Perhaps I shall be told that this government of priests is not responsible for the crimes committed in its service.
We French have also experienced the scourge of a foreign occupation. For some years soldiers who spoke not our language were encamped in our departments. The king who had been forced upon us was neither a great man nor a man of energy, nor even a very good man; and he had left a portion of his dignity in the enemy’s baggage-waggons. But certain it is that, in 1817, Louis XVIII. would rather have come down from his throne than have allowed his subjects to be legally shot by Russians and Prussians.
M. de Rayneval says, “The Holy Father has never failed to mitigate the severity of judgments.”
I want to know in what way he has been enabled to mitigate these Austrian fusillades. Perhaps he has suggested a coating of soft cotton for the bullets.
THE IMPUNITY OF REAL CRIME.
The Roman State is the most radically Catholic in Europe, seeing that it is governed by the Vicar of Jesus Christ himself. It is also the most fertile in crimes of every description, and above all, of violent crimes. So remarkable a contrast cannot escape observation. It is pointed out daily. Conclusions unfavorable to Catholicism have even been drawn from it; but this is a mistake. Let us not set down to religion that which is the necessary consequence of a particular form of government.
The Papacy has its root in Heaven, not in the country. It is not the Italian people who ask for a Pope,—it is Heaven that chooses him, the Sacred College that nominates him, diplomacy that maintains him, and the French army that imposes him upon the nation. The Sovereign Pontiff and his staff constitute a foreign body, introduced into Italy like a thorn into a woodcutter’s foot.
What is the mission of the Pontifical Government? To what end did Europe bring Pius IX. from Gaeta to re-establish him at the Vatican? Was it for the sake of giving three millions of men an active and vigorous overseer? The merest brigadier of gendarmerie would have done the work better. No; it was in order that the Head of the Church might preside over the interests of religion from the elevation of a throne, and that the Vicar of Jesus Christ might be surrounded with royal splendour. The three millions of men who dwell in his States are appointed by Europe to defray the expenses of his court. In point of fact, we have given them to the Pope, not the Pope to them.