The Roman Question eBook

Edmond François Valentin About
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Roman Question.
inspiration of Heaven before going to bed; they see in dreams the Madonna stuck all over with figures; they pay for masses at the Churches; they offer the priest money if he will put three numbers under the chalice at the moment of the consecration.  Not less humbly did the courtiers of Louis XIV. range themselves in the antechamber he was to pass through, in the hope of obtaining a look or a favour.  The drawing of the lottery is public, as are the University lectures in France.  And, verily, it is a great and salutary lesson.  The winners learn to praise God for his bounties:  the losers are punished for having unduly coveted worldly pelf.  Everybody profits—­most of all the Government, which makes L80,000 a year by it, besides the satisfaction of having done its duty.

Yes, the holy preceptors of the nation fulfil their duty towards God, and towards themselves.  But it does not necessarily follow that they always manage the affairs of God and of the Government well.

         “On rencontre sa destinee
  Souvent par les chemins qu’on prend pour l’eviter.”

La Fontaine tells us this, and the Pope proves it to us.  In spite of the attention paid to religious instruction, the sermons, the good books, the edifying spectacles, the lottery, and so many other good things, faith is departing.  The general aspect of the country does not betray the fact, because the fear of scandal pervades all society; but the devil loses nothing by that.  Perhaps the citizens have the greater dislike to religion, from the very fact of its reigning over them.  Our master is our enemy.  God is too much the master of these people not to be treated by them in some degree as an enemy.

The spirit of opposition is called atheism, where the Tuileries are called the Vatican.  A young ragamuffin, who drove me from Rimini to Santa Maria, let slip a terrible expression, which I have often thought of since:  “God?”—­he said, “if there be one, I dare say he’s a priest like the rest of ’em.”

Reflect upon these words, reader!  When I examine them closely, I start back in terror, as before those crevices of Vesuvius, which give you a glimpse of the abyss below.

Has the temporal power served its own interests better than it has those of God?  I doubt it.  The deputation of Rome was Red in 1848.  It was Rome that chose Mazzini.  It is Rome that still regrets him in the low haunts of the Regola, on that miry bank of the Tiber, where secret societies swarm at this moment, like gnats on the shores of the Nile.

If these deplorable fruits of a model education were pointed out to the philosopher Gavarni, he would probably exclaim, “Bring up nations, in order that they may hate and despise you!”

CHAPTER XVII.

FOREIGN OCCUPATION.

The Pope is loved and revered in all Catholic countries—­except his own.

It is, therefore, perfectly just and natural that one hundred and thirty-nine millions of devoted and respectful men should render him assistance against three millions of discontented ones.  It is not enough to have given him a temporal kingdom, or to have restored that kingdom to him when he had the misfortune to lose it; one must lend him a permanent support, unless the expense of a fresh restoration is to be incurred every year.

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The Roman Question from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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