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countrymen, and to answer the objections of those who allege that she is incompatible with republicanism in the State. From the fact that abroad we see Catholicity, for the most part, apparently associated with monarchical forms of government, and from the further fact that eminent Catholic writers have opposed all movements in favor of republicanism, and defended monarchy on principle, there is in many minds, both out of the Church and within her pale, an impression that she is unfavorable to popular governments. This impression is an obstacle to the spread of Catholicity among the middle and lower classes of the American people, who are all stanch republicans; and we have, therefore, deemed it not improper or useless to attempt to remove it, and to do it, not by showing that the Church is compatible with republicanism, or adapted to a republican state of society, but by showing that republican institutions, maintaining at once the just rights of society and the imprescriptible freedom of the individual, are impracticable without her. We do not conform our religion to our politics; we aim to conform our politics to our religion ; that is, we do not set up any political theory or form of government as a test of religion ; but we hold that any political theory of liberty or despotism repugnant to religion is for that reason false, and not to be maintained. Yet knowing that the Church is not incompatible with republicanism, and that the republican, as every other form of legal government, has need of her to secure the common good of society, we have believed that it would be doing a service to religion as well as to politics, to make it evident.
The argument in our article, not for the Church, but to prove the necessity of the Church as an element in the social system, is what our Boston friend criticizes and undertakes to prove incomplete. The proposition we defended is, Catholicity is essential to the maintenance of the republic according to the thought of its founders, by mediating between the authority of society and the freedom of the individual, and restraining each from encroaching on the just rights of the other; that is, the Church is necessary to restrain authority from becoming social despotism, and individual freedom from becoming anarchy. In supporting this thesis, we maintained that it is only religion that can mediate between the two elements, and religion only as a power resting on its own basis, independent of both, higher than either, and strong enough to restrain. Up to this point the critic goes with us. “To all this,” he says, p. 407, "we readily accede, and we may add," he
i that we have never met with a man stupid enough to aver the contrary.”
But having proved this, we conclude that the religion which will answer our purpose must be the Christian Church, or religion as an organization, that is, as we explained ourselves, religion organized, or as an organism. Here the Reviewer refuses to go with us. He concedes, however, and our readers will bear the concession in mind, that if religion as an organization is necessary, Protestantism cannot, and Catholicity can answer our purpose. We let him speak for himself.
“ Those who have been constant readers of Mr. Brownson's effusions in support of bis present faith, must have noticed the circumstance, that he usually passes bastily over the vital point of his argument. That part of his argument which is obvious, and really needs little more than a distinct statement, be amplifies and fortifies with the greatest patience and caution. The feature about which doubts will arise, if any where, and which demands tbe most labored treatment, he glides over or perhaps assumes, as if the point he would urge were too evident to justify proof! This eccentricity (to call it by no severer term) is singularly glaring in the article we have now under consideration. The points of his argument which we have already presented, and which, as we have seen, will be readily admitted as soon as distinctly stated, he labors, and amplifies, and illustrates through several solid pages of his periodical. We come, however, to the vital point-the point where the Protestant reader finds, for the first time, in the article, a necessity for great proof and ample illustration—the point where it is to be shown, that religion, the authoritative element in society, conceded by inost every reader not to depend on the individual or the State, is dependent on the Catholic Church, and we find the whole matter disposed of in the following summary style:
“This you will willingly concede me. Then you must concede that religion, to answer our purpose, must be the Christian Church, or religion organized. Religion without the Church, without an organization, is not a power, is only an idea, a simple opinion, and therefore nothing but indivi. dualism. Unorganized, existing not as a Church, or as an organism, with no organs through which it can speak, it is nothing but the private conviction of the individual, and adds to the individual nothing beyond the strength of his conviction. If it be a Church, an organism, and yet dependent on the individual for its organization, the individual can make or
unmake it at his will, and though he may exercise power over it, it can exercise none over him. If it be a Church, and dependent on the State, and under its control, as is the Russian Church, the Prussian Church, and the English Church, it is simply a function of the State itself. It must be what the civil power chooses to make it; and its ministers, instead of being independent in face of the State, and free before the magistrate, will be simply a part of the constabulary. Religion must then be religion organized, and as religion organized, or as the Church, it must be independent alike of the State and the individual, or it will not answer the purpose.'-p. 287.
“And this is all the proof we are furnished with in support of the only questionable point in the proposition which Mr. Brownson purposes to maintain! Following the paragraph which we have just quoted, we have a succession of pages to prove what no one disputes, that Protestantism does not comply with the conditions put forth in the paragraph—to prove what to many minds will be considered evident at a glance, that such conditions being 'assumed, Catholicism, and not Protestantism, is the authoritative medium in adjusting the rival claims of the state and the individual. Mr. Brownson gives us twenty solid pages to prove that the Catholic Church is necessary to the republic, in that it has the prerogative of restraining the element of individualism from rushing into anarchy, and the element of the state from becoming despotic-that it has this prerogative, in that it is independent of both the individual and the state, and is the infallible interpreter of their respective duties and rights. Fourteen of these pages are employed in setting forth the several elements of a well-regulated society, and in explaining their several relations; and in these fourteen pages we find nothing to which we can materially object--what he states is obvious, and needs statement rather than proof. Five of these pages are also given to demonstrate, what nobody will dispute, that Protestantism does not, and that Catholicism does, comply with certain conditions, and is in conformity with certain principles. The only question in the mind of a Protestant relates to the justness of those conditions and the soundness of those principles. Here, and only here, we need to be convinced; here, and only here, we need argument, illustration, amplification. And here we have the paragraph last quoted, and this is all that we have! He gives page on page to convince us of that which we are prepared to believe without proof; he gives little over half a page on the point where alone proof is indispensable. Re-reading the article, we cannot restrain a smile as we pause over the paragraph alluded to. It is amusing to see our intellectual giant putting forth his herculean efforts where they are not needed; it is provoking to see with what complacency he disposes of the only particular where his exertions can be of some service to us.
We must, however, presume that he has done the best he could do—we may add, the best that any one can do, in support of such a position; for, surely, the impression is not to be tolerated, that though argument exists, Mr. Brownson is not competent to find
it. What we have to say, therefore, in confronting his reasoning is necessarily confined to the extract last made from his article.
“ We have complained that Mr. Brownson'slabors on indisputable points are out of all proportion to what he expends on the vital point in his argument—that he gives pages where a simple statement would be sufficient—that he gives a brief paragraph where the bulk of his efforts should be directed. We feel justified in another complaint—that what little he does give us on the essential point is not argument but assumption. He burdens us with proof where we really need no proof; where proof is needed, he gives naked assertion. Possibly, it is susceptible of proof, that religion, to be of any use, must be organized, and that, without organization, that is, without a visible Church, it is nothing but individualism, and therefore powerless; but, what proof does our author give us? Here it is in his own words : “You must concede’ it! He does not even pretend to argue it. He does not put forth even a form of proof. He makes no show of trying to convince us. Nothing of the kind—we 'must concede' it. We come to the point where alone the whole controversy between Catholicism and Protestantism is virtually to be decided—the point, above all others, where we are curious to see what argument can be introduced, and we are complaisantly assured,
must concede' the point ! True, the words 'you must concede,' are grammatically related to the statement, that religion, to be of any use, must be organized-must have a visible Church; but the remainder of the paragraph is merely an explanation of what is meant by this, and it gives nothing in the form of argument in support of what we must concede.”—pp. 407-410.
The fault found with us is that we prove at great length what nobody doubts, and adroitly slip over the turning-point of the question, the only point in the controversy which Protestants want proved, without proving it, nay, without even offering so much as a show of proving it. This charge, if founded, would prove us no better than a logical trickster. We are glad, however, to learn that the point we are said to have so adroitly hustled in without even a show of proof, is all in the whole controversy that Protestants want proved. It narrows the controversy down within manageable limits, and presents a single issue not difficult to dispose of. We hope the author is right.
With the author's leave we must tell him that he is mistaken in saying that we leave this point without proof, or without offering any reason why it must be conceded. The point is given as a logical conclusion from
what we had previously established, and which the author of the criticism himself concedes. It is proved in proving the premises, and the author should object, if he objects at all, not that it is a naked assertion left without a show of proof, but that it does not necessarily follow from these premises. In what immediately precedes, as he himself cites us, we say, “It—religion-must rest on a basis independent of both—the state and the individual, — and higher than that of either, and be a power which neither the national authority nor the individual authority can control, but strong enough to restrain them both. This you will willingly concede me. [The author does concede it.] Then you must concede that religion to answer our purpose must be the Christian Church, or religion as an organization.” Why so ?
religion without the Church, without an organization, is not a power, is only an idea, a simple opinion, and therefore nothing but individualism. Unorganized, existing not as a Church, or as an organism, with no organs through which it can speak, it is nothing but the private conviction of the individual, and can add to the individual nothing but the strength of his conviction.” Surely this is not adroitly to slip over the point, and to leave it without even a show of proof. This is not simple naked assertion, as alleged, but argument, at least an attempt at argument, whether successful or unsuccessful.
If religion, in order to meet the wants of society, must be a power resting on a basis independent of the nation and the individual, and a power strong enough, as occasion demands, to restrain either from encroaching on the rights of the other, it must be the Christian Church, religion organized, or religion as an organism, because religion without the Church, religion unorganized, or which is not an organism, is only an idea, and therefore not a power. Here is in substance our argument, and it is a conclusive, an unanswerable argument, if
, as we allege, it be true, that religion unorganized, religion without the Church, is only an idea, and religion as an idea is not a power. That religion without the Church, religion unorganized, is only an idea, our Universalist friend does not deny, nay concedes, as he must, if he speaks not merely of natural religion, or the law of nature, for it is impos