or to her efficient operation as the Church of God. But it is one of the most striking characteristics of our age and especially of our country, and the chosen medium of acting on the public mind. The ablest, the most energetic, and living writers of the day, instead of writing folios, or pamphlets as formerly, write leaders in the journals, or contribute articles to Reviews and Magazines. Journalism has undeniably become the most approved and the most efficient means through which modern thought is expressed, and the public mind is formed and directed. Every party, almost every fragment of a party has its public journal as the organ of its peculiar doctrines, opinions, purposes, hopes, or aspirations. It becomes necessary therefore for Catholics to have their journals, and to use them as a means of neutralizing the effects of the non-Catholic press, and of promoting what may be called the external interests of religion. It seems but right that they should do what they can to turn the weapon invented for their
destruction against their enemies, and to convert what was designed for evil into good ; and we know from the encouragement which the Holy Father has deigned to extend to us personally, and also from that so generously extended to us by the illustrious hierarchy of our country, that it is so. With the generous cooperation of the Catholic laity with their clergy, we see no reason why the Catholic press, in a very short time, should not become in the hands of Catholics even more efficient for good than it has hitherto been for evil in the hands of our enemies.
As yet, Catholic Journalism is in its infancy, and is far from having developed all its capabilities. The Catholic public have not yet given it full play, and are as yet hardly prepared to regard it as an approved mode of promoting Catholic interests. They find it, in some measure, foreign to their habits as Catholics, and distrust it the moment that it goes beyond the province of the gazette or the mere newspaper, or aims at something more than the publication of interesting items of intelligence, or the refutation of some foul calumny on Catholic persons or Catholic institutions, and attempts to enter into the discussion of the great living questions of the day and to obtain for them a Catholic solution. They have not taken a sufficiently broad and elevated view of its real province, and are startled rather than edified by its rising to the level of its mission. They but imperfectly appreciate its liberty in matters of opinion, and are too ready to visit an error or what they suppose to be an error in matters of opinion with a severity due only to an error in matters of faith. The conductors of Catholic Journalism are to a great extent uncertain as to the legitimate sphere of the Catholic journalist, and are sometimes weak and inefficient through à laudable fear of encroaching on the prerogatives of authority, and sometimes mischievous through their rash assumption of the province of the pastors and doctors of the Church. But these defects and errors of both people and journalists are due to the infancy of Catholic Journalism, and to the want of clear, distinct, and definite views of its legitimate sphere. They will be corrected with time, and disappear in proportion as Catholic Journalism comes to be more fully and more universally recog
nized as a lawful calling, and its rights and duties are better understood and more clearly defined. For a long time to come, Catholic Journalism is likely to be an approved institution for the defence and support of Catholic interests. It will always be outside the Church, below the Church, and in the natural order ; but still, as the representative of a just public opinion it will come, like true civilization, to the defence and support of religion against her external enemies. It has and can have no spiritual authority ; it is and can be no institution in the Church, but is and may be an institution outside the Church, devoted to her interests, and capable of rendering her valuable external service, through its action in forming and directing public opinion.
Our own so-called Catholic Press has, no doubt, the errors and imperfections incident to its youth, and the heterogeneous character of our Catholic population. As Catholics, in all that pertains to religion proper, they are homogeneous, and of one mind and one heart; but in all other respects they are about as diverse as it is possible to conceive them, and nothing is more natural, if nothing is more to be regretted, than that the diversity which obtains among them should have its representatives in the press. That this diversity has had its representatives, and that the utility of the press has been impaired thereby, and some injury done to Catholic interests, must be conceded. His Grace, the Archbishop of New York, ever vigilant as becomes the faithful and zealous pastor, sees and deplores it, and with a view to remedying the evil, and preventing the press in future from fostering any divergent tendencies there may be among us, has written and published the highly interesting and important document now before us. His Grace's aim has evidently been to restore harmony where it has been disturbed, and to remind the press that Catholics should live and act in unity, and that it forgets its duty when it sows divisions among them. He is deeply impressed with the dangers that threaten our internal peace ; he thinks these dangers, partly incidental to the diversity of our Catholic population, have been greatly increased by certain journals conducted by persons professing to be Catholics, but never recognized as Catholic by the proper authorities, and he has wished to disclaim them, and to warn the Catholic public against encouraging them. Thus he says:
"The only ground on which the writer of this paper would feel himself authorized to present his views in relation to the Catholic press, is a ground of zeal and interest for the universal barmony and union, not only in faith, but also in charity, of all the scattered members of the Church of God, who are to be found spread over the surface of this now great empire, extending from the southern boundaries of Canada to the northern limits of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. These Catholics are not homogeneous in the order of natural birth, inasmuch as not all have been born in any one country; but they are homogeneous in the supernatural order, by which God has provided that they should be spiritually born into the one Church, which is not the church of any nation, but of all nations without distinction--boly, Catholic, apostolical.
“ One of the greatest calamities that could fall on the Catholic people of the United States, would be, if allusions to variety of natural origin should ever be allowed to distract their minds from that unity of hope and mutual charity which results from the communion of saints.
“For some time past it has been observable that this so-called Catholic press has exhibited, especially in the North, divergencies well calculated to excite attention, if not alarm. On the one side it has been assumed that the success of religion in this country depends on the continuous influx of emigrants, especially those of Liish origin, and that religion vanishes in proportion as the Celtic feeling dies out in this country—that the national character of the American people, and more particularly as it affects the first and second generation of emigrants,' is hostile to the Catholic religion—that the best method of perpetuating the faith in this country, so far as the Celtic race is concerned, is to keep up and perpetuate a species of Irishism in connection with the faith.
“ On the other hand, it has been assumed with equal confidence, but not on any better foundation, that our holy faith will labor under great disadvantages, and can hardly be expected to make much impression on our countrymen, until it can be presented under more favorable auspices than those which surround foreigners. In short, that, if it were rightly understood, its principles are in close harmony with those of our Constitution and laws—that it requires only a skilful architect to dovetail the one into the other, and to show how the Catholic religion and the American Constitution would really fit each other as a key fits a lock—that without any change in regard to faith or morals, the doctrines of the Catholic Church may be, so to speak, Americanized—that is, represented in such a manner as to attract the attention and win the adiniration of the American people,
Now, in the opinion of the writer, the prevalence of either of these two systems would be disastrous to the cause of the Church.
" The Church is not a foreigner on any continent or island of this globe. The Church is of all nations, and for all nations as much as the sunbeams of heaven, which are not repudiated as foreign under any sky. In fact, truth, no matter by whom represented, is at home in all climes; and this not simply in matters of religion, but in matters of history, arts, and science."--pp. 5-7.
We are unable to conceive any thing more Catholic or more in accordance with Catholic interests than the purpose here expressed. We have ourselves, as our readers well know, written several articles with the same purpose, and we will not affect to conceal the gratification it affords us to find his Grace adding the weight of his position and character, and the aid of his powerful pen to a cause which we have had so much at heart, and which is so intimately connected with the peace and prosperity of our Catholic community. We have labored earnestly to prevent the division of our Catholic population into classes according to their respective birthplace or national origin, The lesson we, in our humble way, have done our best to impress on our readers is, as his Grace so happily expresses it, that “the Church is not a foreigner on any continent, or island of this globe. The Church is of all nations, and for all nations, as much as the sunbeams of heaven, which are not repudiated as foreign under any sky.” There are no national distinctions in the Church, no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians, for God hath made of one blood all the nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth. This lesson we have repeated almost ad nauseam, so anxious have we been to impress it on the minds of our readers. His Grace expresses our own views far better than we could ourselves express them, in the following truly Catholic passage :
“Now, in view of these facts, neither clergy nor laity can afford, as Catholics, to have any distinction drawn among them in our periodicals, as among natives and foreigners. In the Catholic Church there are ro natives. There is the nativity of baptism subsequent to the natural birth. There is the adoption by grace of every soul, whether introduced into her communion during the period of infancy or in adult life. Neither are there foreigners in the Church of God-it is one Lord, one faith, one baptism."— pp.10, 11.