But to the priest who slumbers, heedless of the swift march of time, and the forces of evil now possessing our land, I say— Dream on, dear gentle soul, dream on! The day may come when you will awake with a thunder-clap, perhaps to find the Irish Church in chains.
THE YOUNG PRIEST’S ACTIVITIES
I should like to see the priest at the head of every movement for the bettering and uplifting of the people.
[Side note: The Last Fortress]
Ireland is the last fortress of Catholic Christendom. Latin Christianity is having to struggle for existence; and for us, time will but multiply, from within and without, the forces organised by Satan to capture the last stronghold that flies the Papal banner.
[Side note: Satan’s First Move]
His first effort will be in the future, as it has ever been in the past, to drive a wedge of separation between the priests and the people. That accomplished, half his battle is won. If he can get the people to despise the priest in any capacity as a social man, a politician, &c., he knows that time rubs out fine-drawn distinctions; they will cease to respect at the altar the man they are accustomed to flout on the street; and if they once come to despise the priest, they will soon despise the sacraments he administers, and challenge the Gospel which he preaches. Let us forestall him, and bind the people to our hearts with hoops of steel. For their sakes more than for ours we cannot make our hold too firm or root ourselves too deeply in their affections. For what hope could there be for souls if a chasm should yawn between the pastor and his flock, if those God has united by so many and such sacred ties should glare hatred and distrust from opposing camps?
The priest is supreme in Ireland to-day; but in the near future he may have many a rival claimant; and should the people pass under alien sway, the last fortress is gone.
Now, when we unroll the map of social Ireland, we discover a multitude of ways by which the priest can keep in touch with, direct and uplift the people, and each effort for their sakes means a fresh strengthening of the bonds that bind the hearts of priests and people.
Let us take a survey of the situation. That done, the number of ways by which the priest can become the reformer of his parish will at once disclose themselves.
[Side note: A Statement of Facts]
Have you ever faced the sad problem:—Why are our asylums enlarging while our general population is shrinking?
Three main causes are responsible.
[Side note: Food]
The food we are eating, especially the use of overdrawn tea. A gentleman of over twenty years’ experience, as governor of a lunatic asylum, assured the writer that next to drink, overdrawn tea was the most responsible agent for insanity. That week he had received a farmer’s wife and five strapping sons all stark mad from the poison stewing by so many of our hearths.