Imágenes de páginas

Church since the overthrow of the Tsar. Reports come to us censored by the Bolshevik Government which, in its autocracy, is much more rigid than the old regime every dreamed of being. We are hearing from Russia only such news as Lenine, Trotsky & Co. want us to hear. To quote one example: among the innovations made by Trotsky was a bureau where divorces could be obtained by the simple expedient of registering the fact. Hitherto divorces were granted only by the Church and very few were authorized. The report from Petrograd has it that in the first week after the establishment of the bureau, 38,000 applications for divorce were received, among them one from Nicholas II. himself! Even the most credulous must find such news hard swallowing.

Second, because those who were violently opposed to Tsardom still hold the Church under suspicion as an arm of the bureaucracy and its active upholder. There are ample reasons for this. It must be remembered that the Church was often a willing party to the detection and arrest of revolutionists, and the village priest in all too many instances was an active aid of the gendarmerie and the Third Division. Moreover, any priest who showed sympathy with the liberal cause was promptly unfrocked or banished to virtual imprisonment in a monastery. It is natural then that the revolutionists should argue that the leopard cannot change his spots. However, the Church is somewhat different from a leopard and, as we have seen, it has been changing its spots as fast as it can.

Third, the Bolshevik Government, being headed by Semitics, has permitted the ascendancy of the Jews who, as objects of persecution by Orthodox reactionaries, the Black Hundred, have accumulated quite a large score to pay off. One can scarcely blame them for not feeling sympathetic with the progress of the Church.

Apropos of this, however, it might be noted that this ascendancy of the Jews in Russia is a topic that, for obvious reasons, our press has not considered worthy of elaborate comment. The fact remains that when revolutionary troubles in Russia have been sifted to the bottom, the Jewish element was there. In the revolution of 1905-7 it was discovered that of the rev

olutionists as many as ninety per cent were Jews. Of the Russians in America who have caused labor troubles during the past decade quite a comparable percentage have been Semitics. Under law the Jew is constitutionally litigious; remove the law, and his liberty tends toward license. But from this it must not be inferred that all the revolutionists in Russia to-day are Jews. Under his hide the Russian himself is constitutionally revolutionary. Combine these two, and one can readily see why the Russian masses have become so completely intoxicated with their freedom.

This brings us to the fourth reason for the apparent helplessness of the Church. So long as the masses remain in this intoxicated state the Church is unable to appeal to their senses. They even refuse to listen to such popular revolutionary heroes as Prince Kropotikn, Prince Lvoff and Madame Breshkovsky who have suffered exile and all manner of evil for the freedom of their people. Gradually, however, the masses will sober up and their natural recourse, even as with a man after a debauch, will be to that source which gave them strength to work out their hard lives and the peace with which they so valiantly faced death. This source was the Church.

Despite their much advertised freedom, the people of Russia have still to face the rigors of reconstruction. No matter what form of government they adopt, their way is going to be very hard and it cannot be traveled on such meager fare as socialism promises. Before Russia attains her place in the world again she will have to get down on her knees and pray. Make no mistake about that.

And make no mistake in thinking that she will not do it. Archbishop Tikhon, the Metropolitan of the Russian Church, who once lived in America as Archbishop of Orthodox congregations here, is an enlightened man of great spiritual force. He knows western ideals and he knows his own people. He knows their capacity for facing the terrible dawn of reconstruction with hearts steeled. He knows their power of repentance. We can only hope that strength will be given him to lead his people out of their darkness, lead them as the Blessed Dionissi led Russia through the chaos of the False Dmitris to the salvation of Muscovy, through prayer and repentance.

The Power of the Pope and the Peace

[ocr errors]

of the World


VILL the Pope share in the Peace Council? Ought not the world's supreme moral authority to be heard in that conference which will ensure a just and durable peace? May not the sovereign whose claims exceed those of any earthly allegiance expect representation at the court where the interests of so many of his subjects will be involved?

Many people think that the Pope ought to be and will be one of the parties to that final adjustment of conflicting aims which is to eliminate the early recurrence of so vast a calamity, through a settlement established in the broadest spirit of Christian justice. Not only would the foremost spiritual authority lend a binding command to this settlement, but certain of the Pontiff's own grievances ought to be considered and rectified in the course of so tremendous a decision. The unity of Christendom in every aspect would thus be assured when all sound cause for disagreement were removed.


There are many issues involved in this apparently simple and acceptable proposition. The theoretical or legal phase is being again revived abroad, although it receives little attention in America. The present is a time of transition, of fluid conditions, when the aspirations and aims of many causes suppressed for generations are aroused by the hope of sharing in the final victory. This is especially true of the Vatican. In a world whose standards and habits have been so violently dislocated, it is possible that a society such as the Roman Church, which has stood fixed and immovable for centuries, will be able to prevail by its self-reliance and firm confidence over the weakened resolution and disheartened spirits of secular nationalisms, all of recent creation and inexperience compared with its own visible continuity.

A solution of the problem may be attempted by examining the separate issues involved. The first step in our inquiry will be to discuss the nature of the coming Peace Conference. It will thereby appear that we must ascertain two points: whether the Pope is a temporal sovereign, and whether he deserves representation as the supreme teacher of morals. If, then, the Pope is not now a temporal sovereign, should he be made one? What, finally, are the mutual relations of the Pope's temporal power and the world's peace?


The Peace Conference is often thought of as a meeting of attorneys for the contending parties before an impartial court for a decision to which both parties agree to submit. A meeting of this kind naturally implies a referee, and the Pope by process of elimination alone remains as a candidate for the judicial post.

Such has been the nature of some previous councils and it may be of this. But indications point to the contrary. There is today no single person possessing the absolute sovereignty which the successful performance of such a function requires. The parties will indeed rest their cases only under one of two conditions. The first is a military superiority and readiness to employ it so genuine and generally realized that the conference will be a forced agreement, requiring no guarantee for observance other than a continuation of the relation which first created it. The other is a common consent to a basis of settlement independently but concurrently reached by the various nations, so deeply fixed that it will be observed apart from the actions of political leaders because of the unanimity of spirit in which the agreement was reached. If, however, both parties should touch a level of exhaustion in which they become indifferent to the purposes for which the conflict began, or both should wish to postpone the military decision, an opportunity would then be created for a referee. This, after America's entry into the war, is an infinitely remote contingency, and our inquiry will be confined to the more probable conditions under which the conference will be called.

These premises allow only those who have borne the heat of the battle to share in the victory. Only those will be admitted to the conference who have hazarded their interest in the conflict or who have such considerable interests, vitally affected by the decision, that dissatisfaction with the event on the part of the power not previously involved would constitute a menace to the successful development of the agreement. With the United States drawn into the conflict, it appears probable that there will be no parties outside the agreement to embarrass its realization except possibly the Pope.

The Papacy has on the whole, according to the opinion of political experts, lent its support to the Central Powers, and, following the tradition of the Vatican, it might have been expected. Such an attitude also results from the sentiment of the Allies toward Rome. Italy was never a whole-hearted adherent of the Triple Alliance, which was merely a convenient arrangement for mutual defense, not so much against outsiders, as against the aggression of any of its component members. United Italy was created in opposition to papal rule and until recent years, when the common cause of antagonism to socialism drove the monarchy and the Vatican to a clandestine agreement on certain points, Italy was the natural foe of the Roman Church, and her enemies the friends of the Church.

The modern doctrine which opposed interference on the part of the ecclesiastical power in secular concerns, has been greatly strengthened by Italy's course of action, and her motives for so doing have been intensified. It is interesting to remember that what purported to be the secret treaty outlining the conditions on which Italy entered the war was published by the Maximalist leaders at Petrograd on November 28th. The very first article of this treaty, according to the translation of the London Times on November 30th, declared: "France, Great Britain and Russia take it upon themselves to support Italy in her not allowing representatives of the Holy See to take any diplomatic steps for the conclusion of peace or in regard to matters pertaining to the present war." On the 6th of December in the House of Commons Lord Cecil in answer to a question whether England and

« AnteriorContinuar »