WHILE Roman Catholicism has been steadily losing ground in priest-ridden lands—Italy, France, Mexico, etc.,—it has of late been making headway in Protestant countries—Great Britain, Germany and the United States.
President Roosevelt's latest appointee to his cabinet, Secretary Bonaparte, a Roman Catholic, is the attorney who was influential in securing a large sum from the Indian funds for Catholic schools. At the recent Young People's Christian Endeavor Society's gathering in Baltimore, Secretary Bonaparte, who represented the President, was one of the special attractions.
Manila, Aug. 10.—"I do not think I can illustrate better the character of Theodore Roosevelt than to say what he has said: 'I wish as President of the United States to act toward the Roman Catholic Church as I would have a President who was a Roman Catholic act toward the Protestant churches,'" said Secretary Taft tonight, responding to the toast, "The President," at a dinner given to the male members of the Taft party by Archbishop Harty.
Mr. Taft said the relations between the United States government and the Roman Catholic Church have been made closer by the government's occupation of the Philippines and Porto Rico, where formerly Church and State were intimately connected. Although the separation of the Church from the State was necessitated, he said, nevertheless an association between the two was established thereby which has never before existed.
Berlin, Aug. 10.—Emperor William, alluding to Polish discontent in a speech made yesterday at a dinner at Gnesen, Prussia, said he wished each Roman Catholic Pole to know that his religion was honored by his emperor.
"In my last visit to the Vatican," said his majesty, "the great Leo XIII. held me with both hands and, notwithstanding that I am a Protestant, gave me his blessing. You are my fellow-workers, and Germanism stands for culture and for freedom for every one in religion, in thought and in achievement."
"The passing of the bill for the separation of Church and State in France, an event of first-class importance, has hardly secured the attention from the press of this country to which it is entitled. The Chamber of Deputies gave a majority of upward of a hundred in favor of the measure, which will not become law until it has received the approval of the Senate, from which, however, no serious difficulty appears to be anticipated.
"Thus the concordat entered into between Napoleon and Pius the Seventh in 1801 has been practically abolished. This instrument regulated the relations between the government and Protestants and Jews, as well as Roman Catholics. The Protestant pastors, the Jewish rabbis, and Roman Catholic priests and bishops have received stipends from the government since 1804 under its provisions, though the vast preponderance of the latter gave them the advantage. The new measure is an approach to absolute religious freedom, but not entirely so, for the government contemplates the payment of stipends to those who at present draw salaries, but new priests and other religious functionaries will henceforth be compelled to rely upon their congregations for support. The government claims the ownership of religious edifices, but will lease them to local associations and to groups of local associations forming episcopal sees.
"Whatever may be the practical working of the measure it undoubtedly implies a loss of ecclesiastical prestige, as the protest of the five cardinal archbishops and the French bishops practically admits, when it cries out for the preservation of the concordat. Italy bears testimony to the same tendency. There the Pope has issued an encyclical, under the terms of which Italian Catholics are declared to be at liberty to exercise their political rights, and the non-expedit policy of Pius the Ninth and Leo the Thirteenth is thus reversed. The Pope says: 'Catholic activities must find a field in the promotion of all those practical measures which are dictated by the study of social and economic science, by the condition of civil affairs, by the political [R3636 : page 292] life of the state.' After this it is not surprising that negotiations should be reported as being carried on between the Vatican and the Quirinal looking to the surrender of the temporal power in consideration of the payment of the arrears accumulated under the guarantee laws. These, the annual sums guaranteed by the Italian government and refused by the Pope's predecessors, now aggregate about twenty-two millions of dollars. There appears to be little doubt that a basis of agreement will be reached, and that the Pope will resign all claims to temporal sovereignty.
"No matter what is said in Vienna, I have positive information that Emperor Francis Joseph will go to Rome in the fall to visit King Victor Emmanuel, and will stay for several days in the Quirinal as the guest of the king, and before he returns to Vienna he will visit the Pope in the Vatican.
"Pope Pius, who is anxious to end the long feud between the Church and State in Italy, and who also would like to see the difficulties which have arisen between Italy and Austria smoothed over, has personally arranged this visit.
"The importance of this visit cannot be overlooked, as it means that His Holiness has definitely decided to abandon all claims to the old temporal sovereignty of the Church and to accept a fact which was established thirty-four years ago—the consolidation of the Italian kingdom, with Rome as its capital.
"After October at least there will no longer be a 'Prisoner of the Vatican,' and Romans will see Pope Pius walking or driving through the streets of Rome and making a friendly call upon the king and queen in the Quirinal."—Jean de Bonnefon, Paris.
"Hay was not, so far as I know, a member of any church. Once he stated his reason. It is characteristic. He said: 'My faith in Christ is implicit. I am a believer. I am in fullest sympathy with all that the Church mainly stands for, but I feel that to unite with it formally I should be in full accord with its methods, creeds and aims, and I cannot go that far.'"
Whether Grant, Lincoln, Hay and other men of recognized character had too much heart or too much head, or too much of both with too much honesty, to join any of the sects and subscribe to any of their creeds we know not, but we surmise the latter.
An investigation made by the State Board of Control of Charitable Institutions, Topeka, Kan., during the last week shows that the counties in which lengthy religious revivals have been held during the last year have the high records for the number of insane persons sent to the State asylum.
"Insanity," says H. C. Bowman, a member of the board, "seems to have followed the religious revivals like an epidemic. Reno county, where there was a protracted revival early last year, has sent 32 insane persons to the State asylum in Topeka in twelve months. I find that this epidemic of insanity has also followed the revivals which were held in Topeka, Arkansas City, Winfield, Wichita and other places."
The Women's Board of Foreign Missions has published the diagram which we reproduce below. It speaks of their appreciation of the difference between the Darkness and the Light. And yet it shows too brightly. There are really no such light spots as the illustration shows. The civilized communities thus represented are but drab at very most, not white. The very few who in the Lord's esteem are white are those of whom the Apostle says, "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."
Alas! how much darkness prevails in the mind of the one who wrote that stanza. She evidently knew not or forgot that God has promised a glorious Day, which shall chase sin's shadows quite away. The writer intimates that "Christ also waits" for the poor puny arm of flesh which in nineteen centuries has accomplished so little.
Ah, no! Thank God for a better hope, the hope of the Gospel, which as an anchor to our souls enters within the vail, fastened to Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Our hope began in God's Oath-bound Covenant to Abraham, "In thy Seed all the families of the earth shall be blest."
We see Christ Jesus our Redeemer as this "Seed," [R3637 : page 293] and we see the work of the Spirit during this Gospel age calling, drawing, gathering from among men "the very elect" to be "the Bride, the Lamb's wife," and we hear the Apostle's testimony, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Glory to our God! We rejoice not only that all the world shall yet "come to a knowledge of the truth that they may be saved," but that Christ is not "waiting" on us, but is selecting, or electing, his Church to be his co-workers as the "royal priesthood" in Kingdom glory, to do the work of instructing and judging (Rev. 5:10) and uplifting and restoring (Acts 3:20,21) all who prove willing and obedient "in that day." We are glad to note also that the called and chosen are in "the school of Christ" now, for their development and testing, and that our light afflictions may thus "work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Cor. 4:17.) Would that all of God's true children could see these things eye to eye with us! And we believe that they will very shortly now; that the Lord's plan will shortly be hid only to the perverse or cold hearted.
We remember the above statement of Holy Writ, and also the fact that demons once cried out to our Lord, "We know thee whom thou art, the Holy One of God," and further how a damsel possessed of a demon followed Paul and Silas certain days crying: "These be the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of eternal life."
These are proofs that the demons keep in touch with earth's affairs, and that at times they have attempted to make capital out of their knowledge: for we are not to suppose that they really sought to serve the Truth or to proclaim it except with selfish, evil intentions.
The above thoughts came to us as we recently read the predictions of some noted astrologers, whose information we credit to the spirit demons and not to ability to read destiny in the stars. One of these in particular closely touches dates and incidents on the line of our Scriptural expectations as follows:—
"In a dozen publications of this present springtime over all Europe astrologers agree that an extraordinary period is approaching. In the first place Saturn enters the sign of the Fishes in April, 1905, to remain there during 1906 and 1907. He will come out only in July, 1908. And these conjunctions, most rare in astrology, promise to be particularly hard on France.
"Each year the sun remains in the Fishes from Feb. 20 to March 20. It will be then in conjunction with Saturn, therefore, in 1906, 1907 and 1908. Combined with divers halts in the signs of the Crab and the Scorpion, this move of the sun threatens internal war and revolution for France, ending in the fall of the republic. The great troubles will commence in 1907 in a 'people's revolt.' There will be pillages, burning cities, massacres and the temporary domination of the lower orders. 'The year 1907,' declares one astrologer, 'will see the triumph of the populace and the reproduction of the worst days of the first revolution. I will add that this year, which seems marked as one of the most fatal in the history of all times, reproduces all the conjunctions of 1572—the year of the massacre of St. 'Bartholomew!' Twice only have the same conjunctions happened since—in 1793-4, the year of the terror, and in 1848, that other year of revolution in France.
"For France, at least, peace will not be reestablished until 1914, when a 'warrior king'—'he who is to establish the reign of good'—will set things to rights. This 'Caesar imperator,' realizing the astral reproduction of Napoleon I., will commence to manifest his presence in 1914, and will be definitely crowned in 1916 or 1917. Until then—alas! poor France!"—Sterling Heilig.