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Master, which did, in reality, but the more redound to his honour. The effect upon the people was quite different from what was expected. It was regarded as a public insult to the Catholic religion, a profanation of a sacred and venerable character, and as such, justly deserving the severest indignation.

The government being resolved to follow up their measures, caused M. Gouban, whom the king had named director-general of the Catholic worship, to summon the vicars-general to take upon themselves the administration of the diocese, inasmuch as M. de Broglie was now to be regarded as if he were naturally dead. The vicars answered, that the civil code did not touch persons declared contumacious until five years had elapsed after the sentence; nor could they admit that the civil authority had the power of setting aside the spiritual character of the bishop. On this refusal, M. Gouban replied: "Gentlemen, you must not now be surprised that I find myself obliged to put an embargo on your salaries until you comply with my request. I think I have a right to refuse payment to those who refuse service.

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The vicars-general having continued to correspond with their spiritual superior, and to publish pastoral instructions emanating from him, this gave occasion to a fresh prosecution on the part of the government. The solicitorgeneral, Spruyt, maintained before the court at Brussels, that M. de Broglie was civilly dead, that the episcopal jurisdiction was a function of the state, and therefore dependant upon the civil power, on which account it ceased de jure and de facto, from the date of the sentence passed upon M. de Broglie. This doctrine, which was nothing more or less than the bringing back the times of Henry VIII., and the establishing William "temporal and spiritual head," king and sovereign pontiff of the Catholic Church in Belgium, did not pass in the court of Brussels. Public opinion pronouncing itself so strongly against it, the court acquitted the accused on the 12th May, 1821. The same year M. de Broglie died at Paris, and the diocese of Ghent remained for many years without a bishop, as was the fate, also, of some of the other dioceses, owing to the quarrels of the government with the clergy and the Holy See.

From this time the king's policy may be observed, step by step, showing its more undisguised hostility to the

Catholic Church. In July 1822, an edict was published forbidding all persons to exercise the functions of schoolmaster in the higher branches of education, who had not been authorized by the board of instruction. Another decree of February 1, 1824, extended this decree so as to make it apply to all associations, whether civil or religious, that were employed in instruction, and finally a decree was issued on the eleventh of February, as a prelude to their entire dissolution, that no person could be received as member, or be admitted to take vows in them, unless provided with certificates of fitness, to be obtained from the agents of the Government.

But the crowning measure on which the king chiefly relied, was the establishment of a philosophical college, in which all who were destined for the ecclesiastical state were to be required to pass two years in study, as a necessary condition for admission into any episcopal seminary. This measure was announced in two separate edicts, both bearing the date of the 14th of June, (1825), in the first of which all independent schools and seminaries were suppressed" in virtue of art. 226, which entrusts the public instruction to our care;" and in the second, the philosophical college was ordered to be erected near to one of the universities. The ostensible reasons assigned for this latter measure were, the alleged representations of some of the heads of the clergy on the insufficiency of the preparatory instruction for young persons intended for the ecclesiastical state. On the 11th July another edict was published, containing the details of the establishment of the philosophical college, in which occurs the following proviso: That from the date of this day, there shall be no persons admitted into the episcopal seminaries, except such as shall have completed the proper term of study (two years) in the philosophical college. As the professors were to be appointed by royal authority, with merely the form of a consultation of the archbishop of Mechlin, the king felt sure of attaining his purpose, if he could but succeed in gaining into his own hands the whole public instruction, lay and ecclesiastical, and in being able to entrust it to men of his own choice.

"It is impossible to doubt," observes M. de Gerlâche, from whose history these details are chiefly taken, "that this project of William was part of a vast plan concerted with the protestant princes of Europe, and that it was but a step to still more open measures against the Church."-(page 374. vol. i.)

Circumstances also seemed to favour the attempt. There was an aged prelate at the head of the episcopate at Belgium, whom it was expected to be an easy task either to gain over or to intimidate. The press, that had advocated the Catholic interests, or even those of liberty, had been now silenced by the different prosecutions; and the body of the people, wearied with continued change and agitation, had become indifferent. The publication, therefore, of these decrees, did not create any strong immediate sensation; some men only of experience said that the king had been badly advised, and that he was laying the seeds of an insurrection against his government.

The bishops immediately protested to the king against the measure, who gave them nothing but evasive answers. They then wrote to Rome, and were informed that the Pope would represent the matter strongly to the Dutch court, and they would do well to await the result, keeping themselves passive, if any steps were taken to put the decrees into immediate execution.

The government pursued its policy with vigour, and all the necessary preparations were made for opening the philosophical college, which was fixed at Louvain, in the former college of Pope Adrian VI. and the brothers of Christian doctrine, who had large schools in Dinant, Namur, Liege, and Tournai, were suppressed, and the members who were not natives conducted to the frontiers. About the same time different other schools and seminaries, kept by private individuals, both priests and laymen.

The king's object was now to gain the archbishop's consent and approbation of the new college, and every kind of attention was shown him with this view, the project being studiously represented as planned wholly on the interests of the Catholic faith. Happily the venerable prelate was surrounded by prudent and firm advisers, who saw through the scheme, and rejected it courageously.

In the mean time a very animated debate took place in the chambers, in which several very distinguished speakers on the Catholic side claimed, as their last safe resource, universal liberty of instruction, of the press, and of worship-doctrines that the clergy of the time were not prepared to accept. "How can we," said they," approve the liberty of all religions, we who believe that there is but one good? Truth and falsehood mutually exclude each other. This tolerance which is required from us is absurd, for it sup



poses an indifference in the matter of religious belief, the most precious interest of humanity, in regard to which we can yield and pass over nothing; as to absolute liberty of the press, we regard it as an inexhaustible source of calamities.......The spirit of the Catholic religion is a spirit of obedience, peace, and agreement. Liberty of the press, with its sequel of quarrels, abuse, lies, and calumnies, is nothing but combat and confusion, and the annihilation of all principle.

The clergy had not yet perceived that the course proposed was not the positive and absolute advocacy of these liberties as good in themselves, which, on the principle of one and only one true faith, doctrine and worship, they cannot be, but the advocacy of an entire abstinence on the part of the civil power from taking any steps in favour of any doctrine or worship opposed to the interests of the Church. The government at this time was seeking to undermine and cripple the Church, and the Catholic speakers in the chambers claimed, that the government should be strictly neutral, and allow perfect freedom to every creed and sect; not at all as approving such a state of things in itself as the best conceivable for the interests of humanity, but under the circumstances, as better for the Church to be herself free to act in the midst of equally free antagonist and rival doctrines, than to be subject to a government, seeking to fetter her action and tamper with her very existence.

But this by the way. The bishops had informed the king they should refuse to ordain the pupils of the philosophical college, and matters continued in this unsatisfactory state until the year 1827, the seminaries receiving in the mean time no fresh pupils. Negotiations were now being carried on with Rome; but, as they moved forward but slowly, the Pope showing great patience, the government determined if possible to attempt to separate the Church of Belgium, preserving its hierarchy after the Anglican pattern of Henry VIII. The project for this purpose was drawn up by M. Goubau, by order of the minister, Van Gobbelschoog, and lithographed. Only twelve copies were distributed to trustworthy persons, and the archbishop was pressed to enter into the plan by every art of seduction that the government knew how to employ. There appears every reason to think that these attempts to weaken the Church were made in combination with the governments

of Wurtemburg, Baden, Hesse, Darmstad, Hesse, Cassel, Nassau, and Francfort. But at length the king became convinced of the danger of the plan, and it was given up, it being found impossible to tamper with the fidelity of the episcopate or the clergy. Had Henry VIII. encountered an equally noble body of clergy, we had been spared the memorable and deplorable schism of our own country.

On the 18th of June, a concordat was concluded with the court of Rome, in virtue of which the episcopal theological seminaries were again opened, and the bishops set at liberty to provide at their own discretion for the instruction of the pupils.


Such continued to be the aspect of affairs, when the subject of public instruction was threatened to be again mooted in the chambers in the month of November, 1829. The king had been requested to withdraw the decrees, against which the Catholics remonstrated, but could not bring himself to make any material concession. consented however to the bishops again opening their smaller seminaries. When, at length, civil and religious discontent had reached so great a height as to break out in the Revolution of 1830, which led to the entire banishment of the Nassau dynasty, the election of the present sovereign, Leopold, and the formation of a constitutional monarchy, of which the equal liberty of all creeds and religious communities is the basis. Leopold was enthroned at Brussels on the 21st of July, in 1831, and in 1833 had to sustain a campaign against a large and well disciplined Dutch army, with which William invaded the country, an invasion which would have terminated fatally to the independence of the new kingdom, had not the French army come to its


From this short survey of the policy of the Dutch gov-| ernment, it is easy to see that the Catholics of Belgium were taught by a painful experience, the practical lesson which the Catholics of every other part of Europe must sooner or later learn, viz., that in the present aspect of political affairs, the Catholic religion depends in an especial degree for its maintenance and propagation, on the independent efforts of the Catholic body itself in each nation. The old alliance of the civil and ecclesiastical estates has been in point of fact dissolved; and by virtue of the prevalent doctrines of liberty for all creeds and religious communities, as long as they may last, the

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