A parallel doctrine is taught largely to-day by persons who call themselves practical and businesslike. Meekness and gentleness and compassion, they tell their sons, are very elegant and graceful virtues for those who can afford them, for women and children who are more or less sheltered from the struggle of life, and for feeble and ineffective people who are capable of nothing else. But for men who have to make their own way in the world and intend to win success there, a more stern code is necessary; from these there is demanded such a rule of action as Nature herself dictates. Be self-confident and self-assertive then, not meek. Remember that the weakness of your neighbour is your own opportunity. Take care of number one and let the rest take care of themselves. A man does not go into the stock-exchange or into commerce in order to exhibit Christian virtues there, but business qualities. In a word, Christianity, so far as it affects material or commercial or political progress, is a weakness rather than a strength, an enemy rather than a friend.
(ii) But if, on the one side, the gentleness and non-resistance inculcated by Christianity form the material of one charge against the Church, on the other side, no less, she is blamed for her violence and intransigeance. Catholics are not yielding enough, we are told, to be true followers of the meek Prophet of Galilee, not gentle enough to inherit the blessing which He pronounced. On the contrary there are no people so tenacious, so obstinate, and even so violent as these professed disciples of Jesus Christ. See the way, for example, in which they cling to and insist upon their rights; the obstacles they raise, for example, to reasonable national schemes of education or to a sensible system in the divorce courts. And above all, consider their appalling and brutal violence as exhibited in such institutions as that of the Index and Excommunication, the fierceness with which they insist upon absolute and detailed obedience to authority, the ruthlessness with which they cast out from their company those who will not pronounce their shibboleths. It is true that in these days they can only enforce their claims by spiritual threatenings and penalties, but history shows us that they would do more if they could. The story of the racks and the fires of the Inquisition shows plainly enough that the Church once used, and therefore, presumably, would use again if she could, carnal weapons in her spiritual warfare. Can anything be more unlike the gentle Spirit of Him Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; of Him Who bade men to learn of Him, for He was meek and lowly of heart, and so find rest to their souls?